Benjamin Franklin Papers

Vergennes to the American Commissioners, 18 December 1778: résumé

Vergennes to the American Commissioners7

L (draft):8 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copies: Massachusetts Historical Society, National Archives, Library of Congress (two)

<Versailles, December 18, 1778, in French: Dr. Smith’s effects have finally been found in the customs at Calais. They are a packet containing twelve tablecloths, twelve knives, and twelve iron forks with silver ferrules.9 He must pay the usual charges if they are to be used in France, but not, provided he obtains the necessary documentation, if they are to be taken to America.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 289–90.

8In the hand of Joseph-Mathias Gérard de Rayneval, Vergennes’ premier commis (undersecretary) in charge of American affairs.

9The more Smith’s effects were investigated, the more trivial they became. He had originally called the knives and forks “plate” and silver-handled: XXVII, 292–3. The tableware is now described as iron with nothing more than silver rings. When it arrived at Passy via Ferdinand Grand on Dec. 27, it proved to be, as WTF described it, “Green handle Knives and Forks tiped with Silver”: Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 290n.

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