Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois during His Residence in the United States as Secretary of the French Legation, 1779-1785

Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois during His Residence in the United States as Secretary of the French Legation, 1779-1785

Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois during His Residence in the United States as Secretary of the French Legation, 1779-1785

Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois during His Residence in the United States as Secretary of the French Legation, 1779-1785

Excerpt

By Eugene Parker Chase

THE Marquis de Barbé-Marbois came to the United States in 1779, at the age of thirty-four, as secretary of the French legation, and stayed until he was made governor of San Domingo in 1785. It was during his six years in America that these memoirs were first written, some of them during the voyage across the Atlantic which he took in company with John Adams in 1779, some during the first few months after he landed, and the rest on a journey made in 1784 into New York state, as he was going to a conference with the Indians.

A hundred years ago the translator of an earlier book of Barbé-Marbois, his History of Louisiana, began his preface by saying, "Most foreign books which have treated of the institutions of the United States have been compiled with such illiberal feelings, and are at the same time so very inaccurate," that he is glad to present Barbé-Marbois's book as the exception--a book about America, written by a European in a friendly spirit. This friendly spirit is characteristic also of Barbé-Marbois's more personal memoirs of his American experiences, which we now have under the title of Our Revolutionary Forefathers.

The French are perhaps the only people in the world who can be both polite and rude at the same time. Barbé Marbois . . .

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