In order to deal with the famine of 1763-64, Minister Tanucci asks the Neapolitan consul in Marseilles, Francisco Hombrados, to purchase large amounts of wheat and send them to Naples. Once the grains arrived, he refuses to pay it, claiming he had revoked the order well before the grains was embarked in Marseilles, and accusing of fraud the consul, in league with some French merchants. It is the trigger point of the long and embarrassing affaire des bleds. Impossible to solve mercantiliter, on the one hand, it assumed political-diplomatic tones, involving the three Bourbon sovereigns, theirs courts, ministers and ambassadors; on the other hand, it took on the character of an imbroglio, involving a multitude of "minor" characters, ambiguously situated between the public and the private spheres. To find a solution acceptable to all parts, the Neapolitan and French kings agreed to ask the third Bourbon monarch to deal with the question through an independent court. In 1772, the Junta de Comercio y Moneta condemned the city of Naples to pay for the wheat and acquitted Hombrados. But this is was the end of the affaire. It would take ten more years for the Marseilles merchants to obtain the money due by the Neapolitans.
Keywords: 18th century, famine, consuls and merchants, the Bourbon courts.