Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Papers on Spain Received from Edmond Charles Genet, II, 21 July 1783


Proofs of the Machievelism of the Cabinet of Versailles.

Extract of a letter of M. de Vergennes to the Chargé des affaires of France with the US.

Versailles. July 21. 1783.

‘The future existence of the Congress presents important questions to discuss, and I foresee that it will be some time before they will be decided. I think as you do, that the preservation of the Congress would suit us; but what perhaps suits us better is that the US. should not acquire the political consistence of which they are susceptible: because every thing convinces me that their views and their affections will be very versatile, and that we cannot count on them, if ever there happen to us new discussions with England.’

Note. This opinion has been entirely adopted since, and has served as the basis of the instructions given in 1787. to M. de Moustier.

Tr (DNA: RG 59, NL); undated; translation in TJ’s hand; written on verso of No. 1. PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 96: 16467). Tr (same, 9: 1511); in French; in a clerk’s hand. Tr (Lb in DNA: RG 59, SDC); in English. Recorded in SJPL between 26 and 28 June 1793 as “Vergennes’ Ire on the Congress. July 1. 83.” Enclosed in TJ to Edmond Charles Genet, 23 July 1793.

Vergennes in fact wrote this letter to the Chevalier de La Luzerne, the French minister to the United States at the time, and not to the secretary who frequently acted as his chargé des affaires, François Barbé Marbois (Samuel F. Bemis, “The Rayneval Memoranda of 1782 on Western Boundaries and Some Comments on the French Historian Doniol,” American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, xlvii [1937], 89; E. Wilson Lyon, The Man Who Sold Louisiana: The Career of Francois Barbé-Marbois [Norman, Okla., 1942], 24).

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