Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 5 May 1783

To Vergennes

ALS: Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copies: Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society

Passy, May 5. 1783.


It was my Intention to pay my Devoirs at Versailles to-morrow. I thank your Excellency nevertheless for your kind Admonition. I omitted two of the last three Days from a mistaken Apprehension that being Holidays there would be no Court. Mr Laurens & Mr Jay are both Invalids;5 and since my last severe Fit of the Gout, my Legs have continu’d so weak, that I am hardly able to keep Pace with the Ministers, who walk fast, especially in going up and down Stairs. I beg you to be assured that whatever Deficiency there may be of Strength, there is none of Respect, in Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Excelly. the Count de Vergennes.

Notation: M. de R.6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Jay had recently written to Livingston that he needed to restore his health, and asked permission to go to Spa and Bath as soon as the definitive treaty was settled. On July 19 he reported that the pain in his breast had abated and he no longer had a fever: Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, VI, 389; Morris, Jay: Peace, p. 563. Laurens was suffering from gout; on May 2 he wrote that his feet could scarcely carry him: Laurens Papers, XVI, 191.

6Gérard de Rayneval was expected to draft a response.

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