Adams Papers
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The Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation, 18 December 1778

The Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

Versailles, 18 December 1778

The effects of Dr. James Smith of New York have, gentlemen, finally been found.1 They are at the customs office at Calais and consist of a package containing 12 table cloths and 12 knives and forks of iron with silver ferrules.2 If Mr. Smith plans to bring these goods into the Kingdom, he cannot avoid paying the regular charges, but if he intends to return them to America, then he will be free to do so without having to pay any charges, provided that he takes the trouble to obtain an Acquit à Caution.

I have the honor to be very sincerely, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant

De Vergennes

LbC (Adams Papers).

1See Smith’s letter to the Commissioners of 15 Nov., and notes 3 and 4 (above).

2The following is a one-page document found in the Franklin Papers (PPAmP) and docketed: “Brought from M. Grand’s to Passy, Decr 27th. 1778.”

List of Dr. Smith’s Effects detain’d at


2. Middle siz’d Diaper Table Cloths.

2. Ditto of Huckaback.

8. Diaper Breakfast Cloths.

1. Diaper Towel.

12. Green handle Knives and Forks tiped with Silver.

The whole wrapped up in an Ell of Crocus.

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