George Washington Papers

To George Washington from August 1780in Mottin de La Balme, 5 March 1780

From Augustin Mottin de La Balme

philadelphia the v. mch 1780


Though I have not been happy enough as to give your Excellency proofs of my zeal for the american cause, you So honourably defend, I no less dare flatter meself that His Excellency has not been insensible to it, and will be So good as to grant me the following as King.

I intend to travel within a little while Towards the Southern States of america, where I may be confonded with many adventurers, because Mr Lovel one of the honorable the Congress has lost the recommending letters, I intrusted with, when I moved for an employement in phyladelphia.

Some of those letters were exibited To your Excellency at the time of my arrival in this Continent. I Hope thas, in consquence of the good Character They gave me, you will be pleased To give me one of yours To indemify me of their being lost.

I entertain a Too high Idea of the equitable procedings of your Excellency Towards the foreigners not to expect with a Secure Confidence Such a favour of yours. I am with the greatest respects of His Excellency The most obedient and humble Servant

De la Balme


On 14 March, GW replied to La Balme from headquarters at Morristown: “I have received Your Letter of the 5th of this month. It is very much my wish to do justice to the merits and zeal of every Foreign Officer who has served in this Country, but unhappily it is not in my power to comply with your request. I can not recollect, although I have endeavoured to do it, either the substance of the Letters You mention to have brought with You when You came to America—or the Characters by whom they were given—and I am sorry your services since your arrival owing to a want of opportunity or to their not coming to my knowledge have not been such as would justify me, in giving a Certificate in your Favor” (Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

In May 1777, GW had received a letter of introduction for La Balme from Silas Deane, then an American representative in France (see GW to John Hancock, 9 May 1777 [second letter], and William Heath to GW, 23 April 1777, n.2).

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