To James McHenry
Mount Vernon April 10. 1799
Enclosed is a letter and sundry Certificates which have been handed to me by a Monsr Demoumonier, a French Gentln who is desirious of entering into the service of the United States in the military line.1
I forward this letter & these documents to you as I have done all of a similar nature which have come to my hand; but how far it may comport with the line of policy marked out by the Govt of the U.S. to admit a foreigner i[n]to its Service, and particuliarly a Frenchman at this time, you know better than myself. I shall therefore make no observation on the subject. I have the honor to be very respectfuly Sir your mo. ob. st
Df, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DLC:GW.
1. On 6 April Tobias Lear wrote Charles Demoumonier: “General Washington has received your letter to him dated the 5 inst. expressing a wish to enter into the American Service, and enclosing sundry certificates &c. to shew the ground on which your pretension is founded. In obedience to the General’s commands I have to inform you, that the appointment of Officers in the American Army does not lie with him but with the President of the United States; to whom application should be made, through the Secretary of War. When applications of a similar nature to your’s is made to the General, he causes them to be transmitted to the Secretary of War, who will place them in the proper channel to receive the attention they shall merit. If it is your wish that the papers accompanying your letter to General Washington should be forwarded to the Secretary of War, the General will cause it to be done on your signifying the same; otherwise they will be returned to you in a letter lodged in the Post office” (DLC:GW). Neither Demoumonier’s letter nor its enclosures have been found. Demoumonier, who has not been identified, replied to Lear from Alexandria on the same day: “Yours of this date has just come to hand and it is my wish that my papers accompanying my Letter may be forwarded by General Washington to the Secretary of War as you mention” (DLC:GW).