Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Vergennes, 20 May 1779

From Vergennes

L (draft):8 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères

A Versailles le 20 May 1779.

J’ai l’honneur de vous envoyer, M, un mémoire qui concerne M. de Vatteville, issu d’une des meilleures maisons du canton de Berne;9 vous verrez que cet officier souhaiteroit d’entrer au Service des Etats-unis: les témoignages avantageux que l’on donne de ses talents militaires, me persuadent que le Congres feroit une très-bonne aquisition, et si des obstacles invincibles ne vous arrêtent point, je vous serois particulierement obligé si vous voulez bien seconder ses desirs./.1

M. franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8In Gérard de Rayneval’s hand.

9Perhaps the Capt. Nicolas Amedé de Vatteville (Watteville) who was a company commander in the Erlach regiment: Etat de messieurs les officiers qui se trouvent aux services étrangers … (Bern, 1773), p. 6. The memoir, endorsed by BF “Vatteville his Memoire,” describes him as about forty years of age and recounts his military experience. After four years as a volunteer in the Dutch corps of artillery he resigned in 1758 to raise a company for Prussia. He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Landeshut (1760); after his exchange he served as an aide-de-camp to Prince Henry of Prussia. At the end of the Seven Years’ War he returned to Bern, becoming a Lt. Col. of Artillery. Dissatisfied with his present lack of opportunities he now wishes for employment with General Washington. He is trained in mathematics and fluent in French and German. One of his brothers and three other relatives are in French service. AAE.

1BF wrote Richard Peters on July 12 (Library of Congress) that Vatteville was going to America with the intention of settling in Pennsylvania. Vatteville was the bearer of that letter, and carried with it the present one.

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