George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lotbinière, 2 January 1789

From Lotbinière

New York. 2d Jany 1789


I hope the Commencement of this year has found you enjoying perfect health—I sincerely wish it may attend you through it—and be extended to a number to come. This wish is also interesting to the United States, for, when under your direction, your health will be employed in advancing them to the highest degree of Prosperity—My health is as usual—that is—very bad. The second attack of the tertian ague has harassed me for these eight months past—however the means which I have used these 8 or 10 days past to obstruct it seems to have give me a little relief. I have the honor to be with the greatest attachmt & respect Sir Yr most Hble & Obedt Servt

le Mis. de Chartier de Lotbiniere1

Translation, DLC:GW; ALS, in French, DLC:GW. The text of this letter is taken from a translation made for GW. The original letter is printed in note 1.

Michael-Chartier de Lotbinière (1723–1798) had an illustrious career in Canada as an army officer and engineer before and during the French and Indian War. After the British conquest of Canada he became the owner of a number of large seigneuries on Lake Champlain. Some of these lands lay within the boundaries of New York, and Chartier spent some years in London attempting to secure clear title to them. During the American Revolution he offered his services to France and spent time abroad and in the United States agitating for the return of Canada to France. After the war he remained for some ten years in France, coming to the United States in 1787 bearing a letter of introduction from Lafayette to GW, 1 May 1787, in which Lafayette observed that his claims “appear to me well grounded—and Altho’ I told Him you Had nothing to do in the Business, I was Requested By Himself, and By intimate friends of Mine to Give Him this Recommandation.” Lotbinière corresponded briefly with GW during the late 1780s. He did not impress all Americans favorably. Manasseh Cutler, encountering him at the Knoxes in 1787, observed that “no person at table attracted my attention so much as the Marquis Lotbiniere—not on account of his good sense, for if it had not been for his title I should have thought him two-thirds of a fool” (Cutler, Life description begins William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, eds. Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D. 2 vols. Cincinnati, 1888. description ends , 1:231). In 1789 Lotbinière was attempting to secure permission from reluctant British officials to return to his estates, although, as John Jay observed, “his attachment to the american cause has rendered him so obnoxious to the british government as to render it unadviseable for him to return to the Province of Quebec” (Jay to GW, 15 July 1789). Lotbinière made a brief visit home in 1790 to attend to the sale of much of his property. He died in New York of yellow fever during the 1798 epidemic. For a detailed account of Lotbinière’s claims, see his letters to GW, 18 June and 21 July 1789.

1The French version of this letter reads: “J’espère que le renouvellement de Cette année Vous aura trouvé Jouissant d’une Santé parfaite. Je Souhaite bien ardemment Qu’elle Se Soutienne de même durant tout Son Cours, Et durant Celui de Nombre d’autres annéeß; Et C’est Souhaiter a ces Etats beaucoup plus de bien Qu’a Vôtre Excellence directement, qui ne Saura Jamais l’Employer que pour les faire parvenir le plustôt possible au plus haut degré de leur prospérité. la Mienne Est toujours dans le même Etat; C’est-à-dire avec Cette fiévre tierce qui, pour la Seconde attaque, me travaille sans relâche depuis huit mois. il me Semble Cependant que l’aloës dont Je fais usage depuis huit à dix jours, Et qui M’Evacue doucement, pourroit M’en débarasser avant peu.”

Index Entries