The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
Versailles, 21 February 1779
I have received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write me the 16th of this month.1 Although in the future you will be without official status in France, rest assured that the esteem and consideration you justly earned has not in any way diminished, and I flatter myself, sir, that you will not deprive me of the pleasure of communicating this to you in person and being, at the same time, the bearer of the feelings of good will with which the King honors you. These are the results of the special satisfaction His Majesty has derived from the wise conduct that you have held to throughout the tenure of your commission, as well as from the zeal with which you have constantly furthered the cause of your nation, while strengthening the alliance that ties it to His Majesty.
I have the honor to be very sincerely, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “M. Le Comte de Vergennes.”
1. From this point, except for the closing sentence, translations of this letter were printed on 27 April 1780 in the London Courant and Westminster Chronicle and Parker’s General Advertiser, both organs of the anti-North opposition. They followed a translation of the announcement in the Mercure de France, 5 April 1780, of JA’s mission to negotiate the peace and of his presentation at the French court on 7 March 1780. JA sent both items to William Singleton Church  in a letter of 15 April 1780, asking that Digges have them published in the English papers because “it is of Importance, that I should, in my present situation be known to be faithfull to our Allies and Alliances, and in good Understanding with this Court” (LbC, Adams Papers). The two items were later reprinted in vol. 2 of John Almon’s Remembrancer for 1780, but there Vergennes’ letter was given the date of 21 Feb. 1780. The error is curious, for Almon was also connected with the London Courant and there had printed the letter under its correct date.