The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
Versailles 29 July 17801
I have received, sir, the letter which you did me the honor to write on the 27th of this month. When I took upon myself to give you a mark of my confidence by informing you of the destination of Messrs. de Ternay and Rochambeau, I did not expect the remarks that you have thought it necessary to make regarding a passage in my letter of the 25th of this month. To avoid any further discussions of this sort I think it my duty to inform you that since Mr. Franklin is the only person accredited to the King by the United States, it is with him only that I ought and can treat of matters which concern them and particularly those which have been object of your observations.
Moreover, sir, I ought to observe to you, that the passage in my letter on which you have thought it necessary to extend your remarks, concerns only the sending of the squadron commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay and had no other object than to convince you that the King had no need for your solicitation to induce him to concern himself with the interests of the United States.
I have the honor to be very perfectly, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. Le Cte. de Vergennes 29th. July 1780. Recd. 30th.”; docketed by CFA: “a Translation published Sparks’ Corresp. Vol 5. p. 304.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Paris 12th. August. 1780. This day Mr. Dana delivered Copies of the Comte de Vergennes letters of the 30th. of June, 20th. 25th. & 29th. of July to Mr. Adams, to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them by a Gentleman going to L’Orient to Capt. J. P. Jones.” and “Sept. 12th. 1780. Mr. Dana took with him to Amsterdam the duplicates of Cte. de Vergennes letters of the 20th. 25th. & 29th. July.” This is the last letter recorded in Lb/JA/11, which contained letters to and from the French foreign ministry. For information concerning this and other Letterbooks, see the Introduction, part 2, “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above).
1. This is the final letter to pass between JA and Vergennes until JA’s letter of 7 July 1781, announcing his return to Paris and readiness to discuss the proposed Austro-Russian mediation (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:304; 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 , 4:550).