Benjamin Franklin Papers

Sartine to the American Commissioners: Two Letters, 6 September 1778: résumé and letter

Sartine to the American Commissioners: Two Letters

(I) Copies: Library of Congress (two), Massachusetts Historical Society; (II) copies: Library of Congress, National Archives


<Versailles, September 6, 1778, in French:7 I have received your letter of August 30 last, and have sent M. de Vergennes the passport for the British ship involved in the exchange of prisoners; I shall order your prisoners at Brest kept under closer surveillance until exchanged.>


Versailles, 6.7bre. 1778

Je joins, Messieurs, un Mémoire du S. Gaiwal [Gaiault] de Boisbertrand qui demande de l’emploi et de l’avancement dans les troupes des Etats Unis de l’Amerique, ainsi qu’il le lui avoit ete promis.8 Le cas particulier où il se trouve pour avoir cedé aux Instences qui lui ont été faites de passer au Service des Etats Unis, semble meriter quelque Consideration. Je ne peux refuser a l’intérêt que je prends à ce qui le regarde de vous le recommander et de vous prier de lui accorder des Lettres pressantes pour qu’il puisse être placé à son arrivée.9 J’ai l’honneur d’être avec beaucoup de Considération, Messieurs, Votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur. (Signé)

De Sartine.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII.

8The memorandum is above, Sept. 5.

9Sartine expects Boisbertrand to return to the U.S., which he did not do. Two undated documents in the APS throw a little light on subsequent attempts to help him in Paris. One is a memorandum, endorsed by BF, in which the Frenchman repeats the salient points of his earlier one. The other is in two parts. The first appears to be a French draft prepared for BF by Le Veillard; it is a certification, doubtless meant to be signed by the commissioners, that the details of Boisbertrand’s captivity are understated rather than exaggerated, and that his obtaining what he asks would be a great satisfaction to the U.S. The second is a note in BF’s hand and signed by him as minister: “I am of Opinion that the Sufferings of M. de Bois Bertrand occasion’d by his Endeavours [in] their Service, being made known to the Congress, it will be very agreeable to them to understand that he has met with Consideration here on that Account.” Both, we believe, were part of an effort to secure him some sort of compensation from the French authorities.

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