Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Vergennes, 18 July 1783

From Vergennes

Copies: Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères, National Archives

A Vlles. le 18. Juillet 1783.

J’ai recu M. la lettre que vous m’avez fait l’honneur de m’ecrire le 4 de ce mois ainsy que les pieces dont vous l’avez accompagnée, relativement au Secours extraordinaire que vous etes chargé par le Congrès de demander au Roi.

Ma lettre du 5 de ce mois vous a deja instruit de l’impossibilité où etoit S.M. de deferer a cette requisition.6 J’ai mis encore Sous Ses yeux vos nouvelles instances à cet egard, et c’est avec regret que je Suis dans la necessité de vous mander que le Roi n’a pas cru possible de rien changer à Sa premiere determination.7

M. franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Vergennes’ letter of July 5 answered a June 28 appeal for funds from BF and Jay based on what they had just learned from Grand, whereas BF’s appeal of July 4 was ordered by Congress.

7Vergennes’ next letter to La Luzerne, written on July 21, enclosed copies of BF’s July 4 letter, this response, and his earlier response of July 5 (Giunta, Emerging Nation, I, 889–93). He seems to have entrusted these dispatches to BF at their weekly meeting on Tuesday, July 22, presumably to send to America with Capt. Barney. The next day, July 23, the commis principal in the foreign affairs office sent BF an additional packet from Rayneval to add to what was being forwarded to La Luzerne. It was inadvertently omitted from what BF had been given the day before: Jean-Jacques Le Goüeslier de Montcarel to BF, July 23, 1783, APS.

The enclosure from Rayneval may have been the memoir on fixing the boundaries between Spain and the United States that La Luzerne acknowledged receiving. It was so impartial, he observed, that even Jay would not be able to fault it. La Luzerne predicted that JA’s criticisms of BF would have no effect on Congress (whose members did not think BF had “sold himself” to the French), and reassured Vergennes that Jay—though independent minded—would not knowingly prejudice France or the alliance. Jay’s letters were full of praise for BF and solicitations for WTF to be given a diplomatic post. La Luzerne doubted that Congress would confer this honor on WTF because of his father, though people regretted BF’s insistence on being recalled: La Luzerne to Vergennes, Sept. 26, 1783, in Giunta, Emerging Nation, I, 943–5.

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