From Conrad-Alexandre Gérard7
ALS: American Philosophical Society
A Versailles le 4. Juin 1780.
Vous verrés par les lettres cijointes8 qu’une boite de pelleteries arrivées ici par meprise, appartient à Mr. Keith, et les motifs qui m’engagent à vous prier de vouloir bien charger quelqu’un de disposer de ces effets. Je presume, Monsieur, que vous voudrés bien donner vos ordres à ce sujet, s’agissant de menager les interrets d’un de vos compatriotes.
J’ai l’honneur d’etre avec un respectueux attachement Monsieur Votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur
M. le Dr. franklin
Notations in different hands:9 M. Gerard concerning the Furs / Versaille 4 Juin 80
7. As far as we know this is the last extant letter to BF from the former premier commis and minister to Congress. In ill health, he returned to his native Alsace in 1781 and died there nine years later: Meng, Despatches of Gérard, pp. 121–2.
8. Gérard must have sent a March 17 letter from Chaplain Robert Keith of the frigate Confederacy (on which Gérard had traveled from Philadelphia to Martinique), asking if Gérard had accidentally taken a box of furs belonging to him (APS). He also included his reply to Keith of June 4 (a copy of which is with the present letter). Gérard therein sent his apologies, explaining that the furs, by now virtually ruined, were discovered among the possessions of Pierre Penet, who had traveled with him from Martinique to Europe. He would, nonetheless, return the furs in case they still had some value.
9. The first of which is WTF’s.