George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lafayette, 12 April 1785

To Lafayette

Mount Vernon April 12th 17⟨85⟩

My dear Marqs

Your letter of the 15th of Septr last year, introductory of Mr Duchi, I had the honor to receive a few days since.1

However great that Gentleman’s merits are, and however much I might be inclined to serve him, candor required me to tell him, as I now do you, that there is no opening (within my view) by which he could enter, & succeed in the line of his profession, in this Country.

Besides being a stranger, and unacquainted with the language of these States—perfectly—many of them, to prevent an inundation of British Attorneys of which they were apprehensive, & of whose political principles they entertained not the most favorable sentiments; have passed qualifying Acts, by which residence & study in them for a specific time, is made essential to entitle a Lawyer to become a practitioner in our Courts of justice.

Therefore, should Mr Duchi incline, notwithstanding, to settle, altogether, or spend any Considerable portion of his time in this Country, his friends cannot serve him better than by obtaining for him some appointment in the Consular department; for the discharge of which, I presume he must be well qualified. With great attachment and the most Affectionate regard I am—My dear Marqs Yr sincere friend and Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP; LB, DLC:GW.

1The text of Lafayette’s letter to GW about Ducher (Duché), written in New York and dated 15 Sept. 1784, is: “This letter will be delivered By Mr duché, whose principles, character, and Misfortunes entitle Him to Your Excellency’s patronage—He Has a great share in Chev. de chattelux’s esteem, and is Most particularly Recommended By my friend Mr de MalesHerbes, who Had an opportunity to know Him when a lawyer in the City of paris—this Gentleman Came with a Good sum of Monney which He intended to Settle with in America—But the Greater part, Having Been lost in a shipwrek, He Still more Stands in Need of Advice and patronage—Both of those, my dear General, I earnestly request in His favour, and am Happy to Assure you that He Ever Has been a friend to the Rights of Mankind, and that His situation deserves particular Notice” (ALS, PEL). The letter is dated 14 Sept. in the Calender of Omitted Letters in Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends 5:438.

Gaspard-Joseph-Armand Ducher came to America to study the commercial laws of the various newly founded states. After his arrival in America, he spent the night of 11 April 1785 at Mount Vernon. Ducher wrote GW on Christmas day 1785, in passable English, to thank him for his hospitality and to tell GW of his being appointed, on 1 Sept., vice-consul at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1787, he became French consul at Wilmington, North Carolina. During his years in America, Ducher wrote influential reports about commercial matters relating to the United States and France.

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