George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Chastellux, 27 November 1788

To Chastellux

Mount Vernon November 27th 1788

My dear Marqs

Although I know you are well acquaited with Mr Gouverneur Morris yet finding he was about to embark for France,1I thought it might not be unacceptable for you to hear from me, and of the wellfare of my connections, by a person for whom I entertain so good a regard. Besides I thought I should have a convenient opportunity of addressing the Compliments of Mrs Washington and myself, to you, to your good Lady, and, if it was not presuming too much, to the amiable Princess with whom she is so intimately connected.2 As for Mr Morris, only let him be once fairly presented to your French Ladies, and I answer for it, he will not leave the worst impression in the world of the American character, for taciturnity & improper reserve.3I rely upon it he will make his way good.

In the mean time, with sincere wishes for the felicity of you and yours, I embrace you, my dear Marqs and am now, as ever With sentiments of esteem and Friendship

Go: Washington


François-Jean de Beauvoir, marquis de Chastellux (1734–1788), met GW during the Revolution while he was serving as maréchal de camp and major general with Rochambeau’s army in America. Chastellux, after a long career in the French army, came to America in 1780 with Admiral de Ternay’s fleet, served in the Yorktown campaign, and did not return to France until 1783. Already known in France for his literary accomplishments, he published in the early 1780s his Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782. When he wrote this letter GW was unaware that Chastellux had died in Paris on 24 October.

2In October 1787 Chastellux married an impecunious but well-connected Irish woman named Marie-Josephine-Brigitte-Charlotte de Plunkett (1759–1815). The daughter of Thomas, Baron de Plunkett, an officer in the Austrian service, she was born in France. Shortly after Chastellux’s marriage GW wrote him a letter of congratulations upon “catching that terrible Contagion—domestic felicity” (GW to Chastellux, 25 April 1788). The young marquise was a lady-in-waiting to Louise-Marie-Adelaide, duchesse d’Orleans.

3GW wrote additional letters of introduction for Morris to Robert Fairfax, to Jefferson, to Lafayette, to Joseph Mandrillon, to Rochambeau, to Arthur Young, all dated 27 Nov. 1788, and to Edward Newenham, to John Derk, Baron van der Capellen tot den Pol, to Wakelin Welch, all dated 28 Nov. 1788. Letter-book copies of these letters are in DLC:GW. Most of the letters are routine introductions, but GW’s letter to Rochambeau contained an additional paragraph: “Here we have all peace, and a happy prospect that the New Government will soon be carried into execution. On your side of the Atlantic I am sorry to find, that there is some probability of a general War. You will, I know, My dear Count, applaud the wish which humanity makes to prevent the effusion of blood; even though you are a military man, and might have a better chance than most others to gather fresh laurels in the field of death. Whereever you may be, in peace or in war, be assured my best wishes attend you” (DLC: Rochambeau Papers). See also GW’s letter to Lafayette of 27 November.

Index Entries