Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 4 July 1783

To Vergennes

LS:5 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; AL (draft): Library of Congress; copies: Library of Congress, National Archives

Passy July 4. 1783.


I have the honour to communicate to your Excellency, by Order of Congress, their Resolution of the 2d of May.6 It will explain itself; and I can add no Arguments to enforce the Request it contains, which I have not already urged with an Importunity that nothing but a Sense of Duty could oblige me to use, when I see so clearly that it is painful to you as well as to me. I confide also much more in the Representation M. de la Luzerne has probably made to you on the Affair. I will only say, that from a perfect Knowledge I have of their present Situation, no Favour of the Kind from his Majesty could ever be more essentially serviceable to the United States, or make a more lasting Impression.

I send withal an Address the Congress has just made to the several States,7 wherein you will see the Steps they are taking to procure the necessary Funds, for answering all Engagements; in which I have no doubt they will succeed. Your Excellency will also see there, the Manner in which I have written on the Subject;8 and you will find that the Contract of July last was ratified, and with Expressions of Gratitude, in January last,9 tho’ the Original Ratification is not yet come to hand. With great Respect, I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant.

B Franklin

His Exy Ct. de Vergennes

Endorsed: M de R1

Notation: Rep. le 18 Juillet

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5In WTF’s hand.

6Requesting an additional loan of 3,000,000 l.t. It was enclosed with Morris’ first letter of May 26 (above), which was carried by Joshua Barney: Morris Papers, VIII, 120n. The commissioners themselves had just asked Vergennes for assistance in meeting 1,900,000 l.t. of debts: above, June 28.

7Address and Recommendations to the States, by the United States in Congress assembled, which Livingston sent on May 9; for a description see XXXIX, 579n.

8An excerpt of BF to Morris, Dec. 23, 1782 (XXXVIII, 487–9).

9The July 16, 1782, contract (XXXVII, 633–9) was ratified on Jan. 22: JCC, XXIV, 50–64. The expressions of gratitude are in the address to the states and are immediately followed by a reference to the fifth enclosure, the ratification: JCC, XXIV, 282, 290.


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