The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners: A Translation
Versailles, 29 April 1778
I have submitted to M. de Sartine the communication you did me the honor to address to me1 regarding the obtaining of convoys to ensure the safety of commerce between the merchants of Nantes and Bordeaux and those of North America. I have enclosed a copy of his reply.2 You will see that the King has taken the most efficacious measures to protect the trade of the Americans as well as that of his own subjects, and I am sure, gentlemen, that you will find these measures a satisfactory proof of His Majesty’s favorable disposition toward the United States. I have the honor to be very perfectly, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers)
2. In his letter to Vergennes of 26 April (Dupl, MH-H: Lee Papers; LbC, Adams Papers; transl. in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Washington, 1889; 6 vols. description ends , 2:564–565) Sartine stated that while measures were being taken to protect American and French ships from the depredations of Jersey and Guernsey privateers as they entered or left ports or rivers on the Bay of Biscay and a portion of the French coast facing the English Channel, the convoy of ships to America was impracticable. All that was possible was a limited convoy to and from the “Capes,” that is, to or from a line running approximately due north from the north-westernmost point in Spain. In any case, American ships were to receive the same treatment as those of France.