Item #249960 Autograph Letter to Louis XVI in the third person, petitioning the King to recommend his son for a position in the Gardes Françaises; with 2 lines in the hand of Louis XVI. King of France Louis XVI, Charles Gravier Vergennes, comte de.

Vergennes to Louis XVI, with a Note from the King

Autograph Letter to Louis XVI in the third person, petitioning the King to recommend his son for a position in the Gardes Françaises; with 2 lines in the hand of Louis XVI.

n.p. [Paris]: n.d. [before 1787].

One page on sheet of watermarked stationery. Small folio. Vergennes to Louis XVI, with a Note from the King. Old folds, slight soiling and a couple of small stains, but sound and quite legible Item #249960

The Comte de Vergennes (1717 – 1787), diplomat and statesman, was Louis XVI’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1774. It was Vergennes’ policy during the American Revolution to provide the American rebels with financial and military support, in the hopes of weakening Britain’s dominance in North America; and It was Vergennes, too, who conducted the negotiations with Franklin, Adams, and Jay culminating in the Treaty of Paris. Vergennes’ policy of supporting a republican revolution, and its enormous cost to France, are generally cited as the major causes of the French Revolution. One could stretch a point and argue that Vergenness, more than any single individual, was responsible for his King’s downfall and eventual execution. The appearance of each their hands on the same document, as here, has a definite appeal to a collector of historical ironies.

Here, Vergennes seeks a position for his son in the French Guards, which, like the Swiss Guards, were special troops belonging solely to the royal household; they were under the command, at that time, of the gallant young duc de Biron, who served with French troops in the American Revolution. In translation:

“Sire,

“The Sr. de Vergennes take the liberty of humbly asking Your Majesty to grant him a special sign of his protection, by informing M. le Maéchal the Duke de Biron that it will please him that he propose M. de Vergennes, his eldest son, for the first vacant position in the French Guards. Said M. de Vergennes is old enough, in accordance with your Majesty’s ordinances, to be admitted to the military.”

Beneath, the King has docketed th letter with this brief note:

“M. le Maréchal de Biron will propose him to me for the first opening”.

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