Sartine to the Commissioners: A Translation
Versailles, 26 April 1778
I have received, gentlemen, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 20th of this month.1
When the United States frigate Boston received a summons from the officers of the Admiralty Headquarters in Bordeaux, the King’s orders to treat men-of-war belonging to the United States as those of free countries—allies of France—had not yet reached that harbor. These orders must have crossed the letter sent to you from Bordeaux informing you of the démarche of the Admiralty, which will be without effect as soon as the intentions of the King are known. However, I must inform you that American vessels which drop anchor in our harbors must in any case identify themselves as men-of-war of the United States, when indeed they belong to them, for you know that if they were only privateers they would enter the category of private vessels belonging to foreign states, which are not compelled to salute and to which the stations and fortresses never return a salute even if given. I have the honor to be, gentlemen, with the most perfect esteem, your very humble and very obedient servant.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed: “M. de Sartine” note by Arthur Lee: “Money advancd to Mr [Hodge] by the public Banker [Mr.?] Grand by Mr. Deane’s [order?] according to the Banker’s Accounts.
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Lee’s data, which he obtained from accounts submitted by Ferdinand Grand on 10 June 1777 and 24 Jan. 1778 for the period from 31 Jan. 1777 to 15 Jan. 1778 (MH-H: Lee Papers), concern the controversy over Silas Deane’s payments to William Hodge for his activities at Dunkirk (see Commissioners to Hodge, 19 April, above; and from Hodge, 10 July, below). Lee’s dates and figures are generally correct (corrections taken from the accounts are indicated in brackets), although he does not include in his total the payment of 12,083 livres made sometime in June. In addition, the payment of 3,000 livres on 20 Dec. was made to Hodge at Nantes and thus is not usually included in the controversy. Taking these two qualifications into consideration, the total of Deane’s payments to Hodge was 92,435.12.3 livres, but see Hodge’s letter of 10 July (note 2). Lee’s cancellation of the payment of 14 May is owing to its being to a Mr. Montieux rather than Hodge.