From Noirmont de La Neuville
St Marc april 10th 1790.
I cannot determine myself to let my Brother to return to America, without charging him with a letter for your Excellency.1 I Beseech you to look upon it as a very inadequate testimonial of my constant and respectful gratitude for your past kind offices. they have been confered in too flattering a manner and are still too deeply imprinted into my mind to permit my heart ever to forget them. it will be the everlasting debt of my life to form vows for the continuance of your so well deserved renown; and I can assure your Excellency that your reputation never shone with a purer lustre as Since the beginning of our dear-bought revolution. how often since one year has your name been repeated with enthusiastick respect, and painful and melting remembrance, attended with comparisons absolutly redounding to the inexpressible advantage of the Restorer of american liberty! how often have we lamented that the generous, human and loyal principles upon which has been pursued and attained the Redress of your grievances have not been adhered to in france! when General Washington is still alive, when he is still the pride and glory of his grateful country, when his example, his virtuous principles, his unshaken firmness are still warming and filling with indelible veneration the breast of every french officer that has been wittness to that glorious and just war, by what fatalaty must we see our annals stained with deeds that make every human heart almost regret the dawn of liberty which begins to light upon us? excuse, Sir, the overflowing of a heart that can not think of your Excellency’s and our conduct in the present contest without invoking the same tutelary genius that unhappily for our national honor has been ever deaf to my prayers. I am with every sentiment inspired by Respect and gratitude, Sir, your Excellency’s The most humble and obedient Servant
René-Hippolyte Penot Lombart (Lombard) de Noirmont de La Neuville (1750–1792) was aide-de-camp to Lafayette until the latter’s first return voyage to France in January 1779. Noirmont served under Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln in the southern army and took part in action at Savannah. Promoted lieutenant colonel by Congress in October 1779, he obtained permission at the same time to return to France. He was killed in the September Massacres in Paris in 1792 (Lasseray, Les Français sous les treize étoiles, description begins André Lasseray. Les Français sous les treize étoiles. 2 vols. Paris, 1935. description ends 356–58). For GW’s comments on him, see his certificate of service, 1 Oct. 1779, DLC:GW.
1. Noirmont’s elder brother, Louis-Pierre Lombart, chevalier de La Neuville (b. 1744), served as inspector of the northern army in 1778 under Horatio Gates. In August 1778 he received a controversial appointment, over GW’s disapproval, as brevet brigadier general and returned to France where he participated in several campaigns with the French army (see GW to Gouverneur Morris, 24 July 1778). In early 1790 he sailed from France to Santo Domingo and to the United States, returning to France later in the year (Lasseray, Les Français sous les treize étoiles, description begins André Lasseray. Les Français sous les treize étoiles. 2 vols. Paris, 1935. description ends 349–56).