Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 6 March 1781

To Vergennes

LS:6 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; AL (draft): Library of Congress; copies: National Archives (two), Library of Congress, Columbia University Library; press copy: National Archives; transcript: National Archives

Passy March 6. 1781.


By perusing the enclosed Instructions7 to Col. Lawrence & myself,8 your Excellency will see the Necessity I am under of being importunate for an Answer to the Application lately made for Aids of Stores and Money.

As Vessels are about to depart for America, it is of the utmost Importance that the Congress should receive Advice by some of them, of what may or may not be expected. I therefore earnestly intreat your Excellency to communicate to me as soon as possible the necessary Informations.

With sincere & great Respect, I am Sir Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant.

B Franklin

His Exy the Ct. De Vergennes.

Endorsed: M. de Reyneval.

Notation:9 Dans une conférence tenüe le 10. le ministre a annoncé à M. franklin que le Roi accordoit au Congrès, à titre de don, la Somme de 6. millions Tournois.1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6In WTF’s hand.

7Marginal notation in the hand of Gérard de Rayneval: “du 23. Xbre. 1780.” BF enclosed a copy of Laurens’ instructions of Dec. 23 (JCC, XVIII, 1184–8).

8Marginal notation in the hand of Gérard de Rayneval: “du 28. 9bre 1780.” These are Huntington’s instructions (above, Nov. 28); at the AAE is an extract in WTF’s hand of the parts of them marked “2” and “3.”

9In Gérard de Rayneval’s hand.

1This gift was intended to be mostly or entirely in supplies rather than money. Vergennes told La Luzerne on March 9 that the King would not guarantee a 25,000,000 l.t. loan, but would provide a subsidy of 6,000,000 l.t. He intended to ask BF for a list of the supplies needed to clothe, arm, and equip the American army and to coordinate with the finance minister [Necker] the furnishing of them at a just appraisal. Whatever was left of the 6,000,000 l.t. would be held at the disposition of Washington or whomever else Congress designated. The decision of the conseil had been unanimous: Doniol, Histoire, IV, 587–8. Vergennes told Lafayette the next day that the uniforms, which he believed the most urgent item, were coming: Idzerda, Lafayette, III, 391.

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