Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Baron de Thun to Franklin and John Jay, 7 July 1783

Baron de Thun to Franklin and John Jay

AL: Library of Congress

Since at least March, when independence seemed assured, certain members of the diplomatic corps had wondered when Franklin would present his card, which would allow them to recognize him officially. Franklin explained that he would do no such thing until news of the ratification arrived.9 On July 2, prompted by Vergennes, the three American commissioners paid their first official visits to the ministers of Russia and Austria, calling also on the ministers of the Netherlands and Sweden (with whom they had treaties) and the minister of Denmark (with whom Franklin was negotiating one).1 That day Captain Barney arrived with news of the ratification, sparking a new round of diplomatic visits on the following Monday and Wednesday, July 7 and 9.2 Though the present note is the only extant acknowledgment of such a visit, other ambassadors reported to their courts that they had returned visits by the American ministers, signaling the beginning of diplomatic relations.3

Between these two days of visits, the American commissioners went to Versailles for the weekly gathering of foreign ministers. There they were received by the diplomatic corps for the first time. Adams noted the occasion in a letter to Congress: “Yesterday at Court all the foreign Ministers behaved towards us, without reserve, as Members of the Corps Diplomatique—so that we shall no longer see those lowering Countenances, solemn looks, distant Bows, & other peculiarities, which have been sometimes diverting & sometimes provoking, for so many years.”4

ce 7 Juillet 1783

Le Baron de Thun, Ministre Plénipre. de Wirtemberg, êtant empeché par une indisposition de rendre sa visite en personne, fait ses remercimens a Messieurs franklin et a Monsieur Jay de l’honneur qu’ils ont bien voulu lui faire.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Antonio Pace, Benjamin Franklin and Italy (Philadelphia, 1958), pp. 98–9, 113–15.

1See the American Commissioners to Bariatinskii, [July 2].

2Adams Papers, XV, 94. For Barney’s arrival see BF to Laurens, July 6.

3Those of Venice and Genoa are mentioned in Pace, Benjamin Franklin and Italy, p. 114.

4Adams Papers, XV, 94–5.

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