George Washington Papers

To George Washington from St. Hilaire, 12 April 1792

From St. Hilaire

12 [April]1 1792

Mr President,

I have made a voyage to Philadelphia expressly to have the honor of seeing you; but having learned that I cannot have an audience before tuesday,2 I have thought it my duty to send you a letter with which I have been charged for you. Shall I presume to beg your Excellency to have regard to the recommendation of the sister of the unfortunate Mauduit?3 I have not perhaps the talents which you knew in him; but I am certain I shall have the same zeal for the service of the United States if I should have the honor of being employed by them. If your Excelleny will deign to cast a favourable regard on my request, and speak a word in my favor to Mr Morris, my acknowledgement will end only with the profound respect with which I am, your Excellency’s most humble & Obedt Servt

L: D. st hilaire
formerly Captain in the Regiment of
Besançon,4 of the Corps of Royal Artillery.

Translation, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. The French text of the ALS appears in CD-ROM:GW.

For the background to this letter, see Mauduit Du Botderu to GW, 23 Dec. 1791.

1Although both St. Hilaire’s letter and Lear’s translation are dated 12 May, Lear’s docket on the receiver’s copy indicates that the ALS was written on 12 April. Internal evidence supports the validity of Lear’s docket. As GW was on 12 May on his way to Mount Vernon for a two-week visit, St. Hilaire could not possibly have arranged for a meeting with him on the following Tuesday.

2St. Hilaire is referring to Tuesday, 17 April.

3For the killing of Thomas-Antoine Mauduit Du Plessis, the commander of the French garrison at Port-au-Prince and brother of Jeanne-Thomasse-Emilie Mauduit Du Botderu, on the island of Saint Domingue in March 1791, see Desbrosses to GW, 22 Mar. 1791, note 1. No written recommendation of St. Hilaire has been identified.

4In his translation Tobias Lear mistakenly transcribed this word as “Besauçon.”

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