[dateline] Versailles 13 May 1778
The Farmers General have just brought to my attention a report concerning the refusal of S. Tucker, captain of the American frigate the Boston
, to submit to a visit on board by the clerks of the farm.1
I see in this document that the captain based his refusal on the exemption that, he said, is granted to all war vessels. Before making a decision regarding this claim, we must first ascertain if the Boston
really is a war vessel belonging to the United States or whether it is merely a privateer with letters of marque. As soon as you will have given me precise explanations in this regard, I will submit it to the King; and you may rest assured that His Majesty's decision will be in conformity with the rules of the strictest justice, and that the vessel, the Boston
, will be treated according to the rules that we follow for all other nations. I have the honor to be very perfectly gentlemen &c.