WASHINGTON, George. Autograph letter signed ("G:o Washington") to Marquis François Claude Amour de Bouillé, Mount Vernon, 1 October 1788. 1 full page, 4to. In fine condition.
AN INVITATION TO VISIT MOUNT VERNON: WASHINGTON OBLIGES A FRENCH COMRADE-IN-ARMS
Washington never forgot that American independence would never have been achieved without the aid and support of France, and for the rest of his life considered himself obligated to accommodate former French comrades-in-arms (and their friends) when they visited the United States. In this case, the fact of the Marquis's membership in the Society of the Cincinnati no doubt enhanced his sense of obligation. Washington acknowledges receipt of "the letter introductory of M. Chastel de la Valle, which you did me the honor to write to me...forwarded by him since his arrival in America; with information that his affairs would detain him some little time in Philadelphia. I have written to him in return, that I shall be very happy to receive him, with marks of regard, at Mount Vernon, whensoever he can make his journey commodiously for himself."
"In the meantime I would not delay to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, and to assure you that your recommendation will ever have the force of a command with me; being always desirous of demonstrating with how high a consideration of esteem I have the honor to be."
The Marquis de Bouillé (1739-1800), who fought in the Seven Years' War, fought the British as Governor of the Antilles during the American Revolution, and was elected an honorary member of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1787 (see Washington's letter to the Marquis, 1 June 1787, Papers, Confederation Series 5:215). But when France hatched its own revolution, the Marquis vigorously defended the royalist cause, suppressing uprisings at Metz and Nancy. In 1790 he was appointed Commander of the Army of the Meuse, Sarre and Moselle, but when Louis XVI was captured and executed the Marquis fled, first to Russia and later to London. He was active in the monarchist army under Louis Joseph de Bourbon Conde (1736-1818) but died in 1800, after publishing a self-justificatory account of his role in France's revolutionary upheavals. He has the distinction of being named (as a foe of the glorious revolution) in the 5th stanza of Rouget de Lisle's "Le Marsaillaise," the French national anthem. In Fitzpatrick, 30:107.