From Charles Grant, Vicomte de Vaux3
ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library
ce 2. 7bre. 1782
Serois-je asses malheureux pour que mes projets, qui m’avoient paru si honestes et faits pour estre goustés par vous, eussent pu vous déplaire, et que vous ne les jugiés pas dignes d’une reponse. J’y serois d’autant plus sensible, monsieur, que j’ay fondé sur cela m’est plus douçes esperançes. J’ay perdu une partië considerable de ma fortune a m’interesser dans les affaires des ameriquains, et j’espere y trouver un dedomagement, surtout des injustices des hommes, ainsi que des moyens d’y travailler librement a faire le bien. Je perdrois cependant tout espoir, si je n’obtients pas vottre appuy. Si vous ne voulés pas monsieur, me repondre par ecrit, voudrés vous bien m’accorder une audience a ce sujet? J’ay l’honeur d’estre avec respect Monsieur vottre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
LE VTE. DE VAUX-Grant
Notation: Le Vicomte de Vaux 2. 7bre. 1782.
3. Grant (b. 1749) began investing in privateers in 1777. He sustained heavy losses on all his ships, including the two whose disappearance prompted him to write BF in 1778: XXVI, 507–8n. In the summer of 1782 he drafted a memoir proposing that Congress reimburse him for his losses by ceding him unclaimed fertile land in a favorable region, perhaps along the Connecticut River or in Virginia along the banks of the “ohohio,” where he and his people would establish a colony. We earlier speculated that this memoir was addressed to Chaumont, since he was the one who answered it (XXVI, 508n), but it is clear that Grant wanted Lafayette to deliver it to Congress: BF’s copy (which bears a notation by L’Air de Lamotte) ends with an expression of faith in Lafayette’s intervention with some unspecified member of Congress whose name was left blank, as though Grant hoped that BF would fill it in. Another draft of this memoir, addressed “au congrès amériquain,” is in the Vaux Papers at the University of Michigan; see John Weatherford, “The Vicomte de Vaux: Would-be Canadian,” Ontario History, XLVII (1955), 49–51.
Chaumont answered Grant on July 18, possibly at BF’s direction. He did not know when Lafayette would depart, and did not think that Lafayette had met with BF since Grant had done so. In any case, Grant’s request to Congress was impossible. Congress had no authority to issue land grants on behalf of individual states. As for the vicomte’s titles and recommendations, there was no place in the universe where they would be of less use; talent and valor were the highest recommendations in America. Yale University Library.