Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/164

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One of the first acts of the young Republic was to found the Order of Cincinnatus, and make it hereditary. It had a sky blue watered ribbon with a white border, below which was an eagle with outstretched wings in enamelled gold. We in France, did not know what was going on beyond the seas, when suddenly the Marquis de la Fayette was surprised to receive a packet of a dozen eagles to be distributed between him and his companions in arms. I was one of the twelve honoured by this mark of distinction. I have heard that Comte de Rochambeau received thirty-six eagles of Cincinnatus for himself and the principal officers of his forces.

Claims and pretended claims to this honour came from all quarters, indeed there has been quite a mania, in France, for orders, ever since the days of Louis XIV. The French navy also asked, and with just cause, for some of these orders, and I would not swear that, within a year, Beaumarchais himself had not received it;—the slightest connection with America was considered sufficient basis for a claim to this