George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lafayette, 25 January 1791

From Lafayette

Paris January the 25th 1791

My Dear General

Give me leave to introduce and recommend to You Mr Kellerman the Son of an Able and patriot General officer in the french Service—it is Not Under the Embroidered Regimentals that we find the Greater Proportion of friends to the Revolution—for which Reason I am the Better disposed to oblige such as Have Sided with us.1

The National Assembly Have, whilst I was Engaged in quelling a Riotous fight in one of the Suburbs where some men Had Been Killed, Voted a Bill to prohibit foreign oil, Except that imported By the Americans—But to My Great Concern the Aristocratic Party, Helping the Mercantile interest on our Side of the House, Have altered the Article, so that the duty Has been increased from five to twelve livres—in Vain has it been Moved to Put of the Debate untill I Could Be present—the Opponents Have Carried it—But I Hope We May Get the diplomatic Committee to interfere.2

Adieu, My dear General, My Best Respects Wait on Mrs Washington—Remember me to All friends—Most Affectionately and Respectfully Your filial friend

Lafayette

ALS, PEL.

1François-Etienne Kellermann (1770–1835), later duc de Valmy, was the son of François-Christophe Kellermann (1735–1820), maréchal de France. The younger Kellermann, a nephew of François Barbé-Marbois, sailed for the United States in June 1791, accompanying Jean-Baptiste de Ternant who was on his way to assume the post of French minister. Kellermann carried with him letters for Alexander Hamilton and a packet of newspapers for Jefferson, forwarded to him by William Short (Short to Jefferson, 7 June 1791, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 20:546). Kellermann was also entrusted by Short with proofs of the medal for John Paul Jones (see GW to John Eager Howard, 25 Mar. 1790, n.1).

2On 24 Jan. 1791 toll agents searching for smuggled goods in the district of La Chapelle near Paris exchanged gunfire with a mob. Order was restored by the National Guard under Lafayette. On Lafayette’s efforts to keep down the French duty on American oil, see William Short to Jefferson, 6 Nov. 1790, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 18:13–25. As Lafayette wished, the diplomatic committee persuaded the National Assembly to reduce the duty on American oils imported into France from twelve to six livres per quintal (Short to Jefferson, 11 Mar. 1791, ibid., 19:532–35).

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