c. January 1797
Will you be So good as to allow to a Soldier who fought in the last War for the American cause, under the Admirals Terney, D’Estouches, Barras, & de Grass, to recall himself to your Excellency to who he had the honnour to be introduced by the Marquis de la fayette at the Camp before York-Town how far he was then to believe that by unforseen Events he Should be drove out of his own Country When they are happened he look’d towards the United States as towards a Second home, being in hope that the aide de Camp of the Several Admirals the King of france had ordered to lead his fleets to the Support of America, Would find there Azylum & protection. he is told that by Some politicals reasons he can not present his respects to the President of the United States. he certainly Shall Submit himself to that Exception Without anny Complaint, but he Can’t help to represent to your Excelency that as a member of the Order of Malta whose flag & ports afford every day Shelter to the American [ ] he expected that he could have had the honnour to be intoduced here to the Chief of the Governement. it is as Knight of Malta & one of the Cincinnati that the undersigned has the honnour to Write to your Excelency When reading your Last Speech to Congress the Chevalier de Colbert Saw that it mention’d the Establishment of a Navy, as a necessary measure for the protection of the American flag. he thought then with pleasure that if the Circumstances did not permit him to return in France he could once more offer his Services as a Navy officer to the United States, & he expected it could be a ressource for him in the reduced Situation Where he is by the french revolution, & by the refusal of paiement made by an American Merchant here in Whose hands Mr Colbert since four years has Some money. the Succours granted too to the Count de Grass’s Son had lead’d him to hope that the first Cosin of the Count D’Estaing Could may be obtain Some to Wich Could ennable him to Wait for the time he Could get his money out of the hands who detain it.
Known but to few in this Country it is to your Excelency that the Cher de Colbert should have apply’d it he had had the honnour to See [ ] but if he is deprived of that favour it remain nothing to do for him but to beg your Excelency to accept the vows he make for your future happiness & the respectfull Sentiments with wich he Shall ever be of your Excelency’s the Most humble & Obt Servant
Le cher de Colbert
DLC: Papers of George Washington.