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Luzerne visits Harvard College

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

August 25.—Yesterday evening, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, accompanied with M. de Valnais, consul of France, M. de Marbois, counsellor of parliament, M. de Chavagnes, captain in the royal navy of France, and a number of other gentlemen of distinction, both French and Americans, made a visit to Harvard College, at the invitation of the president and corporation. The Chevalier and company having alighted from their carriages, passed through the college yard between two lines of students in their academical habits, their heads uncovered, to the door of Harvard Hall, where they were received by the president, corporation, professors, and tutors, and conducted to the library. Soon after they were seated, the president rose, and in the name of the corporation and the whole university, addressed the Chevalier in the Latin language, congratulating his safe arrival, making the most respectful mention of our illustrious ally, his most Christian Majesty; expressing the warmest wishes for the perpetuation of the alliance, and the completion of its important and happy design, and for the prosperity of religion and learning throughout the world.

The Chevalier replied in the most polite manner, and in the same language, assuring his audience that his wishes had been most fortunately crowned by seeing a country, once indeed the region of ignorance and barbarity, now the seat of freedom, commerce, virtue, and the liberal arts; and expressing, at the same time, the uncommon joy he should derive from finding the turbulent scenes of war, and the public negotiation in which he was engaged, preparing the way for a closer alliance between the arts and sciences in distant nations, to their mutual improvement, and the common benefit of mankind. After amusing themselves among the rich variety of books deposited in the library, the company were conducted into a large and elegant philosophy room, where a very decent entertainment was provided. After dinner they viewed the curiosities of the museum, and the philosophical apparatus fabricated by some of the best artists in Europe.

Every countenance indicated pleasure, and every circumstance of the day testified the joy that was diffused through the whole university upon this agreeable occasion.1


1 New Hampshire Gazette, September 1.