The Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation
Versailles, 6 February 1779
I have communicated to M. Sartine, gentlemen, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 24th of last month. This minister has replied that it is not now possible to promise you that he will provide special escorts for the vessels bound for the United States all the way to the North American ports, nor even beyond the meridian of the Azores, but that your vessels will be escorted, with those belonging to his Majesty’s subjects, to waters where they will have little to fear from privateers. Those vessels which are presently being prepared at Nantes and are bound for <
America> the United States and can promptly go down the river, will be escorted to the Isle of Aix this month, and will be escorted beyond the Capes, and even farther; that is to say, as long as they wish to follow the same route as the convoy of French vessels bound for the American islands.1
Dft (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 7); notation in the left margin of the first page: “convois dont peuvent profiter les batiments qui Sont à Nantes, destinés pour les Etats unis.”
1. The recipient’s copy of this letter was likely enclosed to John Lloyd and others in a letter dated 9 Feb. 1778  (LbC, Adams Papers). A copy, not found, of what may have been Sartine’s reply to Vergennes or a separate letter to the Commissioners concerning convoys, was enclosed in a covering letter of 11 Feb. to John Lloyd and others (LbC, Adams Papers).