From Erik Magnus Staël von Holstein4
LS,5 copy, and transcript: National Archives
Paris le 13 Juin 1783
Je viens de reçevoir la ratification de Sa Majesté du Traité de Commerce conclu avec les Etats Unis, la quelle j’aurai l’honneur de vous remettre aussitot qu’elle pourra être echangée contre celle du Congré.6 Permettez Monsieur que je vous repette à cette ocassion la demande que Monsieur l’Ambassadeur7 vous a faite au sujet de Monsieur franklin votre petit fils. Il a eu l’honneur de vous dire que le Roi veroit avec plaisir resider auprès de lui en qualité de Ministre du Congrés une personne qui porte votre nom et y joint des qualités aussi estimables que le jeune monsieur franklin. Avant de partir S. E. m’a chargé de vous repeter la même assurance et vous me permettrez d’y ajouter les voeux que je fais en mon particulier pour la reuissite de cette affaire.
J’ai l’honneur d’être avec l’estime et l’attachement les plus parfaits et inviolables Monsieur votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur
Le Baron DE Stael
Endorsed:8 Letter from the Ambass. of Sweden to BF—June 13. 83. Ratification arriv’d—
Notation by William Temple Franklin: The Original Letter from the Swedish Ambassador to the American Minister at the Court of Versailles dated 13 June 83—
4. Baron Staël von Holstein (1749–1802) had been an attaché to the Swedish delegation in France since 1778. The king chose him to succeed the comte de Creutz as minister plenipotentiary when he recalled Creutz in early February, 1783, to become head of the office of foreign affairs. Creutz left Paris in May. Staël von Holstein was initially elevated to chargé d’affaires and was received as minister plenipotentiary at the end of July; see his letter to BF, July 30. A friend of the Necker family and favored by Marie-Antoinette, he would eventually marry the Neckers’ daughter Anne-Louise-Germaine (XXXIV, 480n). The match was already being discussed in the French and Swedish courts at the time of this appointment. The wedding took place at the beginning of 1786; thereafter the fame of Mme de Staël (as she became known) would outshine that of her husband. Gunnar von Proschwitz, ed., Gustave III par ses lettres (Stockholm and Paris, 1986), pp. 229–30, 284n; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 408; Svenska män och kvinnor: Biografisk uppslagsbok (8 vols., Stockholm, 1942–55).
5. BF sent the LS to Livingston with his letter of July 22[–26]. The English translation made for Congress by John Pintard is on the same sheet; a translation is also published in Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, VI, 483.
6. Gustavus III ratified the Swedish-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (XXXIX, 250–85) on May 23. BF knew this by June 11 (see his letter of that date to Pierres); he probably learned the news at Versailles the day before, undoubtedly from Staël von Holstein himself. In what sense, therefore, had the Swedish minister-designate “just” received the ratification on June 13? We suspect that this letter may have been written at BF’s request, after the two men conversed on June 10, and that its chief purpose was to document the topic that follows: the king’s wish that WTF be made minister to Sweden. When BF wrote to Livingston on July 22 that he was enclosing the present letter, it was in the context of discussing WTF’s candidacy. Sweden’s ratification of the treaty, by contrast, was never mentioned. See also the curious reply to Staël von Holstein that WTF prepared on June 16, below.
Congress’ ratification of the treaty did not arrive until c. Nov. 1, and it would be another four months, approximately, before the exchange took place. BF sent the Swedish ratification to Congress on March 9, 1784: Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, VI, 721, 786.
7. Creutz, as was specified in BF’s purported reply to Staël von Holstein, June 16, and in his letter to Livingston, July 22[–26].
8. Both this statement and the notation by WTF must have been added when BF sent the MS to Livingston.