George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Mandrillon, 4 December 1789

From Joseph Mandrillon

Amsterdam 4th Decr 1789

Great man!

The kind indulgence which you have deigned to give my productions, is a benefit which expands my soul with a joy which can only be equalled by the sentiment of acknowledgement & gratitude; and to express which, one must possess that elevation—that sublimity of idea which nature has but rarely given to man—and which has been so happily bestowed upon you for the benefit of your country, & for the edification of those who are friends to virtue & liberty.

My friend Mr Cazenove, carrys to your Excellency a copy of my Patriotic wishes towards France.1 After having essayed my zeal in favour of the regeneration of America, I ought equally to manifest my patriotic devotion towards France—my Count[r]y.2

I observe by the letter of the 12th of October last with which your Excellency has honored me—that my transmissions to America have been retarded; I hope, however to be more fortunate at this time, and that this little work will get quickly to your Excellency, and will be honored with your attention. I have the honor to be, my General, with the most perfect veneration Yr Excellencys most Hble & Obedt Servt3

Jos. Mandrillon

P.S. I have but one desire—but one Ambition capable of filling my soul with unalterable felicity—this is the Glory of possessing Your Excellency’s portrait. Ah! Great man deign to be interested in my favour & fulfil my expectation.

Translation, DNA:PCC, item 78; ALS, in French, DNA:PCC, item 78. The text is taken from a translation prepared for GW.

1In a letter of 15 June 1789 Mandrillon had already entrusted another book to the care of Theophile Cazenove, who was preparing to go to the United States as an agent for the Dutch land speculators who in 1792 formed the Holland Land Company. See Mandrillon to GW, 15 June 1789, n.2. Cazenove’s departure was evidently delayed since he did not reach the United States until March 1790. The book Mandrillon was enclosing was his Voeux Patriotiques, a second edition of which was published in Amsterdam in 1789.

2Mandrillon is referring to Le Voyageur Américain, ou Observations sur l’Etat Actuel, la Culture, Commerce des Colonies Britanniques en Amérique. . . . (Amsterdam, 1782).

3The French version of this letter reads: “La précieuse indulgence que vous daignez accorder à mes productions est un bienfait qui répand dans mon ame une joie que le Sentiment de la réconnoissance peut Seul apprécier: et pour l’exprimer, il faudroit posseder cette élévation, cette Sublimité d’idée génie que la nature n’accorde que bien rarement aux hommes, et dont elle vous a Si heureusement doué pour le bonheur de votre patrie et l’édification de tous les peuples amis de la vertu et de la liberté.

“Mon ami, Mr Cazenove, porte à Votre Excellence un exemplaire de mes Voeux Patriotiques envers la France. Après avoir essayé mon zéle en faveur de la régènération Américaine, je devois manifester également mon dévouement patriotique envers la France, ma patrie.

“Je vois par la lettre dont Votre Excellence m’a honoré le 12 Octobr dernier que mes envois en Amérique éprouvent de grands retards; j’espere cependant être cette fois plus heureux et que ce petit ouvrage parviendra promptement à Votre Excellence, et que vous l’honorerez de votre attention. J’ai l’honneur d’être, Mon Général avec la vènération la plus parfaite de Votre Excellence Le trés humble & trés obéissant Serviteur.” The postscript reads: “Je n’ai plus qu’un Seul desir, qu’une Seule ambition capable de remplir mon ame d’une félicité inaltérable: Ce Seroit le gloire de posseder le portrait de Votre Excellence. Ah! Grand-Homme, Daignez vous intéresser en ma faveur, et remplir mon attente.”

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