LS:5 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Library of Congress
Passy May 3d. 1779:
When I last had the honor of waiting upon your Excellency, I mentioned certain Applications from the States of Virginia and Maryland, for Arms, Ammunition and Clothing, which I am desired by their Agents here to sollicit.6 I should sooner have presented your Excellency a Note of the Particulars, which I now enclose, but that Treaties have been attempted with private Persons to furnish the Articles wanted. Those Treaties not succeeding, I am obliged at length to request your Excellency would take the Trouble of considering the Application, and favour it, if you shall think it reasonable. The respective States propose and promise to pay for what is supply’d to each of them, as soon as the War is over; But as their Letters are dated near a year since,7 and possibly a part of their Wants may have been supply’d by the Congress, and as the Agents have desired me to engage for the Payment I should imagine that if his Majesty should think fit to grant such Aids, they would be best granted to the Congress, who will take care to supply particular States, & be accountable for the whole. In which Case it would be well to double the Quantity of Clothing and small Arms, as the Congress have order’d great Quantities, which we are not able to purchase for want of Money. And could any Part of these Supplies be ready to go with the new Minister, I submit it to your Excellency’s Consideration whether it would not be well to put them under his Care; and if all could not be ready, to let him bear the Promise of the rest; as this might be a means of making his Arrival the more welcome; and more generally pleasing, and facilitate his Negociations.8
I am with great Respect, Your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant.
His Exy. M. Le Comte De Vergennes.
Notations: M de Rayneval / M. francklin / rep le 6 may.
The following Articles are wanted for the State of Maryland. viz.
These Things the respective Governments engage to pay for.
5. In WTF’s hand.
6. William Lee and Joshua Johnson.
7. Virginia’s list of supplies dated from March, 1778, Maryland’s from a month later: XXVI, 34–5, 227–8.
8. The chevalier de La Luzerne was awaiting the departure for America of the frigate Sensible; see our annotation of Sartine’s April 20 letter.