Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 31 August 1779

To Vergennes

LS:8 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Library of Congress

Passy August 31. 1779.


I have just received from M. De la Fayette a Letter, containing the Paragraph, a Copy of which I enclose9 praying your Excellency to cast an Eye on it. If you should not disapprove the Proposition it contains in favour of my Grandson, I am willing he should embrace this Opportunity of improving himself, in seeing the excellent Discipline of the Armies of France, hoping he will thereby be render’d more capable of serving his Country & our Common Cause.1 With the greatest Respect, I am ever, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant.

B. Franklin

M. le Comte de Vergennes.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8In WTF’s hand.

9An extract from the second of Lafayette’s Aug. 29 letters.

1On Sept. 1 Vergennes forwarded BF’s request to the war minister, the prince de Montbarey, asking him to send the necessary orders as soon as possible, provided he agreed (AAE). The next day Montbarey personally wrote WTF that the king had approved his embarkation at Le Havre with the expeditionary force and given him permission to wear the uniform of an aide-de-camp (APS). Lafayette sent congratulations on the 7th and agreed that WTF could wait to report until after JW’s marriage (for which see our headnote to William Alexander’s letter of Sept. 8). By mid-month, however, d’Orvilliers’ fleet had returned to Brest and Lafayette had to inform WTF that the invasion had been postponed: Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, II, 306–9, 310–11.

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