The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
Versailles 13th. Feby. 1779
I have received the letter which you did me the honor of writing to me the 11th. instant and agreable to your desire I have not submitted its contents to the inspection of a Translator. I am no less hurt than yourself Sir at the Appeal which Mr. Silas Deane has made to the people of America. It does not belong to me to qualify this step. Your respective sovereigns must judge of the measure and decide the differences which have arisen between their Commissioners. The manner in which you have been treated here conjointly and separately, must have convinced you that if we even had been informed of your disputes we should have paid no regard to them, and the personal esteem which we have endeavoured to show each of the Commissioners is a proof that we have not adopted the prejudices with which they have endeavoured to inspire America the foundation of which is unknown to us; altho’ this disagreable discusion is strange to us, and it becomes us by all means to refrain from taking part therein, I shall nevertheless be delighted to see you sir, whatever day you fix will be agreable to me, I only request you to acquaint me beforehand with the time you shall choose. I have the honor to be with true regard Sir Yr. mo. he. & mo. ob Servt.
(signed) De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “M. Le Comte De Vergennes ans. Feb. 16. 1779.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation at the head of the letter: “about Six o Clock, in the Evening of the 15 of February being Monday I received, in my Chamber, the following Letter, in these Words, viz”; and at the foot: “This Letter was inclosed in a Cover, inscribed with these Words. A Monsieur, Monsieur, Adams l’un des Deputes des Congres de l’Amerique Septentrionale. a Passy. De Vergennes.” Copy in JA’s hand with contemporary translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 310–312). The copy was sent to Arthur Lee with JA’s letter of 13 June (below). Lee then obtained the translation and enclosed it and JA’s copy in his letter to the president of the congress of 17 Oct. 1780, which was read on 19 Oct. (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 302–303; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 18:951). At the bottom of the copy, JA entered the same notation that appears at the foot of the LbC.