From Michel-Guillaume St. John de Crèvecœur
ALS: American Philosophical Society
[before June 22, 1783]7
The Marquis de Castries Shew’d me Yesterday the Model of the Edict which he proposes obtaining for the Establishment of the 5. Pacquets boats.1 I desired him to Send it you, Ere he had presented it, which he will Shortly do, I beg You’d Read it attentively & Send him back all your observations thereon,— Woud you be Kind Enough to Inform the Countesse de Houdetot, in what part of the Town that big Wire is to be had, that She may place a Second Electical Rod.
I am With Respect Sir Your Very Humble Servt.
Addressed: a Son Excellence / Monsieur Benjamin Franklin / ambassadeur des Etats unis de Lamèrique / a Passy
Notation: de Crevecœur
7. This letter has to have been written before June 28, when the edict it discusses was signed into law. From its tone, it also appears to have been written before June 22, the day Crèvecœur learned of his appointment as French consul in New York and began making preparations to leave. (For that appointment see his letter of [June 24 or July 1].) One biographer believed that it dated from before April 2, and that the note from the comtesse d’Houdetot of that date (XXXIX, 421–2) was urging BF to answer it: Julia P. Mitchell, St. Jean de Crèvecoeur (New York, 1916), pp. 179–80. That seems unlikely, since the comtesse’s note reminds BF to review a report that Crèvecœur needed to deliver to Castries, whereas the present letter concerns an edict that BF would soon receive from Castries himself.
1. Crèvecœur had recommended a service at an annual cost of less than 300,000 l.t. and later expressed regret at Castries’ decision to use more luxurious vessels: Mitchell, St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, pp. 82–3, 178–9.