Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 14 February 1779

To Vergennes

LS:6 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; AL (draft) and copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Feb. 14. 1779.


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that I have received from the Congress their Appointment to be their Minister Plenipotentiary at this Court, together with a Letter of Credence, to be presented to his Majesty. I beg thereupon your Excellency’s Advice and Direction.

I have need also of your Counsel, with regard to the Tryal and Punishment of some Conspirators on board our Frigate the Alliance which is just arrived.7 I would have done myself the honor of waiting on your Excellency to Day, but am not quite well enough to go abroad in such Weather.

I have received a Number of Letters from America all expressing the highest Esteem for the Count D’Estaing and the Marquis de la Fayette.8 As I think they will give you and M. De Sartine some Pleasure, I send you the Originals, praying only to have them returned. I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Your Excellency’s, most obedient & most humble Servant.

B Franklin

I enclose a Copy of the credential Letter9
His Exy. Count De Vergennes

Notation: rep le 17 fer.1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6In WTF’s hand.

7In the draft this sentence and the one following were added in the margin. The Alliance incident is discussed in Landais’ letter of Feb. 7.

8For examples see Paine’s letter of Oct. 24, 1778 (XXVII, 618–20), and BF’s instructions of Oct. 26 (ibid., 633–46). In the draft, Lafayette’s name precedes d’Estaing’s.

9This sentence is in BF’s hand. The copy of the credential letter (XXVII, 596–7) is at the AAE.

1Vergennes’ reply of that date is printed below.

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