Do you know him?
Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir
Once again, in the early days of the American Revolution, in the year 1775, Bonvouloir (even his name signifies a man of good will), served the American cause!
Let us remember!
Only a few months after the untimely death of Colonel Lee in Massachusetts in August 1775, Vergennes, “acting on the advice of his ambassador in London, approved the sending of a secret messenger to the American Continental Congress. Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir was the man chosen for the job. His “mission was a major turning point in both American and French diplomacy.
When he reached Philadelphia in December 1775 he found as a ready audience the newly appointed Committee of Secret Correspondence. Between December 18 and December 27, Bonvouloir met three times with the committee December 27, Bonvouloir met three times with the committee, including Benjamin Franklin, at Carpenters’ Hall.
The meetings went extremely well. The committee posed several leading questions to Bonvouloir, asking “if France were disposed favorably toward the Americans, if she would send them two good army engineers, and if she would sell them arms and war supplies in her ports. They also expressed their need of naval support. Bonvouloir gave positive responses to all their requests. In his December 28 report to Versailles he enthusiastically wrote, “Independency is a certainty for 1776.” When Vergennes received news of the success of the meeting, he “proposed a major shift in French policy toward the American Revolution.
There was growing excitement in France for the sake of American liberty. In response to the request of the Continental Congress to Bonvouloir, volunteers were encouraged to serve in America, and many answered the call.
This excerpt is from my book: pp. 35 and 37 Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution