Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 15 December 1782

To Vergennes

ALS: Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères

Passy, Dec. 15. 1782


I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency, that our Courier is to set out to-morrow at Ten aClock, with the Dispatches we send to Congress by the Washington, Capt. Barney, for which Ship we have got a Passport from the King of England.8 If you would make any Use of this Conveyance, the Courier shall wait upon you to-morrow at Versailles, and receive your Orders.

I hoped I might have been able to send part of the Aids we have asked, by this safe Vessel. I beg that your Excellency would at least inform me what Expectations I may give in my Letters. I fear the Congress will be reduc’d to Despair, when they find that nothing is yet obtained.

With the greatest and most sincere Respect, I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

Excelly. M. le Comte de Vergennes

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The passport was dated Dec. 10. Issued on the part of George III, “King of Great Britain, France and Ireland,” it permitted the General Washington (called, as in the present letter, simply the Washington), “belonging to the United States of North America, to sail from either of the Ports of France to any Port or Place in North America, without any Lett, Hindrance or Molestation whatsoever, but on the Contrary affording the said Vessel all such Aid and Assistance as may be necessary.” The passport is published in WTF, Memoirs, II, 417, and in Hulbert Footner, Sailor of Fortune: the Life and Adventures of Commodore Barney, U.S.N. (New York and London, 1940), p. 137. Copies are in the American commissioners’ letterbooks at the Mass. Hist. Soc. and the Library of Congress, and also among Morris’ papers at the National Archives.

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