From Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecoeur
[ca. 26 May 1783]1
Tho’ little known to you, I hope you’ll not find it amiss I should make you the following request;
The Marqs: de Castries being about sending a new Colony to resettle the Islands of St: Pieere & Miquelon2 wants, for that purpose, Boards & Timber, Brick & Lime. One of the Vessells of that Convoy is bound to Boston with Money. The Articles to be purchased are to be carrd. to those Islands on board American Vessells, which will be freighted for that purpose. The Minister, fearing lest the French Consul shd. not be acquainted with those persons most likely to understand & forward this Business, has wanted me to give the Officer, who is going, some letters that might answer this purpose; but, as all my acquaintances are gone from that City, I have tho’t you’d indulge me with two or three to such of your friends as you think most likely; In case you do not refuse me this request I beg you’d send them to me before 3o:Clock, to the Duke of Rochefoucault’s,3 because after having dined there I set out for the Country with his Brother in law.
I have the honor to be, with respect, / Ys: &c:
LbC in Charles Storer’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excelee: Mr: Adams. / Paris.”; notation: “Copy of a letter from Mr: St: John,”; APM Reel 108.
1. This date is derived from letters JA wrote on 26 May, in response to Crèvecoeur’s request, to Samuel Alleyne Otis, Ebenezer Storer, and Isaac Smith (all LbC’s, APM Reel 108). All introduced the unnamed French officer leading the expedition to St. Pierre and Miquelon, and in his letter to Smith JA indicated that he was enclosing Crèvecoeur’s letter.
2. Captured by the British in 1778, the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon were returned to France at the peace.
3. While in Paris at this time, Crèvecoeur was a frequent guest at the Duc de La Rochefoucauld’s Château de La Roche-Guyon (Gay Wilson Allen and Roger Asselineau, St. John de Crèvecoeur: The Life of an American Farmer, N.Y., 1987, p. 90).
4. In the spring of 1783 and at the request of the French naval minister, the Marquis de Castries, Crèvecoeur spent seven weeks in the service of the French peace negotiators preparing a report on American geography, population, agriculture, and industry. His service resulted in his appointment as French consul to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Crèvecoeur departed for New York in Sept. to assume the post (same, p. 97–99).