THE FRENCH ARMY “WILL BE IN HOLLAND BEFORE THIS REACHES YOU: FOR AFTER MAASTRICHT FALLS AND WHICH IT WILL SOON MOST PROBABLY DO, THERE IS NOTHING TO OPPOSE THEM.”
MONROE, JAMES. (1758-1831). Fifth President of the United States. (1817-25). Scarce, insightful Autograph Letter Signed, “Jas Monroe,” as Minister Plenipotentiary to France. Two full pages, quarto. Paris, October 22, 1794. Seal tear, else fine condition. Addressed on integral address leaf in Monroe’s hand to “The Honorable John Langdon of the Senate of the United States, Philadelphia. Favored by Mr. Dullard”. Monroe writes:
“Dear Sir, permit me to present to your acquaintance the bearer Mr. Dullard of this city, the son of a very respectable citizen here, and who visits our country for the purpose of studying our language and laws in one of our universities. His father was a member of the constituent assembly and is one of the remaining few of that body who has survived the horrors of affairs in this country. He will probably commence in Cambridge, and in that case it will be in your power, as well as that of Mr. Strong and Mr. Cabot to make known to him those persons (some one or two characters there) whose advice he ought to respect. You will all I hope do this to oblige me. This gentleman will inform you of the state of affairs here and the astonishing career of victories which has attended the French army. I really think they will be in Holland before this reaches you: for after Maastricht falls and which it will soon most probably do, there is nothing to oppose them. Upon this subject I refer you to this gentleman and Mr. Sevan under whose care he sets out. Be so kind as present our best respects to Mrs. Landgon and daughter who I presume are with you: for ’tis not possible if the former knows what a rake you are as well as I do, she would let you leave her again at the distance of 4 or 500 miles. Present me also respectfully to my friends of the Senate who really posses my best wishes for their prosperity and welfare. Very sincerely I am, dear sir, your friend and servant, Jas Monroe”.
By October of 1794, the French Revolution was winding down in the wake of the July execution of Maximilien Robespierre, the architect of the Reign of Terror. At the same time, French armies were extending their influence by invading nearby Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands. In an attempt to keep relations friendly between the United States and France, James Monroe was sent to Paris in the spring of 1794 as minister plenipotentiary. His task was not an easy one because the United States was also trying to keep peace with Great Britain, France’s enemy. Chastised by President Washington for showing overt sympathy toward the French Republic, Monroe was recalled to the U.S. in September of 1796.