George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Benjamin Franklin Bache et al., 11 April 1795

From Benjamin Franklin Bache et al.

Philadelphia, April 11. 1795

Sir,

The subscribers, a committee in behalf of a number of American, French & Dutch Citizens, request the honour of your company to a Civic Festival to be given on Friday, April 17, appointed to celebrate the late victories of the French Republic, and the emancipation of Holland.1 We have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedt hble Serts

Dubois pere
Benjn Franklin Bache
M. H. Messchert2

LS, DLC:GW. GW wrote below the docket that he considered the invitation “Intendedas an Insult It is presumed.”

1An advertisement printed in English and French appeared in the Aurora General Advertiser (Philadelphia) on 11 April. It informed readers that “Friends of the French Republic wishing to give a new evidence of their love of liberty will assemble on FRIDAY, the 17th inst, at Oeller’s hotel, there to celebrate the new successes of the Republic, and the regeneration of Holland, in a Civic Festival.”

As part of the War of the First Coalition, the French Army of the North invaded the United Provinces in the late summer of 1794. French troops crossed the frozen Waal River after mid-December, and in early 1795 commanders Jean-Baptiste Jourdan and Jean-Charles Pichegru launched an offensive campaign. Utrecht fell on 16 Jan., followed by the capture of Dutch naval forces and, with the assistance of a pro-French Revolutionary Committee, the city of Amsterdam. Stadtholder William V fled to exile in England, and on 19 Jan. the Batavian Republic was declared at Amsterdam. By the end of March the French army had occupied all of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

2Mathew (Matthew) Huizinga Messchert (d. 1833) was a Philadelphia merchant who had emigrated from Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Dubois Pere was a refugee from Port-au-Prince who acted as president of the Friends of the French Republic in Philadelphia.

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