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La Luzerne, Anne-César de

La Luzerne, Anne-César de

LA LUZERNE, ANNE-CÉSAR DE. (1741–1791). (Chevalier de, later Marquis.) Second French minister to the United States. He joined the regiment of French Guards in 1754 and served as a special envoy to the elector of Bavaria from 1777 to 1778. As successor to Gérard, he reached Philadelphia with his secretary, Marbois, after a leisurely overland trip from Boston in the fall of 1779. Luzerne had his credentials and a draft of his address to Congress sent in advance on 4 November. He redrafted it for American tastes and presented it on November 17 to near universal acclaim. In a similar fashion he revealed an astute understanding of American sensitivities and quickly became a major political force in American affairs. When Maryland was persistently blocking ratification of the Articles of Confederation, La Luzerne brought that state into line by suggesting that the French naval forces they were requesting in the Chesapeake for protection against the British would not be possible unless Maryland ratified the Articles. Maryland ratified in February 1781. He was named maréchal de camp in December 1781. The minister plenipotentiary remained in America until the summer of 1784. Chevalier of the Order of Saint Louis, he was made a marquis in 1785. He served as ambassador to Great Britain from 1788 until his death in 1791.

SEE ALSO Barbé-Marbois, François, Marquis de.


O'Donnell, William Emmett. The Chevalier de la Luzerne, French Minister to the United States, 1779–1784. Louvain, Belgium: Bibliothèque de l'Université, 1938.

Sioussat, St. George L. "The Chevalier de la Luzerne and the Ratification of the Articles of Confederation by Maryland, 1780–1781." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 40 (1936): 391-418.

Stinchcombe, William C. The American Revolution and the French Alliance. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1969.

                      revised by Robert Rhodes Crout

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