Benjamin Franklin Papers
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The American Commissioners to Vergennes, 9 February 1779: résumé

The American Commissioners to Vergennes3

LS:4 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; AL (draft): Massachusetts Historical Society; copies: Library of Congress, National Archives (two); translation:5 American Philosophical Society

<Paris, February 9, 1779: For nearly six months Captain Mc-Neill of the privateer General Mifflin has been embarrassed with a lawsuit concerning a French ship he recaptured from the British after it had been three days in their possession.6 By French laws this prize is valid; it would be unjust if it were reclaimed because American laws on the matter are different. The vexations and delays caused by such cases discourage American armed ships from carrying out operations against the English in European waters. We ask that you join with M. de Sartine in soliciting a more speedy resolution for the cases and equal treatment for Americans and French subjects.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 395–7.

4In WTF’s hand.

5This translation, in Chaumont’s hand, is of some interest. It changes the commissioners’ use of first person plural to first person singular, and we surmise Chaumont prepared it to assist him in drafting for BF a March 27 memorandum to Vergennes on the same subject (APS).

6See XXVII, 305, 382, 412. Capt. Thomas Pickerin encountered the same problem; the fullest description of his case can be found in his letter of Jan. 28.

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