The extraordinary popularity served Franklin's diplomatic purposes splendidly. Not even King Louis XVI could ignore the enthusiasm that had won over both the nobility and the bourgeoisie. Significantly, Franklin had found in the French minister for foreign affairs, Charles Gravier, the comte de Vergennes, a wily and willing listener—a pragmatic strategist eager to weaken Britain, with which France had been warring for centuries.
When, in 1785, Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris to become America's next minister to France, Gravier said, "You replace Dr. Franklin, then." Jefferson responded: "I succeed; no one can replace him."