George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Rochambeau, 13 October 1789

To Rochambeau

New York, October 13th 1789

Dear General,

I have been honored with the receipt of your letters of the 31st of January and 17th of February last—and I should have had the pleasure to address you sooner, but a tedious indisposition, and very numerous avocations, since my recovery, have so entirely engaged my time as to leave me but very little, or no leisure for the agreeable duties of friendship.

I embrace the obliging offer of His Excellency the Count de Moustier (who favors my letter with his care)1 to renew an intercourse which will ever give me pleasure—and to enhance your satisfaction by telling you that the political affairs of the United States are in so pleasing a train as to promise respectability to their government, and happiness to our citizens—The opposition offered to the reform of our federal constitution has in a great measure subsided, and there is every reason to predict political harmony and individual happiness to the States and citizens of confederated America.

The Revolution, announced by the intelligence from France, must be interesting to the nations of the world in general, and is certainly of the greatest importance to the country in which it has happened—I am persuaded I express the sentiments of my fellow-citizens, when I offer an earnest prayer that it may terminate in the permanent honor and happiness of your government and people. with sentiments of respectful affection and esteem I am, Dear General, Your most obedient Servant

G. Washington

Df, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW. The copy in DNA: RG 59 is mistakenly addressed to La Rouërie.

1The comte de Moustier, French minister to the United States, wrote John Jay on 6 Oct. that he had received permission from his court to “pass sometime in the Kingdom for the re-establishment of his health and on account of his own private affairs” and asked Jay to arrange a meeting with GW to take his formal leave of the president. He also asked the acting secretary of state to inform the president that Louis Guillaume Otto, French chargé d’affaires in the United States, would remain at the French legation (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters). On 9 Oct. GW noted in his diary: “Received from the French Minister, in Person, official notice of his having recd. leave to return to his Court and intended embarkation—and the orders of his Court to make the following communication—viz.—That his Majesty was pleased at the Alteration which had taken place in our Government and congratulated this Country on the choice they had made of a Presidt. He added that he should take care to make a favourable representation of the present State of things here to his Master who he doubted not would be much pleased therewith. Hitherto he observed that the Government of this Country had been of so fluctuating a nature no dependence could be placed on its proceedings; whh. caused foreign Nations to be cautious of entering into Treaties &ca. with the United States—But under the present Government there is a head to look up to—and power being put into the hands of its Officers stability will be derived from its doings” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:457). Moustier and the marquise de Bréhan sailed for France on 18 October.

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