George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Decabanes, 12 December 1783

Metz 12th Decr 1783


The veneration I entertain for your Excellency, from your great feats as Citizen, and General; with wc., all Europe resounds; causes me to take the freedom of proposing to you a plan of a Republic wc. I had composed at the time of your revolution; and, if I had been happy enough to have done it then, would have prevented the effusion of much blood. Your Country would not have been long acquiring its independance; & by my constitution, wc. could not have failed being relished at once, your government would have been immoveable, & you would have been already a respectable power, cherished by all the world.

You may say, I am late in addressing to you my reflections—But I cannot think so, as there appears to prevail among you, a spirit of discenion, that cannot fail being injurious—This I predicted, from the impossibility of thirteen States different in wealth, genius, & strength, long subsisting in harmony—It will one day, be productive of more mischief, than the yoke your Excellency has just shaken off.

I will tell you Sir, for my justification, that I did all in my power at the begining of the war to pass over to you, at first with the consent of my court; afterwards, I addressed myself to Mr Dean, of whom I requested (not as an adventurer) a rank & the title of Citizen, when transported to America at my own expence—But it was in vain I desired to sacrifice myself for you. Having served in Spain with the rank of Lieutenant Coll, & knowing the Count d’Aranda Ambassador in France, I besought him to get me employed in the suit of the Minister, France should send to you. I hoped in this manner to have made you acquainted with my ideas. My star, perhaps those of your Country still worse, allways operated to prevent me.

I will tell you further, the desine I had of being employed, & emerging from the solitude in wc. I had inconsiderately thrown myself, by quitting Spain at thirty years old, in seventy, put my mind to studying some way of being useful—In this perplexity I discovered a method of infallibly reconciling you to England: but as a subject to the house of Bourbon was greatly interested, that this should never take place; my integrity would not suffer me to broach my secret to England—An ambitious landless man would not have been influenced by this consideration, hoping to make his fortune by it; and secure lasting fame—I allow, I was strongly tempted to do it; and if I had you would surely have fallen back afresh in to despotism—But you would perhaps have been as happy then, as you w[ill] now be, under such embarrassed goverments—It is not Sir, this latter plan, that I have the honor of proposing to you; from wc. I have derived none of the advantages I expected from it; having communicated it to Messrs de Vergennes and d’Aranda—The former promised me to keep it a secret, & to support me; if Spain would vouchsafe to recompense me for it, by allowing me to desert her, as it was her interest to do.

It is my republick I propose to you from a perswasion, you will find thi[ngs] in it, wc., it will be too late to execute if long delayed.

Sir, if any of my plans should be adopted, as advantageous to your Country, and it should deign to receive among you, I believe, I should make an effort to pass over: Hoping I might be the more useful to you, to have my services acknowledged towards my children; notwithstanding one of my brothers who fought with you at York town, a Captain in the Regiment of deux Pons, who has the highest respect for you & America, tells me, he does not think the Climate would suit me. In this case, I shall only wish to live, ’till I shall have inculcated on my children, those sentiments of gratitude, wc. may render them worthy of the favour shewn them, in being permitted to pass over to you. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Sir, Your very Hble & Obnt Servant

M. Decabanes

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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