Item of the Day: La Cassette Verte (1779)
Full Title: Cassette Verte de Monsieur de Sartine, trouvée chez Mademoiselle du The. Cinqième Edition revue & corrigée sur celles de Leipsic & d'Amersterdam. A la Haye: Chez la Veuve Whiskerfeld, in de Platte Borze by de Vrygagmerkt, 1779.
[Attributed to Richard Tickell, this anonymously published political satire purported to be an exposé. It tells the tale of a French diplomat who, during a visit to Madame du The, leaves his box of confidential papers in an anteroom, where they are purloined by the author of this pamphlet. La Cassette Verte was simultaneously published in English as The Green Box. Included in the French edition is a spurious letter from Benjamin Franklin, written in English.]
A Monsieur de Sartine
I cannot contain my rage till my Secretary comes home, or trust my resentment to the tameness of translation. –I, the Ambassador of Plenipotentiary of the United Free States of America, have lived to see the day, when I must endure the contempt of the wretched envoys of every paltry principality. –In short, all the ambassadors refuse to rank with me. –Doria Pamphili, the Pope’s Nuncio, calls me Quaker—Count D’Aranda says his Catholic Majesty loves South America too well, to encourage rebel colonies—Chevalier Zeno says the Venetians hate any thing but a nominal Republic.—Monsieur L’Estevenon de Berkenroode, tell me his States quarreled for religion, not taxes – Prince Briantinski loves the English, and his mistress the Empress of Russia, desires him to insult me.—Baron Goltz refers to me as Mr. Sayre.—All this I could bear – but to see Count Sickingen, Baron Grimm, Baron Thun, and Monsieur Wolff give themselves airs, drives me to madness.—In short, sir, I am insulted in all the languages of Europe. –My religion is satirized in Italian—my politics in Spanish and Dutch—I hear Washington ridiculed in Russian, and myself in all the jargon of Germany—I cannot bear it. –Make Europe civil to America, or I’ll follow Silas Deane,