Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Vergennes, 4 September 1779

From Vergennes

L (draft):4 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Library of Congress

A Vlles. le 4. 7br. 1779.

M. l’ambassadeur de Suède,5 M, vient de m’addresser le mémoire ci-joint; le seul usage que je puisse faire de cette piéce, c’est de vous la renvoyer, afin que vous puissiez prendre sur son contenu le parti que la justice et la prudence vous suggéreront.6

M Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4In the hand of Gérard de Rayneval.

5Ambassador Creutz had lodged a protest in 1778 about Conyngham’s capture of a Swedish ship: XXVII, 552. BF knew him well enough to loan him a book: XXVIII, 179.

6With the Library of Congress copy of this forwarding letter is a copy of the Aug. 31 memorandum Creutz sent Vergennes. It asked the French minister’s good offices with BF in regard to the claims of the owners of the Swedish ships Victoire and Anne Louise, which Landais had captured while en route from England to Italy. According to Creutz, Landais “maltraita, frappa, et pilla presqu’a nud les Equipages, et transfera la meilleur partie à son bord pour ensuite les conduire a Brest.” Subsequently the latter ship had been recaptured by a British privateer and taken to Falmouth, while the former and her crew had been released. The owners of the ships nevertheless sought compensation for damages and for the “traitement barbare” suffered by the crews. Creutz wished BF to resolve the matter by satisfying the claim or by making a formal refusal in order that the owners could proceed further with their case. Landais had given a brief account of the captures: XXVIII, 488.

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