François Barbé-Marbois papers  1784-1790
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Most of the nine items in the Barbé-Marbois collection are copies of legal documents pertaining to the Longchamps affair, including a statement arguing for Longchamp's trial in France as a French citizen, the opinion of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that he was to be tried in the courts of that state, and a copy of the judgment handed down against Longchamps, sentencing him to prison and to a fine by the Court.

Another legal document, dated 1784, is related to a different civil suit, and a 1790 Barbé-Marbois letter concerns matters unrelated to this incident. Three photocopied items (copied from "To Supporters of American Independence -- Phila., 1784," in the Books Division) consist of anonymous letters written to Philadelphia and Boston newspapers supporting the trial of Longchamps in Pennsylvania as an American citizen. A manuscript rough draft of the Philadelphia letter, written in French, accompanies the news clippings.

These documents are interesting from a legal standpoint, but they also provide a glimpse of an emerging American "national consciousness." Public opinion on the case shows a concern that the young republic be accorded full respect and status by Old World powers in defining and enforcing its laws.

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