George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Joseph de Valnais, 30 August 1778

To Joseph de Valnais

Head Quarters White plains 30th Augt 1778


I recd yours of the 18th and was not a little surprised to find it contain a request for a certificate of your services in the American Army.1 You must be sensible that Colo. la Balme, to whom you were appointed Aid, never entered upon the duties of his Office of Inspector of Cavalry, and that consequently you could never have given any proof of your Abilities. I shall ever be ready to give testimonials of the Merit of Officers, where there services have come under my own observation;2 but it is not to be imagined that I should sit down & write certificates for gentlemen who have afforded me no opportunities of approving their conduct. I am Sir &c. &.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Joseph de Valnais (1748–1826), who had served in the Garde-de-Corps of the comte d’Artois before he came to America, became French consul at Boston in January 1779 and served there until he was recalled in October 1781. He returned to France in 1783 but served again as consul at Boston, 1815–23.

1Valnais’s letter has not been found.

2The remainder of the draft is in James McHenry’s writing, with the exception of the words “their conduct,” which Tilghman inserted.

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