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Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. I
Author: Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 [Editor]
Language: English
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by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at
http://gallica.bnf.fr)



THE

DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE

OF THE

AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

BEING

THE LETTERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SILAS DEANE, JOHN ADAMS, JOHN JAY,
ARTHUR LEE, WILLIAM LEE, RALPH IZARD, FRANCIS DANA, WILLIAM
CARMICHAEL, HENRY LAURENS, JOHN LAURENS, M. DUMAS, AND OTHERS,
CONCERNING THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE WHOLE
REVOLUTION,

TOGETHER WITH

THE LETTERS IN REPLY FROM THE SECRET COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS, AND THE
SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

ALSO,

THE ENTIRE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE FRENCH MINISTERS, GERARD AND LUZERNE
WITH CONGRESS.


Published under the Direction of the President of the United States,
from the original Manuscripts of the Department of State, conformably
to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.


EDITED

BY JARED SPARKS.


VOL. I.


BOSTON:

N. HALE AND GRAY & BOWEN.

G. & C. & H. CARVILL, NEW YORK.


1829.



HALE'S STEAM PRESS.

Nos. 6 Suffolk Buildings, Congress Street, Boston.



_Resolution of Congress of March 27th, 1818._

    Resolution directing the Publication and Distribution of the
    Journal and Proceedings of the Convention, which formed the
    present Constitution of the United States.

_Resolved_, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, that the Journal of the
Convention, which formed the present Constitution of the United
States, now remaining in the office of the Secretary of State, and all
acts and Proceedings of that Convention, which are in possession of
the Government of the United States, be published under the direction
of the President of the United States, together with the Secret
Journals of the Acts and Proceedings, and the Foreign Correspondence
of the Congress of the United States, from the first meeting thereof,
down to the date of the ratification of the definitive treaty of
peace, between Great Britain and the United States, in the year
seventeen hundred and eightythree, except such parts of the said
foreign correspondence, as the President of the United States may deem
it improper at this time to publish. And that one thousand copies
thereof be printed, of which one copy shall be furnished to each
member of the present Congress, and the residue shall remain subject
to the future disposition of Congress.

[Approved March 27th, 1818.]



ADVERTISEMENT.


The Correspondence between the old Congress and the American Agents,
Commissioners, and Ministers in foreign countries, was secret and
confidential during the whole revolution. The letters, as they
arrived, were read in Congress, and referred to the standing Committee
of Foreign Affairs, accompanied with requisite instructions, when
necessary, as to the nature and substance of the replies. The papers
embracing this correspondence, which swelled to a considerable mass
before the end of the revolution, were removed to the department of
State after the formation of the new government, where they have
remained ever since, accessible to such persons as have wished to
consult them for particular purposes, but never before published. In
compliance with the resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818, they
are now laid before the public, under the direction of the President
of the United States.

On the 29th of November, 1775, a Committee of five was appointed to
correspond with the friends of America in other countries. It seems to
have been the specific object of this Committee, to gain information
in regard to the public feeling in Great Britain towards the Colonies,
and also the degree of interest which was likely to be taken by other
European powers in the contest, then beginning to grow warm on this
side of the Atlantic. Certain commercial designs came also under its
cognizance, such as procuring ammunition, arms, soldiers' clothing,
and other military stores from abroad. A secret correspondence was
immediately opened with Arthur Lee in London, chiefly with the view of
procuring intelligence. Early in the next year, Silas Deane was sent
to France by the Committee, with instructions to act as a commercial
or political agent for the American Colonies, as circumstances might
dictate. This Committee was denominated the _Committee of Secret
Correspondence_, and continued in operation till April 17th, 1777,
when the name was changed to that of the _Committee of Foreign
Affairs_. The duties and objects of the Committee appear to have
remained as before, notwithstanding the change of name.

In the first years of the war, it was customary for the Commissioners
and Ministers abroad to address their letters to the Committee, or to
the President of Congress. In either case the letters were read in
Congress, and answered only by the Committee, this body being the
organ of all communications from Congress on foreign affairs. The
proceedings of Congress in relation to these topics were recorded in a
journal, kept separately from that in which the records of other
transactions were entered, and called the _Secret Journal_. This
Journal has recently been published, in conformity with the same
resolution of Congress, which directed the publication of the foreign
correspondence.

Robert R. Livingston was chosen Secretary of Foreign Affairs on the
10th of August, 1781, when the Committee was dissolved, and the
foreign correspondence from that time went through the hands of the
Secretary. As the responsibility thus devolved on a single individual,
instead of being divided among several, the business of the department
was afterwards executed with much more promptness and efficiency.

The plan adopted, in arranging the papers for publication, has been to
bring together those of each Commissioner, or Minister, in strict
chronological order. As there is much looseness, and sometimes
confusion in their arrangement as preserved in the Department of
State, this plan has not always been easy to execute. The advantage of
such a method, however, is so great, the facility it affords for a
ready reference and consultation is so desirable, and the chain of
events is thereby exhibited in a manner so much more connected and
satisfactory, that no pains have been spared to bring every letter and
document into its place in the exact order of its date. Thus, the
correspondence of each Commissioner, or Minister, presents a
continuous history of the acts in which he was concerned, and of the
events to which he alludes.

It will be seen, that letters are occasionally missing. These are not
to be found in the archives of the government. The loss may be
accounted for in several ways. In the first place, the modes of
conveyance were precarious, and failures were frequent and
unavoidable. The despatches were sometimes intrusted to the captains
of such American vessels, merchantmen or privateers, as happened to be
in port, and sometimes forwarded by regular express packets, but in
both cases they were subject to be captured. Moreover, the despatches
were ordered to be thrown overboard if the vessel conveying them
should be pursued by an enemy, or exposed to the hazard of being
taken. It thus happened, that many letters never arrived at their
destination, although duplicates and triplicates were sent. Again, the
Committee had no Secretary to take charge of the papers, and no
regular place of deposit; the members themselves were perpetually
changing, and each had equal access to the papers, and was equally
responsible for their safe keeping. They were often in the hands of
the Secretary of Congress, and of other members who wished to consult
them. Nor does it appear, that copies were methodically taken till
after the war. In such a state of things, many letters must
necessarily have been withdrawn and lost. When Mr Jay became Secretary
of Foreign Affairs, in the year 1784, that office had been made the
place of deposit for all the foreign correspondence which then
remained. Under his direction, a large portion of it was copied into
volumes, apparently with much care, both in regard to the search after
papers, and the accuracy of the transcribers. These volumes are still
retained in the archives of the Department of State, together with
such originals as have escaped the perils of accident, and the
negligence of their early keepers.

The letters of the Committee of Congress to the agents abroad were
few, scanty, and meagre. This may be ascribed to two causes. First,
there was really very little to communicate, which was not known
through the public papers; and, secondly, it was not made the duty of
any particular member of the Committee to write letters. Hence the
agents frequently complained, that their despatches were not answered,
and that they were embarrassed for want of intelligence. When Mr
Livingston came into the office of Foreign Affairs, a salutary change
took place in this respect. His letters are numerous, full, and
instructive.

In preparing the papers for the press, according to the spirit of the
resolution of Congress, the first rule has been to print such matter
only as possesses some value, either as containing historical facts,
or illustrating traits of character, or developing the causes of
prominent events. In such a mass of materials, so varied in their
character and in the topics upon which they treat, it has not always
been easy to discriminate with precision in regard to these points.
The editor can only say, that he has exercised his best judgment to
accomplish the end proposed. His task has been rendered still more
perplexing, from the disputes, and even quarrels, which existed
between the early American Commissioners, and with the effects of
which a large portion of their correspondence is tinged. No worthy
purpose can be answered by reviving the remembrance of these
contentions at the present day; but, at the same time, such
particulars ought to be retained, as will exhibit in their proper
light the characters of the persons concerned, and show how far their
altercations operated to the public good or injury. This line has been
pursued as far as practicable, and those parts of the correspondence
chiefly marked with personalities, and touching little on public
interests, have been omitted, as neither suited to the dignity of the
subject, nor to the design of this publication.

On perusing these volumes, it may at first seem extraordinary, that so
large a collection of letters, written by different persons at
different times, embracing topics of great moment, and assuming the
character of secret and confidential despatches, should be so
generally well fitted to meet the public eye. But it must be kept in
mind, that the writers knew their letters would be read in open
Congress, which was much the same as publishing them, and under this
impression they were doubtless prompted to study circumspection, both
in matter and manner.

Justice to himself requires the editor to observe, that he has not
felt at liberty, in accordance with the express terms of the
resolution of Congress, to add anything to the original papers by way
of commentary or illustration. The few notes, which he has subjoined,
are intended mainly to assist the reader in referring to collateral
topics in different parts of the work. When it is considered under
what circumstances and with what aims these letters were written, it
will be obvious, that time and succeeding events must have detected
occasional misapprehensions and errors of statement in the writers, as
well as the fallacy of some of their conjectures and speculations.
They were called upon to grapple with the politics of Europe, and to
discourse on a theme and execute a task, that would have been of no
easy accomplishment in the hands of the veteran diplomatists of the
old world. The editor's researches in the public offices of England
and France, with particular reference to the early diplomatic
relations between those countries and the United States, have put in
his possession a body of facts on the subjects discussed in these
papers, which might have been used to advantage in supplying
corrections and explanations; but, for the reason above mentioned, he
has not deemed himself authorised to assume such a duty. He is not
without the expectation, however, that the public will hereafter be
made acquainted with the results of his inquiries in some other form.



CONTENTS

OF THE

FIRST VOLUME.


SILAS DEANE'S CORRESPONDENCE.

                                                                  Page

    From the Committee of Correspondence to Silas Deane.
    Philadelphia, March 3d, 1776,                                    5

        Instructions to Mr Deane on his departure for France.

    Silas Deane to the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
    Paris, August 18th, 1776,                                        9

        Mr Deane's interview with Count de Vergennes, and
        conversation on American affairs.--Dubourg.--
        Beaumarchais.--Military supplies for the American
        service.

    From Caron de Beaumarchais to the Committee of Secret
    Correspondence. Paris, August 18th, 1776,                       35

        Account of his contract with Mr Deane for furnishing the
        United States with military supplies.

    Silas Deane to Count de Vergennes. Paris, August 22d, 1776,     40

    To Robert Morris. Bordeaux, September 17th, 1776,               40

    To Robert Morris. Paris, September 30th, 1776,                  41

        On mercantile affairs.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, October
    1st, 1776,                                                      43

        Military supplies.--Asks for blank commissions for ships
        of war.--Dr Bancroft.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, October
    8th, 1776,                                                      48

    Agreement between M. Monthieu and Silas Deane for the
    Transportation of military Supplies to America. Paris,
    October 15th, 1776,                                             51

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, October
    18th, 1776,                                                     53

        Urges the importance of making known formally to foreign
        powers the independence of the United States.--Case of
        Captain Lee who went into Bilboa with prizes.--Demands
        remittances.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, October 17th, 1776,        56

    To William Bingham. Paris, October 17th, 1776,                  57

    To William Bingham. Paris, October 25th, 1776,                  58

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, October
    25th, 1776,                                                     59

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    6th, 1776,                                                      60

        Supplies forwarded.--M. du Coudray.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    9th, 1776,                                                      64

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    26th, 1776,                                                     64

        Grand Duke of Tuscany proposes commercial intercourse
        with America.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, November 27th, 1776,       65

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    27th, 1776,                                                     66

        Proposals to send frigates to harass the British fishery
        on the Grand Bank.--Recommends sending American
        privateers into the European seas.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    28th, 1776,                                                     67

        On the acknowledgment of American independence by
        European powers.--Applications of officers to go to
        America.--Baron de Kalb.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    29th, 1776,                                                     74

        Beaumarchais's military supplies.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, November
    29th, 1776,                                                     76

        Military officers recommended.--Colonel Conway.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, December
    1st, 1776,                                                      77

        Thoughts on the means of defraying the expenses of the
        war.--A loan for the purpose.--Great resources in the
        western lands.--Plan for constituting them a pledge to
        redeem a loan.--Credit of the different European powers.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, December
    3d, 1776,                                                       88

        Military articles shipped for the use of the United
        States.

    To John Jay. Paris, December 3d, 1776,                          90

        Plan of a treaty with France sketched by Mr Deane.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, December
    6th, 1776,                                                      96

        List of officers destined to serve in the United
        States.--Agreement with the Marquis de la Fayette, and
        Baron de Kalb.

    To Count de Vergennes. Paris, December 8th, 1776,              100

        Arrival of Dr Franklin at Nantes.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, December
    12th, 1776,                                                    100

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, January
    20th, 1777,                                                    101

        Disappointment in shipping the military articles.--M. du
        Coudray censured.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, February
    6th, 1777,                                                     103

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, February
    27th, 1777,                                                    103

    To the President of Congress. Paris, April 8th, 1777,          104

    To Robert Morris. Paris, August 23d, 1777,                     105

        Particulars relating to the American ships in French
        ports.--Conduct of the government towards them.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, September 3d,
    1777,                                                          112

        Account of articles shipped under charge of Captain
        Landais.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, September 10th,
    1777,                                                          113

        Articles shipped.--M. Francy, agent for Hortalez & Co.

    To Robert Morris. Paris, September 23d, 1777,                  114

        Remarks concerning the commercial agency at Nantes.

    Committee of Foreign Affairs to Silas Deane. York, in
    Pennsylvania, December 4th, 1777,                              117

    James Lovell to Silas Deane. York, December 8th, 1777,         117

        Communicating the resolution of Congress for Mr Deane's
        recall.

    Count de Vergennes to the President of Congress. Versailles,
    March 25th, 1778,                                              118

        Approving Mr Deane's conduct in France.

    Count de Vergennes to Silas Deane. Versailles, March 26th,
    1778,                                                          119

        Commendatory of his conduct.

    Dr Franklin to the President of Congress. Passy, March 31st,
    1778,                                                          120

        Approving Mr Deane's conduct.

    To the President of Congress. Delaware Bay, July 10th, 1778,   120

        Notice of his arrival.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, July 28, 1778,     122

        Proposes to give Congress information respecting the
        state of their affairs in Europe.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 8th,
    1778,                                                          123

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 11th,
    1778,                                                          123

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 22d,
    1778,                                                          124

        Nature of communications made to Congress.--Offers any
        further information that may be desired.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 24th,
    1778,                                                          127

        Asks copies of Mr Izard's letters to Congress.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, October 7th,
    1778,                                                          127

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, October 12th,
    1778,                                                          128

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, October 12th,
    1778,                                                          129

        Reply to charges in Mr Izard's letters, respecting
        commercial and other transactions in France.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, October 12th,
    1778,                                                          139

        Vindication against charges made to Congress by Arthur
        Lee.--Political and commercial transactions in
        France.--Dr Franklin.--Affair of Dunkirk.--Vindication
        of Dr. Franklin against Mr Lee's charges.--Count
        Lauragais.--M. Holker.--Mr Williams.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, October 12th,
    1778,                                                          155

        History of the eleventh and twelfth articles of the
        treaty with France.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, November 1st,
    1778,                                                          158

        Communicating a project for the redemption of the
        Continental money;--and a plan for equipping a fleet for
        defending the coasts and commerce of the United States.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, November 19th,
    1778,                                                          172

        Further observations on transactions in France.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, November 30th,
    1778,                                                          175

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, December 4th,
    1778,                                                          176

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, December 21st,
    1778,                                                          177

        Solicits a speedy settlement of his affairs with
        Congress.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, December 30th,
    1778,                                                          178

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, January 4th,
    1779,                                                          178

        Complaints against Thomas Paine on account of his
        statements respecting the French supplies.--M. de
        Beaumarchais.

    To the President of Congress. January 21st, 1779,              180

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, February 22d,
    1779,                                                          180

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, March 15th,
    1779,                                                          181

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, March 29th,
    1779,                                                          182

        Complains of the delay of Congress in settling his
        affairs.--Desires that his conduct may either be
        approved or censured.--Demands that justice may be done.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 2d, 1779,    185

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 17th,
    1779,                                                          186

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 26th,
    1779,                                                          187

        Recapitulation of his past services, and of his efforts
        to come to a settlement with Congress.--Complaints of
        the abuse he has met with in the public papers.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 27th,
    1779,                                                          194

    To M. Holker. Philadelphia, April 26th, 1779,                  196

        Respecting the purchase of articles in France for the
        United States.

    M. Holker's Answer. Philadelphia, April 26th, 1779,            197

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 30th,
    1779,                                                          197

        Statement of accounts respecting purchases in
        France.--Arthur Lee.--Requests that the accounts may be
        examined.--Moneys paid by M. Grand.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, May 12th, 1779,    203

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, May 22d, 1779,     204

        Recapitulation of previous events.--Urges Congress to
        consider his situation, and come to a decision
        respecting him.

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, August 18th,
    1779,                                                          214

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 4th,
    1779,                                                          214

    To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, November 23d,
    1779,                                                          215

    To the President of Congress. Williamsburgh, December 18th,
    1779,                                                          216

        Declines accepting the money granted to him by Congress.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, May 15th, 1781,           217

        Has been adjusting his accounts.--Solicits Congress to
        appoint some person to examine and audit them.

    To the President of Congress. Ghent, March 17th, 1782,         219


CORRESPONDENCE OF THE COMMISSIONERS AT THE COURT OF FRANCE.

    From the Committee of Secret Correspondence to Benjamin
    Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, Commissioners at
    Paris. Baltimore, 21st December, 1776,                         225

        Campaign of 1776.--New levies to be raised.--Necessity
        of speedy aid from France.--Recall of Mediterranean
        passes.--Loan of two millions sterling.

    Robert Morris to the Commissioners. Philadelphia, 1st
    December, 1776,                                                233

        Retreat through the Jerseys.--Depreciation of
        Continental currency.--Gloomy situation of the country.

    The Committee of Secret Correspondence to the Commissioners.
    Baltimore, 30th December, 1776,                                246

        Success at Trenton.--Tenders to France and Spain.

    Committee of Secret Correspondence to Captain Larkin
    Hammond. Baltimore, 2d January, 1777,                          249

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 17th
    January, 1777,                                                 250

        Audience of Vergennes.--Privateers.--German troops in
        the British service.--Disposition of the French.

    The Committee of Secret Correspondence to William Bingham at
    Martinique. Baltimore, 1st February, 1777,                     255

    The Committee of Secret Correspondence to the Commissioners.
    Baltimore, 2d February, 1777,                                  257

        Want of ships of war.--Reverses of the British in the
        Jerseys.--New levies.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 6th
    February, 1777,                                                260

        Tobacco.--German troops.--Offers of supplies and
        service.--Mr Lee goes to Spain.--No danger from Russia.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, 6th February, 1777,       264

        Introducing M. du Coudray.

    Agreement between the Commissioners and certain French
    officers,                                                      265

    Committee of Secret Correspondence to the Commissioners.
    Baltimore, 19th February, 1777,                                266

        Military events.--Preparations in Great Britain.--Urgent
        necessity of aid.--Disposition of Spain.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 4th March,
    1777,                                                          269

        Complain of want of intelligence.

    To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 12th
    March, 1777,                                                   270

        Want of intelligence from America.--Particular accounts
        of their proceedings, and favorable but cautious policy
        of the French Court.--Disposition of Holland.--Of
        Spain.--Secret supplies from the latter.--Loan of two
        millions sterling.--Applications for service from
        foreign officers.--Contract for 5000 hogsheads tobacco
        with the Farmers-General.--All Europe favorable to the
        American cause.--English and French fleet.--Sir J.
        Yorke's memorial to Holland.--Contract for monthly
        packets.

    Agreement between Messrs Franklin and Deane and the
    Farmers-General of France, for the sale of a quantity of
    tobacco,                                                       282

    Agreement for packets between M. Ray de Chaumont, on the one
    part, and Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, on the other,     284

    To Jonathan Williams. Paris, 1st May, 1777,                    285

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, 2d May, 1777,                                    286

        Urge them to engage French merchants in American
        trade.--British Generals discouraged.--Return of
        Congress to Philadelphia.--State of the army.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, 9th May, 1777,                                   290

        Introducing J. Paul Jones.--His captain's commission.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, 25th May, 1777,    291

        Mr Lee goes to Berlin.--Necessity of a free port in
        Germany.--Cunningham.--Lafayette goes to America.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, 26th May, 1777,    296

        Warfare on the British successful and
        important.--Importance of a naval force in the German
        ocean; and of carrying the war into Great Britain.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, May 30th, 1777,                                  300

        Loan.--Importance of America to Britain in the French
        war.--Facilities for an attack on the West Indies.

    To John Jay. Dunkirk, 2d June, 1777,                           302

        Importance of a naval force on the British coast, at St
        Helena to intercept the East India fleet.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, June 13th, 1777,                                 304

        Position of the armies; in the Jerseys; in the
        north.--Favorable aspect of affairs.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, June 18th, 1777,                                 306

        Military operations.--Answer of the States-General to
        Sir J. Yorke.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, June 26th, 1777,                                 309

        Military operations.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, July 2d, 1777,                                   310

        Military operations.--Commission and Instructions for
        William Lee to Vienna and Berlin; for Ralph Izard to
        Tuscany.

    Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Versailles, 16th
    July, 1777,                                                    311

        Complains of American privateers for violating
        neutrality.

    To Count de Vergennes. Paris, 17th July, 1777,                 314

        Apology for the American privateers.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Philadelphia, August 7th, 1777,                                315

        Military operations.--Loss of Ticonderoga.

    To Count de Vergennes. Versailles, August 12th, 1777,          317

        Arrest of Mr Hodge.

    Messrs Franklin and Deane's Contract with M. Holker,           318

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, 8th September,
    1777,                                                          319

        Mr Lee's return from Berlin.--Disposition of
        Prussia.--England and France equally averse to begin
        hostilities.--English funds losing credit on the
        Continent.--English trade in French bottoms.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Yorktown, 6th October, 1777,                                   323

        Military operations.--Burgoyne; Fort Schuyler;
        Bennington.--Middle Department; Brandywine; Howe enters
        Philadelphia; Germantown.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Yorktown, 6th October, 1777,                                   330

        Difficulty of raising money by appropriation of vacant
        land.--Loan of twenty millions.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, 7th October,
    1777,                                                          332

        Secret supplies from France.--Complain of failure of
        remittances.--Propositions for forming a commercial
        company at Emden.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    Yorktown, 18th October, 1777,                                  336

        Military operations.--British property in French
        bottoms.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, 31st October, 1777,                                      338

        Surrender of Burgoyne.--Attack on Red Bank.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, 8th November, 1777,                                      340

        Announcing the election of H. Laurens as President of
        Congress.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, 30th November,
    1777,                                                          340

        Remit supplies.--Capture of neutral vessels by American
        privateers.--King of England's Speech.--Opposition in
        Parliament.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, 1st December, 1777,                                      346

        Difficulties in regard to French officers; their return
        to France.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, 2d December, 1777,                                       349

        Military operations.--Confederation passed by Congress,
        submitted to the States.--Expenditures.--Emission of
        paper money.--Unfavorable position of American
        commerce.--An expedition to the East India seas
        proposed.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, 18th December,
    1777,                                                          355

        News of Burgoyne's surrender in France.--French Court
        determine to acknowledge independence, to make a treaty
        of amity and commerce.--Additional aid of three millions
        of livres from France, and from Spain.--French
        Ambassador at London insulted.--English stocks
        fall.--Treatment of American prisoners in England.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, 12th January, 1778,                                      359

        Loss of the despatches by Folger.

    To John Paul Jones. Paris, 16th January, 1778,                 361

        Instructions for a cruise in the Ranger.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, 21st January, 1778,                                      362

        Military operations.

    To the President of Congress. Passy, February 8th, 1778,       364

        Treaties with France signed.--Secret clause in respect
        to Spain.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, February 16th,
    1778,                                                          366

        Remit treaties with France.--Intimations from
        Holland.--English agents at Paris endeavor to get
        propositions from the Commissioners as the basis of a
        treaty.--Alarm in England.--Mansfield proposes a
        coalition to Camden.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, February 28th,
    1778,                                                          369

        Lord North's plan of conciliation.--Its insidious
        character.--Advise the occupation of the Bermudas; and
        reduction of English fishing ports in and near
        Newfoundland.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Bingham.
    York, March 2d, 1778,                                          372

        Commercial.

    M. Gerard to the Commissioners. Versailles, March 17th,
    1778,                                                          374

        Announces that the king will receive them.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, March 24th, 1778,                                        375

        Effect of depreciation of currency.

    To M. Dumas. Paris, April 10th, 1778,                          376

        Enclosing a draught of a letter to the Grand Pensionary.

    Draught of a proposed letter from the Commissioners to the
    Grand Pensionary,                                              377

        Announcing the treaty with France.

    To M. Dumas. Passy, April 10th, 1778,                          377

        Arrival of Mr Adams to succeed Mr Deane.--Request his
        opinion on the propriety of sending a Minister to
        Holland.

    To Mr John Ross. Passy, April 13th, 1778,                      379

        Commercial.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Bingham at
    Martinique. York, April 16th, 1778,                            380

        Commercial Board.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, April 16th, 1778,                                        382

    M. de Sartine to Count de Vergennes. Versailles, April 26th,
    1778,                                                          382

        Protection of Commerce in the French seas.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Bingham.
    York, April 26th, 1778,                                        384

        Governor Tryon.--Forged resolve of Congress.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, April 30th, 1778,                                        385

    To M. Dumas. Yorktown, May 14th, 1778,                         386

        Holland grants convoys against the British.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Bingham.
    York, May 14th, 1778,                                          387

        Commercial.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, May 14th, 1778,                                          388

        Favorable situation of affairs.--Lord North's
        conciliatory bill circulated in the country.--Referred
        to a committee in Congress.--Their report.--Objections
        to the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty with France.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, May 14th, 1778,                       392

        English prisoners brought into France.--General
        principle as to a prisoner in a neutral country.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, May 15th, 1778,                                          393

        Advising trade to America in French bottoms.--Objections
        to the 12th article of the treaty.--Contract signed by
        the Commercial Committee with the agent of Beaumarchais.

    To the Count de Vergennes. Passy, May 16th, 1778,              396

        The Boston frigate.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, May 16th, 1778,                       396

        Requesting the grant of a frigate to Besmarine, Rainbeau
        & Co.

    To Mr Jonathan Williams at Nantes. Passy, May 25th, 1778,      397

        Revoking powers formerly granted him.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, June 3d, 1778,                        398

        Requesting regulations in respect of duties to be paid
        on supplies to ships of war.--Prizes of the Ranger.

    John Paul Jones to the Commissioners. Passy, June 16th,
    1778,                                                          399

        Lieutenant Simpson's parole.

    To David Hartley. Passy, June 16th, 1778,                      400

        Exchange of English and American prisoners.

    To John Paul Jones. Passy, June 16th, 1778,                    401

        Instructing him to set sail for America.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
    York, June 21st, 1778,                                         402

        Propositions of the British Commissioners.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, July 14th,
    1778,                                                          403

        Supplies for St Pierre and Miquelon.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, July 16th, 1778,                      404

        British prisoners in France.

    To the Council of the Massachusetts Bay. Passy, July 16th,
    1778,                                                          405

        Enclosing a copy of M. de Sartine's letter relative to
        St Pierre and Miquelon.

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, July 17th, 1778,                 406

        Communicating a resolve of Congress relative to
        treaties.

    To the President of Congress. Passy, July 20th, 1778,          407

        Exchange ratifications of treaties.--Appearances of war
        in Germany.--M. Dumas.--American Consuls.

    The Functions of Consuls,                                      410

    To the President of Congress. Passy, July 23d, 1778,           412

        Intention of the British Cabinet to acknowledge our
        independence on condition of a separate
        treaty.--Declaration of de Vergennes, that war's
        actually existing between France and England.

    To the President of Congress. Passy, July 29th, 1778,          413

        Recommending Mr Livingston.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, July 29th, 1778,   413

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, July 29th,
    1778,                                                          414

        Obstructions to the sale of prizes in France cease.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, August 13th, 1778,                    415

        On regulations for prizes and prisoners.--Objections to
        some articles.

    John Paul Jones to the Commissioners. Brest, August 15th,
    1778,                                                          417

        Complains of injurious reports.--Demands redress by
        court martial.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, August 16th,
    1778,                                                          418

        Regulations for prizes and prisoners.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, August 18th, 1778,                    425

        Commissioners express themselves satisfied with the
        regulations.

    John Paul Jones to Abraham Whipple. Brest, August 18th,
    1778,                                                          426

        Requesting a trial of Lieutenant Simpson by court
        martial.

    Abraham Whipple to John Paul Jones. Brest, August 19th,
    1778,                                                          426

        Declines summoning a court martial.

    To John Paul Jones. Passy, August 22d, 1778,                   428

        On the court martial.

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, August 28th, 1778,               428

        Request further pecuniary aid.--Request permission to
        raise a loan in France.--Desire his interposition with
        the Barbary powers.--Request that Americans may pass
        through France with their effects, without duties.

    Declaration of Count de Vergennes, annulling the Eleventh
    and Twelfth Articles of the Commercial Treaty with France,     432

    Declaration of the American Commissioners, annulling the
    Eleventh and Twelfth Articles of the same Treaty,              433

    To M. de Beaumarchais. Passy, September 10th, 1778,            434

        Property of the Therese.--Accounts of Hortalez & Co.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, September 10th, 1778,                 435

        Recapture of a French vessel.

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, September 10th, 1778,            436

        Received powers to settle with Hortalez & Co.--Request
        information as to that house.--M. Francy.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, September
    16th, 1778,                                                    439

        Rights of recaptors.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, September 17th, 1778,                 441

        Principles of the law of recapture.--Case of the
        Isabella.

    To the President of Congress. Passy, September 17th, 1778,     444

        All European powers arming.--Administer the oath of
        allegiance.--Necessity of measures for identifying
        American property abroad.--American prisoners escaped
        from England.

    M. Necker to the Count de Vergennes. Paris, September 18th,
    1778,                                                          449

        Transit duty on effects of Americans, returning home
        through France.

    To the American Prisoners in Plymouth, or elsewhere in Great
    Britain. Passy, September 20th, 1778,                          450

        Promising an exchange.--Discouraging attempts to escape.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, September
    21st, 1778,                                                    452

        Laws of recapture in the States.--Importance of
        uniformity.--Case of the Isabella.

    M. de Sartine to Count de Vergennes. Versailles, September
    21st, 1778,                                                    453

        Mediation of France with the Barbary powers in favor of
        America.

    To the President of Congress. Passy, September 22d, 1778,      455

        Introducing Mr Jonathan Loring Austin.

    E. T. Van Berckel to M. Dumas. Amsterdam, September 23d,
    1778,                                                          456

        Enclosing the declaration of the Burgomasters of
        Amsterdam.

    Declaration of E. T. Van Berckel. Amsterdam, September 23d,
    1778,                                                          457

    Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Versailles,
    September 24th, 1778,                                          458

        Americans returning through France.

    To William Lee. Passy, September 26th, 1778,                   458

        Project of a treaty with Holland.

    To Ralph Izard. Passy, September 26th, 1778,                   459

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, September 26th, 1778,            460

        Acknowledge the receipt of a letter of the 24th,
        relative to the effects of Americans returning home
        through France.--Also of the 25th, relative to Mr
        Izard's goods.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, September 26th, 1778,                 461

        Mr Izard's baggage taken in an English vessel.

    Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Versailles,
    September 27th, 1778,                                          462

        Interposition of France with the Barbary powers.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, September 27th, 1778,                 462

        The vessel recaptured by Captain McNeil.

    To M. Dumas. Passy, September 27th, 1778,                      463

        Relative to a treaty with Holland.

    From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Bingham.
    Philadelphia, September 28th, 1778,                            464

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, October 1st, 1778,               465

        Intercourse with the Barbary powers.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, October 2d, 1778,                     467

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, October 7th,
    1778,                                                          467

        Mr Izard's effects.

    The Ambassador of Naples to the Commissioners. Paris,
    October 8th, 1778,                                             469

        Ports of Naples remain open for American vessels.

    To the Ambassador of Naples. Passy, October 9th, 1778,         469

        Acknowledging the receipt of his letter of the
        8th.--Flag of the United States.--Flags of different
        States.--Commissions of ships of war; of
        privateers.--Mode of clearance differs in different
        States.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, October 12th, 1778,                   470

        Mr Izard's effects.--American seamen in the British
        service.

    From James Lovell to the Commissioners. Philadelphia,
    October 12th, 1778,                                            474

    To Ralph Izard. Passy, October 13th, 1778,                     474

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, October 13th, 1778,                   475

    To the Americans taken on board the English frigates. Passy,
    October 15th, 1778,                                            475

        Requesting of American sailors in prison a list of those
        willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United
        States.

    To M. Dumas. Passy, October 16th, 1778,                        476

        On Van Berckel's declaration.--Treaty with Holland.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Marly, October 19th,
    1778,                                                          478

        Mr Izard's effects.

    To Ralph Izard. Passy, October 22d, 1778,                      479

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Marly, October 26th,
    1778,                                                          479

        Surrender of American seamen captured in British
        ships.--Of American prisoners in general.

    M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, October 27th, 1778,      480

        Memorial of the merchants of Amsterdam.--Reply of Lord
        Suffolk to representations of the States of
        Holland.--Opinion of the city of Amsterdam.

    To E. T. Van Berckel, Burgomaster of Amsterdam. Passy,
    October 29th, 1778,                                            483

        Proposing an interview at Aix-la-Chapelle.

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, October 29th, 1778,              483

        On the Eleventh and Twelfth articles of the Treaty.

    Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Versailles, October
    30th, 1778,                                                    484

        On Arrangement with the Barbary Powers.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, October 30th, 1778,                   484

        Thanking him for the liberation of four American
        prisoners.--English whale fishery on the coast of
        Brazil.--Vessels manned by American seamen.--Exposed
        state of the ships.--Mr Lee refuses to sign the letter.

    Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Versailles, October
    31st, 1778,                                                    487

        Fixing the day for interchange of declarations annulling
        the Eleventh and Twelfth articles of the Treaty.

    M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, November 4th, 1778,      488

        Disposition of Amsterdam.--New memorial of Sir J.
        Yorke.--Project of a treaty under consideration.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, November 15th, 1778,                  490

        Succors to American prisoners.

    To the President of Congress. Passy, November 7th, 1778,       491

        Enclosing declaration concerning the Eleventh and
        Twelfth articles of the treaty, also correspondence with
        M. de Sartine on recaptures; on the negotiation with
        Barbary States.--Interest on loan office
        certificates.--Disposition of England, of Prussia,
        Russia, Holland.--Preparations in Spain.

    M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, November 10th, 1778,     493

        Proceedings in Holland.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, November
    12th, 1778,                                                    495

        M. de Fleury, in the American service, prisoner at St
        Augustine.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, November 12th, 1778,                  495

        Requesting convoy for ships from Nantes.--Propriety of
        strengthening the French naval force in America.

    M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, November 13th, 1778,     497

        Project to grant a convoy for naval stores.--King of
        France declares his expectations.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, November
    14th, 1778,                                                    498

        American prisoners in France.

    M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, November 20th, 1778,     499

        Triumph of the English party in the Assembly of the
        Province.--Amsterdam protests.

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, January 1st, 1779,               500

        Threats of the British Commissioners to change the
        conduct of the war in America.--Former
        severities.--Object of this change.--Congress declare
        that they will retaliate.--Propriety of interference by
        France.--Advantage of a strong French fleet in the
        American seas.--Coalition of parties in England against
        the Americans.

    To M. de Sartine. Passy, January 2d, 1779,                     507

        American prisoners in France.

    M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, January
    13th, 1779,                                                    508

        American prisoners in France.--English prisoners.

    To William Lee, at Frankfort. Passy, January 13th, 1779,       509

    To John Lloyd, and others. Passy, January 26th, 1779,          509

        Free ports in France.--Barbary powers.--Duties to be
        paid in France.

    To Count de Vergennes. Passy, February 9th, 1779,              511

        Recaptures of French ships by Americans.

    To M. Schweighauser. Passy, February 10th, 1779,               513

        Plate returned by Captain Jones to the Countess of
        Selkirk.

    To John Paul Jones. Passy, February 10th, 1779,                513

NOTE.--The French money, so often mentioned in this and the succeeding
volumes, is reckoned in livres, sols, and deniers. Thus, 85,706_l._
16_s._ 3_d._ or, 85,706. 16. 3. indicates 85,706 livres, 16 sols, 3
deniers. In reducing this money to American currency, five livres and
eight sols were allowed to the dollar.



THE

CORRESPONDENCE

OF

SILAS DEANE,

COMMISSIONER FROM THE UNITED STATES

TO THE COURT OF FRANCE.



Silas Deane was born in the town of Groton, Connecticut, and graduated
at Yale College in 1758. He was a member from his native colony of the
first Congress that met in Philadelphia. Early in the year 1776 the
Committee of Secret Correspondence commissioned him to go to France,
as a political and commercial agent. He was instructed to ascertain
the disposition of the French Court, in regard to the contest between
Great Britain and the Colonies, and to procure if possible supplies of
arms and military stores. Having arrived at Paris in June, he
immediately applied himself to execute his instructions, and was
successful in obtaining the main objects for which he was sent.

In September three Commissioners were appointed by Congress to
negotiate treaties with foreign powers, and particularly with the
Court of France. The persons chosen were Dr Franklin, Silas Deane and
Arthur Lee. They all met at Paris in December, and continued to
procure supplies of money and arms for the United States; till at
length they signed the treaties of alliance and commerce with France,
February 6th, 1778. Meantime Deane had been recalled on the 21st of
November preceding. Of this he received the intelligence in March
following, and left Paris April 1st to join Count d'Estaing's fleet at
Toulon, in which he came to America.

The account which he gave to Congress of his transactions abroad, was
not satisfactory, and he was detained many months in Philadelphia
soliciting opportunities to vindicate himself before Congress from
what he deemed the unjust charges of his enemies; but the papers
relating to his mercantile proceedings having been left in France, he
was not able wholly to remove the unfavorable impression that existed
against him. Congress, however, neither passed a vote of censure nor
approbation of his conduct.

In the spring of 1780 he returned to France, where he remained more
than a year in reduced circumstances, attempting to settle his
accounts. He exhibited large claims against Congress, which do not
appear to have been allowed. In March, 1782, he was living in Ghent.
After the peace he went to England, where he died in August 1789.



THE

CORRESPONDENCE

OF

SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO SILAS DEANE.[1]

                                         Philadelphia, March 3d, 1776.

On your arrival in France, you will for some time be engaged in the
business of providing goods for the Indian trade. This will give good
countenance to your appearing in the character of a merchant, which we
wish you continually to retain among the French, in general, it being
probable that the court of France may not like it should be known
publicly, that any agent from the Colonies is in that country. When
you come to Paris, by delivering Dr Franklin's letters to Monsieur Le
Roy at the Louvre, and M. Dubourg, you will be introduced to a set of
acquaintance, all friends to the Americans. By conversing with them,
you will have a good opportunity of acquiring Parisian French, and you
will find in M. Dubourg, a man prudent, faithful, secret, intelligent
in affairs, and capable of giving you very sage advice.

It is scarce necessary to pretend any other business at Paris, than
the gratifying of that curiosity, which draws numbers thither yearly,
merely to see so famous a city. With the assistance of Monsieur
Dubourg, who understands English, you will be able to make immediate
application to Monsieur de Vergennes, _Ministre des Affaires
Etrangères_, either personally or by letter, if M. Dubourg adopts that
method, acquainting him that you are in France upon business of the
American Congress, in the character of a merchant, having something to
communicate to him, that may be mutually beneficial to France and the
North American Colonies; that you request an audience of him, and that
he would be pleased to appoint the time and place. At this audience if
agreed to, it may be well to show him first your letter of credence,
and then acquaint him that the Congress, finding that in the common
course of commerce, it was not practicable to furnish the continent of
America with the quantity of arms and ammunition necessary for its
defence, (the Ministry of Great Britain having been extremely
industrious to prevent it,) you had been despatched by their authority
to apply to some European power for a supply. That France had been
pitched on for the first application, from an opinion, that if we
should, as there is a great appearance we shall, come to a total
separation from Great Britain, France would be looked upon as the
power, whose friendship it would be fittest for us to obtain and
cultivate. That the commercial advantages Britain had enjoyed with the
Colonies, had contributed greatly to her late wealth, and importance.
That it is likely great part of our commerce will naturally fall to
the share of France; especially if she favors us in this application,
as that will be a means of gaining and securing the friendship of the
Colonies; and that as our trade was rapidly increasing with our
increase of people, and in a greater proportion, her part of it will
be extremely valuable. That the supply we at present want, is clothing
and arms for twenty five thousand men with a suitable quantity of
ammunition, and one hundred field pieces. That we mean to pay for the
same by remittances to France or through Spain, Portugal, or the
French Islands, as soon as our navigation can be protected by
ourselves or friends; and that we besides want great quantities of
linens and woollens, with other articles for the Indian trade, which
you are now actually purchasing, and for which you ask no credit, and
that the whole, if France should grant the other supplies, would make
a cargo which it might be well to secure by a convoy of two or three
ships of war.

If you should find M. de Vergennes reserved, and not inclined to enter
into free conversation with you, it may be well to shorten your visit,
request him to consider what you have proposed, acquaint him with your
place of lodging, that you may yet stay sometime at Paris, and that
knowing how precious his time is, you do not presume to ask another
audience, but that if he should have any commands for you, you will
upon the least notice immediately wait upon him. If, at a future
conference he should be more free, and you find a disposition to favor
the Colonies, it may be proper to acquaint him, that they must
necessarily be anxious to know the disposition of France, on certain
points, which, with his permission, you would mention, such as whether
if the Colonies should be forced to form themselves into an
independent state, France would probably acknowledge them as such,
receive their ambassadors, enter into any treaty or alliance with
them, for commerce or defence, or both? If so, on what principal
conditions? Intimating that you shall speedily have an opportunity of
sending to America, if you do not immediately return, and that he may
be assured of your fidelity and secrecy in transmitting carefully any
thing he would wish conveyed to the Congress on that subject. In
subsequent conversations, you may, as you find it convenient, enlarge
on these topics, that have been the subjects of our conferences, with
you, to which you may occasionally add the well known substantial
answers, we usually give to the several calumnies thrown out against
us. If these supplies on the credit of the Congress should be refused,
you are then to endeavor the obtaining a permission of purchasing
those articles, or as much of them as you can find credit for. You
will keep a daily journal of all your material transactions, and
particularly of what passes in your conversation with great
personages; and you will by every safe opportunity, furnish us with
such information as may be important. When your business in France
admits of it, it may be well to go into Holland, and visit our agent
there, M. Dumas, conferring with him on subjects that may promote our
interest, and on the means of communication.

You will endeavor to procure a meeting with Mr Bancroft by writing a
letter to him, under cover to Mr Griffiths at Turnham Green, near
London, and desiring him to come over to you, in France or Holland, on
the score of old acquaintance. From him you may obtain a good deal of
information of what is now going forward in England, and settle a mode
of continuing a correspondence. It may be well to remit him a small
bill to defray his expenses in coming to you, and avoid all political
matters in your letter to him. You will also endeavor to correspond
with Mr Arthur Lee, agent of the Colonies in London. You will endeavor
to obtain acquaintance with M. Garnier, late _Chargé des Affaires de
France en Angleterre_, if now in France, or if returned to England, a
correspondence with him, as a person extremely intelligent and
friendly to our cause. From him, you may learn many particulars
occasionally, that will be useful to us.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       BENJ. HARRISON,
                                                       JOHN DICKINSON,
                                                       ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                       JOHN JAY.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] On the 29th November, 1775 a committee was appointed by Congress,
which was called the _Committee of Secret Correspondence_, and
consisted of five persons. The first members chosen were Harrison,
Franklin, Johnson, Dickinson and Jay. The purpose of the committee was
to correspond with the friends of the Colonies in Great Britain,
Ireland, and other parts of the world, and communicate their
correspondence to Congress when required. Provision was made for
defraying expenses, and paying such agents as the committee might send
on this service.

There was another standing _Secret Committee_ of Congress, first
instituted September 18th, 1775, and empowered to purchase arms,
ammunition and military stores, and also to export various articles to
meet the charges of such purchases abroad. But this committee had no
connexion with that of secret correspondence. It was dissolved, July
5th, 1777, when the _Committee of Commerce_ was appointed in its
stead.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                             Paris, August 18th, 1776.

I wrote you every material occurrence to the time of my leaving
Bordeaux, and sent duplicates by Captains Palmer, Bunker, and Seaver,
one of which you will undoubtedly have received, before this comes to
hand. I left that city on the last of June, and arrived here the
Saturday following, having carefully attended to every thing in the
manufacturing or commercial towns in my way, which, indeed, are
neither numerous nor of great consequence. I spent at Angouleme a day
in viewing what, as to manufactures alone, deserves attention on the
journey; the foundery for cannon, where the greatest part of those
used in the kingdom are manufactured. The cannon are cast solid, after
which they are put as in a turner's lathe, and bored out, and the
outside smoothed and turned at pleasure; they can bore and complete a
twelve pounder in one day in each lathe, which takes four men only to
work; the workmen freely showed me every part of their furnace and
foundery. On Monday after my arrival, I waited on my bankers, and
found that Mr Bancroft had arrived the same day with me, Mr Thomas
Morris and M. Venzonals about ten days before. I waited on M. Dubourg
and delivered him Dr Franklin's letter, which gave the good gentleman
the most sincere and real pleasure.

M. Penet, on his arrival in Paris, waited on M. Dubourg, showed him a
copy of his contract with the committee of Congress, and told him he
had letters from Dr Franklin to him, but had left them on the road, or
at Rotterdam, through fear of a search; he told M. Dubourg, to whom he
was a perfect stranger, so many particular circumstances, that he
could not doubt of his sincerity, and in consequence he embarked in
his affairs to a large amount. Five or six weeks have now passed
without the arrival of the letters said to be left on the road. Arms,
powder, &c. to a large sum were in readiness, when my arrival gave him
confidence, that I would take the burden off him, as he doubted not
that my credentials would be explicit. I saw immediately the
arrangement of the whole, and that M. Penet had returned to France,
(copy of the contract excepted,) almost as empty handed as he came to
Philadelphia, yet had found means to collect a very considerable
quantity of stores, part of which he had actually shipped. This
circumstance gave me hopes, yet I found that it would now be expected
I should become responsible for the articles, which embarrassed me
much, since to detain them would be quite disagreeable, and to step
out of my own line and involve myself with Messrs Plairne and Penet's
contract, would be equally so.

M. Penet had somehow got intelligence of my being in France, and that
I was expected at Paris; he, therefore, waited for me, and I saw him
the next day at my hotel, when he complained of want of remittances,
and desired me to pledge my credit for the stores, which I waived in
the best manner I could, for I saw the consequences might involve me
in many difficulties and frustrate my greater designs. I, therefore,
told him I would certify to the merchants, if necessary, that the
Congress would pay for whatever stores they would credit them with,
and in the mean time, advised him to proceed strictly agreeable to the
letter of the contract, and I was positive that the Congress would
fulfil their part of it. I finally satisfied both him and M. Dubourg,
and he parted for Nantes to ship the goods the next day. I must do him
the justice that is his due; he has been indefatigable in the
business, his heart seems to be entirely in it, and I believe him
honest, but his connexions either commercial or political are not, of
themselves, equal to such an undertaking, but the cause he was
employed in, had, in a great measure, I found, supplied this
deficiency, which was to me a favorable appearance.

M. Dubourg told me that the ministers would not see me, as they meant
to be quite secret in any countenance they gave the United Colonies,
and that my arrival in France was already known in London, in
consequence of which Lord Stormont arrived express but a few days
before, and had applied to the court on the subject. I showed him my
commission, and told him I was determined to apply; for every
circumstance, in my opinion, was favorable instead of otherwise. On
this he wrote a letter to Count de Vergennes, asking liberty to
introduce me the Thursday following, on which day I went to
Versailles, and though the letter had not been delivered to his
excellency, yet he gave us immediate admission. Fortunately his chief
secretary spoke English well, by which means I had an opportunity of
conversing freely with him on the subject of my commission for two
hours, and was attentively and favorably heard by him, and was asked
many questions, which shows that the American disputes had been, and
still were a principal object of attention. I pursued nearly the line
marked out by my instructions, stating the importance of the American
commerce and the advantages Great Britain had received from a monopoly
of it. That all intercourse ceasing between the two countries the
Colonies had considered where they might dispose of that produce,
which they necessarily had so large a surplus of, and receive for
their raw or first materials the various manufactures they wanted.
That they first turned their eyes on France, as the best country in
Europe for them to be connected with in commerce. That I was
purchasing a large quantity of manufactures for which I expected to
pay the money, and that I should want a quantity of military stores,
for which remittances would be made. That I doubted not the Colonies
had before this declared independency, and that I should soon receive
instructions in consequence, more full and explicit; that in the mean
time they were very anxious to know how such a declaration would be
received by the powers in Europe, particularly by France, and whether,
in such case, an ambassador would be received from them, &c.

To which he replied, that the importance of the American commerce was
well known, and that no country could so well supply the Colonies, and
in return receive their produce as France; it was, therefore, the
interest of both to have the most free and uninterrupted intercourse,
for which reason the court had ordered their ports to be kept open,
and equally free to America, as to Britain. That, considering the good
understanding between the two courts of Versailles and London, they
could not _openly_ encourage the shipping of warlike stores, but no
obstruction of any kind would be given; if there should, as the custom
houses were not fully in their secrets in this matter, such
obstructions should be removed, on the first application. That I must
consider myself perfectly free to carry on any kind of commerce in the
kingdom, which any subject of any other state in the world might, as
the court had resolved their ports should be equally free to both
parties. That I was under his immediate protection, and should I meet
with any difficulty, either from their police, with the rules of which
he supposed me unacquainted, or from any other quarter, I had but to
apply to him and every thing should be settled. That as to
independency, it was an event in the womb of time, and it would be
highly improper for him to say any thing on that subject, until it had
actually taken place; mean time he informed me, that the British
ambassador knew of my arrival, and therefore advised me not to
associate with Englishmen, more than I was from necessity obliged; as
he doubted not I should have many spies on my conduct.

I then told him the precautions I had taken and should persevere in,
in coming from Bermuda, and that I did not mean in public to pass for
other than a merchant from that island, on speculation, during the
present cessation of commerce in America; but at the same time I told
his excellency, that I was well assured it was known in London, that I
was coming long before I arrived at Paris, and I doubted not, they
conjectured my errand, but at the same time, I should take every
precaution in my power; and most sincerely thanked him for his
protection and assistance so generously offered, which he might depend
I would never abuse. He was pleased with my having come by Bermuda,
and passing as an inhabitant of that island, and said, if questioned,
he should speak of me in that character. He then asked me many
questions with respect to the Colonies, but what he seemed most to
want to be assured of, was their ability to subsist without their
fisheries, and under the interruption of their commerce. To this I
replied, in this manner, that the fisheries were never carried on, but
by a part of the Colonies, and by them, not so much as a means of
subsistence, as of commerce. That the fishery failing, those formerly
employed in them turned part to agriculture, and part to the army and
navy. That our commerce must for sometime be in a great measure
suspended, but that the greater part of our importations were far from
being necessaries of life, consequently we should not suffer under the
want of them, whilst it was not wealth or luxuries that we were
contending for. That our commerce ceasing, it would be out of the
power of our enemies to support themselves on our plunder, and on the
other hand, our ships, as privateers, might harrass their commerce,
without a possibility of their retaliating. That I hoped to see a
considerable marine force in the Colonies, and that, joined to the
impossibility of Britain's guarding so extensive a coast, would
preserve some of our commerce, until it should be thought an object
deserving the protection of other powers.

After many questions on this subject, he put this, in which I thought
he seemed interested,--whether, if the Colonies declare an
independency, they would not differ among themselves? To this I
replied, that the greatest harmony had as yet subsisted, and I had no
grounds to doubt it in future; that the common danger, which first
drove them into measures, which must end in such a declaration, would
subsist, and that alone was sufficient to ensure their union.

He then desired me to give his secretary my address, and said, though
he should be glad to see me often, yet as matters were circumstanced,
his house was too public a place, but that I might put the same
confidence in his secretary as himself, to whom I might apply for
advice and direction, but that whenever anything of importance
occurred, I need but inform him, and he would see me; but on common
occasions, I must address the secretary, which would be every way more
convenient as he understood the English language well, and was a
person in whom the greatest confidence could be placed. Having settled
the mode of intercourse, I expressed the sense I had of his
excellency's politeness, and the generous protection he had given me,
and on parting said, if my commission or the mode of introducing the
subject were out of the usual course, I must rely on his goodness to
make allowances for a new formed people, in circumstances altogether
unprecedented, and for their agent wholly unacquainted with courts. To
which he replied, that the people and their cause were very
respectable in the eyes of all disinterested persons, and that the
interview had been agreeable.

After this I returned to Paris with M. Dubourg, whose zeal for the
American cause led him to draw the most favorable consequences from
this beginning. The next day while from home I was informed that Count
Laureguais had inquired out my lodgings, immediately after which he
asked leave to go for England, which was refused him by the court. The
same day I was informed that Sir Hans Stanley and Sir Charles
Jenkinson, who I knew were at Bordeaux when I left it, were in France,
for the sole purpose of inquiring what agents were here from the
Colonies, and what commerce or other negotiation between them and the
Colonies was carrying on. This alarmed my friends, and as I had agreed
for other lodgings, to which I was next day to remove, M. Dubourg
advised me to secrete both my lodgings and name. I told him that the
Count Laureguais' conduct appeared mysterious, yet I could never think
of keeping myself secret, for though I should not seek these
gentlemen, nor throw myself purposely in their way, yet I must think
it an ill compliment to count Vergennes, to suppose after what had
passed, that I was not on as good and safe footing in France, as they
or any other gentleman could be. However, his uneasiness made him
write to the Count what he had advised, who returned for answer, that
such a step was both unnecessary and impolitic, as it would only
strengthen suspicions by giving every thing an air of mystery, while
there was not the least occasion for it.

The next day I had a fresh conference with M. Dubourg, who brought me
a number of memorials from officers and engineers offering their
services in America; some of whom, I believe, deserve the utmost
encouragement; but more of this hereafter. While I was casting in my
mind, how best to improve the present favorable crisis for supplying
the Colonies, Monsieur Beaumarchais made proposals for procuring
whatever should be wanted, but in such a manner as was understood by
M. Dubourg to amount to a monopoly, which indeed was not his only
objection, for Monsieur Beaumarchais, though confessedly a man of
abilities, had always been a man of pleasure and never of business;
but as he was recommended by Count Vergennes, M. Dubourg could not
avoid noticing him, but immediately expostulated with the Count in a
letter, which brought on embarrassments no way favorable, and I saw
that M. Dubourg was so far from sounding the views of his superior in
this manoeuvre, that he was, with the best intentions in the world, in
danger of counteracting his own wishes, the extent of which were, to
obtain the supplies of merchants and manufacturers on the credit of
the Colonies, in which the strictest punctuality and most scrupulous
exactness would be necessary, and which under the present difficulties
of remittance, I feared would not be lived up to.

As I had learned, that in the late reform of the French army, they had
shifted their arms for those of a lighter kind, the heavy ones, most
of which were the same as new, to the amount of seventy or eighty
thousands, lay useless in magazines, with other military stores, in
some such proportion, I apprehended it no way impossible to come at a
supply from hence, through the agency of some merchant, without the
ministry being concerned in the matter. In such case the merchant
would be accountable to the ministry, and the Colonies to the
merchant, by which means a greater time of payment might be given, and
more allowance in case of our being disappointed. With this in view I
went to Versailles on Wednesday, the 17th, and waited on M. Gerard,
first secretary of foreign affairs, and presented to him the enclosed
memorial,[2] which led to a very particular conversation on the
affairs of America, and which I turned finally on this subject, to
which he would not then give me any immediate answer, but promised me
one in a day or two. Returning to town, I found Messrs Dubourg and
Beaumarchais had a misunderstanding, the latter giving out that he
could effect every thing we wished for, and the former, from the known
circumstances of M. Beaumarchais, and his known carelessness in money
matters, suspecting he could procure nothing, and the more so as he
promised so largely. They parted much displeased with each other, and
Mons. Beaumarchais went directly to Versailles. On M. Dubourg's coming
and informing me what had passed, I immediately wrote to M. Gerard the
enclosed letter,[3] and in return was desired to come with M. Dubourg
the next morning to Versailles.

We went as desired, and after explaining many things to M. Gerard, had
a conference with his excellency, from whom I had fresh assurances of
the utmost freedom and protection in their ports and on their coasts;
that in one word, I might rely on whatever Mons. Beaumarchais should
engage in the commercial way of supplies, which, indeed, was all I
wished for, as I was on the safe side of the question, viz. on the
receiving part. I communicated to his excellency that clause of my
instructions for procuring arms, &c. of which he asked a copy. I then
informed him, that I considered the present as a most critical
juncture of American affairs, that the campaign would undoubtedly be
carried far into the winter, that supplies now shipped might arrive
very seasonably in the fall to enable the Colonies to hold out the
present campaign. He replied that no delay should be made by any
obstruction of any officer, or others of the customs or police. He
then told me that the Count Laureguais was, perhaps, a well meaning
man, but not sufficiently discreet for such purposes as this; that Mr
Lee, meaning Mr Arthur Lee of London, had confided, he feared, too
much in him, and wished me to caution him on the subject, and that if
I would write to him, he would enclose it in a letter of his, by a
courier that evening. I most readily embraced this safe way of
corresponding, and sent a letter I had before written, with an
addition on this subject, a copy of which is enclosed. I have thus
given you the heads of my negotiation to this time, July 20th, and
will not take up your time in making remarks on it, and the prospect
before me, which are obvious; but inform you of the plan I mean to
pursue, in the execution of my commission, and hint some methods, by
which I think I may be enabled to complete every part of it to your
satisfaction, and the relief of my country, which is all my wish, and
the extent of my most ambitious hopes. I go on the supposition of an
actual unconditional independency, without which little can be
effected publicly; with it, almost every thing we can wish for.

It is by no means probable that Europe will long remain in a state of
peace; the disputes between Portugal and Spain are on the point of
producing an open rupture; the former relies on England; the latter
will look to this kingdom, and has already applied to this Court on
the subject. Nothing but the division of Poland has taken the king of
Prussia's attention off from the injustice done him by Great Britain,
at the close of the last war. He has now completed his part of that
extraordinary work, and I am well informed, listens with pleasure to
the dispute between the United Colonies and Great Britain. He is
ambitious of becoming a maritime power, and is already in possession
of the capital ports on the Baltic; but without commerce it is
impossible to effect the design, and no commerce can put him so
directly in the road as the American. The consumption of coffee,
sugar, and other West India productions, increases fast in the north
of Europe, and it must be his interest, at least, to supply his own
dominions. In case of a war in Europe, France, Spain and Prussia might
be brought into one interest, and the emperor of Germany is too
closely connected with his majesty of France to take part against
them, after which Great Britain, having her whole force employed in
America, there could be nothing on the one hand to prevent Spain and
France from reducing Portugal to a submission to the former, nor from
Prussia and France subduing and incorporating into their own dominions
Hanover, and the other little mercenary electorates, which lie between
them, and which for several centuries have been one principal cause of
every war that has happened in Europe.

With respect to Russia, it is as closely allied to Prussia, as to
Great Britain, and may be expected to be master in the contest.
Denmark and Sweden are a balance for each other, and opposites. Not to
enlarge on this plan at present, I have only to suggest, that an
application to the king of Prussia will do no harm, and may be
attended with good and great consequences; the Prussian ambassador at
this court and at that of London may be sounded on the subject. But my
powers and instructions are so limited, that I can by no means take
such a step; yet when I see Great Britain exerting her whole force,
and that of her allies, and courting every power in Europe to aid her,
I can but wish she may be counteracted in her own system, and by
having employ found for her in Europe, bring her to leave America in
peace, and I think myself bound in duty to hint at what to me seems
the most probable means. Dr Bancroft was full with me in this opinion.
Mons. Chaumont, a very wealthy person, and intendant for providing
clothes, &c. &c. for the French army, has offered me a credit on
account of the Colonies, to the amount of one million of livres, which
I have accepted. I have in treaty another credit, which joined to this
will purchase the articles directed in my instructions; the credit
will be until May next, before which I hope remittances will be made.
I have purchased of said M. Chaumont a quantity of saltpetre at ten
sous, or five and one fourth per cent, in order that Captain Morgan
might not return empty.

As soon as I have given the orders for despatching him, and settled
some other matters here, I design for Dunkirk to ship the Indian
goods, which I hope may arrive in season for the winter supply, though
I leave you to consider my situation with only about 6 or 7000 pounds
to complete a contract of forty, and the bills for my private expenses
being protested, obliged to support myself out of that capital, which
I labor to do with all the economy in my power. Dr Bancroft is
returned to London, and by him I wrote to Mons. Garnier, and agreed on
a mode of correspondence. I think your remittances in armed vessels
will be much the best method, and I have ordered Captain Morgan's
sloop to be armed, and should she arrive safe, recommend him, as one I
am confident will serve the Colonies with great zeal and fidelity;
and I have had some experience of the goodness of his temper and his
abilities. Mr Seymour, his mate, is also deserving of encouragement,
as a good seaman and of undaunted resolution. I am not without hopes
of obtaining liberty for the armed Vessels of the United Colonies to
dispose of their prizes in the ports of this kingdom, and also for
arming and fitting out vessels of war directly from hence, but I will
not venture on this until I see what effect my last memoir may have;
the substance of which is, to shew the danger to France and Spain, if
they permit Great Britain to keep so enormous a force in America, and
to recover the dominion of the Colonies; also how fully it is in their
power to prevent it, and by that means deprive Great Britain of the
principal source of her wealth and force, even without hazarding a war
of any consequence in point of danger.

This memoir, which takes several sheets, I am unable to send you a
copy of, as I have no one to assist me, and must make out several
copies for the persons to whom they are to be delivered. I was
directed to apply for arms and clothes for 25,000 men, and for 100
field pieces, with ammunition and stores in proportion. This I wished
to get of the ministry direct, but they evaded it, and I am now in
treaty for procuring them, through the agency of Mons. Chaumont and
Mons. Beaumarchais, on a credit of eight months, from the time of
their delivery. If I effect this, as I undoubtedly shall, I must rely
on the remittances being made this fall and winter without fail, or
the credit of the Colonies must suffer. If I can get the arms out of
the magazines, and the field pieces here, I hope for a much longer
credit; but if we send to Sweden for the brass cannon, the credit will
not be lengthened beyond that. Some new improvements have lately been
made in this branch, consequently the cannon now manufactured will be
preferable to those of former construction. Some engineers here
assert, that iron is preferable to brass, that is, wrought iron, out
of which the pieces may be made lighter, and to a better purpose.
Considering the want of these pieces, and the plenty of iron in
America, the experiment might, I think, be made without delay. I am
still in hopes of procuring an admission of the article of tobacco
directly from America, but the Farmers-General will not offer
equivalent to the risk.

Without intelligence from April to this time, leaves me quite
uncertain and extremely anxious about the line of conduct now pursuing
by Congress, and consequently I cannot, without further intelligence
and instructions, proceed in my negotiation either with safety or
honor. The resolution of Congress of the 15th of May, is not
considered by the ministry as a declaration of independence, but only
a previous step, and until this decisive step is taken, I can do
little more to any purpose. This taken, I dare pledge myself, the
United Colonies may obtain all the countenance and assistance they
wish for, in the most open and public manner, and the most unlimited
credit with the merchants of this kingdom; I must therefore urge this
measure, if not already taken, and that the declaration be in the most
full and explicit terms.

Merchants here would speculate deeply in the American trade, could
they be insured at any premium within bounds. I wish to know if
offices are already open, and I would suggest that if the Congress
would take the insurance under their own direction, it would give it
such a proportionably greater credit, that supplies would most
certainly be obtained in plenty. I shall be able to procure a private
interview with the Spanish Ambassador, and shall present him my
memorial, and am in a train, which I think will carry it quite to the
fountain head.

Thus I have in a minute, possibly a tedious detail, mentioned every
thing material on my mind, which has occurred since my arrival, and
submit the whole to the wisdom and candor of the honorable Congress,
observing that I had gone to the extent of my instructions, and though
I have been successful beyond my expectations, yet I have but been
laboring principally to set certain great wheels in motion, which
still want something more decisive on my part, and I am confident of
all that is wanting to set them so effectually moving, as to roll the
burthen and calamities of war from our doors back with aggravated ruin
on its authors, which, if I can be the means of effecting, the world
may bestow the rest of its honors on whom it pleases; I shall be
contented, the extent of my most ambitious hopes thus accomplished.

I have now to urge a survey with respect to the contents of this
letter; more that is said in Congress transpires and crosses the
Atlantic, than you conceive of; more than I can account for, without
having uncharitable thoughts of individuals, still without fixing them
on any one. I have written a short letter to Mr Jay on common affairs,
and have enclosed one to Mons. Longueville, which I pray may be
forwarded; the letter is from his friends here, who have heard of his
being a prisoner somewhere in America. M. Dubourg has continued to
render me every assistance in his power; to be particular would swell
this letter beyond all bounds; his abilities and connexions are of the
first style in this kingdom, and his zeal for the cause of the United
Colonies is to be described only by saying, that at times it is in
danger of urging him beyond both; in short, I am every way deeply
indebted to him, personally for bringing me acquainted with agreeable
persons of rank and character, and on account of my honored
constituents, for assisting me to make such a favorable beginning and
progress in my business. I know not how affluent he may be, but as he
has really for some time devoted himself to assist in this
negotiation, I am confident something honorable will be thought of for
him. I have complimented him by asking of him his portrait to be sent
to his and my friends in America, in my private capacity, mentioning
our mutual friend Dr Franklin. This I found so agreeable, that I am
confident some such distinction would be more acceptable than more
lucrative rewards. Dr B. took pains to collect all the political
publications of the last year for me and brought them with him; he was
at considerable expense in his journey; I sent him from Bordeaux a
bill of £30, and paid his expenses in my lodgings here; at parting I
desired him to keep an account, and when the money was expended to
inform me. This gentleman is certainly capable of giving as good, if
not the best intelligence of any man in Great Britain, as he is
closely connected with the most respectable of the minority in both
houses, not particularly obnoxious to the majority, and for his
abilities, they are too well known to Dr Franklin to need any attempt
to do them justice in a letter. I am with the highest esteem and
respect for the honorable Congress and their Committee of Secret
Correspondence, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_August 1st._--Since writing the foregoing I have been at ---- and am
of opinion, that a war between Portugal and Spain is at the door, and
I have had an interview proposed with the ambassador of Portugal, who
resides here on commercial affairs, which I have most readily
embraced, and expect to see him again on Wednesday next, after which I
will write you further; his proposals are merely commercial, as is his
station, but something else may be investigated.

_August 2nd._--I should have sent this off earlier, but delayed on
account of hearing something more directly; if I might depend on
certain articles for which I was in treaty, I am now assured I may,
and the whole will be ready to ship in all the month of October. My
next labor will be to obtain a convoy, which I do not despair of,
though it is a delicate question, and I have only sounded at a
distance, yet I have no doubt of obtaining one, at least, off the
coast of Europe, and the articles will be shipped as for the West
India islands. I propose arming and well manning the vessels in which
these articles shall be embarked, and I advise again the sending all
remittances to Europe in armed vessels; the probability of meeting
with English merchants is well worth the risk. I hope that it will be
considered that 100 field pieces, and arms, clothing and
accoutrements, with military stores for 25,000 men, is a large affair;
and that although I am promised any credit, yet as they must be paid
for, the sooner the better, if to be done without too great a risk.

A considerable part of these articles are now on hand, and orders are
issued for the others by the contractors this day. I prefer Bordeaux
to any other port for shipping them from, but the remittances must be
made to several, on which I will give you my opinion in my next. A
number of gentlemen of rank and fortune, who have seen service, and
have good characters, are desirous of serving the United Colonies,
and have applied; pray let me have orders on this subject; if it be
politic to interest this kingdom in the present contest, what way so
effectual as to get into their debt for supplies, and employ persons
of good family and connexions in it, in our service? I have given
encouragement, on which some are prepared to embark. One Mons. C. a
celebrated engineer, who was chief in that way in the Turkish army, is
returned, and is willing to go to America, but the ministry cannot as
yet spare him, as certain regulations are making elsewhere; possibly
he may go out sometime in the winter; he is a first character in his
profession and otherwise. Indeed, this contention has set on foot such
a spirit of inquiry in Europe into the state of America, that I am
convinced that at the first close of this war, if, as I trust in God,
it will close in our favor, there will be an inundation of inhabitants
from this side of the globe. Many persons of capital fortunes have
declared to me their resolution of moving to America, as soon as the
liberties of America shall be established, and that many of their
friends will accompany them.

_August 15th._--I received from a friend at Amsterdam, a letter
informing me that he would be with me on the 20th, and as the vessel
could not be sooner ready to sail, I determined not to risk this
packet by a private hand, or by the public post; he is now arrived and
takes charge of it in person. Were it possible, I would attempt to
paint to you the heart rending anxiety I have suffered in this time,
through a total want of intelligence; my arrival here, my name, my
lodgings, and many other particulars have been reported to the British
administration, on which they sent orders to the British ambassador to
remonstrate in high terms, and to enforce their remonstrance,
despatched Wedderburn from London, and lord Rochford from Holland, as
a person of great interest and address here to counteract me. They
have been some time here, and the city swarms with Englishmen, and as
money purchases every thing in this country, I have had and still have
a most difficult task to avoid their machinations. Not a coffee-house
or theatre, or other place of public diversion, but swarms with their
emissaries; but knowing the ministry are my friends, I attend these
places as others, but cautiously avoid saying a word on American
affairs any where, except in my own hotel or those of my intimate
friends.

I have seen many more of the persons in power in this time, and had
long conversations with them; their intentions are good and they
appear convinced, but there is wanting a great and daring genius at
their head, which the Count Maurepas is very far from being; he has
even imbibed a notion, that no assistance is necessary, as the
Colonies are too powerful for Great Britain. All eyes are turned on
the Duc de Choiseul. I am convinced the moment he comes into office,
an active, open, and ---- will be taken. I think he will be minister
very soon; meantime I have nothing to complain of the ----. Indeed
they will not be altered if he takes the lead. I find M. Beaumarchais,
as I before hinted, possesses the entire confidence of the ministry;
he is a man of wit and genius, and a considerable writer on comic and
political subjects; all my supplies are to come through his hands,
which at first greatly discouraged my friends, knowing him to be a
person of no interest with the merchants, but had I been as doubtful
as they, I could not have stepped aside from the path so cordially
marked out for me by those I depend on. Mr Coudray, the engineer I
before hinted at, obtained liberty last week to go for America with
as many engineers as he should choose, and was not only assured of M.
Beaumarchais being able to procure the stores he had stipulated for,
but received orders for them, and liberty to take 200 pieces of brass
cannon, lest part might be intercepted. M. Coudray has the character
of the first engineer in the kingdom, and his manners and disposition
will, I am confident, be highly pleasing to you, as he is a plain,
modest, active, sensible man, perfectly averse to frippery and parade.
My friends here rejoice at the acquisition, and considering the
character of the man, and at whose hands I in effect received him, I
must congratulate you on it. Several young gentlemen of fortune, whose
families are nearly connected with the Court, are preparing to embark
for America, by each of whom I shall without disguise, write you the
characters they sustain here; I have told them that merit is the sole
object with the Congress. The bearer can give you some idea of the
situation I am in, should this packet fail, and should he arrive with
it he may explain some part of it. I am confident his attention to the
affairs of America here will be considered by the Congress; I have
found him in the mercantile way active and intelligent.

Mr Carmichael is now with me from Maryland, and I find him a person of
great merit. Respecting the Colonies he is recommended as such by ----
from whom he has received a letter but of no immediate importance; he
proposes seeing me here this month. M. Dumas has written me two
letters from the Hague, but so timid that he has not ventured to sign
either, though he speaks in the highest terms of the American cause.
The pamphlet called _Common Sense_ has been translated, and has a
greater run, if possible, here than in America. A person of
distinction writing to his noble friend in office, has these
words;--"Je pense comme vous, mon cher Compte, que le _Common Sense_
est une excellente ouvrage, at que son auteur est un des plus grands
legislateurs des millions d'ecrivains, que nous connoissions; il n'est
pas douteux, que si les Americains suivent le beau plan, que leur
compatriote leur a tracé, ils deviendront la nation la plus
florissante et la plus heureuse, qui ait jamais existé."

Thus freely do men think and write in a country long since deprived of
the essentials of liberty; as I was favored with a sight of the
letter, and permitted to make this extract, I thought it worth sending
you as a key to the sentiments of some of the leading men. I must
again remind you of my situation here; the bills designed for my use
are protested, and expenses rising fast in consequence of the business
on my hands, which I may on no account neglect, and a small douceur,
though I have been sparing in that way, is sometimes of the utmost
importance. The quantity of stores to be shipped will amount to a
large sum, the very charge on them will be great, for which I am the
only responsible person. Five vessels arrived from America with fish,
which is a prohibited article, and the officers of the customs
detained them, on which I was sent to and informed, that if those
vessels came from the Congress to me, they should be permitted to
unload and sell. Here was a difficulty indeed, for the Captain had not
so much as applied to me by letter; however, I assured the ---- that
there could be no doubt but they were designed for that use, and that
the letters to me must have miscarried, on which orders were issued
for unloading and storing those cargoes until further intelligence
should arrive. I mention this case in confidence, and pray that in
future some regulation may be made on this subject, and that vessels
coming out may be directed to apply to me as their agent or owner at
least, and I will procure in the different ports houses of known
reputation to transact their business. This is absolutely necessary,
for by this means their articles may be admitted. Tobacco may come in
this way, and every other article. ---- deeply indebted ostensibly to
M. Beaumarchais, he can obtain the liberty for the discharge of their
debts. M. Coudray will see that the articles of ammunition, cannon,
&c. are provided in the best manner for the army, and will embark
himself by the 1st of October.

I wrote you from Bermuda on the subject of seizing and fortifying that
island. I am well informed the British ministry have had it in
contemplation, and propose doing it next spring. Mr Warder, of
Philadelphia, came a few days since from Bordeaux to Paris, and called
on me with some young gentlemen from New England; he brought letters
from my good friends Messrs ---- in consequence of letters to them
from Mr Alsop. I received him as I do all my countrymen, with real
pleasure. A gentleman present warned him against conversing with a
particular person in Paris, to which Mr W. seemed to agree, yet I am
told he went directly from my hotel to that person, and informed him
of every thing he heard mentioned, and of every person he saw visiting
me; happily he could inform nothing of any consequence; for my chamber
was full of a mixed company, and the conversation was general and in
French and in English; but this conduct of his, with his want of
common complaisance in leaving the city without calling on me to
receive any letters I might have for London, which he had promised to
convey, has given me some uneasiness, and I mention the incident only
as a caution how and what persons are recommended. The pleasure I feel
in seeing one of my countrymen is such, that I may be in as great
danger from them as others, possibly much more. I should be unhappy if
any suspicion should operate to the prejudice of this person without
cause, but my friends here, who are kindly attentive to every thing
that is said or done which respects America, think very strange of his
conduct.

I rely on your indulgence for the length and incorrectness of this
letter. I have had much on my hands, and no one to assist me in
copying, &c. Visits from persons to whom I cannot be denied, or
visiting them, with constant applications made on various subjects,
take up my mornings, and I have had only now and then an evening to
write in.

I have seen the prime agent, who proposed something in the way of
supplying the Colonies with military stores from Prussia. I shall
confer further on the subject with him and write you. I have drawn up
a memorial on the commerce of America, and its importance to Europe,
and shall present it tomorrow to the different personages concerned. I
shall send a copy, if I can get one made, by this conveyance. The debt
of the Colonies in carrying on the war is a common topic for
ministerial writers, but permit me to assure you at the close of this
long letter, that the demand for land in America, if its liberties are
established, will more than compensate the whole expense. I will in a
future letter be more explicit on this important subject, but am well
convinced of the certainty of this fact, "that the advance in the
price of lands in America, if the Colonies are victorious, will more
than reimburse the expenses of the war." I have nothing material to
add. Never were a people more anxious for news than the people of
this kingdom are for news from America, and surely you will put me
down as one of the first in the roll of American heroes, when you
consider my situation, plunging into very important engagements, which
I can by no means avoid, yet without funds to support them. But I will
not enlarge on this subject, and only say, that I have met with every
possible encouragement from every person I have seen, whether in or
out of office, and I believe no person in the same space of time ever
conferred with more of both. My being known to be an American, and
supposed to be one of the Congress, and in business for the United
Colonies, has introduced me beyond what almost any other
recommendation could have done, which I mention to convince you of the
attention paid here to the cause of the United Colonies, and how very
popular it has become in this country.

I have repeatedly seen Mr Hopkins, formerly of Maryland, now advanced
to be a brigadier general in this service; he talks of coming out to
America; should the Duc de Choiseul, who is his friend and patron,
come into the lead of administration, he might come out to advantage.
Insurance from London to Jamaica is 20 per cent. If a few of our
cruizers should venture on this coast they might do very well, as they
would find protection in the harbors of this kingdom. Coming
ostensibly for the purpose only of commerce or otherwise, no questions
would be asked, and they might wait until an opportunity offered (of
which they might be minutely informed,) and then strike something to
the purpose. I give this hint to individuals, rather than to the
honorable Congress as a body. The bearer, Mr McCreary, has obliged me
by copying my memoir, which I send herewith. It has had a great run
among the ministers of this and some other courts in a private way. M.
Beaumarchais writes by this opportunity; he has shown me his letter,
and I have agreed in general to the contents, not understanding any
exclusive privilege for his house. Every thing he says, writes, or
does, is in reality the action of the ministry, for that a man should
but a few months since confine himself from his creditors, and now on
this occasion be able to advance half a million, is so extraordinary
that it ceases to be a mystery. M. Coudray was not in the Turkish
service as I was informed; it was a gentleman who proposes
accompanying him, but he is an officer of the first eminence, an
adjutant general in the French service, and his prospects here of
rising are exceeding good; but he is dissatisfied with an idle life.
His proposals in general have been, that he should be general of the
artillery, and subject only to the orders of congress or their
committee of war, or of their commander in chief of the army where he
might be. In the next place, that he should rank as major general, and
have the same wages, &c. coming in as youngest major general for the
present, and rising of course.

Many other particulars are not yet adjusted, but considering the
importance of having two hundred pieces of brass cannon, with every
necessary article for twenty five thousand men, provided with an able
and experienced general at the head of it, warranted by the minister
of this court to be an able and faithful man, with a number of fine
and spirited young officers in his train, and all without advancing
one shilling, is too tempting on object for me to hesitate about,
though I own there is a silence in my instructions. I therefore
honestly declare, I am at your mercy in this case, and I have no
uneasiness of mind on the occasion, for should I be sacrificed, it
will be in that cause to which I have devoted my life and every ----
in it. The terms of M. Coudray may be thought high, but consider a
person leaving a certain and permanent service and his native country,
to go he hardly knows where, and it must be supposed he will ask at
least as good terms as he could have in his own country, but as the
terms have not been particularly considered, I must defer any thing
further on this subject for the present, hourly in hopes of some
explicit intelligence from the honorable Congress. You have the good
wishes of every one here. Chevalier de Chastellier desires me this
instant to write down his compliments to Dr Franklin, and with
pleasure I say, the being known to be his friend, is one of the best
recommendations a man can wish to have in France, and will introduce
him when titles fail.

                                                                 S. D.


FOOTNOTES:

[2] Missing

[3] Missing

       *       *       *       *       *

FROM CARON DE BEAUMARCHAIS TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                             Translation.

                                             Paris, August 18th, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

The respectful esteem that I bear towards that brave people, who so
well defend their liberty under your conduct, has induced me to form a
plan concurring in this great work, by establishing an extensive
commercial house, solely for the purpose of serving you in Europe,
there to supply you with necessaries of every sort, to furnish you
expeditiously and certainly with all articles, clothes, linens,
powder, ammunition, muskets, cannon, or even gold for the payment of
your troops, and in general every thing that can be useful for the
honorable war in which you are engaged. Your deputies, gentlemen,
will find in me a sure friend, an asylum in my house, money in my
coffers, and every means of facilitating their operations, whether of
a public or secret nature. I will if possible remove all obstacles
that may oppose your wishes, from the politics of Europe.

At this very time, and without waiting for any answer from you, I have
procured for you about two hundred pieces of brass cannon, four
pounders, which will be sent to you by the nearest way, 200,000 lbs of
cannon powder, 20,000 excellent fusils, some brass mortars, bombs,
cannon balls, bayonets, platines, clothes, linens, &c. for the
clothing of your troops, and lead for musket balls. An officer of the
greatest merit for artillery and genius, accompanied by lieutenants,
officers, artillerists, cannoniers, &c. whom we think necessary for
the service, will go for Philadelphia, even before you have received
my first despatches. This gentleman is one of the greatest presents
that my attachment can offer you. Your deputy, Mr Deane, agrees with
me in the treatment which he thinks suitable to his office, and I have
found the power of this deputy sufficient, that I should prevail with
this officer to depart, under the sole engagement of the deputy
respecting him, the terms of which I have not the least doubt but
Congress will comply with. The secrecy necessary in some part of the
operation, which I have undertaken for your service, requires also, on
your part, a formal resolution, that all the vessels and their demands
should be constantly directed to our house alone, in order that there
may be no idle chattering or time lost--two things that are the ruin
of affairs. You will advise me what the vessels contain, which you
shall send into our ports. I shall choose so much of their loading, in
return for what I have sent, as shall be suitable to me, when I have
not been able before hand to inform you of the cargoes which I wish.
I shall facilitate to you the loading, sale, and disposal of the rest.
For instance, five American vessels have just arrived in the port of
Bordeaux, laden with salt fish; though this merchandise coming from
strangers is prohibited in our ports, yet as soon as your deputy had
told me that these vessels were sent to him by you, to raise money
from the sale for aiding him in his purchases in Europe, I took so
much care that I secretly obtained from the Farmers-General an order
for landing it without any notice being taken of it. I could even, if
the case had so happened, have taken upon my own account these cargoes
of salted fish, though it is no way useful to me, and charged myself
with its sale and disposal, to simplify the operation and lessen the
embarrassments of the merchants, and of your deputy.

I shall have a correspondent in each of our seaport towns, who, on the
arrival of your vessels, shall wait on the captains and offer every
service in my power; he will receive their letters, bills of lading,
and transmit the whole to me; even things which you may wish to arrive
safely in any country in Europe, after having conferred about them
with your deputy, I shall cause to be kept in some secure place; even
the answers shall go with great punctuality through me, and this way
will save much anxiety and many delays. I request of you, gentlemen,
to send me next spring, if it is possible for you, ten or twelve
thousand hogsheads, or more if you can, of tobacco from Virginia, of
the best quality.

You very well understand that my commerce with you is carried on in
Europe, that it is in the ports of Europe I make and take returns.
However well bottomed my house may be, and however I may have
appropriated many millions to your trade alone, yet it would be
impossible for me to support it, if all the dangers of the sea, of
exports and imports, were not entirely at your risk. Whenever you
choose to receive my goods in any of our windward or leward islands,
you have only to inform me of it, and my correspondents shall be there
according to your orders, and then you shall have no augmentation of
price, but of freight and insurance. But the risk of being taken by
your enemies, still remains with you, according to the declaration
rendered incontestable by the measures I shall take by your deputy
himself. This deputy should receive as soon as possible, full power
and authority to accept what I shall deliver to him, to receive my
accounts, examine them, make payments thereupon, or enter into
engagements, which you shall be bound to ratify, as the head of that
brave people to whom I am devoted; in short, always to treat about
your interests immediately with me.

Notwithstanding the open opposition, which the king of France, his
ministers, and the agents of administration show, and ought to show to
every thing that carries the least appearance of violating foreign
treaties, and the internal ordinances of the kingdom, I dare promise
to you, gentlemen, that my indefatigable zeal shall never be wanting
to clear up difficulties, soften prohibitions, and, in short,
facilitate all operations of a commerce, which my advantage, much less
than yours, has made me undertake with you. What I have just informed
you of is only a general sketch, subject to all the augmentations and
restrictions, which events may point out to us.

One thing can never vary or diminish; it is the avowed and ardent
desire I have of serving you to the utmost of my power. You will
recollect my signature, that one of your friends in London some time
ago informed you of my favorable disposition towards you, and my
attachment to your interest. Look upon my house then, gentlemen, from
henceforward as the chief of all useful operations to you in Europe,
and my person as one of the most zealous partisans of your cause, the
soul of your success, and a man most deeply impressed with respectful
esteem, with which I have the honor to be,

                                           RODERIQUE HORTALEZ & CO.[4]

_P. S._ I add here, to conclude, that every American vessel, though
not immediately armed or loaded by you, will be entitled to my good
offices in this country; but yours, particularly addressed to my
house, will receive a particular preference from me. I ought also to
intimate to you, gentlemen, that from the nature of my connexion, it
is to be wished you would use discretion, even in the accounts that
you give to the general Congress. Every thing that passes in your
great assemblies is known, I cannot tell how, at the court of Great
Britain. Some indiscreet or perfidious citizen sends an exact account
of your proceedings to the palace of St James. In times of great
exigency, Rome had a dictator; and in a state of danger the more the
executive power is brought to a point, the more certain will be its
effect, and there will be less to fear from indiscretion. It is to
your wisdom, gentlemen, that I make this remark; if it seems to you
just and well planned, look upon it as a new mark of my ardor for your
rising republic.

                                                           R. H. & CO.


FOOTNOTES:

[4] This signature was assumed by M. Beaumarchais for the purpose of
concealment.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO COUNT VERGENNES.

                                              Paris, August 22d, 1776.

  Sir,

I was this morning informed of the arrival of Mr Arthur Lee, and that
he would be in Paris tomorrow. This was surprising to me, as I knew of
no particular affair that might call him here, and considering the
extreme jealousy of the British Ministry at this time, and that Mr Lee
was the agent of the United Colonies in Great Britain, and known to be
such, I could wish, unless he had received some particular
intelligence from the United Colonies, that he had suspended his
visit, as I know not otherwise how he can serve me or my affairs, now
(with the most grateful sense I mention it) in as favorable a course
as the situation of the times will admit.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                       Bordeaux, 17th September, 1776.

  Dear Sir,

I shall send you in October clothing for 20,000 men, 30,000 fusils,
100 tons of powder, 200 brass cannon, 24 brass mortars, with shells,
shot, lead, &c. in proportion. I am to advise you that if, in future,
you will give commissions to seize Portuguese ships, you may depend on
the friendship and alliance of Spain. Let me urge this measure; much
may be got, nothing can be lost by it. Increase at all events your
navy. I will procure, if commissioned, any quantity of sailcloth and
cordage. A general war is undoubtedly at hand in Europe, and
consequently America will be safe, if you baffle the arts and arms of
the two Howes through the summer. Every one here is in your favor.
Adieu. I will write you again next week.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                          Paris, September 30th, 1776.

  Sir,

Yours of the 5th of June came to hand on the 25th instant. Mr Delap
will inform you of the state of remittances in his hands. Messrs
Cliffords & Teysett, and Mr Hodgson of Amsterdam, have received next
to nothing; about two hundred pounds by the last accounts; from which
you will perceive that not one third of the sum proposed has come to
hand, and even out of that my private expenses and those for promoting
the other parts of my mission must take something, let me be ever so
prudent and cautious.

To solicit arms, clothing, and tents for thirty thousand men, two
hundred brass cannon, mortars, and other stores in proportion, and to
be destitute of one shilling of ready money, exclusive of the fund of
forty thousand pounds originally designed for other affairs, (which
you know by the protests in London was my case) has left me in a
critical situation. To let slip such an opportunity for want of ready
money would be unpardonable, and yet that was taking out of a fund
before deficient. I hope, however, to execute both, though not in the
season I could have wished. I have, as you see, had but a few days
since the receiving of yours, in which I have discoursed with some of
the persons to whom I had before proposed such a scheme, and think it
will take well, but as men of property will be engaged in it, the
remittances should be made very punctual.

The insurance I am sensible had better be in Europe, but it cannot be
had at present unless in Holland, where I am told there are often
disputes with the underwriters. On the whole it must be done in
America. I can, I believe, engage for one hundred thousand pounds
sterling during the winter. I shall write to you further in a few
days.

You have mentioned to me a loan. I choose to speak of this in a letter
of business particularly by itself, which I will endeavor to do by a
young gentleman going on Sunday, to which opportunity I also refer
what I have further to say on this subject. Pray forward the trifles I
am sending to my little deserted family as soon as received.

Tobacco is rising very fast, being now seven stivers in Holland. The
scheme of the Farmers-General here is very artful; they grow anxious.
They held high terms on my first application. I turned off, and they
are now applying to me, as are also some people further northward.

God bless and prosper America is the prayer of every one here, to
which I say Amen and Amen.

I am, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                             Paris, 1st October, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

Mr Morris's letters of the 4th and 5th of June last,[5] on politics
and business, I received with the duplicates of my commission, and
instructions on the 25th ult. I stand corrected and confine myself to
politics.

Your letter found me in a most critical situation; the Ministry had
become extremely uneasy at your absolute silence; and the bold
assertions of the British Ambassador, that you were accommodating
matters, aided by the black and villainous artifices of one or two of
our own countrymen here, had brought them to apprehend, not only a
settlement between the two countries, but the most serious
consequences to their West India Islands, should we unite again with
Great Britain. For me, alas! I had nothing left but to make the most
positive assertions, that no accommodation would or could take place,
and to pledge myself in the strongest possible manner, that thus would
turn out the event, yet so strong were their apprehensions, that an
order was issued to suspend furnishing me with stores. Think what I
must feel upon such an occasion. Our friend, M. Beaumarchais, exerted
himself, and in a day or two obtained the orders to be countermanded,
and every thing is again running on favorably. For heaven's sake, if
you mean to have any connexion with this kingdom, be more assiduous in
getting your letters here. I know not where the blame lies, but it
must lie heavy somewhere, when vessels are suffered to sail from
Philadelphia and other ports quite down to the middle of August,
without a single line. This circumstance was urged against my
assertions, and was near proving a mortal stab to my whole
proceedings. One Mr Hopkins, of Maryland, in this service, and who is
in the rank of Brigadier General, appeared desirous of going to
America, but on my not paying him the regard he vainly thought himself
entitled to, he formed the dark design of defeating at one stroke my
whole prospects as to supplies. At this critical period he pretended
to be in my secrets, and roundly asserted that I had solely in view a
reconciliation with Great Britain, immediately after which the stores
now furnishing would be used against France. This coming from a
professed enemy of Great Britain, from a native of America, from one
who professed himself a zealous friend to the Colonies, you must
suppose had weight. However thunderstruck I was, as well as my friend,
M. Beaumarchais, at this unexpected and last effort of treachery, we
exerted ourselves, and truth prevailed. The mischief has recoiled on
himself, and having fallen into disgrace here, he will strive to get
to America, where he threatens, I hear, to do much mischief to me.
However, he will not probably be permitted to depart, unless he slips
off very privately. Should that be the case, or should he write
letters, you have now a clue to unravel him and his proceedings.

It would be too tedious to recount what I have met with in this way.
It has not only confined me to Paris, but to my chamber and pen for
some weeks past in drawing up by way of memorial, the true state of
the Colonies, their interests, the system of policy they must
unquestionably pursue, and showing that the highest interests of
France are inseparably connected therewith. I do not mention a single
difficulty with one complaining thought for myself; my all is
devoted, and I am happy in being so far successful, and that the
machinations of my enemies, or rather the enemies of my country, have
given me finally an opportunity of experiencing the friendship and
protection of great and valuable men; but it is necessary that you
should know as much as possible of my situation. The stores are
collecting, and I hope will be embarked by the middle of this month;
if later, I shall incline to send them by Martinique, on account of
the season. It is consistent with a political letter to urge the
remittance of the fourteen thousand hogsheads of tobacco written for
formerly, in part payment of these stores; if you make it twenty, the
public will be the gainers, as the article is rising fast. You are
desired by no means to forget Bermuda; if you should, Great Britain
will seize it this winter, or France on the first rupture, having been
made sensible of its importance, by the officious zeal of that same Mr
H. As your navy is increasing, will you commission me to send you duck
for twenty or thirty sail? I can procure it for you to the northward
on very good terms, and you have on hand the produce wanted to pay for
it with. Have you granted commissions against the Portuguese? All the
friends to America in Europe call loudly for such a measure.

Would you have universal commerce, commission some person to visit
every kingdom on the Continent, that can hold any commerce with
America. Among them by no means forget Prussia. Grain will be in
demand in this kingdom, and in the south of Europe. Permit me again to
urge an increase of the navy. Great Britain is calling in her
Mediterranean passes, to expose us to the Algerines. I propose
applying to this Court on that subject. Doctor Bancroft, of London,
merits much of the Colonies. As I shall now have frequent
opportunities of writing by officers and others going out, I will not
add more, than that Mr Carmichael has now been with me some time,
recommended by Mr A. Lee, of London. I owe much to him for his
assistance in my despatches, and for his friendly and seasonable
advice upon all occasions. He is of Maryland, and is here for his
health, and proposes going soon to America. I expect to hear from
London tomorrow by Dr B. who is on his way here.

I am, with my most sincere respect and esteem for the Secret
Committee, and most profound regard to the Congress, your most
obedient and very humble servant,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ An agent from Barbadoes is arrived in London to represent
their distresses; another from Bermuda with a declaration to the
Ministry of the necessity of their being supplied with provisions from
the Colonies, and saying that if not permitted they must ask the
protection of Congress.

I have to urge your sending to me, either a general power for the
purpose, or a number of blank commissions for vessels of war. It is an
object of the last importance, for in this time of peace between the
nations of Europe, I can be acquainted with the time of every vessel's
sailing, either from England or Portugal, and by despatching little
vessels armed from hence, and to appearance property of the citizens
of the United States of America, to seize them while unsuspicious on
this coast, and to stand directly for America with them, great
reprisals may be made; and persons of the first property have already
solicited me on the occasion. Indeed they have such an opinion of my
power, that they have offered to engage in such an adventure, if I
would authorise them with my name; but this might as yet be rather
dangerous; it is certainly however a very practicable and safe plan to
arm a ship here, as if for the coast of Africa or the West Indies,
wait until some ship of value is sailing from England or Portugal,
slip out at once and carry them on to America. When arrived the armed
vessel increases your navy, and the prize supplies the country.

It is of importance, as I have mentioned in my former letters, to have
some one deputed and empowered to treat with the king of Prussia. I am
acquainted with his agent here, and have already through him received
some queries and proposals respecting American commerce, to which I am
preparing a reply. I have also an acquaintance with the Agent of the
Grand Duke of Tuscany, who proposes fixing a commerce between the
United States and Leghorn, but has not as yet given me his particular
thoughts. France and Spain are naturally our allies; the Italian
states want our flour and some other articles; Prussia, ever pursuing
her own interests, needs but be informed of some facts relative to
America's increasing commerce, to favor us; Holland will pursue its
system now fixed, of never quarrelling with any one on any occasion
whatever. In this view is seen at once the power we ought to apply to,
and gain a good acquaintance with. Let me again urge you on the
subject of tobacco. Receive also from me another hint. It is this; if
you would apportion a certain tract of the Western Lands, to be
divided at the close of this war among the officers and soldiers
serving in it, and make a generous allotment, it would I think have a
good effect in America, as the poorest soldiers would then be fighting
literally for a freehold; and in Europe it would operate beyond any
pecuniary offers. I have no time to enlarge on the thought, but may
take it up hereafter; if I do not, if is an obvious one, and if
capable of execution, you can manage it to the best advantage.

I have no doubt but I can obtain a loan for the Colonies, if
empowered, and on very favorable terms. I have already sounded on the
subject, and will be more explicit hereafter, both as to my proposals,
for I can go no further, and the answers I may receive.

                                                                 S. D.


FOOTNOTES:

[5] These letters are missing.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                             Paris, 8th October, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

Your Declaration of the fourth of July last has given this Court, as
well as several others in Europe, reason to expect you would in form
announce your Independency to them, and ask their friendship; but a
three months' silence on that subject appears to them mysterious, and
the more so as you declared for foreign alliances. This silence has
again given me the most inexpressible anxiety, and has more than once
come near frustrating my whole endeavors; on which subject I refer you
to mine of the first instant. Employment must be found for the forces
of Great Britain out of the United States of North America. The Caribs
in St Vincent, if set agoing, may be supplied through Martinique with
stores. The Mountain negroes in Jamaica may employ a great number of
their forces. This is not employing slaves, which, however, the
example of our enemy authorises. Should there arise troubles in these
two Islands, which a very little money would effect, the consequence
would be, that Great Britain, which can by no means think of giving
them up, would be so far from being able to increase her force on the
continent, that she must withdraw a large part to defend her Islands.
I find that every one here, who is acquainted with Bermuda, is in my
sentiments; and by the officiousness of H. the ministry here have got
it by the end. This makes me the more solicitous, that the Island
should be fortified this winter if practicable.

Tobacco in Holland is at the enormous price of seven stivers, and will
soon be as dear in France and Germany. I have promised that you will
send out twenty thousand hogsheads this winter, in payment for the
articles wanted here. Let me advise you to ship the whole to Bordeaux,
after which it may be shipped in French bottoms to any other port; the
price will pay the convoy; therefore I would recommend the vessels in
which it should be shipped to be armed, and that each ship shall sail
under convoy of one of your frigates, which may also be ballasted with
it; this will be safer than coming in a fleet. On their arrival,
Messrs Delap, whose zeal and fidelity in our service are great, will
be directed by me, or in my absence by Mons. B. or ostensibly by
Messrs Hortalez and Co. where to apply the money. Eight or ten of your
frigates, thus collected at Bordeaux, with a proper number of riflemen
as marines, where they might have leisure to refit and procure
supplies, would strike early next season a terrible blow to the
British commerce in Europe, and obtain noble indemnity. The appearance
of American cruisers in those seas has amazed the British merchants,
and insurance will now be on the war establishment; this will give the
rival nations a great superiority in commerce, of which they cannot be
insensible; and as our vessels of war will be protected in the ports
of France and Spain, the whole of the British commerce will be
exposed. I hope to have a liberty for the disposal of prizes here, but
dare not engage for that. The last season the whole coast of England,
Scotland, and Ireland has been and still remains unguarded; three or
four frigates, arriving as they certainly might unexpectedly, would be
sufficient to pillage port Glasgow or other western towns. The very
alarm, which this would occasion, might have the most surprising and
important effects, and in this method it might be effected with the
utmost certainty if entered upon early next spring; but should that be
laid aside, the having five or six more of your stoutest ships in
these ports, where you may every day receive intelligence of what is
about to sail from England, would put it in our power to make great
reprisals.

I wrote for blank commissions, or a power to grant commissions to
ships of war. Pray forward them, as here are many persons wishing for
an opportunity of using them in this way. The granting commissions
against Portugal would ensure the friendship of Spain. Grain will bear
a great price in this kingdom and the south of Europe; and I have made
application to the minister of marine to supply masts and spars from
America for the French navy. Pray inform me how, and on what terms the
British navy formerly used to be supplyed from New England. I am fully
of opinion, that a war must break out soon and become general in
Europe. I need say no more on the situation I am in, for want of your
further instructions. I live in hopes, but should I be much longer
disappointed, the affairs I am upon, as well as my credit, must
suffer, if not be absolutely ruined. My most respectful compliments to
the Congress.

I am, gentlemen,

  Your most obedient very humble servant,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             Translation.

_Articles for hiring armed Vessels and Merchandize, agreed to between
Messrs de Monthieu, and Rodrique Hortalez & Co. and Mr Silas Deane._

We the subscribers John Joseph de Monthieu and Rodrique Hortalez & Co.
are agreed with Mr Silas Deane, Agent of the United Colonies, upon the
subsequent arrangements.

That I, de Monthieu, do engage to furnish on account of the thirteen
United Colonies of North America, a certain number of vessels to carry
arms and merchandize to the burthen of sixteen hundred tons, or as
many vessels as are deemed sufficient to transport to some harbor of
North America belonging to the thirteen United Colonies, all the
ammunition and appurtenances, agreeable to the estimate signed and
left in my possession, and which we suppose would require the
abovementioned quantity of vessels to carry sixteen hundred tons
burthen, which are to be paid for at the rate of two hundred livres
the ton, and that I will hold said vessels at the disposal of said
Messrs Hortalez & Co. ready to sail at the ports of Havre, Nantes and
Marseilles, viz.--The vessels which are to carry the articles and
passengers mentioned in the aforementioned list, and are to depart
from Havre, as well as those that are to go from Nantes, to be ready
in the course of November next, and the others in the course of
December following, on condition that one half of the aforementioned
freight of 200 livres per ton, both for the voyage to America and back
to France, laden equally on account of the Congress of the thirteen
United Colonies and Messrs Hortalez & Co. aforesaid, who are
responsible for them, shall be advanced and paid immediately in
money, bills of exchange, or other good merchandize or effects, and
the other half the said Messrs Hortalez & Co. do agree to furnish me
with in proportion as the vessels are fitting out, in the same money
or other effects as above; over and above this they are to pay me for
the passage of each officer, not belonging to the ship's crew, the sum
of 550 livres tournois, and for every soldier or servant 250 livres,
and for every sailor who goes as passenger 150 livres. It is expressly
covenanted and agreed between us, that all risks of the sea either in
said vessels being chased, run on shore or taken, shall be on account
of the Congress of the United Colonies, and shall be paid agreeably to
the estimation which may be made of each of these vessels, agreeably
to the bills of sale of each, which I promise to deliver to Messrs
Hortalez & Co. before the departure of any of the said vessels from
any of the ports of France mentioned above.

Finally it is agreed that if the Americans detain these vessels longer
than two months in their ports, without shipping on board them the
returns they are to carry to France, all demurrage, wages or expenses
on them from the day of their arrival to that of their departure,
these two months excepted, shall be at their charge and paid by them
or by Messrs Hortalez & Co. in our own name, as answerable for the
Congress of the United Colonies. We accept the above conditions, as
far as they respect us, and promise faithfully to fulfil them, and in
consequence we have signed this instrument of writing one to the
other, at Paris, 15th October, 1776.

                                    MONTHIEU,
                                    RODRIQUE HORTALEZ & CO.
                                    SILAS DEANE, _Agent for the United
                                           Colonies of North America_.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 17th October, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

I once more put pen to paper, not to attempt, what is absolutely
beyond the power of language to paint, my distressed situation here,
totally destitute of intelligence or instructions from you since I
left America, except Mr Morris' letters of the 4th and 5th of June
last, covering duplicates of my first instructions. Nor will I
complain for myself, but must plainly inform you, that the cause of
the United Colonies or United States has, for some time, suffered at
this court for want of positive orders to me, or some other person.

It has not suffered here only, but at several other courts, that are
not only willing, but even desirous of assisting America. Common
complaisance, say they, though they want none of our assistance,
requires that they should announce to us _in form_ their being
Independent States, that we may know how to treat their subjects and
their property in our dominions. Every excuse, which my barren
invention could suggest, has been made, and I have presented memoir
after memoir on the situation of American affairs, and their
importance to this kingdom, and to some others. My representations, as
well verbally as written, have been favorably received, and all the
attention paid them I could have wished, but the _sine qua non_ is
wanting,--a power to treat from the United Independent States of
America. How, say they, is it possible, that all your intelligence and
instructions should be intercepted, when we daily have advice of
American vessels arriving in different ports in Europe? It is true I
have effected what nothing but the real desire this court has of
giving aid could have brought about, but at the same time it has been
a critical and delicate affair, and has required all attention to save
appearances, and more than once have I been on the brink of losing
all, from suspicions that you were not in earnest in making
applications here. I will only add, that a vessel with a commission
from the Congress has been detained in Bilboa as a pirate, and
complaint against it carried to the court of Madrid. I have been
applied to for assistance, and though I am in hopes nothing will be
determined against us, yet I confess I tremble to think how important
a question is by this step agitated, without any one empowered to
appear in a proper character and put in a defence. Could I present
your Declaration of Independence, and shew my commission subsequently,
empowering me to appear in your behalf, all might be concluded at
once, and a most important point gained,--no less than that of
obtaining a free reception, and defence or protection of our ships of
war in these ports.

I have written heretofore for twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco. I
now repeat my desire, and for a large quantity of rice. The very
profits on a large quantity of these articles will go far towards an
annual expense. The stores, concerning which I have repeatedly written
to you, are now shipping, and will be with you I trust in January, as
will the officers coming with them. I refer to your serious
consideration the enclosed hints respecting a naval force in these
seas, also the enclosed propositions which were by accident thrown in
my way. If you shall judge them of any consequence you will lay them
before Congress; if not, postage will be all the expense extra. I
believe they have been seen by other persons, and therefore I held it
my duty to send them to you. My most profound respect and highest
esteem ever attend the Congress, and particularly the Secret
Committee.

I am, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ Doctor Bancroft has been so kind as to pay me a second visit,
and that most seasonably, as my former assistant Mr Carmichael has
gone to Amsterdam, and thence northward on a particular affair of very
great importance. The vessel referred to is commanded by Captain Lee,
of Newburyport, who on his passage took five prizes of value, and sent
them back, but brought on two of the Captains and some of the men
prisoners to Bilboa, where the Captains entered their protest, and
complained against Captain Lee as a pirate, on which his vessel is
detained, and his commission, &c. sent up to Madrid. This instantly
brings on a question, as to the legality of the commissions; if
determined legal, a most important point is gained; if the reverse,
the consequences will be very bad, and the only ground on which the
determination can go against the Captain, is that the United States of
America, or their Congress, are not known in Europe, as being
Independent States, otherwise than by common fame in newspapers, &c.;
on which a serious resolution cannot be grounded. The best, therefore,
that the Captain expects will be to get the matter delayed, which is
very hard on the brave Captain and his honest owners, and will be a
bad precedent for others, who may venture into the European seas. I
have done every thing in my power, and am in hopes from the strong
assurances given me, that all will be settled to my satisfaction in
this affair, but cannot but feel on the occasion as well for the
Captain as for the public. I have been told repeatedly I was too
anxious, and advised "_rester sans inquietude_," but I view this as a
capital affair in its consequences, and though I wish it, I cannot
take advice.

Warlike preparations are daily making in this kingdom and in Spain; in
the latter immediately against the Portuguese, but they will most
probably in their consequences involve other powers. I need not urge
_the importance of immediate remittances towards paying for the large
quantity of stores I have engaged for_, and depend this winter will
not be suffered to slip away unimproved.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Paris, 17th October, 1776.

  Sir,

The bearer, Mons. M. Martin de la Balme, has long served with
reputation in the armies of France as a Captain of Cavalry, and is now
advanced to the rank of a Lt Colonel; he has made military discipline
his study, and has written on the subject to good acceptance; he now
generously offers his services to the United States of North America,
and asks of me what I most cheerfully grant, a letter to you and his
passage, confident he may be of very great service, if not in the
general army, yet in those Colonies which are raising and disciplining
cavalry. I have only to add that he is in good esteem here, and is
well recommended, to which I am persuaded he will do justice.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO WILLIAM BINGHAM.[6]

                                            Paris, 17th October, 1776.

  Dear Sir,

Since receiving yours of the 4th and 5th of August last, I have
written you repeatedly, and have no doubt of your receipt of my
letters, to which I refer you. You are in the neighborhood of St
Vincents, and I learn that the Caribs are not contented with their
masters, and being an artful as well as revengeful people, would
undoubtedly take this opportunity of throwing off a yoke, which
nothing but a superior force can keep on them. My request is, that you
would inquire into the state of that island, by proper emissaries, and
if the Caribs are disposed to revolt, encourage them and promise them
aid of arms and ammunition. This must tear from Great Britain an
island, which they value next to Jamaica, and to which indeed they
have no title but what rests on violence and cruelty. At any rate they
will oblige Great Britain to withdraw part of her forces from the
continent. If any thing can be effected there, inform me instantly,
and I will order to your care such a quantity of stores as you shall
think necessary.

The enclosed letter I desire you to break the seal of, and make as
many copies as there are vessels going northward, by which some one
must arrive. A war I think may be depended upon, but keep your
intelligence of every kind secret, save to those of the Secret
Committee.

You will send also a copy of this, by which the Committee will see
the request I have made to you, and the reason of their receiving
several duplicates in your hand-writing. I wish you to forward the
enclosed to Mr Tucker, of Bermuda, and write me by every vessel to
Bordeaux or Nantes.

I am, with great esteem, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[6] Mr William Bingham was an American merchant, residing in
Martinique. He was an Agent for Congress during a large portion of the
war, and was the medium of communication with France, by way of the
French West India Islands.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO WILLIAM BINGHAM.

                                                   25th October, 1776.

  Dear Sir,

I have received no letter from you since those of the 4th and 5th of
August last, nor any intelligence from Congress since the 5th June,
which not only surprises but distresses me. I now send to the care of
Mons. Deant two hundred tons of a necessary article to be at your
orders for use of the Congress; the freight is to be paid in
Martinique as customary, and I wish you to ship it for the ports of
the Colonies, in such a manner, and in such quantities in a vessel, as
you shall judge most prudent, advising the Congress of your having
received it, and the methods you are taking to ship it to them,
praying them to remit you the amount of the freight, as you must make
friends in Martinique for advancing the same.

I wish you could write me oftener, and inform me very particularly
what letters you receive from me, directed immediately to you, and
what letters for other persons. In this way I shall know which of my
letters fail.

I am, with great respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ Forward the enclosed under cover, and with the usual
directions, in case of capture.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 25th October, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

I have purchased two hundred tons of powder, and ordered the same to
be shipped to Martinique to the care of Mons. Deant, to the direction
of Mr Bingham for your use. The first cost is 18 sols per lb. or 10d
sterling; the charges will be added; the amount I have not as yet
ascertained, and interest at five per cent until payment. I must again
urge you to hasten your remittances. Tobacco, rice, indigo, wheat, and
flour are in great demand, and must be so through the year. Tobacco is
nine stivers per lb. in Holland, rice 50s sterling per cwt. Flour is
already from 20 to 23 livres per cwt. and rising. I have engaged a
sale for 20,000 hogsheads of tobacco, the amount of which will
establish the credit of the Congress with the mercantile interest in
France and Holland.

Let me urge your attention to these articles, though I must say your
silence ever since the 5th of last June discourages me at times.
Indeed it well nigh distracts me. From whatever cause the silence has
happened, it has greatly prejudiced the affairs of the United Colonies
of America; and so far as the success of our cause depended on the
friendship and aid of powers on this side the globe, it has occasioned
the greatest hazard and danger, and thrown me into a state of anxiety
and perplexity, which no words can express. I have made one excuse
after another, until my invention is exhausted, and when I find
vessels arriving from different ports in America, which sailed late in
August, without a line for me, it gives our friends here apprehensions
that the assertions of our enemies, who say you are negotiating and
compounding, are true; otherwise, say they, where are your letters and
directions? Surely, they add, if the Colonies were in earnest, and
unanimous in their Independence, even if they wanted no assistance
from hence, common civility would cause them to announce in form their
being Independent States.

I will make no other comment on the distressing subject than this;
were there no hopes of obtaining assistance on application in a public
manner, I should be easier under your silence, but when the reverse is
the case, to lose the present critically favorable moment, and hazard
thereby the ruin of the greatest cause in which mankind were ever
engaged, distresses my soul, and I would if possible express something
of what I have undergone for the last three months, until hope itself
has almost deserted me. I do not complain for myself, but for my
country, thus unaccountably suffering from I know not what causes.

I am, gentlemen, with most respectful compliments to the Congress, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 6th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

The only letters I have received from you were 4th and 5th of June
last, five months ago, during which time vessels have arrived from
almost every part of America to every part of France and Spain, and I
am informed of letters from Mr Morris to his correspondents, dated
late in July. If the Congress do not mean to apply for foreign
alliances, let me entreat you to say so, and rescind your resolutions
published on that head, which will be but justice to the powers of
Europe, to whom you gave reason to expect such an application. If I am
not the proper person to announce your Independency, and solicit in
your behalf, let me entreat you to tell me so, and relieve me from an
anxiety, which is become so intolerable that my life is a burthen. Two
hundred pieces of brass cannon, and arms, tents and accoutrements for
thirty thousand men, with ammunition in proportion, and between twenty
and thirty brass mortars have been granted to my request, but the
unaccountable silence on your part has delayed the embarkation some
weeks already. I yesterday got them again in motion, and a part are
already at Havre de Grace and Nantes, and the rest on their way
thither, but I am hourly trembling for fear of counter orders. Had I
received proper powers in season, this supply would before this have
been in America, and that under the convoy of a strong fleet; the
disappointment is distracting, and I will dismiss the subject, after
taking the liberty to which a freeman and an American is entitled, of
declaring, that by this neglect the cause of the United States has
suffered in this and the neighboring Courts, and the blood that will
be spilt through the want of these supplies, and the devastation, if
any, must be laid at this door.

Captain Cochran having arrived at Nantes, I sent to him to come to me.
He is now with me, and by him I send this with a packet of letters. He
can inform you of the price of American produce in Europe, the very
advance on which will pay you for fitting out a navy. Rice is from 30
to 50 livres per cwt., tobacco 8d and 9d per lb., flour and wheat are
growing scarce and rising, masts, spars, and other naval stores are in
demand, and the more so as a war with Great Britain is considered as
near at hand.

Mons. du Coudray, who has the character of being one of the best
officers of artillery in Europe, has been indefatigable in our
service, and I hope the terms I have made with him will not be thought
exorbitant, as he was a principal means of engaging the stores. The
rage, as I may say, for entering into the American service increases,
and the consequence is, that I am pressed with offers and proposals,
many of them from persons of the first rank and eminence, in the sea
as well as land service. Count Broglio, who commanded the army of
France during the last war, did me the honor to call on me twice
yesterday with an officer who served as his Quarter Master General the
last war, and has now a regiment in this service, but being a
German,[7] and having travelled through America a few years since, he
is desirous of engaging in the service of the United States of North
America. I can by no means let slip an opportunity of engaging a
person of so much experience, and who is by every one recommended as
one of the bravest and most skilful officers in the kingdom, yet I am
distressed on every such occasion for want of your particular
instructions. This gentleman has an independent fortune, and a certain
prospect of advancement here, but being a zealous friend to liberty,
civil and religious, he is actuated by the most independent and
generous principles in the offer he makes of his services to the
States of America.

Enclosed you have also the plan of a French naval officer for burning
ships, which he gave me, and at the same time showed me his draughts
of ships, and rates for constructing and regulating a navy, of which I
have the highest opinion; he has seen much service, is a person of
study and letters, as well as fortune, and is ambitious of planning a
navy for America, which shall at once be much cheaper and more
effectual than any thing of the kind which can be produced on the
European system. He has the command of a ship of the line in this
service, but is rather disgusted at not having his proposed
regulations for the navy of France attended to. His proposal generally
is to build vessels something on the model of those designed by the
Marine Committee, to carry from 24 to 36 heavy guns on one deck, which
will be as formidable a battery as any ship of the line can avail
itself of, and by fighting them on the upper deck a much surer one.
Had I power to treat with this gentleman, I believe his character and
friends are such, that he could have two or three such frigates
immediately constructed here on credit and manned and sent to America,
but the want of instruction, or intelligence, or remittances, with the
late check on Long Island, has sunk our credit to nothing with
individuals, and the goods for the Indian contract cannot be shipped,
unless remittances are made to a much greater amount than at present.
Not ten thousand pounds have been received for forty thousand
delivered in America as early as last February, and I am ignorant what
has become of the effects shipped. Under these circumstances I have no
courage to urge a credit, which I have no prospect of supporting; but
I will take Mr Morris's hint and write a letter solely on business;
but politics and my business are almost inseparably connected. I have
filled this sheet, and will therefore bid you adieu until I begin
another.

I am, with the utmost esteem, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[7] The Baron de Kalb.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 9th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

I have written to you often, and particularly of affairs here. The
want of intelligence retards every thing; as I have not a word from
you since the 5th of June last, I am well nigh distracted. That I may
not omit any chance of sending to you, I write this, though I have
long and minute letters by me waiting the departure of General du
Coudray and his train, who, had I been properly and in season
instructed, would before this have been with you. At present I have
put much to the hazard to effect what I have. Enclosed you have my
thoughts on naval operations, and I pray you send me some blank
commissions, which will enable me to fit out privateers from hence
without any charge to you. A war appears at hand, and will probably be
general. All Europe have their eyes on the States of America, and are
astonished to find month after month rolling away, without your
applying to them in form. I hope such application is on its way.
Nothing else is wanting to effect your utmost wishes. I am, with
compliments to friends, and respect to the Congress, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 26th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

This serves only to enclose and explain the within _State of the
Commerce of Leghorn_, which was given me by the Envoy of the Grand
Duke of Tuscany, a gentleman of universal knowledge, and a warm
friend to America, and indeed to all mankind. I have the honor of his
acquaintance in an intimate degree, and have communicated to him a
memoir, setting forth the particular state of the commerce of America,
with the history of its rise and increase, and its present importance,
it being a copy of what I delivered to this Court. He has marked the
articles generally in demand, after which he enumerates their articles
for exportation, which in my turn I marked and observed upon, as you
will see.

I have only to add, that the Grand Duke has taken off all duties on
the American commerce, to give it encouragement. This indeed is done
rather privately to prevent complaint of other powers of a seeming
partiality. When I add to this, that it is agreed on all hands that
ships of war may be purchased at Leghorn ready fitted for sea, cheaper
than in any other port in Europe, I think a good acquaintance ought to
be cultivated with this State.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, 27th November, 1776.

  Sir,

The bearer, Mr Rogers, is a native of Maryland, whom I fortunately met
in the hotel I some months lodged in. He was in Paris finishing his
education, and by my advice accepted the office of aid-de-camp to
Mons. du Coudray, and accompanies him out to America. I have received
many kindnesses from him, and, confident of his integrity, have
intrusted him with many things to relate to you _viva voce_,
especially should my despatches fail. He has a general knowledge of
the history of my proceedings, and what I have at times to struggle
with. As he speaks French tolerably, he will I conceive prove a
valuable acquisition, at a time when such numbers of foreigners are
crowding to enter your service.

I am, wishing him a speedy and safe arrival, with the most profound
respect for the Congress, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 27th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

In a former letter I mentioned a naval enterprise, which might at
first appear romantic, but the more it is considered the less danger I
shall be in of being taxed on that score. Admiral Montague lately
returned from the Banks, where the fishermen have had a wretched
season, in consequence of the American privateers. He left two small
sloops of war there of 14 and 16 guns. In common years they leave six
or seven thousand of their laborers or fishermen there, as in a
prison, through the winter, employed in taking seals, repairing boats,
stages, &c.; these are unarmed, and ever dissatisfied to the last
degree with their situation. Two frigates arriving early in February
would destroy the fishery for one if not two years, and obtain an
acquisition of a fine body of recruits for your navy. I have conferred
with some persons here on the subject, who highly approve the
enterprise, but I submit it to your opinion, after urging despatch in
whatever is done or attempted on that subject.

The resolution of the Court of Spain in the case of Capt. Lee, at
Bilboa, gives every encouragement to adventurers in these seas, where
the prizes are valuable, and where you have constantly harbors at hand
on the coast of France and Spain to repair to and refit in, and where
constant and certain intelligence can be had of the situation of the
British ships of war, as well as of commerce. I need not add, on a
subject so plain, and at the same time so important, but will only
remind you that the Dutch, in the space of two or three years after
their first revolt from Spain, attacked the Spaniards so successfully
and unexpectedly in every quarter of the globe, that the treasures
they obtained thereby enabled them to carry on the war. Let me repeat,
that if you empower me or any other person here, you may obtain any
number of ships of war on credit from individuals, on paying interest
at five per cent until the principal is discharged. The king will
probably have use for his, and besides, to let his go would be the
same as a declaration of war, which in form at least will for some
time be avoided.

I write on different subjects in my letters, as they rise in my mind,
and leave you to use as you may judge best my sybil leaves, and am,
gentlemen, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 28th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

Your favor of the 7th of August last, covering a copy of yours of the
8th of July, I received, though the original never came to hand. This
letter also enclosed the _Declaration of Independency_, with
instructions to make it known to this and the other powers of Europe;
and I received it the 7th inst. though the vessel which brought it
had but 38 days passage from Salem. This letter was very far from
relieving me, as it enclosed what had been circulated through Europe
for two months before, and my pretending to inform this Court would be
only a matter of form, in consequence of your orders, which were
expressed in the style of any common affair. I certainly prefer
simplicity of style, as well as manners, but something is due to the
dignity of old and powerful states, or if you please to their
prejudices in favor of long established form and etiquette; and as the
United States of America, by this act, introduce themselves among the
established powers, and rank with them, it must of course be expected
that at the first introduction, or the announcing of it, some mode
more formal, or if I may so say, more respectful, would have been made
use of, than simply two or three lines from the committee of congress,
in a letter something more apparently authentic, not that either your
power or the reality of your letter could be doubted. I mention it as
deserving consideration, whether in your application here and your
powers and instructions of a public nature, it is not always proper to
use a seal? This is a very ancient custom in all public and even
private concerns of any consequence.

Further, to keep a proper intercourse with Europe, it is by no means
sufficient to write a single letter, and leave it to be forwarded when
the captain of a vessel thinks of it, or has nothing else to do.
Duplicates of every letter should be lodged in every port in the hands
of faithful and attentive persons, to be forwarded by the first
conveyance to any part of Europe. Had this been practised since my
leaving America, instead of receiving but two short letters from you,
I might have had intelligence every month; let me urge you, from the
danger our affairs have been in of totally miscarrying for want of
intelligence, to pay some attention to this in future.

As the copy was dated the eighth of July I took occasion to observe,
that the honorable Congress had taken the earliest opportunity of
informing this Court of the declaration of their Independency, and
that the variety of important affairs before Congress, with the
critical situation of the armies in their neighborhood, and the
obstructions of their commerce, had prevented that intelligence which
had been wished for, but that the present served to shew the early and
principal attention of the United States to this Court; and as their
Independency was now in form declared, the queries I had formerly put
in consequence of my first instructions might now be resolved, and I
hoped favorably. To this I was answered, unless France by a public
acknowledgment of your Independency makes war on Great Britain in your
favor, what service can such acknowledgment be of to the United
States? You are known here, our ports are open, and free for your
commerce, and your ships are protected in them, and greater
indulgencies allowed than to any other nations. If France should be
obliged to make war on England, it will be much more just and
honorable in the eyes of the world to make it on some other account;
and if made at all, it is the same thing to the United States of
America, and in one important view better for them, to have it
originate from any other cause, as America will be under the less
immediate obligation. Further, France has alliances, and cannot
resolve a question which must perhaps involve her in a war, without
previously consulting them. Meantime the United States can receive the
same succors and assistance from France without, as well as with, such
an open acknowledgment, and perhaps much more advantageously. To this
and such like arguments I had the less to reply, as you informed me
that articles for a proposed alliance with France were under
consideration, and that I might soon expect them.

I was further told that the Swiss Cantons, though in every respect
free and independent States for several centuries, had not to this
hour been acknowledged as such by any public act of any one power in
Europe, except France, and that neither the Revolution in the United
Provinces or Portugal had been attended with any such acknowledgment,
though the powers of Europe in both cases lent their aid. I replied
that I would not urge a formal acknowledgment, as long as the same
ends could be obtained, and without the inconveniences hinted at;
besides, as I daily expected further instructions I would reserve
myself until their arrival. The apprehensions of the United States'
negociating has done us much damage, and the interview at New York
said to have been between a Commissioner of Congress and the two
brothers, however politic the step may have been in America, was made
use of to our prejudice in Europe, at this Court in particular, as it
has been for some time asserted by Lord Stormont and others, that a
negociation would take place, and as far as this is believed, so far
our cause has suffered and our friends been staggered in their
resolutions. My opinion is, that the House of Bourbon in every branch
will be our friends; it is their interest to humble Great Britain.

Yesterday it was roundly affirmed at Versailles, that a letter was
received in London from Philadelphia, in which it was said I had
written advising the Congress to negociate, for that I could obtain no
assistance from Europe. You can hardly conceive how dangerous even
such reports are, and how prejudicial every step that looks like
confirming them. The importance of America in every point of view,
appears more and more striking to all Europe, but particularly to
this kingdom.

Enclosed I send you the size of masts and spars with the price, which,
if it will answer, may be a certain article of remittance, as may
other naval stores, but I dare not contract with the marine, as I have
no powers, and am unacquainted with the rate at which they were
usually exported to England. A wide field is opening, since the
American commerce is to be free, and I have had applications from many
parts on the subject, though few are disposed to venture until the
close of this campaign, and if it is not decisive against us, our
wants will be supplied another season at as cheap a rate as ever, but
I trust never more on the old terms of long credit.

I am well nigh harrassed to death with applications of officers to go
out to America. Those I have engaged are I trust in general of the
best character; but that I should engage, or rather take from the
hands of some leading men here, some one or two among the rest not so
accomplished, cannot be surprising, and may, considering my situation,
be pardonable, but I have no suspicion of any such in my department,
of consequence. I have been offered troops from Germany on the
following general terms, viz.;--officers to recruit as for the service
of France, and embark for St Domingo from Dunkirk, and by altering
their route land in the American States. The same has been proposed
with Switzerland, to which I could give no encouragement, but submit
it to your consideration in Congress, whether, if you can establish a
credit as I have before hinted, it would not be well to purchase at
Leghorn five or six stout frigates, which might at once transport some
companies of Swiss, and a quantity of stores, and the whole be
defended by the Swiss soldiers on their passage? Or, if you prefer
Germans, which I really do not, the vessels might go from Dunkirk. I
daily expect important advices from the North, respecting commerce at
least, having sent to the King of Prussia, in consequence of a
memorial he ordered his agent here to show me, and propose some
queries to me, a state of the North American commerce at large. I have
presented memorial after memorial here, until in my last I think I
have exhausted the subject as far as the present time, having in my
last given the history of the controversy, obviated the objections
made against us, and pointed out the consequences that must ensue to
France and Spain if they permit the Colonies to be subjugated by their
old hereditary enemy. It consisted of fifty pages, and was, after
being translated, presented to his Majesty and his Ministers, and I
was assured was favorably received and considered. I presented it
about two weeks since, and whether it has hastened the preparations or
not I cannot say. The Ministry were pleased to say, that I had placed
the whole in the most striking point of view, and they believed with
great justice. I could wish to send you copies of these, but I have no
assistant except occasionally, and the uncertainty of my situation
will not permit my making engagements to one, who might deserve
confidence, and those who are deserving are but few.

Bread will be scarce before the next harvest. Flour is now 22 and 23
livres per cwt. and tobacco is as I have before mentioned; and I
promise myself you will not let slip so favorable an opportunity of
making remittances to advantage. In expectation of your sending over
frigates to convoy your ships, and of your giving instructions on what
I have written you of operations in these seas, I design being at
Bordeaux in March, when I shall be able to give you the needful
directions in any such affair; but, at any rate, send out a number of
blank commissions for privateers to be fitted out in Europe under your
flag. The prizes must finally be brought to you for condemnation, and
the principal advantage will remain with you. I have written largely,
and on many subjects, yet fear I have omitted some things deserving
attention.

Mons. du Coudray will be with you by the receipt of this, with stores
complete for thirty thousand men. The extraordinary exertions of this
gentleman, and his character, entitle him to much from the United
States, and I hope the sum I have stipulated with him for, will not be
considered extravagant, when you consider it is much less than is
given in Europe. Baron de Kalb I consider an important acquisition, as
are many other of the officers whose characters I may not stay to
particularize, but refer you to Baron de Kalb, who speaks English, and
to Mr Rogers, who is generally acquainted with them. As to sea
officers, they are not so easily obtained, yet some good ones may be
had, and in particular two; one of whom I have already mentioned; the
other is quite his equal, with some other advantages; he was first
lieutenant of a man of war round the world, with Captain Cook, and has
since had a ship, but wants to leave this for other service, where he
may make a settlement, and establish a family. These two officers
would engage a number of younger ones. Should they embark, I send
herewith the plans of one of them for burning ships. I submit it to
the honorable Congress, who are sensible of the variety and magnitude
of the objects before me, whether it is not of importance to despatch
some one of its body to assist me, or to take a part by his own
immediate direction. Such a person known to possess your fullest
confidence, would, by his advice and assistance, be of service to me,
though he were, and I were, occasionally at Madrid or Berlin. Having
obtained some knowledge of the language, and an acquaintance with
those in power here, as well as others, such abilities as I have,
which are ever devoted to my country, can be employed here to the best
advantage at present, but I submit my thoughts to your determination,
and am, with great truth and sincerity,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 29th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

The several letters you will receive with this, will give you some
idea of the situation I have been in for some months past, though
after all I must refer you to Mr Rogers for particulars on some
subjects. I should never have completed what I have, but for the
generous, the indefatigable and spirited exertions of Monsieur
Beaumarchais, to whom the United States are on every account greatly
indebted; more so than to any other person on this side the water; he
is greatly in advance for stores, clothing, and the like, and
therefore I am confident you will make him the earliest and most ample
remittances. He wrote you by Mr McCrery, and will write you again by
this conveyance. A nephew of his, a young gentleman of family,
education, and spirit, makes a voyage to America with Monsieur du
Coudray, and is ambitious of serving his first campaigns in your
service. I recommend him therefore to your particular patronage and
protection, as well on account of the great merits of his uncle, as on
that of his being a youth of spirit and genius; and just entering the
world in a foreign country, he needs protection and paternal advice to
countenance and encourage him. This I have confidently assured his
uncle he will receive from you, and am happy in knowing you will
fulfil my engagements on that score, and, in whatever department you
may fix him, that you will recommend him to the patronage of some
person, on whom you may rely to act at once the friendly and the
paternal part.

A particular account of the stores shipped may probably not be ready
by this vessel, but may go by the next or some succeeding one, as
several will sail after this on the same errand. Let me by every
letter urge on you the sending in season a quantity of tobacco, of
rice, and flour or wheat. These are articles which cannot fail, and
are capital ones; twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco are this
instant wanted in France, besides the demand in other kingdoms. I
think Monsieur Beaumarchais wrote you under the firm of _Hortalez &
Co._ if so, you will address him in the same style; but as I must
probably remain here until the arrival of these articles, I can
regulate that on the arrival of your despatches. I have advised these
stores being shipped for some of the New England ports, northeast of
Newport first, and if failing of making a port there, to stand for the
Capes of the Delaware, or for Charleston in South Carolina, as the
most likely route to avoid interception. I cannot in a letter do full
justice to Monsieur Beaumarchais for his great address and assiduity
in our cause; I can only say he appears to have undertaken it on great
and liberal principles, and has in the pursuit made it his own. His
interest and influence, which are great, have been exerted to the
utmost in the cause of the United States, and I hope the consequences
will equal his wishes.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 29th November, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

I have recommended several officers to your service, but none with
greater pleasure, scarce any one with so much confidence of his
answering great and valuable purposes, as the bearer, Colonel Conway,
a native of Ireland, advanced in the service by his merit. His views
are to establish himself and his growing family in America;
consequently he becomes our countryman and engages on the most certain
principles. This gentleman has seen much service; his principal
department has been that of training and disciplining troops, and
preparing for action; and from his abilities as well as from his long
experience, he is considered as one of the most skilful
disciplinarians in France. Such an officer must be, I conceive, of
very great service, and his generously confiding in the honorable
Congress for such rank and appointments as they shall confer, entitles
him still more to our immediate attention and notice. I have assured
him of the most favorable reception, and am confident he will receive
the same.

Colonel Conway takes with him some young officers of his own training,
who know well the English language, and may be of immediate service in
the same important department of discipline. As Colonel Conway has
been long in service, (though in prime of life) I am confident you
will not think it right he should rank under those who have served
under him in this kingdom, which will not be the case if he fills the
place of an Adjutant, or Brigadier General, for which, I am well
assured, he is every way well qualified. I have advanced him as per
receipt enclosed towards his expenses and appointments or wages, and
told him he may rely on your granting him one of the above ranks in
the Continental forces. Should the honorable Congress have a new body
of troops to form in any part of the Continent, this gentleman might
take the direction of them to very great advantage, and may, I
presume, be equally so in the station you may appoint him in the main
army.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 1st December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

Among the many important objects, which employ your whole attention, I
presume ways and means for defraying the expenses of the present war
have a capital place. You will therefore give the following thoughts
the weight which they deserve. In the first place, to emit more bills
will be rather dangerous; for money, or whatever passes for such, when
it exceeds the amount of the commerce of a state, must lose its value;
and the present circumscribed state of the American commerce, is
perhaps within the amount of your emissions already made. Your bills,
therefore, must be borrowed of individuals by the public at interest,
or those already emitted paid off by taxes and new emissions. Some
Colonies may now be content with a tax, but it is most probably quite
out of the power of some, and a measure rather impolitic in a majority
of the Colonies or States, _durante bello_.

To effect any considerable loan in Europe is perhaps difficult. It has
not been tried, and on the probability of succeeding in this I will
give my sentiments hereafter. It is obvious, that let the loan be made
when it will, it must have a day fixed for payment, and respect to
some fund appropriated to that purpose. The relying on future taxes is
holding up to the people a succession of distresses and burthens which
are not to cease even with the war itself, whereas could they have a
prospect of paying the expenses of the war at the close of it, and
enjoying the remainder of their fortunes clear of incumberance, it
must greatly encourage and animate both the public and private spirit
in pushing it on with vigor. A loan of six or eight millions, or a
debt of that amount, will probably enable you to finish the war. This
I am confident may be negotiated on terms, which I will propose
hereafter, but previously let it be attended to, that the present
contest has engaged the attention of all Europe, and more, it will
eventually interest all Europe in favor of the United States, the
Russians in the north and Portugal in the south, excepted; I make no
consideration of the little mercenary electorates in my calculation.
The mercantile part of the other powers are convinced, where their
interest appears so evidently engaged. The political part are sensible
of the importance of enlarging their own naval concerns and force, and
of checking that of Great Britain. The good and wise part, the lovers
of liberty and human happiness, look forward to the establishment of
American freedom and independence as an event, which will secure to
them and their descendants an asylum from the effects and violence of
despotic power, daily gaining ground in every part of Europe. From
those and other considerations, on which I need not be minute,
emigrations from Europe will be prodigious, immediately on the
establishment of American Independency. The consequence of this must
be the rise of the lands already settled, and a demand for new or
uncultivated land; on this demand I conceive a certain fund may now be
fixed. You may smile, and recollect the sale of the bearskin in the
fable, but at the same time you must be sensible that your wants are
real, and if others can be induced to relieve them, it is indifferent
to you whether they have a consideration in hand or in prospect.

I trace the river Ohio from its junction to its head, thence north to
Lake Erie on the south and west of that lake to Fort Detroit, which is
in the latitude of Boston, thence a west course to the Mississippi,
and return to the place of my departure. These three lines of near one
thousand miles each, include an immense territory in a fine climate,
well watered, and by accounts exceedingly fertile; it is not inhabited
by any Europeans of consequence, and the tribes of Indians are
inconsiderable, and will decrease faster than the lands can possibly
be demanded for cultivation. To this I ask your attention as a
resource amply adequate, under proper regulations, for defraying the
whole expense of the war, and the sums necessary to be given the
Indians in purchase of the native right. But to give this land value,
inhabitants are necessary. I therefore propose, in the first place,
that a grant be made of a tract of land at the mouth of the Ohio,
between that and the Mississippi, equal to two hundred miles square,
to a company formed indiscriminately of Europeans and Americans, which
company should form a distinct state, confederated with and under the
general regulations of the United States General of America. That the
Congress of the United States shall, out of such grant, reserve the
defraying or discharging of the public debts or expenses; one fifth
part of all the lands, mines, &c. within said tract, to be disposed
of by the Congress, in such manner as good policy and the public
exigencies may dictate, the said one fifth to be sequestered out of
every grant or settlement made by the company, of equal goodness with
the rest of such grant or settlement. The company on their part shall
engage to have, in seven years after the passing such grant ----
thousand families settled on said grant, and civil government
regulated and supported on free and liberal principles, taking therein
the advice of the honorable Congress of the United States. They shall,
also, from and after their having one thousand families as
abovementioned, contribute their proportion of the public expenses of
the Continent, or United States, according to the number of their
inhabitants, and shall be entitled to a voice in Congress, as soon as
they are called on thus to contribute. The company shall at all times
have the preference of purchasing the Continental or common interest
thus reserved, when it shall be offered for sale. The company shall
consist, on giving the patent or grant, of at least one hundred
persons.

These are the outlines of a proposed grant, which you see contains
more than 25,000,000 acres of land, the one fifth of which, if a
settlement is carried on vigorously, will soon be of prodigious value.
At this time a company might be formed in France, Germany, &c. who
would form a stock of one hundred thousand pounds sterling, to defray
the expense of this settlement. By such a step, you, in the first
place, extend the circle of your connexion and influence. You increase
the number of your inhabitants, proportionably lessen the common
expenses and have in the reserve a fund for public exigencies.
Further, as this company would be in a great degree commercial, the
establishing commerce at the junction of these large rivers, would
immediately give a value to all the lands situate on or near them
within the above extensive description, and future grants might admit
of larger reserves, amply sufficient for defraying the expenses of the
war, and possibly for establishing funds for other important purposes.
It may be objected that this is not a favorable time for such a
measure. I reply it is the most favorable that can happen. You want
money, and by holding up thus early to view a certain fund on which to
raise it, even the most certain in the world, that of land security,
you may obtain the loan and engage the monied interest of Europe in
your favor. I have spoken with many persons of good sense on this
subject, which makes me the more sanguine.

As to a loan, I will now dismiss this scheme to speak of that, only
adding, or rather repeating what I have in a former letter written,
that a large and generous allowance ought immediately to be made to
the officers and soldiers serving in the present war, in which regard
should be had to the wounded, the widows or children of those that
fall, and to the term or number of campaigns each one serves. This
will make the army consist literally of a set of men fighting for
freehold, and it will be a great encouragement to foreigners, with
whom five hundred or a thousand acres of land has a great sound.

It has been a question with me at times, whether, if our commerce were
open and protected, the colonies would be wise in negotiating a loan.
But on considering, that before this war, the imports of the Colonies
just about balanced their exports, I cannot think it possible, with
the most rigid economy, supposing exports as large as formerly, to
make a lessening of consumption equal to the amount of the expenses
of the war; and consequently a debt must be contracted by the public
somewhere. The question which naturally arises is, whether it be most
prudent to contract this debt at home or abroad. To me it admits of no
doubt, that the latter is to be preferred on every account. If you can
establish a credit and pay your interest punctually, the rate of
interest will be less by two or three per cent in Europe than in
America; you will thereby engage foreigners by the strongest tie, that
of their immediate interest, to support your cause. There are other
obvious reasons for preferring the latter mode.

The next question is, where can you borrow, and what security can you
offer? Holland is at present the centre of money and credit for
Europe, and every nation is more or less indebted to her collectively
to such an amount, that could the nations in Europe at once pay the
whole of their debts to this _Republic of Mammon_, it would as
effectually ruin it, as the breaking in of the sea through their
dykes. Would you know the credit and situation of the affairs of the
different kingdoms, consult the books of the Dutch banks.

This kingdom (France) has been in bad credit, from the villainy of a
late Comptroller General, as it is said, one Abbe Terrai, against
whose administration the severest things have been uttered and
written. He was succeeded by the much esteemed Mons. Turgot, and
stocks rose, and a commission was given to a banker (a correspondent
of mine in Amsterdam) to negotiate a loan, but the dismission of Mons.
Turgot, and the indifferent opinion which monied men at least had of
his successor, Mons. Clugny, prevented the loan, and lowered the
stocks. Mons. Clugny died last week, and is succeeded ostensibly by
one Monsieur Tabourou; I say ostensibly, for M. Necker, a noted
Protestant banker, is joined with him as Intendant of the Treasury.
This raised stocks immediately, and I am told they have already risen
ten per cent. This is the most politic appointment that could have
been made, and it deserves our notice, that where a man has it in his
power to be of public service, his principles of religion are not a
sufficient obstacle to hinder his promotion even in France. This will
probably enable this kingdom to borrow money, which from all
appearances will be soon wanted. Spain, from the punctuality of its
payments of interest, and its well known treasures, is in high credit
in Holland. Denmark borrows at four per cent, Sweden at the same; the
emperor of Germany, from the security of his hereditary dominions, and
the empress of Russia, from her having lately paid part of the large
sum she borrowed in the Turkish wars, are both of them in good credit.
The credit of Great Britain, though it has not fallen, yet it is in a
critical situation with those foreseeing people, who, on receiving the
news of the action on Long Island, which raised stocks a trifle in
England, began immediately to sell out.

Not a power in Europe, the king of Prussia excepted, can go to war
without borrowing money of Holland to a greater or less amount, and
whilst so many borrowers are in its neighborhood, whose estates, as I
may say, are settled and known, it is not to be expected Holland will
be fond of lending money to the United States of North America, though
we should offer higher interest. To offer a large interest might be
tempting, but it would be very ruinous to us, and I conceive it will
never be thought prudent to permit higher than five per cent interest
in the States of North America, and this is but one per cent more than
is given in Europe.

This view leads me again to reflect, as I constantly do, with the
utmost grief, on the unaccountable delay of proper authority
announcing the Independency of the United States, and proposing terms
of alliance and friendship with France and Spain. This I am confident
would at once remove this and many other difficulties; would put our
affairs on the most established and respectable footing, and oblige
Great Britain herself to acknowledge our Independency and court our
friendship. On such powers being received and presented, these
kingdoms, I have no doubt, would become our guaranty for the money we
want, and the produce of our country will be wanted for the interest,
and even the principal, as fast as we can transport it hither. But as
no such powers and instructions are received, and as it is possible
you mean not to send any, I will mention a few thoughts on another
plan.

You are not in want of money, but the effects of money in the
manufactures of Europe. For these the Colonies or United States must
now have a demand to the amount of some millions sterling. These
manufactures are to be had principally in France and Holland. As to
the latter, they have not at present, and are resolved never to have,
any peculiar connexion with, or friendship for, any power, further
than their commerce is served by it, but that is not the ruling
passion of the former. The desire of humbling their old rival and
hereditary enemy, and aggrandizing their monarchy, are predominant,
and never was there a more favorable opportunity than the present,--so
favorable is it, that were the funds of this kingdom in a little
better situation, and were they confident that the United States would
abide by their Independency, not a moment's time would be lost in
declaring war, even though you had made no application direct.
Whatever part this kingdom takes will be pursued by the Court of
Madrid. Would this Court give a credit even to private merchants, it
would answer the same purpose as a loan; as for instance, the United
Colonies want about three millions value of manufactures annually (it
has heretofore been a little more) from Europe. If this Court will
give a credit to that amount to any body of men in the kingdom, that
company may engage to pay the Court the same amount in Continental
bills within a limited time, this company may send to America supplies
to that amount, as the Congress shall order, such goods as are wanted
either for the army or navy; the Congress will instantly deposit their
bills for the amount; the residue may be sold at a stated advance for
Continental bills, the whole of the amount immediately put on interest
to this Court; this will be the calling in of such an amount of the
bills, and of course give the greater currency to the whole. Meantime,
this Court must become interested to have the commerce free, by which
alone remittances can be made. This is but a sudden thought,
recommended to you for consideration, if deemed worthy. That something
may be effected in this way I can have no doubt, while I have this
most unequivocal evidence. I am now credited to the amount of all the
supplies for thirty thousand men, a train of artillery, amounting to
more than two hundred pieces of brass cannon, ammunition, &c. &c.
which must be of near half a million sterling, _not ostensibly by the
Court, but by a private company_. At the same time other companies, as
well as individuals, after offering any loan or credit I should ask,
always brought in sooner or later the condition of having my bills
endorsed by some banker or person of credit; where you are sensible in
my situation the affair ended; though in several instances I had the
most flattering encouragement, and expected most assuredly no security
would be required; but that this particular house should be able and
willing to advance this prodigious sum at once, and without security,
is no way surprising, but perfectly consistent with what I have all
along asserted.

The most effectual card now played by the British Ambassador is,
asserting that an accommodation will soon take place, and by some
means or other conjecturing my want of powers by my not appearing at
Court, he is bold in this assertion, and I find it the greatest
difficulty I have to encounter. But I will not enter on a subject,
which has well nigh distracted me, and embarrassed and disheartened in
a greater or less degree every friend of America. The late conduct of
the Court of Spain respecting Captain Lee, whose case I mentioned
before, is a striking proof of what I have so positively asserted of
the good disposition of both these Courts. They dismissed the
complaint against him, afforded him protection, with assurances of
every assistance he might need, declaring publicly that their ports
were equally free for Americans as for Britons. I have besides these
overt acts still more convincing proofs, that the moment your
application is made every thing will be set in proper motion.

I now discuss a subject which has given, and still continues to give
me as much anxiety as I can struggle with, and mention another, a
little new but indeed somewhat connected with it; it is the equipping
of a number of American ships of war in the ports of France.
Considering the price of duck, cordage, ordnance, and other military
stores in America, they may be built much cheaper here. This is not
the sole advantage, they may carry over stores of every kind in
safety, as being French bottoms, ostensibly at least, all the brave
and ingenious in the Marine Department in this kingdom would become
adventurers in person, or in purse and influence in such a scheme; and
I speak on good grounds, when I say, that in three months after
receiving your orders I can have ten ships of at least thirty six guns
each, at your service, independent of assistance immediately from
Government; so much attention is paid to the American cause by all
persons of consequence in this kingdom. The honorable Congress must I
conceive either continue emitting bills or borrow money, and I submit
whether it be not better to borrow of foreign states than individuals,
in the present situation of American affairs; I am convinced you may
borrow five or six millions of Holland, on France becoming your
security. This I am confident may be obtained on application to this
Court and Spain, and that on these principles they can by no means be
willing to permit the Colonies to return to their former subjection to
Great Britain, armed as both countries are. Their possessions in
America must lie at the mercy of Great Britain, on such an event as a
reconciliation with the Colonies. The Colonies being in want of the
manufactures of Europe, of this kingdom in particular, this sum would,
a principal part of it, rest in France and give a great spring to
their manufactures, and afford them the advantage of anticipating
others in American commerce. These are important objects, and I have
no doubt would be considered of consequence sufficient for them to
risk such a credit. Rich individuals offer to supply any quantity of
goods or stores on such security, and I believe the latter would do
considerable, were they only assured of five per cent interest on
their debts after they become due. But I submit the whole to the
mature consideration of the honorable Congress, and am, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                             Paris, 3d December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

My letters from Bordeaux and since, to which I have received no reply,
will give you my situation, but lest some of them fail, I will briefly
in this give you the history of my proceedings. Immediately on my
arrival, I sent forward your bills, a large part of which were
protested, and intelligence arriving of the loss of Canada, and that
Carleton was even on the frontiers of the Colonies, and at the same
time the formidable armament gone and going over, made every one here
give up the Colonies as subdued. To have tried for a credit under such
circumstances would have been worse than useless; it would have been
mortifying, as a refusal must have been the consequence. Mr Delap
generously offered to advance five or six thousand pounds, but when I
considered it was already more than four months since you began to
prepare for remitting, and that next to nothing was received, I really
found myself embarrassed, and hoping every day for some relief, I
suspended engaging, and came up to Paris, having previously sent Mr
Morris's letter to his different correspondents, not one of which
appeared inclinable to be concerned in a credit.

I sent ---- to procure the goods in Amsterdam, if to be had, but found
our credit worse there than in France. A gentleman here offered me a
credit for a million of livres, but it was, when explained, on the
following conditions. I must produce direct authority from the
Congress, with their promise of interest; all American vessels must be
sent to his address; and until this could be secured him I must
provide a credit, or in other words a security in Europe. Here you are
sensible my negotiation ended. I then contracted for the supplies of
the army, and crowded into the contract as large a proportion of
woollens as I well could, sensible that with them you might do
something, and hoping your remittances might still arrive, or some
intelligence of the situation of your affairs, for I thought I judged
rightly, that if in six or seven months you were unable to send out
one third the remittances, the returns must be equally difficult. On
this ground I have been anxiously waiting to hear something from you.
Meantime I shipped forty tons of saltpetre, two hundred thousand
pounds of powder, via Martinique, one hundred barrels via Amsterdam.
The late affairs at Long Island, of which we had intelligence in
October, and the burning of New York, the report of Carleton's having
crossed the lakes, and that you were negotiating, has absolutely
ruined our credit with the greater part of individuals; and finding so
little prospect of completing the Indian goods, I have attended the
closer to despatch the supplies for the army, for which I had obtained
a credit ostensibly from a private person, but really from a higher
source. Meantime the monies remitted are in Mr Delap's hands, except
what I have drawn out for my private expenses, for payment of the
saltpetre, for the fitting out of Captain Morgan, and for the
equipment of certain officers going to America. For the 200,000 weight
of powder Mr Delap is my surety, consequently should he receive
nothing more from you he will have no considerable balance in his
hands. Could I have received but one half the amount in any season, I
would have ventured on the goods long before this, but to what
purpose would it have been, could I have been credited the amount, if
you were unable to remit? The same obstruction must subsist against
their arrival. I am however at last promised the goods on credit by
the same way as the stores have been procured, and hope to ship them
this month; but some of the articles are not manufactured any where in
Europe except Great Britain, and others must be substituted in the
best manner I can.

I have written to Mr Delap to send you his account, also to send the
particulars to me, which I will transmit as soon as received. The
goods may be expected in the month of February; meantime I pray you,
not on this account only, but on others, to exert yourselves in
remitting so much as to support the credit of the Continent, for which
I am now engaged to a very great amount. Tobacco, rice, flour, indigo,
peltry, oil, whale fins, flaxseed, spermaceti, masts, spars, &c. are
in good demand. Tobacco at 9 to 10 sous per lb. and rising, free of
duty or expense, save commission. Rice 30 livres per cwt. Flour 22 to
24 livres.

I am, most respectfully, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ When I say tobacco is free of duty, I mean if sold to the
Farmers-General directly; on other conditions it is inadmissible at
any rate.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                             Paris, 3d December, 1776.

  Dear Jay,

If my letters arrive safe they will give you some idea of my
situation. Without intelligence, without orders, and without
remittances, yet boldly plunging into contracts, engagements, and
negotiations, hourly hoping that something will arrive from America.
By General Coudray I send 30,000 fusils, 200 pieces of brass cannon,
30 mortars, 4000 tents and clothing for 30,000 men, with 200 tons of
gun powder, lead, balls, &c. &c. by which you may judge we have some
friends here. A war in Europe is inevitable. The eyes of all are on
you, and the fear of your giving up or accommodating is the greatest
obstacle I have to contend with. Mons. Beaumarchais has been my
Minister in effect, as this Court is extremely cautious, and I now
advise you to attend carefully to the articles sent you. I could not
examine them here. I was promised they should be good and at the
lowest prices, and that from persons in such station, that had I
hesitated it might have ruined my affairs. But as in so large a
contract there is room for imposition, my advice is that you send back
to me samples of the articles sent you. Cannon, powder, mortars, &c.
are articles known; but send clothes, the fusils, &c. by which any
imposition may be detected. Large remittances are necessary for your
credit, and the enormous price of tobacco, of rice, of flour, and many
other articles, gives you an opportunity of making your remittances to
very great advantage. 20,000 hogsheads of tobacco are wanted
immediately for this kingdom, and more for other parts of Europe.

I have written you on several subjects, some of which I will attempt
briefly to recapitulate. The destruction of the Newfoundland fishery
may be effected, by two or three of your frigates sent there early in
February, and by that means a fatal blow given to Great Britain, I
mean by destroying the stages, boats, &c. and by bringing away the
people left there as prisoners. Glasgow in Scotland may be plundered
and burnt with ease, as may Liverpool, by two or three frigates, which
may find a shelter and protection in the ports of France and Spain
afterwards. Blank commissions are wanted here to cruise under your
flag against the British commerce. This is a capital stroke and must
bring on a war. Hasten them out I pray you. France and Spain are
friendly, and you will greatly oblige the latter by seizing the
Portuguese commerce whenever it is found. I have had overtures from
the king of Prussia in the commercial way, and have sent a person of
great confidence to his Court with letters of introduction from his
Agent here, with whom I am on the best terms. A loan may be obtained
for any sums at five per cent interest, perhaps less, if you make
punctual remittances for the sums now advanced. The Western Lands
ought to be held up to view as an encouragement for our soldiers,
especially foreigners, and are a good fund to raise money on. You may,
if you judge proper, have any number of German and Swiss troops; they
have been offered me, but you know I have no powers to treat. A number
of frigates may be purchased at Leghorn, the Grand Duke of Tuscany
being zealously in favor of America, and doing all in his power to
encourage its commerce. Troubles are rising in Ireland, and with a
little assistance much work may be cut out for Great Britain, by
sending from hence a few priests, a little money, and plenty of arms.
_Omnia tentanda_ is my motto, therefore I hint the playing of their
own game on them, by spiriting up the Caribs in St Vincents, and the
Negroes in Jamaica, to revolt.

On all these subjects I have written to you. Also on various
particulars of commerce. Our vessels have more liberty in the ports
of France, and Spain, and Tuscany, than the vessels of any other
nation, and that openly. I presented the Declaration of Independence
to this Court, after indeed it had become an old story in every part
of Europe; it was well received, but as you say you have articles of
alliance under consideration, any resolution must be deferred until we
know what they are. The want of intelligence has more than once well
nigh ruined my affairs; pray be more attentive to this important
subject, or drop at once all thoughts of a foreign connexion.

Had I ten ships here I could fill them all with passengers for
America. I hope the officers sent will be agreeable; they were
recommended by the Ministry here, and are at this instant really in
their army, but this must be a secret. Do you want heavy iron cannon,
sea officers of distinction, or ships? Your special orders will enable
me to procure them. For the situation of affairs in England I refer
you to Mr Rogers, Aid de Camp to Mons. du Coudray. I have presented a
number of memoirs, which have been very favorably received, and the
last by his Majesty, but my being wholly destitute of other than
accidental and gratuitous assistance will not permit my sending you
copies. Indeed I was obliged to make them so as to explain the rise,
the nature, and the progress of the dispute. I have been assured by
the Ministers, that I have thrown much light on the subject, and have
obviated many difficulties, but his Majesty is not of the disposition
of his great grandfather Louis 14th. If he were, England would soon be
ruined. Do not forget or omit sending me blank commissions for
privateers; under these, infinite damage may be done to the British
commerce, and as the prizes must be sent to you for condemnation the
eventual profits will remain with you.

Doctor Bancroft has been of very great service to me; no man has
better intelligence in England in my opinion, but it costs something.
The following articles have been shewn to me; they have been seen by
both the courts of France and Spain, and I send them to you for
speculation.

1st. The thirteen United Colonies, now known by the name of the
thirteen United States of North America, shall be acknowledged by
France and Spain, and treated with as Independent States, and as such
shall be guarantied in the possession of all that part of the
continent of North America, which by the last treaty of peace was
ceded and confirmed to the crown of Great Britain.

2dly. The United States shall guaranty and confirm to the crowns of
France and Spain, all and singular their possessions and claims in
every other part of America, whether north or south of the equator,
and of the Islands possessed by them in the American seas.

3dly. Should France or Spain, either or both of them, possess
themselves of the Islands in the West Indies now in possession of the
crown of Great Britain (as an indemnity for the injuries sustained in
the last war, in consequence of its being commenced on the part of
Great Britain in violation of the laws of nations,) the United
Colonies shall assist the said Powers in obtaining such satisfaction,
and guaranty and confirm to them the possession of such acquisitions.

4thly. The fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland, of Cape Breton, and
parts adjacent, commonly known and called by the name of the Cod
Fishery, shall be equally free to the subjects of France, Spain, and
the United States respectively, and they shall mutually engage to
protect and defend each other in such commerce.

5thly. The more effectually to preserve this alliance, and to obtain
the great object, it shall be agreed, that every and any British ship
or vessel found or met with on the coasts of North America, of South
America, or of the Islands adjacent, and belonging thereto, and within
a certain degree or distance to be agreed on, shall be forever
hereafter considered as lawful prize to any of the subjects of France,
Spain, or the United Colonies, and treated as such, as well in peace
as in war, nor shall France, Spain, or the United Colonies ever
hereafter admit British ships into any of their ports in America,
North and South, or the Islands adjacent. This article never to be
altered or dispensed with, but only by and with the consent of each of
the three contracting States.

6thly. During the present war between the United States and Great
Britain, France and Spain shall send into North America, and support
there, a fleet to defend and protect the coasts and the commerce of
the United States, in consequence of which if the possessions of
France or Spain should be attacked in America by Great Britain or her
allies, the United States will afford them all the aid and assistance
in their power.

7thly. No peace or accommodation shall be made with Great Britain to
the infringement or violation of any one of these articles.[8]

I am, with the utmost impatience to hear from you, Dear Sir, yours,
&c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[8] From the manner in which Mr Deane introduces these articles, it
does not appear in what source they originated. From the following
sketch, which was prepared some time before this letter was written to
Mr Jay, it is evident that the project was first proposed by Mr Deane
himself.

"Outline of a Treaty between France and Spain and the United States,
drawn up by Silas Deane, and presented to the Count Vergennes in his
private capacity, Nov 23, 1776.

"1. Independence to be recognized.

"2. The United States to guaranty and confirm to France and Spain all
their possessions in North America and the West India Islands.

"3. Should France or Spain gain possession of any of the West India
Islands, (as an indemnity for the injuries sustained by them in the
last war, in consequence of its being commenced on the part of Great
Britain, in violation of the laws of nations,) the United States to
assist the said powers in gaining satisfaction, and in retaining
possession of such acquisitions.

"4. The fisheries on the Banks of Newfoundland to be enjoyed equally
between the three contracting powers, to the exclusion of all other
nations.

"5. The regulations of commerce to be reciprocal.

"6. Any British vessel found or met with on the coast of North or
South America, or the Islands adjacent or belonging thereto, _within a
certain degree or distance to be agreed on_, shall be forever
hereafter considered as lawful prize to any of the subjects of France,
Spain, or the United States, and treated as such as well in peace as
in war,--nor shall France, Spain, or the United States ever hereafter
admit British ships into any of their ports in America, North or
South, or the Islands adjacent, nor shall this article ever be altered
or dispensed with, but only by and with the consent of each of the
three contracting States.

"7. During the present war, France and Spain to send fleets into the
seas of the United States to defend them from the British, and should
the possessions o£ France or Spain in America be attacked, the United
States to lend such aids as they can for their defence.

"8. No peace to be made with Great Britain, by either of the
contracting parties, to the infringement or violation of any one of
these articles."

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 6th December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

You have enclosed the duplicate of an agreement with Mons. du Coudray,
of my orders for clothing, stores, &c., of my agreement with Baron de
Kalb and others of his train, also with the Comte de Monau and his,
which I hope will be agreeable, also the agreement for freight of the
ships, which I was assured by letters from Bordeaux and elsewhere was
as low as could be procured. At the same time, if it is above the
stated price, in such cases I am promised an abatement. I hope the
peculiarity of my situation, and the anxious desire I have of
forwarding aid to my country, will be considered if any of the
articles are thought high. Men cannot be engaged to quit their native
country and friends, to hazard life and all in a cause, which is not
their own immediately, at the same easy rate as men will do who are
fighting literally _pro aris et focis_, and it is a universal custom
in Europe to allow something extra to foreigners, but my allowances
are very much below the rates here for officers in the same station.

I have the honor to be, with the most profound respect for the
Congress, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _List of Officers of Infantry and Light Troops destined to serve the
                   United States of North America._

    NAMES OF OFFICERS.          RANK.             COMMENCEMENT OF
                                                    THEIR PAY.
    Baron de Kalb,              Major General,    7th November, 1776.
    Vicount de Mauroy,          Major General,    20th   do.     do.
    de Senneville,              Major,            7th    do.     do.
    The Chevalier du Buyssons,  Major,            7th    do.     do.
    The Chevalier de Fayoles,   Lieut. Colonel,   20th   do.     do.
    Dubois Martin,              Major,            20th   do.     do.
    de Holtzendorff,            Lieut. Colonel,   26th   do.     do.
    The Chevalier de Failly,    Lieut. Colonel,   1st December, 1776.
    Amariton,                   Major,                   do.     do.
    de Roth,                    Captain,                 do.     do.
    de Gerard,                  Captain,                 do.     do.
    Philis de Roseval,          Lieutenant,              do.     do.
    de Montis,                  Lieutenant,              do.     do.
    Loquet de Granges,          Lieutenant,              do.     do.
    de Vrigny,                  Capt. Company franche,   do.     do.
    Candon,                     Lieutenant,              do.     do.

The said ranks and pay at the dates marked in the present list have
been settled mutually between us, the undersigned, me, Silas Deane, in
my quality of deputy of the most honorable Congress of the United
States of North America, and me, John Baron de Kalb, Major General in
the service of the States General. Done double at Paris this 1st of
December, 1776.

                                                          DE KALB,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _List of Officers of Infantry and Light Troops destined to serve in
          the armies of the United States of North America._

    NAMES OF OFFICERS  RANK                     COMMENCEMENT OF
                                                  THEIR PAY

    M. de la Fayette,   Major General,  from the 7th December, 1776.
    Baron de Kalb,     Major General,           7th November,
    Delesser,          Colonel,                 1st December,
    De Valfort,        Colonel,                 1st December,
    De Fayoles,         Lieutenant Colonel,      20th November,
    De Franval,        Lieutenant Colonel,      1st December,
    Dubois Martin,     Major,                   7th November,
    De Gimat,          Major,                   1st December,
    De Vrigny,         Captain,                 1st December,
    De Bedaulx,
    Capitaine,         Captain,                 1st December,
    de la Colombe,     Lieutenant,              1st December,
    Candon,            Lieutenant,              7th November.

The ranks and the pay, which the most honorable Congress shall affix
to them to commence at the periods marked in the present list, have
been agreed to by us the undersigned, Silas Deane in quality of deputy
of the American States General on the one part, the Marquis de la
Fayette and the Baron de Kalb on the other part. Signed double at
Paris this 7th of December, 1776.

                                            SILAS DEANE,
                                            The MARQUIS de la FAYETTE,
                                            DE KALB.

The desire which the Marquis de la Fayette shows of serving among the
troops of the United States of North America, and the interest which
he takes in the justice of their cause make him wish to distinguish
himself in this war, and to render himself as useful as he possibly
can; but not thinking that he can obtain leave of his family to pass
the seas, and serve in a foreign country, till he can go as a general
officer; I have thought I could not better serve my country, and those
who have intrusted me, than by granting to him in the name of the very
honorable Congress the rank of Major General, which I beg the States
to confirm to him, to ratify and deliver to him the commission to hold
and take rank, to count from this day, with the general officers of
the same degree. His high birth, his alliances, the great dignities
which his family holds at this Court, his considerable estates in this
realm, his personal merit, his reputation, his disinterestedness, and
above all his zeal for the liberty of our provinces, are such as to
induce me alone to promise him the rank of major general in the name
of the United States. In witness of which I have signed the present,
this 7th of December, 1776.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

On the conditions here explained I offer myself, and promise to depart
when and how Mr Deane shall judge proper, to serve the United States
with all possible zeal, without any pension or particular allowance,
reserving to myself the liberty of returning to Europe when my family
or my king shall recall me.

Done at Paris this 7th of December, 1776.

                                            The MARQUIS de la FAYETTE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO COUNT VERGENNES.

                                            Paris, December 8th, 1776.

  Sir,

I received last evening a letter from my friend, Dr Franklin, at
Nantes, which place he was to leave last Sunday morning, so that I
expect him in Paris this day, or early tomorrow. Meantime I have and
shall carefully attend to the hint given me, and am confident he will
do the same. His arrival is the common topic of conversation, and has
given birth to a thousand conjectures and reports, not one of which I
have given ground for, having constantly declared that I am ignorant
of the motives of his voyage, or his business.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 12th December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

Just as I had closed my despatches by the Generals de Coudray and
Baron de Kalb, I was most agreeably surprised with a letter from Dr
Franklin, at Nantes, where he arrived, after thirty days passage,
with two prizes. I hourly expect him here, but knowing of his arrival,
I despatch this with a duplicate to Havre de Grace, to go by the ships
sailing thence, and have only time to inform you, that I sent an
express instantly to Mr Lee to join us here without delay, for the
news of Dr Franklin's arrival may occasion his friends being forbid
coming from London to France. Nothing has, for a long time, occasioned
greater speculation than this event, and our friends here are elated
beyond measure, as this confirms them you will not negotiate with
England; and for me, I will not attempt to express the pleasure I feel
on this occasion, as it removes at once difficulties under which I
have been constantly in danger of sinking. I may not add, as I shall
miss the post, but am, with the most grateful and respectful
compliments to the Congress, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ The King of Portugal is dead. The Comte Grimaldi, Prime
Minister of Spain, has resigned, which will tend to accelerate a
rupture in Europe, which I think unavoidable.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 20th January, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

I have met with disappointments, unexpected as they have been
affecting; after orders and counter orders and manoeuvres, the very
history of which would fill a volume, the Amphitrite departed with the
first parcel of the stores on the 14th ult., and I was then in full
confidence that the other vessels would instantly follow, as they lay
ready in their different ports, when, to my surprise, counter orders
arrived. While laboring to remove these, the Amphitrite returned into
port, pretendedly through the want of live stock, &c. by the officers.
The Captain has protested, that he returned in consequence of the
positive orders of Mons. du Coudray, to whom a superior power was
given. I have no time to decide so disputable a point as that
respecting Monsieur du Coudray's return, but the consequences have
been bad. This, I must say, he acted an unwise and injudicious part,
in returning into the port he did, as he thereby gave a fresh alarm to
the ministry, and occasioned a second counter order. Indeed Mons. du
Coudray appeared to have solely in view his own ease, safety, and
emolument, and instead of instantly despatching the ships with
supplies, and thereby preventing a noise, he left the ships, and
returned quite to Paris without the least ground, that I can find, for
his conduct; and has laid his scheme to pass into America in a ship
without the artillery, which is inconsistent and absurd, and contrary
to our original agreement, and constant understanding, as I engaged
with this man solely on account of the artillery he was to assist in
procuring, expediting, and attending in person. His desertion of this
charge, with his other conduct, makes me wish he may not arrive in
America at all. I am sensible that my difficult situation may affect
you, and therefore I shall, if possible, prevent his going out at all.
With respect to the other stores they are embarked, and I am promised
a permit, which is all I may say on the subject, which is left solely
to my management by my colleagues.

M. du Coudray, not content with leaving the ship, took with him the
papers which occasioned a still further delay after she was ready;
but I will not enlarge on these disagreeable topics, but wishing the
stores at hand,

  I am, with much esteem, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

I recommend the Captain to the generosity of Congress.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 6th February, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

The bearer, Mons. Holtzendorff, is a Prussian officer, who served the
last war in Germany, and with reputation. Gentlemen of first character
in the army here have recommended him, as an excellent officer both
for skill and bravery. I take therefore the liberty of recommending
him to the service of the United States. He leaves a Major's post here
in the army of France, hoping by his services in America to advance
himself beyond what he can expect in Europe in a time of peace. I
shall as soon as possible send you a particular account of all my
proceedings to the time of the arrival of Dr Franklin, which I have in
a great measure done already, though in detached parts in different
letters, some of which may undoubtedly miscarry.

I am, with much respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                           Paris, 27th February, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

This will be delivered you by Captain Goy, who, with his lieutenant
and two sergeants, embarks with thirty field pieces, ten ton of
powder, ball, lead, &c. which I wish safe and in season for service,
though delayed beyond my expectations. Captain Goy has the best of
recommendations from officers of distinction here, and I am confident
will be found to be of great service in the artillery, a part of which
he accompanies. Dr Franklin is at present in the country in good
health, and we shall jointly write you very particularly in a few
days; meantime we are without any intelligence from Congress since he
left Philadelphia, in October last. I will not attempt to give you an
idea of the difficulties, which are the consequence of our being left
thus without intelligence, nor the anxiety it occasions in our minds;
but must urge you to take some effectual measures for keeping up a
correspondence with us in future, without which many proposals of the
utmost importance to the United States are extremely embarrassed, and
in danger of failing.

I have the honor to be,

  With the most profound respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, 8th April, 1777.

  Sir,

The bearer, Viscount Mourreu, is the gentleman of whom I formerly
wrote, and who has been long detained by a variety of accidents, which
he can relate to you at large. The engagements taken with him were
previous to the arrival of my colleagues, who have not therefore
intermeddled in the affair. His character and abilities are high in
estimation here, and the Comte de Broglio has written in particular to
General Washington. He served under the Comte, who commanded the
armies of France with reputation in the last war.

I have the honor to be,

  With the most profound respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                              Paris, 23d August, 1777.

  Dear Sir,

My letter, No. 1. of this date, gives you the state of Captain Bell's
proceedings and the circumstances attending it. In this I mean to give
you a short view of the conduct of this Court, with respect to
American ships of war, private as well as public, which I cannot well
do without giving you a history of facts.

You know that when I left America the naval armaments were but
beginning by the Congress, and the inquiry was hardly made, even by
individuals, whether foreign powers would admit our cruisers and their
prizes. After my arrival the question was first started by Captain Lee
of Marblehead, at Bilboa, of which I gave you an account in my letters
of October and November last. Captain Lee carried no prize into Bilboa
with him, and the question turned simply on the complaint of the
English Consul, charging him with having committed acts of piracy on
the high seas in making prizes of English vessels. The commissary or
governor of the port detained his vessel and sent to Court for
directions, and received orders to set the vessel at liberty; which
orders were accompanied with a general declaration, that his Catholic
Majesty was neuter in the dispute between England and America. Though
the issue of this business was favorable, it was not direct to the
point; we wished to establish the declaration of neutrality to be
general.

In my letters of October and November last, some of which must have
been received, I repeatedly gave my sentiments in favor of sending
cruisers into these seas. The first that arrived was the Reprisal with
two prizes; this caused much speculation, and at our first audience
after, we were told, that by the treaties subsisting between France
and England, ships of war belonging to any foreign power at war with
either could not be admitted into their ports, unless driven by stress
of weather, or want of provisions, &c. and that in such case they
could not be permitted to stay longer than twenty four hours, or until
they had taken on board the provisions necessary to carry them to the
nearest port of their respective states, &c. as you will see in the
treaty of commerce of 1713, confirmed by all the subsequent treaties.
At the same time we were given to understand, that every favor and
indulgence compatible with the treaties would be shewn us, and that
ways might be found out to dispose of those prizes without giving
public offence to England. The hint was taken, the prizes disposed of,
and the Reprisal repaired and fitted for another cruise; which she
made on the coast of Spain, taking, among other English prizes, the
packet boat from Lisbon; with which Captain Wickes returned to port
L'Orient. On this the English Ambassador complained loudly, and the
English merchants were alarmed. Insurance rose in London, and it was
generally supposed that there would be a restitution of the prizes
and detention of Captain Wickes, or a declaration of war. This Court
then ordered the prizes as well as Capt. Wickes to leave the port in
twenty four hours. The former were sent out but sold to French
merchants, and Captain Wickes, his ship being leaky, was permitted to
stay. Soon after this, Captain Johnson arrived in the Lexington, and
we, having bought a cutter with a view of sending her out as a packet,
altered our resolution and equipped her as a cruiser, and sent her and
the Lexington out under the command of Captain Wickes as commodore,
with the design of intercepting the Irish linen ships; but by contrary
winds, and mistaking the time of the sailing of those ships, they were
unsuccessful as to the main object; but as they sailed quite round
Ireland, and took or destroyed seventeen or eighteen sail of vessels,
they most effectually alarmed England, prevented the great fair at
Chester, occasioned insurance to rise, and even deterred the English
merchants from shipping goods in English bottoms at any rate, so that
in a few weeks forty sail of French ships were loading in the Thames
on freight; an instance never before known.

But upon this, the English Ambassador complained in a higher tone, and
gave us much difficulty; the prizes however were disposed of, though
at a prodigious loss, and Captain Wickes set about repairing and
refitting the Reprisal, which had been obliged to throw over her guns,
and saw some of her beams, to escape a seventy four gun ship, which
chased her and the Lexington on their return from their cruise. But
before he was refitted, orders were sent from Court to detain his
vessel and the Lexington, until further orders. This was owing partly
to Captain Wickes having repeatedly come into the ports of France with
prizes, and refitted his ship for fresh cruises, it being directly
contrary to the treaty, which they pretend to hold sacred, and partly
to the transaction at Dunkirk and the consequent threatenings of the
British Ministry. In this situation Captain Wickes and Captain Johnson
remain at present. Soon after Mr Hodge's arrival, we bought a lugger
at Dover, and sent her to Dunkirk. Mr Hodge went after her and
equipped her with great secrecy, designing a blow in the North Sea. He
sent Captain Cunningham in her, and ordered him to intercept the
packet between England and Holland, and then to cruise northward
towards the Baltic. Cunningham fell in with the packet in a day or two
after leaving Dunkirk, and took her. As she had a prodigious number of
letters on board, he imagined it was proper he should return to
Dunkirk instead of continuing his course; in his return he also took a
brig of some value, and brought both prizes into port. This spread the
alarm far and wide, and gave much real ground of complaint, as he had
been entirely armed and equipped in Dunkirk, and had returned thither
with his prizes. The Ministry, therefore, to appease England ordered
the prizes to be returned, and Cunningham and his crew to be
imprisoned, which gave the English a temporary triumph.

But not discouraged thereby, another cutter was bought and equipped
completely in the port of Dunkirk. Cunningham and his crew were set at
liberty, and with some address and intrigue he got again to sea from
the same port, in a swift sailing cutter, mounting fourteen six
pounders and twenty two swivels, with one hundred and six men. His
first adventure greatly raised insurance on the northern trade, even
the packet boats from Dover to Calais were for some time insured. On
his leaving the port of Dunkirk the second time, he had orders to
proceed directly for America, but he and his crew, full of resentment
for the insults they had received from the enemy whilst in prison at
Dunkirk, and afterwards, attacked the first vessels they met with, and
plundered and burnt as they went on. Our last accounts are, that they
had taken or destroyed about twenty sail, and had appeared off the
town of Lynn and threatened to burn it unless ransomed; but the wind
proving unfavorable, they could not put their threats into execution.
In a word, Cunningham, by his first and second bold expeditions, is
become the terror of all the eastern coast of England and Scotland,
and is more dreaded than Thurot was in the late war. But though this
distresses our enemies, it embarrasses us. We solicited his
enlargement, and Mr Hodge engaged for his going directly for America.
I know not how his engagement was expressed, but to appease the
British Ministry and drive off an instant war, Mr Hodge has been
arrested and confined. His friends need not be in distress for him; he
will soon be at liberty. He merits much from his country, having been
ready at all times to promote and serve its interests.

Just before the sailing of Cunningham, Captain Burrall arrived in a
Maryland pilot boat. He made several prizes in his passage, and
brought one into Cherbourg with him. He came to Paris for our advice,
but on his return suffered himself to be enticed on board an English
cutter in the port, where he was instantly seized, and the cutter came
to sail and carried him off prisoner. We complained, and were promised
that he should be reclaimed by this Court; it has probably been done,
but we have received no answer. The ship General Mifflin, after
cruising some time on the coasts of England and Ireland, put into
Brest, and there, under Continental colors, saluted the admiral, who,
after consulting his officers, returned the salute, which causes much
speculation, and shows that the officers, as well as the other orders
in this kingdom, are much in our interest. But, the politics of this
Court are intricate, and embarrassed with connexions and alliances on
the continent of Europe, which, with the state of their fleet, and
their sailors being abroad in the fishery, &c. puts off bold and
decisive measures. Some other prizes have arrived in different ports,
particularly two valuable Jamaicamen sent into Nantes a few days
since, by Captains Babson and Hendricks.

This is a brief account of the proceedings of our cruisers, who have
put into the ports of this kingdom. The prizes are sold without
condemnation, and consequently to a great loss, as the whole is
conducted secretly, and put too much in the power of the agents.
Though these cruisers have not been profitable to us, they have been
of infinite prejudice to our enemies, both in their commerce and
reputation. I will not add to this, as I shall write another letter by
this conveyance.

I beg my best compliments to Mrs Morris, and that you will believe me
ever, dear sir, yours, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ Since writing the above the two Jamaica prizes are, by order
of Court, arrested, and it remains doubtful whether they will not be
restored to the original proprietors. The captain of one of the
privateers on his passage took on board a lady, who was prisoner on
board an American privateer, bound for Boston. This he did from
motives of humanity. On his arrival at Painbeuf, she wrote to her
brother, a merchant at Nantes, who came down, and hoping to get the
consignment of the prizes, officiously advised the captain to report
them as ships laden at St Eustatia, which they did, and on their
arrival at Nantes consigned the prizes to Messrs Lee & Williams, who
immediately made a private sale of them. Meantime the owners being
acquainted with the proceeding, and knowing that the ships and
cargoes, by being regularly entered, were in the hands of the custom
house, lodged claims, showing that they had been falsely entered, and
were English property captured by American privateers, and
consequently by treaty could not be sold in France. This obliged the
government to arrest the prizes or openly violate the treaty. Mr
Williams came up a few days since, and presented a memorial on the
subject, but I fear he will receive an unfavorable answer. Orders are
received for Captains Wickes and Johnson to depart the ports of
France. I purpose sending duplicates of this letter by each of them. I
cannot omit any opportunity of doing justice to these gentlemen, their
officers and seamen, whose conduct has been such as merits the
approbation of their countrymen, and has given reputation to our navy
in France. They will not be able to carry out any goods, though we had
purchased some with a design of sending by them, particularly a
quantity of saltpetre. This, with other articles to a considerable
amount, will be sent in the course of this and the next month. I have
received letters a few days since, advising that Captain Cunningham
was at Ferrol. I know not where he designs next, having nothing
directly from him.

                                                                 S. D.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                            Paris, 3d September, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Captain Landais is the bearer of this. He goes in the Heureuse, loaded
with stores for America. This cargo has, by a succession of obstacles
thrown in the way, been delayed from January last, to a most
prodigious cost and expense. I hope, however, that it may finally
arrive in season to be of essential service. Captain Landais, whom I
have mentioned in my former letters, will offer his service to the
United States. I must repeat here what I have written before, that I
find him to be a skilful seaman, of long experience in every part of
the world, of good judgment, and of the most unsuspicious honor and
probity; I can but consider him as a valuable acquisition to our navy.

My agreement with M. Monthieu, the owner of this ship, in case she
should not be sold in America, is that she be despatched with a cargo
of tobacco as soon as possible, if the article is to be had, if not,
with such articles as can be procured, as I have engaged for the
freight out and home, and you are sensible of the necessity of having
remittances by every opportunity. Whatever this ship may be loaded
with, I pray the cargo may come to Messrs Rodrique Hortalez & Co. as
they have advanced for the arms and other articles of this cargo, over
and above their other large advances. Tobacco is the best article at
present, in the ports of France, or indeed in any part of Europe, and
must continue so for a very considerable time yet to come, most
probably for twelve months. You will please to send me an account of
the cargo, whatever it may be, that you ship in this vessel, and
duplicates by others.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                          Paris, 10th September, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

This will be handed you by M. Francy, who is agent for Messrs Rodrique
Hortalez & Co.[9] You will see by the bills of lading, the quantity of
stores shipped by that house, and make some judgment of their
considerable amount. The vessel, in which M. Francy sails, is loaded
with stores, which were long since engaged, but by a succession of
obstacles have been until this detained. I still hope they will arrive
in safety, and in season to be of service. The ship will be offered
you to purchase, if she suits you, and if not, it will be equally
agreeable to have her returned on the owners' account. I could not say
any thing of purchasing a ship, without knowing more of her than I
could know of this; I have therefore left it to your option to pay the
price demanded, or the freight; the latter is to be what is at this
time customary in vessels of such force, which not being precisely
fixed, is submitted to M. Chaumont, by the advice and consent of my
colleagues; it will probably be about two hundred and fifty livres per
ton of goods to America, and back to France; it will not exceed that.


Messrs Rodrique Hortalez & Co. have other vessels, which will follow
this in a short time, which they want to have despatched with tobacco,
agreeably to what they formerly wrote you, and M. Francy goes partly
on that account; I must therefore pray you to furnish him with the
means of procuring the quantity he will want for them in season. The
cargo of the Therese, sent by the way of St Domingo, I hope is by this
time arrived; it was so valuable that it was thought most prudent to
send it by that route, as it would run no risk in getting there,
whence it might in different bottoms be got into the Continent,
without the considerable risk of going direct. As the vessels of
Messrs Hortalez & Co. will arrive at a time when despatch will be of
the utmost consequence, they are desirous to have their cargoes ready
on their arrival. By these vessels I will write you particularly on
this subject, and in the meantime, have the honor to be, with the
greatest respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[9] For a copy of the power given to M. Francy, by Caron Beaumarchais,
representing in France the house of Hortalez & Co., and also for
several resolutions of Congress on the subject, see the Journals of
the Old Congress for April 7th, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                           Paris, 23d September, 1777.

  Dear Sir,

As many of the commissioners' letters may have failed, I take the
liberty of enclosing an extract of a letter written jointly by Dr
Franklin and myself in March last, in which we sent an extract of a
letter from Mr Lee, who had been at Nantes, and was then at Bordeaux.
This letter was to the committee, and consequently to Congress. We
wrote one also previous to this, to the committee, just before Mr
Lee's going to Nantes.

I am informed that it is insinuated, that interested and private views
influenced me to write as I did,[10] and that the fixing Mr Williams
at Nantes was the object I had in view. I am very sorry you should be
so imposed upon; the consequences must ultimately be more prejudicial
to yourself than to any other person. In the meantime, as a man of
honor, I assure you I have neither interest or connexion in Mr
Williams' business, nor have I engaged in the smallest private
concern, except what you have been acquainted with, and which you know
was in consequence of your letters in June, 1776.

Mr Williams came to France to visit Dr Franklin; he was in a good way
of business in London, where he was entering into business with a
capital house in the sugar business. England was disagreeable to him,
solely on account of the animosities, which prevailed among
individuals on account of the public quarrel. The stores which I had
engaged, and which were sent out in the Mercury and Therese, were at
Nantes, where matters had been so conducted that you must suppose I
had no confidence in the managers. On this occasion I applied to Mr
Williams, as a friend, to make a journey to Nantes, to examine the
goods and see them shipped. He left Paris without intending to tarry
longer than to perform this business. But his conduct at Nantes was so
much the reverse of what had preceded, that every one who wished well
to our affairs desired that he might be continued there. I needed no
solicitations; the interest of my country was my sole motive; I knew
he served it faithfully, and I knew him to be generous and
disinterested in the service. Yes sir, disinterested; and you will
acknowledge it when you are informed, that what he exacted of us was
barely a sufficiency to support him, not amounting to one fourth of
one per cent on the business. He has, if I am to have the credit of
fixing him there, done me great honor; he has, at the same time,
obtained the good opinion and friendship of the capital persons at
Nantes. I am thus particular on this subject, as I am well convinced
it has been represented to you very differently. How it has been
represented I know not, nor am I likely to be informed but from second
hand, from your brother's showing your letter directed to me to Mr
Ross, and telling some others what were its contents, and that you not
only justified his conduct, but had obtained for him more ample
appointments, with severe reprimands to me, and even oblique censure
on Dr Franklin, who happens to be Mr Williams' uncle.

It is hard for me, acting as I have done, from the most disinterested
motives, and from those principles of friendship which shall be ever
sacred with me, to be thus censured by you unheard.

Mr Ross does justice to the character you gave of him. I expect to see
him in Paris in a few days, when I shall show him what I now write
you.

I have not the least desire of intermeddling in the commercial
concerns of the Congress in Europe, nor of going out of my own
department, whatever it may be, on any occasion; but I have been
obliged to take much upon my hands in procuring supplies of clothing,
&c. as have also my colleagues, on account of the unhappy situation of
our affairs here as to commerce. I will not add to a letter already
long, only that if I have been mistaken in any thing, you will reflect
that I write in reply to a part of one of yours, which I am unable to
procure a sight of, and assure you that no private concern affects me
more, than having drawn on myself your resentment by my desire of
serving you. Be assured that I retain the highest esteem and respect
for you in your public as well as private character, and am your
sincere friend, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[10] Allusion is here made to certain charges or complaints against
Mr Thomas Morris, brother of Mr Robert Morris. He had been a merchant
in Nantes, and was an agent for transacting in that port the
mercantile affairs of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

             COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO SILAS DEANE.

                            York, in Pennsylvania, 4th December, 1777.

  Sir,

In compliance with the order of Congress, we now enclose you their
resolve of November 21st last; a duplicate goes by another
opportunity. We are, Sir, &c.

                                                            R. H. LEE,
                                                            J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     JAMES LOVELL TO SILAS DEANE.

                                             York, 8th December, 1777.

  Sir,

By accident I find myself called upon singly to execute the duty of
the committee of foreign affairs, in communicating to you an order of
Congress, of this day, respecting your return to America.

The order stands in need of no comment from the committee to elucidate
it;[11] and being drawn up in terms complimentary to your abilities
of serving these United States upon your arrival here, I take pleasure
in conveying it, being, sir, your very humble servant,

                                                         JAMES LOVELL.


FOOTNOTES:

[11] Mr Deane was recalled by a resolution of Congress, Nov. 21st,
1777. The following preamble and order were passed on the 8th of
December following, viz.--"Whereas it is of the greatest importance,
that Congress should at this critical juncture be well informed of the
state of affairs in Europe; and whereas Congress have resolved that
the Hon. Silas Deane be recalled from the Court of France, and have
appointed another commissioner [John Adams] to supply his place there;

"_Ordered_, that the committee of foreign affairs write to the Hon.
Silas Deane, and direct him to embrace the first opportunity to return
to America, and upon his arrival to repair with all possible despatch
to Congress."

It may here be observed, that after the 17th of April, 1777, the
_Committee of Secret Correspondence_ was by a resolution of Congress,
passed on that date, styled the _Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

       *       *       *       *       *

        FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, the 25th March, 1778.

  Sir,

Mr Deane being about to return to America, I embrace the occasion with
pleasure to give my testimony to the zeal, activity, and intelligence
with which he has conducted the interests of the United States, by
which he has merited the esteem of the king my master, and for which
his Majesty has been pleased to give him marks of his satisfaction. Mr
Deane will be able to inform Congress of the disposition of the king
towards the United States. The engagements formed with his Majesty,
will doubtless satisfy their wishes; the king on his part is not only
convinced, that they are founded on principles unalterable, but also
that they will contribute to the happiness of both nations.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

               FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO SILAS DEANE.

                             Translation.

                                         Versailles, 26th March, 1778.

As I am not, Sir, to have the honor of seeing you again before your
departure, I pray you to receive here my wishes, that your voyage may
be short and happy, and that you may find in your own country the same
sentiments, which you have inspired in France. You need not, Sir,
desire any addition to those which I have devoted to you, and which I
shall preserve for you to the end of my life; they will be sureties to
you of the true interest, which I shall forever take in your
happiness, as well as in the prosperity of your country.

The king, desirous of giving you a personal testimony of the
satisfaction he has in your conduct, has charged me to communicate it
to the President of the Congress of the United States. This is the
object of the letter, which Mr Gerard will deliver you for Mr Hancock.
He will also deliver you a box with the king's portrait. You will not,
I presume, Sir, refuse to carry to your country the image of its most
zealous friend. The proof of this is in facts.

I have the honor to be, with the most sincere consideration, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

            FROM DR FRANKLIN TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                  Passy, near Paris, 31st March, 1778.

  Sir,

My colleague, Mr Deane, being recalled by Congress, and no reasons
given that have yet appeared here, it is apprehended to be the effect
of some misrepresentations from an enemy or two at Paris and at
Nantes. I have no doubt, that he will be able clearly to justify
himself; but having lived intimately with him now fifteen months, the
greatest part of the time in the same house, and been a constant
witness of his public conduct, I cannot omit giving this testimony,
though unasked, in his behalf, that I esteem him a faithful, active,
and able minister, who, to my knowledge, has done in various ways
great and important services to his country, whose interests I wish
may always, by every one in her employ, be as much and as effectually
promoted.

With my dutiful respects to the Congress, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Delaware Bay, 10th July, 1778.

  Sir,

I have now the pleasure of acquainting your Excellency of my arrival
here yesterday, on board the Languedoc, commanded by his Excellency
Count d'Estaing, with a fleet of twelve sail of the line, and four
frigates. We sailed from Toulon the 10th of April last. I presume
therefore that I have no intelligence from Europe so late as what you
must be possessed of already. Finding that the enemy had escaped, the
Admiral resolved instantly to pursue them to New York, and will sail
this morning for that port, but he has no pilot. If, therefore, pilots
can be sent to meet him on his arrival, it will be of the utmost
service to the expedition. I shall embark this afternoon in company
with his Excellency, Mons. Gerard, for Philadelphia, and hope soon to
have the honor of paying my respects to your Excellency and the
honorable Congress in person, and to congratulate you on the late
glorious events. I have sent Commodore Nicholson express, who can
inform you of our situation. Permit me to recommend him as an active,
spirited officer, to whom the Admiral has been much obliged by his
services during our passage.

I have the honor to be, with the most profound respect, your
Excellency's most obedient, and very humble servant,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ His Excellency the Admiral desires, that on the arrival of the
pilots at the Hook, where they will find his fleet, they would make a
signal with a white flag, either on board their boat, if they have
one, or from the shore, formed in a triangle. Mons. Chouen, who will
wait on you with a letter from the Admiral, sets out suddenly, and may
want money to bear his expenses on his further journey. Mons. Gerard
desires he may be supplied on his account, with any sum to the amount
of twenty thousand livres.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Philadelphia, 28th July, 1778.

  Sir,

I had the honor of receiving on the 4th of March last, in a letter
from Mr Lovell, (a copy of which I now enclose,[12]) the orders of
Congress, announcing my recall, and directing my immediate return.

This was the first and only intimation I ever received of the
resolutions of Congress on the subject; I immediately complied with
it, and left Paris the 1st of April, with hopes of arriving in season
to give Congress that intelligence, which in the order for my return,
they express their want of.

Unfortunately my passage has been much longer than I expected, and I
but now begin to find myself recovering from the fatigues of it; yet
my desire of giving Congress, as early as possible, an account of the
state of their affairs in Europe, when I left France, as well as the
peculiar situation in which my recall has placed me personally, has
induced me to address them through your Excellency, to solicit for as
early an audience as the important business in which they are engaged
will admit of.

I have the honor to be,

  With the most sincere respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[12] See above, page 117.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 8th September, 1778.

  Sir,

I pray your Excellency to remind the Congress, that I still wait to
receive their orders, and though I am sensible that they have many and
important affairs under their consideration, yet I must entreat them
to reflect on the peculiar situation I have for some time past been
placed in, and inform me if they desire my further attendance.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your Excellency's,
&c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                   Philadelphia, 11th September, 1778.

  Sir,

I received your note, in which you politely informed me that you had
laid before Congress the letter, which I did myself the honor of
writing to your Excellency a few days since. I now return you my
thanks for the attention you have paid me, and again take the liberty
to ask of you to remind Congress, that the circumstances under which I
left France, and the situation of the affairs in Europe, which I had
been principally concerned in transacting, (as I had the honor of
mentioning to Congress) render it indispensably necessary on my part,
that I return as early as possible, and that if my further attendance
here is not necessary, I pray to be informed of it, that I may be at
liberty to visit my friends, and prepare for my voyage; or that if
further intelligence is expected from me, I may have an early
opportunity of giving it.

I flatter myself your Excellency and the Congress will not judge my
repeated applications improper, when the circumstances which attended
my leaving Europe, and the situation I have been in since my arrival
in America, are recollected and considered.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 22d September, 1778.

  Sir,

In consequence of an order of Congress on the 8th of December, 1777,
for me to embrace the first opportunity of returning to America, and
"upon my arrival to repair with all possible despatch to Congress,
that they might be well informed of the state of affairs in Europe in
that critical juncture," I left Paris the 1st of April last, having
received the order on the 4th of March preceding, and arrived in
Philadelphia, the seat of Congress, on the 13th of July following,
ready at the pleasure of Congress to render such information as was in
my power to give. In this situation I continued until the 15th of
August, when I received the order of Congress to attend them on the
17th, on which day, and on the 21st, I had the honor personally to
inform Congress generally, of my public transactions under their
authority from the time of my departure from Philadelphia in March,
1776, until my return.

In these audiences, I particularly stated and explained the unsettled
state, in which the commercial transactions of the commissioners in
Europe were at my departure, and that as well from their nature and
extent, as that even at my departure from Paris many large orders were
not completed, and of consequence, neither the accounts or vouchers
delivered; that the interval between my receiving my order of recall,
and my departure in compliance with it was so short, as to render it
impossible for me to arrange those affairs further, than to be able to
give a general state of them, which I then mentioned generally, and
added, that I was under the necessity of returning speedily to Europe,
as well on account of those, as of other important affairs left by my
sudden departure in an unsettled state. At my last audience, I found
and expected, that I should be called upon to answer questions, which
might be put to me for the obtaining more clear and explicit
information, than what I had given of some particulars in my general
narration, and I held myself in readiness to attend the pleasure of
Congress for that purpose. In this situation my private affairs
pressed my immediate departure from Philadelphia, and my public as
well as private affairs in Europe no less urged my departure from
America. On the 8th of September, I took the liberty of reminding that
honorable body, that I was still waiting to receive their orders, if
they desired my further attendance upon them, and my affairs daily
pressing, on the 11th of September, I again reminded Congress of my
waiting their pleasure, and took the liberty of mentioning the reasons
that pressed me to be anxious for their immediate decision. As
Congress have not thought proper to make any reply to my letters, nor
to admit me to lay before them such further information as they may
desire, and I am enabled to give, and as from the many weighty
affairs upon their hands it is uncertain when I may be admitted, and
as my concerns will not permit my longer continuance in Philadelphia,
I take the liberty of enclosing to your Excellency the account of the
banker, in whose hands all the public monies were deposited, of which
I gave you some time since a general state for your private
information, and which I obtained from the banker but a day or two
before my departure from Paris, with the view of giving all the
information in my power on every subject to Congress, in which they
were interested, and which account I expected in the course of my
narration to have delivered personally to Congress.

As to any other subject on which further information may be desired, I
shall be ready to give it, whenever that honorable body shall call on
me for it, during the short time my affairs will permit me to tarry in
this city. I have indeed thought that some further information would
be necessary; I have daily expected to be called upon for it. On this
consideration alone, I have, notwithstanding the pressing
circumstances I have found myself in, waited with patience the orders
of Congress. I shall be happy if such information or any other service
in my power may be found agreeable and of use to that respectable body
and the United States, to whom I have long since, and ever shall be
devoted. I have only further to request that honorable body to be
assured, that I shall ever retain a most grateful sense of the
confidence, which they have heretofore honored me with, and consider
it as the most honorable and happy circumstance of my life, that I
have had the opportunity of rendering important services to my
country, and that I am conscious of having done them to the utmost of
my ability.

I have the honor to remain, with the utmost respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                   Philadelphia, 24th September, 1778.

  Sir,

Being informed that letters from Mr Izard, reflecting on my character
and conduct whilst in the service of the public abroad, have been read
in Congress, I have to ask that honorable body to grant me copies
thereof, and that I may be permitted to wait on Congress, and to be
heard in my vindication. I have that regard for Mr Izard's opinion of
my ability and disposition to transact public business, which I ought
to have, and am consequently easy on that subject; but facts asserted,
which affect either, call for an explanation. Those indeed, which
respect myself personally, require none before Congress, nor will I
trouble that honorable body with the making any; but those which
regard my character and conduct as a public minister, and in so
important a transaction as that of the late treaties of Paris, call on
me, as well in justice to the public as to myself, for an explanation,
which I am very happy in the having it in my power to give, as well as
in the confidence I have, that Congress will neither delay nor refuse
doing this justice to a faithful and greatly injured servant of
theirs.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Philadelphia, 7th October, 1778.

  Sir,

In consequence of my letter of the 24th ult. I had the honor of
receiving the order of Congress of the 26th, directing me to attend
on the 29th, at three o'clock in the afternoon, that day being
assigned for my being heard; I was at the same time favored with
extracts from Mr Izard's letters.[13] On the 29th, I was served with
an order of Congress, which postponed my being heard to some future
time. On the 3d instant an extract of a letter from the honorable
Arthur Lee, dated Paris, June 1st, 1778, was given me by order of
Congress. I have for some time past waited with the greatest
impatience for an opportunity of being heard before that honorable
body, confident that my peculiar situation will excuse my impatience.
I must, without repeating what I have already had the honor of writing
to you, once more urge for as early an audience as the important
business before Congress will admit of.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[13] See Mr Izard's letters to the President of Congress, Feb. 16th
and April 1st.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 12th October, 1778.

  Sir,

I received your letter of the 7th instant, in which you informed me,
that mine of the same date to you was by Congress ordered to lie on
the table, until the examination of Mr Carmichael should be finished.

Though totally unable even to conjecture, what relation the
examination of that gentleman can possibly have to those abusive and
injurious letters, written by Mr Izard and Mr Lee, yet, as I had so
often troubled Congress during a three months' attendance, with my
repeated solicitations to be heard, I forbore repeating them until
neither my health, my interest, nor my honor will permit me a much
longer stay in America; I have, therefore, taken the liberty of
enclosing my answers to the letters of those gentlemen. It pains me to
be obliged to answer at all, and it grieves me exceedingly to be
deprived of the opportunity of doing it in person; I still hope to be
indulged before leaving America. I have only further to inform
Congress, that I shall go into the country tomorrow, for a few days,
that having engaged a passage in a ship, which will sail for France
sometime next month, I propose to leave Philadelphia in a few days
after I return from the country, in order to embark, and shall esteem
myself honored by Congress if they have any thing further in which I
may be of service to my country, if they will favor me with their
commands.

I have the honor to remain, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 12th October, 1778.

  Sir,

In the extracts from the letters of the honorable Mr Izard, I find
charges which respect me, supported by his opinions, and by what he
declares to have heard from the honorable Arthur Lee, who, by his own
account, is my irreconcilable enemy. I find also charges against the
honorable Dr Franklin and myself jointly, supported on the same
grounds, with this difference, that almost every complaint against us
lies equally against Mr Lee, and it is worthy of remark, that where
the charge lies equally against us all, Mr Izard leaves Mr Lee wholly
out, and fixing it solely on Dr Franklin and myself, proceeds to
represent the Doctor as entirely under my influence. My situation has,
through the whole been peculiarly unfortunate, and in nothing more so
than in this, that Mr Izard's letters, written as much with the design
of impeaching Dr Franklin's conduct as mine, now operates solely
against me.

Mr Izard says, in his letter of the first of April, "_That if the
whole world had been searched_, it would have been impossible to have
found a person more unfit than I was for the trust, with which
Congress had honored me." It does not become me, and possibly not even
Mr Izard himself, to determine on my competency to that trust, and I
have only to observe, that both of us were appointed by the authority
of Congress, with this only difference, that I had the honor of being
personally known to the members who composed that body, and I can add
with pleasure, that I always paid respect to Mr Izard from the choice
they had made of him, which I doubt not was on good information. I
shall feel no uneasiness on my own account, that Mr Izard's opinions
of me remain on the journals of Congress, whilst on the same records
there will be found that of his Most Christian Majesty, of his
Minister, and Secretary of State, and of my venerable colleague,
revered through Europe as the first of patriots, as well as
philosophers, whom this age has produced. I find but two charges which
respect me personally; the first is, the exercising such a degree of
hauteur and presumption as to give offence to every gentleman with
whom I transacted business. I transacted none with Mr Izard, and
therefore must appeal from his opinion to the business I transacted,
and the worthy and honorable persons with whom I transacted it, and
who, from the first of my acquaintance with them to my leaving the
kingdom, honored me with their friendship and their confidence. I
desire it may be remembered, that, when I went abroad, charged with
the transaction of political and commercial business for Congress, in
the year 1776, I arrived at Paris as late in the season as the month
of July, without funds, uncertain of remittances, without credit,
ignorant of the language and manners of France, and an utter stranger
to the persons in power and influence at Court; that I had not the
patronage of any person of importance, and had no correspondence or
connexions established in any part of Europe. The news of our
misfortunes in Canada arrived in France with me, and that of our
subsequent misfortunes immediately after, and was, as usual,
exaggerated by the British Ambassador and his emissaries. In a word,
without remittances, or even intelligence from Congress, and under all
these disagreeable circumstances, I had to oppose the artifice, the
influence, and the power of Great Britain; yet I have the pleasing
reflection that before the first of December following, I procured
thirty thousand stand of arms, thirty thousand suits of clothes, more
than two hundred and fifty pieces of brass artillery, tents, and other
stores to a large amount, provided the ships to transport them, and
shipped a great part of them for America. Many of these supplies
fortunately arrived at the commencement of the last year's operations,
and enabled my brave countrymen, in some parts of America, to make a
good stand against the enemy, and in the north to acquire immortal
renown by the defeat and surrender of General Burgoyne and his whole
army, an event peculiarly fortunate in its consequences, as it
accelerated the completion of that alliance, to which the honorable
Congress, with every true friend to the United States, have given
their approbation. During this short period I had established a very
extensive correspondence for the service of my country, not only in
France but in Holland, at the Court of Russia, and elsewhere in
Europe; and though the grant of money by the Court of Versailles was
not at this time actually made, I had entered upon the negotiation and
laid the foundation for obtaining it. These facts, without mentioning
others of no less importance, will shew what business I transacted;
and the character given me by those great personages, with whom I was
in my public character connected, will evince the degree of reputation
in which I stood. It is my misfortune that Mr Izard was of a different
opinion.

The second charge is, that Mr Arthur Lee had assured him, that his
despatches to Congress, and even one of his private letters had been
opened by me. I am surprised Mr Arthur Lee never intimated this to me,
and that he should communicate it to Mr Izard, to be reported in this
manner. I think it however sufficient for me to say here, what I shall
say elsewhere, and on all occasions, that this is a groundless
calumny, which I should not have expected, even from an enemy, at
least not from a candid or generous one.

Mr Izard complains that Dr Franklin and myself concealed from him, or
attempted to conceal the opportunities of writing to America, as well
as the intelligence received from thence. In reply to this, it need
only be observed, that no packets or letters were sent by the
commissioners to America and to Congress, without the knowledge and
consent of Mr Arthur Lee, and no intelligence received to which he was
not privy. That he was often with Mr Izard, and therefore it was
naturally to be supposed would give him every necessary information;
if Mr Lee did not acquaint Mr Izard, he is at least equally culpable
with us, and if he did, there is no ground for the complaint. It is
true, that neither Dr Franklin nor myself considered ourselves at
liberty to communicate the treaty or its contents, until the consent
of the Court should be had; we considered ourselves in the same
situation as to the appointment of Mons. Gerard, and the sailing of
the Toulon fleet. Mr Izard appears, however, to have been well
informed of the former at least, and that very early, and of the
latter on the day of our leaving Paris. Mr Arthur Lee knew of it
sometime before, as he wrote many letters by his Excellency Mons.
Gerard. In justice, therefore, the complaint ought not to have been
made solely against Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, and particularly against
the latter.

Mr Izard represents that there were dissensions and misunderstandings
between the commissioners at Paris. It is true. He is of opinion that
the interest of the public suffered by it, but in this he is mistaken,
as the treaty itself and all our other public transactions will
demonstrate. Mr Izard is of opinion that France might have been
brought to have taken an active part much earlier. If circumstances,
not in our power, had taken place earlier, they possibly might; but
even in that case they would have done it under great disadvantages,
as is evident from the representation I made to Congress when I had
the honor of being heard on the 19th of August last. As the 11th and
12th articles of the treaty are complained of, and as this subject
immediately interests the public, I have drawn up a concise narration
of the whole of that transaction and have communicated it to his
Excellency Mons. Gerard, who agrees to the truth of every part
thereof, which has come to his knowledge. This I beg leave to present
to Congress, as it will show that Mr Izard had not the best
information, and that neither Dr Franklin or myself (though "born in
New England") procured the insertion of those articles; it will
further show that the Court of France never urged it, but on the
contrary left us perfectly free to have them both inserted or both
omitted. It will also appear, that Mr Lee himself wrote and signed the
letter, desiring they might be inserted, and that he afterwards had a
private conference with M. Gerard on the subject, and appeared
perfectly satisfied. If any doubts arise on this subject, I shall be
happy to refer for satisfaction on that head to Mons. Gerard, and also
for what passed between Mr Lee and himself on the occasion, as well as
for the pretended verbal promise that the article should be expunged
if objected to by Congress. I have signed that narration, and shall
sign these observations in which I have avoided taking those
advantages of Mr Izard, which the passionate and partial complexion of
his letters has given me, were I disposed to make use of them;
because, I conceive it to be an abuse, if not an insult to trouble
Congress with any thing merely personal, though I have provocation
sufficient to justify me in the eyes of the world, and am by no means
deficient in materials.

I recollect perfectly well the interview at Passy with Mr William Lee,
at which Mr Izard was present, but I do not remember that any such
letter as he describes was either desired or refused. I rather think
that Mr Izard misunderstood Dr Franklin at the time, or that his
memory has deceived him. The facts are these. The late Mr Thomas
Morris had a commission to act as commercial agent; his commission was
entirely distinct from, and independent of, the commissioners; he at
least construed it so himself from the beginning. We were very early
informed of his irregularities, and admonished him, and advertised
Congress of them. As we could get no account of the disposition of the
prizes brought into France, and the expense of repairing and equipping
the vessels of war fell on the commissioners, Dr Franklin and myself
(Mr A. Lee being then at Berlin) deputed Mr Williams to take the care
of the prizes into his own hands, and ordered the Captains to account
with him. On Mr William Lee's arrival at Nantes he joined with Mr
Morris in writing a severe letter to the commissioners on what they
had done, in which they complained, that the office or department of
commercial Agent was broken in upon, and that we had no power over it.
Dr Franklin, at the desire of Mr A. Lee and myself prepared an answer,
in which the reason of our orders was given, and Mr Morris' conduct
urged as our principal motive, but that as he, Mr William Lee, was
there, we would recall our commission from Mr Williams. Mr Arthur Lee
would not agree to the form of the letter, and after much dispute upon
it, a second was written, when Mr Arthur Lee observed, that his
brother was coming to Paris soon to receive his commission for Vienna
and Berlin, and as there were then no prizes in port, or expected, the
matter might rest. This was the reason why Mr W. Lee's letters were
not answered. He came to Paris soon after, and represented the
confused state in which affairs were at Nantes, and urged the
interposition of the commissioners to put the whole agency into his
hands. The situation of Mr William Lee at that time was precisely
this; he had never received any commission either from Congress or
their committee for the commercial agency, whilst Mr Thomas Morris
was, and had been in the possession of a commission, and in the
exercise of the agency.

Congress had made Mr William Lee their commissioner to the courts of
Vienna and Berlin, each of which places is at least a thousand miles
from the scenes of our commerce, without saying anything about his
former appointment, from which it was natural to suppose his former
appointment had been considered as superceded by the new. We had
received intelligence, that the information we had given of Mr
Morris's conduct, had been received and read in Congress, and that
Congress notwithstanding chose to continue him in this situation. We
thought it very extraordinary that we should be applied to, to
interfere where Congress, knowing the facts, had declined to
interfere, and still more so, that we should be requested to put (what
indeed was not in our power) the commercial agency into the hands of a
gentleman, who must execute it by deputies; himself at a distance too
great either to see or correct the abuses that might be practised. The
letter referred to by Mr Izard was a letter to this purpose, and I
remember well (for I avoided bearing any considerable part in the
conversation) Doctor Franklin's reply, which was to this purpose, that
Congress by disregarding the information we had given, and continuing
Mr Morris, had impliedly censured our conduct. That Mr Morris had
treated us ill personally for what we had done, and that Mr William
Lee ought to remember, that he had himself jointly with Mr Morris
complained of our interfering as he thought in that department; and
therefore he did not incline to subject himself to any further
censures, or as he expressed it "raps over the knuckles" for meddling
in the affair. We were indeed as much surprised as Mr Izard appears to
have been on the occasion, but our surprise arose from another cause;
it was to find Mr William Lee desirous of holding such a plurality of
appointments, in their own nature incompatible with each other, and
impossible to have been executed by the same person. But as one of the
places was supposed to be a lucrative one, the subject was too
delicate to be touched on by us.

Mr Izard says that Mr William Lee complained that parties had been
excited against him at Nantes, and that so far from having been
supported by the commissioners in the execution of his duty, these
gentlemen had as much as possible contributed to perplex him in the
discharge of it; that he had frequently written, &c. His letters have
been taken notice of already, and the reason mentioned why they were
not answered. The rest of this complaint is, as far as I know anything
about the matter, totally groundless; it must appear so to every one
acquainted with the following particulars. Mr William Lee never had a
commission to the commercial agency, though he is now executing it by
his agents. Mr Lee's caution was such, that he never even answered my
letters to him in February or March, informing him that Mr Robert
Morris had written to me, that he was appointed; nor did I learn
anything from him of his intentions, until he arrived at Paris the
summer following, where also he acted with the greatest caution, while
he waited the return of his brother from Berlin. Before and after his
being at Nantes, he went so far as even to desire Mr Williams and
others at Paris and at Nantes not to let it be known, that he had
anything to do in American affairs, as he said it would greatly
prejudice his interest in London; and so far was he from ever
executing, or publicly attempting to execute, that agency, until after
the news of General Burgoyne's defeat had arrived in France, that he
did nothing that ever I heard of, which could have prevented his
returning to the exercise of his Aldermanship in London.

Mr Izard is pleased to say, that "to let Mons. Gerard go away without
giving him the least intimation of it, was a very high insult to
Congress." It was not in our power to permit or prevent Mons. Gerard's
going away, and if we did not, circumstanced as we then were, think
ourselves authorised to communicate it to Mr Izard, I cannot conceive
this to be a high insult to Congress; certain it is, we meant no such
thing; we meant to serve, not insult that honorable body. "The
object," he says, "of these gentlemen is to have Mr Deane come back in
a public character, if not to France, perhaps to Holland, or some
other part of Europe, and therefore they are afraid of having reasons
given why this should not be the case." And he adds, "I am of opinion
that he is upon every account an improper person to be employed by
Congress." I have already appealed from this gentleman's opinions, so
I shall say nothing further about them; his reasons, if he offers any,
are to be judged of by Congress. I find, however, he had more
apprehensions than reasons in this part of his letter; his
apprehensions as well as opinions were in part at least groundless; he
was apprehensive lest my venerable colleague would solicit some
appointment for me; I do not learn that he has done it, I never
desired or expected that he would. Mr Izard, I presume, knew that I
had a very extensive correspondence with gentlemen of the mercantile
and monied interest and character in Europe, but particularly in
Holland, where I had long before been preparing the minds of such men
in favor of a loan. He knew that there was not merely a
correspondence, but a strict personal friendship subsisting between
certain gentlemen in Amsterdam and at the Hague and myself, and that I
had proposed to go there on the subject of the loan, as well as for
other purposes. I presume also he knew, that the French Ambassador in
Holland, the Duke de Vauguyson, who spent last winter in Paris,
honored me with his acquaintance, and with all the politeness as well
as zeal for the interest of the United States of North America, which
make part of that nobleman's character, urged me to go there, assuring
me of every personal service and civility, which should be in his
power. My recall prevented the execution of the plan, and Mr Izard
doubtless apprehended that I should solicit for the appointment. His
apprehension was groundless; the honorable Congress know that I have
not solicited for any appointment; my life and fortune, with what
abilities I am blessed with, have been from the first, and will ever
be devoted to the service of my country, who are most certainly the
best judges in what department they can be most useful; or if they can
be of any use at all, and to their judgment I most cheerfully submit.

I have the honor to be,

  With the most respectful attachment, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 12th October, 1778.

  Sir,

I beg leave to lay before Congress a few observations on the extracts
from Mr Arthur Lee's letter, dated Paris, June 1st, 1778, read in
Congress the 3d instant, which were ordered to be communicated to me.
Mr Lee begins by saying that, "M. Monthieu's papers were sent to show
you the demands that are made upon us, and the grounds of them; you
will see that they are accounts, which Mr Deane ought to have
settled."

Not having seen the accounts or papers said to have been sent, I can
only reply generally by informing Congress, that I contracted with M.
Monthieu (nearly at the time that I contracted with Mons. Beaumarchais
for the stores) to procure ships to transport them over to
America;[14] the rate, I was told in Paris and elsewhere, was as low
as could be then procured in France; it has risen since that time. The
ships were to have been despatched in a reasonable time to and from
America. Mons. Beaumarchais was my surety. The difficulty met with in
getting away the stores was such, that the last of the ships did not
sail from Marseilles until in September, 1777. The delay of near
twelve months of some of them in France, and an uncommon delay of all
of them, occasioned by repeated counter orders, and fresh obstacles
rising in the way of embarking those stores, as well as the unexpected
detention of those ships in America, as for instance, of the
Amphitrite, from April until the October following, with the capture
of them, were circumstances unforeseen and unexpected at the time of
making the contract, and entitled M. Monthieu to an equitable
consideration over and above the freight stipulated. Before the last
ship sailed, therefore, M. Monthieu insisted that some mode for a
settlement should be agreed upon; on which Dr Franklin and myself
agreed with him to submit the whole to Mons. Chaumont; the submission
was made and signed. M. Monthieu, on his return from Marseilles, (to
which place he went immediately to embark and send off the remainder
of the stores) urged M. Chaumont to undertake it. I did the same; he
declined, telling me that he found Mr Lee of so jealous and unquiet a
disposition, and so much disposed to abuse every one that he had any
concerns with, that he had well nigh resolved never to have any thing
more to do with the commissioners, while he was one of them; but as M.
Monthieu had other concerns with the commissioners, he thought it best
to settle the whole at once, and when the whole was ready for a
settlement, if Mr Lee would then desire him to undertake it, he would
do it as well to oblige us as M. Monthieu, for whom he had a regard.
This put off the settlement for the time.

Mr Lee proceeds to say, "It is this sort of neglect, and studied
confusion, that has prevented Mr Adams and myself, after a tedious
examination of the papers left with Dr Franklin, from getting any
satisfaction as to the expenditures of the public money. All we can
find is, that millions have been expended, and almost every thing
remains to be paid for."

I am not surprised at any thing of this kind from Mr Lee, nor that Mr
John Adams has not joined with him in this letter, though I dare say,
that gentleman knows his duty, and has done it, as well to the public
as to me. After premising that Mr Lee had in his hands the accounts of
all the monies received and paid out on the public account, I will lay
before Congress the facts, which he had before him when he wrote this
letter, after which Congress will be able to judge whether Mr Lee had
any grounds for his representing me as a public defaulter for
millions. It is certain, that Mr Lee knew that the total amount of
monies received by the commissioners to the time of my leaving Paris,

    amounted to                                (livres) 3,753,250
    And that the balance due Mr Grand, the
      27th March, was                                     293,738 17
                                                       -------------
    And that the whole expenditures to that
      day consequently was                     (livres) 4,046,988 17

In the next place, it will appear, that by much the greater part of
this was actually expended and paid out by and with Mr Lee's consent
and orders at the time; the whole was well known to him, as he had,
from time to time, access to Mr Grand's books, and Mr Grand delivered
him copies thereof up to the 27th of March last, by which he had
before him an account of every payment that had been made, and I sent
him in writing an explanation of every payment that had been made in
his absence, or which had not been made by his written order.

The accounts of the particular articles in detail, not being here, I
am unable to explain every charge in Mr Grand's account. It is
sufficient that Mr Grand's account shows, that the nature of nearly
the whole of the expenditures was perfectly well known to Mr Lee, when
he wrote the above account of millions expended, and represented he
knew not how to show this. I have stated Mr Grand's account in a
shorter compass than what it was before, and have brought the
different payments for particular objects made to different people
into one view, as will be seen in the annexed state or explanation of
Mr Grand's account.

I have no design in answering this part of Mr Lee's letter to go
farther into the accounts than to show demonstratively, that nothing
can be more groundless and unjust, than for him to represent that
millions had been profusely expended, and as if he knew not in what
manner or to what purpose. The amount of expenditures, until the time
of my leaving Paris, was 4,046,988 17 livres, and it appears, as well
from the nature of the account, as from the knowledge Mr Lee had of
the transactions, that he knew generally of the payment of every
livre, and to whom it had been made, having the accounts and the
explanation of them in his hands, up to the very day I set out from
Paris. The particular application, indeed, of every part, could not be
known until the several accounts should be given in. Mr Lee himself
signed the orders for much the greater part of the monies to Mr
Williams, and the other principal payments, and was well informed of
the business which he (Mr Williams) was executing. By this stating of
the account it will appear, that the commissioners, for their private
expenses, from December, 1776, to 27th March, 1778, for the support
and relief of Americans, escaping from prison in England, for the
payment of Mons. Dumas, agent in Holland, the sending of expresses,
the purchase of a large quantity of shoes, which were sent to Nantes,
to be shipped for America, and for several less disbursements, had of
Mr Grand only the sum of 244,285 livres, equal to the sum of ten
thousand two hundred and sixty one pounds ten shillings sterling,
which is of itself a demonstration, that there was no misapplication
of the public monies, since Mr Lee has written, that he could not live
under three thousand pounds sterling per annum himself. Whether or not
extravagant prices were given for any of the articles purchased, will
be an after consideration.

Mr Arthur Lee says, "That almost every thing still remains to be paid
for."

I really know not what he means. Things once paid for are not to be
paid for a second time, and the payments stated above are proved, by
Mr Grand's accounts, to have been bona fide made. "Bargains," he says,
"of the most extravagant kind, have been made with this Mons. Monthieu
and others;" and then he proceeds to give an example. As to the
bargains I was concerned in with this man, and with every other
person, I totally deny the fact, and the example given is but a mere
pretence. I am so confident of the contrary, that I will most
cheerfully take every bargain made by me, or with my consent, in
Europe, the contract with the Farmers-General excepted, (which was
partly political at the time,) on myself, and will be bound to abide
the profit or loss, leaving them to be judged of by the ablest
merchants in Europe. Mr Lee informs us of one hundred thousand livres
given to Mr Hodge, and that the privateer or vessel he bought cost
about £3000, or 72000 livres, and adds, "for what purpose the surplus
was given to Mr Hodge, how the public came to pay for her refitting,
and at length the vessel, and her prize money, made over to Mr Ross
and Mr Hodge, without a farthing being brought to public account,
rests with Mr Deane or Mr Hodge to explain;" and in a few lines
further he says, "you will see my name is not to the contracts;" but
he forgets to add,--that he was at Berlin when they were made. What I
have already observed upon in Mr Lee's letter, and what I purpose to
notice, confirms me in the opinion, which Dr Franklin and some others
have for some time had of him, that, from a long indulgence of his
jealous and suspicious disposition and habits of mind, he is at last
arrived on the very borders of insanity, and that at times he even
passes the line; and it gives me pleasure, though it is but a
melancholy one, that I can attribute to the misfortunes of his head,
what I must otherwise place to a depravity of heart.

Mr Hodge went to Dunkirk, by order of the commissioners. They sent him
in consequence of orders from the Secret Committee; he purchased and
fitted out two vessels, a fact though forgotten by Mr Lee, known to
every one at the time. From what that brave and virtuous young
American did and suffered on the occasion, it was the common topic of
conversation every where; it raised insurance in England ten per cent
for a time. Mr Hodge, to appease the British Ambassador, was sent to
the Bastile, and Cunningham, making his cruise round England and
Ireland, put into Spain without prize money equal to the repairs he
wanted. Mr Hodge was released from his imprisonment, and one of the
first things he did, was to give Mr Lee the account of his whole
disbursements in writing. Mr Hodge had taken a small interest in the
adventure from the first, and proposed following Cunningham into Spain
by land, and making a cruise with him. He proposed that Mr Ross and he
should purchase the vessel; but as a price could not easily be agreed
upon, they proposed to take the vessel as she was, and do the best
with her against the common enemy, and to account to Congress
therefor. Mr Ross desired that such an agreement should be signed by
the commissioners for his security. I know not that it was ever done.
I have only to add on this subject, that all the monies received by Mr
Hodge amounted to 92,729 livres 18 3, in the whole, and that Mr Hodge
rendered us other services besides equipping these two vessels.

Speaking of the contracts, he says, "they were in fact concealed from
me with the utmost care, as was every other means of my knowing how
these affairs were conducted." I have in reply to relate the following
facts, which are easy to be ascertained. Mr Lee, on his return from
Berlin, was made acquainted with the contracts; Messrs _Holker_, (now
in Boston) _Sabbatier and Desprez_ repeatedly conferred with Mr Lee on
the subject in my presence, and when they brought in their accounts Mr
Lee assisted in adjusting them, and signed with us the orders for the
payment, as Mr Grand's account and the orders and accounts themselves
will show. It is true, the execution of M. Monthieu's contract was not
completed, when I left Paris, and therefore his accounts could not be
settled. Mr Williams had the oversight of repairing the arms in the
magazine at Nantes; he settled his accounts with his workmen monthly;
he had a frigate fitting out for the commissioners, 10,000 suits of
clothes making up, a number of shirts, shoes, &c. together with the
charge of all the stores the commissioners were sending to Nantes to
be shipped. Monthly accounts were not to be expected in reason from a
man in such a situation; it could not be done if promised, and Mr
Williams is a gentleman of too much probity as well as knowledge in
business, to promise what he cannot perform. It is not enough to say,
that no man in France enjoys a better character for strict honor and
probity, both at Court and in the city, than Mons. Chaumont. Justice
must add, there is no man enjoys it perhaps so universally through the
kingdom, among the merchants, the farmers or husbandmen, and
mechanics, in all which branches of business he is constantly
speculating. This man is the friend of Dr Franklin; I have the
pleasure of knowing him to be mine, and what is more, the friend of my
country, on all and in the most trying occasions. I do not wonder that
Mr Lee should appear jealous of this gentleman, as well as of every
body else, a select few excepted, and very few indeed are those, who
escape his jealous suspicions, either in Europe or America. It is a
melancholy truth, but justice to the public requires my declaring it,
that I never knew Mr Lee, from his first coming to Paris, satisfied
with any one person he did business with, whether of a public or
private nature, and his dealings, whether for trifles or for things of
importance, almost constantly ended in a dispute, sometimes in
litigious quarrels.

Mr Lee lived some time in M. Chaumont's house. M. Chaumont knew him
perfectly well, and was not reserved in speaking his opinion of him. I
am sorry to be thus long on so disagreeable a subject, a subject which
I cautiously waived entering on, in my narration to Congress, not
choosing to trouble them with matters, which they might deem of a
personal nature. I am grieved to have been forced on it at all, and
hope never to be obliged to resume it, and as in commercial
transactions there are but two sides to an account, and every thing
goes to the debt or credit, the folio for profit or loss, so I must
solicit that Dr Franklin and the honorable Mr Adams may be directed to
see the settlement of all those accounts immediately on my return to
Paris, and as there has been a charge made by Mr Lee, of profusion, of
extravagant contracts, and the like, that those gentlemen be
authorised to submit the accounts, with every allegation of the kind,
to the adjustment and determination of gentlemen of ability and
character on the spot, and that orders may be given, that whatever sum
may be found due from the commissioners may by them be instantly paid
into the hands of the banker for Congress, and that in like manner
said banker may be ordered to pay whatever may be the balance, to the
person in whose favor the same shall be found. By this means the truth
will be demonstrated, and justice done, which is all I have ever
wished for. Having forgot to mention it in its place, I must be
permitted to add here, that the first vessel purchased and fitted out
by Mr Hodge was, on the return and imprisonment of Cunningham,
detained by order from Court, and a second purchased, in which
Cunningham went on his second cruise. The first was put up for sale at
Dunkirk, but not disposed of when I left Paris, at least I had not
heard of it.

I have the honor to be,

  With the most respectful attachment, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ I have mentioned money paid Mons. Dumas, as part of the
aggregate sum of 244,285 livres 13s. 10d. There will be found the sum
of 4351 livres 5s. 3d. paid by Messrs Horneca, Fitzeau & Co. to Mons.
Dumas, and for other expenses. I fear on a review, that the brevity I
aimed at may cause some mistake; it is therefore proper to observe,
that but a part of this sum was paid to Mons. Dumas, a part being for
other disbursements, independent of which sum the commissioners made
other remittances to Mons. Dumas.


FOOTNOTES:

[14] See the articles of agreement, for this purpose, dated 15th
October, 1776,--p. 51, of this volume.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mr Deane's Observations on Mr Arthur Lee's Letter of June 1st, 1778._

Mr Lee, in his letter of the 1st of June, on which I have made
observations, having insinuated many things to the disadvantage of
Doctor Franklin's character, as well as to that of Mons. Chaumont and
my own; and Mr Izard in those letters, the extracts from which I was
favored with by order of Congress, having gone even beyond Mr Lee,
and since in his letter of the 28th of June last, speaking of Doctor
Franklin and myself, he says,

"There is very little reason to think that any objections however well
founded would have made any impression on the interested views of one,
or the haughtiness and self-sufficiency of the other."

Afterwards in the same letter speaking of Doctor Franklin he says,

"His abilities are great and his reputation high; removed as he is to
so considerable a distance from the observation of his constituents,
if he is not guided by principles of virtue and honor, those abilities
and that reputation may produce the most mischievous effects. In my
conscience I declare to you, that I believe him under no such internal
restraints, and God knows that I speak the real unprejudiced
sentiments of my heart."

Gratitude as well as justice to that truly great man, to whose
friendship and counsel I owe much, oblige me to say on this occasion
that I not only believe, but know that this is, to say no more of it,
directly the reverse of the character which Dr Franklin has ever
sustained, and which he now most eminently supports. It gives me
pleasure to reflect on the honors and respect universally paid him by
all orders of people in France, and never did I enjoy greater
satisfaction, than in being the spectator of the public honors often
paid him. A celebrated cause being to be heard before the Parliament
of Paris, and the house, and streets leading to it crowded with
people, on the appearance of Doctor Franklin, way was made for him in
the most respectful manner, and he passed through the crowd to the
seat reserved for him, amid the acclamations of the people, an honor
seldom paid to their first princes of the blood. When he attended the
operas and plays, similar honors were paid him, and I confess I felt a
joy and pride, which were pure and honest, though not disinterested;
for I considered it an honor to be known to be an American and his
friend. What were the sensations of the writers of these letters on
such occasions I leave their letters and conduct towards him to speak,
and I cannot now express the indignation and grief I feel at finding
such a character, represented as the worst that human depravity is
capable of exhibiting, and that such a representation should be made
by an American in a public character.

In the course of my narrative I mentioned Mr Williams's accounts as
being finally settled. I drew my conclusion from his letter to me of
the 22d of July last read in Congress. I find the accounts are not
finally closed, though Doctor Franklin and Mr Adams have ordered him
the payment. Mr Williams informs me he has written to Congress and
sent his accounts; the accounts themselves will show that I have not,
nor ever had, any private or personal interest in his transactions; at
the same time I beg leave to interest myself in what affects this
gentleman, because I think I know him to have been a most faithful and
useful servant of the public, and every way deserving of the character
given him by Dr Franklin and Mr Adams; and as Dr Franklin, from being
his uncle, feels a delicacy in writing so fully about him, I therefore
pray that this gentleman's accounts may be put into a train for being
closed.

I recollect that Mr Lee has mentioned Count Lauragais in his
correspondence with Mons. Beaumarchais, and am informed that this
gentleman has in his letters been referred to. Count Lauragais is a
nobleman, who was born to an immense fortune, the chief of which he
has long since dissipated in a wild and I may say in such an eccentric
course of life, as hardly has a parallel in France. He has set up at
times for a philosopher, a wit, a poet; then as suddenly flew off, and
engaged in building, planting, or politics; he was one month for
engaging in trade, the next a country gentleman on his farm, the third
blazing in the beau monde at Paris; and France being insufficient to
afford a variety of scenes suited to equal the restlessness of his
genius, he has constantly been shifting them, from Paris to London and
from London to Paris. In London he set up for a patriot, and engaged
seriously in the disputes and parties of the day, and what was very
diverting, sat down for a few weeks to study the laws of England in
order to confute Blackstone. His rank, to which his birth entitles
him, gives him admittance to court, and the extravagancy of his wit
and humor serves to divert and please men in high office, and he
consequently at times fancies himself in their secrets. This gentleman
knew Mr Lee in London before I arrived in France, and was afterwards
often with him at Paris. His character was given me soon after my
arrival, and I was put on my guard and warned by the minister, not
that he supposed him to have designs unfriendly, either to France or
America, but on account of his imprudence, and of his being frequently
in London, and with those in the opposition in England, of whom the
Court of France were more jealous, and against whom they were equally
on their guard, as with the British ministry themselves. As this
nobleman's name may be made use of, I cannot dispense with touching
lightly on the outlines of a character extremely well known in France
and England, and to which some gentlemen in America are no strangers.

I have mentioned the first and principal contract having been made for
clothing, with Mr Holker, now agent for France in America. This
gentleman was then one of the inspectors general of the manufactures
of France, and knowing perfectly well the price and quality of cloth
in every part of the kingdom, he undertook, at the request of our
mutual friend, Mons. Chaumont, to put us in the way of being supplied
at the cheapest rates, and, by joining himself in the written
contract, induced his friends, Messrs Sabbatier and Desprez, to
engage, which they did; they purchased the cloth at the manufactories,
at the first cost, procured it to be made up at the cheapest rate, and
the clothes to be transported to Nantes, charging only the prime cost
on every thing, and two per cent commissions for their trouble. Mr
Holker, after having engaged these men, whose house is a capital one
in Paris, and who, from their having for some time supplied a great
part of the clothes to the armies of France, were well acquainted with
business of that kind, took no farther part in the affair, but that of
examining the work and accounts, to see that every thing was performed
in the best and cheapest manner. In this I assisted him. I went with
him to the workmen, and examined the cloth, the fashion and the
economy practised in the work, from which I will venture to assert,
that clothes of equal goodness could not be made cheaper, if so cheap,
by any other method in France.

Mr Holker, and the other gentlemen, as I have already observed, saw Mr
Arthur Lee several times on the subject, until they became so
disgusted with a man, who found fault with every thing, without
stepping out of his door to examine any thing, that they declined
having any thing further to say to him. When their accounts were ready
to be settled, I examined them, struck the balance, and Mr Arthur Lee
joined with Dr Franklin and myself in signing draughts on Mr Grand
for the money. The bills were drawn in favor of Messrs Sabbatier and
Desprez solely, Mr Holker taking no share in the commissions, but
generously gave in the time he had spent in the affair, though it had
been considerable. This gentleman is now in Philadelphia, and if
necessary may be applied to respecting what I have said on this
subject; his character, as well as that of his worthy father is well
known in France, where they are jointly inspectors of the manufactures
of that kingdom, and on every occasion they exerted themselves to
serve this country, a testimony due to them from me when I am called
on to mention them publicly. The instances they gave me personally of
the most disinterested friendship and attachment I shall never forget.

I can but return to Mr Williams. This gentleman, after stating all his
accounts in the fairest and most explicit order, attended near ten
weeks at Passy for a settlement. Doctor Franklin and Mr Adams, as has
before been related, so far approved of them as to order his balance,
or nearly the whole of it, to be paid him, and gave him a letter
certifying him of their full persuasion of his ability and integrity,
and that he had done good services, yet such was the disposition of Mr
Lee towards him, that he could by no means get them past. Impatient
and wearied out with the captious insulting manner in which he was
treated by Mr Lee, and which nothing but his official character
protected him in, Mr Williams engaged a gentleman from Boston, Mr
Cutler, to copy off all his accounts, and compare them with the
original vouchers, and to make a voyage to America, to lay them before
Congress. This gentleman arrived a few days since, and having made the
voyage and journey on this purpose only, I take the liberty to entreat
Congress in behalf of my absent friend and their faithful servant,
that those accounts may be examined, that Mr Cutler may be heard if
necessary to explain them, and Mr Williams relieved from the
embarrassments of Mr Lee, whose disposition does not appear to be
mended since I left Paris, but, if possible, greatly increased for
dispute, and for the most vexatious altercation.

Could I take any pleasure on so disagreeable a subject, and one which
throws the affairs as well as reputation of these States into
confusion and disgrace, it would be to find that the universal
testimony of all who know the situation of our affairs in France,
confirms what I have in duty and justice to these States been obliged
to lay before Congress. Mr Lee's nephew, a son of the honorable
Richard Henry Lee, is in the house of Mons. Schweighauser, at Nantes,
as a clerk, or as a partner, I am informed the latter. Commercial
affairs, and the disposition of prizes, are put into the care of this
house, while a near connexion of M. Schweighauser, at Guernsey, or
Jersey, is employing himself in sending out cruisers on our commerce.
I know nothing of M. Schweighauser, except by reports; those have been
in his favor as a good merchant, but this circumstance, added to some
others, which Mr Cutler informs me of, has given cause for the
greatest uneasiness and distrust, which, added to the difficulties met
with at Paris from Mr Arthur Lee, prevents any thing being done to
effect, if really any thing at all towards sending out supplies to
these States.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 12th October, 1778.

In a conference had with Mons. Gerard, in the month of January last,
at Versailles, he observed that the thirteenth article[15] in the
treaty proposed by Congress, which exempted the molasses purchased by
the inhabitants of the United States in any of the islands belonging
to, and subject to, his Most Christian Majesty, from any duties
whatever, was an unequal article, as he termed it, that without some
concession of equal importance on the part of the United States, it
could not be agreed to, as it would carry the appearance of
inequality, and as if Congress were taking the advantage and dictating
the terms in their own favor, that therefore it was expected, either
wholly to omit the article, or place an equivalent over against it on
our part.

On my return to Paris, I laid M. Gerard's proposals before my
colleagues, who agreed generally to the justice and propriety of them,
but we found it difficult to place any article or articles over
against that of molasses, which would be of equal consequence, and in
which the States of America were at the same time equally interested.
After long consideration had on the subject, Dr Franklin proposed the
article nearly as it now stands; Mr Lee objected to it, as being too
extensive, and more than equivalent for that of molasses only; to
which I answered, that though the concession might appear great, it
was in reality nothing more than giving up what we never could make
use of but to our own prejudice, for nothing was more evident than the
bad policy of laying duties on our own exports; that molasses, though
apparently but an article of small value, was the basis on which a
very great part of the American commerce rested; that the manufacture
of it into rum, was every year increasing, especially in the middle
and southern states, where it had been more lately introduced.

Doctor Franklin agreed with me, and argued on much the same ground,
but neither of us insisted on the article at the time, but that the
proposition should be made for the consideration of Mons. Gerard,
reserving to ourselves the power of agreeing to it or not afterwards.
A few evenings after, and nearly as I can remember about five or six
days before the actual signing of the treaty, we met Mons. Gerard at
my house in Paris; he brought the proposed treaty with him, in which
he had inserted the 11th and 12th articles as they now stand. The
treaty was read, considered, and agreed to, article by article, except
the 11th and 12th, respecting which M. Gerard observed at first, that
he considered them as they then stood reciprocal and equal, but that
he left it entirely with us to retain them both, or to reject them
both, it being indifferent with his Majesty, but that one could not be
retained without the other. On our having agreed to all the other
articles, we told him we would confer together on the 11th and 12th,
and write to him what our determination should be. As soon as he was
gone, the subject was taken up; the arguments before used were again
considered, and finally we unanimously agreed to retain both the
articles; on which I desired Mr Lee to write a letter to Mons. Gerard,
informing him of it, and that I would send it out to Versailles the
next morning, from Passy, that there might be no more delay in
transcribing and executing the treaties. Mr Lee accordingly wrote, and
Dr Franklin, he, and myself signed the letter, which I sent the next
morning.[16]

A day or two after this, Mr A. Lee wrote a letter to Dr Franklin and
me, in which he expressed great uneasiness about the 11th and 12th
articles, and a desire to have them left out, on which we advised Mr
Lee to go himself to Versailles on the subject, which he accordingly
did, and we wrote to M. Gerard, by him, that we were content to have
the two articles left out, if agreeable to his Majesty.[17] As we had
just before unanimously agreed and written to have them retained, we
could not, with any consistency, make a point of their being expunged.
Mr Lee discoursed on the subject with M. Gerald, who satisfied him as
he thought at the time, and as we all then thought, of the impropriety
of making any alteration in the treaty, after it had been so maturely
considered; had been fully agreed upon by us all; had been approved
of in form by his Majesty, and ordered to be transcribed and signed.
Neither Mr William Lee nor Mr Izard ever spoke one word to me on the
subject, and I did not think myself authorised or at liberty to
consult them, or any other person on the subject, but my colleagues.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[15] "ARTICLE XIII. It is agreed by and between the said parties, that
no duties whatever shall ever hereafter be imposed on the exportation
of molasses from any of the islands and dominions of the Most
Christian King, in the West Indies, to any of these United States."

[16] The articles in question are as follows;

"ARTICLE XI. It is agreed and concluded, that there shall never be any
duty imposed on the exportation of molasses, that may be taken by the
subjects of any of the United States from the Islands of America,
which belong, or may hereafter appertain, to his Most Christian
Majesty.

"ARTICLE XII. In compensation of the exemption stipulated in the
preceding article, it is agreed and concluded, that there shall never
be any duties imposed on the exportation of any kind of merchandize,
which the subjects of his Most Christian Majesty may take from the
countries and possessions present or future of any of the thirteen
United States, for the use of the islands which shall furnish
molasses."

The treaty may be seen entire in the _Secret Journals of Congress_,
Vol. II. p. 59.

[17] See these letters in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, under the date
of January 30th, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 1st November, 1778.

  Sir,

I think it unnecessary to make an apology for sending you the enclosed
estimates and reflections made on two of the most important and
interesting subjects, and for desiring the same may be communicated to
Congress. Should that honorable body approve of any or all of them, I
shall be very happy, and if they should not they will excuse me for
having given them this trouble, when they reflect, that the desire of
throwing some light on these subjects has been my sole motive.

The providing for the redemption of our money, and the establishment
of a marine, are objects, which in my view, far exceed in the
magnitude and extent of their importance, any that are at present
under public consideration; they greatly depend on each other, and
permit me to say, all our future operations in a great degree depend
on them. We cannot pay the interest of any considerable loan without
commerce, which cannot be revived effectually without a marine force
of our own, which may I am confident be formed on the enclosed plan,
and be ready in a short space of time to act with vigor. Great Britain
has long had the empire of the ocean, and in consequence the whole
world has been her tributary; her own bad policy and the present war
will deprive her of that empire; at this important crisis it depends
on the measures taken by the United States, whether they shall succeed
Great Britain or not in this extensive dominion. Reason, observation,
and experience authorise me to say, there is not in the world any
power so capable of it, and as the United States can never aim at
foreign conquests, but simply to guard their own coasts, and to
protect the commerce of their subjects, their superiority at sea can
never give just cause of jealousy or offence to any other nation. I am
confident that a fleet of forty sail, to consist of twenty such large
ships as I have described, and twenty frigates, will be more than
equal to this purpose, and such a fleet may be got to sea in the
course of the coming year, if the materials wanted from Europe can be
procured, which, if immediately applied for, I have not the least
doubt of.

I have the honor to remain, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ I am still without the honor of any answer to my letter of the
7th ult.

                                                        November 13th.

After writing the above, my apprehension, lest I should be thought any
way out of the usual course in communicating my sentiments to
Congress, made me omit sending it to you with the enclosed, but the
alarming intelligence, which I received but a day or two since, of the
sentiments of my countrymen in different parts on the present
situation of the credit of our money, the state of our finances and
resources, and of the temper and disposition prevailing in
consequence, has made me waive every personal consideration, and
communicate this with the enclosed to Congress, and I shall count it
one of the happiest occurrences of my life, if anything in my power
will help to prevent that total loss of public as well as private
credit, which I am sorry to find begins to be almost universally
apprehended, and I fear appearances at this time are in support of
such apprehensions, which though at bottom they may be ill founded,
yet, if once generally prevailing, will produce consequences easily
foreseen. I beg leave to refer to Colonel Duer for the substance of
the intelligence I refer to, having communicated the letters I have
received to him, for as they contain many things merely personal, I
could not lay them at large before Congress.

                                                                 S. D.

       *       *       *       *       *

PLAN _for sinking fiftythree millions of dollars of the Continental
Currency, and to establish a Bank of one million, and a half sterling,
or $6,666,666-2/3 in Europe for the use of the States of America, at
the expense of forty millions of dollars in specie only, or of Bills
upon Europe equivalent_.

1st. Let a loan be obtained of twentyfive millions of dollars on
account of the United States; the interest and necessary charges will
probably amount to, and will not exceed, six per cent per annum.

2dly. Let a fund be established of two millions and a half annually,
clear of all charges of collecting and remittances, out of which let
the interest of the loan be paid, and the surplus unalienably
appropriated as a sinking fund to discharge the principal; the annual
interest of twentyfive million dollars; at six per cent will be
1,500,000 dollars, the sinking fund one million.

3dly. The calculation which follows demonstrates, that this fund of
two millions and a half of dollars will, in sixteen years, pay off the
principal and interest of the twentyfive millions borrowed, and leave
a surplus of $673,103 in the hands of the States, which may be
supposed equivalent to the charge of managing the money, and paying
the loan in Europe.

4thly. A fund of two millions and a half for sixteen years amounts to
forty millions, but twentyfive millions at six per cent simple
interest will in that time amount to fortynine millions, supposing the
interest annually paid; hence it is evident, that a sinking fund of
one million operating on such a loan of twentyfive millions, will make
a saving of nine millions of dollars to the States out of what will
otherwise be paid on the same capital, on the plan of borrowing
practised in our, and indeed in most other loan offices; or in other
words would reduce the interest from six to little more than three and
a half per cent, which is demonstrated in the following calculations.

5thly. Twentyfive millions of dollars may be computed in value equal
to £5,625,000 sterling. Of this, let one million and a half, or
£1,620,000 sterling be applied to the payment of debts contracted in
Europe, contracted by the commissioners, for the discharge of which no
particular mode has been stipulated and agreed upon, and for the
establishing a bank or fund for other uses and benefit of the United
States.

6thly. As the sum of £125,000 sterling will be equal to the public
debts already contracted in Europe, except those to the
Farmers-General and the house of Rodrique Hortalez & Co. there will
remain, agreeable to the plan, one million and a half sterling, or
$6,666,666-2/3 in the Congress' Bank in Europe, and four millions
sterling, or $17,777,777-2/3, for the purpose of sinking the sum of
fiftythree millions proposed.

7thly. The present rate of exchange is from five to six for one; it
must happen that as bills are brought to market to a greater amount
they will fall, but if it be considered that the ordinary demand of
these States on Europe for goods exceeded four millions sterling
annually in times of peace, that the demand at present and for two or
three years to come, even if peace should take place immediately, must
exceed the former usual demand, that though the cancelling and sinking
of fiftythree millions of dollars will tend to appreciate the
remainder in circulation, yet as there will still remain in
circulation a greater nominal sum than the commerce of these States
call for, the appreciation will not be repaid; and if it be further
considered, that the merchants in the United States are at present
destitute of their usual means of remittance, having neither ships,
specie, nor produce on hand,--I say under these considerations it is
improbable, if not impossible, consistent with the interest of
individuals, that bills drawn on Europe for the sum of four millions
sterling should be under three for one on an average.

8thly. Four millions sterling, or $17,777,777-2/3, at three for one,
will amount to $53,333,333 here. Allowing $333,333 for the charge of
drawing the bills, for other expenses and deficiencies unforeseen, and
there will be, agreeable to the proposals in the plan, fiftythree
millions of dollars of the Continental currency paid off by the sales
of those bills.

The benefits resulting from this plan, if realized, are numerous,
indisputable, and obvious. As the sum proposed to be drawn for, does
not exceed the ordinary amount of importation before the war, it
cannot be presumed that this plan can produce any ill effects on
commerce, especially if the Congress should think it wise and prudent
to drop the merchants themselves, and depend on individuals for their
supplies. The capital difficulty is to obtain the loan. On this, as
well as on the preceding plan, I will make a few observations after
the following calculations already referred to.

                          FIRST CALCULATION.

          |  Produce of the | Total of the   |
    Years.| sinking fund at | Debts paid at  | EXPLANATION.
          |   the end of    |  the end of    |
          |   every year.   |  every year.   |
    ------+-----------------+----------------+------------------------
      1   |    1,000,000    |   1,000,000    | The first column marks
          |       60,000    |                | the years; the second
      2   |    1,060,000    |   2,060,000    | the produce or amount
          |       63,600    |                | of the sinking fund at
      3   |    1,123,600    |   3,103,600    | the end of each year,
          |       67,416    |                | the third shows how
      4   |    1,191,016    |   4,374,616    | large a part of the
          |       71,461    |                | capital has been paid
      5   |    1,262,477    |   5,637,093    | off at the end of each
          |       75,788    |                | year. The sum in the
      6   |    1,338,265    |   6,975,358    | second column is found
          |       80,296    |                | by adding to it
      7   |    1,418,561    |   8,393,919    | annually the interest
          |       85,113    |                | of that part of the
      8   |    1,503,674    |   9,897,593    | capital paid off the
          |       90,220    |                | preceding year, and the
      9   |    1,593,894    |  11,491,487    | sum in the third by
          |       95,633    |                | adding yearly the
     10   |    1,689,527    |  13,181,014    | payments.
          |      101,372    |                |
     11   |    1,790,899    |  14,971,913    |
          |      107,454    |                |
     12   |    1,898,353    |  16,870,266    |
          |      113,901    |                |
     13   |    2,012,254    |  18,882,520    |
          |      120,735    |                |
     14   |    2,132,989    |  21,015,509    |
          |      127,979    |                |
     15   |    2,260,968    |  23,276,477    |
          |      135,658    |                |
     16   |    2,396,626    |  25,673,103    |
          |                 |                |
          |  Principal Loan |  25,000,000    |
          |  Surplus        |     673,103    |

                         SECOND CALCULATION.

    $2,500,000 annually collected and paid
    for sixteen years, amount to (the whole sum
    paid)                                            40,000,000

    But the surplus of $673,103 deducted,
    leaves $39,326,897, the net sum applied
    to sink a principal of $25,000,000, and the
    interest for sixteen years,                         673,103
                                                     ----------
                                                     39,326,897

    The annual interest of $25,000,000 at six
    per cent is 1,500,000, which at simple interest
    in sixteen years is 24,000,000,                  24,000,000
    Add the principal,                               25,000,000
                                                     ----------
                                                     49,000,000
                                Bring down           39,326,897
                                                     ----------
                                Surplus,              9,673,103

By these calculations it is clearly demonstrated,

First, that a certain net annual revenue of two millions and a half of
dollars is sufficient for sinking the loan proposed of 25,000,000 in
sixteen years, and to leave a surplus of $673,103 after discharging
both principal and interest. In the second place, that by this plan
the public will save the sum of $9,673,103 more than if the same sum
is borrowed in the usual way of simple interest; or in other words,
the money on this plan will be borrowed at 3-1/2 per cent interest
nearest, a sum well deserving the attention of the public at this, and
at every other time, and it is for that purpose the foregoing plan and
calculations are submitted.

The only difficulties, that can possibly occur in the carrying this
plan and every part of it into execution, are in the establishing such
a fund, as will be certain for raising the two millions and a half of
dollars annually, and in the next place in procuring the loan. The
first may be obviated with greater ease and certainty than the second.
It cannot in justice be concealed, that the loan cannot be obtained
with the same ease now as it might have been six or seven months past,
nor that the longer it is delayed, the greater the difficulty will be.
It is however attainable if applied for in season, and in a proper
manner. It is but too probable, that if delayed many months longer, it
will not be obtained on any terms whatever. The war now kindling in
Europe will probably in the course of another year become general, the
consequence of which will be, that the emperor of Germany, the empress
of Russia, and some other powers, the two former in particular, who
have improved the late peace to regulate their finances, and to reduce
and pay off their foreign debts, will on this change of affairs become
borrowers afresh; in a word, there will be in Europe seven or eight,
or more powers under the necessity of borrowing, and not more than two
or three at the most in a situation to lend, and when so many demands
are made for money, it will be very difficult to have ours preferred.
To obtain it, therefore, requires immediate application, interest, and
address; which thoughts, with the above plan, are respectfully
submitted to the wisdom of Congress.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

PROPOSALS _for equipping such a fleet, as will be sufficient to defend
the coasts and commerce of the United States against any force, which
Great Britain will be able to send to America_.

It is necessary to premise, that the obtaining a loan, and setting on
foot a naval force, are so connected with, and dependent on each
other, and so many important consequences depend on both, that I have
preferred placing one directly after the other, that my ideas on these
great subjects may be perceived at one view, rather than the placing
them in any manner separate or disjointed from each other. Without a
naval force sufficient to protect in some degree our commerce as it
revives, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to pay either
the principal or interest of the money we may borrow, and without some
probably certain prospect of doing this, it would hardly be honest to
borrow at all. I have only to add, that the following calculations are
not founded on light and uncertain estimates, but on the most certain
knowledge of the quantity of each of those articles necessary for the
purpose. The prices are fixed at what they were last season in Sweden,
and in the north of Europe; what I have ventured to say respecting
ships of a new construction carrying fortytwo to fortyeight cannon,
being equal to sixtyfour and even seventyfour line of battle ships, I
am convinced of the truth of, not merely from my own observation and
reasoning on the subject, but from the opportunities I have had of
conversing with some of the most able and experienced constructors and
commanders of ships in Europe, as well as in America. France, as well
as England, has already several ships of such a plan on the stocks,
which is a full proof in what light they view this plan of building;
but fortunately for these States, their old prejudices, as well as
the opposition of commanders of large ships, and a great number of
men, to the changing them for ships of a less rate and fewer men, as
well as of less pomp and appearance, will in a great measure prevent
either of those nations from much immediate success in this plan for
an improvement or reform.

1st. A fleet consisting of twenty such ships as mentioned above,
joined by twenty frigates from twentyfour to thirtysix guns, will be
sufficient to guard this coast against any naval force, which Great
Britain, or any other maritime power can spare, to send against us. An
American fleet, opposing a foreign one on this coast, will always have
many very decisive circumstances in their favor, which are obvious at
first view, particularly that of clean ships and healthy men against
foul ships and sickly men, or fatigued by a long voyage, and that of
being able with ships of the proposed construction to enter harbors in
case of storm or other accident, which larger ships cannot.

2dly. The twenty large ships, and ten or a less number of the frigates
may be put on the stocks and built in America, and though the present
price of labor is dear, yet were the undertakers to be paid in
sterling bills, or in specie, the hulls or bodies of the ships may
perhaps be had nearly at the same price as before the war; but suppose
they cost more, yet if every other article be procured from Europe at
the first cost and common charges, the ships complete will not amount
to much more than such ships usually cost before the war in America,
probably not so much.

3dly. Suppose also that eight of the frigates be built in America, and
twelve purchased in Europe, to transport the materials from thence for
the rest. In the first place, let a calculation be made what all these
materials, allowing a large proportion, will amount to, and also for
the purchase of the twelve frigates, or ships for frigates, which are
to transport those materials over to America.

                             CALCULATION.

                                                               Livres.
    160,000 aulms of sailcloth,                                240,000

    500,000 cwt of anchors,                                    125,000

    3,200,000 cwt of cordage,                                1,280,000

    6,000,000 cwt of cannon,                                   960,000

    10,000 fuzees, fit for marine service,                     200,000

    200 tons of powder,                                        400,000

    N. B. As iron is scarce and dear in America,
    especially in the east and northward states, I
    suppose 300 tons of iron,                                  160,000

    12 ships fit for sea, capable of being armed as
    frigates of 24 to 36 guns, will unarmed cost
    250,000 livres each, nearly                              3,000,000

    I suppose for shells, shot, cutlasses, spears,
    hand-grenadoes, and a variety of small articles, too
    many to be enumerated in such a general calculation,
    the sum of                                               1,000,000
                                                             ---------
    Total amount,                                            7,365,000

Equal to one million six hundred and seventytwo thousand dollars,[18]
for which sum twelve of the ships will be purchased, and all the
capital materials for the others. One million of livres, or two
hundred thousand dollars, is a large allowance for the small articles,
and I know, from offers made me from Sweden, that the ships and other
articles referred to, may be purchased there at the above rates, if
they have not risen since the month of March last.

4thly. Of the proposed loan by the plan preceding, there will remain,
after sinking the fiftythree millions and the payment of the present
debts, the sum of one million and a half sterling, or 6,666,666-2/3
dollars, out of which deduct the above sum of 1,672,000, and there
remains the sum of 4,994,666-2/3 dollars, or twentyfive millions of
livres nearest, for other purposes; a sum sufficient for many great
purposes. The commissioners, to the time of my leaving France, had not
in the whole ever received four millions of livres, to enable them to
procure all the supplies, which they engaged and sent over.

5thly. These stores, and ships to transport them, may be procured on
the best terms in Sweden. Swedish ships are not so durable as those
built in England, or of cedar and live oak, but I am well assured they
greatly exceed those built of the common American oak. Sweden is ever
so under the influence of France, that there is no doubt but with
proper management these ships and stores may be obtained, and a convoy
for them, which, by sailing in June next and coming north about, might
arrive at Boston in season, and with very little or no risk; but the
fear of being too tedious prevents my being more particular.

6thly. If it be agreeable to make the purchase of the materials
enumerated, but not of the ships, as ships may be had to freight them
over, it will amount to much the same.

7thly. I will only add, that in time of peace should any of these
ships proposed, be to be disposed of out of the continental, they will
not be too large for many branches of the merchant service. If these
proposals should appear just and practicable, many less matters
connected with them will require consideration, and as in the first,
so in this plan, every thing depends on immediate despatch.

It has been objected, that such a number of ships could not be manned,
but if it is considered that there are now employed in privateering a
greater number of men, than are sufficient to man this proposed fleet,
it is easy to obviate this difficulty by offering such inducements, as
will infallibly lead both officers and men to prefer the public to any
private service whatever. The United States have not in view private
or partial, but public and extensive objects, the humbling our
enemies, the defence of our coasts, and the laying the foundation of a
great and flourishing marine. If the whole of the prize money be
divided among the seamen and officers, or suppose threefourths
actually shared, and the remainder appropriated for the building and
support of a hospital for sick, wounded, and disabled seamen, such a
resolution will be a generous one, and cannot fail of answering the
end. His Most Christian Majesty has generously done this for his
officers and seamen serving in his marine, by his ordinance of April
last.

                                    Philadelphia, 13th November, 1778.

_P. S._ Apprehensive of being tedious when I wrote the above, I said
nothing on the methods for paying the interest for the first two or
three years, until a certain revenue can be established, for
considering the present depreciated state of our currency, and the
scarcity of specie, it cannot be instantly expected. I take therefore
the liberty of suggesting two methods, one of which will most
certainly answer the purpose. The first is to borrow of France or
Spain, the interest money for the first three years, by which, the
interest punctually paid, a credit will become established, and future
loans may be made if wanted, and our commerce will be so far restored,
that it will not be difficult to raise specie equal to the payment.
But should this method fail, there still remains a certain resource,
for even if the plan for equipping a navy be adopted, yet there will
still remain in bank, as will be seen by the calculation and estimate,
a sum sufficient for more than three years interest.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[18] There seems to be a mistake here, if the author's mode of
reckoning five livres to the dollar be adopted. The sum would then be
one million four hundred and seventy three thousand dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 19th November, 1778.

  Sir,

I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 7th of October last,
and having since received a letter from Mr Williams, I send it
enclosed, to show Congress that the monies mentioned by Mr A. Lee, in
his letter of the 1st of June last, to have been received by that
gentleman, have, in the opinion of two of the commissioners, been well
laid out and faithfully accounted for. It gives me great pleasure to
find, that the clothes contracted for by Mons. Monthieu, Messrs
Holker, Sabbatier, and Desprez, and others, are on examination
approved of, and allowed to be the best of the kind, both as to the
quality of the cloth and fashion they are made in, of any that have
ever been imported; it is indeed a fortunate circumstance, that out of
near forty thousand suits so few have been intercepted. As Mr A. Lee,
in his letters, has insinuated that the contracts for these clothes
were made entirely by me, and has charged me with great extravagance
in them, I beg leave to inform Congress, that these suits complete,
and delivered on board, do not cost, on an average, thirtysix livres,
or thirtyone shillings and sixpence sterling the suit. I labored hard
to send over shoes, stockings, and shirts in proportion, and so far as
it was effected, the suit complete, with shoes, stockings and shirt,
does not amount in the whole to forty shillings sterling. These facts
being known, I am content to take on myself the merit or demerit of
furnishing these supplies.

I will make no comment on the dismission of a man of Mr Williams'
known abilities, integrity, and economy, and who did the business of
the public for two per cent, to make room for the deputies of Mr
William Lee, who shares five per cent with them, nor on the still more
unaccountable conduct of Mr A. Lee, in ordering bills accepted by
Messrs Franklin and Adams to be protested. It gives me pain to be
forced to lay these facts before Congress, but I cannot, consistent
with the duty I owe my country, nor with the justice due myself,
permit them, and others of the like nature, to remain longer concealed
from public view and examination.

My letter of the 7th ult. covered observations on Mr Lee's and Mr
Izard's letters to Congress, to which I am still without the honor of
any reply; nothing would give me greater satisfaction, than to learn
by what part of my public conduct I have merited the neglect, with
which my letters and most respectful solicitations for months past, to
be heard before Congress, have been treated. I confess that I once
flattered myself the services I performed in procuring supplies, and
sending them to the United States at the most critical period of their
affairs, and in assisting to bring forward and conclude the treaties,
together with the honorable testimonials from the Court of France,
whilst I had the honor of residing there, would have merited the
approbation of Congress. And I now leave it with every person of
sensibility and honor, to imagine what must be my disappointment and
chagrin, to find myself obliged at last to leave America without being
informed if exceptions have been taken to any part of my conduct, or
what they may be. Thus situated, though I can but feel most sensibly,
yet a consciousness of the integrity and zeal, which have ever guided
and animated my conduct, and a sense of the important services I have
been so fortunate as to render my country, with the confidence I have
that justice will yet be done me, support and will never permit me to
forget or desert myself or my country, whilst in my power to be
useful.

I took the liberty on the 12th instant, in writing to Congress, again
to remind them of my being without any answer to my request, and
having written already repeatedly, I will not trouble that honorable
body further on the subject of my being heard, agreeable to what by
their resolutions which recalled me, and since I hoped for, and had
reason to expect; but praying them to accept my sincere thanks for the
honor they did me, in appointing me their commercial and political
agent in Europe, and afterwards one of their commissioners to the
Court of France, by which I have had an opportunity of rendering my
country important services, I have only to repeat my former request,
that orders may be given to their minister at the Court of France to
have my accounts examined and settled, immediately on my return
thither, referring to my letter of the 7th, on that head, and
entreating for a speedy resolution on the subject.

I have the honor to remain,

  With the most profound respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ Since writing the above, I am informed that letters have been
received from the honorable Mr Lee, and read in Congress, which
mention certain proceedings of Mr Hodge, and that a sum of money had
been paid Mr S. Wharton by my order, without the knowledge of the
commissioners, and which I left unexplained and unaccounted for. I
will only say here, that any insinuation of this kind is totally
groundless, and makes me feel most sensibly what I suffer by not being
permitted to be heard before Congress, which I still solicit for.

                                                                 S. D.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 30th November, 1778.

  Sir,

I am still so unhappy, as to be without the honor of any reply to the
several letters I have written through you to Congress, praying that
honorable body to favor me with an audience, and that they would give
the necessary orders to their ministers or commissioners at the Court
of Versailles to examine, adjust, and settle my accounts immediately
on my return to France. I take the liberty now to add to what I have
already written, that the hopes of being favored with an audience have
already occasioned my losing several very agreeable and safe
opportunities of returning, until the season has become as pressing as
the business which calls me back, and obliges me most earnestly to
entreat the attention of Congress to my situation and requests.

I have the honor to remain, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Friday, 4th December, 1778.

  Sir,

I have now to acknowledge your favors of 10 o'clock last evening, and
to thank you for the attention paid to my last letter to you. Previous
to receiving the intimation you have given me, "that Congress had
resolved to take into consideration their foreign affairs, and that
such branches as I had been particularly concerned in, would in due
course become subjects of deliberation," I had prepared to leave this
city, and had made my arrangements accordingly, which it will not be
in my power to dispense with for any time. I take the liberty of
mentioning this, as I do not find in the intimation you have given me
of the resolution of Congress any time fixed for my attendance, and I
take the liberty of repeating what I have before had the honor of
writing to you, that my detention is extremely prejudicial to my
private affairs, and, so far as I am able to judge, in some degree so
to those of the public, which I have had the honor of being intrusted
with, some of which require my presence at the settlement of them, as
well on account of my own reputation, as for the interest of the
United States.[19]

I have the honor to be, with much respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[19] On the 5th of December, Mr Deane published an article in the
Pennsylvania Gazette, reflecting on the conduct of some of the
commissioners in Europe. This publication gave much offence to Messrs
Arthur Lee and William Lee, and Mr Izard, as will be seen hereafter in
their letters to Congress.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 21st December, 1778.

  Sir,

In obedience to the orders of Congress of the 7th inst.[20] I have now
committed to writing as particular an account of my agency of their
affairs in Europe as my situation will permit, and wait the pleasure
of Congress to lay the same before them. And I have only to request,
that the letters written by the commissioners to Congress, or the
Committee of Foreign Affairs, during my agency or since, which refer
thereto, ordered to be read in Congress, may be laid on their table,
when I shall have the honor to be admitted. I request this, from my
not having the copies of those letters with me, to which the accounts
I am directed to give refer, but recollecting the substance of them, I
have judged it unnecessary to trouble Congress for copies of them at
present, as it might cause some delay, and I am anxious to complete as
soon as possible the information expected from me. I flatter myself
that an early day will be fixed, and if I may take the liberty to
mention one, I wish it may be tomorrow if consistent with the business
of Congress.

I have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[20] "_Resolved_, That Silas Deane report to Congress in writing as
soon as may be, his agency of their affairs in Europe, together with
any intelligence respecting their foreign affairs which he may judge
proper.

"That Mr Deane be informed, that if he has anything to communicate to
Congress in the interim of immediate importance, he shall be heard
tomorrow evening at six o'clock.

"Mr Deane attending, was called in, and the foregoing resolutions were
read to him."

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 30th December, 1778.

  Sir,

When I had the honor of waiting on Congress last, I was informed that
I should be favored with an opportunity of finishing my narrative
without delay. I now take the liberty of applying to Congress, and to
inform them that I am ready, and wait their orders. I have received
letters, which I am desirous to communicate personally; they relate to
parts of my narrative. My solicitude for a final issue of my affairs
will, I trust, not appear unreasonable to Congress, when it is
considered that a certain Mr Thomas Paine, styling himself Secretary
for Foreign Affairs, and presuming to address the public in his
official character, has thrown out in a late paper many insinuations
injurious to my public character, and has avowed his intentions of
laying before the public a number of interesting facts, and materials,
relative to my conduct, as one of the commissioners of these United
States at the Court of France.

I rely on the justice of Congress, and have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Philadelphia, 4th January, 1779.

  Sir,

In my letter of the 30th ult. I took the liberty of mentioning to
Congress a circumstance, which made me very solicitous for a final
issue of my affairs, which was the illiberal and abusive attacks made
on my character, as the public agent and minister of these States, by
a certain Mr Thomas Paine, styling himself Secretary for Foreign
Affairs, and pretending to address the public in his official
capacity. This person has since, in Mr Dunlap's paper of the 2d inst.,
ventured to assure the public, that the supplies, which I contracted
for with Mons. Beaumarchais, were promised and engaged, and that as a
present, before I arrived in France, and that he has in his possession
full proof of this.

I cannot suppose that Mr Paine is possessed of any letters, or papers
on this subject, which are not before Congress, or to which the
honorable members are strangers. I will not trouble Congress with any
observations on the many groundless and extravagant assertions of this
writer, but justice to my own character obliges me to entreat, that,
if what he has asserted on this subject is a fact, I may be made
acquainted with it. Mons. Beaumarchais, in his letter to Congress of
the 23d of March last, asserts directly the contrary to what this man
has ventured to publish; and as my engagements with Mons. Beaumarchais
were made on a very different ground, it is of the last importance to
me to know if I have been deceived in the whole of this transaction,
and how, that I may be able to regulate my conduct accordingly.

I have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 21st January, 1779.

  Sir,

When I had the honor of waiting on Congress, you were pleased to
inform me, that if Congress had any further commands for me I should
be notified thereof. Not having received any notice from you on the
subject, I take the liberty to inform you, that my affairs are become
so pressing and so peculiarly circumstanced, that it is impossible for
me to attend longer without doing greater prejudice to myself and
interest, than I am able to sustain. I must therefore request of you
to remind Congress of my situation, and that you will inform me of
their determination respecting me.

I have the honor to be, with sincere respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 22d February, 1779.

  Sir,

In obedience to the orders of Congress of the 8th of December, 1777,
which I received the 4th of March, 1778, I embraced the first
opportunity of returning to America, and on my arrival repaired with
all possible despatch to Congress on the 13th of July last, since
which time I have attended their orders in this city. I beg leave to
remind Congress, that early in January, 1776, I had the honor of being
engaged by their committee to go as their agent to France, to transact
important business for them, in the commercial as well as political
departments, and that I have ever since been in their service, in
which I flatter myself I have been of some utility to them and to my
country; but that an absence of almost four years from my family and
private affairs, more than seven months of which I have waited to know
their pleasure respecting me here, has so exceedingly embarrassed and
distressed me, that I hope I shall not be deemed guilty of an
unbecoming impatience in pressing to know, if Congress have any
further commands for me, and in what manner my past transactions, as
their agent and commissioner, are to be adjusted and closed. I have
heretofore written repeatedly and particularly to Congress on this
subject, and will not enlarge upon it at present, but have the honor
to be, with the utmost respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Philadelphia, 15th March, 1779.

  Sir,

I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 22d of February past,
to which letter I beg leave to refer your Excellency. Having received
no answer to the requests I then made, I have now only to add, that my
situation, which for eight months past has been peculiarly
distressing, is now become such as to oblige me to leave this city
without further delay, and therefore I again most respectfully entreat
of Congress to inform me, if they expect further information from me
respecting their foreign or other affairs, and as I shall without loss
of time, return to Europe, that I may be informed if they have any
further commands for my service, and in what manner my past
transactions, as their agent and commissioner, are to be adjusted and
closed.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Philadelphia, 29th March, 1779.

  Sir,

I did myself the honor of writing to your Excellency the 22d of
February last, in which I mentioned the distressed situation into
which my affairs were brought, by my being detained in this city, and
in which I earnestly requested to know of Congress whether they had
any further commands for me, and in what manner my past transactions,
as their agent and commissioner, were to be adjusted and closed. You
were pleased to inform me verbally, that my letter was referred to the
committee, who were ordered to report immediately. I have since been
informed that they have reported, but that the report has not been
considered by Congress, nor any resolutions passed thereon. This
forces me again to apply to Congress, and to lay before that honorable
body in part my situation. I have been near four years absent from my
family and private affairs, which have suffered exceedingly thereby;
more than three years of the time, I have been in the actual service
of Congress.

The settlement of the commissioners' accounts and my own, will show to
demonstration, that I have received nothing therefor, except money for
my necessary expenses. When the orders of Congress, and the service of
these States required my immediate return, I took with me one hundred
and eighty louis d'ors or guineas only, to defray my expenses and
those of four Americans and a servant to America. Two of the Americans
were captains in the navy of the United States, and had escaped from
prison in England; of the other two, one had been taken in a private
ship of war, which he commanded, and had also escaped from prison; the
other was a captain in the merchant service. Our journey to Toulon,
which is near six hundred miles, was expensive, and was defrayed by
me; our passage from Toulon to America was at the expense of His Most
Christian Majesty. I took those American captains with me by the
advice and at the desire of the ministers of France, and of Dr
Franklin, these captains being well acquainted with the American
coast. I have been for more than eight months past in this city, and
at an expense to which my private fortune is by no means adequate,
though I have regulated my expenses by the strictest economy my
situation could admit of. I will not trouble Congress with mentioning
what has past since my return. The loss of my private property is of
no consideration with me, if my country is in any way essentially
served thereby; but whilst Congress defer coming to any resolution
respecting my private services as their agent and commissioner, what
is dearer to me than life or fortune, my character, is attacked and
liable to suffer, from the groundless and base insinuations of some,
and from the open calumnies of others. I cannot but think it an act of
justice due not only to me as an individual, but to Congress and the
public in general, that my conduct be either approved of or censured;
I have most surely merited one or the other, from the important part I
have acted, and the manner in which I have transacted it. I had the
honor of bringing with me testimonials, not only from my late
venerable colleague, but from his Most Christian Majesty and his
ministers, in favor of my conduct whilst in France; they have been
long since laid before Congress, and I cannot but conceive, that if I
have merited the calumnies which have for some months past been
publicly thrown out against me, and industriously spread through these
States, justice to those great personages, who condescended to
interest themselves so warmly in my favor, requires that my demerits
should be publicly known and made to appear, that they may no longer
be deceived, or in a state of uncertainty, respecting my real
character and merits.

A writer, who has been busily employed for three months past in
inventing and publishing the most scandalous falsehoods, in order to
injure me in the opinion of my countrymen, has produced in Dunlap's
paper of the 27th inst. two charges against me, the one for
"_negotiating an intended present into a loan_," or, in other words,
of defrauding my honorable constituents of a large sum of money; the
other of intercepting and destroying the public despatches in order to
cover the fraud. This writer has not long since been in the employ of
Congress as a secretary or clerk, of which circumstance he avails
himself to give force to his calumnies, and has had the confidence to
appeal to Congress for the truth of his assertions, though he knew at
the time that Congress had unanimously contradicted the first, and
that the latter was but the creature of his own forming. From the
moment that I was ordered by Congress to lay before them in writing, a
narration of my public transactions, I have considered myself as being
before that tribunal and no other, and under their immediate
protection, and consequently not at liberty to take that notice of the
publications of this writer, or of his prompters, which, as an
individual, otherways circumstanced, I should have took long since.
This consideration, and the full reliance I have ever placed on the
justice of Congress, have prevented my making any reply to the many
base and false insinuations thrown out by this writer, and others,
against me, and I have been encouraged to wait with patience for the
decision of Congress, by repeated promises, that a speedy issue should
be made of those affairs.

I now submit it to that honorable body, whether, if my patience is
exhausted, I ought to be deemed culpable; and have further to entreat,
that if Congress, or any of its members, entertain any apprehensions,
that I am guilty of the two charges brought against me, (to which I
have referred) or on any other account whatever, that I may be heard
before Congress, and I submit it to their wisdom to determine how
public the inquiry shall be, assuring them, that the more public the
scrutiny shall be into every part of my conduct, the more agreeable it
will be to me. I have only to entreat further, that a decisive answer
may be given to me on the above requests, and that you will be assured
of my unalterable respect and attachment.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                         Philadelphia, 2d April, 1779.

  Sir,

I am without an answer to the letter I did myself the honor of writing
to you the 30th ult. As I shall be obliged to leave Philadelphia in a
few days at farthest, I have again to solicit a decisive reply to my
last. Justice to my fortune as well as character requires it, and I
can by no means bring myself to suppose, that Congress will ever
refuse the doing of justice either to the character or fortune of any
free citizen of these States, much less that they will any longer
delay it to one in their service, and under their immediate
protection, and who has for many months past been soliciting for
justice, as well to his fortune as character.

I have the honor to be,

  With the utmost respect and attachment, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Philadelphia, 17th April, 1779.

  Sir,

I ask liberty to refer to the two last letters, which I did myself the
honor of writing to you on the 30th ult. and 2d instant, and which
remain unanswered. In them I mentioned the situation to which I was
brought by my being detained in this city, the difficulties and
distresses of which have been ever since daily increasing.

I will not take up the time of Congress by entering into a detail of
circumstances; many of the honorable members are not unacquainted with
them, but inform Congress that I am under the necessity of going out
of town early in next week, and considering myself at the orders of
Congress, pray to be informed if they have any commands for me, which
render it necessary that I defer any longer to leave Philadelphia. My
own family and private affairs, as well as those of one intrusted to
my care, have long suffered by my absence; they must suffer to the
last degree, if longer neglected.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Philadelphia, 26th April, 1779.

  Sir,

As I have received no reply to my letters of the 30th ult. and 2d
instant, I take the liberty of applying again to Congress, to remind
them of my situation. It is now more than twelve months since, in
obedience to their orders, I left France, to return to my native
country. Having employed the short interval, between the receiving
advice of my recall and my embarking, in soliciting essential aid and
succor for these States, I entered on my voyage with the pleasing
reflection, that after a two years' faithful service, in a most
difficult and embarrassed negotiation, the issue had been fortunate,
equal to my utmost wishes; that the supplies I had procured, and sent
out, had enabled my brave countrymen and fellow citizens to resist and
humble the enemy; that the treaty which I had the honor, with my
colleagues, to conclude, had engaged one of the most powerful and
generous princes in the world to guaranty the liberties and
independence of these States.

The great and seasonable aid sent out by him, with which (after having
received the most honorable testimonials of his approbation, and even
of his esteem, as well as that of his ministers, and of my late worthy
colleague and friend, Dr Franklin) I had the honor to embark, gave me
in prospect the completion of my most sanguine hopes--the total
reduction of the British force in North America. Unfortunately the
length of our passage defeated the most essential objects of this
great and well concerted enterprise. Extensive and important services
were however thereby rendered, on which I need not be particular.
Immediately on my landing in America, _I repaired with all possible
despatch to Congress, to inform them of the state of affairs in
Europe_, which I had been advised, by their resolution, was the
business I was ordered to return upon. Between my arrival in this
city, on the 13th of July, and my audience before Congress on the 21st
of August, I was informed that the minds of some of my countrymen were
prejudiced against me, and that insinuations were industriously
circulated to effect others; I therefore took the earliest opportunity
given me, and after having laid before Congress a general state of
foreign affairs and of my proceedings, to request that if any thing
had been laid to my charge, or suggested to my disadvantage, I might
be made acquainted therewith, for that it was probable that in the
difficult, complicated, and embarrassed scenes I had gone through,
many things might require explanation. I received no reply, and
continuing to solicit to have the business I returned upon concluded,
I was informed that an honorable member produced in Congress an
extract from a letter from a private gentleman, respecting a
conversation which passed between him and Mr Carmichael, which implied
a censure on my conduct. On the 26th of September, Mr Secretary
Thompson acquainted me with the resolution of Congress of that day, to
postpone further consideration of my requests, _until the examination
of William Carmichael_.

What the result of that examination was I never knew, but having
waited some days, the urgent necessity for my speedy return pressing
on me, I applied again, and repeatedly, that I might finish the
business upon which I had been sent for. Days were repeatedly
appointed for that purpose, and I must suppose business of more
importance prevented. In those letters I laid before Congress the
unsettled state in which I had, by my sudden departure, been obliged
to leave the accounts and other mercantile transactions of the
commissioners, and pointed out the injuries, which the public must
suffer by a delay of their settlement, as well as the personal
inconveniences I must be subjected to whilst they remained unsettled.
To these letters I beg leave to refer. In October, extracts from
letters from Mr Arthur Lee and Mr Izard, were, by order of Congress,
delivered me, to which I replied at large, on the 12th and 22d of the
same month; my letters are still before Congress, and to them I refer,
particularly to that of the 12th, which closes in these words;

"As in commercial transactions there are but two sides to an account,
and every thing goes to the debit or credit, the folio for profit or
loss, so I must solicit that Dr Franklin and Mr Adams may be directed
to see the settlement of all those accounts immediately on my return
to Paris, and as there has been a charge made by Mr Lee, of profusion,
of extravagant contracts, and the like, that those gentlemen be
authorised to submit those accounts, with every allegation of the
kind, to the adjustment and determination of gentlemen of ability and
character on the spot, and that orders may be given, that whatever may
be found due from the commissioners, or either of them, may be
instantly paid into the hands of the banker for Congress, and that in
like manner said banker may be ordered to pay whatever may be the
balance, to the person in whose favor the same shall be found. By this
means truth will be demonstrated, and justice done, which is all I
have ever wished for."

In December last I was directed to lay before Congress in writing,[21]
a narrative of my proceedings, whilst their commercial and political
agent, &c. I must ask leave to refer to that narrative at large, as
many of the honorable members then in Congress are now absent, and the
representatives of several of the States entirely changed. On a
reference it will be found, that I again solicited for as early a
decision as possible on my conduct, that the most thorough examination
might be made, and to demonstrate what my commercial conduct had been
whilst the agent of these States, that my accounts might be put in the
way of being settled without delay, that the part I had acted, and the
station I had been in, could not be considered as a neutral or
indifferent one, and that approbation or censure was my due, &c. &c.
When I was favored with that audience, I flattered myself that the
delays I had met with had given ample time for the most full and
perfect scrutiny into every part of my conduct, and that if any
charges were to be brought against any part of my conduct, I should
then be informed of them. I therefore again requested to know if there
were any. I was informed of none. Soon after I was told that a
committee was appointed to examine into, and report on foreign
affairs. I previously informed Congress, that I had no copies of the
letters written to them by the commissioners, from Paris; that Doctor
Franklin took the care of them, and that my having no apprehension of
being questioned on them, I had not taken duplicates with me,
therefore requested that I might have copies of them, that I might
explain anything which might at first sight appear dubious or
contradictory.

I afterwards applied to the members of the honorable committee,
desiring that if in the course of their examination, anything should
appear doubtful, or such as might support a charge against any part of
my conduct, I might be heard, before any report should be made. I did
not receive copies of the letters, nor was I ever called upon by the
committee, who I am informed have made their report, as to which I am
wholly uninformed. Soon after this report was delivered to Congress,
having been persecuted in the public papers for several months, in the
most scandalous, virulent, and licentious manner, and accused before
the public of crimes of the blackest complexion, I again addressed
myself to Congress, and as their servant claimed their protection, and
that I might be heard in the most public manner, or in any other way
they thought proper. This letter, of the 30th of March, remains
unanswered, and I now pray the contents of it may be considered. The
part I acted as political agent and commissioner for Congress is well
known, and may be judged of with certainty at this time, and the
settlement of mine and the commissioners' accounts (which I have
repeatedly solicited) will demonstrate what my commercial conduct has
been. If, in the commercial, I have not acted with prudence and
integrity, if I have neglected to supply these States with stores to
the utmost of my power, and have either wasted or embezzled the public
monies, the interest of the public requires that speedy justice be
done, and the settlement of the commissioners' accounts will at once
acquit or condemn me. If in my political department I have in any
instance neglected or betrayed the interests of my country, if I have
conducted weakly or wickedly, or both, the public ought to know it,
and I ought to be punished. If, on the contrary, I sacrificed all
private considerations, and put my life as well as fortune to the
hazard, to procure relief and assistance for these States from abroad;
if, unsupported by remittances from hence, without credit or friends,
and a stranger to the language and manners of the country I was sent
to negotiate in, I surmounted every obstacle, and in a few months
obtained and sent out large supplies; if I was assiduous and
indefatigable for the space of near two years in France, in the
commercial as well as political affairs of these States, at times even
to my personal danger; if, so far from having embezzled the public
monies, I neglected my private fortune, and received nothing but my
necessary expenses whilst transacting this business; if a principal
share of the political negotiations fell on me, and if jointly with my
colleagues I brought them to a happy and honorable issue, and
individually acquired the confidence and esteem of His Most Christian
Majesty and his ministers, as well as of the nation in general; and
if, at my private solicitations (in part) after my recall, a strong
fleet and armament were sent out to the relief of these States; if
these are facts, which they certainly are, and the greater part of
them long since fully ascertained, and the others ascertainable by the
settlement of the commissioners' accounts, (which I have from the
first requested) I flatter myself justice will be done by Congress,
and that the artifices of interested and wicked men will not prevail
to delay it, and thereby injure the public and their servant more
essentially, than injustice itself would do.

I, therefore, with the sensibility of an innocent yet injured man, and
with the firmness of a free independent citizen, ask for justice,
fully confident that Congress will not refuse or delay it. I owe too
much to those great personages, who generously patronized and
protected me in Europe, to my countrymen and to myself, to suffer my
character and conduct to remain longer under any uncertainty. When the
part I acted abroad in the service of these States, my recall, the
circumstances of my return, my reception, and the delays I have since
met with, are reviewed, I think my case will be found peculiar.

Permit me then to repeat, that my services have been in two
departments, political and commercial; every thing respecting the
first is already well known, the closing of the accounts will
demonstrate what the latter has been; on the first, Congress is now
able to judge; justice to the public, as well as to myself, calls for
their determination. If there are charges against me in either of the
characters I have supported, I must consider myself entitled to know
what they are, and to be permitted to answer.

I cannot close this letter without complaining to Congress of the
abuse I have met with in the public papers from a writer, who was
lately their confidential servant, and who has abused their confidence
to deceive and impose on the free citizens of these States, and to
injure me in the public opinion; also of the partial and injurious
manner in which I have been treated by others who, deeply interested
by family and other connexions to support my enemies, represent my
conduct and the letters written by the commissioners and myself, as
inconsistent and contradictory, whilst I remain deprived of any
opportunity to explain them. My utmost ambition and wishes have ever
been to serve these States, and to merit the title of their faithful
and approved servant; nothing can deprive me of the consciousness of
having served faithfully and with integrity. If my country have no
further service for me, my first object as well as my duty must be to
justify my conduct, and to rescue my reputation and character from the
injury and abuse of wicked men, and to do this I again ask of
Congress, what I consider as my right, their decision on my conduct as
their servant; and if any part thereof is questioned, I may be
permitted to explain and vindicate the same, which I have often said
and again repeat, the settlement of the commissioners' accounts will
enable me to do, even to mathematical demonstration. Any further delay
in my case must have all the consequences of a refusal, and as I have
ever relied with confidence on the justice of Congress, and long
waited their decision, I flatter myself it will no longer be
postponed. I shall leave Philadelphia in the course of this week on my
private affairs, and wish to do it as early as possible.

I have the honor to be, with much respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[21] On the 5th of December Mr Deane published an article in the
Pennsylvania Gazette, containing remarks on his transactions in
Europe, and vindicating himself from certain charges in Mr Arthur
Lee's letters to Congress.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Philadelphia, 27th April, 1779.

  Sir,

I heard yesterday, by accident, that an honorable gentleman in
Congress had made a calculation from the general account, which I gave
in my narrative of the price of the clothes purchased in France, and
that given by M. Holker, in a memorial of his, and had drawn
consequences very injurious to me therefrom. In my narrative I
informed Congress that the clothes cost 32s. or 33s. sterling
complete, delivered on board. This was nearly the average price, and
of that, and not of the particular, I spoke. 32s. sterling is equal to
36 livres, 11 sols, 5 deniers. The clothes bought of Messrs Sabbatier
and Desprez cost 36 livres nearest, delivered on board; those of Mons.
Monthieu a few sols more; those by Mr Williams, the same, nearly as I
recollect; and about a thousand suits of M. Coder, of a different
fashion, more than 40 livres each. I have before related to Congress,
that Mr Lee himself approved of these purchases, having been present
at the contracting for a part of them, those of M. Coder in
particular, and had signed the settlement of the accounts, and orders
or draughts for the money.

Surprised at the calculation made, and the injurious inferences drawn
therefrom, I wrote to M. Holker the enclosed letter, and received his
answer thereto, a copy of which I take the liberty of enclosing. 37
livres being equal to 32s. 4-1/2d. sterling, it is evident that the
calculation made is wrong, even if I had fixed the price positively at
32s. or 33s. sterling.

I will not trouble Congress at present with any further observations
on the subject,

  But am, with much respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO M. HOLKER.

                                       Philadelphia, 26th April, 1779.

  Sir,

I was this day surprised to hear, that in a memorial you had presented
to Congress, you had said that the suits of clothes furnished by
Messrs Sabbatier and Desprez, ought not to cost (or did not cost) more
than 32 or 34 livres each, delivered in the ports of France. Permit me
to remind you, that these clothes were transported from Paris, and the
other places where they were made up, to the sea ports, at the expense
of the commissioners; that they cost something more than 34 livres,
exclusive of the transportation, as I am positive the accounts
themselves will show. I must therefore presume, if my information is
right, that you may be under some mistake as to this matter, and
therefore pray you, if you have the copies of these accounts, that you
will turn to them, which must convince you of it, or the error is with
me, for, as I recollect, these suits of clothes cost, when delivered
on board, nearest 36 livres on an average, and those purchased from
Mons. Monthieu, a trifle more, and those from M. Coder, which were of
a different fashion, considerably more; this occasioned my saying
generally, in my narrative to Congress, that the suits cost 32s. or
33s. sterling, of which difference in our accounts advantage has been
taken against me, though I spoke generally, referring to the accounts
and contracts themselves to correct me if I erred. You will therefore
oblige me by explaining the above, if you have the account, or if you
recollect the circumstances of that transaction.

I have the honor to be, with much respect,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         M. HOLKER'S ANSWER.

                                       Philadelphia, 26th April, 1779.

  Sir,

I have this moment received your favor of this date. In my memorial to
Congress, I said that each complete suit ought not to cost more than
33 or 34 livres (not 32 or 34) delivered in the sea ports. I spoke
totally from memory, and believe I have made a mistake, by taking the
price in Paris, or Montpellier, for the price at which they would
stand at the sea ports. Admitting my error, they would cost no more
than 36 or 37 livres the suit, according to the best calculation I can
make from memory.

I have the honor to remain, most sincerely, &c.

                                                               HOLKER.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Philadelphia, 30th April, 1779.

  Sir,

In my letter of Monday last, I mentioned my intention to leave town in
the course of the week. I am now waiting for no other purpose, but to
know if Congress will take notice of the requests I have so often
troubled them with. The circumstances under which I left France, in
obedience to their orders, and with a view of promoting their service
in the greatest and most essential manner (it is well known) rendered
it impossible to have the accounts of the commissioners and my own,
connected immediately with theirs, settled and closed, so that the
vouchers could be procured and brought out with me. But a few days
past between the knowledge of my recall, and of my actual setting out
on my return.

One condition of sending out the Toulon fleet, and of my embarking in
it was, that the most profound secrecy should be observed, and the
greatest despatch made. The king's ministers did not think fit to
communicate this secret to my colleague, Mr Lee, nor did they leave me
at liberty to do it; I had as little grounds for confidence in that
gentleman, as the ministers had, and it is evident from their letters
and declarations that they never had any. Yet such is my peculiar
situation, that I find myself blamed and censured by many in Congress
as well as out, for not having performed an impossibility, and am
represented as a defaulter, and as having misapplied or embezzled the
public monies, at once to prevent my future usefulness to my country,
and to the ruin of my private fortune and character. Thus situated, I
can but appeal once more to the justice of Congress, and remind them
that I brought with me and delivered them, it is now more than seven
months since, an account from under the banker's hands, of all the
monies received and paid out by him, and to whom paid; that in my
letter of the 12th of October, I explained to Congress for what
purposes those payments were made, and in my answers to Mr Lee's
objections to these contracts, that I proved him to have been
acquainted with them, and that he signed himself the orders for the
money, for the greater part of them. I am informed, by several
honorable gentlemen in Congress, that many of the members, from their
absence at the time, or from their taking their seats since the
delivering in of that account and my letter of the 12th of October,
are to this moment uninformed of either. This obliges me to refer to
them at this time, and though I have not the vouchers to support
every article, yet I will cheerfully put my reputation as a merchant,
as an honest man, and as a frugal servant of the public, on the
examination of those accounts, the circumstances under which they were
taken, at the same time to be considered.

That account commences in February, 1777, and ends the 27th day of
March, 1778, three days before my leaving Paris. It will show, that
the whole amount of the monies received by the commissioners, was
3,753,250 livres, and their expenditures 4,046,988 livres, 7 sols, and
by the general state of the account delivered the 12th of October, it
appears for what those expenditures were made. After deducting the
sums paid, for large contracts for supplies, &c. which are
particularised, there will be left 219,250 livres, 1 sol, 11 deniers,
equal to £9644. 8. 7-1/2 sterling, for the commissioners' expenses,
for almost fifteen months, and for small purchases, and for a variety
of services not possible to be particularised, without the accounts at
large. I might with safety rest this whole sum on the score of the
commissioners' expenses for this space of time, and support it on Mr
Lee's letter to Congress, in which he says, that Mr Adams and himself
were fully convinced, that they could not live at Paris under £3000
sterling, (or about 70,000 livres) each annually. Had the
commissioners expended at that rate, from February, 1777, to March,
1778, the whole of the sum would be no more than a sufficiency to
supply their expenses; but this was not the case. The commissioners,
in the whole, received out of it the sum of 115,480 livres, 5 sols, 6
deniers, for their expenses and private disbursements, as will appear
by the account enclosed; of this, Dr Franklin received 27,841 livres,
Mr Lee 52,039 livres, 5 sols, 9 deniers, and myself 35,600 livres. It
is true, at the same time, that Mr Lee had in his hands the whole of
the money received from Spain, which he disposed of without the
interference of the other commissioners.

I appeal to the honorable gentlemen in Congress, then present, and
perfectly well acquainted with our mode and style of living, to inform
Congress on which of the commissioners the greatest expense of
providing for and entertaining the Americans, who visited them at
Paris, or who escaped from prison in England, and applied for relief,
fell. I lay this general state before Congress, to convince them how
very far I was from being prodigal of the public monies, and that the
accounts delivered, general as they are, are sufficient to exculpate
me from every charge of peculation or extravagance. My future
reputation and fortune depend much on my mercantile character in these
transactions, and I rely on the justice of Congress to prevent its
being any longer undeservedly sported with, vilified and abused.

Under the load of calumny and abuse I have for some months sustained,
I have had this consolation, that the services I had rendered my
country had been long since sensibly felt by her, and that they would
one day be acknowledged, but when returning to the character of a
private citizen in the mercantile line, I cannot sit down easy under
imputations injurious to my private character.

I have long since requested to have these accounts examined into, on
the spot, where only a full and minute investigation can be made, and
that they should be settled as justice required. I now repeat my
request, and that previous thereto, the accounts laid before Congress
be examined, from which alone it will appear, if there be any ground
even for suspicion, and that I may be permitted to obviate, if in my
power here, any objections that may be made. The mode in which the
monies were received for the commissioners' use at Paris, the source
from whence they came, with other circumstances relative, are such
that I have not thought it consistent with the interest, the policy,
or even the delicacy of Congress, or others, to lay the case at large
before my countrymen, though I found myself injured in their opinion,
by the abuse constantly thrown out against me in the papers, and from
my silence on the subject. I have ever been, and still remain
confident, that a general examination of the accounts, even in the
state they are, must prove satisfactory to Congress, and that a minute
investigation will show me to have merited their approbation, and not
their censure. My first duty is, to satisfy Congress, in whose
determinations the public will undoubtedly acquiesce, and to them
therefore I have constantly made my application on this subject.

I will make no apology for troubling them so long at this time, my
situation is, I trust, a sufficient one. I have only to add, that
having delayed to leave the town beyond the time I proposed in my
last, I hope for an early answer, and have the honor to be, with the
utmost respect and attachment, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_Account of monies paid by Mr Grand, to Benjamin Franklin, Silas
Deane, and Arthur Lee, for their particular use, and charged by him,
as paid immediately to them._

To Benjamin Franklin--

                          Livres.
    14th July, 1777,      4800 0 0
    25th September,       4001 0 0
    15th November,        8000 0 0
    29th December,        2400 0 0
    2d March,             3600 0 0
    25th    "             4800 0 0
                       ------------
                        27,601 0 0
    10th March,            240 0 0
                       ------------
                        27,841 0 0

To Silas Deane--

                          Livres.
    1st July, 1777,       2400 0 0
    29th August,          4800 0 0
    16th September,       4800 0 0
    7th October,          2400 0 0
    20th November,        2700 0 0
    11th December,        2400 0 0
    21st December,        2400 0 0
    13th January,         4000 0 0
    12th February,        2500 0 0
    17th March,           4800 0 0
    24th    "             2400 0 0
                       ------------
                        35,600 0 0

To Arthur Lee--

                          Livres.
    August,               2400 0 0
    8th  October,         4800 0 0
    12th November,        2400 0 0
         December,        2400 0 0
    23d  November,      22,519 5 6
    23d  December,        2400 0 0
         January,          720 0 0
    11th    "             4800 0 0
            "             2400 0 0
    16th February,        2400 0 0
    6th  March,           4800 0 0
                       ------------
                        52,039 5 6
                        35,600 0 0
                        27,841 0 0
                       ------------
                       115,480 5 6

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                         Philadelphia, 12th May, 1779.

  Sir,

I returned last evening, and now send you the New York papers of the
3d and 5th instant. You will much oblige me, by informing me what
resolutions Congress have come to on my letters of the 26th, 27th, and
30th ult. as well as on the petitions I have repeatedly made to them
for the settlement of the business, on which I was ordered to return
to America. If nothing has been done, I pray to be informed when I may
depend on a decisive answer from Congress.

I have the honor to be, with the most sincere respect,

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Philadelphia, 22d May, 1779.

  Sir,

As this will probably be the last time I shall trouble Congress with
my addresses to them, I hope to be indulged in briefly laying before
them the following observations on my case and situation.

From the moment, that the contest between these States and Great
Britain became serious, I have taken and pursued a decided and active
part in favor of the liberties of my country, have cheerfully
sacrificed my fortune, and exposed my life, for an object much dearer
to me than either, the peace, liberty, and safety of these States. The
part I took in the first, and succeeding Congress, is well known to
many of the honorable members now present, as well as to my countrymen
and fellow citizens in general, who must do me the justice to say,
that I let slip no opportunity either in Congress or out, which
offered, for serving America, and distressing its enemies.

In January, 1776, when I was about returning to my family and private
concerns, which had suffered much by my absence, I was applied to, by
the committee of Congress, to go to France, to negotiate the political
as well as commercial affairs of America in that kingdom. The
advantages proposed to me in the latter were considerable, and without
any probability of difficulty, embarrassment, or risk, further than
the dangers of the voyage, which were indeed great at that time. In
the former it was very different, but the difficulties which
presented, great as they were, had no consideration with me, in the
situation in which our affairs then were. My subsequent conduct, from
my arrival in France, until I left that kingdom, fully demonstrates
that private interest and personal safety never had any weight with
me, when the service of my country called upon me. In my narrative I
have been so particular on the situation I found myself in, on my
arrival in Europe, the embarrassments and difficulties I constantly
labored under, and had to encounter, and in the many letters I have
written to Congress since my return, requesting my conduct might be
examined, in the strictest and most public manner, I have so often
represented to them what my situation and line of conduct had ever
been, that I am under no necessity of saying anything on the subject
at present.

On the fourth of March, 1778, after having succeeded in procuring
supplies for these States, which fell almost solely on me, and having,
jointly with my colleagues, concluded the treaty of the sixth of
February, which secured and guarantied the independence of these
States, when I found myself, for the first time after my leaving
America, free from those distressing embarrassments and difficulties I
had been constantly under, and at liberty to pursue openly the great
objects in view, and which I had for some time contemplated for the
service of these States, I received the resolution of Congress of the
8th of December, ordering me to return immediately to America, to
inform Congress of the _state of foreign affairs in Europe_. I did not
hesitate a moment as to the part I should take, but immediately set
myself on improving this circumstance and others, which then
fortunately coincided, to the greatest possible advantage of these
States,--the publication of the treaty, until that time ordered to be
kept a profound secret, and the sending out the Toulon fleet, in which
I embarked early in April.

I submit to the consideration of Congress, whether from the 4th of
March to the 30th, the day I left Paris, I could possibly have been
better employed, and whether I could have justified myself, or been
even excused by others, had I neglected these objects, and delayed to
pay the most immediate attention to the order of Congress, for the
mere purpose of collecting in and adjusting accounts from the
different ports of France; accounts which could not be collected and
closed under several months, and in the settlement of which my
colleagues were equally interested with myself.

I say I submit this to the consideration of Congress, nor do I fear
publicly to submit it to the world, or even to those enemies whom I am
so unfortunate as to have in it. The voice of my friend and colleague,
Doctor Franklin, with that of my other noble friends and patrons in
France to me was,--"Lose not a moment on any object either public or
private; the fleet at Toulon will be ready by the time you arrive
there; by no means let it wait a moment for you; you may sail early in
April, and be in America in the course of the month of May; you may
finish the information you have to give Congress immediately, and
return to France by the time the accounts you have been concerned in
can be got ready for settlement." It cannot be supposed, that I wanted
to be urged to take the part I did; on the contrary, I exerted myself
to the utmost in my power to get away as early and as secretly as
possible, being convinced that the plan was well laid, happy to find
the ministry had come so readily into it, and sensible how much
depended on despatch. Never was there a more glorious prospect before
us than at that time, nor ever were my hopes and expectations raised
higher on any occasion.

Having been honored with the particular confidence, and I may say
friendship, of the minister, and knowing that the relief of my country
and the defeat of its enemies depended solely on our seasonable
arrival, I suffered no private considerations to detain me a single
moment. I was not insensible that I had enemies in America; I knew
well that I had them in France, in Mr Williams and Mr Arthur Lee, and I
was well acquainted with their connexions in America; but conscious of
the part I had acted, and of the services I had rendered, and was then
doing, for my country, which services were not in words, but in acts,
the most honorable testimonials of which, given by the highest and
first characters in Europe or America, I had in my hands, I had
nothing to apprehend. Though permit me to assure you, that had I at
the time foreseen all that has happened, and that even my life, as
well as reputation, were to be sacrificed on my return, to the
interested views of my enemies, I should not have hesitated a moment
on taking the part I actually did take at the time. On my arrival
early in July, I repaired immediately to Congress, and informed them I
waited their orders.

It was late in August before I had the honor of an audience. Many
circumstances, as well as direct information, convinced me, of what I
had before suspected, that ill offices had been done me, and my
conduct misrepresented. When I was first heard before Congress, I
therefore requested, that if anything had been alleged against any
part of my conduct, or character, as the public agent and commissioner
of Congress, I might be made acquainted therewith, and have an
opportunity for an explanation. I received no answer, and consequently
had a right to conclude no charge had been made against me. I was told
by many of the honorable members, that they knew of none, nor had
they heard of any. Conversing with an honorable friend of mine, I
mentioned to him my expectation of returning to France early in the
fall, on which he told me I must not expect it, for that my enemies
had determined to throw such obstacles and difficulties in my way, as
most probably would detain me here much longer than I thought for. I
asked him how it was possible, when the business I was ordered home
upon was so very simple and so easily finished, and when the unclosed
state in which I had been obliged to leave many public transactions in
Europe, made my returning as early as possible of consequence to the
public, as well as to myself, and especially when nothing had, nor, I
presumed, could be, alleged against me. He answered, that it was the
design of those, who wished to sacrifice me to the family interests
and emoluments of my enemies, to wear me out by delays, and, without
any direct charges, to ruin me in the opinion of my countrymen by
insinuations, hints, and innuendoes, that though I might with
confidence rely on the justice of Congress, yet measures would be
taken to delay it on one pretence or other, in a way that would prove
prejudicial if not ruinous to me. Though I could by no means bring
myself to think my friend's suspicions well founded at the time, yet
they made me more attentive to what was passing, and my observations
served to confirm them.

The many fruitless applications I made for near five months to obtain
an audience of Congress, and to have the business I came out upon
closed, are well known to Congress, and the inferences I drew from the
silent neglects, which my requests met with, may be easily conceived.
In this situation I determined to lay my case before my countrymen and
fellow citizens, to whom I considered myself ultimately accountable,
though immediately so to their representatives in Congress. In
consequence of this determination, I published my address in the
beginning of December. On the 5th, Congress resolved to hear me; on
the 7th I attended, and was ordered to _report in writing my agency of
their affairs in Europe, as soon as may be, &c._ In obedience to their
commands, I delivered them a brief and faithful narrative of my
transactions, from the time of my leaving America, and flattered
myself, that, from the time which had elapsed from my recall, which
was more than twelve months, and more than five from the time of my
return and attendance, the fullest examination must have been made
into every part of my conduct, and that I could not fail of obtaining
an early decision. Confident in the justice of Congress, I forbore to
address the public further, whilst my cause was before Congress, and
whilst I daily expected their determination. From these
considerations, I silently submitted to the torrent of abuse,
misrepresentation, and calumny, which almost daily poured forth
against me in the public papers.

I considered myself as the servant of Congress, and entitled to their
protection; to them I constantly appealed, not for favors, I asked
none, but for justice. It is now five months since I laid my narrative
before Congress, and on my being informed that a committee was
appointed to examine and report on Foreign Affairs, and that my
narrative was referred to them, I applied repeatedly to several of the
honorable members, and requested that, if in the course of their
examination they met with anything, in the letters and documents
before them, respecting my conduct, which required explanation, they
would call upon me and acquaint me therewith. I was not notified to
attend them on the subject, and though I am informed their report has
been for several weeks before Congress, I am unacquainted with its
contents, as well as with the letters and documents on which it has
been made.

Since I had the honor of laying my narrative before Congress, I have
repeatedly solicited for the decision of Congress, but am to this hour
without the honor of any reply to the many letters I have written; it
would be tedious and perhaps unnecessary to repeat the substance of
them; it would take some time to refer to the dates only; they are
before Congress, and to them I appeal whether they speak the language
of a man conscious of having defrauded and injured the public, or that
of an innocent but greatly injured free citizen. I have had the honor
of acting in the character of political as well as commercial agent
for these States; I have repeatedly observed that every thing relating
to the former is already ascertained or ascertainable at this time,
and I freely rest my merits in that department on facts, and on the
testimony of those great personages, who best know what my conduct
was, and who have generously, and without solicitation from me,
publicly declared their approbation of it. With respect to my
commercial, I have appealed and again appeal to that mode of trial,
which will prove to a mathematical certainty whether I have embezzled
or misapplied the public monies, or whether, for more than three
years' faithful services, I have received anything more than my
private expenses. I have for more than ten months past been constantly
soliciting to have the accounts of the commissioners settled, on the
issue of which I freely put my reputation, and every thing dear in
life. My solicitations have been unsuccessful, whilst my enemies,
taking the base and disingenuous advantage of the circumstances before
mentioned of my leaving France, raise a cry against me and say--where
are his accounts? why did he not bring them out? if they were not
settled, why did he not stay and settle them? I must confess, that
when I reflect that these very men owe their present political, as
well as personal, safety, to the measure I then took, I am at a loss
which prevails most in my mind, indignation or contempt.

I trust Congress will indulge me, and the rather as I hope not to be
obliged to trouble them again soon, whilst I ask every unprejudiced
and disinterested member of that honorable body, coolly to review the
scenes I have passed through, and to place himself in the different
situations I have been in at different periods, since my engaging in
this great and important contest, and consider me, after having at the
earliest period adopted and invariably pursued the most decisive and
determined part, after having for more than four years devoted my
whole time and abilities to the service of my country, more than three
of which have been in the immediate service of Congress; after having,
under every disadvantage and embarrassment, successfully solicited and
procured most essential aid and supplies for these States; after
having been the principal actor in concluding an alliance every way
honorable and advantageous to these States, and then returning to my
native country with honorable testimonials of my character and conduct
from His Most Christian Majesty and his ministers, as well as from my
friend and colleague, and the French nation in general; and with an
armament, which promised, on its sailing, complete and decisive
victory over the enemies of these States, and which, notwithstanding
its misfortunes, relieved them (this capital in particular) from the
deepest distress and the most imminent danger; after this, to be
obliged to waste ten months in fruitless attendance and solicitation
for justice to my fortune and character, and at last worn out with
the most mortifying delays and contemptuous neglect, driven unrewarded
and unthanked to collect the little which remains of the scattered
wrecks of my fortune, and to retire loaded with the most outrageous
and unmerited reproaches into obscurity, poverty, and exile;--I ask
every member of that honorable body, even those the most unfavorably
disposed towards me, to put themselves for a few moments in my case,
which I have by no means colored beyond the real life, and then pass
sentence.

The loss of interest has little weight with me, nor loss of time,
infinitely more precious, if by either, the honor, safety, and
prosperity of these States is promoted. In the present case I am
deprived even of this consolation, having seen, to my inexpressible
grief, the essential interests of these States sacrificed by the very
measures, which have occasioned the delay of justice to me. I still
glory in the character of a free American citizen, and when I fear to
speak in the style of one, I shall deservedly forfeit the most
honorable of all titles. It was just and proper that my first
applications should be made to the representatives of my fellow
citizens; I have made them in the most decent and urgent manner, and
repeatedly. They have been treated with the most mortifying silent
neglect, even whilst every thing dear in life to me, and more than
life itself, my reputation, was suffering. I thank God I have
sufficient fortitude to part with every thing in life, and life
itself, in the service of my country, without repining; but no
consideration whatever shall induce me silently to suffer my
reputation and character to be abused and vilified, whilst I have the
power either to act or speak. For ten months past I have presented
myself and my case before Congress, such as could by no means be
considered in a neutral point of light, but decidedly meriting their
approbation or censure. I have not been able to obtain either.
Justice, therefore, to my countrymen and fellow citizens, to myself,
and those great and generous personages who protected and patronized
me, and the cause I was charged with abroad, requires of me that I
justify myself before the world, by laying before them a faithful and
exact account of all my public transactions from the first, and of the
treatment I have met with.

In doing this, (if laid under the necessity,) I shall on no occasion
transgress against the strictest rules of truth and decency, nor be
wanting in that respect, which I have ever paid, and shall ever pay to
Congress, as the representative body of my fellow citizens. At the
same time, I shall with proper firmness, and the dignity becoming a
free but injured citizen, expose to public view those, whether in
Congress or out, who, to promote partial, interested, and family
views, have from the first systematically labored to prevent Congress
from deciding on my conduct as the servant of the public, though the
interest of these States called for their decision. I flatter myself I
shall not be laid under the necessity of further application, but that
Congress will relieve me from the unmerited distress I labor under by
closing this long protracted affair, or at least by immediately taking
such measures as will, without delay, do justice to my services.

I have the honor to be, with the most respectful esteem and
attachment, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Philadelphia, 18th August, 1779.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor of enclosing a memorial,[22] which I beg of you
to lay before Congress as early as may be, and I flatter myself it
will be taken under their consideration as soon as is consistent with
the other important affairs before them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[22] All the letters written by Mr Deane, from the 10th of July to the
18th of December, 1779, were on file in the Secretary's office of
Congress, and taken thence for the purpose of having them recorded,
with his other letters of a prior and subsequent date, which were
filed in the office of Foreign Affairs, except the memorial mentioned
to be enclosed in his letter of the 18th of August, 1779, which was
then and is still missing.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, 4th September, 1779.

  Sir,

I take the liberty of addressing you on the subject of a memorial I
presented to Congress, and to pray you would inform me what the
determination of Congress has been thereon.

I have the honor to be, with the most sincere respect and attachment,
&c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Philadelphia, 23d November, 1779.

  Sir,

As I have received no answer to my memorial of the 16th of August
last, I conclude none will be given, and, consequently, that I am laid
under the necessity of returning to Europe in the best manner I can,
and at my own expense.

I must confess, that when I reflect on the part I have acted, and the
returns made me for my services, I have nothing but the consciousness
of having done my duty to my country with zeal and integrity, and of
having been successful in the important affairs I engaged in, to
support me. Previous to my embarking, permit me to assure Congress,
that my respect for them as the representative body of these States,
is not lessened, nor my zeal for the service, prosperity, and
happiness of my country abated, by the treatment I have met with. The
expense of time and money, which I have suffered by my detention in
this city, with the further expense I am now unavoidably forced to
make, fall heavy on the small remains of a very moderate fortune; but
as I go to vindicate what is dearer to me than either life or fortune,
my honor and character, as the faithful servant of these States, and
confident that in doing this, I shall render essential services to my
country, I cheerfully submit.

On the 26th of August last, I received an order on the continental
treasurer, signed by Joseph Nourse, for ten thousand five hundred
dollars, said to be _in full consideration of my time and expenses
during my attendance on Congress, from the 4th of June, 1778 until the
6th day of August last_.

I mean not the least disrespect to that honorable body, nor do I feel
the slightest emotions of resentment towards those of them, who
opposed the grant even of that sum to me, but the same feelings, which
prompt me to further sacrifices, forbid my acceptance of a sum so
inadequate to my actual expenses, and confident that the day is not
far distant in which I shall demonstrate, not only that the public
monies and supplies from abroad have been at first obtained,
principally by my agency, but that the disposition of them, so far as
depended on me, was made with the utmost possible economy and perfect
integrity. I refer to that time the discussion of what recompense is
due me for fourteen months' attendance in Philadelphia, in obedience
to the orders of Congress, and for the other services I have been so
fortunate as to render the United States. I have so often troubled
Congress with my letters, and been so particular in them respecting my
situation and affairs, that I need only refer to them at this time,
particularly to my letter of the 22d of May last, and to submit the
whole to their wise and mature consideration.

I have the honor to be, with the utmost respect to your private as
well as public character, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                   Williamsburgh, 18th December, 1779.

  Sir,

When I did myself the honor of writing you on the 16th of November
last, the order of Congress in my favor on the continental treasurer
for ten thousand five hundred dollars being mislaid, was not
enclosed. I now take the liberty to enclose it, and have the honor to
be, with the most sincere respect and attachment, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Paris, 15th May, 1781.

  Sir,

On my arriving in France, I applied to Mr Johnson to appoint a time
for examining my accounts and vouchers, which I told him would soon be
ready. He informed me, that he had determined not to accept the
appointment, and that he had informed Congress of his resolution
sometime before. Though this was a severe disappointment to me, yet I
flattered myself that Congress would not delay the naming some other
to the office, and in this hope I came to Paris in August last, and
entered on the adjustment of my accounts, which have been for many
months ready for settlement, yet, to my extreme mortification, I
cannot get them closed for want of an auditor, or person empowered by
Congress to examine them.

I pray Congress would candidly review the circumstances I have been
under, from my leaving France in April, 1778, to this time. After
having to that time faithfully and successfully served them, I was, in
obedience to their orders, obliged to make a voyage to America, and to
wait their pleasure in Philadelphia for more than a year, unable to
obtain their decision on my conduct, though it was almost daily
solicited by me; the only objection made was, that my accounts
remained unsettled; as soon as Congress appointed an auditor to
examine them, I set out on my voyage to Europe, regardless of danger
or expense, fondly hoping that at last I should be able to close my
accounts, and to receive the balance due to me, but what was
infinitely more important, to vindicate my injured character. The
expenses of my voyage were great, and during ten months' attendance
here, they have been still greater, and though there is evidently a
large balance in my favor, I have been refused money for my support. I
have never asked of Congress anything but common justice, in the
payment of my just demands, out of which, I have now been kept for
three years. My necessities would long since have justified my seizing
on the public property here to the amount of the money due to me, but
I have been withheld from doing it on account of my regard for the
credit of my country, and have rather chosen to be obliged to
strangers for money for my support. And to what purpose is it for me
to leave France, and return with my accounts and vouchers unaudited?
It is equally useless to transmit them in that state. My enemies
represented me as a defaulter, grown rich out of the public monies in
my hands, and prejudiced the minds of Congress so strongly against me,
that all my efforts in America to obtain even a hearing were vain and
ineffectual. My present situation, as well as the state of my
accounts, give the lie to every assertion or insinuation of the kind,
yet I am still left to suffer under the calumny in America, and to be
obliged to strangers for money for my support in Europe. I will not
trust myself further on the subject, lest something escape me which
may offend, without my intending it.

I hope Congress will impartially review my case in every stage of it,
and that they will not force me to appeal to the laws of a foreign
nation, or to the tribunal of the public in Europe, for the recovery
of my right, and for justice to my character, which the great and
first law of nature will oblige me to do, unless immediately relieved
by those who owe me, and more who owe to their own character, and to
that of their country, the justice which I demand.

I have the honor to be,

  With great esteem and respect, &c.

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Ghent, 17th March, 1782.

  Sir,

I have written repeatedly to Congress, and to Mr Morris, and enclosed
my accounts; as I have not been honored with any answer, I fear either
that my letters may have been intercepted, or that the multiplicity of
business has prevented.

Mr Barclay has been here some days; he has looked into my accounts
with the public, and I have given him a copy of them, which he has
promised me to send by the most safe conveyance, and does me the favor
of enclosing this to you, which is simply to request that you would
take, or procure to be taken, such measures as will bring on a final
and decisive settlement of my accounts.

Mr Barclay tells me, that he has no orders on the subject, and that it
lies in your department. I have, therefore, taken the liberty to
address myself to you.

Mr Barclay, after viewing my accounts, proposed that auditors, or
arbitrators, should be named at Paris, to audit and settle the
accounts. I have not the least objection to this, nor shall I have any
against any person, or persons, named by Congress, provided they are
such as have a competent knowledge of accounts, and are impartial. I
am willing, either to nominate one part of them, or to leave the whole
nomination to Dr Franklin, as Congress shall prefer, or to submit my
accounts to the examination of Mr Barclay alone, provided that he be
empowered to take the opinion of disinterested persons on the spot, as
to any dubious or uncertain articles, and to make a final close of the
affair.

You will, by exerting your interest to bring this affair to a
settlement, do, as I conceive, material service to the public, and
certainly lay the utmost obligations on one, who has the honor to be,
with great respect and esteem, &c.[23]

                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[23] In addition to articles in the newspapers, Mr Deane wrote a
pamphlet, vindicating himself from the charges that were brought
against him, chiefly by Mr Arthur Lee, in two publications, and in his
letters to Congress. This pamphlet was dated London, August 10th,
1783, and entitled, "_An Address to the United States of North
America; to which is added, a Letter to the Honorable Robert Morris,
with notes and observations._" This address was printed in England and
the United States.



THE

CORRESPONDENCE

OF THE

COMMISSIONERS

FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE COURT OF FRANCE.



Commissioners were appointed by Congress, for transacting the business
of the United States at the Court of France, on the 26th of September,
1776. The persons chosen were Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and
Thomas Jefferson. On the 22d of October, Arthur Lee was elected in the
place of Mr Jefferson, who declined accepting the appointment. These
three commissioners met in Paris about the middle of December, where
they continued to reside, chiefly employed in procuring military
supplies and money for the United States, till they signed the treaty
of alliance, February 6th, 1778. They were presented to the king, as
representatives of an independent State, on the 20th of March. Silas
Deane being recalled, John Adams was elected to supply his place,
November 28th, 1777. Dr Franklin was appointed Minister
Plenipotentiary to the Court of France, September 14th, 1778, at which
time the Commission was dissolved.



THE

CORRESPONDENCE

OF THE

COMMISSIONERS

AT THE COURT OF FRANCE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
       SILAS DEANE, AND ARTHUR LEE, COMMISSIONERS AT PARIS.[24]

                                       Baltimore, 21st December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

After expressing our hopes, that this will find you all three safely
fixed at Paris, we proceed with pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of
Mr Deane's letter of the 1st of October. When we reflect on the
character and views of the Court of London, it ceases to be a wonder,
that the British ambassador, and all other British agents, should
employ every means that tended to prevent European powers, and France
more especially, from giving America aid in this war. Prospects of
accommodation, it is well known, would effectually prevent foreign
interference, and, therefore, without one serious design of
accommodating on any principles, but the absolute submission of
America, the delusive idea of conciliation has been industriously
suggested on both sides of the water, that, under cover of this
dividing and aid-withholding prospect, the vast British force sent to
America, might have the fairest chance of succeeding, and this policy
has in fact done considerable injury to the United States, as we shall
presently show by a just detail of this campaign, for it is not yet
ended.

You know, gentlemen, that, at the moment a potent land and marine
force was preparing to be sent hither, an act was passed for
appointing commissioners, who, too many expected, were to give peace
to America. As, therefore, the war might be soon concluded, so were
our military arrangements accommodated, and the troops taken into
service the last spring, consisting of regular corps and bodies of
militia, were all engaged for short periods. With these the campaign
began in various parts of North America. Dr Franklin is so well
acquainted with the progress of the war in Canada, previous to his
departure, that we need only observe, the campaign has ended as
favorably for us in that quarter, as we could reasonably expect. The
enemy, having been able to pierce no further than Crown Point, after a
short stay, and reconnoitering General Gates' army, at Ticonderoga,
thought proper to recross the lake, and leave us in quiet possession
of those passes. General Gates, having left a proper force at
Ticonderoga, and on the communication, retired with the rest of his
troops. New York and its neighborhood not being defensible by an army
singly against a strong land and sea force, acting in conjunction,
was, of necessity, yielded to the enemy, after some contest, General
Washington retiring, until the situation of the country above
Kingsbridge no longer enabled the enemy to receive aid from their
ships.

General Howe having stopped here, and General Carleton at Crown Point,
effectually disappointed the great object of joining the two armies.
The latter, as we have said, returning to Canada, and the former
retreating from the White Plains towards New York, gave us a favorable
prospect of seeing a happy end put to this dangerous campaign, however
many causes have concurred in producing an unlucky reverse of fortune,
such as the nature of the country, the uncommon fineness of the
weather, even to this day, and, above all, the short enlistments,
which gave the soldiery an opportunity of going home, tired as they
were with the operations of an active summer.

When General Howe retreated from the White Plains, he halted his whole
army on the North River, between Dobbs' Ferry and Kingsbridge, where
he remained for some time. Having effected so little of the great
business that brought him here, and the season allowing him time for
it, most men were of opinion, that the next attempt would be, to get
possession of Philadelphia by a forced march through the Jerseys,
whilst a fleet should be sent up the Delaware to facilitate the
enterprise. To guard against such a manoeuvre, General Washington
crossed the North River with all the battalions, that had been raised
to the westward of it, leaving General Lee, with the eastern troops,
to guard the pass of the Highlands on Hudson River. In this situation
of things, General Howe made a sudden attack upon Fort Washington,
with the greatest part of his army, and carried it with considerable
loss, making nearly three thousand of our men prisoners. By this
event, it became unnecessary longer to hold Fort Lee, or Fort
Constitution, as it was formerly called, which is on the west side of
the North River, nearly opposite Fort Washington. It had therefore
been determined to abandon Fort Lee, but before the stores could be
all removed, the enemy came suddenly upon it, and the garrison
retreated, leaving some of their baggage and stores behind.

About this time General Howe became possessed of a letter, (by the
agency of some wicked person, who contrived to get it from the
express) written by General Washington to the Board of War, in which
he had given an exact account when the time of service of all our
battalions would expire, and his apprehensions, that the men would not
re-enlist without first going home to see their families and friends.
Possessed of this intelligence, the opportunity was carefully watched,
and a vigorous impression actually made at the very crisis, when our
army in the Jerseys was reduced to 3000 men by the retiring of
numbers, and the sickness of others; and before militia could, in this
extensive country, be brought up to supply their places, the enemy
marched rapidly on through the Jerseys, whilst our feeble army was
obliged to retreat from post to post until it crossed the Delaware at
Trenton, where about 2500 militia from the city of Philadelphia joined
the General.

Since General Howe's arrival on the borders of the Delaware, various
manoeuvres and stratagems have been practised to effect a passage over
the river, but they have hitherto failed. General Washington's small
army is placed along the West side of the Delaware to within fourteen
miles of Philadelphia, from above Coryel's Ferry, which, with the
gondolas, one frigate of thirtytwo guns, and other armed vessels in
the river above the Cheveaux de Frize, cover the passage of it.
General Lee (who had crossed the North River with as many of the
eastern troops as could be spared from the defence of the Highlands,
either to join General Washington, or to act on the enemy's rear, as
occasions might point out) was the other day surprised and made
prisoner by a party of seventy light horse, who found him in a house a
few miles in the rear of his army, with his domestics only. This loss,
though great, will in some degree be repaired for the present by
General Gates, who, we understand, has joined the army commanded by
General Lee, and who, we have reason to think, has by this time
effected a junction of his force with that of General Washington.

As the militia are marching from various quarters to reinforce the
General, if the enemy do not quickly accomplish their wishes of
possessing Philadelphia, we hope not only to save that city, but to
see General Howe retreat as fast as he advanced through the Jerseys.
General Clinton, with a fleet, in which it is said he carried 8000
men, has gone from New York through the Sound, some suppose for Rhode
Island, but neither his destination, or its consequences are yet
certainly known to us.

Thus, gentlemen, we have given you a true detail of the progress and
present state of our affairs, which, although not in so good a posture
as they were two months ago, are by no means in so bad a way, as the
emissaries of the British court will undoubtedly represent them. If
the great land and sea force, with which we have been attacked, be
compared with the feeble state, in which the commencement of this war
found us with respect to military stores of all kinds, soldiers'
clothing, navy and regular force; and if the infinite art be
considered, with which Great Britain has endeavored to prevent our
getting these necessaries from foreign parts, which has in part
prevailed, the wonder will rather be, that our enemies have made so
little progress, than that they have made so much.

All views of accommodation with Great Britain, except on principles of
peace as independent States, and in a manner perfectly consistent with
the treaties our commissioners may make with foreign States, being
totally at an end, since the declaration of independence and the
embassy to the court of France, Congress have directed the raising of
ninetyfour battalions of infantry, with some cavalry; thirteen
frigates from twentyfour to thirtysix guns are already launched and
fitting, and two ships of the line, with five more frigates, are
ordered to be put on the stocks. We hear the levies are going on well
in the different States. Until the new army is collected, the militia
must curb the enemy's progress. The very considerable force that Great
Britain has already in North America, the possibility of recruiting it
here within their own quarters by force and fraud together, added to
the reinforcements that may be sent from Europe, and the difficulty of
finding funds in the present depressed state of American commerce, all
conspire to prove incontestibly, that if France desires to preclude
the possibility of North America being ever reunited with Great
Britain, now is the favorable moment for establishing the glory,
strength, and commercial greatness of the former kingdom, by the ruin
of her ancient rival. A decided part now taken by the Court of
Versailles, and a vigorous engagement in the war in union with North
America, would with ease sacrifice the fleet and army of Great
Britain, at this time chiefly collected about New York. The inevitable
consequence would be, the quick reduction of the British Islands in
the West Indies, already barred of defence by the removal of their
troops to this continent.

For reasons here assigned, gentlemen, you will readily discern how all
important it is to the security of American independence, that France
should enter the war as soon as may be; and how necessary it is, if it
be possible, to procure from her the line of battle ships, you were
desired, in your instructions, to obtain for us, the speedy arrival of
which here, in the present state of things, might decide the contest
at one stroke.

We shall pay proper attention to what Mr Deane writes concerning Dr
Williamson and Mr Hopkins, and we think, that the ill treatment this
country and Mr Deane have received from these men, strongly suggests
the necessity of reserve with persons coming to France as Americans,
and friends to America, about whom the most irrefragable proofs have
not removed all doubt.[25]

The British recall of their Mediterranean passes is an object of great
consequence, and may require much intercession with the Court of
France to prevent the mischiefs, that may be derived to American
commerce therefrom, but this subject has been already touched upon in
your instructions on the sixth article of the treaty, proposed to be
made with France. As all affairs relative to the conduct of commerce
and remittance pass through another department, we beg leave to refer
you to the Secret Committee and Mr Thomas Morris, their agent in
France, for every information on those subjects. The neighborhood of
Philadelphia having, by the enemy's movements, become the seat of war,
it was judged proper that Congress should adjourn to this town, where
the public business may be attended to with the undisturbed
deliberation that its importance demands. The Congress was accordingly
opened here on the 20th inst.

As it is more than probable, that the conference with Lord Howe, on
Staten Island, may be misrepresented to the injury of these States, we
do ourselves the pleasure to enclose you an authenticated account of
the whole business, which the possibility of Dr Franklin's not
arriving renders proper. This step was taken to unmask his lordship
and evince to the world, that he did not possess powers, which, for
the purpose of delusion and division, had been suggested.

Mr Deane's proposition of a loan is accepted by Congress, and they
have desired two millions sterling to be obtained if possible. The
necessity of keeping up the credit of our paper currency, and the
variety of important uses that may be made of this money, have induced
Congress to go so far as six per cent, but the interest is heavy, and
it is hoped, that you may be able to do the business on much easier
terms. The resolves of Congress on this subject are enclosed, and your
earliest attention to them is desired, that we may know, as soon as
possible, the event of this application. Another resolve enclosed will
show you, that Congress approve of armed vessels being fitted out by
you on Continental account, provided the Court of France dislike not
the measure, and blank commissions for this purpose will be sent you
by the next opportunity. Private ships of war, or privateers, cannot
be admitted where you are, because the securities, necessary in such
cases to prevent irregular practices, cannot be given by the owners
and commanders of such privateers. Another resolve of Congress, which
we have the honor to enclose you, directs the conduct to be pursued
with regard to Portugal.[26]

We have nothing further to add at present, but to request, that you
will omit no good opportunity of informing us, how you succeed in your
mission, what events take place in Europe, by which these States may
be effected, and that you contrive to send to us in regular succession
some of the best London, French, and Dutch newspapers, with any
valuable political publications, that may concern North America.

We have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, Gentlemen,
your most obedient and very humble servants,

                                                       B. HARRISON,
                                                       R. H. LEE,
                                                       J. WITHERSPOON,
                                                       W. HOOPER.

_P. S._ The American captures of British vessels at sea have not been
less numerous, or less valuable, than before Dr Franklin left us. The
value of these captures have been estimated at two millions.


FOOTNOTES:

[24] For the instructions to the Commissioners, and the plan of a
treaty, which they were directed to lay before the French Ministry,
see _Secret Journals of Congress_, Vol. II. pp. 7, 27, 38.

[25] Mr Deane had found Dr Williamson and Mr Hopkins in Paris, and
from circumstances, which he does not mention, he suspected them to be
in the interest of England. Nothing ever occurred, however, to prove
that this suspicion was well founded. On the contrary, Dr Williamson
was afterwards a member of Congress, and equally distinguished for his
patriotism and ability.

[26] For the resolves alluded to in this letter, and also for general
instructions to the commissioners, on various important topics, see
the _Secret Journals of Congress, on Foreign Affairs_, for Oct. 22,
Dec. 23d and 29th, Vol. II. pp. 34, 35, 37.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT MORRIS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                    Philadelphia, 21st December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

I am now the only member of Congress in this city, unless Mr Walton,
of Georgia, and Mr Clymer, my colleague, still remain, which I am not
sure of. I cannot pretend to give you a regular detail of our manifold
misfortunes, because my books and papers are all gone into the
country, as is my family. But these unfortunate events commenced with
the loss of Fort Washington, by the reduction of which, the enemy made
about two thousand seven hundred prisoners, and at this critical time,
they, by treachery, bribery, or accident, intercepted some despatches
from General Washington to Congress, also some of the General's
private letters, particularly one to Mr Rutledge, in which he had
fully laid open the unfortunate situation he was then involved in, by
the short enlistments of our army; for the times of most of them
expired on the 1st of December, and the rest on the 1st of January,
when the whole army would leave him, as they had undergone great
fatigue during the whole of the campaign; had suffered amazingly by
sickness and the approach of winter, added to an appearance of much
suffering for want of clothes.

All these things he stated fully, and the enemy became possessed of a
most authentic account of his real situation. They determined to take
advantage of it, and before General Washington had time to make any
new arrangements at Fort Lee, on the west side of the North River, to
which he had crossed, with about eight thousand men, a large body of
troops landed above, and another below him, so that he was near being
enclosed with a force vastly superior. In this situation, he had
nothing left for him, but to retire directly off the neck of land, on
which that fort stands, leaving behind him considerable baggage and
stores, with most of our large cannon and mortars. He retreated to
Hackensack, and was there in hopes of making a stand, until the
militia of the country should come to his assistance, but the
vigilance of the enemy did not give him time for this. They pursued,
and he retreated all the way through the Jerseys to Trenton, and from
thence they forced him across the Delaware, where he still remains, to
oppose their passage across the river.

Lord Cornwallis commanded the British forces in the Jerseys, until
they reached Brunswick, where General Howe joined them with
reinforcements, and determined to make his way to this city, without
further loss of time. You may be sure the militia of New Jersey and
this State were called upon to turn out, and defend their country in
this hour of distress. Alas, our internal enemies had, by various arts
and means, frightened many, disaffected others, and caused a general
languor to prevail over the minds of almost all men, not before
actually engaged in the war. Many are also exceedingly disaffected
with the constitutions formed for their respective States, so that
from one cause or other, no Jersey militia turned out to oppose the
march of an enemy through the heart of their country; and it was with
the utmost difficulty, that the associators of this city could be
prevailed on to march against them. At length, however, it has been
effected; they have been up with the General about two weeks, and the
example is likely to produce its effect in the country, as they are
now pretty generally on their march towards Trenton.

During General Washington's retreat through the Jerseys, he wrote for
General Lee, who was left to command on the east side of the North
River, with about ten to eleven thousand men, most of whose
enlistments are now expired, or near it. He obeyed the summons, and
brought with him about three thousand men; with whom he followed the
enemy's rear, but was obliged to make slow marches, as his people
were in great want of shoes, stockings, and other necessaries, which
he was obliged to collect from the tories in the neighborhood of his
route. After he had passed a place called Chatham, near Elizabethtown,
he lodged at a farm house. Some treacherous villain gave notice to the
enemy, and the General's ill fate, or some other cause I am not
acquainted with, delayed him there, until near 10 o'clock on Friday
morning, his army having marched, and their rear about three miles
from him, when he was surprised by about seventy light horse, who made
him prisoner, and bore him off in triumph. This is an event much to be
lamented. I sincerely pity Lee, and feel for the loss my country
sustains; his abilities had frequently been immensely useful; the want
of them will be severely felt.

The command of this party devolved on General Sullivan, who continued
his route, fell in with General Gates, with five hundred men,
returning from the Lakes, and both joined General Washington
yesterday. This junction is what we have long impatiently wished for,
but still I fear our force is not equal to the task before them, and
unless that task is performed, Philadelphia, nay, I may say
Pennsylvania, must fall. The task I mean, is to drive the enemy out of
New Jersey, for at present they occupy Brunswick, Princeton, Trenton,
Pennytown, Bordenton, Burlington, Morristown, Mount Holly, and
Haddonfield, having their main body about Princeton, and strong
detachments in all the other places, it is supposed with a design of
attacking this city, whenever they can cross the Delaware on the ice,
for they have only been kept from it, by our sending up the gondolas
and bringing off, or destroying, all the boats along the Jersey shore.

You will think the enemy are now in a situation for us to attack
their scattered parties, and cut them off. This we think too, and are
preparing to do it, but it will be a work of extreme difficulty to get
at them; they have excellent intelligence of all our motions; we can
hardly come at any certainty about theirs, for Lord Howe and General
Howe issued a proclamation on the 30th of November, offering pardon to
all, who should submit within sixty days, and subscribe a declaration,
that they will not hereafter bear arms against the king's troops, nor
encourage others to do it. This has had a wonderful effect, and all
Jersey, or far the greater part of it, is supposed to have made their
submission, and subscribed the declaration required; those who do so,
of course become our most inveterate enemies; they have the means of
conveying intelligence, and they avail themselves of it.

In this perplexing situation of things, the Congress were informed,
this day week, that an advanced party of Hessians and Highlanders had
taken possession of Burlington, that they were pushing for Cooper's
Ferry, opposite the city, and it was thought had the means of crossing
the river. There were no troops to oppose them; our whole force, both
by land and water, was above; it was therefore deemed unsafe for
Congress to remain here, and absolutely necessary that they should be
in a place of safety, where they could deliberate coolly and freely
without interruption, and last Saturday they adjourned to Baltimore,
where they are now sitting. This city was for ten days, the greatest
scene of distress that you can conceive; every body but Quakers were
removing their families and effects, and now it looks dismal and
melancholy. The Quakers and their families pretty generally remain;
the other inhabitants are principally sick soldiers, some few
effective ones under General Putnam, who is come here to throw up
lines, and prepare for the defence of the place, if General Washington
should be forced to retreat hither. You may be sure I have my full
share of trouble on this occasion, but having got my family and books
removed to a place of safety, my mind is more at ease, and my time is
now given up to the public, although I have many thousand pounds'
worth of effects here, without any prospect of saving them.

We are told the British troops are kept from plunder, but the Hessians
and other foreigners, looking upon that as the right of war, plunder
wherever they go, from both whigs and tories, without distinction, and
horrid devastations they have made on Long Island, New York Island,
White Plains, and New Jersey, being the only parts they have yet set
foot on. Should they get this fine city, they will be satiated, if the
ruin of thousands of worthy citizens can satisfy their avarice.

This is not the only part of the continent, that now feels the weight
of their resentment; General Clinton, with from three to six thousand
men, has invaded Rhode Island, and it is said, has taken possession of
it; whether he will make any attempt on the main, during this severe,
inclement season, I do not know, but if he does, I hope he may find
cause to repent it.

I must add to this gloomy picture one circumstance, more distressing
than all the rest, because it threatens instant and total ruin to the
American cause, unless some radical cure is applied, and that
speedily; I mean the depreciation of the continental currency. The
enormous pay of our army, the immense expenses at which they are
supplied with provisions, clothing, and other necessaries, and, in
short, the extravagance that has prevailed in most departments of the
public service, have called forth prodigious emissions of paper money,
both continental and colonial. Our internal enemies, who, alas, are
numerous and rich, have always been undermining its value by various
artifices, and now that our distresses are wrought to a pitch by the
success and near approach of the enemy, they speak plainer, and many
peremptorily refuse to take it at any rate. Those that do receive it,
do it with fear and trembling, and you may judge of its value, even
amongst those, when I tell you that £250 continental money, or 666-2/3
dollars is given for a bill of exchange of £100 sterling, sixteen
dollars for a half johannes, two paper dollars for one of silver,
three dollars for a pair of shoes, twelve dollars for a hat, and so
on; a common laborer asks two dollars a day for his work, and idles
half his time.

All this amounts to real depreciation of the money. The war must be
carried on at an expense proportioned to this value, which must
inevitably call for immense emissions, and, of course, still further
depreciations must ensue. This can only be prevented by borrowing in
the money now in circulation; the attempt is made, and I hope will
succeed by loan of lottery. The present troubles interrupt those
measures here, and as yet I am not informed how they go on in other
States, but something more is necessary; force must be inevitably
employed, and I dread to see that day. We have already calamities
sufficient for any country, and the measure will be full, when one
part of the American people is obliged to dragoon another, at the same
time that they are opposing a most powerful external foe.

For my part I see but two chances for relief; one is from you. If the
Court of France open their eyes to their own interest, and think the
commerce of North America will compensate them for the expense and
evil of a war with Britain, they may readily create a diversion, and
afford us succors that will change the fate of affairs; but they must
do it soon; our situation is critical, and does not admit of delay. I
do not mean by this, that instant submission must ensue, if they do
not directly afford us relief; but there is a great difference between
the benefits they will derive from a commercial connexion with this
country, in full health and vigor, and what they can possibly expect,
after it is exhausted by repeated efforts during the precarious
process of a tedious war, during which its cities will be destroyed,
the country ravaged, the inhabitants reduced in numbers, plundered of
their property, and unable to reap the luxuriant produce of the finest
soil in the world. Neither can they, after a tedious delay in
negotiation, expect that vigorous assistance from us in prosecuting
the war, that they may be assured of, if they join us in its infancy.
If they join us generously in the day of our distress, without
attempting undue advantages because we are so, they will find a
grateful people to promote their future glory and interest with
unabating zeal; and from my knowledge of the commerce of this country
with Europe, I dare assert, that whatever European power possesses the
preemption of it, must of consequence become the richest and most
potent in Europe. But should time be lost in tedious negotiations, and
succors be withheld, America must sue for peace from her oppressors.

Our people knew not the hardships and calamities of war, when they so
boldly dared Britain to arms; every man was then a bold patriot, felt
himself equal to the contest, and seemed to wish for an opportunity of
evincing his prowess; but now, when we are fairly engaged, when death
and ruin stare us in the face, and when nothing but the most intrepid
courage can rescue us from contempt and disgrace, sorry am I to say
it, many of those who were foremost in noise, shrink coward-like from
the danger, and are begging pardon without striking a blow. This,
however, is not general, but dejection of spirits is an epidemical
disease, and unless some fortunate event or other gives a turn to the
disorder, in time it may prevail throughout the community. No event
would give that turn so soon, as a declaration of war on the part of
France against Great Britain, and I am sure if they lose this golden
opportunity they will never have such another.

You will doubtless be surprised, that we have not made better progress
with our navy, because you are unacquainted with the many difficulties
and causes of delay that have encountered us. The want of seacoal for
our anchor smiths has been a great bar to our progress, the
disappointment in our first attempts to cast cannon has been another,
but above all, we have been hindered by the constant calling out of
our militia, in a manner that did not admit of the necessary tradesmen
being exempted. You will wonder at this; it would be a long story to
unfold the reasons, therefore suffice that it is so. Dr Franklin can
inform you of many particulars respecting the flying camp; therefore,
I shall give you the present state of our navy, according to the best
of my knowledge at this time.

The frigate in New Hampshire is a very fine ship, completed in every
particular, except the want of cannon, which was to have been cast in
Rhode Island, but the spirit of privateering has prevailed so
eminently there, that they have sacrificed every other pursuit to it,
both public and private, as I am informed; and we have ordered the
guns cast in Connecticut for that frigate to be sent to Portsmouth.
As soon as they arrive, the Raleigh will be manned, and sail on a
cruise.

At Boston they have also two fine frigates; the Boston of twentyfour
guns, I expect is at sea before this time, commanded by Captain
McNeil, a very clever officer; the other is nearly ready, commanded by
Captain Manly.

In Rhode Island were built the two worst frigates, as I have been
informed by those that have seen the whole; these two are completely
fitted, and were partly manned when we last heard from them, so that I
hope they are now at sea.

In Connecticut the frigate is said to be a fine ship, but she cannot
get to sea this winter for want of cordage and other stores. In New
York two very fine frigates are blocked up by the enemy, and hauled
into Esopus Creek for safety. At this place we have four very fine
ships, one of them the Randolph, Captain Biddle, of twentysix twelve
pounders, will, I hope, go to sea in company with this letter;
another, the Delaware, Captain Alexander, is getting ready, and I hope
will get out this winter; the other two want guns, anchors, and men.
At Baltimore is a fine frigate, now only waiting for an anchor and
men.

Besides these we have in service, the Alfred, Columbus, and Reprisal,
ships from sixteen to twentyfour guns, the brigantines Cabot, Camden,
Andrew Doria, and Lexington, of twelve to sixteen guns, the sloops
Providence, Hornet, Fly, Independence, Sachem, and schooners Wasp,
Mosquito, and Georgia Packet, all in actual service, and they have had
great success, in taking valuable prizes, as indeed have numbers of
privateers from all parts of America. We have besides two very fine
low galleys, built here, of ninety feet keel, but they are not yet
rigged; and it has lately been determined by Congress to build some
line of battle ships, and at all events to push forward, and pay the
utmost attention to an American navy. The greatest encouragement is
given to seamen, which ought to be made known throughout Europe. Their
pay in our navy is eight dollars per month, with the best chance for
prize money, that men ever had, and liberty of discharges after every
cruise if they choose it. In the merchant service they now get from
thirty to forty dollars per month; and this leads me to the state of
our commerce.

In the Eastern States, they are so intent on privateering, that they
mind little else; however, there is some exportation of produce from
thence, and as to imports, they are the best supplied of any part of
America, having been surprisingly successful in captures. New York
being in the hands of the enemy, we have nothing to say to it, and the
produce of New Jersey will be totally consumed by their army and ours.
In this State, (Pennsylvania,) we had last season the worst crop of
wheat ever known, both as to quantity and quality; this being our
staple commodity, and stores prohibited, our merchants have been led
to purchase much tobacco in Maryland and Virginia, and their ships are
employed in the export of this article, with some flour, boards,
beeswax, &c. We have a good many imports, but as fast as goods arrive,
they are bought up for the army, or for the use of neighboring States,
and therefore continue to bear high prices.

The value of ships has risen in the same enormous proportion with
every thing else, and ships, that were deemed worth £1000, twelve
months ago, now sell for £3000, or upwards. Every article belonging to
them is also excessively dear, and hard to be got, and the insolence
and difficulty of seamen is beyond bearing. In Maryland, Virginia,
South Carolina, and Georgia, they have plenty of valuable produce on
hand, but no ships to carry it away, and constant cruisers all along
the coast make it very dangerous to send ships from one port to
another; so that look which way you will, you find us surrounded with
difficulties, in the land service, in the sea service, and in our
commerce.

Agriculture and mechanics have their impediments, by the enlisting of
soldiers, and frequent calls on the militia. In short nothing but the
most arduous exertions, and virtuous conduct in the leaders, seconded
by a spirited behavior in the army, and a patient endurance of
hardships by the people in general, can long support the contest;
therefore the Court of France should strike at once, as they will reap
an immediate harvest; they may sell their manufactures for any price
they please to ask, they will get in payment tobacco, rice, indigo,
deerskins, furs, wheat, flour, iron, beeswax, lumber, fish, oil,
whalebone, pot and pearl ashes, and various other articles, and, if
they please, here is an ample field to employ their shipping, and
raise seamen for their navy.

I will not enter into any detail of our conduct in Congress, but you
may depend on this, that so long as that respectable body persist in
the attempt to execute, as well as to deliberate on their business, it
never will be done as it ought, and this has been urged many and many
a time, by myself and others, but some of them do not like to part
with power, or to pay others for doing what they cannot do themselves.

I have Mr Deane's favor of the 30th of September,[27] to myself, now
before me; the letter by the same conveyance from Martinico, under
cover of Mr Bingham's, I sent down to the committee at Baltimore, and
wrote them my mind on the justice of your complaints, for want of
intelligence. I had often told it to them before; you know well I was
not put in that committee to carry on the correspondence, but to find
out the conveyances; however, I have been obliged to write all the
letters, that have been written for some time past; but as Colonel
Lee, Mr Hooper, and the Rev. Dr Witherspoon are now added to the
committee, I shall excuse myself from that task, although I have
thought it proper to give you a just state of our affairs at this
time, because I do not suppose the committee will be got fairly
together in Baltimore yet, and when they do, it is probable they may
not be fond of laying things before you so fully as I have done. Some
of us are of very sanguine complexions, and are too apt to flatter
ourselves, that things are not so bad as they appear to be, or that
they will soon mend, &c. Now my notion is, that you, gentlemen
commissioners, should be fairly and fully informed of the true state
of affairs, that you may make a proper use of that knowledge, keeping
secret what ought to be so, and promulgating what should be known.

Doctor Franklin will see this letter, for whose safe arrival my best
wishes have often gone forth, and I embrace this opportunity of
assuring him of the high respect and esteem I entertain for him. I
also beg my compliments to Mr Lee, if he is with you; tell him I have
the commission, in which he is nominated, ready to send, but it is
gone into the country with my papers, or I would send it by this
conveyance. My own affairs necessarily detained me here after the
departure of Congress, and it is well I staid, as I am obliged to set
many things right, that would otherwise be in the greatest confusion.
Indeed, I find my presence so very necessary, that I shall remain here
until the enemy drive me away.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ROBERT MORRIS.


FOOTNOTES:

[27] See page 41, of this volume.

       *       *       *       *       *

     THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                       Baltimore, 30th December, 1776.

  Gentlemen,

You will be pleased to receive herewith copies of our letter of the
21st inst., and of its enclosures, which we recommend to your
attention. Since that letter was written, General Washington having
been reinforced by the troops lately commanded by General Lee, and by
some corps of militia, crossed the Delaware with 2500 men, and
attacked a body of the enemy posted at Trenton, with the success that
you will see related in the enclosed handbill. We hope this blow will
be followed by others, that may leave the enemy not so much to boast
of, as they some days ago expected, and we had reason to apprehend.

Upon mature deliberation of all circumstances, Congress deem the
speedy declaration of France and European assistance so indispensably
necessary to secure the independence of these States, that they have
authorised you to make such tenders to France and Spain, as, they
hope, will prevent any longer delay of an event, that is judged so
essential to the well being of North America. Your wisdom, we know,
will direct you to make such tenders to France and Spain, as they
hope will procure the thing desired, on terms as much short of the
concessions now offered as possible; but no advantages of this kind
are proposed at the risk of a delay, that may prove dangerous to the
end in view. It must be very obvious to the Court of France, that if
Great Britain should succeed in her design of subjugating these
States, their inhabitants, now well trained to arms, might be
compelled to become instruments for making conquest of the French
possessions in the West Indies, which would be a sad contrast to that
security and commercial benefit, that would result to France from the
independence of North America.

By some accident in removing the papers from Philadelphia to this
place, the Secretary of Congress has mislaid the additional
instructions formerly given you, by which you were empowered to
negotiate with other Courts besides France. We think it necessary to
mention this to you, lest the paper should have got into wrong hands,
and because we wish to have a copy sent us by the first good
opportunity.

We observe, that Mr Deane sent his despatches for this committee open
to Mr Bingham. Though we have a good opinion of that gentleman, yet we
think him rather too young to be made acquainted with the business
passing between you and us, and therefore wish this may not be done in
cases of much importance.

The next opportunity will bring you the determination of Congress
concerning the persons, that are to be sent to the Courts of Vienna,
Russia, Spain, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In the mean time, it is
hoped, that, through the medium of the ambassadors from those Courts
to that of France, you may be so fortunate as to procure their
friendly mediation for the purposes proposed by Congress.

Our Andrew Doria, of 14 guns, has taken a king's sloop of war, of 12
guns, after a smart engagement.

In our last we say, the enemy made near 3000 prisoners at Fort
Washington, but the number is fixed at 2634. The _West Indiamen_ taken
by our cruisers amount to 250 sail.

The scarcity of ships here is so great, that we shall find much
difficulty in making the extensive remittances to France, that we
ought, in due season; therefore, it will in our opinion be an object
of great importance, to obtain the consent of the Farmers-General to
send to Virginia and Maryland for any quantity of tobacco they may
choose, or to the State of North Carolina for any quantity of naval
stores, which may be wanted for public use, or to supply the demands
of private merchants.

The terms, both as to quantity and price, you will endeavor to learn,
and let it be made known to us with all possible expedition, that you
may receive an answer thereon.

The Captain of the armed vessel, that carries these despatches, has
orders to deliver them himself to you in Paris, and his vessel will
expect his return in a different port from the one he arrives at; he
will take your directions about his return, and receive your letters,
but the anxiety prevailing here to know your success, renders it
proper, that he should return with all possible despatch.

Wishing you health, success, and many happy years, we remain,
gentlemen, yours, &c.

                                                       B. HARRISON,
                                                       R. H. LEE,
                                                       J. WITHERSPOON,
                                                       W. HOOPER.

       *       *       *       *       *

    COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO CAPTAIN LARKIN HAMMOND.

                                          Baltimore, 2d January, 1777.

  Sir,

You are to proceed with all the despatch in your power, with the
schooner Jenifer, under your command, to Nantes, in France; on your
arrival there, you are to apply to Mr Thomas Morris, if he should be
at that port, if he should not, your application must be to Messrs
Pliarne, Penet & Co., who will furnish you with necessary cash for
your journey to Paris, for which place you must set out immediately,
and deliver your despatches to Messrs Franklin, Deane, and Lee, and
wait their orders; when they discharge you, you are to return with the
utmost diligence to America, and put into the most convenient port to
the southward of the Delaware; we think Chincoteague or some other on
the back of the Eastern shore the most likely for avoiding men of war,
and would therefore have you attempt getting into one of those ports;
when arrived, you must leave the schooner under the command of your
mate, and bring the despatches yourself to Congress, wherever it may
be sitting.

You are, before you set out for Paris, to consult with Mr Morris or
the above gentlemen, whether your vessel will not be most likely to
escape the enemy by sending her to some other port to meet you on your
return; if this should be their opinion, you are to give orders to
your mate accordingly; you are also to deliver your pig iron to the
orders of those gentlemen, and take from them such a quantity of
military stores, as will ballast your vessel. The safe delivery of the
despatches, with which you are intrusted, and the obtaining answers
to them, are matters of such immense consequence to the Continent,
that we cannot too strongly recommend to you the avoiding all vessels
that you may see, either outward bound, or on your return. You are
also to avoid as much as possible, falling in with headlands and
islands, as it is most usual for men of war to cruise off such places.

The despatches will be delivered to you in a box, which you must put
into a bag with two shots, that, in case of falling in with an enemy,
from which you cannot escape, you may be prepared to sink them, which,
on such an event happening, we earnestly insist on your doing.

We wish you a good voyage, and safe return, and are your most humble
servants,

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. H. LEE.

_P. S._ When you arrive at Nantes, inquire and get directions from the
gentlemen there, to whom you are recommended for cash to carry you to
Paris, where Dr Franklin, Mr Deane, or Mr Arthur Lee lodge in Paris;
and above all things take care not to let it be known at Nantes, from
whence you come, your business, or where you are going, except to the
above gentlemen.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 17th January, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We joined each other at this place on the 22d of December, and, on the
28th, _had an audience of his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, one
of His Most Christian Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, and
Minister for Foreign Affairs. We laid before him our commission, with
the articles of the proposed treaty of commerce.[28] He assured us of
the protection of his Court, and that due consideration should be
given to what we offered_. Soon after we presented a memoir of the
present situation of our States, drawn up at the minister's request,
together with the articles of general confederation, and the demands
for ships of war, agreeable to our instructions. Copies of all these
papers were given by us to the Count d'Aranda, His Catholic Majesty's
Ambassador here, to be communicated to his Court. We are promised an
answer from this Court, as soon as they can know the determination of
Spain, with which they mean to act in perfect unanimity.

In the mean time, we are endeavoring to expedite several vessels laden
with artillery, arms, ammunition, and clothing, which we hope will
reach you in time for the campaign, though unfortunately one vessel,
which Mr Deane had sent so laden, has just put back, after having been
three weeks at sea. She is, however, now sailed again. The ports of
France, Spain, and Florence, (that is Leghorn, in the Mediterranean,)
are open to the American cruisers, upon the usual terms of neutrality.

We find it essential to the establishment and maintenance of your
commercial credit in Europe, that your concerns of that kind should be
in the hands of the most respectable men, in the different countries.
From the observations we have made, Mr Myrtle is not of that
description, and we are sorry to say, that the irregularities of Mr
Thomas Morris render it absolutely necessary, that some other person
should be immediately appointed in his place. We also think it
advisable, that you should be so far on your guard, with respect to
Mons. Penet, as not to deviate from the original contract made with
him, as we cannot learn that he is known to be a person of substance,
at the same time it is but justice to say, that he appears to be
active, industrious, and attentive to your interests. He is indeed
connected with a very good house in Nantes, M. Gruel, but we know not
the terms of that connexion, or how far M. Gruel is answerable. It
seems to us, that those houses, which are connected in Great Britain,
are to be avoided.

It would be useful if we had some blank commissions for privateers,
and we therefore wish some may be sent us, by the first opportunity.
As vessels are almost daily arriving from America, at the ports here,
we conceive advices of the proceedings in the campaign might be
frequently sent to us, so as to enable us to contradict the
exaggerated representations made by the English of their successes;
which, standing uncontroverted, have a considerable influence upon our
credit and upon our cause.

Great efforts are now making by the British government, to procure
more troops from Germany. The Princes in alliance with France have
refused to lend any, or to enter into any guarantee of Hanover, which
England has been mean enough to ask, being apprehensive for that
Electorate, if she should draw from it more of its troops. Four more
regiments, two of them to be light horse, are raising in Hesse, where
there has been an insurrection, on account of drafting the people; and
now great sums of money are distributed for procuring men. They talk
of ten thousand men in all to be sent over this spring. These things
do not look as if England was very confident of success in the next
campaign, without more aid.

The hearts of the French are universally for us, and the cry is strong
for immediate war with Britain. Indeed every thing tends that way, but
the Court has its reasons for postponing it a little longer. In the
mean time preparations are making for it. They have already a fleet of
twentysix sail of the line, manned and fit for sea. Spain has
seventeen sail in the same state, and more are fitting with such
diligence, that they reckon to have thirty sail in each kingdom, by
the month of April. This must have an immediate good effect in our
favor, as it keeps the English fleet at bay, coops up their seamen, of
whom they will scarce find enough to man their next set of transports,
and probably keep Lord Howe's fleet more together, for fear of a
visit, and leave us more sea room to prey upon their commerce, and a
freer coast to bring in our prizes; and also the supplies we shall be
able to send you, in consequence of our agreement with the
Farmers-General, which is, that the Congress shall provide, purchasing
bona fide at the lowest price possible, twenty thousand hogsheads of
tobacco, in Virginia and Maryland, at the public warehouses in those
States, for the ships which they, the Farmers-General, shall send; and
that those tobaccos shall be brought to France, at their risk and in
their ships. They understand the price is not likely to exceed three
or four French sous in America, but we do not warrant that it shall
cost no more, though we hope it will not. Upon these conditions we are
to have half the supposed price advanced, immediately, and the
opportunity of shipping warlike stores on board their ships, at your
risk, and paying reasonable freights; the rest to be paid as soon as
advice is received that the tobacco is shipped.

The desire of getting money immediately to command the preparations
for the ensuing campaign, and of interesting so powerful a body as the
Farmers-General, who in fact make the most efficient part of
government here, and the absolute part in all commercial or monied
concerns, induced us to concede to these terms, which may possibly in
the estimate of the price of tobacco be low, but which upon the whole
we judged necessary, and we hope will be advantageous. So strong is
the inclination of the wealthy here to assist us, that since this
agreement we are offered a loan of two million of livres, without
interest, and to be repaid when the United States are settled in peace
and prosperity. No conditions or securities are required, not even an
engagement from us. We have accepted this generous and noble
benefaction; five hundred thousand livres, or one quarter, is to be
paid into the hands of our banker this day, and five hundred thousand
more every three months.

As the ships we were ordered to hire, or buy from this Court, cannot
be obtained, it being judged absolutely necessary to keep their whole
naval force at home, ready in case of a rupture, we think of
purchasing some elsewhere, or of building, in order as far as possible
to answer the views of Congress. Of this we shall write more fully in
our next. In the mean time we cannot but hint, that this seems to us a
fair opportunity of supporting the credit of the paper money you
borrow, as you may promise payment in specie of the interests, and may
draw upon us for the same with all confidence. We cannot for several
weighty reasons be more explicit at present, but shall hereafter.
Present our dutiful respects to the Congress, and assure them of our
most faithful services.

We are, gentlemen, &c.

                                                    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
                                                    SILAS DEANE,
                                                    ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S. 22d January._ Our agreement with the Farmers-General is not yet
signed, and perhaps some small changes may be made in it, but as these
will probably not be very material, we wish measures may be taken
immediately for the purchase of the tobacco. We shall send by the next
opportunity, a copy of the contract. We have received the five hundred
thousand livres mentioned above; it is now at our disposal in the
hands of our banker, who has orders to advance us the second payment
if we desire it, and he is ready to do it. We are, on the strength of
this, in treaty for some strong ships. Ten thousand French troops are
on their march to Brest. But America should exert herself, as if she
had no aid to expect, but from God and her own valor.


FOOTNOTES:

[28] This commission and plan of a Treaty may be found in the _Secret
Journals of Congress_, Vol. II. pp. 7, 32.

       *       *       *       *       *

     THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO WILLIAM BINGHAM AT
                             MARTINIQUE.

                                        Baltimore, 1st February, 1777.

  Sir,

As we shall write you shortly again, our attention at present will be
confined chiefly to your favor of December 6th, 1776, in which you
mention the conduct of Captain Patterson. We have laid your letter
before Congress, and they have appointed a committee to consider of
the most proper steps to be taken in this business, that speedy and
condign punishment may be applied to Captain Patterson, when his crime
shall be duly inquired into and established. The Congress having an
utter abhorrence of all irregular and culpable violation of the law of
nations, and of that respect and friendship, which they entertain for
the French nation, we wish you would communicate this to their
Excellencies the Governor and General of Martinique.

Congress has referred the matter of remittance for discharge of the
obligation, which you and Mr Harrison have entered into, to the State
of Maryland, from whence you will no doubt receive remittance, as soon
as the British ships of war now in the Chesapeake Bay will permit. It
is a singular misfortune to us, and very injurious to the commerce of
France, that we have not two or three line of battle ships, which,
with our frigates and armed vessels, would keep open our navigation in
despite of Great Britain, but at present one heavy ship affords
protection to two or three frigates, that would otherwise be easily
removed, and they place themselves so as to shut up the entrance into
our principal trading States.

Prior to the Declaration of Independence, as it was not certain how
soon our quarrel with Great Britain might be at an end, our armies
were enlisted for short periods, and General Howe, having received
information of the time, when the troops would have it in their power
to go home, seized that opportunity for marching through the Jerseys;
but his career was stopped at the Delaware, and he has since paid
severely for that visit.

Since the 24th of December, the enemy have lost more than two thousand
men in killed and made prisoners, they have been glad to recall their
troops from Rhode Island to defend New York from the attack of an
army under General Heath, and their whole force in the Jerseys is now
collected on the Brunswick Heights, where they are nearly surrounded
by General Washington's army, and greatly distressed for forage, fuel,
and other necessaries.

We enclose you the late newspapers for your perusal, and remain, sir,
your most obedient humble servants.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. H. LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                         Baltimore, 2d February, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

You will receive enclosed copies of our letters of the 21st and 30th
of December, and of the resolves of Congress accompanying them. It
concerns us not less than we are sure it will you, that you should
have heard so seldom from us, but the vigilance of the British
cruisers has prevented our most earnest solicitude for this purpose.
The manner, in which they now conduct their business, proves the
necessity of the request made by Congress for the loan or sale of a
few capital ships. The entrance into the Delaware and Chesapeake being
narrow, by placing one forty or fifty gun ship for the protection of
their frigates, they stop both our commerce and correspondence.

Formerly their frigates protected their tenders, but now that we have
frigates, their larger ships protect their frigates, and this winter
has been so uncommonly favorable, that they have been able to keep the
sea, undisturbed by those severe gales of wind so usual off this coast
in the winter season; if we had a few line of battle ships to aid our
frigates, the commerce of North America, so beneficial to ourselves
and so advantageous to France, would be carried on in spite of the
opposition of Great Britain. As we have not received any of those
military stores and clothing promised by Mr Deane, we have much reason
to fear, they have fallen into the enemy's hands, and will render a
fresh supply quite necessary. Except Mr Deane's favor of September
17th, which is but just now received, and that of October 1st, we have
been as destitute of European, as, we fear, you have been of true
American intelligence.

The enclosed papers will furnish you with authentic accounts of our
successes against the enemy since the 24th of December. They have paid
severely for their visit of parade through the Jerseys, and these
events are an abundant proof of British folly in attempting to subdue
North America by force of arms. Although the short enlistments had
dispersed our army directly in the face of a hostile force, and
thereby induced a proud enemy to suppose their work was done, yet they
suddenly found themselves attacked on all sides by a hardy active
militia, who have been constantly beating up their quarters, and
captivating and destroying their troops; so that in the six or seven
last weeks, they have not lost fewer than three thousand men, about
two thousand of whom, with many officers, are now our prisoners.
Instead of remaining cantoned in the pleasant villages of Jersey, as
the enclosed authentic copy of Mr Howe's order to Colonel Donop (the
original of which fell into our hands by the Colonel's flight from
Bordenton) will show you that General vainly expected would be the
case, they are now collected upon the Brunswick Heights, where they
suffer every kind of distress from want of forage, fuel, and other
necessaries, whilst General Washington's army of militia so environs
them, that they never show their faces beyond their lines, but they
get beaten back with loss and disgrace. Being thus situated we have
reason to hope, that this part of their army (and which is the most
considerable part) will, by the end of winter, be reduced very low by
deaths, desertion, and captivity. General Heath, with a body of
eastern troops, is making an impression on New York by Kingsbridge,
which, we understand, has obliged the enemy to recall their troops
from Rhode Island, for the defence of that city.

The regular corps, that are to compose the new army, are making up in
the different States as fast as possible; but arms, artillery, tent
cloth and clothing will be greatly wanted. For these our reliance is
on the favor and friendship of his Most Christian Majesty. If you are
so fortunate as to obtain them, the propriety of sending them in a
strong ship of war must be very evident to you, Gentlemen, when you
know our coasts are so covered with cruisers, from twenty to fifty
guns, though but few of the latter. We believe, they have not more
than two ships of forty, and two or three of fifty guns, in their
whole fleet on the North American station; and these are employed, one
of them to cover a frigate or two at the capes of each bay, whilst the
rest remain at New York.

We beg leave to direct your attention to the enclosed propositions of
Congress, and we doubt not, you will urge their success with that zeal
and careful assiduity, that objects so necessary to the liberty and
safety of your country demand.

We are exceedingly anxious to hear from you, and remain, with
particular sentiments of esteem and friendship, Gentlemen, your most
obedient humble servants,

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. H. LEE,
                                                          W. HOOPER.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                            Paris, 6th February, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Since our last, a copy of which is enclosed, Mr Hodge arrived here,
from Martinique, and has brought safely the papers he was charged
with. He had a long passage, and was near being starved. We are about
to employ him in a service pointed out by you, at Dunkirk, or
Flushing. He has delivered us three sets of the papers we wanted; but
we shall want more, and _beg you will not fail_ to send them by
several opportunities.

A private company has just been formed here for the importation of
tobacco, who have made such proposals to the Farmers-General, as
induced them to suspend the signing of their agreement with us, though
the terms had been settled, and the writings drawn. It seems now
uncertain whether it will be revived or not. The company have offered
to export such goods as we should advise, and we have given them a
list of those most wanted. But so changeable are minds here, on
occasion of news, good or bad, that one cannot be sure that even this
company will proceed. With a universal good will to our cause and
country, apparent in all companies, there is mixed a universal
apprehension, that we shall be reduced to submission, which often
chills the purposes of serving us. The want of intelligence from
America, and the impossibility of contradicting by that means the
false news spread here, and all over Europe, by the enemy, has a bad
effect on the minds of many, who would adventure in trade to our
ports, as well as on the conduct of the several governments of Europe.
It is now more than three months, since Doctor Franklin left
Philadelphia, and we have not received a single letter of later date,
Mr Hodge having left that place before him.

We are about purchasing some cutters, to be employed as packets. In
the first we despatch, we shall write more particularly concerning our
proceedings here, than by these merchant ships we can venture to do,
for the orders given to sink letters are not well executed; one of our
vessels was lately carried into Gibraltar, being taken by an English
man of war, and we hear there were letters for us, which the captain,
just as he was boarded, threw out of the cabin windows, which floating
on the water, were taken up, and a sloop despatched with them to
London. We also just now hear from London, (through the ministry here)
that another of our ships is carried into Bristol by the crew, who,
consisting of eight American seamen, with eight English, and four of
the Americans being sick, the other four were overpowered by the eight
English, and carried in as aforesaid. The letters were despatched to
Court.

From London, they write to us, that a body of ten thousand men,
chiefly Germans, are to go out this spring, under the command of
General Burgoyne, for the invasion of Virginia and Maryland. The
opinion of this Court, founded on their advices from Germany, is, that
such a number can by no means be obtained, but you will be on your
guard. The Amphitrite, and the Seine, from Havre, and the Mercury,
from Nantes, are all now at sea, laden with arms, ammunition, brass
field pieces, stores, clothing, canvass, &c. which, if they arrive
safely, will put you in a much better condition for the next campaign,
than you were for the last.

Some excellent engineers, and officers of the artillery, will also be
with you pretty early, also some few for the cavalry. Officers of
infantry, of all ranks, have offered themselves without number. It is
quite a business to receive the applications and refuse them. Many
have gone over at their own expense, contrary to our advice. To some
few of those, who were well recommended, we have given letters of
introduction.

The conduct of our General, in avoiding a decisive action, is much
applauded by the military people here, particularly Marshals
Maillebois, Broglio, and D'Arcy. M. Maillebois, has taken the pains to
write his sentiments of some particulars useful in carrying on our
war, which we send enclosed. But that, which makes the greatest
impression in our favor here, is the prodigious success of our armed
ships and privateers. The damage we have done their West India trade,
has been estimated, in a representation to Lord Sandwich, by the
merchants of London, at one million eight hundred thousand pounds
sterling, which has raised insurance to twentyeight per cent, being
higher than at any time, in the last war with France and Spain. This
mode of exerting our force against them should be pushed with vigor.
It is that in which we can most sensibly hurt them, and to secure a
continuance of it, we think one or two of the engineers we send over,
may be usefully employed in making some of our ports impregnable. As
we are well informed, that a number of cutters are building, to cruise
in the West Indies against our small privateers, it may not be amiss,
we think, to send your larger vessels thither, and ply in other
quarters with the small ones.

A fresh misunderstanding between the Turks and Russia, is likely to
give so much employment to the troops of the latter, as that England
can hardly expect to obtain any of them. Her malice against us,
however, is so high at present, that she would stick at no expense to
gratify it. The New England Colonies are, according to our best
information, destined to destruction, and the rest to slavery, under a
military government. But the Governor of the world sets bounds to the
rage of man, as well as to that of the ocean.

Finding that our residence here together, is nearly as expensive as if
we were separate, and _having reason to believe, that one of us might
be useful at Madrid, and another in Holland, and some Courts further
northward_, we have agreed that Mr Lee go to Spain, and either Mr
Deane or myself (Dr Franklin) to the Hague. Mr Lee sets out tomorrow,
having obtained passports, and a letter from the Spanish Ambassador
here, to the Minister there. The journey to Holland will not take
place so soon. The particular purposes of these journeys we cannot
prudently now explain.

It is proper we should acquaint you with the behavior of one Nicholas
Davis, who came to us here, pretending to have served as in officer in
India, to be originally from Boston, and desirous of returning, to act
in defence of his country, but through the loss of some effects coming
to him from Jamaica, and taken by our privateers, unable to defray the
expense of his passage. We furnished him with thirty louis, which was
fully sufficient; but at Havre, just before he sailed, he took the
liberty of drawing on us, for near forty more, which we have been
obliged to pay. As in order to obtain that credit, he was guilty of
several falsities, we now doubt his ever having been an officer at
all. We send his note and draft, and hope you will take proper care of
him. He says, his father was a clergyman in Jamaica. He went in the
Seine, and took charge of two blankets for Mr Morris.

We hope your union continues firm, and the courage of our countrymen
unabated. England begins to be very jealous of this Court, and we
think, with some reason.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Paris, 6th February, 1777.

  Sir,

This will be delivered to you by M. de Coudray, an officer of great
reputation here, for his talents in general, and particularly for
skill and abilities in his profession. Some accidental circumstance,
we understand, prevented his going in the Amphitrite; but his zeal for
our cause, and earnest desire of promoting it, have engaged him to
overcome all obstacles, and render himself in America by the first
possible opportunity. If he arrives there, you will, we are persuaded,
find him of great service, not only in the operations of the next
campaign, but in forming officers for those that may follow. We,
therefore, recommend him warmly to the Congress, and to your
countenance and protection.

Wishing you every kind of felicity, we have the honor to be, with the
highest esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                              AGREEMENT

       _Between the Commissioners and certain French Officers._

1st. It is agreed that the Congress of the United States of America
shall grant to the Chevalier du Portail, now Lieutenant Colonel in the
Royal Corps of Engineers of France, the rank of Colonel in their
service.

2dly. The Congress of the United States of America will grant to Mons.
de Laumoy, now Major in the Royal Corps of Engineers of France, the
rank of Lieutenant Colonel in their service.

3dly. The Congress of the United States of America, will grant to
Mons. de Gouvion, now Captain in the Royal Corps of Engineers of
France, the rank of Major in their service.

4thly. Messrs Le Chevalier du Portail, de Laumoy, and de Gouvion,
shall be at liberty to quit the service of the United States, provided
it is not during a campaign, or during any particular service, unless
ordered so to do, by the king of France; and the Congress may dismiss
them, or any of them, whenever they may judge it proper.

5thly. If all or either of these gentlemen should be made prisoners by
the king of Great Britain, the Congress shall use all due means to
obtain their liberty.

6thly. These gentlemen shall use all possible diligence in preparing
for their embarkation, in order to reach Philadelphia, or wherever
else the Congress of the United States may be, to obey their orders.

7thly. The pay of these gentlemen shall be such; as is given to
officers of their rank in the service of the States of America, and
shall commence from the date of this agreement.

8thly. These gentlemen shall procure and provide for their own
passages, in such ships, and in such manner, as they shall think
proper.

The above agreement is entered into and concluded by us, this 13th day
of February, 1777.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          DU PORTAIL,
                                                          GOUVION,
                                                          LAUMOY.

       *       *       *       *       *

       COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                       Baltimore, 19th February, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

The events of war have not since our last furnished anything decisive.
The enemy's army still remains encamped upon the hills near Brunswick,
and our troops still continue to beat back their convoys, insomuch,
that we understand their horses die in numbers, and we have reason to
believe, that the difficulty of removing their stores, cannon, &c.,
will be insuperably great, until the opening of the Rariton furnishes
a passage by water for their return to New York. The American army is
not numerous at present, but the new levies are collecting as fast as
possible, and we hope to have a sufficient force early in the field.

We hear by the speech of the king of Great Britain to his Parliament,
that much money will be called for, no doubt to prosecute the war
with unrelenting vigor. That we shall oppose with all our power, will
be certain, but the event must be doubtful, until France takes a
decisive part in the war. When that happens our liberties will be
secured, and the glory and greatness of France be placed on the most
solid ground. What may be the consequence of her delay, must be a
painful consideration to every friend of liberty and mankind. Thus
viewing our situation, we are sure it will occasion your strongest
exertions to procure an event of such momentous concern to your
country. It is in vain for us to have on hand a great abundance of
tobacco, rice, indigo, flour, and other valuable articles of
merchandise, if prevented from exporting them by having the whole
naval force of Great Britain to contend against. It is not only for
the interest of these States, but clearly for the benefit of Europe in
general, that we should not be hindered from freely transporting our
products that abound here, and are much wanted there. Why should the
avarice and ambition of Great Britain be gratified to the great injury
of other nations?

Mr Deane recommends sending frigates to France, to convoy our
merchandise, but it should be considered, that we have an extensive
coast to defend, that we are young in the business of fitting out
ships of war, that founderies for cannon are to be erected, that there
is great difficulty of getting seamen quickly, when privateers abound
as they do in the States, where sailors are chiefly to be met with,
and lastly, that our frigates are much restrained by the heavy ships
of the enemy, which are placed at the entrance of our bays. In short,
the attention of Great Britain, must be drawn in part from hence,
before France can benefit largely by our commerce. We sensibly feel
the disagreeable situation Mr Deane must have been in, between his
receipt of the committee's letter in June, and the date of his own
letter in October, but this was occasioned by accident, not neglect,
since letters were sent to him in all the intervening months, which
have either fallen into the enemy's hands, or have been destroyed.
From the time of Dr Franklin's sailing, until we arrived at this
place, the ships of war at the mouth of the Delaware, and the
interruption given the post, added to the barrenness of events,
prevented us from writing when we had no particular commands from
Congress for you.

Mr Bingham informs us from Martinique, that he learned from a Spanish
General there, on his way to South America, that the king of Spain was
well disposed to do the United States offices of friendship, and that
a loan of money might be obtained from that Court. As the power sent
you for borrowing is not confined to place, we mention this
intelligence, that you may avail yourselves of His Catholic Majesty's
friendly designs. Perhaps a loan may be obtained there on better terms
than elsewhere. We expect it will not be long before Congress will
appoint commissioners to the Courts formerly mentioned, and in the
mean time, you will serve the cause of your country in the best
manner, with the ministers from those Courts to that of Versailles.

Earnestly wishing for good news, and quickly from you, we remain, with
friendship and esteem, gentlemen, &c.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. H. LEE.

_P. S._ Congress adjourns this week back to Philadelphia.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                               Paris, 4th March, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We send you herewith the draft of a frigate by a very ingenious
officer in this service, which appears to us peculiarly suitable for
our purpose, and we are in hopes of being able to ship cordage,
sailcloth, and anchors, &c. sufficient for five or six such frigates,
by the time you can have them built.

Deprived of any intelligence from you, since the first of last
November, and without remittances, we are left in a situation easier
to be conceived than described. The want of intelligence affects the
cause of the United States in every department; such accounts of our
affairs, as arrive in Europe at all, come through the hands of our
enemies, and whether defeated or victorious we are the last, who are
acquainted with events, which ought first to be announced by us. We
are really unable to account for this silence, and, while we are
affected with the unhappy consequences of it, we must entreat the
honorable Congress to devise some method for giving us the earliest
and most certain intelligence of what passes in America.

The ship, by which this is sent, is loaded with clothing, cordage, and
duck; not having a full cargo of the former, we ordered Mr Williams,
who acts for us at Nantes, to complete it with the latter, for which
we have obtained a short credit. Mr Williams will write you by this
opportunity. He has been of great service to us at Nantes, and, it is
but justice to say, that his knowledge of business, probity, activity,
and zeal, for the interests of his country, with the good opinion
justly entertained of him by gentlemen in business at Nantes, render
him very serviceable in our affairs there, and proper to be employed
in commercial transactions.

We apprehend that letters to Mons. Schweighauser have not had fair
play, and therefore advise you to write to him, charging the captain,
who carries your letters, to deliver them with his own hand, if he
arrives at Nantes, and if at any other port, that he send them under
cover to us. We are filling a packet, by which we shall write more
particularly in a few days. Mr Lee wrote us last week from Bordeaux,
on his way to Spain.

We present our most respectful compliments to the honorable Congress,
and are, gentlemen,

  Your most obedient and very humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

              TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                              Paris, 12th March, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

It is now more than four months since Mr Franklin's departure from
Philadelphia, and not a line from thence written since that time has
hitherto reached either of your commissioners in Europe. We have had
no information of what passes in America but through England, and the
advices are, for the most part, such only as the ministry choose to
publish. Our total ignorance of the truth or falsehood of facts, when
questions are asked of us concerning them, makes us appear small in
the eyes of the people here, and is prejudicial to our negotiations.

In ours of the 6th of February, of which a copy is enclosed, we
acquainted you that we were about purchasing some cutters to be
employed as packet boats. We have succeeded in getting one from Dover,
in which we purpose to send our present despatches. Mr Hodge, who went
to Dunkirk and Flushing, where he thought another might be easily
found, has not yet acquainted us with his success. We promised that
when we had a conveyance, which, by its swiftness, is more likely to
carry safely our letters, we would be more explicit in accounts of our
proceedings here, which promise we shall now fulfil as follows.

In our first conversation with the minister, after the arrival of Mr
Franklin, it was evident that this Court, while it treated us
privately with all civility, was cautious of giving umbrage to
England, and was therefore desirous of avoiding an open reception and
acknowledgment of us, or entering into any formal negotiation with us,
as ministers from the Congress. To make us easy, however, we were told
that the ports of France were open to our ships as friends, that our
people might freely purchase and export, as merchandise, whatever our
States had occasion for; vending, at the same time, our own
commodities; that in doing this, we should experience all the
facilities that a government disposed to favor us could, consistent
with treaties, afford to the enemies of a friend. But though it was at
that time no secret that two hundred field pieces of brass, and thirty
thousand fusils, with other munitions of war, in great abundance, had
been taken out of the king's magazines, for the purpose of exportation
to America; the minister, in our presence, affected to know nothing of
that operation, and claimed no merit to his Court on that account. But
he intimated to us that it would be well taken, if we communicated
with no other person about the Court, concerning our affairs but
himself, who would be ready at all convenient times to confer with us.

We soon after presented several memorials, representing the state of
the Colonies, the necessity of some naval aid, and the utility to
France, that must result from our success in establishing the
independence of America, with the freedom of its commerce. In answer,
we received a positive refusal of the ships of the line, (which we had
been instructed to ask,) on this principle, that if a war with England
should take place, the whole fleet of France would be necessary at
home for her defence; that if such a war did not take place, yet,
while England apprehended a war, it was equally serviceable to our
States, that the fleet of France should remain entire in her ports,
since that must retain an equal force of English at home, who might
otherwise go to America, and who certainly would follow thither any
French squadron. During these conferences, every step was taken to
gratify England publicly, by attending to the remonstrances of her
ambassador, forbidding the departure of ships which had military
stores on board,[29] recalling officers who had leave of absence, and
were going to join us, and giving strict orders, that our prizes
should not be sold in French ports; yet that we might not be
discouraged, it was intimated to us by persons about the Court, that
these measures were necessary at present, France not being yet quite
ready for a war, and that we might be assured of her good will to us
and our cause.

Means were proposed of our obtaining a large sum of money for present
use, by an advance from the Farmers-General, to be repaid in tobacco,
of which they wanted twenty thousand hogsheads. We entered accordingly
into a treaty with that company, but, meeting with difficulty in
settling the terms, we were informed that a grant was made us of two
millions of livres from the crown, of which five hundred thousand was
ready to be paid us down, and an equal sum should be paid at the
beginning of April, July, and October; that such was the king's
generosity, he exacted no conditions or promise of repayment, he only
required that we should not speak to any one of our having received
this aid. We have accordingly observed strictly this injunction,
deviating only in this information to you, which we think necessary
for your satisfaction, but earnestly requesting that you would not
suffer it to be made public. This is the money, which, in our letter,
we mentioned as raised for us by subscription.

One of the ablest sea officers of France, skilled in all the arts
relating to the marine, having offered his services to the States,
with the permission of the minister, we (enabled by the above grant)
engaged him to superintend the building of two ships of war, of a
particular construction, which, though not of half the cost, shall be
superior in force and utility to ships of sixtyfour guns. He has built
one here for the king, which, we are told, exceeds every thing in
swift sailing. He has furnished us with drafts,[30] which we send you,
that if the Congress thinks fit, others of the same construction may
be set up in America, in which case we have given him expectations of
being their Commodore. We have seen his large and curious collection
of memoirs, containing every, the minutest particular relating to the
construction and management of a fleet, with a variety of proposed
improvements, and we are persuaded that he will be found a valuable
acquisition to our country.

_April 9th._ Since writing the above, we received despatches from the
Congress, by Captain Hammond, others from Mr Morris, by Captain Bell,
and some copies by Captain Adams, via Boston, which, on many accounts,
were very satisfactory. We directly drew up and presented memorials on
the subject of those despatches; we were promised immediate
consideration, and speedy answers; for which, we detained Captain
Hammond, but we have not yet obtained them. We receive, however,
continual assurances, of the good will of this Court and of Spain. We
are given to understand, that it is by their operations, the raising
of German troops for England has been obstructed. We are paid
punctually the second five hundred thousand livres, and having
convinced the ministry of the great importance of keeping up the
credit, and fixing the value of our currency, which might be done, by
paying in specie the interest of what we borrow, or in bills upon
France, for the amount. We are now assured, that the abovementioned
quarterly payments shall be continued, (after the two millions) for
the purpose of paying the interest of the five million dollars, you
are supposed to have borrowed, which we believe will be punctually
complied with; and the effect must be, restoring to its original value
the principal for which such interest is paid, and with that the rest
of the emission.

We have turned our thoughts earnestly to what is recommended to us by
Congress, the borrowing two millions sterling, in Europe. We just
proposed to borrow it of this Court, upon interest, but were told by
the minister, that it was impossible to spare such a sum, as they
were now arming, at a great expense, which kept their treasury bare,
but there was no objection to our borrowing it of private capitalists
here, provided we did not offer so high an interest as might raise it
upon government. We are advised to try Holland; and we have caused the
pulse to be felt there; but though Holland at present is a little
disgusted with England, and our credit is considerably mended in
Europe by our late successes, it does not yet appear sufficient to
procure such a loan. Spain, it seems, has by its punctual payments of
interest, acquired high credit there, and we are told, that by her
publicly borrowing, as for herself, and privately allowing us to draw
on her banker, we might there obtain what money we pleased.

Mr Lee was gone to Spain, before the commission and orders came to
Doctor Franklin, for that station; he will give you a particular
account of his negotiations; we here only mention that he received the
same general assurances, of the good will of that Court, that we have
here of this; he was informed, that three thousand barrels of powder,
and some clothing were lodged for our use at New Orleans; that some
merchants at Bilboa had orders to ship for us such necessaries as we
might want, that orders would be given to allow us admission into the
Havanna, as a favored nation, and that we should have a credit on
Holland, (the sum not then settled) which might be expected at Paris,
the beginning of this month. The Spanish Ambassador here, a grave and
wise man, to whom Mr Lee communicated the above, tells us, that his
Court piques itself on a religious observance of its word, and that we
may rely on a punctual performance of its promises.

_On these grounds, we are of opinion_, that though we should not be
able to borrow the two millions sterling, recommended to us, yet if
the Congress are obliged to borrow the whole twenty millions of
dollars they have issued, we hope to find sufficient here, by way of
subsidy, to pay the interest in full value, whereby the credit of
their currency will be established, and on great and urgent occasions
they may venture to make an addition to it, which we conceive will be
better than paying the interest of two millions sterling to
foreigners. On the whole, we would advise Congress to draw on us for
sums equal to the interest of what they have borrowed, as that
interest becomes due, allowing the lenders, in the drafts, five
livres, money of France, for every dollar of interest. And we think
they may venture to promise it for future loans, without, however,
mentioning the grounds we here give for making such a promise; for
these Courts have particularly strong reasons for keeping out of the
war, as long as they can, besides this general one, that on both sides
the nation attacking loses the claim, which when attacked, it has for
aid from its allies. And we have these advantages in their keeping out
of the war, that they are better able to afford us private assistance,
that by holding themselves in readiness to invade Britain, they keep
more of her force at home, and that they leave to our armed vessels,
the whole harvest of prizes made upon her commerce, and of course the
whole encouragement to increase our force in privateers, which will
breed seamen for our navy.

The desire that military officers here, of all ranks, have of going
into the service of the United States, is so general, and so strong,
as to be quite amazing. We are hourly fatigued with their
applications, and offers, which we are obliged to refuse, and with
hundreds of letters, which we cannot possibly answer to their
satisfaction, having had no orders to engage any but engineers, who
are accordingly gone. If the Congress think fit to encourage some of
distinguished merit, to enter their service, they will please to
signify it.

Captain Wickes made a cruise this winter, and returned with five
prizes, of the produce of which we suppose Mr Morris will acquaint
you; for they are sold, though the bringing them into France has given
some trouble and uneasiness to the Court, and must not be too
frequently practised. We have ordered him to make another cruise
before he returns to America, and have given him for a consort, the
armed cutter, Captain Nicholson; they will sail in a few days. Mr
Hodge writes us, that he has provided another cutter; we intended to
have employed one of them as a packet, but several of yours being now
here, and having lately made a contract for sending one every month, a
copy of which we enclose, we shall make use of this new purchase as a
cruiser.

We have at length finished a contract with the Farmers-General, for
five thousand hogsheads of tobacco, a copy of which is enclosed. We
shall receive the first advance of two millions of livres, next month,
and we entreat you to use your best endeavors to enable us to comply
with our part of the agreement. We found it a measure of government to
furnish us by that means with large advances, as well as to obtain the
ground of some of their own taxes; and finding the minister anxious to
have such a treaty concluded, we complied with the terms, though we
apprehend them not to be otherwise very advantageous. We have
expectations, however, that in case it appears, that the tobacco
cannot be afforded so cheap, through captures, &c. government will not
suffer us to be losers.

We have purchased eighty thousand fusils, a number of pistols, &c. of
which the enclosed is an account, for two hundred and twenty thousand
livres. They were king's arms and second hand, but so many of them are
unused and unexceptionably good, that we esteem it a great bargain if
only half of them should arrive. We applied for the large brass
cannon, to be borrowed out of the king's stores till we could replace
them, but have not yet obtained an answer. You will soon have the arms
and accoutrements for the horse, except the saddles, if not
intercepted by the enemy.

All Europe is for us. Our articles of confederation, being by our
means translated, and published here, have given an appearance of
consistence and firmness to the American States and government, that
begins to make them considerable. The separate constitutions of the
several States are also translating and publishing here, which afford
abundance of speculation to the politicians of Europe, and it is a
very general opinion, that if we succeed in establishing our
liberties, we shall, as soon as peace is restored, receive an immense
addition of numbers and wealth from Europe, by the families who will
come over to participate in our privileges, and bring their estates
with them. Tyranny is so generally established in the rest of the
world, that the prospect of an asylum in America, for those who love
liberty, gives general joy, and our cause is esteemed the cause of all
mankind. Slaves naturally become base, as well as wretched. We are
fighting for the dignity and happiness of human nature. Glorious is it
for the Americans, to be called by providence to this post of honor.
Cursed and detested will every one be that deserts or betrays it.

We are glad to learn the intention of Congress to send ministers to
the empires of Prussia and Tuscany. With submission, we think
Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, (if the expense is no
objection,) should not be neglected. It would be of great service, if
among them we could get a free port or two for the sale of prizes, as
well as for commerce. A commencement of intercourse has been made with
Prussia, as you will see by the enclosed copies of letters,[31]
between his minister and us. We suppose, as the Congress has appointed
one of us to Spain, they will order another of us to some of the other
Courts, as we see no utility equal to the charge, and yet some
inconveniency, in a joint commission here, where one, when freed from
commercial cares and action, is sufficient for the business. As soon
as the Court of Spain shall be willing to receive a minister, (which
from Mr Lee's information, seems not to be at present the case,) Mr
Franklin intends to go thither in obedience to the orders he has
received. Mr Lee has expressed his readiness to go to Prussia or
Tuscany, before the intention of Congress to send to those Courts was
known; and he waits here awhile, by the advice of his colleagues,
expecting that perhaps the next ship may bring his future destination.

For the procuring and sending more certain and speedy intelligence, we
have, as before mentioned, entered into a contract here, whereby we
are to have a packet boat despatched every month; the first will sail
in about a fortnight. As we are yet without an explicit answer from
Court on several important points, and we shall have that speedy
opportunity, we do not now enlarge in answer to the several letters
received by Hammond, Bell, Adams, and Johnston. We only now assure the
Congress, that we shall be attentive to execute all the resolutions
and orders they have sent us for our government, and we have good
hopes of success, in most of them.

For news, we refer in general to the papers, and to some letters[32]
enclosed, which we have received from London. We shall only add, that
though the English begin again to threaten us with twenty thousand
Russians, it is the opinion of the wisest men here, and particularly
among the foreign ministers, that they will never be sent. The
Anspachers, who were to be embarked in Holland, mutined, and refused
to proceed, so that the Prince was obliged to go with his guards and
force them on. A gentleman of Rotterdam writes us, that he saw a
number of them brought, bound hands and feet, to that place in boats.
This does not seem as if much service can be expected from such
unwilling soldiers. The British fleet is not yet half manned; the
difficulty in that respect was never before found so great, and is
ascribed to several causes, viz. a dislike to the war, the subtraction
of American sailors, the number our privateers have taken out of
British ships, and the enormous transport service.

The French are free from this difficulty, their seamen being all
registered, and serving in their turns. Their fleet is nearly ready,
and will be much superior to the English, when joined with that of
Spain, which is preparing with all diligence. The tone of the Court
accordingly rises, and it is said, that a few days since, when the
British Ambassador intimated to the Minister, that if the Americans
were permitted to continue drawing supplies of arms, &c. from this
kingdom, the peace could not last much longer; he was firmly
answered--_Nous ne desirons pas le guerre, mais nous ne la craigons
pas._ "We neither desire war, nor fear it." When all are ready for it,
a small matter may suddenly bring it on; and it is the universal
opinion, that the peace cannot continue another year. Every nation in
Europe wishes to see Britain humbled, having all in their turns been
offended by her insolence, which, in prosperity, she is apt to
discover on all occasions. A late instance manifested it towards
Holland, when being elate with the news of some success in America,
and fancying all that business ended, Sir Joseph Yorke delivered a
memorial to the States, expressing his master's _indignation_ against
them, on account of the commerce their subjects carried on with the
rebels, and the governor of St Eustatia's returning the salute of one
of the American ships, remarking that "_if that commerce was not
stopped, and the governor punished_," the King knew what appertained
to the dignity of his crown, and should take proper measures to
vindicate it. The States were much offended, but answered coolly that
they should inquire into the conduct of their governor, and, in the
mean time, would prepare to secure themselves against the vengeance
with which Britain seemed to threaten them. Accordingly, they
immediately ordered twentysix men of war to be put upon the stocks.

We transmit you some affidavits,[33] relating to the treatment of our
prisoners, with a copy of our letter[34] to Lord Stormont,
communicating them, and his insolent answer. We request you to present
our duty to the Congress, and assure them of our most faithful
services.

With great respect we have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[29] These were afterwards privately permitted to go, or went without
permission. _Note by the Commissioners._

[30] Missing.

[31] Missing.--A letter from the Commissioners to Baron Schulenburg,
will be seen in Arthur Lee's correspondence, under the date of April
19th, 1777.

[32] Missing.

[33] Missing.

[34] Missing.

       *       *       *       *       *

                              AGREEMENT

_Between Messrs Franklin and Deane, and the Farmers-General of France,
               for the sale of a quantity of Tobacco._

                             Translation.

                              ARTICLE I.

We the undersigned, as well in our own name, as by virtue of powers
derived from the Congress of the United States of North America,
promise and oblige ourselves to deliver, in the course of the present
year, 1777, five thousand hogsheads, or five million weight of York
and James River tobacco, to the Farmers-General of France, in the
ports of France.


                             ARTICLE II.

The price of the tobacco, thus delivered, is fixed at eight sols per
pound, net tobacco, mark weight, or forty livres tournois per cwt, and
delivered into stores of the Farmers-General.


                             ARTICLE III.

All average, rotten, or spoiled tobacco, shall be cut off and deducted
from the weight to be paid for, agreeably to the estimate, which shall
be impartially made by experienced persons, by which a general average
shall be fixed instead thereof.


                             ARTICLE IV.

There shall be a deduction, moreover, of four per cent, under the
title of allowance for good weight, eight pounds weight per hogshead
for samples, and two per cent discount on the amount of the invoice
for prompt payment.


                              ARTICLE V.

The Farmers-General oblige themselves for the discharge of the amount
of five thousand hogsheads, to remit at the disposal of Congress, and
to pay into the hands of the banker, who shall be appointed by Messrs
Franklin and Deane, or to direct their Receiver-General at Paris, to
accept the bills, which shall be drawn upon him by Messrs Franklin and
Deane, as far as a million of livres tournois, in the course of the
ensuing month, and another million the instant of the arrival of the
first ships loaded with tobacco, which shall be delivered to them; the
said two millions making the balance and entire payment for the five
thousand hogsheads, or five million weight of tobacco, mark weight,
sold by Congress at the price of eight sols per pound, before agreed
upon.


                             ARTICLE VI.

Should Congress be able to send to France a greater quantity of
tobacco, whatever shall exceed the value of the two millions advanced
by the Farmers-General, shall be remitted to them by Messrs Franklin
and Deane, at the same price, and upon the same terms, and the
Farmers-General oblige themselves to pay the value thereof in cash, or
bills on their Receiver General, at three usances as customary.


                             ARTICLE VII.

And I, the undersigned Farmer-General, by virtue of a power vested in
me by my company, subject and oblige myself in its name, to the full
and entire execution of the six foregoing stipulated articles, and for
the execution of the present, the parties have chosen their dwellings,
that is to say, for Messrs Franklin and Deane, the Hamburgh hotel,
University street, Parish of St Sulpice; and for the Farmers-General,
at the hotel of the King's Farms, Grenelle street, Parish of St
Eustache.

Done and concluded in duplicates, at Paris, this 24th of March, 1777.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          PAULZE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        AGREEMENT FOR PACKETS

 _Between M. Ray de Chaumont, on the one part, and Benjamin Franklin
                 and Silas Deane, on the other, viz._

The said Ray de Chaumont engages to equip, in some port of France,
agreed to by the said Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, in each
month, for the space of one year, counting from the month of May next,
a packet boat, or vessel, suitable for the carrying of despatches
between France and the United States of North America, which vessel,
or packet boat, shall be capable of carrying thirty tons of goods,
without impeding her sailing to the best advantage; and the said Ray
de Chaumont shall be at the whole expense of equipping, victualling,
&c. each of the said packet boats, and shall furnish in each of them a
passage for one person, sent by the said Franklin and Deane, to take
charge of their despatches and goods shipped. Each packet boat or
vessel shall attend the orders of the said Franklin and Deane, in
pursuing her voyage, for the safest and most certain delivery of the
said despatches and merchandise.

The said Franklin and Deane shall have liberty to load a quantity of
goods on board each packet boat, to and from America, to the amount
of thirty tons consigned to their orders; and they, the said Franklin
and Deane, shall pay to the said Ray de Chaumont, the sum of eight
thousand livres for each voyage of each packet boat, which sum of
eight thousand livres shall be paid the said Ray de Chaumont, in three
months after the entering on each voyage successively, whether the
packet boat arrive in safety or not.

The packet boat shall not be delayed after her being ready to receive
the goods, either in France or America. The said packet boats, with
all their equipments, shall be solely at the risk and expense of the
said Ray de Chaumont; but the goods to be shipped as aforesaid, with
the freight stipulated therefor, as above mentioned, shall be at the
risk of the said Franklin and Deane; and the said Ray de Chaumont
shall not, in case either of said packet boats will carry more than
the said thirty tons of goods, load them, or either of them, beyond
the said quantity, so as in any manner to impede their or her sailing
to the best advantage.

In witness of which, the parties have subscribed three agreements,
each of this tenor and date, at Paris, April, 1777.

                                                      RAY DE CHAUMONT,
                                                      B. FRANKLIN,
                                                      SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS.

                                                 Paris, 1st May, 1777.

  Sir,

M. Cornic, of Morlaix, will order to your care a small vessel,
designed as a packet for America; you will see by the contract copy
enclosed, that we are to load goods to a certain amount, as she is
instantly to be despatched; we desire you will put the quantity of
goods to be sent in her, out of the bales on hand. We have ordered
that future packets coming from America, or elsewhere, to Nantes, for
us, shall be under your direction, of which you have informed M. Penet
and Mr Morris; you will, therefore, on the arrival of any vessel from
America, with despatches for us, inform the captains, or persons
charged with them, of your appointment, receive the letters, and send
them to us in the most safe and expeditious manner. We advise you to
charge the person bringing despatches, to say not a word of his errand
to any one, and we confide in your prudence to conduct the receiving,
as well as the expedition of the packets with all possible secrecy.

We are, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                           Philadelphia, 2d May, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Your despatches, dated February the 6th and 8th, were safely received
by us about the middle of April. We observe your remarks on the
timorousness of the French merchants, respecting the formation of
trading companies, which, you say, is occasioned by the change and
fluctuation of news. That the spirit for trade will always be governed
by the rise and fall of military strength, is a maxim always to be
admitted in the first attempts to establish a commerce between any two
nations, because success in war is supposed to give security or
protection to it. But this timidity ceases naturally, as soon as a
trade is opened, for losing or gaining after that equally produces a
spirit of adventuring further. Therefore we wish to enter into a trade
with them as soon as possible, because as nothing can abridge or
prevent their profits, but the enemy's making prizes of their ships,
the consequence will be, that they will either be encouraged by the
gain, or aggravated by the loss to come to a serious understanding
with the Court of Britain. We advise you to be constantly holding up
the great advantages, which the crown and commerce would receive by
their possessing themselves of the West Indies, and we trust to your
wisdom in making all the use possible of the English newspapers, as a
channel through which to counteract the tide of folly and falsehood,
of which you complain, and rest assured that every material
circumstance, either for or against, will be despatched to you, with
the utmost expedition.

By information from New York, it appears that the more discerning part
of the English Generals begin to give up the thought of conquest, and
of consequence the fear of totally losing the trade of America must
accompany the despair of arms; therefore, we conceive that the English
newspapers are now calculated to deter the French from beginning to
taste the sweets of our trade. Their falsehoods, rightly understood,
are the barometers of their fears, and in proportion as the political
atmosphere presses downward, the spirit of faction is obliged to rise.
We wish it to be understood, that we pay too much respect to the
wisdom of the French Cabinet, to suppose that they can be influenced
by such efforts of visible despair, and that we have too much
reverence for the honor of the American Congress to prostitute its
authority, by filling our own newspapers with the same kind of
invented tales, which characterise the London Gazette.

We observe that General Howe, in his letter to the administration,
printed in the London Gazette of December 30th, apologizes for not
having written to them since his taking possession of New York, nearly
three months. Here is the proper field to speculate on silence,
because this business is conquest, ours defence and repulse; and
because, likewise, he has the sea more open to him than we have, had
he any thing to send that would please. Therefore, silence on his part
is always to be considered as a species of good news on ours.

The Congress highly approve your dividing yourselves to foreign
Courts, and have sent commissions for that purpose, and likewise,
commissions for fitting out privateers in France.

The Mercury, from Nantes, is safely arrived in New Hampshire. The
Amphitrite and Seine, we are yet in hopes of. We shall notice the
conduct of Nicholas Davis. We have presented Marshal Maillebois'
sentiments on the mode of war, to Congress, who are greatly pleased
therewith, and entertain a high respect for the author.

Our last account gave you a state of news down to March, since which
nothing material has happened. The enemy, wearied and disappointed in
their last winter's campaign, still continue in a state of inactivity
at New York and Brunswick. The Congress is returned to Philadelphia.
General Washington remains at Morristown, and occupies the same posts
as when the last despatches were sent you. The principal object now
is, the recruiting service, which has been greatly promoted by some
late resolves of Congress. Our troops have been under inocculation for
the smallpox with good success, which, we hope, will be a means of
preserving them from fevers in summer, however it will frustrate one
cannibal scheme of our enemies, who have constantly fought us with
that disease by introducing it among our troops.

When we look back to the beginning of last December, and see our army
reduced to between two and three thousand men, occasioned by the
expiration of the time for which they were enlisted, we feel
exceedingly happy in contemplating the agreeable condition and
prospect our affairs are now in. We have, since that period, reduced
the enemy more than our whole army, at that time, amounted to, and
scarce a day passes, in which they do not suffer either by skirmishes
or desertions.

The Congress have it in contemplation to remove the garrison from the
present fort, in the District of Ticonderoga, to fort Independence, in
the same District, which they judge will command that pass with
greater advantage, and is a much healthier situation. We mention this,
as the enemy will probably give an air of triumph to the evacuation,
should it be done. The distance between the two is about a quarter of
a mile.

As General Howe is preparing a bridge of boats, we think it possible
that he might, by a sudden and forced march, reach this city; but we
are clearly of opinion, that he would be ruined by the event; and
though we are not under much apprehension of such a movement, yet we
think it proper to give you the case, with our opinion thereon.

We are, gentlemen, your obedient humble servants,

                                                    BENJAMIN HARRISON,
                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                    THOMAS HAYWARD,
                                                    JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                          Philadelphia, 9th May, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

This letter is intended to be delivered to you by John Paul Jones, an
active and brave commander in our navy, who has already performed
signal services in vessels of little force, and, in reward for his
zeal, we have directed him to go on board the Amphitrite, a French
ship of twenty guns, that brought in a valuable cargo of stores from
Messrs Hortalez & Co. and with her to repair to France. He takes with
him his commission, some officers and men, so that we hope he will,
under that sanction, make some good prizes with the Amphitrite; but
our design of sending him is, (with the approbation of Congress) that
you may purchase one of those fine frigates, that Mr Deane writes us
you can get, and invest him with the command thereof as soon as
possible. We hope you may not delay this business one moment, but
purchase in such port or place in Europe, as it can be done with most
convenience and despatch, a fine, fast sailing frigate, or larger
ship. Direct Captain Jones where he must repair to, and he will take
with him his officers and men towards manning her. You will assign
him some good house, or agent, to supply him with every thing
necessary to get the ship speedily and well equipped and manned,
somebody that will bestir himself vigorously in the business, and
never quit until it is accomplished.

If you have any plan or service to be performed in Europe by such a
ship, that you think will be more for the interest and honor of these
States, than sending her out directly, Captain Jones is instructed to
obey your orders, and, to save repetition, let him lay before you the
instructions we have given him, and furnish you with a copy thereof;
you can then judge what will be necessary for you to direct him in;
and whatsoever you do will be approved, as it will undoubtedly tend to
promote the public service of this country.

You see by this step how much dependence Congress places in your
advices, and you must make it a point not to disappoint Captain
Jones's wishes, and our expectations on this occasion.

We are, gentlemen, your obedient humble servants,

                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                    RICHARD HENRY LEE,
                                                    WILLIAM WHIPPLE,
                                                    PHILIP LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                                Paris, 25th May, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Agreeable to what we mentioned in ours of March 14th and April
9th,[35] (a third copy of which we send herewith) Mr Lee tarried here
some time after his return from Spain. No news arriving, (though we
received letters from you,) of any commissioner being actually
appointed for Prussia, and the necessity of a good understanding with
that Court, in order to obtain speedily a port in the northern seas,
appearing more and more, every day, on various occasions, he concluded
with our approbation to set out for Berlin, which he did about a week
since, and we have reason to hope good effects from that journey.

The points principally in view are (besides the acknowledgment of
American Independency) an open port for German commerce, and the
permission of fitting out armed vessels, to annoy the enemy's northern
trade, and of bringing in and selling our prizes. If these points can
be obtained, we are assured we might soon have a formidable squadron
there, and accumulate seamen to a great amount. The want of such a
free port appears, in the late instance of Captain Cunningham's arrest
at Dunkirk, with the prizes he brought in. For though the fitting out
may be covered and concealed, by various pretences, so as at least to
be winked at by government here, because those pretences afford a good
excuse for not preventing it; yet the bringing in of prizes by a
vessel so fitted out, is so notorious an act, and so contrary to
treaties, that if suffered, must occasion an immediate war. Cunningham
will, however, through favor, be discharged with his vessel, as we are
given to understand, but we must put up with the loss of the prizes,
which being reclaimed will be restored.[36] This is an occasion of
triumph to our enemies, which we must suffer them to enjoy for the
present, assured as we are by the most substantial proofs of the
friendship of this Court and of Spain, which we are persuaded will
soon manifest itself to the whole world. The latter has already
remitted to us a large sum of money, as you will see by Mr Lee's
letters,[37] and continues to send cargoes of supplies, of which you
have, herewith, sundry accounts. Many of these transactions are by
some means or other known in England, which dares not resent them at
present, but the opinion of an approaching war gains ground every day.

We are preparing the accoutrements you ordered for the horse, but they
will take time. Had there been such in the magazines here, we might
have possibly borrowed on condition of replacing them. Pistols, (four
hundred and fifty pair) are already sent; the whole number will be
forwarded as fast as they can be got ready. Colonel Forrester, an
experienced officer of horse, has given us a specimen of complete
accoutrements, which have been found best; the saddle is of a singular
contrivance, very cheap, and easily made or repaired; and the buff
belts so broad, that crossing on the breasts, they are good armor
against the point of a sword, or a pistol bullet. We propose to have
as many sets made with these saddles, as will mount a squadron, but
shall omit saddles for the rest, as they will take up too much room in
the vessels, and can soon be made with you. Colonel Forrester is
highly recommended to us, and we believe will go over. Clothing for
ten thousand men is now in hand, making for us by contract, and other
proposed contracts are under consideration for the rest of the eighty
thousand men ordered. We hope to have them with you before next
winter, or that if all cannot be got, the cloth we have sent and are
sending, will make up the deficiency.

The large brass cannon are not to be had here; we have been treating
with a Swedish merchant about them, but find too many difficulties in
getting them from that country; so that finally, understanding you
have some founders with you, and that we can have others to go from
hence, we conclude to send two artists in that way, with the metal, to
cast the number wanted, omitting only the field pieces, of which we
suppose you have by this time a number sufficient. Some large iron
cannon are offered to us cheap, from Holland, of which we think to
send a quantity, for though too heavy for the army, they may be of use
for the navy, gallies, gondolas, &c.

We cannot omit repeating, as we think it a matter of the greatest
importance, towards supporting the credit of your paper money, that
you may rely on a punctual payment here of Congress bills, drawn on us
for the discharge of the interest of the sums borrowed, that is to
say, in the proportion of six Spanish dollars, or the value in French
money, for every hundred borrowed in your paper. But as the offer of
six per cent was made before you could know of this advantage to the
borrower, perhaps you may on the knowledge and experience of it, be
able to reduce the interest in future loans, to four per cent, and
find some means by taxes, to pay off the six per cents.

Our treaty of commerce is not yet proceeded on, the plan of this Court
appearing to be, not to have any transaction with us, that implies an
acknowledgment of American Independency, while their peace continues
with England. To make us more easy with this, they tell us, we enjoy
all the advantages already, which we propose to obtain by such a
treaty, and that we may depend on continuing to receive every
indulgence in our trade, that is allowed to the most favored nations.
Feeling ourselves assisted in other respects, cordially and
essentially, we are the more readily induced to let them take their
own time, and to avoid making ourselves troublesome by an unreasonable
importunity. The interest of France and Spain, however, in securing
our friendship and commerce, seems daily more and more generally
understood here, and we have no doubt of finally obtaining the
establishment of that commerce with all the formalities necessary.

We submit it to your consideration, whether it might not be well to
employ some of your frigates in bringing your produce hither, ordering
them after refreshing and refitting, to make a cruise in the northern
seas, upon the Baltic and Hamburg trade, send their prizes home, north
about, then return to France, and take in a loading of stores for
America.

The Marquis de la Fayette, a young nobleman of great family connexions
here, and great wealth, is gone to America in a ship of his own,
accompanied by some officers of distinction, in order to serve in our
armies. He is exceedingly beloved, and every body's good wishes attend
him; we cannot but hope he may meet with such a reception as will
make the country and his expedition agreeable to him. Those who
censure it as imprudent in him do nevertheless applaud his spirit, and
we are satisfied, that the civilities and respect, that may be shown
him, will be serviceable to our affairs here, as pleasing not only to
his powerful relations, and to the Court, but to the whole French
nation. He has left a beautiful young wife, and for her sake
particularly, we hope that his bravery and ardent desire to
distinguish himself, will be a little restrained by the General's
prudence, so as not to permit his being hazarded much, but on some
important occasion.

We are very respectfully, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

_P. S._ We enclose a copy of Messrs Gardoqui's last letter.[38] We
have received Mr Morris's of March 7th, 25th, and 28th, and are much
obliged by the intelligence contained. We send a quantity of papers.


FOOTNOTES:

[35] Missing.

[36] Cunningham was the commander of an American privateer, with which
he went into Dunkirk. He there took his arms out of his ship, and said
he should load it with merchandise for one of the ports in Norway. As
this declaration was suspected, security was demanded. Two persons,
Hodge & Allen, became responsible for him. Cunningham actually left
the port of Dunkirk, without arms, but he caused sailors, cannon, and
munitions, to be sent out to him in the night, while he was in the
ship's road, off Dunkirk; and he shortly after took the English packet
boat, _Prince of Orange_. As soon as this manoeuvre of Cunningham's
came to the knowledge of the French government, they caused Hodge, one
of the securities, to be arrested and conducted to the Bastile. The
packet boat was restored to the British government, without the form
of a process. After six weeks' confinement, Hodge was released.

[37] See Mr Arthur Lee's letter of May 13th, 1777.

[38] Missing.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                                Paris, 26th May, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

The navy of the United States, increasing in the number of its ships
and force, it is of the utmost importance to direct the cruises of the
ships of war, which belong either to the States or individuals, so as
to annoy and alarm the enemy the most effectually, and at the same
time, to encourage our brave officers and seamen, by the value of
prizes. The West-India trade was so intercepted last season, that,
besides endangering the credit of every West India house in England,
and absolutely ruining many, it greatly helped towards sinking the
revenues of Great Britain, which it was confidently asserted the other
day in the House of Commons, and was not contradicted by the minister,
had sunk the last year nearly one million below the usual incomes.
This trade cannot be attacked the coming season to equal advantage, as
it will not be by any degree so large, and will be armed and under
convoy. But as the commerce of Great Britain is very extensive, good
policy dictates, that we attack it in more than one sea, and on
different coasts. The navy of Great Britain is not sufficiently
numerous, to infest the whole coast of North America, and at the same
time guard their own, much less protect and convoy their trade in
different seas.

We have not the least doubt, but that two or three of the continental
frigates, sent into the German ocean, with some less swift sailing
cruisers, might intercept and seize great part of the Baltic and
Northern trade, could they be in those seas by the middle of August at
farthest, and the prizes will consist of articles of the utmost
consequence to the States. One frigate would be sufficient to destroy
the whole of the Greenland whale fishery, or take the Hudson Bay ships
returning. In a word, they are unsuspicious and unguarded on that
quarter, and the alarm, such an expedition would give, would raise the
insurance in England at least twenty per cent; since Captain
Cunningham's adventure occasioned ten per cent to be given on the
packet boats, from Dover to Calais. Captain Cunningham being put in
prison, and the prizes restored, they are again lulled into security;
the whole western coast of England and Scotland, and indeed almost
the whole of Ireland, is at this moment unguarded either by ships of
war, or troops, except a few sloops or cutters, to watch smugglers.

We submit to the Congress the following plan; to send three frigates,
loaded with tobacco, for Nantes or Bourdeaux, and that they be manned
and commanded in the best possible manner. That on their arrival in
either of the above rivers, they make but little appearance of
strength, and endeavor to pass for common cruisers; while they are
refitting, which should be in different ports, near each other,
intelligence might be had of the position of the British fleet, and
the circumstances of the different towns on the sea coast, and of the
merchant ships in them; in consequence of which a blow might be struck
that would alarm and shake Great Britain, and its credit, to the
centre. The thought may appear bold and extravagant, yet we have seen
as extraordinary events within these two years past, as that of
carrying the war to our enemy's doors. As it appears extravagant, it
will be in consequence unexpected by them, and the more easily
executed. The burning or plundering of Liverpool, or Glasgow, would do
us more essential service than a million of treasure, and much blood
spent on the continent. It would raise our reputation to the highest
pitch, and lessen in the same degree that of our enemy's. We are
confident it is practicable, and with very little danger, but times
may alter with the arrival of the frigates, yet in that case their
cruise on this coast bids fairer to be profitable than any other, and
they may at least carry back in safety many of the stores wanted,
which is a most capital object, should the other be laid aside.

Every day's experience confirms to us, what is pointed out indeed by
nature itself, the necessity of rendering America independent, in
every sense of the word. The present glorious, though trying contest,
will do more to render this independence fixed and certain, if
circumstances are seasonably improved, than would otherwise have been
effected in an age. The manufacturing of any one necessary article
among ourselves, is like breaking one link of the chains, which have
heretofore bound the two worlds together, and which our artful enemies
had, under the mask of friendship, been long winding round and round
us, and binding fast. Thus, as founderies for cannon, iron as well as
brass, are erecting, if they are at once erected large enough to cast
of any size, we may in future be easy on that important article, and
independent on the caprice, or interest, of our pretended friends for
a supply; and to forward this we shall take the liberty of sending
over some of the most skilful founders we can meet with.

The jealousy which reigns among the maritime powers of Europe, with
their narrow, weak, and contemptible system of politics, prevents our
being able to procure ships of war; to remedy which, you have with you
timber, iron, and workmen, and we must send you over sailcloth and
cordage, as fast as we can. The importance of having a considerable
naval force, is too obvious, to need our saying more than, that we
conceive no apparent difficulty or obstruction ought to deter us from
pushing it forward to the utmost of our power. We have sent you by a
former conveyance a plan of a frigate on a new construction, and now
send you the duplicate, which we submit to the judgment of those
better skilled than we pretend to be in naval affairs, but imagine
that on our coast, and perhaps anywhere, ships constructed in some
such manner may be as formidable as those of seventyfour guns, and it
is certain they will cost us less. The vessel building in Amsterdam
is on this plan, which we hope will be in readiness for service this
fall or autumn.

We are, with the utmost respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          S. DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                         Philadelphia, May 30th, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We have delayed sending this packet, from a daily expectation of
hearing from you, as some letters from France make mention of a quick
sailing vessel, by which we were to receive despatches. Though it must
be agreeable to you to hear frequently from us, yet as our letters by
being taken might be of worse consequence than being delayed, we are
desirous of waiting for the safest opportunity, and when you hear not
so often as you wish, remember our silence means our safety.
Acquainted as we are, with the situation and condition of the enemy,
we well know, that the pompous paragraphs in the London papers are not
the news, which the Ministry _hear from_ their army; but the news they
make for them.

The Amphitrite has arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and the Seine
at Martinique, but she is made a prize of, in her passage from thence.
We request you to expedite the loan of two millions, (which we have
already sent you a commission for, and now send you a duplicate of the
same) for though we conceive the credit of America to be as well
founded at least as any in the world, having neither debt nor taxes
when she began the war, yet she is like a man who, with a large
capital all in property, is unable to make any new purchases, till he
can either convert some of it into specie, or borrow in the mean time.
Britain is now fighting us, and the greatest part of Europe
negatively, by endeavoring to stop that trade from us to France,
Spain, &c. which she has most effectually lost to herself, and we wish
those Courts saw their interest in the same clear point of view in
which it appears to us. We have little or no doubt of being able to
reduce the enemy by land, and we likewise believe that the united
powers of France, Spain, and America would be able to expel the
British fleet from the western seas, by which the communication for
trade would be opened, the number of interests reduced which have
hitherto distracted the West Indies, and consequently the peace of all
this side of the globe put on a better foundation than it has hitherto
been; a mutual advantage, as we conceive, to France, Spain, and these
States.

That Britain was formidable last war, in the West Indies, is true, but
when it is considered that her power there arose from her possessions
here, or that she was formidable chiefly through us, it is impossible
to suppose that she can again arrive at the same pitch of power. Here
she was assisted by numberless privateers. Here she supplied and
partly manned her fleet; recruited, and almost raised her army, for
that service; in short, America in the last war represented Britain
removed to this side of the Atlantic. The scene is changed, and
America now is that to France and Spain in point of advantages, which
she was the last war to Britain. Therefore, putting the convenience,
which we might receive, out of the question, by their making an attack
on the West Indies, we are somewhat surprised, that such politic
Courts as France and Spain, should hesitate on a measure so alluring
and practicable. We do not mention these remarks, because we suppose
they do not occur to you, but to let you know our thoughts on the
matter, and to give you every advantage, by conveying our minds to
you, as well as our instructions and informations.

This packet takes complete sets of our public paper, filed in order,
for seventeen weeks past.

                                                         B. HARRISON,
                                                         R. MORRIS,
                                                         T. HAYWARD,
                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                           Dunkirk,[39] 2d June, 1777.

  Dear Sir,

We refer the committee to ours to you of the 26th ult. of which we
sent duplicates, should either arrive, but apprehensive of the
contrary, we send you the substance in this. The British commerce in
Europe, especially in the north, is unguarded, the Greenland whale
fishery and the Hudson Bay ships in particular. Could two or three of
our frigates, accompanied by less swift sailing cruisers, get into
those seas in the months of August, or September, a valuable part of
the commerce of our enemies might be interrupted.

As tobacco, rice, &c. are in great demand in France, and remittances
wanted, we submit to the Congress the sending out some of their
frigates loaded with these articles for Nantes, or Bourdeaux, and
whilst their cargoes were disposed of, they might refresh themselves,
and make a cruise against the enemy. The coast of England to the west
is unguarded, either by land or sea. The frigates, capable of landing
five hundred men, might destroy several of their towns, which would
alarm and shake the nation to the centre, whilst the ships might fly
and take refuge in the ports of France or Spain; but suppose the
worst, that they are intercepted in their retreat, the inevitable
consequences of so bold an attempt will be sufficiently injurious to
justify the measure. But this must be done by a _coup de main_, and
there can be no great apprehension of any difficulty in retreating,
since, by means of the daily intercourse between the two kingdoms, we
might know the exact situations of the British fleet and commerce in
the different ports, and never attempt until we had a fixed object in
view, and were masters of every circumstance.

The ship, building at Amsterdam, will be near as strong as a
seventyfour, and may join the squadron in the months of February or
March. The East India fleet will be returning to St Helens, and there
waiting for a convoy, which is a single man of war. Three frigates on
that station might effect a prodigious affair, and if they first come
to Europe, as in the course of trade, it would be much less suspected,
as they might set out from a harbor here, and not be supposed for any
other route, but that of going directly for America. We have no more
to add, than that four thousand Hanoverians are on their march for
Stade to embark for America.

We are, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[39] This letter is perhaps erroneously dated at _Dunkirk_. It is thus
copied into the letter books, but should probably be _Passy_, or
_Paris_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                        Philadelphia, June 13th, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Though the despatches prepared some time since are not gone, we think
it best to write you again, and give you an exact account of the
situation of our army and military affairs to this time. You were
formerly made acquainted, that, immediately after the important
victory at Trenton, on the 3rd of January, General Washington took
post at Morristown, which appears to have been a well chosen
situation.

From thence, sending out detachments of his army, he speedily drove
the enemy from Hackensack, Chatham, Springfield, Westfield, and
Elizabethtown, all which places we have possessed ever since that
time, as well as Millstone and Princeton to the west, and Cranbury to
the south; the enemy being confined to a narrow communication on
Rariton River, from Brunswick to Amboy, twelve miles. About ten days
ago General Washington moved his head quarters towards the enemy, to a
place called Middlebrook, about eight miles from Brunswick. He has now
called in most of his outposts, and the enemy has done the same, being
chiefly collected about Brunswick, and just upon the eve of some
movement, which is generally supposed to be intended against this
place. We are taking every measure to disappoint them, and have good
hopes, in dependence on divine Providence, as our army has been
augmenting daily for these three months past. It is given out, that
the enemy intend to come up the Delaware Bay with their ships, as well
as by land, through the Jerseys. It is probable, that before the
vessel sails we shall have something to add on this subject.

In the northern department, things are yet entirely quiet. We have a
pretty strong body at Ticonderoga. Small parties of the enemy were up
the lake lately, a considerable way, but are gone again, and there is
no appearance of any important motion soon. Whether this is owing to
their not being ready, or to a change in their plans, and the army in
Canada being ordered round to reinforce General Howe, as some late
reports would make us believe, it is impossible to say with certainty.

A third body of our forces is at Peekskill, upon Hudson River, to
defend the passes towards Albany, and be ready to fall down upon New
York, in case the greater part of the enemy's army should be drawn
from that place. The convention of that State has issued an act of
indemnity, to encourage those who had been seduced to join the enemy
to return, which has had a very happy effect. Upon the whole, our
affairs wear as favorable an aspect as at any time, since the
beginning of the war. And the unanimity of all ranks, in the different
States, in support of our independence, is greater than at any
preceding period. The arbitrary conduct, and the barbarity and cruelty
of the enemy, for the twentysix days that they possessed a
considerable part of New Jersey, have been of service to our cause.
See, upon this subject, the report of a committee of Congress, with
the proofs in the newspapers, which you may safely assure any person
is a just and true, but very imperfect, sample of their proceedings.

                                                    BENJAMIN HARRISON,
                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                    THOMAS HAYWARD,
                                                    JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                        Philadelphia, June 18th, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

In this we send you an account of the most material matters, which
have happened in the military department.

The enemy, about ten weeks ago, sent a large party, and destroyed some
continental stores at Peekskill, the value not great, and retreated
immediately after. They afterwards made an attempt to surprise Major
General Lincoln, at Bound Brook, which he vigilantly escaped, with the
loss of about sixty men. Mr Tryon, who is made a Major General, was
sent with about 2200 men to destroy the stores at Danbury, in
Connecticut. Notice was received time enough to remove the most
valuable part, while Generals Arnold and Wooster raised the militia,
and attacked the enemy on their retreat with good success. The New
York paper, which may be considered as General Howe's Gazette, makes
their loss in killed and wounded 104. We may give them credit for
twice the number. The loss we sustained in stores was chiefly in salt
provisions and rum, and we had the satisfaction of learning, that the
cargoes of the prizes brought in the same week amounted to double the
quantity lost. General Wooster, who behaved gallantly, was mortally
wounded, and is since dead.

Scarce a week has passed without skirmishing, in which we have been
very fortunate. General Washington has removed from Morristown, to
some advantageous ground near Bound Brook and Middle Brook, within
eight miles of Brunswick, and the following is a regular state of the
intelligence received here since the 11th inst.

_June 11th._--At a meeting in the State House yard, General Mifflin,
despatched for that purpose from General Washington, informed the
inhabitants, that from the late preparations of the enemy, he had
reason to believe their design was, by a forced march, to endeavor to
possess themselves of Philadelphia; it was then proposed and
unanimously assented to, to turn out agreeably to the militia law.

_12th._--A letter from General Sullivan, at Princeton, received about
nine this evening, informed that the enemy at Brunswick had begun to
move the preceding night, but was prevented by the heavy rain.

_13th._--The alarm gun in this city fired at three this morning,
answering the alarm guns up the river. Several letters, by express
from Bristol, mention the hearing alarm guns towards Trenton and
Princeton, but that no express has arrived there from General Sullivan
at Princeton.

_14th._--An express from General Arnold, at Trenton, informed that the
enemy had moved on the 13th, in the night from Brunswick, that General
Sullivan had likewise moved from Princeton to some part of Rocky Hill,
with an intention to harrass the march of the enemy, and thereby favor
the approach of General Washington on their rear, and that of the
troops from Philadelphia.

_15th._--An express from General Arnold, dated Trenton 14th, at six
o'clock, received here at half past five this morning, says, that he
had waited six hours, hoping to hear from General Sullivan, but had
not; that he should immediately set off for Coryel's Ferry; that the
reports of the country were, that the enemy were marching rapidly
towards that place, and, that General Sullivan was about two miles
ahead of them, on the same road.

Coryel's Ferry is the place where our boats were stationed sufficient
to transport 3000 men at a time.

Another letter from General Arnold, dated _Coryel's Ferry_, 14th, 9
o'clock, P. M. received here at 9 this morning, says, that General
Sullivan, arrived at that place about 4 o'clock, and had with him 1600
continental troops, and about the same number of Jersey militia making
up the number already there about 4000; that the Jersey militia were
turning out very spiritedly, and that he expected to be 5000 strong by
the next day, when he should march towards the enemy, who had encamped
at Somerset Court House, eight miles from Brunswick; that General
Washington continued at his quarters near Middle Brook, eight miles in
the rear of the enemy, who were about 7000.

_16th._--The above makes up the chain of intelligence, to General
Arnold's fourth letter, which was received here this morning, and is
printed in the papers of the 17th and 18th inst., to which we refer
you.

From various quarters lately we have reports, but none sufficient to
depend on, that the enemy will receive no reinforcement from Europe,
and likewise that a war with France is inevitable.

General Burgoyne is said to be arrived at Quebec with troops.

We have seen a memorial, presented to the States-General by Sir Joseph
Yorke, and two answers thereto, the one, "that they had no account to
render to him of their conduct," the other, that "there are no gates
to the Hague."

We are, gentlemen, yours, &c.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. MORRIS,
                                                          T. HAYWARD,
                                                          J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                        Philadelphia, June 26th, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Since our last, of the 8th inst., in which you were informed of the
enemy being encamped at Somerset Court House, eight miles from
Brunswick, we have the pleasure of acquainting you, that on the 19th,
at night, they made a precipitate retreat therefrom to the last
mentioned place, and on the 22d decamped again, and wholly evacuated
Brunswick, and retreated to Amboy. For particulars, we refer you to
General Washington's letter to Congress, printed in the newspapers of
the 25th inst.

We are unable to account for those movements of General Howe, on any
other grounds than the following; viz. that his march from Brunswick
to Somerset afforded him an opportunity of trying the disposition of
the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and finding that the
militia of both States were turning vigorously out to support our
army, he might reasonably conclude from thence, that his situation in
the Jerseys was too dangerous to be continued, and therefore decamped
to Amboy, from whence he might, by his bridge of boats, intended for
the Delaware, throw himself into a safe retreat on Staten Island. We
give you circumstances as they are, with such natural inferences
therefrom as our situation and knowledge of things enable us to draw.

The memorial, presented by Sir Joseph Yorke to the States-General,
mentioned in ours, of June 18th, you will find in the newspapers of
the 11th inst. The said memorial does not come sufficiently
authenticated to us, to give you any particular instructions
respecting your conduct thereon, but as the progress of friendship
depends much on the improvement of accidents and little circumstances,
we doubt not you will be attentive to the conduct of the
States-General at all times, and let us know whenever it appears to
you that a commissioner from Congress would be favorably received
there.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. MORRIS,
                                                          T. HAYWARD,
                                                          J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                          Philadelphia, July 2d, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Since our last of the 26th ult. which mentions the enemy being
retreated to Amboy, we have to inform you, that General Washington
dismissed the Jersey militia, except about 2000, and likewise
countermanded the reinforcement of 3000 men from General Putman's
Division, at Peekskill. We suppose General Howe to be apprized of
these circumstances, as he immediately after returned with his whole
force from Amboy, and made an attempt to cut off a Division of our
army under General Sterling, but without success. For particulars we
refer you to General Washington's letters, in the newspapers of the 3d
inst.

A letter from General Washington, just received, informs us, that the
enemy have totally evacuated the Jerseys, and are retreated to their
last year's quarters on Staten Island.

We enclose to you commissions and instructions for Ralph Izard and
William Lee; the first, appointed commissioner to the Court of
Tuscany, and the latter to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. Their
instructions are so intimately connected with your own, that we have
thought proper to send them open to your confidential care, that you
may give information to the gentlemen, and take every due step to
forward the execution of the intention of Congress.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. MORRIS,
                                                          T. HAYWARD,
                                                          J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE VERGENNES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                          Versailles, 16th July, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

You cannot forget, that at the first conversation I had with both of
you, I assured you, that you should enjoy in France, with respect to
your persons, every security and comfort, which we showed to
foreigners; and as to your commerce and navigation, we would grant
every facility compatible with the exact observation of our treaties
with England, which the king's principles would induce him religiously
to fulfil. In order to prevent every doubt, with respect to the
vessels that may participate in the favors, which we grant in our
ports to nations in amity, I pointed out to you the article of the
treaty, which forbids the power of allowing privateers free access
into our ports, unless through pressing necessity, as also with
respect to the deposit and sale of their prizes. You promised,
gentlemen, to conform thereto.

After so particular an explanation, we did not press the departure of
the ship Reprisal, which brought Mr Franklin to France, because we
were assured it was destined to return with merchandise. We had quite
lost sight of this vessel, and imagined she was in the American seas,
when, with great surprise, we understood that she had entered
L'Orient, after taking several prizes. Orders were immediately given,
that she should depart in twentyfour hours, and to conduct her prizes
to the only admiralties, that were authorised to judge of their
validity. Captain Wickes complained of a leak. Being visited by proper
officers, his allegation was found to be legal, and admissible, the
necessary repairs were permitted, and he was enjoined to put to sea
again.

After such repeated advertisements, the motives of which you have been
informed of, we had no reason to expect, gentlemen, that the said Mr
Wickes would prosecute his cruising in the European seas, and we could
not be otherwise than greatly surprised, that, after having associated
with the privateers, the Lexington and Dolphin, to infest the English
coasts, they should all three of them come for refuge into our ports.
You are too well informed, gentlemen, and too penetrating, not to see
how this conduct affects the dignity of the king, my master, at the
same time it offends the neutrality, which His Majesty professes. I
expect, therefore, from your equity, that you will be the first to
condemn a conduct so opposite to the duties of hospitality and
decency. The king cannot dissemble it, and it is by his express order,
gentlemen, that I acquaint you, that orders have been sent to the
ports, in which the said privateers have entered, to sequester, and
detain them, until sufficient security can be obtained, that they
shall return directly to their country, and not expose themselves, by
new acts of hostility, to the necessity of seeking an asylum in our
ports.

As to the prizes they may have taken, if they have brought them into
our ports, they have orders to go out immediately, and the same
conduct shall be observed towards any capture of any nation whatever.
Such are the obligations of our treaties, conformable to our marine
ordinances, which the king cannot by any means evade. It will be
highly proper for you to make these intentions known, wherever you may
think it most expedient, so that new privateers, from the example of
the misconduct of those against whom we are obliged to be rigorous,
may not expose themselves to the like embarrassments.

What I have the honor to inform you, gentlemen, of the king's
disposition, by no means changes the assurances which I have been
authorised to make you, at the time of your arrival, and which I again
renew, for the security of your residence, and of all such of your
nation whom it may suit to reside among us, as well as with respect to
the commerce allowed of, which will meet with every facility on our
part, that our laws and usages will permit.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Paris, 17th July, 1777.

  Sir,

We are very sensible of the protection afforded to us, and to our
commerce, since our residence in this kingdom, agreeable to the
goodness of the king's gracious intentions, and to the law of nations;
and it gives us real and great concern, when any vessels of war
appertaining to America, either through ignorance or inattention, do
any thing that may offend His Majesty, in the smallest degree. The
Captains Wickes, Nicholson, and Johnson, have excused to us their
returning to France, being chased into the channel, and close to your
ports, by English men of war, of the truth of which we have no doubt,
the Reprisal, particularly, having been obliged to throw her guns
overboard, to facilitate her escape.

We had, some days before we were honored by your Excellency's letter,
despatched by an express the most positive orders to them, to depart
directly to America, which they are accordingly preparing to do, as
your Excellency will see by the letter enclosed, which we have just
received by the return of that express. We shall communicate His
Majesty's orders to our friends residing in your ports, and acquaint
the Congress with the same, to the end, that our armed vessels may be
warned of the consequence that must attend an infringement of them. We
doubt not but they will be henceforth strictly attended to; and we are
willing and ready to give any security your Excellency may judge
sufficient and reasonable, that, after being fitted and provisioned
for so long a voyage, these vessels shall proceed directly to America,
without making any other cruise on the coasts of England. We are
thankful for the repeated assurances of His Majesty's protection
continued to us, and such of our nation as may reside in France, and
for the facilities indulged to our commerce, at this critical
conjuncture, which will always be remembered in our country, with
gratitude and affection.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                       Philadelphia, August 7th, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Enclosed are duplicates of commissions and instructions for William
Lee and Ralph Izard, and triplicates of our former despatches.

Since our last, of July 3d, various circumstances have happened in the
military department, many of which are so intricate and unfinished, as
not to enable us to draw any just conclusions from them.

Immediately after the unsuccessful attempt made by General Howe, June
26th, to cut off a detachment of our army, under General Sterling, as
mentioned in our last, the whole body of the enemy retreated to Staten
Island, embarked on board their fleet, and on the 23d of July put to
sea; on the 27th, they appeared off the Capes of Delaware. General
Washington, with the army, arrived at Germantown on the 29th. On the
31st, the enemy's fleet stood out to sea. They made a second
appearance at the Capes, since which we have had no account of them.
As this packet goes from the eastward, you will probably be furnished
with something further from that quarter.

Our worst news is, that we have lost Ticonderoga, whether by neglect
or necessity, cowardice or good conduct, will appear hereafter.
Congress have ordered General Gates to that department, and have
directed Generals Schuyler and St Clair to appear at head quarters,
that an inquiry may be made into their conduct, and the circumstances
of this mysterious affair. In the papers of July 16th, 23d, August 5th
and 6th, you have Generals Schuyler's and St Clair's letters, and the
resolves of Congress. We have been fortunate enough to take, and so
unfortunate as to lose again, the Fox frigate. She was taken by the
Captains Manly and McNeil, but two heavy English ships being in sight
when she struck, she was afterwards retaken by them.

Major General Prescott, who commanded the enemy's forces at Rhode
Island, was seized and made prisoner by a small party under Lieutenant
Colonel Barton, as you may see by General Washington's letter to
Congress, printed July 23d. The Congress have presented Colonel Barton
with a sword, and likewise Lieutenant Colonel Meigs with another; this
officer having performed a gallant exploit on Long Island, bringing
off nearly a hundred prisoners, and destroying a large quantity of
forage.

Were it not for the Ticonderoga affair, we should have nothing but
good news to communicate; and even that may turn out in the end a
lucky circumstance to the general cause, as did the attempt of the
enemy to march through the Jerseys last winter. We have a fine healthy
army, anxious for nothing so much as to meet their foes. Surely it
must appear very ridiculous in Europe that General Howe should be
thus shunning the army he came out to conquer, and wasting his time in
cruising upon the coast with his whole fleet, at this hot season of
the year, when the ministry in England, and perhaps Lord Stormont at
Paris, have given out that he has penetrated a hundred miles or more
into the country.

We are, with great regard, gentlemen,

  Your most humble servants,

                                                    BENJAMIN HARRISON,
                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                    JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                        Versailles, August 12th, 1777.

  Sir,

We understand, with great surprise, that one of our countrymen, Mr
Hodge, a merchant of Philadelphia, is apprehended at Paris, with all
his papers, and carried away by the officers of police.

As Mr Hodge is a person of character, connected with the best houses
in our country, and employed here by a committee of Congress to
purchase goods, we cannot conceive him capable of any wilful offence
against the laws of this nation. Our personal regard for him, as well
as the duty of our station, obliges us to interest ourselves in his
behalf, and to request, as we do most earnestly, that he may be
immediately restored to us.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

        _Messrs Franklin and Deane's Contract with M. Holker._

We the undersigned acknowledge that we have authorised M. Holker to
treat with Messrs Sabatier & Despres, for five thousand coats,
waistcoats, and breeches, of which, two thousand five hundred coats
are to be blue, and two thousand five hundred brown, with facings,
linings, and collars of red, the waistcoats and breeches to be white,
agreeably to the present treaty, and to the same clauses and
conditions therein stipulated. Done at Paris, the 15th of August,
1777.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

The present contract done and signed in duplicates to be faithfully
executed on both sides, agreeably to its tenor and form. Paris, 6th of
August, 1777.

                                                MONTIEU.
                                                SILAS DEANE, _for
                                                B. Franklin and self_.

_Amount of sundry Articles of Merchandise mentioned in the above
Contracts_;

       6000 coats, complete,             at 37 livres ea.  222,000
      12000 pair woollen stockings,         30 pr. doz.     30,000
    100,000 lbs. of copper,                 27 pr. lb.     135,000
     22,000  "   sheet copper and nails,    33 pr. lb.      36,300
     20,000  "   English tin,               17 the c't w't  17,000
          4 million flints,                  4 pr. 100      16,000
                                                           -------
                                                           456,300

Sum total, four hundred fifty six thousand three hundred livres,
errors and omissions excepted.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Passy, 8th September, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

It is long since we had a line from you, the last received being of
the date of ----, we suppose from the same causes which have
occasioned your hearing so seldom from us, the difficulty of finding
safe conveyances, and sometimes the loss of the despatches by the way.
Mr Lee informs you, we suppose, of his negotiations in Prussia, and
his safe return hither. There appears in that, as well as in every
other country in Europe, a disposition to share in our commerce, and
to oblige us as far as may be done without offending England. We have
numbers of letters from eminent houses there, proposing to furnish us
with a variety of commodities, at reasonable rates, to be received by
us in Europe, and paid for here. We advise them to send their goods in
their own ships, and protect their own trade to and from our coasts.

We enclose you a copy of the memorial[40] we sent to Portugal, to
which we have yet received no answer. That Court has been lately much
employed in adjusting its differences with Spain, which it is said are
now nearly all accommodated, and that they will accede to the family
compact.

This Court continues the same conduct that it has held ever since our
arrival. It professes to England a resolution to observe all treaties,
and proves it by restoring prizes too openly brought into their ports,
imprisoning such persons as are found to be concerned in fitting out
armed vessels against England from France, warning frequently those
from America to depart, and repeating orders against the exportation
of warlike stores. To us it privately professes a real friendship,
wishes success to our cause, winks at the supplies we obtain here, as
much as it can without giving open grounds of complaint to England,
privately affords us very essential aids, and goes on preparing for
war. How long these two parts will continue to be acted at the same
time, and which will finally predominate, may be a question. As it is
the true interest of France to prevent our being annexed to Britain,
that so the British power may be diminished, and the French commerce
augmented, we are inclined to believe the sincerity is towards us,
more especially as the united bent of the nation is manifestly in our
favor; their not having yet commenced a war is accounted for by
various reasons. The treaties subsisting among the powers of Europe,
by which they are obliged to aid those attacked more than those
attacking, which it is supposed will make some difference, the not
being fully prepared, the absence of their seamen in their fishery and
West Indies, and the treasure expected from New Spain, with the sugars
from the Islands, have all, it is said, contributed to restrain the
national desire of a breach with England, in which her troublesome
power may be reduced, the wealth and strength of France increased, and
some satisfaction obtained for the injuries received, in the unfair
commencement of the last war.

England too is extremely exasperated at the sight of her lost commerce
enjoyed by France, the favor our armed vessels have met with here, and
the distress of their remaining trade, by our cruisers, even on their
own coasts; and yet she seems afraid of beginning a war with this
country and Spain together, while she has our war upon her hands. In
such a situation, some accident may probably bring on a war, sooner
than is desired by either party. In the mean time, perhaps the delay
may have this good effect for us, that enjoying the whole harvest of
plunder upon the British commerce, which otherwise France and Spain
would divide with us, our infant naval power finds such plentiful
nourishment, as has increased, and must increase its growth and
strength most marvellously.

It gave us great joy to hear of the arrival of the Mercury,
Amphitrite, and other vessels carrying supplies. Another ship, with a
similar cargo, which had long been detained at Marseilles, we hope
will soon arrive with you. We hope, also, that you will receive
between twenty and thirty thousand suits of clothes, before winter,
and from time to time quantities of new and good arms, which we are
purchasing in different parts of Europe. But we must desire you to
remember, that we are hitherto disappointed in your promises of
remittance, either by the difficulties you find in shipping, or by
captures, and that though far short of completing your orders, we are
in danger of being greatly embarrassed by debts, in failing in
performance of our contracts, and losing our credit with that of the
Congress; for though we have received three quarterly payments of the
two millions of livres, formerly mentioned to you, and expect the last
next month, our contracts go beyond, and we must reserve the
continuance of that aid, for the purpose it was promised, to answer
your drafts for interest, if that proposal of ours has been adopted.
Particularly we beg you will attend to the affair of tobacco for the
Farmers-General, with whom we have contracted to supply five thousand
hogsheads of tobacco, for which they have advanced us one million of
livres, in ready money, and are to pay the rest on delivery, as we
formerly advised you. Your vigorous exertions in these matters are the
more necessary, as during the apparent, or supposed uncertainty of our
affairs, the loan we were directed to obtain of two millions sterling
has hitherto been judged impracticable.

But if the present campaign should end favorably for us, perhaps we
may be able to accomplish it another year, as some jealousy begins to
be entertained of the English funds by the Dutch, and other monied
people of Europe, to the increase of which jealousy, we hope a
paper[41] we have drawn up, (a copy whereof we enclose) may in some
degree contribute when made public.

Mr Deane has written fully to you on the effect our cruisers have had
on the coast and commerce of Britain, which makes our saying much on
that head unnecessary.[42] We cannot, however, omit this opportunity
of expressing our satisfaction in the conduct of the Captains, and of
recommending them warmly to Congress. The ostensible letter and answer
from and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, copies of which we
enclose,[43] will show the conduct which the Court has thought, and
thinks itself at present obliged to hold with regard to our cruisers
and their prizes, of which it seems fit some notice should be given to
the several States. As the English goods cannot in foreign markets
face those of the French or Dutch, loaded as they are with the high
insurance from which their competitors are exempted, it is certain the
trade of Britain must diminish while she is at war with us, and the
rest of Europe in peace. To evade this mischief, she now begins to
make use of French bottoms; but as we have yet no treaty with France,
or any other power that gives to free ships the privilege of making
free goods, we may weaken that project, by taking the goods of the
enemy wherever we find them, paying the freight. And it is imagined
that the Captains of the vessels so freighted may, by a little
encouragement, be prevailed on to facilitate the necessary discovery.

Spain not having yet resolved to receive a minister from the Congress,
Mr Franklin still remains here. She has, however, afforded the aids we
formerly mentioned, and supplies of various articles have continued
till lately to be sent consigned to Mr Gerry, much of which we hear
has safely arrived. We shall use our best endeavors to obtain a
continuance and increase of those aids.

You will excuse our mentioning to you, that our expenses here are
necessarily very great, though we live with as much frugality as our
public character will permit. Americans, who escape from English
prisons, destitute of every thing, and others who need assistance, are
continually calling upon us for it, and our funds are very uncertain,
having yet received but about 64,571 livres, of what was allotted for
our support by Congress.

With the greatest respect, we have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.


FOOTNOTES:

[40] Missing.

[41] Missing.

[42] See Mr Deane's letter above, p. 105, dated August 23d, 1777.

[43] See the two preceding letters of July 16th and 17th.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                          Yorktown, 6th October, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Since ours to you, by return of the packet from New Hampshire, and
duplicates by Mr McCreary, from Maryland, we have not written, nor
have we received any of your favors during the last two months, except
a letter of old date, (April 19th) signed by Messrs Deane and Lee.
Captain Hammond being not yet arrived, although he sailed in April, it
is too probable that he has fallen into the enemy's hands, or
miscarried at sea.

Two reasons have prevented us from writing hitherto; because from your
assurances we had cause to expect a monthly packet, and because the
progressive state of the war gave us reason to look for some more
decisive event daily, than had happened, and which might warrant the
expense of sending a particular packet, as the casual conveyance by
merchant vessels is almost entirely stopped by the number and
vigilance of the enemy's cruisers.

We shall now give you an accurate detail of the war in the northern
and middle departments, where alone it has raged since our last. You
were before apprized of the evacuation of Ticonderoga, and of the
retreat of our army from thence towards Albany. General Burgoyne was
rapid in pursuit of his successes, and pressed quickly on towards fort
Edward, upon Hudson's river, about twenty miles above Albany. Here his
progress was interrupted by the American army, being halted and
reinforced a little below him. This circumstance, with the following
events, have continued that interruption, and bid fair to render
abortive, at least, the great advantages expected by our enemies from
their first successes on the lakes.

The better to effect his purpose, General Burgoyne had detached
General St Leger with a body of regular troops, Canadians and Indians,
by the Oneida Lake and Wood Creek, to take fort Schuyler, (formerly
Stanwix) and to make an impression along the Mohawk river. This part
of his plan has been totally defeated by the bravery of General
Herkimer, with the Tryon county militia, and by the gallant defence of
fort Schuyler, by Colonel Gansevoort and Lieutenant Colonel Willet.
The former of these met the enemy in the field, defeated them, and
killed a great number of their Indian allies. This defeat being
obtained by militia, they dispersed as usual, and left the enemy to
collect and lay siege to fort Schuyler, which was defended with great
gallantry by the two officers above mentioned, until the approach of
General Arnold, with a body of troops, occasioned the enemy to raise
the siege of that fortress and retreat with great precipitation,
leaving their baggage, ammunition, provisions, and some of their
artillery, which fell into our hands. Another body of troops was
detached by General Burgoyne, under command of Lieutenant Colonel
Baum, to the eastward, for the purpose of collecting horses to mount
the troopers, provisions, and teams, for the use of the army. This
detachment was met, attacked, and defeated by the brave General Stark,
and the New Hampshire militia, at a place called Bennington, and now
rendered famous by the total overthrow of fifteen hundred regular
troops, (posted behind works fortified with cannon,) by two thousand
militia.

The two wings of General Burgoyne being thus cut off, his body
remained inactive until the 19th of last month, when he moved on to
attack General Gates, who commands the northern army, and who was well
posted at Behmus's Heights. The consequence of this attack, you will
see related by General Gates himself, among the enclosed papers, as
well as the account of our successes in the rear of the enemy, on the
lakes George and Champlain, by Colonel Brown, who had been detached by
General Lincoln, who is also in General Burgoyne's rear, with a
strong body of troops. Surrounded, as it is on all sides, with little
prospect of safe retreat, and a strong army in front, growing stronger
every day by reinforcements, we hope, ere long, to give you
information of definitive success over the British army in that
quarter. An Aid of General Gates, who brought us these last accounts,
says, that by the concurring testimony of prisoners, deserters, and
some of our own people, who escaped from the enemy, their loss could
not be less than one thousand, or twelve hundred men, in killed,
wounded, and missing; and that General Burgoyne himself was wounded in
the shoulder by a rifle ball.

In the middle department, the war has been less favorable to us, as
you will see by what follows. About the middle of August, the British
fleet appeared in the Chesapeake Bay, and landed General Howe's army
at the head of Elk, about fifty miles from Philadelphia. General
Washington's army, which had crossed the Delaware on the embarkation
of the British troops, and the appearance of the fleet off the Capes
of that river, now proceeded to meet the enemy, and came up with them
near Wilmington. After various skirmishes and manoeuvres, a general
engagement took place at Chad's Ford, over the Brandywine, on the 11th
of September last. This battle terminated in our leaving the enemy in
possession of the field, with nine pieces of our artillery. Our loss
in killed, wounded, and missing, did not exceed six hundred; that of
the enemy, as far as we have been able to get information, was near
two thousand. An orderly, taken from them since the battle, makes it
nineteen hundred.[44]

General Washington retreated across the Schuylkill, and, having
refreshed his army, recrossed that river in two days after the former
battle, with design to attack the enemy, who remained close by the
field of action until he came up with them again. To be the better
prepared for battle, and to be guarded against the consequences of
defeat, our army marched without baggage, and left their tents behind.
In this situation, and just in the moment of beginning an attack upon
the enemy, a heavy, long continued, and cold rain, with high wind,
came on and prevented it. The ammunition in the cartridge boxes was
all rendered unfit for use, the arms injured, and the troops a good
deal hurt and dispirited.

In this state of things, it became necessary to retire from before the
enemy to a place of safety, in order to clean the arms, replace the
cartridges, and refresh the men. The enemy were also without tents;
but they have good blankets, are better clothed, and have tin
receptacles for keeping dry their cartridges. General Howe, judging of
our situation, put his army in motion, and endeavored to harrass and
distress us, by marches, countermarches, and frequent shows of
designing to give battle. After a variety of manoeuvres, the enemy
crossed the Schuylkill below our army, and marching to Philadelphia,
have possessed themselves of that city. General Washington, having
refreshed his men, and being reinforced, is moving now towards the
enemy. This unfortunate rain has injured our affairs considerably, by
having thrown a number of our men into hospitals, and by the distress
and harrassment of the army, consequent thereupon. However, they are
recovering again, and we hope before long will give General Howe
reason to repent his possession of Philadelphia. The real injury to
America, from the enemy's possession of that city, is not so great as
some are apt at first view to imagine, unless the report and
misconceptions of this matter in Europe, should too much dispirit our
friends and inspirit our enemies. But we rely on your careful and just
representation of this matter, to prevent the ill impressions which it
may otherwise make. When this contest first began, we foresaw the
probability of losing our great towns on the water, and so expressly
told our enemies, in the address of the first Congress; but we are
blessed with an extensive sea coast, by which we can convey and
receive benefits independent of any particular spot. But it is very
far from being a clear point to us, that the enemy will be able to
hold Philadelphia, as we are yet masters of the Delaware below, and
have hopes of keeping it, so as to prevent the British fleet from
getting up to the city. Should this be the case, General Howe's visit
cannot be of long duration.

You say that the vessels of the United States will be received at the
Havanna, as those of France, the most favored nation. We wish to be
exactly informed whether North American products may be carried
thither, or prizes be taken to, and disposed of, in that port, or any
other ports of his Catholic Majesty in America. You likewise mention a
late draught of the Mississippi, taken for the government of Great
Britain; we are desirous of being furnished with a copy. It is with
pleasure we read your assurance of sending the soldiers' clothing, and
other materials for the army, in time to meet the approaching cold
season; they will be greatly wanted.

As the small successes the enemy have met with this year will probably
support the hopes of a vindictive Court, and occasion the straining of
every nerve for the accomplishment of its tyrannic views, we doubt not
your most strenuous exertions to prevent Great Britain from obtaining
Russian or German auxiliaries for the next campaign; and we think,
with you, that it is an object of the greatest importance to cultivate
and secure the friendship of his Prussian Majesty, as well for the
preventing this evil, as for obtaining his public recognition of our
independence, and leave of his ports for the purposes of commerce, and
disposal of prizes.

The original papers, which you mention, in a triplicate, to have sent,
never came to hand; so that we can only make conjectures as to the
disposition of that monarch. The marine force of the enemy is so
considerable in these seas, and so over proportionate to our infant
navy, that it seems quite necessary and wise to send our ships to
distress the commerce of our enemies in other parts of the world. For
this purpose, the Marine Committee have already ordered some vessels
to France, under your direction as to their future operations, and
more, we expect, will be sent. But our frigates are not capable of
carrying much bulky commodity for commercial purposes, without
unfitting them for war; besides, there is the consideration of our
being obliged to get them away, how, and when we can, or endanger
their being taken, which prevents our sending them to those staple
Colonies, where the commodities wanted are to be obtained. The
reciprocal benefits of commerce cannot flow from, or to North America,
until some maritime power in Europe will aid our cause with marine
strength. And this circumstance gives us pain, lest it should be
construed as unwillingness on our part to pay our debts, when the
truth is, that we have the greatest desire of doing so, have materials
in abundance, but not the means of conveying them.

This leads us to reflect on the great advantages, which must
unavoidably accrue to all parties, if France, or Spain, were to afford
effectual aid on the sea, by the loan or sale of ships of war,
according to the former propositions of Congress; or if the
Farmers-General could be prevailed upon to receive in America the
tobacco, or other products of this northern Continent, which France
may want.

We are, &c. &c.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. H. LEE,
                                                          R. NORRIS,
                                                          J. LOVELL.

_P. S._ On the 4th, an engagement between the two armies took place
near Germantown, the circumstances of which may be known by the
enclosed papers.


FOOTNOTES:

[44] The numbers here mentioned are greatly exaggerated. No accurate
returns seem to have been made, but the loss was afterwards estimated
to have been, on the part of the Americans, 300 killed, 600 wounded,
and 400 prisoners, chiefly of the wounded. The British loss was about
100 killed, and 400 wounded. _Holmes's Annals_, 2d Ed. Vol. II. p.
265.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                          Yorktown, 6th October, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We shall follow your example in confining this letter entirely to
yours of May 26th, respecting the loan, and the mode of raising it by
appropriation of vacant land. It remains doubtful yet, whether there
is any vacant land not included within the charter limits of some one
of the thirteen States; and it is an undetermined question of great
magnitude, whether such land is to be considered as common stock, or
the exclusive property of the State within whose charter-bounds it may
be found.

Until this business has been determined in Congress, and approved by
the States, you will readily discover the difficulty of doing anything
in the way of raising money by appropriation of vacant land. We
consider your proposal on this subject as of very great importance;
and we shall not fail to solicit the attention of Congress thereto,
whenever the pressing business of the campaign will permit.

In the mean time, we see no reason that should prevent the young
nobleman, of Irish extract, from coming to America, because the
suspension of the question concerning vacant lands will not obstruct
his views of getting the quantity he may want either by original
entry, or by purchase on the most reasonable terms, upon the frontiers
of those States, where vacant lands are in abundance to be met with.
We are warranted to say that such rank, as that nobleman may have when
he leaves service in Europe, will be granted to him here. Congress
clearly discern, with you, gentlemen, the all important concern of
supporting the credit of the continental money, and with this view
have proposed, as you will see by the enclosed resolves, to pay the
interest of twenty millions of dollars by bills drawn on you.

This we hope will in time replenish the loan offices so effectually
as, with the aid of taxation now generally taking place, to prevent
the necessity of future emissions. By your letters of the 25th of May
we have no doubt, but these interest bills will be paid with all due
punctuality. About five millions only of the twenty voted are yet
borrowed, and the interest on those five will not be drawn for in
bills till near a twelvemonth.

We are, &c.

                                                       B. HARRISON,
                                                       R. H. LEE,
                                                       J. WITHERSPOON,
                                                       J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                             Passy, 7th October, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We received duly your despatches by Mr McCreary, and Captain Young,
dated May 2d and 30th, June 13th, 18th, 26th, and July 2d. The
intelligence they contain is very particular and satisfactory. It
rejoices us to be informed, that unanimity continues to reign among
the States, and that you have so good an opinion of your affairs, in
which we join with you. We understand that you have also written to us
of later dates by Captain Holmes. He is arrived at Port L'Orient, but
being chased, and nearly taken, he sunk his despatches.

We are also of your sentiments, with regard to the interests of
France, and Spain, respecting our Independence, which interests we are
persuaded they see as well as we, though particular present
circumstances induce them to postpone the measures, that are proper to
secure those interests. They continue to hold the same conduct
described in our last, which went by Wickes and Johnson, a copy
whereof we send herewith, as Johnson is unfortunately taken. We have
lately presented an earnest memorial to both Courts, stating the
difficulties of our situation, and requesting that if they cannot
immediately make a diversion in our favor, they would give a subsidy
sufficient to enable us to continue the war without them, or afford
the States their advice and influence in making a good peace.

Our present demand, to enable us to fulfil your orders, is for about
eight millions of livres. Couriers, we understand, are despatched with
this memorial to Madrid by both the ambassador of Spain and the
minister here; and we are desired to wait with patience the answer, as
the two Courts must act together. In the meantime, they give us fresh
assurances of their good will to our cause, and we have just received
a fourth sum of five hundred thousand livres. But we are continually
charged to keep the aids, that are, or may be afforded us, a dead
secret, even from the Congress, where they suppose England has some
intelligence; and they wish she may have no certain proofs to produce
against them, with the other powers of Europe. The apparent necessity
of your being informed of the true state of your affairs, obliges us
to dispense with this injunction; but we entreat that the greatest
care may be taken that no part of it shall transpire; nor of the
assurances we have received, that no repayment will ever be required
from us, of what has been already given us, either in money or
military stores. The great desire here seems to be, that England
should strike first, and not be able to give her allies a good reason.

The total failure of remittances from you, for a long time past, has
embarrassed us exceedingly; the contracts we entered into for clothing
and arms, in expectation of those remittances, and which are now
beginning to call for payment, distress us much, and we are in
imminent danger of bankruptcy; for all your agents are in the same
situation, and they all recur to us to save their and your credit. We
were obliged to discharge a debt of Myrtle's, at Bordeaux, amounting
to about five thousand livres, to get that vessel away, and he now
duns us at every post for between four and five thousand pounds
sterling, to disengage him in Holland, where he has purchased arms for
you. With the same view of saving your credit, Mr Ross was furnished
with twenty thousand pounds sterling, to disentangle him. All the
captains of your armed vessels come to us for their supplies, and we
have not received a farthing of the produce of their prizes, as they
are ordered into other hands. Mr Hodge has had large sums of us.

But to give you some idea for the present, till a more perfect account
can be rendered of the demands upon us, of what we have paid, we
enclose a sketch for your perusal; and shall only observe, that we
have refused no application, in which your credit appeared to be
concerned, except one from the creditors of a Mr Ceronio, said to be
your agent in Hispaniola, but of whom we had no knowledge; and we had
reason to hope, that you would have been equally ready to support our
credit, as we have been yours, and from the same motives, the good of
the public, for whom we are all acting, the success of our business
depending considerably upon it.

We are sorry, therefore, to find all the world acquainted here, that
the Commissioners from Congress have not so much of your regard as to
obtain the change of a single agent, who disgraces us all. We say no
more of this at present, contenting ourselves with the consciousness,
that we recommended that change from the purest motives, and that the
necessity of it, and our uprightness in proposing it, will soon fully
appear.

Messrs Gardoqui, at Bilboa, have sent several cargoes of naval stores,
cordage, sailcloth, anchors, &c. for the public use, consigned to
Elbridge Gerry. They complain, that they have no acknowledgment from
that gentleman of the goods being received, though they know that the
vessels arrived. We have excused it to them, on the supposition of his
being absent at Congress. We wish such acknowledgments may be made,
accompanied with some expressions of gratitude towards those from whom
the supplies come, without mentioning who they are supposed to be. You
mention the arrival of the Amphitrite and Mercury, but say nothing of
the cargoes.

Mr Hodge is discharged from his imprisonment, on our solicitation, and
his papers restored to him; he was well treated while in the Bastile.
The charge against him was, deceiving the government in fitting out
Cunningham from Dunkirk, who was represented as going on some trading
voyage; but, as soon as he was out, began a cruise on the British
coast, and took six sail. He is got safe into Ferrol.

We have received and delivered the commissions to Mr William Lee, and
Mr Izard. No letters came with them for these gentlemen, with
information how they are to be supported on their stations. We suppose
they write to you, and will acquaint you with their intentions.

Some propositions are privately communicated to us, said to be on the
part of Russia, for forming a commercial company at Emden. We shall
put them into the hands of Mr Lee.

We do not see a probability of our obtaining a loan of two millions
sterling, from any of the money holders in Europe, till our affairs
are, in their opinion, more firmly established. What may be obtained
from the two crowns, either as loan or subsidy, we shall probably
know on the return of the couriers, and we hope we shall be able to
write more satisfactory on those heads by Captain Young, who will, by
that time, be ready to return.

With the greatest respect, we have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                         Yorktown, 18th October, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We have the pleasure of enclosing to you the copy of a letter from
General Gates, containing the circumstances of a victory gained over
General Burgoyne, on the 7th. This event must defeat the main views of
General Clinton, in proceeding up Hudson's river. He has, it is true,
got possession of fort Montgomery, but with much loss, as we hear.
Though the enemy should boast much of this acquisition, yet we are
persuaded the consequences will be very little profitable to them, as
Governor Clinton, of New York, and his brother General James Clinton,
are acting vigorously in concert with General Putnam, who commands in
that quarter.

Our army under General Washington is numerous and in high spirits,
while General Howe is busied in forming obstructions in the roads
leading to the city of Philadelphia, by which he supports the hopes of
keeping our troops from routing him out of his stolen quarters. The
enclosed resolves need no comment from us, being sufficient of
themselves to determine your conduct in the points to which they
relate. It is with concern we find, that British property has lately
been covered by conveyance in French bottoms, which practice pursued,
and American search disliked by France, it is obvious, that the most
vulnerable part of Great Britain, her commerce, will be secured
against us, and that by the intervention of our professed friends. We
desire, therefore, gentlemen, that you will confer with the ministers
of France on this subject, and satisfy them of the propriety, and even
the necessity which there is, that either this commerce should be
prohibited, or that the United States be at liberty to search into,
and make distinctions between the bottom and the enemy's property
conveyed in that bottom.

To prevent ill impressions being made, by a number of officers who are
returning to France, we think it proper to observe, that without
totally deranging and risking even the annihilation of the American
armies, it was not possible to provide for many of those gentlemen in
the manner they wished, and which some of them had stipulated for,
previous to their leaving France. We have done all in our
power to prevent discontent, but no doubt there will be some,
whose dissatisfactions will produce complaints, and perhaps
misrepresentations. You will be guarded on this head, and represent
our conduct as founded solely on the necessity of our situation.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. HARRISON,
                                                          R. H. LEE,
                                                          R. MORRIS,
                                                          J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                             York, 31st October, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

We have the pleasure to enclose to you the capitulation by which
General Burgoyne and his whole army surrendered themselves prisoners
of war. This great event might have been still greater, had not the
operations on the Hudson river, below Albany, rendered it probable,
that Sir Henry Clinton might come to the relief of General Burgoyne,
as he had urged his way up to within fortyfour miles of Albany, at
which place were lodged the principal magazines of war and provisions
for our northern army. General Gates is now moving down the north
river, having sent General Stark with two thousand brave men, to
reduce Ticonderoga and the passes yet occupied by the enemy on lake
George.

General Howe is yet at Philadelphia, but whether he will be able to
continue there, may be judged from a consideration of General
Burgoyne's surrender, from the hitherto unavailing efforts of the
enemy to get their fleet up to the city, from General Washington's
being with a good army now near Germantown, and closing upon the
enemy's lines, which run across the commons by Philadelphia, as we are
informed, from Delaware to Schuylkill.

After many smaller attempts had been made in vain, upon fort Island
and the chevaux de frize, a general and very powerful attack was made
upon the 22d and 23d of this month, on Red Bank, by twelve hundred
Hessians, and on Fort Island, by several ships of war, which
approached as near as the chevaux de frize would admit, and by fire
from batteries erected on Province Island. The Hessians were led on by
Count Donop, Colonel Commandant. They attempted the place by storm,
and were repulsed with the loss of seventy dead on the spot, and
seventyeight prisoners wounded; among the latter, are Colonel Donop,
and his aid major. Among the former, are a Lieutenant Colonel, and
some inferior officers. From the ships and Province Island batteries,
a furious cannonade was long continued, and warmly returned by fort
Mifflin and the gallies. At length the ships were obliged to retire
with the loss of two, which the enemy set on fire themselves, and
which were thus blown up. These two are said to be the Augusta, of
sixtyfour guns, and the Liverpool frigate. The names of the ships we
cannot be sure of yet, but, that two men of war were destroyed is
certain, and being desirous of giving you the most early information
of the great events at the northward, we shall be more particular
about the Delaware business hereafter. We rely on your wisdom and care
to make the best and most immediate use of this intelligence, to
depress our enemies, and produce essential aid to our cause in Europe.

The public acknowledgment of the independence of these United States,
would be attended with beneficial consequences, and whilst we proceed
with diligence and care to profit from our advantages, we are sensible
how essential European aid must be to the final establishment and
security of American freedom and independence. We are in daily
expectation of hearing from you, which we have not done since May
last.

As some of our frigates are ordered to France, under your after
direction, we hope to hear in due time, that more effectual distress
has been conveyed to the commerce of our enemies. It is a pity that
some of their towns should not be made to suffer for the licentious
conflagrations, which have been kindled by them in America.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            R. H. LEE,
                                                            J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                             York, 8th November, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

At the time this will be delivered to you, bills of exchange will also
be presented for your acceptance, drawn by Henry Laurens, of
Charleston, South Carolina, who was elected President of the
Continental Congress, on the first day of this month, of which we
thought proper to give you thus early information, that you may duly
honor his draughts, the particulars of which we shall forward speedily
by another opportunity, concluding with much regard, &c.

                                                            R. H. LEE,
                                                            J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Passy, 30th November, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

In a former letter we acquainted you that we had engaged an officer,
one of the most skilful in naval affairs this country possessed, to
build us a frigate in Holland, on a new construction (drafts of which
we sent you) and to go over in her to America, and enter your
service. The frigate is almost finished. She is very large, is to
carry thirty 24 pounders, on one deck, and is supposed equal to a ship
of the line. But the infinite difficulties we find in equipping and
manning such a ship in any neutral port, under the restrictions of
treaties, together with the want of supplies from you, have induced us
to sell her to the king, who, by a large pension offered to our
officer, has engaged him to remain in his service, and pays us what we
have expended on her.

We have built a small frigate at Nantes, which we hope to get away
soon, laden with supplies of various sorts. We meet with difficulties
too in shipping arms and ammunition in her, but hope they will be
surmounted. Several other vessels, some under the direction of Mr
Ross, others belonging to French merchants, are almost ready to sail
for America, and we had thoughts of sending them in a little fleet,
under convoy of the Raleigh, and Alfred, but on consultation,
considering the spies maintained by England in all the ports, and
thence the impossibility of making up such a fleet, without its being
known, so as to give time for a superior force to be in wait for it,
we concluded the chance better of their going off singly, as they
should be ready. In these vessels are clothes, ready made, for thirty
thousand men, besides arms, cloths, linens, and naval stores to a
great amount, bought up by us and Mr Ross. The private adventures will
also be very considerable. And as we shall continue our endeavor to
complete your orders, we hope that if the ships have common success in
passing, you will be better provided for the next campaign, than you
have been for any of the preceding.

How we are enabled to make these supplies, must be a matter of some
surprise to you, when you reflect that little or nothing from you has
been received by us, since what came by Captain Wickes, till now by
the arrival of the Amphitrite, and that the seeming uncertainty of
your public affairs has prevented hitherto our obtaining the loan
proposed. We have however found, or made some friends, who have
helped, and will, we are confident, continue to help us.

Being anxious for supporting the credit of Congress' paper money, we
procured a fund for payment of the interest of all the Congress had
proposed to borrow. And we mentioned in several of our letters, that
we should be ready to pay all bills drawn for the discharge of such
interest, to the full value in money of France, that is, five livres
for every dollar of interest due. We were persuaded, that thus fixing
the value of the interest would fix the value of the principal, and
consequently of the whole mass. We hope this will be approved, though
we have yet no answer. We cannot apply that fund to any other purpose,
and therefore wish to know as soon as may be, the resolution of
Congress upon it. Possibly none of those letters had reached you, or
your answers have miscarried; for the interruptions of our
correspondence have been very considerable. Adams, by whom we wrote
early this summer, was taken on this coast, having sunk his
despatches. We hear that Hammond shared the same fate on your coast.
Johnson, by whom we wrote in September, was taken, going out of the
channel, and poor Captain Wickes, who sailed at the same time, and had
duplicates, we just now hear foundered near Newfoundland, every man
perishing but the cook. This loss is extremely to be lamented, as he
was a gallant officer, and a very worthy man. Your despatches also,
which were coming by a small sloop from Morris's River, and by the
_Mere Bobie_ packet, were both sunk, on those vessels being boarded by
English men of war.

The Amphitrite's arrival, with a cargo of rice and indigo, near one
thousand barrels of the one, and twenty of the other, is a seasonable
supply to us for our support; we not having for some time past, (as
you will see by our former letters) any expectations of further
supplies from Mr Morris; and though we live here with as much
frugality as possible, the unavoidable expenses, and the continual
demands upon us for assistance to Americans, who escape from English
prisons, &c. &c. endangered our being brought to great difficulties
for subsistence. The freight of that ship too calls for an enormous
sum, on account of her long demurrage.

We begin to be much troubled with complaints of our armed vessels
taking the ships and merchandise of neutral nations. From Holland,
they complain of the taking of the sloop Chester, Captain Bray,
belonging to Rotterdam, by two privateers of Charleston, called the
Fair American and the Experiment; from Cadiz, of the taking the French
ship Fortune, Captain Kenguen, by the _Civil Usage_ privateer, having
on board Spanish property; and here, of the taking the Emperor of
Germany, from Cork, with beef, belonging to the marine of France, just
off the mouth of Bordeaux river. We send herewith the papers we have
received, and answers given, relating to those captures, and we
earnestly request, that if upon fair trials it shall appear that the
allegations are true, speedy justice may be done, and restitution made
to the reclaimants, it being of the utmost consequence to our affairs
in Europe, that we should wipe off the aspersions of our enemies, who
proclaim us every where as pirates, and endeavor to excite all the
world against us.

The Spanish affair has already had very ill effects at that Court, as
we learn by the return of the courier mentioned in our last. We have,
by letters to our correspondents at the several ports, done all in our
power to prevent such mischiefs for the future, a copy of which we
herewith send you. The European maritime powers embarrass themselves,
as well as us, by the double part their politics oblige them to act;
being in their hearts our friends, and wishing us success, they would
allow us every use of their ports consistent with their treaties, or
that we can make of them without giving open cause of complaint to
England; and it being so difficult to keep our privateers within those
bounds, we submit it to consideration, whether it would not be better
to forbear cruising on their coasts, and bringing prizes in here, till
an open war takes place, which, though by no means certain, seems
every now and then to be apprehended on both sides; witness among
other circumstances, the recall of their fishing ships by France, and
the king of England's late speech. In consequence of this embarrassed
conduct, our prizes cannot be sold publicly, of which the purchasers
take advantage in beating down the price, and sometimes the Admiralty
Courts are obliged to lay hold of them in consequence of orders from
Court, obtained by the English Ambassador. Our people, of course,
complain of this as unfriendly treatment; and as we must not
counteract the Court in the appearances they seem inclined to put on
towards England, we cannot set our folks right by acquainting them
with the essential services our cause is continually receiving from
this nation, and we are apprehensive, that resentment of that supposed
unkind usage may induce some of them to make reprisals, and thereby
occasion a deal of mischief. You will see some reason for this
apprehension, in the letter[45] from Captain Babson, which we send you
herewith, relating to their two prizes confiscated here for false
entries, and afterwards delivered up to the British, for which,
however, we have hopes of obtaining full satisfaction, having already
a promise of part.

The king of England's Speech blusters towards these kingdoms, as well
as towards us. He pretends to great resolution, both of continuing
this war, and of making two others, if they give him occasion. It is
conceived he will, with difficulty, find men and money for another
campaign of that already on his hands; and all the world sees it is
not for want of will, that he puts up with the daily known advantages
afforded us by his neighbors. They, however, we have reason to
believe, will not begin the quarrel as long as they can avoid it, nor
give us any open assistance of ships or troops. Indeed, we are scarce
allowed to know that they give us any aids at all, but are left to
imagine, if we please, that the cannon, arms, &c. which we have
received and sent, are the effects of private benevolence and
generosity. We have, nevertheless, the strongest reasons to confide,
that the same generosity will continue; and it leaves America the
glory of working out her deliverance by her own virtue and bravery, on
which, with God's blessing, we advise you chiefly to depend.

You will see by the papers, and a letter of intelligence from London,
that the continuance of the war is warmly condemned in Parliament, by
their wisest and best men in the debates on the Speech; but the old
corrupt majority continues to vote, as usual, with the Ministers. In
order to lessen their credit for the new loans, we have caused the
paper, which we formerly mentioned, to be translated and printed in
French and Dutch, by our agent in Holland. When it began to have a run
there, the Government forbad the further publication, but the
prohibition occasions it to be more sought after, read, and talked of.

The monument for General Montgomery is finished, and gone to Havre, in
nine cases, to lie for a conveyance. It is plain, but elegant, being
done by one of the best artists here, who complains that the three
hundred guineas allowed him is too little; and we are obliged to pay
the additional charges of package, &c. We see, in the papers, that you
have voted other monuments, but we have received no orders relating to
them.

The Raleigh and Alfred will be well fitted and furnished with every
thing they wanted, the Congress' part of the produce of their prizes
being nearly equal to their demands. Be pleased to present our dutiful
respects to the Congress, and assure them of our most faithful
services.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.


FOOTNOTES:

[45] Missing.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                             York, 1st December, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

As we wish the subject of this letter to be well attended to and
understood, we shall confine ourselves entirely to the business of
such French gentlemen as have returned without getting employment in
North America, and particularly those of Mons. Du Coudray's corps.
Whatever may be the clamor excited by discontent, we think that a
candid consideration of our circumstances, and what Congress have
really done, will fully justify them in the eyes of reasonable men. We
will observe, in the first place, that of all those who have returned,
not one came here at the request of Congress; that they have cost the
States a very large sum of money, and that the circumstances of
affairs would not permit any benefit to be drawn from them here.

It was necessary, previous to the opening of the campaign, that the
affairs of the army should be arranged, officers appointed, and every
thing systematically made ready for the serious business that was
approaching. At this time, it was not known by Congress or the
Commander in Chief, that such a character as Mons. Coudray (under such
agreements as he brought over with him) was to visit us. The best that
could be done was therefore undertaken, and General Knox, the father
of the American artillery, was appointed to that command, and all the
other divisions of the army were filled with Major Generals. In this
state of things arrived General Du Coudray, with an agreement by which
he was to command the artillery, and the greatest part of the Major
Generals of the army, by being of older commission. A plentiful crop
of resignations began presently to sprout up, and the whole army must
have been deranged and thrown into confusion, just in the opening of a
campaign, or this agreement not accorded to in the whole.

But Mons. Du Coudray would have every thing or nothing. An inflexible
ambition, that paid no regard to the situation and circumstances of
the army, would be gratified. This produced a scene of contention,
which was not ended when the unfortunate General was drowned in the
Schuylkill, going to join the army. Immediately on his death, the rest
of his corps would return to France, and in this disposition Congress
endeavored to render things as agreeable to them as possible, having
some regard to the interest of the public which they serve. It is very
true, that a concurrence of causes, such as the removal from
Philadelphia, the time that elapsed before business was gone regularly
into again, and the multiplicity of public affairs, did occasion some
delay in settling with these gentlemen; but this was a loss to the
community more than to them, because their pay was continued to the
last. And you will see by the papers enclosed, that ample allowances
have been made for their expenses to the shipping port, for passage to
France, and travel to Paris.

It has been already observed, that Mons. Du Coudray's desire could not
be complied with, without producing very injurious consequences. All
the other officers were offered admittance into the army, according to
the ranks stipulated for with Mr S. Deane; but to avoid certain
murmurs and discontent, by difference of pay in the army, they were
offered the pay and rations of continental officers of similar rank.
This they rejected; and when the mischief of a difference of pay was
removed by their determination to return to France, they were paid
their livres complete, with all their gratifications as agreed for,
their expenses and passages being also fully satisfied. Upon the
whole, we beg leave to refer you to the enclosed papers for more
minute information in this business, where we think you will find
documents sufficient to convince unprejudiced and reasonable men,
that Congress have done all they could, or ought in duty to the public
to have done, for the entire satisfaction of these gentlemen. And we
hope you will be enabled thereby to obviate any ill impressions, which
may be attempted to be made by some of these officers; we say by some,
because we believe the more reasonable among them are satisfied.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            R. H. LEE,
                                                            J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                              York, 2d December, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Since ours, of October the 31st, the enemy have by repeated efforts at
last overcome our defences on the Delaware below Philadelphia, and we
hear they have got up some vessels to the city. But we incline to
think they will yet be interrupted much in their operations on the
river, by the chevaux de frize and the cold weather. We are just
informed by General Gates, that the garrisons of Ticonderoga and Mount
Independence have destroyed the works and the buildings, and
precipitately retreated across Lake Champlain to Isle aux Noix and St
Johns, taking with them only the brass artillery, powder, and
provisions. The heavy stores they threw into the lake.

If the campaign should close at this period, (and if it does, it will
be for want of clothes and blankets, for both of which we are in great
distress, having received very few) the enemy will have little to
boast of. They began it with two armies, one of which has been
repeatedly beaten, and at length compelled to lay down its arms and
surrender on terms. The other, after various chances, in which fortune
more than any thing else has been its protection, has at length
possessed itself of Philadelphia. We say fortune has protected the
army of General Howe, and we have good reason for saying so, when the
fact is, that at the battle of Germantown the enemy were actually
defeated,[46] and accident alone prevented a total and irreparable
overthrow. It would have been otherwise had our young troops possessed
that calmness of discipline and self recollection, which is habitual
to veteran armies. The acquisition of Philadelphia, which Mr Howe
holds at present by a very precarious tenure, cannot have cost him in
the whole fewer than four thousand men, since they landed at the head
of Elk; and we know they have lost two ships of war before Fort
Mifflin, one a sixtyfour gun ship, the other a frigate.

General Washington's army, about eighteen thousand strong, is now
about fourteen miles from Philadelphia, and the enemy have fortified
themselves in the best manner they can, in and near the city, by
double lines from Delaware to Schuylkill, across the common. The
manoeuvres about New York exhibit proofs of apprehension for the
safety of that place, because the enemy have evacuated and destroyed
their post at Fort Independence above King's Bridge, and have drawn in
all their outposts to concentrate their strength, and secure, if they
can, their hold of the city of New York. We hope before the opening
of the next campaign, to put Hudson's River into a state inaccessible
to the enemy's ships of war, and thereby to render their enterprises
on that quarter extremely difficult and dangerous to them.

We have now given you an exact account of our military situation. With
respect to our civil state, we would acquaint you that Congress have
passed the confederation, and sent it to the different States, with
strong recommendations to give it speedy consideration and return.
Extensive taxation is also recommended, and seems to be universally
adopting. You will readily imagine, gentlemen, that our extensive
operations have produced great expense, as our inexperience in war has
not furnished us with that systematic economy, which is so necessary
and so well understood by European nations. We shall have emitted
twenty eight millions of dollars by the close of this year, exclusive
of Provincial currency. The quantity is too great, and of course the
quality is injured. The slow operations of taxes will not afford
adequate remedy, and the offer of sterling interest does not fill the
loan offices so quickly, as the necessary expenses call for supply. If
a loan of two millions sterling could be obtained, the high exchange
would enable Congress, by drawing on that fund, to call so large a
quantity of paper presently out of circulation, as to appreciate the
rest, and give time for taxation to work a radical cure. Without this
remedy of the evil, very pernicious consequences may follow ere long.

Our situation is rendered still worse by the impossibility of
supplying such products as America has largely in store, and which are
now greatly wanted in Europe, viz. tobacco, naval stores, rice,
indigo, &c. The great superiority of the enemy's naval fleet makes it
impossible to send those products in any quantity to sea, with a
tolerable prospect of safety. Thus we are prevented from sending you
the five thousand hogsheads of tobacco, which you have contracted for,
and which Congress has directed to be sent; although several thousands
have, for some time past, been purchased for payment of our debts in
France. The good intentions of our friends in that country are almost
entirely frustrated, by the exertions of the whole power of our
enemies by sea, to prevent our sending to, or receiving from Europe,
any thing whatever. A war in Europe would greatly and immediately
change the scene. The maritime force of France and Spain, with the
American cruisers, would quickly lessen the power of Great Britain in
the Western ocean, and make room for the reciprocal benefits of
commerce between us and our friends.

We have not been favored with a line from you since the 25th of May,
which we lament exceedingly, but of which we cannot complain, since we
doubt not but you have written, although we have not been so fortunate
as to receive your letters. We had reason from your promise to expect
a monthly packet, and this expectation prevented us from looking out
so early as we should have done for a vessel or two from ----. We have
heard, with pleasure, by means of Mr Carmichael, through Mr Bingham,
that Mr Lee had successfully accomplished his business at the Court of
Prussia.[47]

We remember that you informed us, the object which carried him to
Berlin was, besides procuring that Prince's acknowledgment of our
independence, obtaining open ports for our commerce, and the liberty
of selling our prizes therein. We hope the interference of that
powerful Prince will effectually prevent Russian or German
auxiliaries, from being sent hither by Great Britain.

As the Marine Committee have already sent some, and will order more,
of the continental ships of war to France under your directions,
permit us to suggest an expedition, which appears likely to benefit us
and distress the enemy. We are informed, that two or three well manned
frigates, despatched early in February, so as to arrive at the Island
of Mauritius in June, being provided with letters of credence, and for
such refreshments, or aid of stores, &c. as may be necessary from the
minister to the French Governor of that Island, may go thence to
cruise on the coast of Coromandel, twenty days sail from the Island of
Mauritius, where they will be in the way to intercept the China ships,
besides distressing the internal trade of India. The prizes may be
sold at Mauritius, and bills of exchange be remitted to you in Paris.
We would observe, that in passing to Mauritius our vessels had better
call at Goree, than at the Cape, to avoid the vigilance and the
apprehensions of the British cruisers. Another beneficial attempt may
be conducted along the coast of Africa. The French and Dutch
settlements, and perhaps the Portuguese, will purchase the prizes and
give bills on Europe.

We think your plan of getting one of the new constructed ships of war,
equal to one of sixty four guns, built for the use of these States in
Europe, is a very good one, and it may be employed to very beneficial
purposes. The heavy iron cannon, which you propose to send, will be
welcome for fortifications and for vessels; and here they cost
abundantly more than you can furnish them for from Europe, besides
the delay in getting them, which frequently distresses us greatly.
And surely your determination to supply us with materials wanted here
for shipbuilding, is very wise, since it is by marine force, that the
most destructive wound may be given to our enemies.

We are directed to point out proper ports into which the stores
mentioned in the resolve of Congress, of November tenth, may be
imported.[48] We are obliged to own, that the port of Charleston South
Carolina, and those to the eastward of Rhode Island, are the only safe
ones. We wish the number of manufacturers in lead and sulphur, had
been limited in that same resolve; but we place full confidence in
your discretion. We shall be glad to receive from you by the first
opportunity, a plan of the militia of Switzerland.

We close with a desire, that you will be pleased to attend to the
several matters contained in our former letters, copies of which do
not happen to be at hand.

We are, with much esteem, &c.

                                                            R. H. LEE,
                                                            J. LOVELL.


FOOTNOTES:

[46] This language is too strong. As the British kept possession of
the ground, they could hardly be said to have been defeated. They were
attacked with spirit, and for a time gave way to General Washington's
army.

[47] This was a mistake.

[48] The following resolve was passed in Congress, November 10th,
1777.

"_Resolved_, That the Committee of Foreign Affairs be directed to
write to the commissioners of the United States, in France and Spain,
to purchase and ship on continental account, in armed vessels, in
addition to what has heretofore been ordered by Congress, 500 tons of
lead, 400 tons of powder, one million of gun flints, tents for 50,000
men, and 10,000 yards of flannel for cartridges, to be sent to such
ports and places as the said committee shall direct; and that the
former orders of Congress, and of the commercial committee for
clothing, fire-arms, equipage, brass field-pieces, salt, and other
articles, and for 130,000 blankets, be completed as soon as may be;

"That the committee be also directed to write to the commissioners,
and instruct them to contract with, and send over, by different
conveyances, two or three persons, well acquainted with the making of
gun-flints, in order to instruct persons in that business, and
introduce into these States so useful a manufacture; likewise, three
or more proper persons, skilful in working lead mines and refining
lead ore, and three or more persons skilful in the discovery of
sulphur mines, and manufacturing and refining sulphur."

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Paris, 18th December, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Since our last, of November 30th, a copy of which is herewith sent
you, we received your despatches of October 6th, from Yorktown. They
came to us by a packet from Boston, which brought the great news of
Burgoyne's defeat and surrender; news that apparently occasioned as
much general joy in France, as if it had been a victory of their own
troops over their own enemies, such is the universal, warm, and
sincere good will and attachment to us and our cause in this nation.

We took the opportunity of pressing the ministry, by a short memorial,
to the conclusion of our proposed treaty, which had so long been under
their consideration, and been from time to time postponed. A meeting
was had accordingly, on Friday the 12th instant, in which some
difficulties were mentioned and removed, some explications asked and
given, to satisfaction. As the concurrence of Spain is necessary, we
were told that a courier should be despatched the next day to obtain
it, which we are since assured was done, and in three weeks from the
time the answer was expected.

On signifying to the ministry the importance it might be of, at this
juncture, when probably Britain would be making some propositions of
accommodation, that the Congress should be informed explicitly what
might be expected from France and Spain, M. Gerard, one of the
secretaries, came yesterday to inform us, by order of the king, that
after long and full consideration of our affairs and propositions, in
council, it was decided, and his majesty was determined to acknowledge
our independence, and make a treaty with us of amity and commerce;
that in this treaty no advantage would be taken of our present
situation, to obtain terms from us, which otherwise would not be
convenient for us to agree to; his majesty desiring that the treaty,
once made, should be durable, and our amity subsist forever; which
could not be expected, if each nation did not find its interest in the
continuance, as well as in the commencement of it. It was therefore
his intention, that the terms of the treaty should be such as we might
be willing to agree to, if our State had been long since established,
and in the fulness of strength and power, and such as we shall approve
of when that time shall come. That his majesty was fixed in his
determination, not only to acknowledge, but to support, our
independence, by every means in his power. That in doing this, he
might, probably, soon be engaged in a war, with all the expenses,
risks, and damages, usually attending it, yet he should not expect any
compensation from us on that account, nor pretend that he acted wholly
for our sakes; since, besides his real good will to us and our cause,
it was manifestly the interest of France, that the power of England
should be diminished by our separation from it. He should, moreover,
not so much as insist, that if he engaged in a war with England on our
account, we should not make a separate peace; he would have us be at
full liberty to make a peace for ourselves, whenever good and
advantageous terms were offered to us. The only condition he should
require and rely on would be this, that we, in no peace to be made
with England, should give up our independence, and return to the
obedience of that government. That as soon as the courier returned
from Spain, with the concurrence expected, the affair would be
proceeded in and concluded; and of this we might give the Congress the
strongest assurances in our despatches, only cautioning them to keep
the whole, for the present, a dead secret, as Spain had three reasons
for not immediately declaring; her money fleet not yet come home; her
Brazil army and fleet the same; and her peace with Portugal not yet
quite completed; but these obstacles would, probably, soon be removed.

We answered, that in what had been communicated to us we perceived,
and admired equally the king's magnanimity and his wisdom; that he
would find us faithful and firm allies, and we wished, with his
majesty, that the amity between the two nations might be eternal. And,
mentioning that republics were usually steady in their engagements,
for instance, the Swiss cantons, the Secretary remarked, that France
had been as steady with regard to them, two hundred years having
passed since their first alliance for fifty years had commenced, which
had been renewed from time to time; and such had been her uniform good
faith toward them, that, as it appeared in the last renewal, the
Protestant cantons were free from their ancient prejudices and
suspicions, and joined readily with the rest in the league of which we
herewith send you a copy.

It is sometime since we obtained a promise of an additional aid of
three million of livres, which we shall receive in January. Spain, we
are told, will give an equal sum; but finding it inconvenient to
remit it here, she purposes sending it from the Havanna, in specie, to
the Congress. What we receive here will help to get us out of debt.
Our vessels laden with supplies have, by various means, been delayed,
particularly by fear of falling into the hands of the British cruising
ships, which swarm in the bay and channel. At length, it is resolved
that they shall sail together, as they are all provided for defence,
and we have obtained a king's ship to convoy them out of the channel,
and we hope quite to America. They will carry, we think, to the amount
of seventy thousand pounds sterling, and sail in a few days.

Also, in consideration of the late frequent losses of our despatches,
and the importance of the present, we have applied for, and obtained a
frigate to carry them.

These extraordinary favors, of a nature provoking to Great Britain,
are marks of the sincerity of this Court, and seem to demand the
thanks of the Congress. We have accepted five bills, drawn on us by
the President, in favor of some returned officers, and shall pay them
punctually. But, as we receive no remittances for our support, and the
cargo in the Amphitrite is claimed from us by M. Beaumarchais, and we
are not certain that we can keep it, we hope Congress will be sparing
in their drafts, except for the interest mentioned in our former
letters, of which we now repeat the assurances of payment; otherwise,
we may be much embarrassed, and our situation rendered very
uncomfortable.

It is said, the French Ambassador at London has desired to be
recalled, being affronted there, where the late news from America has
created a violent ferment. There is also a talk here of Lord
Stormont's recall. The stocks in England fall fast, and, on both
sides, there is every appearance of an approaching war. Being
informed, by the concurring reports of many who had escaped, that our
people, prisoners in England, are treated with great inhumanity, we
have written a letter of expostulation on that subject to Lord North,
which is sent over by a person express, whom we have instructed to
visit the prisoners, and, (under the directions of Mr Hartley) to
relieve as much as may be the most necessitous. We shall hereafter
acquaint you with the result.

The expenses we are put to by those who get to us are very
considerable. The supplies now going out from hence, and what we have
sent, and are sending from Spain, though far short of your orders,
(which we have executed as far as we are able) will, we hope, with
private adventures encouraged by us and others, put you into pretty
good circumstances as to clothing, arms, &c. if they arrive, and we
shall continue to send, as ability and opportunity may permit.

Please to present our duty to the Congress, and believe us, with
sincere esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                             York, 12th January, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Not having received any letters from you since the 26th of May, we
were severely chagrined yesterday, upon the arrival of Captain John
Folger, who, under the name of despatches from the Commissioners at
Paris, delivered only an enclosure of clean paper, with some familiar
letters, none of which contained any political intelligence. You will
see, by the within examination of Folger, that he was by no means a
discreet person, fit to have the charge of what you trusted to him;
but we cannot yet prove that he was wilfully connected with the
robbers of the packet. The paper referred to by the letter A, in the
examination, was a plain cover to plain paper, which had been put in
the place of an enclosure, probably very interesting, sent with the
public ledgers to R. H. Lee.

We shall endeavor to find whether the roguery was committed after
Folger left France; but we must depend upon you to trace the
circumstances from the time of your sealing, till that of his
embarking.

Congress have sent to Governor Caswell to explain the part he is said
to have taken in the affair, and to examine the Ship-Captain and the
two passengers. Should the Governor confirm Folger's narrative, so as
to make his veracity less problematical than at present, his
confinement may be rendered easier to him, but he must not be quite
discharged till we hear from you. There ought to be the greatest
caution used with regard to the characters of all those persons, who
are confidentially employed by you. The connexion which Folger has had
since he left America with persons in England, and on the voyage to
Falkland's Isles, cannot be thought favorable to our interest, if his
own family and native place are so. We shall only add on this subject,
that Folger, upon recollection, asserts, that the largest packet
delivered to him at Havre de Grace was directed, "Despatches for
Captain Folger," and he laments that he did not himself open it
before he sailed. If this circumstance is true, it accounts for
Governor Caswell's opening the packet.

We are, with much regard, &c.

                                                       J. WITHERSPOON,
                                                       J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                            Paris, 16th January, 1778.

  Sir,

As it is not in our power to procure you such a ship as you expected,
we advise you, after equipping the Ranger in the best manner for the
cruise you propose, that you proceed with her in the manner you shall
judge best for distressing the enemies of the United States by sea, or
otherwise, consistent with the laws of war and the terms of your
Commission. If you take prizes on the coast of France or Spain, send
them into Bilboa, or Corogne, unless you should apprehend the danger
too great, in which case we advise you to send them either into
L'Orient or Bordeaux, directing the officers, who may have them in
charge, to apply at L'Orient to M. Moylan, or M. Goulade, and at
Bordeaux to Messrs Samuel & T. H. Delap, and inform us immediately of
their arrival and situation. If you send to Spain, or should put into
the ports of that kingdom, apply at Bilboa to Messrs Gardoqui & Sons;
at Corogne to Messrs Leagonere & Co.

If you make an attempt on the coast of Great Britain, we advise you
not to return immediately into the ports of France, unless forced by
stress of weather, or the pursuit of the enemy, and in such case you
must make the proper representation to the officers of the port, and
acquaint us with your situation. We rely on your ability, as well as
your zeal to serve the United States, and therefore do not give
particular instructions as to your operations. We must caution you
against giving any cause of complaint to the subjects of France, or
Spain, or of other neutral powers, and recommend it to you to show
them every mark of respect and real civility, which may be in your
power.

You will communicate to your officers and seamen the encouragement we
have given them, and explain to them, that though it was not in our
power to be particular as to the rewards they should be entitled to,
yet they may safely rely on the justice of the Congress. Before you
sail, it will be proper to settle with Mr Williams the account of your
disbursements, and send the account up to us.

We most sincerely wish you success, and are, with much esteem, Sir,
your most obedient and very humble servants.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                             York, 21st January, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

We mean in this letter to give you a succinct view of the state of our
military affairs. You must, long before this reaches you, have been
made acquainted with the signal success of the American arms in the
northern department, particularly the several engagements in that
quarter previous to the surrender of General Burgoyne and his whole
army to General Gates. Since that time, Ticonderoga and Mount
Independence have been evacuated by the enemy, so that the whole of
that department is now in our possession. The Indians are perfectly
quiet, and we have lately received intelligence, that those formerly
in the interest of our enemies incline to our side, as also, that the
inhabitants of Canada, where the enemy have but small force, are in
general much disposed to favor us. General Burgoyne and his troops are
now near Boston; and on account of several very exceptionable parts of
his conduct, Congress have resolved, that he shall not be suffered to
depart, till the convention of Saratoga is ratified by the Court of
London.

A part of the enemy's army is still in possession of Newport, in Rhode
Island. An expedition intended to dispossess them of that place, on
account of some mistakes and neglect of those who were to make the
proper preparations for it, was obliged to be laid aside, but we
expect it will sometime hence be resumed.

As to the armies in this State, General Howe is still in Philadelphia,
but possesses no part of the country round it. General Washington's
army is in huts to the westward of Schuylkill, refreshing and
recruiting during the winter; and it is in contemplation to call in a
number of militia to attempt to expel Howe before he can be reinforced
in the spring. A part of our army is stationed at Wilmington, and
they, with the militia on both sides of the river, have been very
successful in taking several of the enemy's vessels since the winter
set in. A committee of Congress is just going off to the army, to
assist in regulating it for the next campaign, and to concert measures
for the most early and vigorous operations.

Copies of newspapers, and the proceedings of Congress relating to the
convention of Saratoga, are sent to you by this conveyance, besides
which, we hope you will have the advantage of information from Mr
Adams in person.

We are, with much regard, &c.

                                                       J. WITHERSPOON,
                                                       J. LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Passy, 8th February, 1778.

  Sir,

We have now the great satisfaction of acquainting you and the
Congress, that the treaties with France are at length completed and
signed. The first is a treaty of amity and commerce, much on the plan
of that projected in Congress;[49] the other is a treaty of alliance,
in which it is stipulated, that in case England declares war against
France, or occasions a war by attempts to hinder her commerce with us,
we should then make common cause of it, and join our forces, and
councils, &c. The great aim of this treaty is declared to be to
"establish the liberty, sovereignty, and independency, absolute and
unlimited, of the United States, as well in matters of government as
commerce;" and this is guarantied to us by France, together with all
the countries we possess, or shall possess at the conclusion of the
war; in return for which the States guaranty to France, all its
possessions in America. We do not now add more particulars, as you
will soon have the whole by a safer conveyance, a frigate being
appointed to carry our despatches. We only observe to you, and with
pleasure, that we have found throughout this business, the greatest
cordiality in this Court; and that no advantage has been taken, or
attempted to be taken of our present difficulties, to obtain hard
terms from us; but such has been the King's magnanimity and goodness,
that he has proposed none which we might not readily have agreed to in
a state of full prosperity and established power. The principle laid
down as the basis of the treaty, being as declared in the preamble,
"the most perfect equality and reciprocity," the privileges in trade,
&c. are mutual, and none are given to France, but what we are at
liberty to grant to any other nation.

On the whole, we have abundant reason to be satisfied with the good
will of this Court, and of the nation in general, which we therefore
hope will be cultivated by the Congress, by every means which may
establish the Union, and render it permanent. Spain being slow, there
is a separate and secret clause, by which she is to be received into
the alliance, upon requisition, and there is no doubt of the event.
When we mention the good will of this nation to our cause, we may add
that of all Europe, which having been offended by the pride and
insolence of Britain, wishes to see its power diminished; and all who
have received injuries from her, are, by one of the articles, to be
invited into our alliance. The preparations for war are carried on
with immense activity, and it is soon expected.

With our hearty congratulations, and our duty to the Congress, we have
the honor to be very respectfully, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE.


FOOTNOTES:

[49] This _plan of a treaty_ is contained at length in the _Secret
Journals of Congress_, Vol. II. p. 7. It is accompanied with a draft
of instructions to the commissioners, who were to propose it, in which
modifications are suggested.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Passy, February 16th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

We have now the pleasure of sending you the treaties of amity and
alliance, which France completed after long deliberation, and signed
the 6th instant. This is an event, which will give our States such an
appearance of stability, as must strengthen our credit, encourage
other powers in Europe to ally themselves with us, weaken the hopes of
our internal as well as our external enemies, fortify our friends, and
be in many other respects so advantageous to us, that we congratulate
you upon it most heartily. And we flatter ourselves, that the Congress
will approve of the terms, and despatch the ratifications as soon as
possible.

It is understood that Spain is shortly to accede to the same treaties.
We have in ours of December 18th, mentioned the reasons of her delay,
which still subsist, but will probably not subsist much longer. These
treaties continue a secret here, and may do so till the commencement
of the war, which is daily expected. Our little fleet formerly
mentioned, which has been long watched and detained in Nantes' river,
by the English cruising off Belisle, is now on the point of sailing
under the convoy of a French squadron. As the English are pretty
strong in the Bay, it is probable that their attack, and the French
defence of our ships, may be the prelude of a Declaration on both
sides.

Having received part of the 3,000,000 livres we formerly mentioned to
you, we have furnished Mr W. Lee, and Mr Izard with 2,000 guineas each
for the expenses of the missions to Germany and Italy. And as we have
received intimations from Holland, that the appearance of one of us
there might at this juncture have good effects, we have resumed the
purpose formerly communicated to you, and as soon as our treaty with
France is known, and the winter over, probably either Mr Deane or Mr
Franklin will make a journey thither.

But as we apprehend it may be known here, by some means or other,
should we furnish the expense of these embassies out of the aids
received from this Court, which we think not reputable to the
Congress, we must again press you to make us the necessary remittances
to replace what we have borrowed from the fund destined for your
supplies. And particularly we pray more earnestly, that you would
forward as soon as possible the 5,000 hhds of tobacco for the
Farmers-General, who will soon be in want of it, and who long since
advanced us a million for your use. Our honor is concerned in the
fulfilment of this contract.

The seizing and delivering up to the English two prizes taken by
Captain Babson, on account of their being illegally entered under a
false declaration, made a good deal of noise among our people in the
ports, and gave unfavorable impressions of the friendship of this
Court, which possibly may extend to America. We think it therefore
necessary to inform you, that though the confiscation of these prizes
on the above account, is _said to be_ agreeable to the laws here, yet
the king, after a condemnation, had the power of disposing of the
produce, for what purpose, political or otherwise, he might think
proper, and accordingly restored it at this juncture, perhaps
usefully, to the English claimants. Yet as it is thought a hard case
with respect to the captors, a beginning is made of indemnification,
and we hope on the same principle on which we are to receive soon a
part, 50,000, we shall be able in time to recover the whole.

We have, to avoid disputes at a particular time, delivered up the
cargo brought by the Amphitrite to M. Beaumarchais. We hear he has
sent over a person to demand a great sum of you on account of arms,
ammunition, &c. We think it will be best for you to leave the demand
to be settled by us here, as there is a mixture in it of public and
private concern, which you cannot so well develop.

We send you herewith a great many newspapers; you will see Lord
North's only answer to our application about the prisoners; as also
the success of a subscription set on foot in England by our friends
for their relief. They are at present pretty comfortably provided for.

By our late advices from England, the ministers began to be alarmed
for their country and perhaps for themselves. Some of their emissaries
have been here to sound us, and endeavor to get from some of us
propositions on which to found a treaty; which we evaded generally, as
not being empowered to make any; and apprehending withal, that even
reasonable ones, proposed by us, might be used improperly by the
ministry to exasperate, instead of conciliating the pride of the
nation, choosing still to consider us as subjects. Many of the
speakers in parliament of both Houses seem to look upon a French war
at this juncture, when so much of their force is abroad, and their
public credit so shaken, as immediate ruin. And we are assured by the
last post, from good authority, that even Lord Mansfield, who in the
beginning of this business was so valiant, spoke lately in private to
Lord Camden of the absolute necessity of an immediate coalition of
parties, to prevent the great impending danger to the nation, from an
alliance between the House of Bourbon and the Americans, which he
said he had good information was on the point of being concluded.

We have the honor of being, with the highest esteem, Gentlemen, your
most obedient humble servants.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Passy, 28th February, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Our despatches of December 18th, which would have acquainted you with
the state of our affairs here, and our expectations of a speedy
conclusion of the treaties with this Court, are unfortunately
returned; the French man of war, which went on purpose to carry them,
having met with some disasters at sea, which obliged her to put back,
after a long struggle of six weeks against contrary winds. We now have
obtained another ship to sail with them immediately, and with our
fresh despatches, containing the treaties themselves, which were
happily concluded and signed the 6th instant, though hitherto, for
some political reasons, kept a secret from the public.

The English Parliament adjourned in December for six weeks. During
that time, their ministers strained every nerve to raise men for their
armies, intending to continue the war with vigor. Subscriptions were
set on foot to aid Government in the expense, and they flattered
themselves with being able to enlist ten thousand volunteers; but
whether they found this impracticable, or were discouraged by later
accounts from America, or had some intimations of our treaties here,
their vaunts and threats are suddenly abated, and on the 17th Lord
North made a long discourse, acknowledging the errors of their former
conduct in the war with America, and proposing to obtain peace, by the
means of two bills, of which we enclose copies.

We make no remarks on these bills. The judgment of the Congress can be
at no loss in determining on the conduct necessary to be held with
regard to them. And we are confident, that they will not answer the
purpose of _dividing_ in order to _subjugate_, for which they are
evidently intended. Our States have now a solid support for their
liberty and independence in their alliance with France, which will be
certainly followed by that of Spain, and the whole House of Bourbon,
and probably by that of Holland, and the other powers of Europe, who
are interested in the freedom of commerce, and in keeping down the
power of Britain. Our people are happy in the enjoyment of their new
constitutions of Government, and will be so in their extended trade
and navigation, unfettered by English arts and Custom-house officers.
They will now never relish the Egyptian bondage, from which they have
so happily escaped. A long peace will probably be the consequence of
their separation from England, as they have no cause of quarrel with
other nations; an immediate war with France and Spain, if they join
again with England, and a share in all her future wars, her debts, and
her crimes. We are, therefore, persuaded that their commissioners will
be soon dismissed, if at all received; for the sooner the decided part
taken by Congress is known in Europe, the more extended and stable
will be their credit, and their conventions with other powers more
easy to make, and more advantageous.

Americans are every where in France treated with respect and every
appearance of affection. We think it would be well to advise our
people in all parts of America, to imitate this conduct with regard to
the French, who may happen to be among us. Every means should be used
to remove ancient prejudices, and cultivate a friendship that must be
so useful to both nations. Some transactions here, during the last
four or five months, in the rigorous observance of treaties, with
regard to the equipments of our armed vessels in the ports, and the
selling of our prizes, have no doubt made ill impressions on the minds
of our seamen and traders, relative to the friendship of this Court.
We were then obliged to observe a secrecy, which prevented our
removing those prejudices, by acquainting our people with the
substantial aids France was privately affording us; and we must
continue in the same situation, till it is thought fit to publish the
treaties. But we can, with pleasure, now acquaint you that we have
obtained full satisfaction, viz. 400,000 livres for the owners of the
prizes confiscated here, for a breach of the laws by a false
declaration, (they being entered as coming from Eustatia) and the
payment will be made to the owners in America. We mean the prizes
taken by Captains Babson and Hendricks, in the Boston and Hancock
privateers, which prizes, after confiscation, were, from reasons of
state, restored to the English. This is a fresh proof of the good will
and generosity of this Court, and their determination to cultivate the
friendship of America.

The preparations for war continue in the ports with the utmost
industry; and troops are marching daily to the sea-coasts, where three
camps are to be formed. As France is determined to protect her
commerce with us, a war is deemed inevitable.

Mr William Lee, we suppose, acquaints you with the decease of Mr
Morris, his colleague in the commercial agency. On our application to
the ministry, an order was obtained to put Mr Lee in possession of his
papers. If that department has been found useful, and likely to
continue so, you will no doubt appoint one or more persons to take
care of the business, as Mr Lee has now another destination. Perhaps
the general commerce, likely to be soon opened between Europe and
America, may render such an appointment unnecessary.

We would just add, for the consideration of Congress, whether
considering the mention of Bermudas in one of the articles, it may not
be well to take possession, with the consent of the inhabitants of
that island, and fortify the same as soon as possible, and also to
reduce some, or all of the English fishing posts in or near
Newfoundland.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          SILAS DEANE,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

      FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM BINGHAM.

                                                 York, 2d March, 1778.

  Sir,

The Committee of Secret Correspondence, which almost a year ago was
denominated the "Committee for Foreign Affairs," stands indebted to
you for many letters, both of interesting advice and ingenious
speculation. Happening to be the only member of that Committee at this
time present in Yorktown, I now take up my pen, not to form apologies
for their long past silence, so much as to make a beginning of the act
of justice due to you. I really fear that the collected ingenuity of
the members will be put to it to offer, for a main excuse, any thing
better than that they relied upon your getting frequent intelligence
of the state of our affairs from the Commercial Committee. In short,
sir, I am so deeply concerned with the gentlemen in this affair, that
I know what they ought to do; and I am so well acquainted with their
just manner of thinking, that I will venture to confess in their name,
that their past omission of corresponding with you, is, in a
considerable measure, unaccountable. It is certainly better to step
forward towards a man of candor, in the straight line of honest
confession, than in the zigzag track of awkward apology.

Your letters, exclusive of their intrinsic merit, have been more
peculiarly acceptable to Congress, from the circumstance of our having
been deprived of the satisfaction of receiving intelligence from the
hands of our Commissioners in Paris since May of last year. Besides
those of their despatches, which have been lost at sea, we know one
has been examined and culled by some perfidious villain, who
substituted plain sheets of paper for the real letters of our friends.
This was probably done in Europe, before the bearer of it, a Captain
John Folger, embarked with it for America.

Your ideas of the policy of the Court of Versailles appear quite just,
from the corroborating testimony of whatever information we can
collect in any way.

The course of Gazettes, which accompany this, will so well communicate
our home affairs, that I shall not enlarge upon them. I will only say,
in brief, that you may rest assured, independence is so absolutely
adopted by America, as to leave no hope for Britain that we shall ever
relinquish our claim. It must, therefore, be only to delude her own
islanders and neighbors, that she pretends to expect the contrary.

In addition to the misfortune which you mention respecting the
Lexington, we are told of a greater, and one which will more
intimately affect you, respecting the Reprisal, which is said to have
foundered on the 1st of October. Your acquaintance with Captain Wickes
will lead you to lament greatly the loss of so valuable an officer and
so worthy a man. I enclose you a list of your letters as they came to
hand, both for your own satisfaction and to command your belief of my
regard for you, as a faithful corresponding agent, and of my
professions of being, Sir, &c.

                               JAMES LOVELL,
                               _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   M. GERARD TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                         Versailles, March 17th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I am charged to acquaint you, that you will be presented to the King
next Friday, if you will have the goodness to render yourselves here
at ten o'clock in the morning. Count de Vergennes hopes you will do
him the honor to dine with him on the same day.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, &c.

                                                               GERARD.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                               York, 24th March, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I cannot consent to omit this opportunity of addressing a few lines to
you, though the state of our military operations affords nothing
material.

The manners of the continent are too much affected by the depreciation
of our currency; scarce an officer, civil or military, but feels
something of a desire to be concerned in mercantile speculation, from
finding that his salary is inadequate to the harpy demands, which are
made upon him for the necessaries of life, and from observing, that
but little skill is necessary to constitute one of the merchants of
these days. We are almost a continental tribe of Jews; but I hope
heaven has not yet discovered such a settled profligacy in us as to
cast us off, even for a year. Backward as we may be at this moment in
our preparations, the enemy is not in a condition to expect more
success in the coming, than in former campaigns. We have the debates
of the British Parliament to December 5th, and perceive that the old
game is playing, called Reconciliation. Depend upon it, they are
duping themselves only.

Yesterday a private letter from Doctor Franklin, dated October 7th,
was presented, containing the only political intelligence which Folger
brought safe with him, viz. "Our affairs, so far as relates to this
country, are every day more promising." This, with a letter from Mr
Barnabus Deane, who tells us his brother apologized for his brevity,
by saying he was "sending an important packet to Congress," is all the
explanation we have of the nature of your despatches, of which we
were robbed. I enclose a list, by which you will see the breaks in our
correspondence. I send a pamphlet which contains, I hope, the general
ideas of America in regard to what Britain may be tempted, foolishly,
to call her successes.

We think it strange, that the Commissioners did not jointly write by
M. de Francy, considering the very important designs of his coming
over, to settle the mode of payment for the past cargoes sent by
_Roderique Hortalez & Co._ and to make contracts for the future. It is
certain that much eclaircissement is at this late moment wanting. But
I dare not enlarge, for fear of losing this sudden good opportunity.

I therefore close, with assurances of the most affectionate respect,
gentlemen, your very humble servant,

                               JAMES LOVELL,
                               _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO M. DUMAS.

                                              Paris, April 10th, 1778.

  Sir,

The within letter to you is so written, that you may show it on
occasion. We send enclosed a proposed draught of a letter to the Grand
Pentionary, but as we are unacquainted with forms, and may not exactly
have hit your idea with regard to the matter and expression, we wish
you would consult with our friends upon it, and return it with the
necessary corrections.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRAFT OF A PROPOSED LETTER FROM THE COMMISSIONERS TO THE GRAND
                             PENTIONARY.

  Sir,

We have the honor of acquainting your Excellency, that the United
States of North America, being now an independent power, and
acknowledged as such by this Court, a treaty of amity and commerce is
completed between France and the said United States, of which we shall
speedily send your Excellency a copy, to be communicated, if you think
proper, to their High Mightinesses, for whom the United States have
the greatest respect, and the strongest desire that a good
understanding may be cultivated, and a mutually beneficial commerce
established between the people of the two nations, which, as will be
seen, there is nothing in the above mentioned treaty to prevent or
impede.

We have the honor to be, with great respect, your Excellency's, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO M. DUMAS.

                                              Passy, April 10th, 1778.

  Sir,

We received your despatch of the 3d instant, and approve very much the
care and pains you constantly take in sending us the best intelligence
of foreign affairs. We have now the pleasure of acquainting you, that
Mr John Adams, a member of Congress, appointed to succeed Mr Deane in
this commission, is safely arrived here. He came over in the Boston, a
frigate of 30 guns, belonging to the United States. In the passage
they met and made prize of a large English letter of marque ship of 14
guns, the Martha, bound to New York, on whose cargo £70,000 sterling
were insured in London. It contains abundance of necessaries for
America, whither she is despatched, and we hope she will get well into
one of our ports.

Mr Adams acquaints us, that it had been moved in Congress to send a
minister to Holland, but that although there was the best disposition
towards that country, and desire to have and maintain a good
understanding with their High Mightinesses, and a free commerce with
their subjects, the measure was respectfully postponed for the
present, till their sentiments on it could be known, from an
apprehension, that possibly their connexions with England might make
the receiving an American minister as yet inconvenient, and (if
Holland should have the same good will towards us) a little
embarrassing. Perhaps, as our independency begins to wear the
appearance of greater stability, since our acknowledged alliance with
France, that difficulty may be lessened. Of this, we wish you to take
the most prudent methods privately to inform yourself. It seems
clearly to be the interest of Holland to share in the rapidly growing
commerce of their young sister republic, and as, in the love of
liberty, and bravery in defence of it, she has been our great example,
we hope circumstances and constitutions, in many respects so similar,
may produce mutual benevolence, and that the unfavorable impressions
made on the minds of some in America, by the rigor with which supplies
of arms and ammunition were refused them in their distress, may soon
be worn off and obliterated by a friendly intercourse and reciprocal
good offices.

When Mr Adams left America, which was about the middle of February,
our affairs were daily improving, our troops well supplied with arms
and provisions, and in good order, and the army of General Burgoyne
being detained for breaches of the capitulation, we had in our hands
above 10,000 prisoners of the enemy.

We are, Sir, your most obedient humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO MR. JOHN ROSS.

                                              Passy, April 13th, 1778.

  Sir,

The papers you mention are in the disposition of Mr William Lee, who
is gone to Germany. It is therefore not in our power to comply with
what you desire. Neither are we able to make you any further advances.
We wish you would send us, with all convenient expedition, copies of
the invoices and bills of lading for those goods, which were paid for
with the money we formerly furnished you. We do not think it within
our province to make an entire settlement with you. The money in Mr
Schweighauser's hands, which you say is under the direction and order
of Mr R. Morris, ought to be disposed of according to those orders.
The trade being now free from this country, it seems improper to us to
give the passports you ask.

We are, Sir, your most obedient servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

_P. S._ Mr William Lee is at Frankfort, where a letter from you may
possibly find him, but his stay there is very uncertain.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM BINGHAM, AT
                             MARTINIQUE.

                                               York, 16th April, 1778.

  Sir,

Herewith you have a copy of what I did myself the pleasure of writing
to you, on the 2d of last month; since which time we have received
your favors of January 14th and 26th, February 8th and 21st. Your
draft of £23,554. 9s. 9d. in favor of the Secret (now Commercial)
Committee, has been duly paid. The four first charges in your account
current, like many other sums on similar occasions here, have been
expended to no sort of profit to the Continent; but I hope we have
seen the last of such expenses. Your situation must have been very
disagreeable indeed, in consequence of the failure of remittances from
hence. Large quantities of tobacco have been long stored; but our bays
and coasts are so infested by the enemy's ships of war, that it is
impossible for us to conduct agreeably to our earnest wishes, of
maintaining the best credit in our commercial concerns abroad. It is
probable, that a commercial board, not members of Congress, will be
very soon established; so that the whole time of the conductors may be
spent in exertions for the public benefit, in that branch of
Continental business.

The want of intelligence from our Commissioners at Paris, makes it
improper for us to draw largely on them at present; therefore, you
must content yourself with the economical bounds of the power, which
is given to you by the within resolve of Congress of this day. Be
assured, that all possible attempts will be made for your relief, by
remittances of our produce.

I find it impossible to convey to you anything of a plan of operations
for this campaign. The enemy, having the sea open to them, must have
the lead in military matters; we must oppose, or follow them, just as
they think fit, either to attempt an advance or to retire. It is
hardly probable they will again attack New England without large
reinforcements.

Our correspondent at the Hague is very regular, but his intelligence
is never in season to form the ground of any of our proceedings. We
have packets from him in continuance to the letter Y, December 16th,
though our Commissioners have not been able to convey one safely since
May last. It is strange that they cannot succeed through you. But,
indeed, you appear also to know but little of them.

Mr Deane being wanted here, Mr John Adams sailed the 17th of February,
to take his place at the Court of Versailles. It is probable you will
hear of his arrival before this reaches you. It seems needless to
desire you to give us early notice of that, and other foreign
intelligence. Your usual punctuality needed not the spur of the
information, which I have given you of our present great ignorance of
the situation and transactions of the gentlemen at Paris.

I am, with much regard, your friend and humble servant,

                               JAMES LOVELL,
                               _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                               York, 16th April, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

This, with my affectionate wishes for your prosperity, may serve to
acquaint you, that Congress has this day resolved, "That William
Bingham, agent for the United States of America, now resident in
Martinique, be authorised to draw Bills of Exchange, at double usance,
on the Commissioners of the United States at Paris, for any sums not
exceeding in the whole one hundred thousand livres tournois, to enable
him to discharge debts by him contracted on account of the said
States, for which draft he is to be accountable." Mr Bingham will
forward the American Gazettes, with this billet of advice, and tell
you why we have enabled him to draw upon you, when we have stores of
produce in magazines for exportation. He will also inform you of our
anxiety to know something of your proceedings and prospects, an
uncommon fatality having attended your despatches ever since the month
of May last.

I am, with much esteem, &c.

                                                  JAMES LOVELL,
                                                  _For the Committee_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                             Translation.

                                         Versailles, April 26th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have received your letter of the 20th instant, accompanied by the
translation of the representations addressed to you by the American
Commissioners, relative to the fears of the merchants of Bordeaux and
Nantes, who have hitherto transacted business with America, and by
the request of the Commissioners, with regard to the protection of
that commerce. For nearly a month, the French coast along the Bay of
Biscay, and a part of that on the channel, have been guarded by twenty
frigates and corvettes distributed in the open sea, as well as along
the entrances of harbors and rivers. Those stationed at the latter
places, take under their protection the French and American ships
which sail from those points, and convoy them beyond the Capes. If
they meet any vessels inward bound, they convoy them to the entrance
of the harbors.

The frigates stationed further out at sea, are employed in chasing
away the Guernsey and Jersey privateers, which are a great
interruption to commerce. The same orders have been issued in the
Colonies, where the frigates there stationed convoy the French and
American vessels from the coasts. The reports made to me assure me,
that these orders are promptly executed, and that the protection is
extended as fully to American as to French vessels. You will agree
with me, that this kind of protection is for the present the only one,
which it is possible to give to commerce; and that convoys to America
would be impracticable under present circumstances, and are always
insecure, and subject to great inconveniences. To protect the coasts,
to assure a free access to the harbors, to remove the privateers, and
afford a convoy beyond the Capes; these aids commerce requires, and
has a right to expect, and they have long since been provided by the
orders of his Majesty. The Commissioners cannot reasonably complain
when in this respect the American vessels are on an equal footing with
those of his Majesty's subjects.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

      FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM BINGHAM.

                                               York, 26th April, 1778.

  Sir,

Herewith you have in triplicate and copy of my former letters. I now
send you the proceedings of Congress upon an appearance of the
draughts of two bills, said to have been read to the British
Parliament. Since Congress took notice of them, Governor Tryon has
sent out from New York copies of them, with greater marks of
authenticity than those bore which first came to hand. He certifies,
that he "has his Majesty's command to cause them to be printed and
dispersed, that the people at large may be acquainted with the
contents, and of the favorable disposition of Great Britain towards
the American Colonies." I will not attempt to lead your judgment upon
these proceedings of our enemies. I will only add one anecdote of
their late conduct, nearly allied to that of counterfeiting our
Continental currency. They have published, in all our forms, a forged
Resolve of Congress, purporting a consignment of power to General
Washington, to detain in his army, _during the war_, all militia men
who have enlisted or been draughted for nine months or a year; and to
treat as deserters such as attempt to leave him at the expiration of
their present agreement. Perhaps you will see this properly
stigmatized in some of our eastern papers conveyed in the vessel,
which may carry this assurance of my being, with much regard, sir,
your friend and humble servant,

                                                  JAMES LOVELL,
                                                  _For the Committee_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                               York, 30th April, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

By the Gazettes, which accompany this letter, you will see, that the
enemy are entering upon a plan, which must shortly perplex us much,
unless we receive despatches from you, to enlighten us as to your
situation and transactions, of which we have had no information since
the latter end of May. As we have heard of the loss of Captain
Johnston and Captain Wickes, and know that John Folger was robbed, we
cannot charge our present want of letters to negligence in you; but we
think you should not rest satisfied without sending triplicates of all
your despatches. The Commercial Committee will transmit to you the
contract, which they have entered into with the agent of the house of
_Roderique Hortalez & Co._ the heads of which contract happening to be
at hand are enclosed.

We have read a letter written by a friend, dated House of Commons,
February 13th, in which we are told, that you had concluded a treaty
with France and Spain, which was on the water towards us. Imagine how
solicitous we are to know the truth of this, before we receive any
proposals from Britain, in consequence of the scheme in Lord North's
speech, and the two draughts of bills now sent to you. The state of
our foreign connexions is a subject now before Congress; and, dubious
as we are about your transactions, some resolutions will probably be
formed to be transmitted to you by a special conveyance shortly, when
a general account of our affairs will also be sent. We have little
uneasiness about the strength of our enemy. Our currency must be
supported in due credit, after which we may bid defiance to Britain,
and all her German hirelings. We wish every advice and assistance from
you for the support of such credit.

I am, with great regard, &c.

                               JAMES LOVELL,
                               _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO M. DUMAS.

                                             Yorktown, 14th May, 1778.

  Sir,

Your several favors, down to the letter Y, had come to our hand before
the 2d instant, on which day we received despatches from our
Commissioners in France, after an interruption of eleven months.
Judge, therefore, sir, how very agreeable your letters must have been
to us, though you wrote but briefly, always supposing that we received
more full accounts of European politics from our friends at Paris.

We observe, with great pleasure, that the States of Holland are
discovering a proper spirit in the conduct of their commerce, by
granting convoys, in consequence of the insolent behavior of their
British neighbors. The magnanimous conduct of His Most Christian
Majesty must have great influence upon all around him. We doubt not of
your hearty congratulations upon the success of our cause, which you
so early and warmly espoused, and which you have aided with such
judgment and resolution by your pen. We shall write particularly to
the gentlemen at Paris, respecting the injuries you have received from
our enemies, and shall instruct them to pay the strictest attention
to our engagements made to you at the commencement of our
correspondence.

We must refer you to the prints now sent and to our Commissioners, for
the general state of our affairs, only remarking here, that we were
actuated in our proceedings on the 22d of April entirely by the
uniform spirit, which we have maintained ever since the 4th of July,
1776, being not then acquainted with the favorable state of our cause
in France, as an uncommon fatality had attended the letters of our
friends for nearly a whole year, before the arrival of their present
important packet.

We are, with much esteem, &c.

                                                       RICHARD MORRIS,
                                                       RICHARD H. LEE,
                                                       JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

      FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM BINGHAM.

                                                 York, 14th May, 1778.

  Sir,

At length, on the 2d instant, we received despatches from our
Commissioners at Paris, with treaties of alliance and commerce,
concluded on the 6th of February between France and these United
States. They were ratified here on the 4th of this month, and the
prints herewith sent to you will show the principles upon which they
are founded. We are persuaded you will greatly partake of the
satisfaction, which we feel on this occasion.

We do not find by the letters, which we have received, that Congress
may venture to enlarge the power that was given to you by the resolve
of April 16th.[50] But it becomes less necessary that you should be
furnished in that way, as commerce will, in all human probability, be
more easily carried on between this continent and your islands now,
than for some time past.

Great hurry of business must be an excuse for our brevity at this
time, though it would not warrant an omission of sending you our
congratulations and the Gazettes.

We are, with much regard, &c.

                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                    RICHARD HENRY LEE,
                                                    JAMES LOVELL.


FOOTNOTES:

[50] "_Resolved_, that Mr William Bingham, agent of the United States
of America, now resident in Martinique, be authorised to draw bills of
exchange at double usance, on the commissioners of the United States
in Paris, for any sums not exceeding in the whole 100,000 livres
turnois, to enable him to discharge debts by him contracted on
account of the said States; for which drafts he is to be
accountable."--_Journals of Congress._

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                                 York, 14th May, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Our affairs have now a universally good appearance. Every thing at
home and abroad seems verging towards a happy and permanent period. We
are preparing for either war or peace. For although we are fully
persuaded, that our enemies are wearied, beaten, and in despair, yet
we shall not presume too much on that persuasion, and the rather,
because it is our fixed determination to admit no terms of peace, but
such as are fully in character with the dignity of independent States,
and consistent with the spirit and intention of our alliances on the
continent of Europe. We believe, and with great reason too, that the
honor and fortitude of America have been rendered _suspicious_ in
Europe, by the arts, intrigue, and specious misrepresentations of our
enemies there. Every proceeding and policy of ours have been tortured,
to give some possible coloring to their assertions of a _doubtful
disposition_ in America, as to her perseverance in maintaining her
independency, and perhaps the speeches of many of the minority of both
Houses in the English Parliament, who seem to persist in the
probability of a reconciliation, may have contributed towards a
continuance of that suspicion. But we, at this particular time, feel
ourselves exceedingly happy in a proof, from the accidental
arrangement of circumstances, such as we could neither foresee nor
alter, that the disposition of America on that head was fixed and
final. For this proof we desire your attention to what follows.

The English Ministry appear to have been very industrious in getting
over to America, as soon as possible, their two conciliatory bills,
even before they had been once read; the reason of which haste we did
not then see; but the arrival of your despatches since, with the
treaties, has unriddled that affair. General Howe was equally
industrious, in circulating them by his emissaries through the
country, and likewise sent them under a flag to General Washington,
who immediately despatched them to Congress on the ---- of April. They
were in themselves truly unworthy of the attention of that public
body; but lest the silence of Congress should be misunderstood, or
furnish the enemy with new ground for false insinuation, they were
referred to a committee, whose judicious and spirited report thereon
was unanimously approved in the House on the 22d, then published and
circulated through the several States with all possible expedition.
The despatches, in charge of Mr Simeon Deane, did not arrive till the
2d of May, ten days after the said reports were published; and his
expedition in bringing his papers to Congress prevented any
intelligence from arriving before him. Enclosed are the reports
referred to, which we recommend to your attention to make as public as
possible in Europe, prefacing them with such an explanatory detail of
the before mentioned circumstances, as shall have a tendency to place
the politics of America on the firm basis of national honor,
integrity, and fortitude.

We admire the wisdom and true dignity of the Court of France, on their
part of the construction and ratification of the treaties between us.
They have a powerful tendency to dissolve effectually that narrowness
of mind, which mankind have been too unhappily bred up in. Those
treaties discover the politician founded on the philosopher, and a
harmony of affections made the groundwork of mutual interest. France
has _won_ us more powerfully than any reserved treaties could possibly
_bind_ us, and by one generous and noble act has sown the seeds of an
eternal friendship.

It is from an anxiety to preserve inviolate this cordial union, so
happily begun, that we desire your particular attention to the 11th
and 12th articles of the treaty of amity and commerce. The unreserved
confidence of Congress in the good disposition of the Court of France,
will sufficiently appear, from their having unanimously first ratified
those treaties, and then trusted any alteration, which may be proper
to be made, to after mutual negotiations. We are apprehensive, that
the general and undefined line of the 12th article may in future be
misunderstood, or rendered inconvenient or impracticable, and so
become detrimental to that good friendship, which we wish ever to
subsist. To prevent this, you will herewith receive instruction and
authority for giving up, on our part, the whole of the 11th article,
proposing to the Court of France the rescinding, on their part, of the
whole of the 12th article, those two being intended as reciprocal
balances to each other.

It is exceedingly disagreeable to Congress, to find there has been
misconduct in any of the commanders of armed vessels under the
American flag. Every authentic information of that kind will be
strictly attended to, and every means be taken to punish the offenders
and make reparation to the sufferers. The chief consolation we find in
this unpleasing business is, that the most experienced States have not
been able to restrain the vices and irregularities of individuals
altogether. Congress has published a proclamation for the more
effectually suppressing and punishing such malpractices. But we are
rather inclined to hope, that as the line of connexion and friendship
is now clearly marked, and the minds of the seamen thereby relieved
from that inexplicable mystery respecting their real prizes, which
before embarrassed them, such irregularities will be less frequent, or
totally cease, to which end the magnificent generosity of the King of
France to the owners of the prizes, which for reasons of State had
been given up, will happily contribute.

We are, Gentlemen, your very humble servants,

                                                         R. H. LEE,
                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                                Passy, May 14th, 1778.

  Sir,

In the several cruises made by Captains Wickes, Johnston, Cunningham,
and others of our armed vessels, on the coast of Great Britain, it is
computed that between four and five hundred prisoners have been made
and set at liberty, either on their landing in France, or at sea,
because it was understood, that we could not keep them confined in
France. When Captain Wickes brought in at one time near a hundred, we
proposed to Lord Stormont an exchange for as many of ours confined in
England; but all treaty on the subject was rudely refused, and our
people are still detained there, notwithstanding the liberal
discharges made of theirs, as above mentioned. We hear that Captain
Jones has now brought into Brest near two hundred, whom we should be
glad to exchange for our seamen, who might be of use in expeditions
from hence; but as an opinion prevails, that prisoners of a nation
with which France is not at war, and brought into France by another
power, cannot be retained by the captors, but are free as soon as they
arrive, we are apprehensive, that these prisoners may also be set at
liberty, return to England, and serve to man a frigate against us,
while our brave seamen, with a number of our friends of this nation,
whom we are anxious to set free, continue useless and languishing in
their gaols.

In a treatise of one of your law writers, entitled _Traités des Prises
qui se font sur Mer_, printed 1763, we find the above opinion
controverted, p. 129, § 30, in the following words; "Hence it seems,
that it is not true, as some pretend, that from the time a prisoner
escapes, or otherwise reaches the shore of a neutral power, he is
absolutely free. It is true, he cannot be retaken without the consent
of that power, but such a power would violate the laws of neutrality
if it should refuse its consent. This is a consequence of the asylum
of the ship in which the prisoner or hostage was contained."

We know not of what authority this writer may be, and therefore pray a
moment of your Excellency's attention to this matter, requesting your
advice upon it, that if it be possible, some means may be devised to
retain these prisoners, till as many of ours can be obtained in
exchange for them.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                              York, 15th of May, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Your pressing request for five thousand hogsheads of tobacco, is a
matter as embarrassing to Congress as to yourselves. Their anxiety to
get it to you is as great as yours to receive it. We have already lost
vast quantities in the attempt, and thereby have furnished our enemies
gratis with what was designed for the discharging of your contracts,
and for promoting the interest and commerce of our friends. We request
your particular attention to this information, as it is a matter of as
high moment to our allies as well as to ourselves. In the present
state of things it is very probable, that England will be unwilling
to interrupt the trade of France in their own bottoms; and our desire
is, as well for her benefit as ours, that France would open the trade
from her own ports, so that the intentional advantages of the treaties
may fully operate for both countries. We need not enlarge on this
head, as your discernment will furnish you with all the reasons to be
alleged in support of what we desire.

In addition to what is mentioned in our letter, respecting the 11th
and 12th articles of the treaty, we observe, that the 12th is capable
of an interpretation and misuse, which were probably not thought of at
the time of constructing it; we mean, that it opens a door for all, or
a great part of the trade of America, to be earned through the French
Islands to Europe, and puts all future regulations out of our power,
either by impost or prohibition, which, though we might never find it
to our interest to use, yet by keeping it in our _power_, will enable
us to preserve equality with, and regulate the imposts of the
countries we trade with.

The general trade of France is not under like restriction, every
article on our part being stated against the single article of
molasses on theirs; therefore, Congress think it more liberal and
consistent that both articles should be expunged.

We have no material military transactions to acquaint you with. The
enemy yet remain in Philadelphia, but some late appearances make it
probable they will not stay long. Our army is yet at the Valley Forge.
The enemy, through the course of the winter, have carried on a low,
pitiful, and disgraceful kind of war against individuals, whom they
pushed at by sending out little parties and revengefully burning
several of their houses; yet all this militated against themselves,
by raising an unquenchable indignation in the country against them;
and on the whole, we know not which most to wonder at, their folly in
making us hate them after their inability for conquest and their
desires of peace are confessed, or their scandalous barbarity in
executing their resentments.

You will see, gentlemen, by the contract which the Commercial
Committee have signed with the agent of M. Beaumarchais, that Congress
was desirous of keeping a middle course, so as not to appear to slight
any determined generosity of the French Court, and, at the same time,
to show a promptness to discharge honorably the debts, which may be
_justly_ charged against these States by any persons. We depend upon
you to explain the affair fully, as you seem to make a distinction
between the military stores and the other invoices, while no such
distinction appears in the letters of Mr Deane or M. Beaumarchais. In
short, we are rather more undetermined by your late despatches, than
we were during your long silence. Congress being at this time deeply
engaged in a variety of business, and the Foreign Committee thin of
members, you will be pleased to excuse us from being more particular
in our answer to your several despatches, as well as in our
information of the state of our affairs.

We are, gentlemen, &c.

                                                         R. H. LEE,
                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

_P. S._ You will see what we have written to M. Dumas, and you will
point out what will be our line of honor to him and justice to these
States.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                                Passy, May 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

We had this morning the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of
the 13th instant, relative to the Boston frigate. We beg leave to
assure your Excellency, that the frigate, called the Boston, now at
Bordeaux, is a ship of war belonging to the thirteen United States of
North America, built and maintained at their expense by the honorable
Congress. We, therefore, humbly presume, that his Majesty's royal
determination, on the representation of the Farmers-General, will be
according to the usage of nations in such cases, and your Excellency
may be assured that Captain Tucker will conform to that determination
with the utmost respect.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                                Passy, May 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

Messrs Basmarine, Rainbeau, & Co. having represented to us, that they
have applied to Government for a frigate, to be employed in defence of
their commerce to and from America, and in making reprisals for the
losses they have lately sustained by our enemies, we, the
Commissioners of the United States of North America, hereby request
that such a frigate may be granted; and in that case, we are ready to
give a commission and letter of marque to such frigate, upon Messrs
Basmarine & Co. giving bonds to us for the regular behavior of such
frigate, according to the law of nations and the usage of the United
States.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO MR JONATHAN WILLIAMS, AT NANTES.

                                                Passy, May 25th, 1778.

  Sir,

Your favors of May 11th and 18th are now before us. We shall this day
acquaint Captain Jones how far it is in our power to comply with his
desires, and in what manner. Your letter of the 18th informs us of a
dispute between Mr Schweighauser and you, concerning the disposal of
the Ranger's prizes; and you are still of opinion, that you have
authority to interfere in the disposal of prizes, and that you should
be chargeable with neglect of duty if you did not. The necessities of
our country demand the utmost frugality, which can never be obtained,
without the utmost simplicity in the management of her affairs; and as
Congress have authorised Mr W. Lee to superintend the commercial
affairs in general, and he has appointed Mr Schweighauser, and as your
authority is under the Commissioners at Paris only, we think it
prudent and necessary for the public service to revoke, and we do
hereby revoke, all the powers and authorities heretofore granted to
you by the Commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of
America, or any of them at Paris; to the end, that hereafter the
management of the affairs, commercial and maritime, of America, may be
under one sole direction, that of Mr Schweighauser within his
district.

As to the merchandise and stores of every kind, which you have on hand
at present, we leave it to your choice, either to ship them to America
yourself, or to deliver them over to Mr Schweighauser to be shipped by
him. It is not from any prejudice to you, for whom we have a great
respect and esteem, but merely from a desire to save the public money,
and prevent the clashing of claims and interests, and to avoid
confusion and delays, that we have taken this step.

We have further to repeat our earnest request, that you would lay your
accounts before us as soon as possible, because, until we have them we
can never know either the state of our finances, or how far the orders
of Congress for stores and merchandise to be shipped to America have
been fulfilled.

We are, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                                 Passy, June 3d, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency, an account of
duties paid by the agent for necessary supplies to the ship of war the
Boston, in the port of Bordeaux. As these duties are very heavy, and
the payment of any duties on mere supplies to ships of war, as on
merchandise exported, appears to us uncommon, we beg the favor of
your Excellency to give such orders relative to it in all his
Majesty's ports, as may regulate this for the future.

The Captain of the ship of war the Ranger, belonging to the United
States, has, we understand, put his prizes into the hands of the
intendant or Commandant at Brest; and no account has been rendered of
them to the public agent, or to us. We are also given to understand,
that, in consequence of this proceeding, very heavy fees are to be
paid upon the sale of them. As the transaction is altogether improper,
we must trouble your Excellency for an order to the commandant, to
deliver them, without delay or extraordinary charges, to the public
agent, Mr Schweighauser at Nantes, or to his order.

It would give us satisfaction to annoy our enemies, by granting a
letter of marque, as is desired, for a vessel fitting out at Dunkirk,
and, as it is supposed by us, containing a mixed crew of French,
Americans, and English. But, if this should seem improper to your
Excellency, we will not do it.

We have the honor, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                JOHN PAUL JONES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                               Passy, June 16th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

At the time when I took Lieutenant Simpson's parole, I did not expect
to have been so long absent from America; but as circumstances have
now rendered the time of my return less certain, I am willing to let
the dispute between us drop forever, by giving up that parole, which
will entitle him to command the Ranger. I bear no malice, and, if I
have done him an injury, this will be making him all the present
satisfaction in my power. If, on the contrary, he has injured me, I
will trust to himself for an acknowledgment.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of esteem and respect,

  Your obliged, &c.

                                                      JOHN PAUL JONES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                               Passy, June 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

I received yours of the 5th instant, acquainting us that the ministry
have at length agreed to an exchange of prisoners. We shall write to
Captain Jones for the list required, which will be sent you as soon as
received. We understand there are at least two hundred. We desire and
expect, that the number of ours shall be taken from Tortune and
Plymouth, in proportion to the number in each place, and to consist of
those who have been longest in confinement, it being not only
equitable that they should be first, but this method will prevent all
suspicions, that you pick out the worst and weakest of our people to
give in exchange for your good ones. If you think proper to clear your
prisoners at once, and give us all our people, we give you our solemn
engagement, which we are sure will be punctually executed, to deliver
to Lord Howe, in America, or to his order, a number of your sailors,
equal to the surplus, as soon as the agreement arrives there.

There is one thing more which we desire may be observed. We shall note
in our lists the names and numbers of those taken in the service of
the King, distinguishing them from those taken in the merchants'
service; that, in the exchange to be made, you may give adequate
numbers of those taken in the service of the States, and of our
merchants. This will prevent any uneasiness among your navymen and
ours, if the seamen of merchantmen are exchanged before them. As it
will be very troublesome and expensive, as well as fatiguing to them,
to march our people from Brest to Calais, we may endeavor to get leave
for your ship to come to the road of Brest, to receive them there; or,
if that cannot be, we must desire from your Admiralty a passport for
the ship, that is to convey them from Brest to Calais. If you have any
of our people still prisoners on board your ships of war, we request
they may be put into the prisons, to take their chance of exchange
with the rest.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                               Passy, June 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

Upon the receipt of this letter, you will forthwith make preparations,
with all possible despatch, for a voyage to America. Your own prudence
will naturally induce you to keep this your destination secret, lest
measures should be taken by the enemy to intercept you. If, in the
course of your passage home, opportunities should present of making
prizes, or of doing any material annoyance to the enemy, you are to
embrace them; and you are at liberty to go out of your way for so
desirable a purpose.

The fishery, at the banks of Newfoundland, is an important object, and
possibly the enemy's men of war may have other business than the
protection of it. Transports are constantly passing and repassing from
Rhode Island, New York and Philadelphia to Halifax, and from all these
places to England. You will naturally search for some of these as
prizes.

If the French government should send any despatches to you, or if you
should receive any from us, to carry to America, you will take the
best care of them, and especially that they may not fall into improper
hands. You are not, however, to wait for any despatches, but to
proceed upon your voyage as soon as you can get ready. If there is any
room on board your ship, where you could stow away a number of chests
of arms, or of clothing, for the use of the United States, you will
inform M. Schweighauser of it, that he may send them to you before
your departure. We do not mean to encumber you with a cargo, which
will obstruct the sailing of your ship, or will impede her fighting;
but if, consistent with her sailing and fighting, she can take any
quantity of arms or clothing, it will be a desirable object for the
public.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                                York, 21st June, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

The British Commissioners have arrived and transmitted their powers
and propositions to Congress, which have received the answer you will
find in the Pennsylvania Gazette of the 20th instant.

On the 18th of this month, General Clinton, with the British army,
(now under his command) abandoned Philadelphia, and the city is in
possession of our troops. The enemy crossed into Jersey, but whether
with design to push for South Amboy, or to embark below Billingsport,
on the Delaware, is yet uncertain. General Washington has put his army
in motion, and is following the enemy into Jersey.

There has arrived here a M. Holker, from France, who has presented a
paper to Congress, declaring that he comes with a verbal message to
Congress from the minister of France, touching our treating with Great
Britain, and some other particulars which, for want of his paper, we
cannot at present enumerate. The style of his paper is as if from the
representative of the Court, but he has no authentic voucher of his
mission for the delivery of this verbal message. We desire of you,
gentlemen, to give us the most exact information in your power
concerning the authenticity of M. Holker's mission for this purpose.

We are, gentlemen, with esteem and regard, &c.

                                                   RICHARD H. LEE,
                                                   THOMAS HAYWARD, JR.
                                                   JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                          Versailles, 14th July, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Notwithstanding the precautions, which I have taken to supply the
inhabitants of the islands of St Pierre and Miquelon with provisions
for their subsistence, who, in their present circumstances, can
receive very small or no succors from the commerce with France, it may
happen that the intervention of one or more of the vessels sent to
those islands with provisions, may reduce the people to great
distress, and it will be too late to apply a remedy after the
knowledge of the event shall reach us. I have thought, that in case of
pressing necessity, we might count on supplies from the United States
of America, and have indicated the same to the administrators of the
islands of St Pierre and Miquelon. It will be highly agreeable to his
Majesty if you should concur in this opinion, and do what may be in
your power to procure such succors, by recommending to the United
States, and particularly to the government of Boston, to induce the
fitting out of expeditions to those isles, for the purpose of taking
provisions to the inhabitants, and supplying their wants.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                               Passy, July 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor of your Excellency's letter of the 14th instant. We
shall embrace the first opportunity of writing to Congress, and to the
government of the Massachusetts Bay, and enclosing copies of your
Excellency's letter to us, which we are persuaded will have the most
powerful influence with them to exert themselves, and to recommend to
their fellow citizens to engage in expeditions for the relief of the
inhabitants of St Pierre and Miquelon. There is not the smallest doubt
of their ability to supply the wants of their friends at those places,
provided the British men of war should be withdrawn from the Halifax
and Newfoundland station. But if there should remain as many ships of
war on those stations as there have been for the last two years, the
difficulty will be very great.

We have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a copy of a letter
just received from Mr Schweighauser, whereby your Excellency will see
the difficulties that still embarrass our frigates in relation to
their prizes. We entreat your Excellency's further attention to the
subject, that orders may be given for the relief of our officers and
men from these embarrassments.

We have the honor to request your Excellency's attention to another
subject, that of the British prisoners made by our frigates, the
Providence, the Boston, and the Ranger, and all others in future. As
it is necessary for these frigates, forthwith to proceed to sea, and
as we have some hopes of an exchange of prisoners in Europe, we
request your Excellency that we may have leave to confine them in your
prisons, to be maintained there at our expense, until exchanged or
sent by us to America, and that your Excellency would give the
necessary directions accordingly.

We have the honor to be, with respect, your Excellency's, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

               TO THE COUNCIL OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

                                                 Passy, July 16, 1778.

  May it please your Honors,

We have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter just received from M.
de Sartine, the minister of state for the marine of this kingdom, in
answer to which we have had the honor to assure his Excellency, that
we would embrace the first opportunity of communicating it to your
honors. We have not the smallest doubts of the good inclinations of
the people in America, to supply the necessities of their friends in
St Pierre and Miquelon, nor of the abilities of those in the northern
States to do it effectually, provided the British men of war are
withdrawn from the Halifax and Newfoundland stations, and perhaps it
may be done, notwithstanding the dangers of men of war. We hope,
however, it will be attempted. There is no doubt but a good price may
be obtained, at the same time that an acceptable act of friendship and
of humanity will be performed.

We have the honor to request, that this letter and its enclosure may
be laid before the General Court, and that such measures may be taken
as their wisdom shall dictate to the accomplishment of so desirable a
purpose.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Passy, July 17th, 1778.

  Sir,

We herewith communicate to your Excellency a resolution of Congress,
relative to the treaties, which we request may be laid before the
King. Thereby his Majesty will perceive the unfeigned sentiments of
that body, as well as the whole American people, whose hearts the King
has gained, by his great benevolence towards them, manifested in
these treaties, which has made so deep an impression on their minds,
that no time will efface it.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Passy, 20th July, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor to inform Congress, that the Spy, Captain Nyles, has
arrived at Brest, and brought us a ratification of the treaties with
His Most Christian Majesty, which has given much satisfaction to this
Court and nation. On the 17th instant we had the honor of exchanging
ratifications with his Excellency the Count de Vergennes. The treaties
ratified, signed by his Majesty, and under the great seal of France,
are now in our possession, where, perhaps, considering the dangers of
enemies at sea, it will be safest to let them remain at present.
Copies of them we shall have the honor to transmit to Congress by this
opportunity.

War is not yet declared between France and England, by either nation,
but hostilities at sea have been already commenced by both, and as the
French fleet from Brest, under the command of the Count d'Orvilliers,
and the British fleet, under Admiral Keppel, are both at sea, we are
in hourly expectation of a rencontre between them. The Jamaica fleet,
the Windward Island fleet, and a small fleet from the Mediterranean,
have arrived at London, which has enabled them to obtain by means of a
violent impress, perhaps a thousand or fifteen hundred seamen, who
will man two or three ships more, in the whole making Admiral Keppel's
fleet somewhat nearer to an equality with the French. In the mean
time, the Spanish flotilla has arrived, but the councils of that Court
are kept in a secrecy so profound, that we presume not to say with
confidence what are her real intentions. We continue, however, to
receive from various quarters encouraging assurances, and from the
situation of the powers of Europe it seems highly probable, that Spain
will join France in case of war.

A war in Germany, between the Emperor and King of Prussia, seems to be
inevitable, and it is affirmed that the latter has marched his army
into Bohemia, so that we apprehend that America has at present nothing
to fear from Germany. We are doing all in our power to obtain a loan
of money, and have a prospect of procuring some in Amsterdam, but not
in such quantities as will be wanted. We are constrained to request
Congress to be as sparing as possible in their drafts upon us. The
drafts already made, together with the great expense arising from the
frigates which have been sent here, and the expenses of the
commissioners, the maintenance of your ministers for Vienna and
Tuscany, and of prisoners who have made their escape, and the amount
of clothes and munitions of war already sent to America, are such,
that we are under great apprehensions that our funds will not be
sufficient to answer the drafts, which we daily expect, for the
interest of loan office certificates, as well as those from Mr
Bingham.

We have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter from M. de Sartine,
the Minister of Marine, and to request the attention of Congress to
the subject of it.

We are told in several letters from the honorable Committee for
Foreign Affairs, that we shall receive instructions and authority for
giving up, on our part, the whole of the 11th article of the treaty,
proposing it as a condition to the Court of France, that they on their
part should give up the whole of the 12th. But unfortunately, these
instructions, and authority were omitted to be sent with the letters,
and we have not yet received them. At the time of the exchange of the
ratifications, we mentioned this subject to the Count de Vergennes,
and gave him an extract of the Committee's letter. His answer to us
was, that the alteration would be readily agreed to, and he ordered
his secretary not to register the ratification till it was done. We
therefore request that we may be honored with the instructions and
authority of Congress to set aside the two articles as soon as
possible, and while the subject is fresh in memory.

The letter to M. Dumas[51] is forwarded, and in answer to the
Committee's inquiry, what is proper for Congress to do for that
gentleman, we beg leave to say, that his extreme activity and
diligence in negotiating our affairs, and his punctuality in his
correspondence with Congress as well as with us, and his usefulness to
our cause in several other ways, not at present proper to be
explained, give him, in our opinion, a good title to two hundred
pounds sterling a year at least.

The other things mentioned in the Committee's letter to us shall be
attended to as soon as possible. We have received also the resolution
of Congress of the 9th of February, and the letter of the Committee of
the same date, empowering us to appoint one or more suitable persons
as commercial agents, for conducting the commercial business of the
United States in France, and other parts of Europe. But as this power
was given us before Congress received the treaty, and we have never
received it but with the ratification of the treaty, and as by the
treaty Congress is empowered to appoint consuls in the ports of
France, perhaps it may be expected from us, that we should wait for
consuls. At present, Mr John Bonfield of Bordeaux, and Mr J. D.
Schweighauser at Nantes, both by the appointment of Mr William Lee,
are the only persons authorised as commercial agents. If we should
find it expedient to give appointments to any other persons, before we
hear from Congress, we will send information of it by the first
opportunity. If Congress should think proper to appoint consuls, we
are humbly of opinion, that the choice will fall most justly as well
as naturally on Americans, who are, in our opinion, better qualified
for this business than any others, and the reputation of such an
office, together with a moderate commission on the business they may
transact, and the advantages to be derived from trade, will be a
sufficient inducement to undertake it, and a sufficient reward for
discharging the duties of it.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.


FOOTNOTES:

[51] Private Agent for American Affairs in Holland.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     _The Functions of Consuls_,

Are to maintain in their department the privileges of their nation
according to treaties.

To have inspection and jurisdiction, as well civil as criminal, over
all the subjects of their States who happen to be in their department,
and particularly over commerce and merchants.

This sort of commission is not given, but to persons above thirty
years of age.

Those appointed should cause their powers to be registered in the
nearest Court of Admiralty, and in the Chamber of Commerce, if there
is one, near the place of their residence.

On his arrival there, the Consul should publish his powers in the
assembly of merchants of his country happening to be there at the
time, and put them on the records of the Consulate.

When there is any question that affects the general affairs of the
commerce of his nation, he ought to convoke all the merchants and
masters of vessels of his nation then in the place, who are obliged to
attend, under penalty, according to the resolutions taken in these
assemblies; the Consul issues orders which ought to be executed, and
of which he should send copies every three months to the Lieutenant
General of the nearest Admiralty and Chamber of Commerce.

The jurisdiction of Consuls extends to several objects, for he not
only supplies the place of a Court of Admiralty, but also of a common
court of justice.

In civil matters the judgments are to be executed, provisional
security being given for the sum adjudged; in criminal matters
definitively and without appeal, if given with two of the principal
merchants of his country assisting, except where corporal punishment
appertains to the crime, in which case the process and proofs are to
be drawn up by the Consul, and sent with the criminal by the first
vessel of the nation, to be judged by the proper authority in the
first port thereof where he arrives.

The Consul may also oblige any of his nation to depart, if they
behave scandalously, and captains are obliged to take them, under a
penalty.

If the Consul has any difference with the merchants of the place, the
parties are to appear in the next Court of Admiralty, and the cause is
to be there adjudged.

The Consul has a clerk, who keeps an office, in which all the acts of
the Consulate are registered. He names also the officers who execute
his precepts, and takes their oaths. If war happens, the Consuls
retire.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Passy, 23d July, 1778.

  Sir,

We have just received a message from the Count de Vergennes, by his
secretary, acquainting us that information is received from England,
of the intention of the cabinet there to offer, (by additional
instructions to their commissioners) independence to the United
States, on condition of their making a separate peace, relying on
their majority in both Houses for approbation of the measure. M. de
Vergennes upon this intelligence requests, that we would write
expressly to acquaint the Congress, that though no formal declaration
of war has yet been published, the war between France and England is
considered as actually existing, from the time of the return of the
Ambassadors; and that if England should propose a peace with France,
the immediate answer to the proposition would be, "our eventual treaty
with the United States is now in full force, and we will make no peace
but in concurrence with them." And we have given it as our firm
opinion, that such an answer will be given by you without the least
hesitation or difficulty, though you may not have been informed
before, as you now are, that war being actually begun, the eventual
treaty is become fully and completely binding.

We are, with great respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Passy, 29th July, 1778.

  Sir,

Mr Livingston received a commission from us, as Lieutenant of the
Boston, and made a cruise in her, in which he had the good fortune to
take four prizes. He is now obliged to leave the ship, but we have the
pleasure of a letter from Captain Tucker, in which he gives us a
handsome character of Mr Livingston, and of his conduct during the
cruise. We have also a good opinion of him, and recommend him to the
favor of Congress.

We are, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                               Passy, 29th July, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

We have the honor of your letters of May 14th and 15th. We
congratulate you on the general good appearance of our affairs, and we
are happy in your assurances, that it is your fixed determination to
admit no terms of peace, but such as are consistent with the spirit
and intention of our alliance with France, especially as the present
politics of the British cabinet aim at seducing you from that
alliance, by an offer of independence, upon condition you will
renounce it, a measure that will injure the reputation of our States
with all the world, and destroy their confidence in our honor.

No authenticity from Congress to make an alteration in the treaty, by
withdrawing the 11th and 12th articles, has yet reached us. But we
gave an extract of your letter to the Count de Vergennes, when we
exchanged ratifications, who expressed an entire willingness to agree
to it. We wish for the powers by the first opportunity. We have not
yet seen M. Beaumarchais, but the important concern with him shall be
attended to as soon as may be.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                          Versailles, 29th July, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to transmit on
the 16th instant. His Majesty relies greatly on the succors of
provisions, which the government of Massachusetts Bay may furnish the
islands of St Pierre and Miquelon.

The difficulties which the privateers of the United States have
experienced till now in the ports of France, either as to the sale of
their prizes, or to secure their prisoners, must cease, from the
change of circumstances. I make no doubt on the other hand, but that
the United States will grant the same facilities to French privateers.
To accomplish this double object, I have drafted a plan of
regulations, which I earnestly request you to examine, and to note
what you think of it; or even to point out such other means as may
answer the same purpose, so that I may receive his Majesty's orders. I
have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                             Passy, August 13th, 1778.

  Sir,

Your Excellency's letter of the 29th of July, enclosing a plan for a
system of regulations for prizes and prisoners, we had the honor of
receiving in due time, and are very sorry it has remained so long
unanswered.

In general, we are of opinion, that the regulations are very good; but
we beg leave to lay before your Excellency the following observations.

Upon the 2d article we observe, that the extensive jurisdiction of the
Judges of Admiralty in America, which, considering the local and other
circumstances of that country, cannot easily be contracted, will
probably render this regulation impracticable in America. In France it
will, as far as we are able to judge of it, be very practicable, and
consequently beneficial. But we submit to your Excellency's
consideration, whether it would not be better in America after the
words "_les dites Juges_" to add,--or the Register of the Court of
Admiralty, or some other person authorized by the Judge. The
jurisdiction of the Court of Admiralty in America extending for some
hundred miles, this regulation would be subject to great delays, and
other inconveniences, if it was confined to the Judge. The 4th article
seems to be subject to the same inconveniencies, and therefore to
require the same amendment.

Upon the 14th article, we beg leave to submit to your Excellency's
consideration, whether the heavy duties upon British merchandise and
manufactures, if these are to be paid upon prize goods, will not
operate as a great discouragement to the sale of prizes made by
American cruisers; and whether it would be consistent with his
Majesty's interest to permit merchandise and manufactures, taken in
prizes made by Americans, to be stored in his Majesty's warehouses, if
you please, until they can be exported to America, and without being
subject to duties.

We know not the expense, that will attend these regulations and
proceedings in the courts of this kingdom; but as the fees of office
in America are very moderate, and our people have been accustomed to
such only, we submit to your Excellency whether it will not be
necessary to state and establish the fees here, and make the
establishments so far public, that Americans may be able to inform
themselves.

As we are not well instructed in the laws of this kingdom, or in the
course of the courts of Admiralty here, it is very possible that some
inconveniencies may arise in the practice upon these regulations,
which we do not at present foresee; if they should, we shall beg leave
to represent them to your Excellency, and to request his Majesty to
make the necessary alterations.

We submit these observations to your Excellency's superior wisdom, and
have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect respect,
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servants,

                                                           ARTHUR LEE,
                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

_P. S._ Dr Franklin concurs with us in these sentiments, but as he is
absent, we are obliged to send the letter without his subscribing.

       *       *       *       *       *

                JOHN PAUL JONES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                             Brest, August 15th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have now been five days in this place since my arrival from Passy,
during which time I have neither seen or heard from Lieutenant
Simpson. But Mr Hill, who was last winter at Passy, and sailed with me
from Nantes, informs me truly, that it is generally reported in the
Ranger, and of course through the French fleet and on shore, that I am
turned out of the service, and that you, gentlemen, gave Mr Simpson my
place with a Captain's commission; that my letter of the 16th of July
to you was involuntary on my part, and in obedience only to your
orders to avert dreadful consequences to myself. These, gentlemen, are
not idle, ill-grounded conjectures, but melancholy facts; therefore, I
beseech you, I conjure you, I demand of you, to afford me
redress--redress by a Court Martial, to form which we have now a
sufficient number of officers in France, with the assistance of
Captain Hinman, exclusive of myself. The Providence and the Boston are
expected here very soon from Nantes, and I am certain that they
neither can nor will depart again, before my friend, Captain Hinman,
can come down here, and it is his unquestioned right to succeed me in
the command of the Ranger.

I have faithfully and personally supported and fought for the
dignified cause of human nature, ever since the American banner first
waved on the Delaware, and on the ocean. This I did when that man did
not call himself a Republican, but left the Continent, and served its
enemies; and this I did, when that man appeared dastardly backward,
and did not support me as he ought.

I conclude, by requesting you to call before you, and examine for your
own satisfaction, Mr Edward Meyers, who is now at the house of the
Swedish Ambassador, and who, having been with me as a volunteer, can
and will, I am persuaded, represent to you the conduct of the officers
and men towards me, both before I left Brest, and afterwards in the
Irish channel, as well as my conduct towards them.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of due respect and esteem,
your very obliged and very humble servant,

                                                      JOHN PAUL JONES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                        Versailles, 16th August, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I take the earliest opportunity to answer the observations addressed
to me in the letter, which you did me the honor to write me the 13th
instant, on the project of a regulation for the prizes and prisoners
of the respective United States. I conceive that I have fulfilled the
object by digesting anew the 2d and 14th articles, of which I annex
another text, with copies of the different laws that have been lately
published respecting prizes. Moreover, I will at all times receive
with pleasure your representations of the inconveniences which may
attend, in your opinion, the execution of the regulation, and you may
be assured that his Majesty will be always disposed to grant the
inhabitants of the United States every facility, compatible with the
interests of his finances and the commerce of his subjects.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

               _Regulations for Prizes and Prisoners._

  By the King.

His Majesty, desirous of making known his intentions, as well with
respect to the prizes, which his subjects may carry into the ports of
the United States of America, as also respecting admitting into his
own ports the prizes made by American privateers, and calculating on
the perfect equality which constitutes the basis of his engagements
with the said United States, he has ordained and does ordain as
follows.

ARTICLE I. French privateers shall be permitted to conduct and cause
to be conducted, the prizes made from his Majesty's enemies, into the
ports of the United States of America, to repair them so as to proceed
again to sea, or to sell them definitively.

ARTICLE II. In the case of simple anchoring, the conductors of prizes
shall be bound to make before the Judges of the place, a summary
declaration containing the circumstances of the capture and motives of
anchoring, and to request the said Judges to go on board the captured
prizes and seal up such places as may admit of it, and make out a
short description of what cannot be contained under the said seals,
the state of which shall be verified in France by the officers of the
admiralty, on the copy which the officer conducting the prize shall be
obliged to report.

ARTICLE II., _amended_. In case of simple anchoring, the Captains
conducting the prizes shall be bound to make before the Judges of the
place, their secretaries, or other persons authorised by them, a
summary declaration containing the circumstances of the capture and
motives of anchoring, and to request the said Judges, their
secretaries, and other persons authorised by them, to go on board the
captured vessels, and seal up such places as may admit of it, and make
out a short description of what cannot be contained under such seals,
the state of which shall be verified in France by the officers of the
admiralty, on the copy of which the officer conducting his prize shall
be bound to report.

ARTICLE III. His Majesty, nevertheless, permits captains conducting
prizes to sell in the ports of the United States, either perishable
merchandise, or such other as may supply the wants of the vessels
during the time of their stay, the said conductors of prizes shall be
bound to ask permission from the Judges of the place for this purpose
in the ordinary form, and proceed to the sale by the public officers
appointed for that purpose, and to report copies, as well of the
proceedings as of the verbal process of the sale.

ARTICLE IV. The prize-masters, who shall be authorised by the owners
or captains of the capturing privateer to sell the said prizes in the
ports of the United States, shall be obliged to make before the Judges
a detailed report, which shall afterwards be verified in the hearing
of at least two of their crew, and to request the said Judges to go
directly on board of the prizes to make out a verbal process, seal up
the hatches and cabin, take an inventory of what cannot be sealed, and
appoint sequestrators. Which Judges shall proceed afterwards to
interrogate the captain, officers, and other persons of the crew of
the captured vessel to the number of two or three, or more if it is
judged necessary, and shall translate the useful papers on board if
there are interpreters, and annex compared copies of the said useful
papers to the minutes of the proceedings, to have recourse to them in
case of necessity, as is prescribed for prizes conducted into the
ports of the Kingdom by the 42d article of the declaration of the 24th
of June last.

ARTICLE V. As soon as the copies of the said proceedings, and the
original papers and translations shall have been addressed to the
Secretary-General of the Marine at Paris, for process in judgment by
the Council of Prizes, the captain or his agent may require the
provisional sale of the merchandise and effects subject to perishing,
and even the definitive sale of the prizes and all the merchandise of
their cargoes, whenever they shall evidently appear the enemy's
property, from the papers on board and the interrogatories of the
prisoners, in the manner that shall be ordered by the Judges of the
places, and as is prescribed for prizes conducted into the ports of
the kingdom by the 45th article of the said declaration of the 24th of
June last.

ARTICLE VI. The discharge, inventory, sale, and delivery of the said
prizes and merchandise shall be made agreeable to the formalities
practised in the ports of the United States. The captains, conductors
of prizes, shall be bound to report the particular liquidations or
summary statements of the proceeds of the said prizes and expenses
incurred on their account, that the said particular liquidations or
summary statements may be deposited by the owner or the secretary of
the Admiralty, at the place of outfit, agreeable to the 57th article
of the declaration of the 24th of June last, to which secretary the
judgments and prize papers shall be sent, in order to be registered.

ARTICLE VII. All the prisoners that shall be found on board either of
the French privateers, that shall come to anchor in the ports of the
United States, or on board the prizes which shall be brought there,
shall be immediately delivered to the governor or magistrate of the
place, to be secured in the name of the King, and maintained at his
expense, as shall likewise be done in the French ports, with respect
to the prisoners made by the American privateers. The captains who
carry back their prizes, to be sold in the ports of the kingdom, shall
nevertheless be bound to carry with them two or three principal
prisoners, in order to be interrogated by the officers of the
Admiralty who shall make the inquiry.

ARTICLE VIII. The privateers of the United States may conduct, or
cause to be conducted, their prizes into the ports belonging to his
Majesty, whether for the purpose of anchoring and remaining there,
until they are in a condition to proceed again to sea, or for the
purpose of selling them definitively.

ARTICLE IX. In case of simple anchoring, the prize-masters shall be
bound to make, within twentyfour hours after arrival, their
declaration before the officers of the Admiralty, who shall go on
board of the vessels, in order to seal up such places as may admit of
it, and to make a brief description of what cannot be comprehended
under the said seals, without allowing any thing to be landed from on
board of the said prizes, under the penalties contained in his
Majesty's arrets and regulations.

ARTICLE X. His Majesty nevertheless permits the said American
privateers to sell in his ports, either the perishable merchandise, or
such other, in order to defray the expenses of the vessels during the
time of their being in port, charging them to request permission from
the officers of the Admiralty, in presence of whom the said sale shall
be made.

ARTICLE XI. When the subjects of the United States would wish to sell
their prizes in the ports of the kingdom, the captain who shall have
made the prize, or the officer intrusted with bringing it in, shall be
bound to make before the officers of the Admiralty a detailed report,
which shall be verified in the hearing of at least two of their crew;
the officers of the Admiralty shall go immediately on board of the
prize to make out a verbal process, seal the hatches and cabins, make
an inventory of what cannot be sealed, and appoint keepers; they shall
afterwards proceed to interrogate the captains, officers, and other
people belonging to the crew of the prize; shall cause the useful
papers on board to be translated, of which they shall annex compared
copies to the minutes of the proceedings; and the original and
translated pieces, as also the copies of the said proceedings, shall
be sent to the deputies of the United States at Paris.

ARTICLE XII. The captains, conductors of prizes, or their agents, may
request the officers of the Admiralty to proceed to the provisional
sale of such merchandise and effects as are subject to perish, and
even to the definitive sale of the prizes and of all their merchandise
on board, when they shall appear to have belonged to the enemy, from
the papers on board and the information of the prisoners, in the same
manner as is prescribed for the prizes taken by French privateers, by
the 45th article of the declaration of the 24th of June last.

ARTICLE XIII. The discharge, inventory, sale, and delivery of the said
prizes shall be made in presence of the officers of the Admiralty,
whose fees, either for discharging, inventory, or sale, shall be
reduced one half, agreeable to the terms of the 52d article of the
declaration of the 24th of June last. The said officers shall not
proceed to a particular liquidation of the proceeds of the prizes
until they shall be required by the parties concerned, and in every
case where the delivery of several copies is required, no more shall
be paid to the register for the second and third, than the price of
the stamped paper and the expense of writing.

ARTICLE XIV. It is his Majesty's pleasure, that the arret of his
Council, by which, agreeable to the second article of the 24th of June
last, it shall be determined what kind and quality of merchandise,
proceeding from prizes, shall be consumed in the kingdom, as also what
duties they shall be subject to, shall likewise extend to the
merchandise proceeding from prizes taken by American privateers, who
are charged to fulfil the formalities prescribed by the arrets and
regulations.

ARTICLE XIV., _amended_. It is his Majesty's pleasure that the arret
of his Council, by which, agreeable to the second article of the 24th
of June last, it shall be determined what kind and quality of
merchandise, proceeding from prizes, shall be consumed in the kingdom,
as also what duties they shall be subject to, shall likewise extend to
the merchandise proceeding from prizes taken by American privateers,
who are charged to fulfil the formalities prescribed by the arrets and
regulations, especially with respect to the merchandise which they
would export, whether to the ports of the United States, or to all
other foreign countries, and that they shall be permitted for this
purpose to keep them during a year, in the magazines of deposit, free
from all duty.

ARTICLE XV. The American privateers may deliver in the ports, to the
commissioners of the ports and arsenals of the marine, the prisoners
they may have on board; his Majesty will give orders that the said
prisoners shall be conducted, guarded, and maintained in the name and
at the expense of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                             Passy, August 18th, 1778.

  Sir,

We embrace this first opportunity to answer the letter, which your
Excellency did us the honor to address to us, the 16th of this month.

We have examined with some attention the alterations, which your
Excellency has made in the 2d and 14th articles of the projected
regulations, and are of opinion, that they will remove the
difficulties we apprehended from the first draught.

We thank your Excellency for the obliging expressions of your
readiness to receive any representations, which we may hereafter have
occasion to make, of inconveniencies arising in the execution of these
regulations; which, however, we hope will not occur. We submit the
whole to your Excellency's deliberation and decision, and are, with
sentiments of the sincerest respect, your Excellency's most obedient
humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 JOHN PAUL JONES TO ABRAHAM WHIPPLE.

                                             Brest, August 18th, 1778.

  Sir,

I request that you will summon a court martial for the trial of
Lieutenant Thomas Simpson, with whose conduct I have been and am
unsatisfied, and who is now under suspension for disobedience of my
written orders.

I am, Sir, with due regard, your most humble servant,

                                                      JOHN PAUL JONES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 ABRAHAM WHIPPLE TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                               Brest, August 19, 1778.

  Sir,

I am honored with your letter of this day, requesting that I will
summon a Court Martial for the trial of Lieutenant Thomas Simpson,
with whose conduct you have been and are unsatisfied, and who, you
say, is under suspension for disobedience to your written orders.
Having maturely considered the contents of your letter, and with as
much accuracy as possible attended to every particular, I return for
answer the subjoined reasons, which will at once explain the
impossibility of calling a Court Martial, and fully acquaint you with
my sentiments on that subject.

You are sensible that the Continental regulations have expressly
ordered, that a Court Martial shall consist of at least three
Captains, which is impossible, as Captain Hinman declines to sit, he
expecting a Court of Inquiry upon his own conduct on his arrival in
America, and having assigned a reason of so forcible a nature, I think
he is acting a part at once prudent and becoming.

You will permit the remark, that by Lieutenant Simpson's parole, taken
by yourself June 10th, 1778, Lieutenant Simpson engaged on his parole
of honor to consider himself as under suspension till he shall be
called upon to meet you face to face before a Court Martial, unless
you should, in the meantime, release him from his parole, which I
conceive that you have done by your letter of the 16th of July to the
honorable Commissioners, where you mention that you are willing to let
the dispute drop forever, by giving up that parole, which would
entitle Lieutenant Simpson to the command of the Ranger; that this, as
you bore no malice, would be making him all the present satisfaction
in your power, provided that you had injured him, and that you will
trust to himself to make an acknowledgment, if, on the contrary, he
has injured you. In my opinion, this is giving up his parole in the
most ample manner, as it does not appear to me that you made, by
letter or otherwise, any compact or agreement with Lieutenant Simpson,
that he should make any concessions on his part, or any thing of that
nature, neither that he was to be answerable to a Court Martial when
the supposed crime was blotted out, for which he was at first
responsible.

I believe that the honorable Commissioners accepted it in the same
light, as by their letter of the same date it would seem you gave them
the greatest satisfaction in affording them an opportunity to
reinstate Lieutenant Simpson on board the Ranger. The Commissioners
further order him to take the command of the Ranger, as her first
Lieutenant, and to join me and to obey my orders, all which
sufficiently evinces that Lieutenant Simpson is no longer considered
as under suspension, and consequently cannot be responsible to a Court
Martial for disobedience to written orders from you, from which he is
amply released by your voluntary surrender of his parole. However, if
this explanation, attempted to be made in the most candid manner,
should not prove agreeable, I beg leave to refer you to the absolute
impossibility of calling a Court Martial, agreeable to the resolves of
Congress, and flatter myself that you will believe me to be, with due
respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

                                                      ABRAHAM WHIPPLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                              Passy, August 22d, 1778.

  Sir,

We have received your letter of the 15th, and have written to Captain
Whipple to appoint a Court Martial for the trial of Lieutenant
Simpson, provided there is a sufficient number of officers to
constitute one. This, however, is not to make any change in his
command of the Ranger until the trial is over; nor then, unless the
judgment of that Court is against him.

We are, sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                             Passy, August 28th, 1778.

  Sir,

There are several subjects which we find it necessary to lay before
your Excellency, and to which we have the honor to request your
attention.

At a time when the circumstances of the war may demand the attention
of government, and, without doubt, call for so great expense, we are
sorry to be obliged to request your Excellency's advice respecting the
subject of money; but the nature of the war in America, the vast
extent of country to defend, and this defence having been made chiefly
by militia engaged for short periods, which often obliged us to pay
more men than could be brought into actual service; and above all,
this war having been conducted in the midst of thirteen revolutions of
civil government, against a nation very powerful both by sea and land,
has occasioned a very great expense to a country so young, and to a
government so unsettled. This has made emissions of paper money
indispensable, in much larger sums than in the ordinary course of
business is necessary, or than in any other circumstances would have
been politic. In order to avoid the necessity of further emissions as
much as possible, the Congress have borrowed large sums of this paper
money of the possessors upon interest, and have promised the lenders
payment of that interest in Europe, and we therefore expect, that
vessels from America will bring bills of exchange upon us for that
interest, a large sum of which is now due.

It is very, true that our country is already under obligations to his
Majesty's goodness, for considerable sums of money; the necessities of
the United States have been such, that the sums, heretofore generously
furnished, are nearly if not quite expended, and when your Excellency
considers, that the American trade has been almost entirely
interrupted by the British power at sea, they having taken as many of
our vessels as to render this trade more advantageous to our enemy
than to ourselves; that our frigates and other vessels, which have
arrived in this Kingdom, have cost us a great sum; that the provision
of clothing and all the necessaries of war for our army, except such
as we could make in that country, have been shipped from hence at our
expense; that the expense we have been obliged to incur for our
unfortunate countrymen, who have been prisoners in England, as well as
the maintenance of those taken from the enemy has been very
considerable; your Excellency will not be surprised when you are
informed, that our resources are exhausted.

We, therefore, hope for the continuance of his Majesty's generosity,
and that the quarterly payment of seven hundred and fifty thousand
livres may be continued. And we assure your Excellency, that the
moment we are furnished with any other means of answering this demand,
we will no longer trespass on his Majesty's goodness.

We have further to inform your Excellency, that we are empowered and
instructed by Congress, to borrow in Europe a sum of money to the
amount of two millions sterling; which is to be appropriated to the
express purpose of redeeming so many of the bills of credit in
America, as will be sufficient, it is apprehended, to restore the
remainder to their original value. We, therefore, request his
Majesty's permission to borrow such part of that sum in his Majesty's
kingdom, as we may find opportunity. Although we are empowered to
offer a larger interest than is usually given, by his Majesty, yet
that we may not be any interruption to his Majesty's service, we are
willing and desirous of limiting the interest which we may offer, to
the same that is given by his Majesty. And in this way, although most
persons will choose to lend their money to his Majesty, yet there may
be others desirous of forming connexions of trade with the people in
America, who will be willing to serve them in this way. And perhaps
nothing will have a greater tendency to cement the connexion between
the two nations, so happily begun, or to insure to the French nation
the benefits of the American trade, than something of this kind.

By the 8th article of the treaty of commerce, his Majesty has engaged
to employ his good offices and interpositions with the Emperor of
Morocco, and with the regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and the
other powers on the coast of Barbary, in order to provide as fully as
possible for the convenience and safety of the inhabitants of the
United States, and their vessels and effects, against all violence,
insults, attacks, or depredations on the part of the said princes.

We have received information, that there are already American vessels
in Italy desirous of returning thence, and that there are merchants in
Italy desirous of entering into the American trade, but that an
apprehension of danger from the Corsairs of Barbary is a
discouragement. We therefore request your Excellency's attention to
this case, and such assistance from his Majesty's good offices, as was
intended by the treaty.

There is another thing that has occurred of late, on which we have the
honor to request your Excellency's advice. There are many Americans in
England, and in other parts of Europe, some of whom are excellent
citizens, and who wish for nothing so much as to return to their
native country, and to take their share in her fortune, whatever that
may be, but are apprehensive of many difficulties in recovering their
property.

Whether it will be practicable and consistent with his Majesty's
interest to prescribe any mode by which Americans of the above
description may be permitted to pass through this Kingdom with their
apparel, furniture, plate, and other effects, not merchandise for sale
here, without paying duties, we submit to his wisdom.

We likewise request of your Excellency a passport for such cartel ship
as shall be employed by the English in sending our people, who are
their prisoners, to France to be exchanged. They propose Calais as the
port at which the exchange may be made, but as the prisoners we have
are at Brest, and the expense of removing them to Calais would be
considerable, we should be glad that the passport would permit the
landing of our people as near Brest as may be, without danger of
inconveniency to the State.

We have the honor to be, with respect, your Excellency's, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             DECLARATION

_Of Count de Vergennes, annulling the Eleventh and Twelfth Articles of
                 the Commercial Treaty with France._

                             Translation.

The General Congress of the United States of North America having
represented to the king, that the execution of the 11th article of the
treaty of amity and commerce, signed the 6th of February last, might
be productive of inconveniencies, and having, therefore, desired the
suppression of this article, consenting in return that the 12th
article shall likewise be of no effect; his Majesty, in order to give
a new proof of his affection, as also of his desire to consolidate the
union and good correspondence established between the two States, has
been pleased to consider their representations. His Majesty has
consequently declared, and does declare by these presents, that he
consents to the suppression of the 11th and 12th articles
aforementioned, and that it is his intention, that they be considered
as having never been comprehended in the treaty signed the 6th of
February last.

Done at Versailles, this 1st day of September, 1778.

                                                 GRAVIER DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             DECLARATION

  _Of the American Commissioners, annulling the Eleventh and Twelfth
                    Articles of the same Treaty._

                             Translation.

The Most Christian King having been pleased to regard the
representations made to him by the General Congress of North America,
relating to the 11th article of the Treaty of Commerce, signed the 6th
of February in the present year, and his Majesty having therefore
consented that the said article should be suppressed, on condition
that the 12th article of the same treaty be equally regarded as of
none effect; the above said General Congress hath declared on their
part, and do declare, that they consent to the suppression of the 11th
and 12th articles of the above mentioned treaty, and that their
intention is, that these articles be regarded as having never been
comprised in the treaty signed the 6th of February. In faith whereof,
&c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO M. DE BEAUMARCHAIS.

                                          Passy, September 10th, 1778.

  Sir,

In a letter we have received from the Committee of Commerce of the
16th of May, we are informed, that they had ordered several vessels
lately to South Carolina for rice, and directed the continental agents
in that State to consign them to our address.

In the letter from Mr Livingston to us, dated Charleston South
Carolina, 10th June, 1778, he has subjected the cargo of the Therese
to our orders.

In your letter to us, dated Passy, 8th September, 1778, you demand,
that the cargo received in your own vessel should be sold, and the
money remitted to you in part for a discharge of what is due to you by
the Congress.

We are at a loss to know how you claim the Therese as your proper
vessel, because M. Monthieu claims her as his, produces a written
contract for the hire of her, part of which we have paid, and, the
remainder he now demands of us. However, Sir, we beg leave to state to
you the powers and instructions we have received from Congress, and to
request your attention to them as soon as possible, and to inform you,
that we are ready to enter upon the discussion of these matters, at
any time and place you please.

But until the accounts of the company of Roderique Hortalez & Co. are
settled for what is passed, and the contracts proposed either
ratified by you and us, or rejected by one party, we cannot think we
should be justified in remitting you the proceeds of the cargo of the
Therese.

We will, however, give orders to our agents for the sale of the cargo,
and that the proceeds of the sale be reserved to be paid to the house
of Roderique Hortalez & Co. or their representative, as soon as the
accounts shall be settled, or the contract ratified. By a copy of a
contract between a committee of Congress and M. Francy, dated the 16th
of April last, we perceive that the 17th article, respecting the
annual supply of 24,000,000 of livres, shall not be binding upon
either of the parties, unless the same shall be ratified by Roderique
Hortalez & Co. and the Commissioners of the United States at Paris.

We take this opportunity to inform you, Sir, that we are ready to
confer with Roderique Hortalez & Co. or any person by them authorised
for this purpose, at any time and place, that they or you shall
appoint.

We have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                          Passy, 10th September, 1778.

  Sir,

Captain Daniel M'Neil of Boston, in the State of Massachusetts Bay,
Commander of the American privateer, which has been so successful
against the common enemy in the North Seas and White Seas, had the
fortune to retake a French vessel from a Guernsey privateer, after she
had been in the enemy's possession three days, which prize he has
brought into Port Louis.

He represents to us, that he has met with some difficulties in
disposing of her and her cargo, which cannot be removed until your
Excellency's sentiments shall be known upon the matter.

We have the honor to recommend his case to your Excellency's
consideration, and to request that such relief may be afforded him, as
may consist with the laws of the State, and the treaties in force
between the two nations.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                          Passy, September 10th, 1778.

  Sir,

By some of the last ships from America, we received from Congress
certain powers and instructions, which we think it necessary to lay
before your Excellency, and which we have the honor to do in this
letter.

On the 13th of April last Congress resolved, "that the Commissioners
of the United States in France be authorised to determine and settle
with the house of Roderique Hortalez & Co. the compensation, if any,
which should be allowed them on all merchandise and warlike stores,
shipped by them for the use of the United States, previous to the 14th
day of April, 1778, over and above the commission allowed them, in the
6th article of the proposed contract between the Committee of Commerce
and John Baptiste Lazarus Theveneau de Francy."

In the letter of the Committee of Commerce to us, in which the
foregoing resolution was enclosed, the Committee express themselves
thus; "this will be accompanied by a contract entered into between
John Baptiste Lazarus de Theveneau de Francy, agent of Peter Augustine
Caron de Beaumarchais, representative of the house of Roderique
Hortalez & Co. and the Committee of Commerce. You will observe, that
their accounts are to be fairly settled, and what is justly due paid
for, as on the one hand, Congress would be unwilling to evidence a
disregard for, and contemptuous refusal of, the spontaneous friendship
of His Most Christian Majesty, so on the other, they are unwilling to
put into the private pockets of individuals, what was graciously
designed for the public benefit. You will be pleased to have their
accounts liquidated, and direct in the liquidation thereof, that
particular care be taken to distinguish the property of the crown of
France, from the private property of Hortalez & Co. and transmit to us
the accounts so stated and distinguished. This will also be
accompanied by an invoice of articles to be imported from France, and
resolves of Congress relative thereto. You will appoint, if you should
judge proper, an agent or agents to inspect the quality of such goods
as you may apply for to the house of Roderique Hortalez & Co. before
they are shipped, to prevent any impositions."

On the 16th of May last, Congress resolved, "that the invoice of
articles to be imported from France, together with the list of
medicines approved by Congress, be signed by the Committee of Commerce
and transmitted to the Commissioners of the United States at Paris,
who are authorised and directed to apply to the house of Roderique
Hortalez & Co. for such of the said articles, as they shall have
previously purchased or contracted for; that copies of the invoices be
delivered to Mons. de Francy, agent for Roderique Hortalez & Co.,
together with a copy of the foregoing resolution; and that the
articles to be shipped by the house of Roderique Hortalez & Co. be not
insured, but that notice be given to the Commissioners in France, that
they may endeavor to obtain convoy for the protection thereof."

We have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a copy of the contract
made between the Committee and Mons. Francy, a copy of Mons. Francy's
powers, and a copy of the list of articles to be furnished according
to that contract, that your Excellency may have before you all the
papers relative to this subject.

We are under the necessity of applying to your Excellency upon this
occasion, and of requesting your advice. With regard to what is
passed, we know not who the persons are who constitute the house of
Roderique Hortalez & Co., but we have understood, and Congress has
ever understood, and so have the people in America in general, that
they were under obligations to his Majesty's good will for the
greatest part of the merchandise and warlike stores heretofore
furnished under the firm of Roderique Hortalez & Co. We cannot
discover that any written contract was ever made between Congress or
any agent of theirs, and the house of Roderique Hortalez & Co., nor do
we know of any living witness, or any other evidence, whose testimony
can ascertain to us, who the persons are that constitute the house of
Roderique Hortalez & Co., or what were the terms upon which the
merchandise and munitions of war were supplied, neither as to the
price, nor the time, or conditions of payment. As we said before, we
apprehend that the United States hold themselves under obligations to
his Majesty for all those supplies, and we are sure it is their wish
and their determination to discharge the obligation to his Majesty, as
soon as Providence shall put it in their power. In the mean time, we
are ready to settle and liquidate the accounts according to our
instructions at any time, and in any manner which his Majesty and your
Excellency shall point out to us.

As the contract for future supplies is to be ratified, or not ratified
by us, as we shall judge expedient, we must request your Excellency's
advice as a favor upon this head, and whether it would be safe or
prudent in us to ratify it, and in Congress to depend upon supplies
from this quarter. Because, if we should depend upon this resource for
supplies and be disappointed, the consequences would be fatal to our
country.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, 16th September, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write to me
on the subject of the French ship Isabella, which the American
privateer General Mifflin recaptured from a Guernsey privateer.

In the _General Thesis_, you may see the disposition of the ordinance
of the Marine of 1681, which adjudges to captains, captors of
recaptured vessels, when they have been during twentyfour hours in the
enemy's hands, a third for the charges of rescue, when they are
retaken before the twentyfour hours. The American privateers shall
enjoy in France, without difficulty, the benefit of this law, if it
has been adopted by the United States in such a manner, as that the
French privateers may be assured of experiencing the same treatment,
with respect to the recaptures they may conduct into the ports of
North America.

The English laws, on the contrary, grant a privateer only one eighth
of the value of the vessels retaken within the first twentyfour hours,
a fifth within the second day, a third within the third and fourth,
and afterwards one half, which leaves at least, in every case, the
other half to the losing proprietors. It is possible, that the United
States, as these laws are less advantageous to the privateers and more
favorable to the original proprietors of recaptured vessels, would
give the preference to those of France.

In these circumstances, the rules of reciprocity observed between the
two powers require that arrangements be taken to adopt the law of one
of the two nations, which shall be observed by the respective
privateers, and in the meantime I am persuaded, that you will think
with me, that the American privateer, General Mifflin, ought not to
exact in France other advantages than what, in a similar case, a
French privateer would meet with in North America.

This discussion, moreover, should not take place perhaps in the
particular affair in question. I am just informed, that the French
proprietor claims his vessel as retaken from pirates, offering to pay
a third of its value to the American privateer, which delivered it.
This is agreeable to the 10th article, under the title of _Prizes_, of
the ordinance of 1681, which appears justly applicable to this
particular case. If it should be found, that the Guernsey privateer
falls under the description of those pirates, whose depredations have
obliged his Majesty to order general reprisals, and that she has not
been furnished with new letters of marque, which the Court of London
did not grant before the month of August, to cruise against French
vessels, as appears from the declaration of the Captain of the
Isabella, this question will be necessarily submitted to the decision
of the tribunals; and I cannot do otherwise than see, that the most
prompt justice be rendered to the American privateer. I request, at
any rate, that you will be pleased to give me your opinion on the
principal question, taking for granted the different laws of the two
nations with respect to reprisals or rescues.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                          Passy, 17th September, 1778.

  Sir,

We have this morning the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter
of the 16th, relative to the French brigantine, the Isabella, retaken
by the American privateer, the General Mifflin, from a Guernsey
privateer, after having been eight hours in his hands.

We have the honor to agree perfectly with your Excellency, in your
sentiments of the justice and policy of the principle of reciprocity
between the two nations, and that this principle requires that French
ships of war, or privateers, should have the same advantage in case
of prizes and recaptures, that the American privateers enjoy in
France.

We are so unfortunate, at present, as to have no copy of any of the
laws of the United States relative to such cases, and are not able to
recollect, with precision, the regulations in any of them. But we are
informed by Captain M'Neil, that by the law of Massachusetts Bay, if a
vessel is taken within twentyfour hours, one third goes to the
recaptors; after twentyfour hours until seventytwo hours, one half;
after seventytwo hours and before ninetysix hours, three quarters; and
after ninety six hours, the whole.

All that we have power to do in this case is, to convey to Congress a
copy of your Excellency's letter, and of our answer, and we have no
doubt but Congress will readily recommend to the several States to
make laws, giving to French privateers either the same advantages that
their own privateers have in such cases, in their own ports, or the
same advantages that the French privateers enjoy in the ports of this
kingdom in such cases, by the ordinance of the King. And we wish your
Excellency would signify to us, which would probably be most agreeable
to his Majesty. If the case of this vessel must come before the public
tribunal, upon the simple question, whether she was taken from a
pirate or not, that tribunal we doubt not will decide with
impartiality; but we cannot refrain from expressing to your
Excellency, that we think the original owner will be ill advised if he
should put himself to this trouble and expense.

We presume not to dispute the wisdom of the ordinance of the King,
which gives to the recaptor from a pirate only one third; because we
know not the species of pirates which was then in contemplation, nor
the motives of that regulation. But your Excellency will permit us to
observe, that this regulation is so different from the general
practice, and from the spirit of the laws of nations, that there is no
doubt it ought to receive a strict interpretation, and that it is
incumbent on the original proprietor to make it very evident, that the
first captor was a pirate.

In the case in question, the Guernsey privateer certainly had a
commission from the King of Great Britain, against American vessels at
least. But admitting, for argument's sake, that he had no commission
at all, the question arises, whether the two nations of France and
England are at war or not. And, although there has been no formal
declaration of war on either side, yet there seems to be little doubt
that the two nations have been at actual war, at least from the time
of the mutual recall of their Ambassadors, if not from the moment of
the British King's most warlike speech to his Parliament.

Now, if it is admitted that the two nations are at war, we believe it
would be without a precedent in the history of jurisprudence to
adjudge the subject of any nation to be guilty of piracy for an act of
hostility, committed at sea against the subject of another nation at
war. Such a principle, for what we see, would conclude all the
admirals and other officers of both nations guilty of the same
offence.

It is not the want of a commission, as we humbly conceive, that makes
a man guilty of piracy; but committing hostilities against human kind,
at least against a nation not at war.

Commissions are but one species of evidence that nations are at war.
But there are many other ways of proving the same thing.

Subjects and citizens, it is true, are forbidden by most civilized
nations to arm vessels for cruising against their enemies, without a
commission from the sovereign; but it is upon penalty, of confiscation
or some other, perhaps, milder punishment, not on the penalties of
piracy.

Moreover, perhaps, prizes made upon enemies by subjects or citizens,
without commission from their sovereigns, may belong to the
sovereigns, not to the captors, by the laws of most nations; but,
perhaps, no nation ever punished as pirates their own subjects or
citizens, for making a prize from an enemy without a commission.

We beg your Excellency's pardon for detaining you so long from objects
of more importance, and have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Passy, 17th September, 1778.

  Sir,

The last letter which we have had the honor to write jointly to
Congress, was of the 20th of July,[52] and as we have sent several
copies of it by different opportunities, we hope one of them, at
least, will get safe to hand. Since our last, there has been an
important action at sea, between two very powerful fleets, in which,
in our opinion, the French had a manifest and great advantage. But as
all the newspapers in Europe are full of this transaction, and we have
taken, in our separate capacities, every opportunity to transmit these
papers to Congress, we think it needless to be more particular
concerning that event in this letter.

The French fleet, on the 11th of last month, again put to sea, and on
the 22d Admiral Keppel sailed. By the best intelligence from London
the populace are amused, and the public funds are supported by hopes
given out, by administration of peace, by an acknowledgment of
American independency. But as the credulity of that nation has no
bounds, we can draw no inference from this general opinion, that such
is the intention of government. We suppose that rumor to be a
consequence of the mischievous determination of the Cabinet, to
propose independence on condition of a separate peace.

We are here, at this moment, in a state of the most anxious and
critical suspense, having heard nothing from Count d'Estaing, nor from
America, since the 11th of July.

Congress will be informed by Mr Arthur Lee, respecting the Court of
Spain.

We have taken measures in Amsterdam for borrowing money of the Dutch,
but what success we shall have we cannot yet say. We have also asked
leave of this government to borrow money in this kingdom, but having
no answer we cannot say whether we shall get permission or not. We
have yesterday applied for a continuation of the quarterly payment of
seven hundred and fifty thousand livres; what the answer will be we
know not; if it is in the negative, the consequence must be plain to
Congress and to us. It is at all times wisest and safest, both for the
representative and his constituent, to be candid, and we should think
ourselves criminal if we should disguise our just apprehensions.

Congress then will be pleased to be informed, that all the powers of
Europe are now armed or arming themselves by land or sea, or both, as
there seems to be a universal apprehension of a general war. Such is
the situation of European nations at least, that no one can arm itself
without borrowing money. Besides this, the Emperor and king of Prussia
are at actual war. All this together has produced this effect, that
France, England, the Emperor, Spain, Russia at least, are borrowing
money, and there is not one of them that we can learn, but offers
better interest than the United States have offered. There can be no
motive then but simple benevolence to lend to us.

Applications have been frequently made to us by Americans, who have
been some time abroad, to administer the oath of allegiance to the
United States, and to give them certificates that they have taken such
oaths. In three instances we have yielded to their importunity; in the
case of Mr Moore, of New Jersey, who has large property in the East
Indies, which he designs to transfer immediately to America,--in the
case of Mr Woodford, of Virginia, a brother of General Woodford, who
has been sometime in Italy, and means to return to America with his
property,--and yesterday, in the case of Mr Montgomery, of
Philadelphia, who is settled at Alicant, in Spain, but wishes to send
vessels and cargoes of his own property to America. We have given our
opinions to these gentlemen frankly, that such certificates are in
strictness legally void, because there is no act of Congress that
expressly gives us power to administer oaths. We have also given two
or three commissions by means of the blanks with which Congress
intrusted us, one to Mr Livingston, and one to Mr Amiel, to be
Lieutenants in the navy, and in these cases we have ventured to
administer the oaths of allegiance. We have also, in one instance,
administered the oath of secrecy to one of our Secretaries, and
perhaps it is necessary to administer such an oath, as well as that of
allegiance, to all persons whom we may be obliged in the extensive
correspondence we maintain to employ. We hope we shall not have the
disapprobation of Congress for what in this way has been done, but we
wish for explicit powers and instructions upon this head.

There are, among the multitude of Americans who are scattered about
the various parts of Europe, some, we hope many, who wish to take the
oath of allegiance, and to have some mode prescribed by which they may
be enabled to send their vessels and cargoes to America with safety
from their own friends, American men of war, and privateers. Will it
not be practicable for Congress to prescribe some mode of giving
registers of ships, some mode of evidence to ascertain the property of
cargoes, by which it might be made to appear to the cruisers and Court
of Admiralty, that the property belonged to Americans abroad? If
Congress should appoint Consuls, could not such power be given to
them, or would Congress empower their Commissioners or any others?
Several persons from England have applied to us to go to America; they
profess to be friends to liberty, to republics, to America; they wish
to take their lot with her, to take the oath of allegiance to the
States, and to go over with their property. We hope to have
instructions upon this head, and a mode pointed out for us to proceed
in.

In observance of our instructions to inquire into M. Holker's
authority, we waited on his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes,
presented him with an extract of the letter concerning him, and
requested to know what authority M. Holker had. His Excellency's
answer to us was, that he was surprised, for that M. Holker had no
verbal commission from the ministry; but that M. de Vergennes, being
informed that M. Holker was going to America, desired him to write to
him, from time to time, the state of things and the temper of the
people.

We have given orders to M. Bonfield, at Bordeaux, to ship to America
twentyeight 24 pounders, and twentyeight 18 pounders, according to our
instructions. By his answer to us it will take some little time,
perhaps two or three months, to get those cannon at a good rate, and
in good condition.

Our distance from Congress obliges us very often to act without
express instructions, upon points in which we should be very glad to
have their orders. One example of which is, the case of the American
prisoners in England. Numbers have been taken and confined in gaols;
others, especially masters of vessels, are set at liberty. We are told
there are five hundred yet in England. Many have escaped from their
prisons, who make their way to Paris, some by the way of Holland,
others by Dunkirk, and others by means of smuggling vessels in other
ports in this kingdom. They somehow get money to give gaolers in order
to escape, then they take up money in England, in Holland, in Dunkirk,
and elsewhere, to bear their expenses to Paris, then they apply to us
to pay their other expenses, and expenses to Nantes, Brest, and other
seaport towns. When arrived there, they apply to the American agent
for more money; besides this, bills of their drawing are brought to us
from Holland, and other places; all this makes a large branch of
expense. We have no orders to advance money in these cases, yet we
have ventured to advance considerable sums; but the demands that are
coming upon us from all quarters are likely to exceed so vastly all
our resources, that we must request positive directions whether we are
to advance money to any prisoners whatever. If to any, whether to
merchants, and seamen of private vessels, and to officers and crews of
privateers, as well as to officers and men in the Continental service.
We have taken unwearied pains, and have put the United States to very
considerable expense, in order to give satisfaction to these people,
but all we have done has not the effect; we are perpetually told of
discontented speeches, and we often receive peevish letters from these
persons in one place and another, that they are not treated with so
much respect as they expected, nor furnished with so much money as
they wanted. We should not regard these reflections if we had the
orders of Congress.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.


FOOTNOTES:

[52] It is thus in the original, but it will have been seen, that
there are three short letters to Congress between July 20th and
September 17th.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. NECKER TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                             Translation.

                                          Paris, September 18th, 1778.

  Sir,

I conclude from your note of the 5th instant, that the Commissioners
of the North American Congress have informed you, that there are many
Americans in England, and other parts of Europe, who, desirous of
returning to their country, have requested permission to transport
their effects through France, without being subjected to the payment
of duties.

Such an exemption would be contrary to all rule, and could only be
granted by means of passports, which would indemnify the public chest;
you will doubtless see that such is not the case here.

This favor, however, can be shown them. The transit regularly gives
occasion for a duty on the importation, and a second on the
exportation; only one of these shall be imposed; it shall be paid at
the office of entry; the effects shall be estimated at a very moderate
rate if they are not new; they shall then be transported with free
permits, and under seal, to secure them from new examinations on the
route, until they leave the kingdom. I think you will agree, that it
would not be possible to grant them more favorable terms. I beg you to
request the Commissioners to make known to us those Americans, for
whom this favor is requested, that I may give the necessary orders,
and prevent all abuses in this respect.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                               NECKER.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE AMERICAN PRISONERS IN PLYMOUTH, OR ELSEWHERE IN GREAT BRITAIN.

                                          Passy, September 20th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Although we have not written to you directly for some time, you may be
assured we have not been unmindful of your interests, your comfort, or
your liberty. We have been engaged a long time in negotiating a cartel
of exchange. This work we found attended with many difficulties, but
at last have obtained assurances from England, that an exchange shall
take place. We have also obtained from the government of this
kingdom, a passport for a vessel to come from England to Nantes, or
L'Orient, with American prisoners, there to take in British prisoners
in exchange. We now sincerely hope that you will obtain your liberty.
We cannot certainly say, however, that all will be immediately
exchanged, because we fear we have not an equal number to be sent to
England. Those that remain, if any, will be those who have been the
latest in captivity, and consequently have suffered the least.

While the British government refused to make any agreement of
exchange, the Commissioners here never discouraged their countrymen
from escaping from the prisons in England, but on the contrary have
lent several sums of money, sufficient with great economy to bear
their expenses to some seaport, to such as have made their way hither.
But, if the British government should honorably keep their agreement
to make a regular exchange, we shall not think it consistent with the
honor of the United States to encourage such escapes, or to give any
assistance to such as shall escape. Such escapes, hereafter would have
a tendency to excite the British administration to depart from the
cartel, to treat the prisoners remaining with more rigor, and to
punish those that escape, if retaken, with more severity.

On the other hand, we have now obtained permission of this government
to put all British prisoners, whether taken by continental frigates or
by privateers, into the King's prisons, and we are determined to treat
such prisoners precisely as our countrymen are treated in England, to
give them the same allowance of provisions and accommodations and no
other. We, therefore, request you to inform us with exactness what
your allowance is from the government, that we may govern ourselves
accordingly.

We have the honor to be, with much respect and affection, your
countrymen and humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, September 21st, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have had the honor of receiving your note of the 17th instant. I
have no doubt that my observations on the necessity of a perfect
reciprocity between the two nations, in regard to recaptures at sea,
appear to you just. I am sorry that you have not at hand a copy of the
laws of the United States relative to this subject. Many difficulties,
which the distance of the two countries may render very frequent,
might thus have been prevented. The laws of Massachusetts Bay,
referred to by Captain M'Neil, are different from those of England,
and somewhat resemble the French. The English regulations seem to be
more favorable to the interests of commerce, (which should never be
lost sight of even in war,) by allowing half of the vessel in all
cases to the original owner. But it is particularly important, that
the different States should adopt some uniform and permanent system in
regard to this subject, so that there may not be different regulations
for each State, which the ignorance of the commanders of privateers
will prevent them from applying to different circumstances, thus
giving rise to difficulties, which might be avoided by uniform
legislation.

With regard to the recapture of the Isabella by Captain M'Neil, I have
merely indicated to you the grounds on which the owners rested their
claims in their letter to me. It is not the province of the government
to examine them; that matter comes under the jurisdiction of the
courts; if their sentence should be unfavorable to the original
owners, you will certainly agree that a third, or even a half, of the
value of the vessel ought to be deposited in the hands of a public
officer appointed for that purpose, until the two nations shall agree
upon some reciprocal regulations concerning vessels recaptured from
the common enemy.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, September 21st, 1778.

  Sir,

I have had the honor to receive your note of the 5th instant,
informing me of the wish of the Commissioners of the United States of
North America to engage your good offices with the king, that the
necessary measures may be taken to fulfil his Majesty's engagements,
under the 8th article of the treaty of February 6th of the present
year, in reference to the Barbary Powers. I have examined the article,
and find that the king promised to employ his mediation, with the
Emperor of Morocco, and the other Barbary Powers, in order to provide
as fully as possible for the interest and security of the citizens of
the United States, and the protection of their vessels and effects
against all violence, insult, attacks, or depredations by the said
Barbary Powers or their subjects.

From the nature of this engagement, it appears to me proper to use all
means to comply with it, notwithstanding any difficulties which seem
to lie in the way; but before presenting any plan to his Majesty, it
seems to me necessary to inform him of the actual dispositions of the
United States, and of the measures they may deem desirable on the part
of France.

Do the United States wish to conclude treaties with the Barbary
Powers, or do they wish merely that our influence should be exerted to
make their flag respected by those powers? In the latter case we
should never succeed, or if we should obtain liberty of commerce for
the United States from some of them, it would be an illusory,
temporary, and precarious permission, and would infallibly expose us,
without being of the least benefit to the citizens of the United
States. The Algerines, in particular, would never acknowledge the flag
of the United States, unless it were made for their interests to do
so.

You know too well, Sir, the character of the Barbary States, and their
policy, to be ignorant of the inefficacy and dangers of such a
measure. It would probably be less difficult to induce them to
acknowledge the independence of the United States, and to conclude
treaties with this new power. It is necessary to know beforehand, what
are the instructions of the Commissioners, and whether they are
authorised to negotiate with the Barbary Powers, under the mediation
of France. If Congress has this intention, then I could receive the
orders of the king to give the Commissioners the information necessary
for entering upon a negotiation with the Barbary Powers, and we
should be able to concert effectual measures for succeeding in this
object, without exposing our own interests for those of the United
States. This negotiation will be long and arduous, but I will neglect
nothing to assure its success, if the Congress determine to prosecute
it, and you consider the king pledged to forward it. I shall wait for
your reply before making any overtures.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Passy, 22d September, 1778.

  Sir,

This will be delivered to you by Mr Jonathan Loring Austin, who was
sent the last year express to France, with the news of the convention
of Saratoga. He has resided chiefly in this kingdom from that time,
and has been employed in the service of the public a part of the time,
and his behavior from first to last has given entire satisfaction to
us. We think it our duty, therefore, to recommend him to Congress as a
gentleman of merit, of ability and diligence in business, zealously
attached to the cause of his country, and of exemplary prudence and
decency.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    E. T. VAN BERCKEL TO M. DUMAS.

                             Translation.

                                       Amsterdam, September 23d, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to transmit to you herewith the declaration, which I
am authorised to make, in order to prevent any mistake as to the
intentions of the burgomasters of the city of Amsterdam; since it will
be made evident by the above mentioned declaration, that they have not
the absurd design of concluding a convention independently of their
High Mightinesses, but only to make such preparations as are possible
to accelerate the conclusion of a treaty of commerce, when the
opportunity shall present. It is plain, that a treaty of commerce
cannot be concluded, unless the principal commercial city of the
republic gives its consent thereto, and that it cannot give its
consent without having examined the terms. This examination may as
well precede, as follow the acknowledgment of the independence of
America by the English, in which case we should gain much time.

With regard to the terms, I will explain my own views, Sir, in a very
few words, viz. that, in general, we should grant each other mutually
all the facilities necessary to render commerce as free as possible,
and that for this purpose we should take the treaty between France and
America as the basis, changing nothing except those provisions, which
cannot be applicable in the republic.

If this principle accord with the views of Congress on this subject, I
will have the above mentioned treaty examined by experienced
merchants, and communicate to you their opinion with regard to the
additions, or omissions, necessary to negotiate a treaty of commerce
between the republic and the United States of America on that basis.

If you wish for any further explanations, I beg you, Sir, to give me
information, but I think the views I have proposed so simple, that
nothing further will be necessary.

I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

                                                    E. T. VAN BERCKEL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 _Declaration of E. T. Van Berckel._

                             Translation.

                                       Amsterdam, September 23d, 1778.

The undersigned, Pentionary of the city of Amsterdam has the honor to
make known to those who are duly authorised by the Congress of the
United States of America, that he is empowered by the Burgomasters of
the aforementioned city, to declare in their names, that, provided the
said Congress do not enter into any engagements with the English
Commissioners, which may be hurtful or prejudicial to the commerce of
the republic of the United Provinces, directly or indirectly, the
aforesaid Burgomasters on their side will be entirely disposed, as far
as depends on them, so to direct the course of affairs, that whenever
the independence of the said United States of America shall be
recognised by the English, a perpetual treaty of amity shall be
concluded between this republic and the aforesaid United States,
containing the most extensive reciprocal advantages in relation to the
commerce of the subjects of the two powers.

The undersigned has the honor further to declare, that it is the will
of said Burgomasters, that this declaration may be employed, as shall
be thought expedient, with the necessary precaution that it shall not
come to the knowledge of those interested, to prevent, if possible,
or at least to obstruct the execution of a plan, which has no other
object than to promote mutual happiness and the true interests of the
two republics.

                                                    E. T. VAN BERCKEL.

       *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE VERGENNES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, September 24th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

By your note of the 28th of August, you requested free entry, with
exemption from all duties, of the effects of many Americans in Europe,
desirous of returning to their country. I have communicated your
request to M. Necker, and send you herewith his reply. You will see in
it the reasons which render it impossible to comply with your wishes,
and the arrangements which can be made to favor the Americans, who
wish to send their effects to America by the way of France.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                          Passy, September 26th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have considered, with some attention, the papers which you have
laid before us, containing a project of a treaty to be made between
the republic of the United Provinces, and that of the United States of
America.

As Congress have intrusted to us the authority of treating with all
the States of Europe, excepting such as have a particular commission
designed by Congress to treat with them; and as no particular
Commissioner has been appointed to treat with their High Mightinesses,
we have already taken such measures as appeared to us suitable to
accomplish so desirable a purpose, as a friendship between nations so
circumstanced as to have it in their power to be extremely beneficial
to each other in promoting their mutual prosperity. And we propose to
continue our endeavors in every way consistent with the honor and
interest of both.

But we do not think it prudent, for many reasons, to express at
present any decided opinion concerning the project of a treaty, which
you have done us the honor to communicate to us.

We cannot, however, conclude without expressing our real disposition
to treat upon an object, which, besides laying the foundation of an
extensive commerce between the two countries, would have a very
forcible tendency to stop the effusion of human blood, and prevent the
further progress of the flames of war.

We have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, Sir, your most
obedient humble servant,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO RALPH IZARD.

                                          Passy, 26th September, 1778.

  Sir,

Last evening we had the honor of an answer from the Count de Vergennes
to our letter respecting your goods. We enclose a copy of it to you,
and believe it will be advisable for you to wait on M. de Sartine;
perhaps he may, at first, recollect the article of the treaty, as M.
de Vergennes appears not to have done.

We have the honor to be, with great respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                          Passy, September 26th, 1778.

  Sir,

We had last evening the honor of your Excellency's letter of the 24th
of this month, in answer to ours of the 28th ult. relative to the
liberty for Americans to pass through this kingdom with their effects
in their way home, duty free, enclosing a copy of a letter from M.
Necker to your Excellency upon the same subject. We shall take the
liberty to pursue the rules prescribed by M. Necker, as there may be
occasion.

At the same time we had the honor of your Excellency's letter of the
25th, relative to Mr Izard's goods.

The question your Excellency mentions, we apprehend cannot arise in
this case, whether an enemy's ship makes merchandise the enemy's,
because by the 16th article of the treaty of commerce, your Excellency
will recollect, "that an exception is made of such goods and
merchandise as were put on board such ships before the declaration of
war, or after such declaration, if it were done without the knowledge
of such declaration. Ignorance of the declaration of war not to be
pleaded after two months."

Mr Izard's goods were shipped before any declaration of war, or at
least, two months had not passed away after the first appearance of
war, and before they were shipped.

We have referred Mr Izard to his Excellency M. de Sartine, and shall
have the honor to apply to him ourselves, according to your
Excellency's advice, as early as possible.

We have the honor to be, with the most perfect consideration, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                          Passy, September 26th, 1778.

  Sir,

The honorable Ralph Izard, Minister from the United States to the
Grand Duke of Tuscany, having ordered his baggage to Italy from
London, has had the luck to have it taken in an English vessel, and
carried into Marseilles. We have written to the Count de Vergennes on
the subject, who referred us to your Excellency.

We apprehend, that by the 16th article of the treaty of commerce, Mr
Izard has a clear right to a restitution of his goods. But perhaps it
will be necessary for your Excellency to transmit to Marseilles a copy
of the treaty, or some order relative to this property of Mr Izard,
which we have the honor to request.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE VERGENNES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, September 27th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

In your letter of the 28th ult. you remind me of the promise of the
king, by the 8th article of the treaty of amity and commerce, signed
the 6th of February last, to use his exertions with the Barbary Powers
to provide for the security of the commerce and navigation of the
citizens of the United States in the Mediterranean. I have
communicated your request to M. de Sartine, to whose department it
belongs, and you will see by the reply of that minister, of which I
send you a copy, that he considers it reasonable, but requires further
explanations before he can receive the orders of the king on this
matter. I beg you gentlemen, to have the goodness to communicate them
to me, and to be assured that the king will cheerfully do all in his
power to satisfy the wishes of the United States, and promote their
views with the different Barbary powers.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                          Passy, September 27th, 1773.

  Sir,

We have received the letter, which your Excellency did us the honor to
write to us on the 21st inst. relative to the Isabella, retaken from a
Guernsey privateer, by Captain M'Neil, in the General Mifflin.

It is extremely probable, that Count d'Estaing has retaken several
American vessels from the English; we shall no doubt soon have
intelligence what has been done in those cases.

We have advised Captain M'Neil to leave one third of the produce of
the Isabella in the hands of such public officer, as your Excellency
shall point out, to be repaid to him, or restored to the original
proprietor of the Isabella hereafter, according to the rule which,
shall be adopted by the two nations, and to this Captain M'Neil has
agreed. Captain M'Neil will have the honor of delivering this letter
to your Excellency, and is ready to give your Excellency any assurance
you may require of him, and to take the charge of your despatches
respecting this affair; if your Excellency is disposed to do him the
honor to trust them to his care.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO M. DUMAS.

                                          Passy, September 27th, 1778.

  Sir,

We received yours in which you hint, that it is wished by some of our
friends, that the Commissioners would propose a treaty to your
government. It would really be a great pleasure to them to be
instrumental in cementing a union between the two republics of Holland
and the United States, by a treaty of amity and commerce, similar to
that lately concluded with France, or varying where circumstances
might require it. But having received no answer from the Grand
Pentionary to a letter they respectfully wrote to his Excellency some
months since, expressing their disposition to such a good work, they
apprehend that any further motion of that kind, on their part, would
not at present be agreeable; though they still hold themselves ready
to enter upon such a treaty, when it shall seem good to their High
Mightinesses.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

      FROM THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM BINGHAM.

                                   Philadelphia, September 28th, 1778.

  Sir,

Your several favors up to the 28th of July came duly to our hands,
and, having been communicated to Congress, were received as agreeable
proofs of your regular correspondence. The papers which you enclosed
are with the Marine Committee, who will doubtless take occasion soon
to report upon the contents. This will be conveyed to you in a small
schooner, which, perhaps is not fit for a winter's return to this
coast. You will determine in conjunction with the Captain, whether to
send her back immediately, or to make the best use of her for the
public in your neighborhood, till a proper month for her return. She
is confided thus to your discretion.

No absolute judgment can at this instant be formed of the intended
movements of the enemy. A course of Dunlap's papers will convey to you
a general insight into the posture of our military affairs. It is not
probable that any considerable decision in the field will take place
this fall; and the councils in Britain appear to be for relinquishing
the mad project of subjugating us by arms.

It was to give conveyance to the letters of the French Minister, that
the bearer was at this season despatched to Martinique; so that you
will get further information of our affairs through the General, with
whose confidence you are so much honored. You will herewith receive
the second volume of the Journals of Congress, but lately published.
And as it was uncertain whether you had ever received the first, that
also is sent; the index at least will be new to you, and serviceable.

We are, Sir, &c.

                                                         R. H. LEE,
                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                             Passy, 1st October, 1778.

  Sir,

We have received the letter, which your Excellency did us the honor to
write to us on the 27th of last month, together with a copy of a
letter from the Minister of the Marine to your Excellency, of the 21st
of the same month.

Convinced of the propriety of those eclaircissements which his
Excellency demands, we had recourse to our various instructions from
Congress, and although we have power and instructions to treat and
conclude treaties with all the European Powers, to whom no particular
Minister has been sent by Congress, yet we cannot find that our powers
extend to conclude treaties with the Barbary States.

We are, nevertheless, instructed to endeavor to obtain passes for
vessels of the United States and their subjects from those powers,
through the mediation and influence of His Most Christian Majesty,
which we therefore request his Excellency to endeavor to procure,
provided he sees no danger in the attempt, or material objections to
it.

We have, however, the honor to agree with his Excellency in opinion,
that an acknowledgment of the independence of the United States, on
the part of these powers, and a treaty of commerce between them and
us, would be beneficial to both, and a negotiation to that end not
unlikely to succeed; because there has been heretofore some trade
between them and us, in the course of which our people and vessels
were well received.

We therefore submit to his Excellency's judgment, either to commence a
negotiation for passes for American vessels immediately, or to wait
until we can write to Congress, and obtain power to treat with those
States, and conclude treaties of commerce with them, when we shall
request to commence and conclude the negotiation through the mediation
and under the auspices of his Majesty. We have the honor to request
his Excellency's advice hereupon.

We address this to your Excellency, as we have done many other things,
which we suppose may be referred to other departments, because your
Excellency being the Minister for Foreign Affairs, we have understood
that we have no right to apply in the first instance to any other. But
if we have been misinformed and ill-advised in this, and there is no
impropriety in our making immediate application to other Ministers,
upon subjects we know to be in their departments, we request your
Excellency to give us an intimation of it; and for the future we will
avoid giving unnecessary trouble to your Excellency.

We have the honor to be, with sentiments of most entire respect,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                              Passy, October 2d, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor of your Excellency's letter of yesterday's date,
requiring us to give to the Sieur Fagan all the security in our power
for these vessels to transport the merchandise of France to England.

We have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that we have
accordingly given the Sieur Fagan three different requests in writing,
to all commanders of American armed vessels to let the said vessels
and cargoes pass without molestation, which was all the security that
the laws of our country have empowered us to give.

We have the honor to be, with most entire consideration, your
Excellency's most obedient servant,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE, TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                        Versailles, October 7th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have had the honor, to receive your letter of the 26th ult., in
which you support the pretensions of Mr Izard, Minister of the United
States for Tuscany, who claims the effects captured in the English
ship, the Nile, by the Cesar privateer from Marseilles. You have made
a mistake in citing the 16th article of the treaty between his Majesty
and the United States; the 14th article relates particularly to the
subject. It contains, however, only the usual provisions of commercial
treaties, founded on the law of nations, and I cannot see that it
applies rigorously to the present case. Mr Izard is not named in the
account of the goods of which he demands the restoration. There are no
papers, which prove that those articles, shipped by an Englishman,
addressed to Senior Martinelli for the Abbe Niccoli, are not on
account of English subjects. If the government had the decision of the
question without the interference of the Court, certainly, Gentlemen,
your assertion and that of Mr Izard would be of very great weight. But
his Majesty has granted to the captors the whole of the property
captured; the Board of Prizes has adjudged the ship Nile a lawful
capture, by their decree of the 20th ult.

Placed between the Prize Court, the captors, and the claimant, the
government cannot undertake to decide on this subject; it could pursue
that course only in case the laws were not applicable to the point in
question; but here the laws are known, they decide on claims for goods
shipped before the commencement of hostilities; and in having recourse
to the tribunals, Mr Izard may expect from them all the justice and
favor, which the citizens of the United States will always experience
in France.

I have the honor, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

            THE AMBASSADOR OF NAPLES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                             Paris, 8th October, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I am persuaded that you already know that the king of the Two
Sicilies, my master, has ordered the ports of all his dominions to be
kept open to the flag of the United States of America, for which
reason, to avoid every possible mistake at this time, when the seas
are covered with the privateers of different nations, and likewise
with pirates, I request you to inform me of the colors of the flag of
the United States of America, and likewise of the form of the
clearances, the better to know the legality of the papers which it is
customary to present in ports, to gain free admission.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                             THE AMBASSADOR OF NAPLES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE AMBASSADOR OF NAPLES.

                                             Passy, 9th October, 1778.

  Sir,

We are this moment honored with your Excellency's letter of the 8th of
this month, and we thank your Excellency for the information, that his
Majesty the king of the Two Sicilies, has ordered the ports of his
dominions to be open to the flag of the United States of America. We
should be glad to have a copy of his Majesty's edict for that purpose,
in order to communicate it to Congress, who we are confident will be
much pleased with this mark of his Majesty's benevolence.

It is with pleasure that we acquaint your Excellency, that the flag of
the United States of America consists of thirteen stripes, alternately
red, white, and blue; a small square in the upper angle, next the
flag-staff, is a blue field with thirteen white stars, denoting a new
constellation.

Some of the States have vessels of war distinct from those of the
United States; for example, the vessels of war of the State of
Massachusetts Bay have sometimes a pine tree, and those of South
Carolina, a rattlesnake, in the middle of the thirteen stripes.
Merchant ships have often only thirteen stripes, but the flag of the
United States ordained by Congress, is the thirteen stripes and
thirteen stars above described.

The commissions of ships of war belonging to the United States, as
well as those of privateers, are all signed by the President of
Congress, and countersigned by the Secretary. Each State may have a
different method of clearing vessels, outward bound, and a different
form in the papers given, therefore we are not able to give your
Excellency certain information respecting all of them. The
Massachusetts Bay has only a naval officer in each port, who
subscribes a register, a clearance, and a pass for the Castle in
Boston harbor.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                            Passy, 12th October, 1778.

  Sir,

The letter your Excellency did us the honor to write to us the 7th of
this month we duly received.

In our letter of the 26th of last month, respecting the goods of Mr
Izard, on board the Nile, we cited the 16th article of the treaty of
commerce, in support of Mr Izard's claim, which your Excellency thinks
an error, and that it is the 14th article which most nearly relates to
his case. We cited the article as it stood in the original treaty,
where it is the 16th. Your Excellency cites it as it stands in the
treaty now agreed to be amended, leaving out two articles, the 11th
and 12th. But your Excellency and we mean all the same article, which
appears to us to apply to Mr Izard's case, as clearly, strictly and
fully, as it could have been contrived to do, if his case had been in
contemplation at the time when the treaty was made, and specially
meant to be provided for. The words of the article are, "that such
goods as were put on board any ship belonging to an enemy before the
war, or after the declaration of the same, without the knowledge of
it, shall no ways be liable to confiscation, but shall well and truly
be restored, without delay, to the proprietor, demanding the same.
Ignorance of the declaration of war, not to be pleaded more than two
months after the declaration."

Now by the bill of lading, which we had the honor to enclose to your
Excellency, it appears, that the goods were shipped in the month of
April last; at a time when certainly two months had not elapsed from
and after the declaration of war. But if other evidence of this fact,
viz. the time when these goods were shipped, is necessary, Mr Izard
can certainly obtain it from England, although it would be attended
with a good deal of trouble and expense.

As to the question, whether the goods are Mr Izard's property or not,
Mr Izard, in a letter to us dated the 10th of this month, assures us,
that his name is in many of the books, and that one of the boxes
contains a great number of his papers with his name upon them. That
the testimony of his merchant in London, who shipped the things, shall
be procured, if necessary, and likewise that of the merchant in
Leghorn, and the Abbe Niccoli, to whom they are addressed.

We are only desirous of what is right, and as we hold ourselves bound
to do all in our power to assist our fellow citizens in maintaining
their rights, and of omitting no advantage that they are entitled to
by the treaty, and as the treaty is so express that goods so
circumstanced shall be restored without delay, and upon demand; and as
Mr Izard apprehends he ought not to be put to the trouble, delay, and
expense of a lawsuit on this occasion, we have thought it our duty to
write again to your Excellency on the subject.

We are sensible, that his Majesty has granted the whole of the
property, which shall be taken from the enemy and shall be lawful
prize, to the captors, and the encouragement of adventurers in this
way is of so much importance to our country, as well as to this, that
we wish them to enjoy all the profits and advantages of their prizes.
But the captors in this case must be sensible, that the goods belonged
to a friend, not an enemy, and therefore not included in his Majesty's
grant.

We beg leave to lay another subject before your Excellency. There are,
we are informed, on board the Fox and the Lively, as there are in
almost every ship in Admiral Keppel's and Lord Howe's fleets, numbers
of American seamen, who abhor the service into which, by one of the
most extravagant flights of tyranny and cruelty that ever was heard of
among men, they have been forced and compelled to fight against their
country and their friends. These seamen we should be glad to deliver
from the prisons in this kingdom, and from a misery and captivity
infinitely more detestable on board of British men of war. We,
therefore, beg leave to propose to your Excellency, that an inquiry be
made, and a list taken of the natives of America among the crews of
the Fox and Lively, and the men delivered to us. This would be
attended with many happy consequences. It would relieve many of our
countrymen from present confinement, and the most dismal prospects,
and would furnish our vessels with a number of excellent sailors. It
may be proper to inform your Excellency, that before this war began,
one third part of the seamen, belonging to the then whole British
empire, belonged to America. If we were able to command the services
of all the sailors, it would be of great importance to the common
cause; it would take away one third of the whole; those employed in
the American service would be able to fight another third remaining to
Great Britain, and consequently would leave to France no more than one
third of the seamen, belonging to the British empire before the war,
for France to contend with. But alas, this is not the case. Various
causes, too many to be here explained, have concurred to prevent this.
But we are very desirous of alluring back to their country as many as
possible of those we have lost, and the plan we have now proposed to
your Excellency appears to be one probable means of doing it. We shall
suggest others hereafter, as opportunity occurs.

_October 15th, 1778._ Since the foregoing was written, we have
received letters from Robert Harrison, John Lemon, Edward Driver, and
John Nicols, prisoners in Denant Castle, representing that they were
taken by English frigates, in American privateers, forced into the
service on board the Fox, and now taken by the French, and praying
that we would intercede for their liberty, that they may return, if
possible, to their country.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

               FROM JAMES LOVELL TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                     Philadelphia, October 12th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

Congress having foreign affairs now under consideration, I shall not
write to you on that subject, more especially as it is quite uncertain
how the present papers will be conveyed. Nor shall I pretend to
unravel to you the designs of the enemy. They are very inscrutable.
The printers know as much as I do about them; therefore I send a few
of the last prints of Dunlap, which, with the Boston papers, must
decide you in opinion.

Your affectionate friend, &c.

                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO RALPH IZARD.

                                            Passy, October 13th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor of enclosing to you a copy of M. de Sartine's answer
to our application in support of your demand of your baggage, taken on
board the Nile. We have, agreeably to your last letter, written again
to M. de Sartine requesting him to stop the sale of the things, till
you can make your objections to their being lawful prize.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                            Passy, October 13th, 1778.

  Sir,

We had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of the 7th
instant, to which we shall take the liberty of answering fully by
another opportunity. As you mention that the prize was condemned on
the 20th, Mr Izard is apprehensive, that the goods in question may be
sold before the ordinary course of law can prevent it. He therefore
desires us to request your Excellency to prevent that if possible. And
we accordingly beg the favor of your Excellency to do so. We hope
there is no impropriety in this; and that if there should be, you will
impute it to our want of information on the manner of such proceedings
here.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

        TO THE AMERICANS TAKEN ON BOARD THE ENGLISH FRIGATES.

                                            Passy, October 15th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

We have received a letter from Robert Harrison of the 7th of October,
and another from John Lemon, Edward Driver, and John Nicols of the
12th, all prisoners in Denant Castle, all professing to be Americans,
who have first been compelled into the service of their enemies, and
then taken prisoners by the French.

You are not known to us, but your account of yourselves, considering
the general conduct of the English of late, is not improbable. We
cannot but feel a concern for all prisoners in such a situation, of
whom, to the lasting dishonor of the British government and nation,
there are too many on board almost every man of war in their service.

We have written to his Excellency the Minister of the Marine of this
kingdom upon the subject, and sincerely hope that something may be
done for your relief, and that of all other prisoners in your
situation.

But great care must be taken that neither we, nor more especially the
government of this kingdom, be imposed upon by attempts to set at
liberty English, Irish, Scotch, or other sailors, disaffected to the
American cause, or unprincipled in it. We, therefore, desire you to
send us a list and a short account of all the sailors, prisoners with
you, who were born in America, or have been in her service, and are
willing to subscribe the declaration, and take the oath of allegiance
to the United States of America, and to live and die by her cause. We
have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO M. DUMAS.

                                            Passy, October 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have received yours of the 2d instant, with the declaration signed
by M. Van Berckel, and his explanatory letter to you; which gave us
much pleasure, as they show the good disposition of that respectable
body, the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, towards the United States of
America, and their willingness, as far as may depend on them, to
promote between the republic of the United Low Countries in Europe,
and the said States, "A treaty of perpetual amity, containing
reciprocal advantages with respect to commerce between the subjects of
the two nations." As that body must be better acquainted than we, with
the method of doing public business in their country, and appear to be
of the opinion, that some previous steps can be taken by them, which
may facilitate and expedite so good a work, when circumstances shall
permit its coming under the consideration of their High Mightinesses,
we rely on their judgment, and hereby request they would take those
steps, as explained in M. Van Berckel's letter.

And they may be assured, that such a treaty _as is described_ would,
at this time, meet with no obstacles on the part of the United States
of America, who have great esteem and respect for your nation; and
that nothing will be wanting on our part to accomplish the end
proposed. We would only remark, that the mentioning it in the
declaration as a thing necessary to precede the conclusion of such a
treaty, "_that the American Independence should be acknowledged by the
English_," is not understood by us, who conceive there is no more
occasion for such an acknowledgment before a treaty with Holland, than
there was before our treaty with France. And we apprehend, that if
that acknowledgment were really necessary, _or waited for_, England
_might_ endeavor to make an advantage of it in the future treaty of
pacification, to obtain for it some privileges in commerce, perhaps,
exclusive of Holland. We wish, therefore, that idea to be laid aside,
and that no further mention may be made to us of England in this
business.

We are, Sir, your most obedient humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                            Marly, October 19th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have received the two letters, with which you have honored me on the
subject of the claims of Mr Izard to goods captured in the Nile. I
observed to you, in my letter of the 17th inst. that the government
could only interfere when the laws were insufficient; and that its
interposition would be misplaced, when they were plain and precise.
You must feel all the justice of this principle better than any person
whatever, and I do not doubt that cases may occur in which you may
yourselves appeal to it.

The capture of the Nile, and of her cargo, has been declared good. To
order a particular restitution, and deprive the captors of property,
which they have acquired provisionally at least, would be an
interference of the government with the laws, and would introduce a
dangerous precedent in the proceedings established by his Majesty
relative to prizes. The more firmly you are convinced that the claims
of Mr Izard are conformable to the treaty, the more ready you should
be to believe, that they will be favorably received, and the expenses
of a suit are inconsiderable. It is true, that they might have been
avoided, if Mr Izard's property had been shown before the first
sentence, because then it would only have been necessary to prove the
property, which seems to me indisputable; but in the present state of
things I am sorry that it is impossible for him to avoid the necessary
forms, to which his Majesty has subjected his allies, as well as his
own subjects.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO RALPH IZARD.

                                             Passy, October 22d, 1778.

  Sir,

We have just now the honor of a letter from M. de Sartine, dated the
19th, which we suppose is his Excellency's ultimatum concerning your
effects taken in the Nile, and we therefore take the earliest
opportunity to enclose you a copy of it, that you may be able to take
your measures in consequence of it, in which we suppose there is no
time to be lost.

We have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, yours, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                            Marly, October 20th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have replied only to the first part of your letter of the 12th
inst.; the second also contains important matter. It would, doubtless,
be desirable to restore to their country the American seamen, who have
been retained by the force of habit or by compulsion in the English
service, and to gain the double advantage of increasing the strength
of the Americans, while we destroy that of the enemy. But the means
appear to me as difficult as to yourselves, and in the present state
of things, we cannot flatter ourselves that we shall succeed in the
attempt.

You request, at the least, that the citizens of the United States,
taken since the commencement of hostilities in the English service,
should be surrendered to you. This general demand requires a serious
attention, and I shall lay it before his Majesty. With respect to the
four prisoners, whose liberation you more particularly request, it is
with great pleasure, that I transmit orders to Denant, to place them
at your disposal.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DUMAS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                            Hague, October 27th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I received your favor of the 16th last Saturday. It is precisely what
I should have desired. The Grand Pentionary is highly pleased with it.
I went the same day to read it to our friend, and gave him a copy
attested by my signature. It gave him much pleasure, and he has
repeatedly assured me that it would be extremely agreeable to the
Burgomasters of the city, whom he was eager to inform how you would
answer to the measure he had engaged them to adopt, in procuring from
them authority to make the declaration[53] and write me the letter, of
which you have copies, and the duplicates of which are lodged in the
city-house. He urged me to assure you, that the mention of England
was not introduced with the design of making any thing depend on the
pleasure of that power, but merely to show the situation of the city,
which, for the present, can only wish that the English may be
prevented from making any further opposition to our mutual connexion.
In fine, he is now prepared to act on his return, at a convenient
opportunity.

The memorial of the merchants has been presented to their High
Mightinesses. Herewith I transmit that presented to the Prince last
Saturday. Our friend remitted it to me the same day, and I have
thought it deserving of a translation for your inspection. He inquired
anxiously for good news from America, and I replied, that the
situation of America was by no means critical, and that I was less
anxious about it than about this republic.

M. de Welderen has sent the reply of Lord Suffolk to the
representations of their High Mightinesses. "The Court of London," he
says, "is willing to restore all the vessels seized, with costs and
charges, and to pay for the naval stores which it shall retain; but
its ambassador will submit to their High Mightinesses a proposition to
alter the treaties on this point, and to consent to declare these
articles contraband in future."

Fortunately, unanimity is necessary to grant this consent, and
Amsterdam will not allow even the entering upon such a negotiation.
Suffolk adds, as a proof of his king's moderation, "that he has not
yet called for the aid which the republic is obliged by treaties to
furnish him;" as if the republic had guarantied to England the
monopoly of America. This is extraordinary. Three of us here believe,
that this letter was not written in England, and has only returned
hither.

The Secretary of their High Mightinesses is very much piqued, on
account of the freedom with which the Committee of merchants addressed
him, who, by reason of his equivocal answer, accused him of being in
the English interest, like the majority of the chief men here. It is
said, that it is truth only which is offensive.

I have finished the translation of the opinion of the city of
Amsterdam, inserted in the Acts of the Republic, September 8th. I am
preparing copies of it for you, Gentlemen, and for Congress. When
yours is finished, I shall forward it with the request, that you will
have two copies of it made by a skilful and exact French copyist, and
send them to Congress as duplicates and triplicates of that, which I
shall transmit to it from this place; for on the one hand, I consider
this paper important and useful to the United States, both for the
precise and authentic information which it affords relative to the
present condition, political, military, &c. of this republic, and as
an example of the evils it has drawn upon itself for the last century,
by interfering too much with the imaginary balance of power, and with
the wars of the European States, thus imposing upon itself the burden
of a standing army, which has swallowed up its navy and subjected it
to an imperious rival, &c. &c.; and on the other hand, this long paper
occupies my time, which is valuable to me, and fatigues my hand, which
unfortunately is not steady. My translation has been approved by our
friend. It would be well to have it translated into English also, and
if you had a translator who understood Dutch, I could transmit you the
original.

I am, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                                DUMAS.


FOOTNOTES:

[53] See Van Berckel's Declaration, above, p. 457, dated Sept 23d.

       *       *       *       *       *

           TO E. T. VAN BERCKEL, BURGOMASTER OF AMSTERDAM.

                                            Passy, October 29th, 1778.

  Sir,

Upon maturely considering the letter and declaration, which we have
had the honor of receiving from you, we are of opinion, that there are
some propositions relative to that business, which can only be
properly discussed in a personal interview. We therefore wish that
you, or a person authorised by you, would meet one of us at
Aix-la-Chapelle, or any other place, which you may judge more
convenient, for conducting this business with the most perfect
secrecy.

Should this proposal meet with your approbation, you will have the
goodness to apprise us of the time and place you think proper for the
interview. It may be proper, that we should inquire for one another,
whenever we meet, under fictitious names; the fixing upon which we
also wish to leave to you.

We shall be glad of an answer as soon as is convenient to you; and
have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, your most obedient, and
most humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                            Passy, October 29th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor to inform your Excellency, that we are ready to
execute and exchange the declarations, concerning the omission of the
11th and 12th articles of the treaty of commerce, and to request your
Excellency to appoint a day to wait on your Excellency for that
purpose.

We have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE VERGENNES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                       Versailles, October 30th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have received the reply, with which you honored me, regarding the
arrangements to be made with the Barbary powers, for the protection of
the American flag in the Mediterranean. Before the king can make any
efforts to forward your views in this respect, I think it proper, that
you should be provided with full powers from Congress, and that you
should be not only authorised to propose the presents, which you may
be expected to bestow, but also supplied with the necessary funds to
satisfy these expectations. When all these preliminaries shall be
complied with, you may rest assured, Gentlemen, that the king will
hasten to forward, as far as he is able, the wishes and views of
Congress. I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                            Passy, October 30th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have been honored with your letter of the 26th of October, and we
thank your Excellency for the prompt and generous manner in which you
have given liberty to four of our countrymen, who were among the
prisoners at Denant. Such examples of benevolence cannot fail to make
a lasting impression on the American mind.

Since the receipt of your Excellency's letter, we have received
another from the American prisoners at Brest, by which it appears,
that there are ten of them, from four of whom only we had received
letters when we wrote before, the other six having written to us, but
their letters miscarried. We enclose a copy of this last letter, and
have the honor to request a similar indulgence to all the ten.

By a letter we received last night from L'Orient, we have the pleasure
to learn, that three vessels bound to the coast of Brazil have been
taken by his Majesty's frigates, or by French cruisers, and sent into
that port. It is very probable that the three masters of these vessels
and every one of their sailors are Americans.

We are happy in this opportunity of communicating to your Excellency
some intelligence, which we have been at some pains to collect, and
have good reason to believe exactly true. The English last year
carried on a very valuable whale fishery on the coasts of Brazil, off
the River Plate in South America, in the latitude 35 south, from
thence to 40, just on the edge of soundings, off and on, about the
longitude 65 from London. They have this year about seventeen vessels
in the fishery, which have all sailed in the months of September and
October. All the officers and almost all the men belonging to those
seventeen vessels are Americans, from Nantucket and Cape Cod in
Massachusetts, excepting two or three from Rhode Island, and perhaps
one from Long Island. The names of the Captains are Aaron Sheffield of
Newport; Goldsmith and Richard Holmes from Long Island; John
Chadwick, Francis May, Reuben May, John Meader, Jonathan Meader,
Elisha Clark, Benjamin Clark, William Ray, Paul Pease, Reuben Fitch,
Zebedee Coffin, and another Coffin, all of Nantucket; John Lock, Cape
Cod; Delano, Nantucket; Andrew Swain, Nantucket; William Ray,
Nantucket. Four or five of these vessels go to Greenland; the fleet
sails to Greenland the last of February or beginning of March.

There was published last year in the English newspapers, and the same
imposture has been repeated this year, a letter from the Lords of the
Admiralty to Dennis de Berdt, in Coleman street, informing him that a
convoy should be appointed to the Brazil fleet. But this, we have
certain information, was a forgery, calculated merely to deceive
American privateers, and that no convoy was appointed or did go with
that fleet, either last year or this.

For the captivity of a fishery so entirely defenceless, (for not one
of the vessels has any arms) a single frigate or privateer of
twentyfour or even twenty guns would be quite sufficient. The
beginning of December would be the best time to proceed from hence,
because they would then find the whale vessels nearly loaded. The
cargoes of these vessels, consisting of bone and oil, will be very
valuable, and at least 450 of the best kind of seamen would be taken
out of the hands of the English, and might be gained into the American
service to act against the enemy. Most of the officers and men wish
well to their country, and would gladly be in its service if they
could be delivered from that they are engaged in. But whenever the
English men of war or privateers have taken an American vessel, they
have given to the whalemen among their crews their choice, either to
go on board a man of war and fight against their country, or to go
into the whale fishery. So many have chosen the latter, as to make up
most of the crews of seventeen vessels.

We thought it proper to communicate this intelligence to your
Excellency, that if you found it compatible with his Majesty's service
to order a frigate from hence, or from the West Indies, to take from
the English at once so profitable a branch of commerce, and so
valuable a nursery of seamen, you may have an opportunity of doing it;
if not, no inconvenience will ensue.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

[Mr Lee did not sign, but objected to the acknowledgment of giving up
the American subjects, captured in the enemy's vessels, as being a
favor.]

       *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE VERGENNES TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                       Versailles, October 31st, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

You request that a day be fixed for the interchange of declarations
relative to the omission of the eleventh and twelfth articles of the
treaty of commerce. If next Monday, November 2d, is convenient to you,
I should be glad to have the honor to receive you, and I flatter
myself you will do me the honor to dine with me on that day.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DUMAS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                            Hague, November 4th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

The gentlemen from Amsterdam have returned with more strict
instructions from their constituents. They will be followed, perhaps,
by a third memorial, more forcible than the preceding. If the same
evasions continue to be practised, Amsterdam will display other
resources, which have not yet been communicated to me. The subject of
the convoy will be discussed next week. Sir J. Yorke presented a
memorial the day before yesterday, more moderate in its tone, but
equally insidious in reality, on behalf of his Court. 1. It demands
the appointment of Commissioners, with whom he may consult to settle
the intent of the treaties relative to the articles, which it is
desired to prohibit. 2. It declares that his Court is desirous, that
the republic would not grant the convoys in question, as it cannot
consent to allow the above mentioned articles to pass. He will find
formidable adversaries from Amsterdam, who are firmly resolved on an
absolute negative on these two points. A certain great personage, and
the Grand Pentionary, are already prepossessed on the subject. The
irritation against the English gains also in some of the nobility.

The project, with which you are acquainted, is prepared with some
changes and additions on the basis already known to you. It is in the
hands of the Burgomasters, who will examine the whole; after which a
copy will be delivered to me, that I may also transmit one to you, to
be examined by you in the same manner, and that your observations
thereon may be communicated to them through me.

I have been assured on behalf of the Burgomasters, that it is not
their intention to leave our future connexions dependent on Great
Britain; on the contrary, it is their wish, that in course of time,
their High Mightinesses may adopt a better system of measures, than is
at present possible; this circumstance they have thought ought not to
be concealed from you any more than their present situation, their
wishes, and their expectation that you will be ready to concur in the
steps, which it shall be in their power to take towards realising
them.

On the whole, Gentlemen, I cannot give you a more clear idea of the
whole matter, than the following; we correspond with a minority, which
has this advantage over that of England, that if this republic will
not declare itself our friend, it cannot be our enemy, on account of
the unanimity required by the constitution; this circumstance alone is
of high importance, and ought to persuade us to assist and confirm
that minority.

Every time I see our friend, he begs me not to fail to communicate to
him immediately any good news I may receive from America. He makes too
good a use of such information to allow any delay on my part.

The two letters, for which I am indebted to Mr A. Lee, have been
inserted in the Leyden Gazette. The Courier of the Lower Rhine
contains a fine eulogy on Mr Joseph Reed, member of Congress; it is
deserving of your notice. I wish I could send you the paper, but I
have only one copy, which I am about to forward to Congress.

I am, &c.

                                                                DUMAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                           Passy, November 16th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor of your Excellency's letter of the 6th of this
month, but as the memoir of the French surgeon, which your Excellency
proposed to transmit to us, was by some accident omitted to be
enclosed in your letter, we are ignorant of his case, and consequently
unable to inform your Excellency whether it is in our power to afford
him any relief. If your Excellency will have the goodness to send us
the memoir, we will answer your letter without delay.

In the meantime we may acquaint your Excellency, that the United
States have not adopted any precautions for sending succors to their
subjects imprisoned in England. We have ventured, without orders or
permission from the United States, to lend small sums of money to
persons who have escaped from irons and dungeons in Great Britain, to
bear their expenses to Nantes, L'Orient and Bordeaux. But we have sent
no succor to them while in England, except a small sum of money, put
into the hands of Mr Hartley, to be disposed of by him for the relief
of such as should most want it.

We shall consider every Frenchman, taken by the English on board of
American vessels, in the same light as if he was an American by birth,
and entitled to the same assistance from us as Americans are in the
same situation.

We have the honor to be, &c. &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Passy, November 7th, 1778.

  Sir,

We have the honor to enclose a copy of the declaration concerning the
11th and 12th articles of the treaty of commerce, which we have
received from his Excellency the Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, in exchange for a similar one signed by us, in pursuance of
the instructions of Congress.

We have also the honor to enclose copies of a correspondence with his
Excellency M. de Sartine, the Secretary of State for the Marine,
concerning cases of recaptures, that Congress may, if they judge
proper, take some resolution on this head; it seems to be equitable,
that the same rule should be observed by both nations.

We also enclose copies of a correspondence on the subject of
negotiation with the Barbary States. We do not find ourselves
authorised to treat with those powers, as they are not in Europe, and
indeed we are not furnished with funds for making them presents.

We have had the honor of a copy from the Auditor General, enclosing
the form of bills of exchange to be drawn upon us, for the interest
due upon loan office certificates, and acquainting us that this
interest will amount to two millions and a half of livres annually.
When it was proposed to pay the interest here, we had no idea of so
much being borrowed. We shall pay the most punctual obedience to these
and all other orders of Congress, as long as our funds shall last. But
we are obliged to inform Congress, that expenses on prisoners being
great, and being drawn upon by the order of Congress from various
quarters, and receiving no funds from America, we suffer the utmost
anxiety, lest we should be obliged to protest bills. We have exerted
ourselves to the utmost of our power to procure money, but hitherto
with little success. And we beg that some supplies may be sent us as
soon as possible. We are very sorry that we are not able to send to
Congress those supplies of arms, ammunition, and clothing, which they
have ordered; but it is absolutely impossible, for the want of funds,
and M. Beaumarchais has not yet informed us, whether he will execute
the agreement made for him with you or not.

We have the pleasure to inform Congress, that Mr Matthew Ridley of
Maryland has made a present to the United States of a valuable
manuscript upon naval affairs, which he has left with us. We shall
take the first opportunity of a frigate to send it to Congress.

We enclose to Congress copies of a correspondence between the
Ambassador of the king of the two Sicilies and us, which, as his
Majesty is the eldest son of the king of Spain, is considered as an
event indicative of the good will of a greater power, although, this
is respectable.

It is of great importance to penetrate the councils of an enemy, in
order to be prepared beforehand against his designs; we shall
therefore be happy to advise Congress of the intentions of Great
Britain as far as we conjecture.

We have every reason to believe, that the hostility of the disposition
of the British Court has no other bounds but those of their power.
Their threats, however, of large reinforcements and of Russian
auxiliaries, are without foundation. The interest of the king of
Prussia, and of the Empress Queen (who both choose at present to
pursue decent terms with Great Britain) to prevent a close alliance
between England and Russia, we apprehend, will prevent it. In short,
we see no probability of England's forming any alliance against
America in all Europe; or indeed against France; whereas, on the other
side, from the astonishing preparations of Spain, the family compact,
and other circumstances, and from the insolent tyranny of the English
over the Dutch, and their consequent resentment, which has shown
itself in formidable remonstrances as well as advances towards a
treaty with us, there is reason to believe, that if Great Britain
perseveres in the war, both of these powers will at length be involved
in it.

We had the honor to write to Congress on the 20th of July and the 17th
of September, of which we have sent duplicates and triplicates, and to
which we beg leave to refer. By this opportunity we shall send the
newspapers, which contain all the public intelligence.

We enclose a number of notes of hand, which have been taken from our
unhappy countrymen, who have escaped from England, to whom we have
lent money, as they had no other way of subsistence.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DUMAS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                           Hague, November 10th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

My last of the 4th was despatched the 6th. Tomorrow will be an
important day, and will have serious consequences if Amsterdam
yields. You are already acquainted with the opinion, which will be
pronounced by the Admiralty. The committee appointed to confer with
the Admiralty on this point have made a report as follows.

1st. The conference desired by Sir J. Yorke, concerning the meaning of
the treaties relative to naval stores, shall be refused. 2dly. The
restitution of the vessels seized shall be strongly insisted on. The
Admiralty shall make certain arrangements with the merchants of the
country during these difficulties, that is, in plain English, shall
suspend the convoys, in so far as relates to the abovementioned
materials. This addition spoils all the rest.

Your friend appeared to me rather embarrassed. He has sent for the
most prudential persons on change to ask their advice concerning this
addition, which he considers arrant folly. Another person, very much
displeased with this addition, says, that if Amsterdam persists firmly
in demanding the strict observance of the treaties, and a perfect
neutrality, she can counteract this manoeuvre. Otherwise the servile
submission of the nation to the lash of the English, will expose it to
that of the French also, who will deprive it of the privileges it has
heretofore enjoyed in their country, and will seize its vessels, after
the example of the English.

You may therefore expect in my next to hear of a vigorous and
successful opposition on the part of the city, or of a dreadful blow
to the commerce and navigation of this country. It may then be said,
_quidquid delirant Britanni, plectuntur Belgae_. It will be their own
fault.

All this will probably be delayed somewhat; for our friend has told
me, that the Provincial Assembly will not rise this week. As I cannot
see him today, because he dines out, I have sent him a letter, of
which a copy is enclosed.

I am, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                                DUMAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                      Versailles, November 12th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

M. de Fleury has represented to me, that his only son embarked for
America in 1778, where he served the United States in the army of
General Washington, with sufficient distinction to be raised to the
rank of Lieutenant Colonel, but having been made prisoner, and
conducted to fort St Augustine, he has not yet been able to procure
his exchange, and is in the most deplorable condition. The distinction
which this young officer obtained in the service of the United States
speaks in his favor, and I am persuaded, Gentlemen, that you will
attend to the request of M. de Fleury. I should be obliged to you, if
you would include him in the first exchange of prisoners.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                           Passy, November 12th, 1778.

  Sir,

Last night we had a letter from Nantes, a copy of which we have the
honor to enclose to your Excellency.

The subject of it appears to us of great importance to the United
States, as well as to the individuals, Frenchmen and Americans, who
are interested in the vessels destined to America; also to a
considerable number of gentlemen and others, who are going passengers
in this fleet, and ultimately to the common cause.

It gives us great pleasure to find so large a number of vessels going
out upon this occasion. Their cargoes are much wanted to enable our
countrymen to sustain the war. We therefore most cheerfully join with
the subscribers to the letter, who have also petitioned your
Excellency, in requesting a large convoy to protect those ships quite
home to America.

Upon this occasion we cannot refrain from submitting to your
Excellency our opinion, that the more of the king's ships are sent to
America, the more certainly France maintains a superiority of naval
power in the American seas, the more likely it will be that she will
have the advantage in the conduct of the war. Because the French
having the ports and the country, the provisions, the materials, and
the artificers of America open to them, and the English being obliged
to derive all these things from Europe, the former have a vast
advantage over the latter, in the conduct of the war in that quarter
of the world; not to mention that the French ships being newer and in
better condition than the English, are better able to sustain the
American seas.

Your Excellency will excuse our suggesting one reflection, that
whatever vessels of war are sent to America, they should be
plentifully furnished with marine woollen cloths, especially blankets
and gloves, or mittens, without which it is extremely difficult for
the men to do their duty in the cold season upon that coast.

We are, &c. &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DUMAS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                           Hague, November 13th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

The situation of affairs here is becoming extremely critical. The
resolution mentioned in my letter of the 10th, to deny convoy for
naval stores, has not yet been formally adopted. It has been decided
to determine this point next Wednesday, by the majority of voices. The
members from Amsterdam have protested against this, as contrary to the
constitution, which requires in such cases unanimity, and have entered
their protest in the books. They were, however, abandoned by all the
other cities. M. Van Berckel sustained the attacks of the whole
assembly with firmness; one might say, that he had to encounter the
whole province, and consequently the whole republic except his own
city. If the council upholds the regency, and the merchants continue
to oppose this measure, as in all probability they will, they must
succeed in their righteous cause. If the council, contrary to all
appearances, should yield, M. Van Berckel declares, that he will never
return, but will leave room for any one who wishes it to occupy his
place.

The French ambassador, on his side, declared several days ago to the
principal officers of government, and through them to the Pentionaries
of the cities, that the king expects that the republic will cause the
Dutch flag to be respected, and will protect efficiently and promptly
her commerce, in conformity with the treaties of 1674, &c. between
this country and England, on the faith of which reposes the confidence
in this flag; and if the republic does not answer to such reasonable
expectations, and undertakes to modify any part of those treaties to
the prejudice of commerce, the king is immovably fixed in his
determination, to deprive the nation of those advantages, which his
Majesty, out of pure kindness and without any obligation by treaty,
has hitherto permitted it to enjoy in the ports of France.

I have communicated this today to the friends of Amsterdam, to be made
known on change.

I shall set out in an hour for a place where my presence is considered
necessary. In the meanwhile,

  I am, &c.

                                                                DUMAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                      Versailles, November 14th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I have submitted to the king the reasons, which might determine his
Majesty to set at liberty citizens of the United States, prisoners in
France. But he has wisely decided, that this favor ought to be granted
only to those, who have been taken from American vessels, and
compelled to serve against their country; it will, therefore be
necessary for you, Gentlemen, to cause a list to be made, certified by
yourselves, which you will have the goodness to forward to me, that
only the good and faithful subjects of the United States may enjoy the
benefit of his Majesty's favor.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DUMAS TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                           Hague, November 20th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I returned here last Wednesday morning, and in the afternoon was
informed by our friend, that the despotic act, which I announced to
you in my last of the 13th of November, was passed in the Assembly of
the Province, after a session of three hours; and that the preamble
with the addition, of which I gave you an account in my letter of the
10th, was adopted by a majority. The city of Amsterdam has in
consequence entered a protest against this resolution, declaring it
null, as having been adopted contrary to the forms required by the
constitution of the State, which prescribes unanimity in such cases.
The injurious consequences which may result to the city are also
exposed.

Sir J. Yorke despatched a messenger with all haste to England, with
the news of the triumph of his party. His Court will not fail to boast
of this success in Parliament and in the journals; it appears to have
been desired for this purpose. No mention will be made of the protest,
which in reality converts this success into smoke, which will soon be
dissipated; for the members from the great city declare, that if the
protest is not printed with the resolution, they will have it printed
in the city, so that at least this nation shall not be deceived. It is
easy to foresee two important consequences resulting from this
measure; one, the blow predicted in my letter of the 10th; the other,
the close of a famous banking establishment, without which the others
cannot stand.

I might enter more into details; but besides that I have not time, I
am afraid to trust them to paper. I will only add, that tomorrow
morning, the members from the great city will depart, and with them
all the glory of Belgium. The others are ashamed of their own work,
dare not boast of it, and hang down their heads. It has even been
attempted to circulate the report, that the famous resolution was
adopted unanimously, and in conformity with the wishes of the great
city.

You cannot imagine, Gentlemen, how eager are your enemies in the
present situation of affairs, to propagate reports of dissensions and
divisions between the Americans and French, and among the Americans
themselves; their object is to animate their own party, and discourage
their opponents. We may despise them and laugh at them; but your best
friends are afflicted, that we receive no news from America by the way
of France. I pray God that we may soon have some, and of the most
favorable character.

I am, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                                DUMAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                             Passy, January 1st, 1779.

  Sir,

Some late proceedings of the enemy have induced us to submit a few
observations to your Excellency's superior light and judgment.

His Britannic Majesty's Commissioners, in their manifesto of the 3d of
October, have denounced "a change in the whole nature and future
conduct of the war," they have declared, "that the policy as well as
the benevolence of Great Britain has thus far checked the extremes of
war," when they tended "to distress the people and desolate the
country;" that the whole contest is changed; that the laws of
self-preservation must now direct the conduct of Great Britain; that
these laws will direct her to render the United States of as little
avail as possible to France, if they are to become an accession to
her, and by every means in her power to destroy the new connexion
contrived for her ruin. Motions have been made and supported by the
wisest men in both Houses of Parliament, to address the king to
disavow these clauses, but these motions have been rejected by
majorities in both Houses, so that the manifesto stands avowed by the
three branches of the Legislature.

Ministers of State made in Parliament a question concerning the
meaning of this manifesto; but no man who reads it, and knows the
history of their past conduct in this war, can doubt its import. There
is to be a "change in the nature and conduct of the war." A change for
the worse must be horrible indeed! They have already burned the
beautiful towns of Charlestown, Falmouth, Norfolk, Kingston, Bedford,
Egg Harbour, and German Flatts, besides innumerable single buildings
and smaller clusters of houses, wherever their armies have marched. It
is true, they left Boston and Philadelphia unhurt, but in all
probability it was merely the dread of a superior army, that in these
cases restrained their hands, not to mention that burning these towns
would have been the ruin of the few secret friends they have still
left, of whom there are more in those towns than in all America
besides. They have not indeed murdered upon the spot _every_ woman and
child that fell in their way, nor have they in _all_ cases refused
quarters to the soldiers, that at _all_ times have fallen into their
power, though they have in many. They have also done their utmost in
seducing negroes and Indians to commit inhuman barbarities upon the
inhabitants, sparing neither age, sex, nor character. Although they
have not in all cases refused quarter to soldiers and sailors, they
have done what is worse than refusing quarters, they have thrust their
prisoners into such dungeons, loaded them with such irons, and exposed
them to such lingering torments of cold, hunger, and disease, as have
destroyed greater numbers than they could have had an opportunity of
murdering, if they had made it a rule to give no quarter. Many others
they have compelled by force to serve and fight on board their ships,
against fathers, brothers, friends and countrymen; a destiny to every
sensible mind more terrible than death itself.

It is therefore difficult to comprehend what they mean by a change in
the conduct of the war, yet there seems to be no room to doubt, that
they mean to threaten something more cruel, greater extremes of war,
measures that shall distress the people and lay waste the country more
than any thing they have yet done. "The object of the war is now
entirely changed." Heretofore their massacres and conflagrations were
to divide us and reclaim us to Great Britain. Now, despairing of that
end, and perceiving that we shall be faithful to our treaties, their
principle is by destroying us to make us useless to France. This
principle ought to be held in abhorrence, not only by all christians,
but by all civilized nations. If it is once admitted, that powers at
war have a right to do whatever will weaken or terrify an enemy, it is
not possible to foresee where it will end. It would be possible to
burn the great cities of Europe. The savages, who torture their
prisoners, do it to make themselves terrible; in fine, all the horrors
of the barbarous ages may be introduced and justified.

The cruelties of our enemies have heretofore more than once
exasperated the minds of the people so much as to excite
apprehensions, that they would proceed to retaliation, which, if once
commenced, might be carried to extremities; to prevent which, the
Congress issued an address exhorting to forbearance and a further
trial by examples of generosity and lenity, to recall their enemies to
the practice of humanity amidst the calamities of war. In consequence
of which, neither the Congress, nor any of the States apart, have ever
exercised or authorised the exercise of the right of retaliation. But
now, that Commissioners vested with the authority of the nation have
avowed such principles, and published such threats, the Congress have,
by a resolution of the 30th of October, solemnly and unanimously
declared that they will retaliate. Whatever may be the pretences of
the enemy, it is the manifest drift of their policy to disgust the
people of America with their new alliance, by attempting to convince
them that instead of shielding them from distress, it has accumulated
additional calamities upon them.

Nothing, certainly, can more become a great and amiable character than
to disappoint their purpose, stop the progress of their cruelties, and
vindicate the rights of humanity which are so much injured by this
manifesto. We therefore beg leave to suggest to your Excellency's
consideration, whether it would not be advisable for his Majesty to
interfere, by some declaration to the Court of London and to the
world, bearing the royal testimony against this barbarous mode of war,
and giving assurances, that he will join the United States in
retaliation, if Great Britain by putting her threats in execution
should make it necessary. There is another measure, however, more
effectual to control their designs, and to bring the war to a speedy
conclusion; that of sending a powerful fleet, sufficient to secure a
naval superiority over them in the American seas. Such a naval force,
acting in concert with the armies of the United States, would, in all
human probability, take and destroy the whole British power in that
part of the world. It would put their wealth and West Indian commerce
into the power of France, and reduce them to the necessity of suing
for peace. Upon their present naval superiority in those seas depend
not only the dominion and rich commerce of their islands, but the
supply of their fleets and armies with provisions and every necessary.
They have nearly four hundred transports constantly employed in the
service of their fleet and army in America, passing from New York and
Rhode Island to England, Ireland, Nova Scotia, and their West India
Islands, and if any one link in this chain was struck off, if their
supplies from any one of these places should be interrupted, their
forces could not subsist. Great numbers of these vessels would
necessarily fall into the hands of the French fleet, and go as prizes
to a sure market in the United States. Great numbers of seamen too
would become prisoners, a loss that England cannot repair. It is
conceived, that it would be impossible for Great Britain to send a
very great fleet after the French into those seas. Their men of war,
now in Europe, are too old, too rotten, too ill manned, and their
masts and yards are of too bad materials to endure such a navigation.
The impossibility of their obtaining provisions, artists and materials
in that country, which would be easy to the French, makes it still
clearer that they cannot send a great additional force, and the fear
of Spain's interfering, with her powerful navy, would restrain them.
Whereas France has nothing to fear in Europe from them, as the number
and excellence of their armies are an ample security against the
feeble land forces of Great Britain.

This naval superiority would open such commerce between the United
States and the French West India islands, as would enable our people
to supply themselves with the European and West India articles they
want, to send abroad the produce of the country, and by giving fresh
spirit and vigor to trade, would employ the paper currency, the want
of which employ has been one cause of its depreciation. The
maintenance of such a fleet in America, would circulate so many bills
of exchange as would likewise, in a great measure, relieve them from
that dangerous evil. And these bills would all return to France for
her manufactures, thereby cementing the connexion and extending the
trade between the two countries. Such a naval superiority would
contribute very much to extinguish the hopes of the remaining number
of persons who secretly wish, from sinister motives, to become again
subjected to Great Britain, and would enable the people of the several
States to give such consistency and stability to their infant
governments, as would contribute greatly to their internal repose, as
well as to the vigor of their future operations against the common
enemy. The late speedy supply and reparation of his Majesty's fleet at
Boston will show the advantages, which this country must enjoy in
carrying on a naval war, on a coast friendly to her and hostile to her
enemy. And these advantages will in future be more sensible, because
the appearance of the fleet before was unexpected, and the harvest in
that part of the country had been unfavorable. It is obvious to all
Europe, that nothing less is at stake than the dominion of the sea, at
least the superiority of naval power, and we cannot expect Great
Britain will ever give it up, without some decisive effort on the part
of France. With such an exertion as that of sending a superior fleet
to America, we see nothing in the course of human affairs, that can
possibly prevent France from obtaining such a naval superiority
without delay. Without it the war may languish for years, to the
infinite distress of our country, to the exhausting both of France and
England, and the question left to be decided by another war.

We are more earnest, in representing these things to your Excellency,
as all our correspondence from England, for some time, has uniformly
represented that the intention of the Cabinet is conformable to the
spirit of the manifesto, that all parties grow more and more out of
temper with the Americans; that it has become fashionable with the
minority as well as the majority and administration, to reproach us
both in and out of Parliament; that all parties join in speaking of us
in the bitterest terms, and in heartily wishing our destruction; that
great clamors are raised about our alliance with France, as an
unnatural combination to ruin them; that the cry is for a speedy and
powerful reinforcement of their army, and for the activity of their
fleet in making descents on the sea coast, while murdering and
desolating parties are let loose upon the frontiers of the Carolinas,
Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England, and,
that very early in the year, they will carry all these projects into
execution. This whole system may, as we conceive, be defeated and the
power of Great Britain now in America totally subdued (and if their
power is subdued there, it is reduced every where,) by the measure we
have the honor to propose.

We submit the whole merely as our opinion to your Excellency's
superior wisdom, and have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                              Passy, January 2d, 1779.

  Sir,

We had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of the 22d, and
are much obliged to you for the interest you take in what concerns the
unhappy prisoners, who may escape from England. We have not been
inattentive to that subject. There are persons who supply them at
Bordeaux, Brest, L'Orient, Nantes, and Dunkirk. A gentleman at Calais
has voluntarily done this service, for which we have directed him to
draw on us for his disbursements; and we shall as readily discharge
what may have been disbursed by your commissaries, when we have their
accounts.

As there is very little probability of prisoners coming to other
ports, we will not give your Excellency the trouble you are so good as
to offer to take.

The regulation your Excellency proposes, relative to the prisoners we
may take from the enemy and bring into the ports of France, is
entirely agreeable to us; and we shall direct our agents accordingly,
who will readily deliver such prisoners to the persons your Excellency
may appoint to receive them, having already requested us to procure
written orders from you, without which your commissaries were
unwilling to take charge of them.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                 M. DE SARTINE TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                             Translation.

                                       Versailles, January 13th, 1779.

  Gentlemen,

I have received your letter of the 2d instant. I know that you direct
your agents, in different ports of the kingdom, to supply American
prisoners escaped or returning from England with whatever may be
necessary on their arrival; but you appear not to have given these
orders in the ports of Normandy, and I am informed, that some
prisoners, who need assistance, have appeared in those ports. It seems
to me necessary, that you should take such measures as you may judge
proper on this subject. I will transmit to you an account of the
expenses, which have been incurred up to the last of December.

I have given orders in all the ports for the reception of English
prisoners, brought in by citizens of the United States, for their
detention in the prisons destined for that purpose, and for their
usual supply of rations; a particular account of this expenditure will
be kept. You may, therefore, direct your agents in all the ports to
deliver such prisoners, on their arrival, to the Commissaries-General,
and I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO WILLIAM LEE, AT FRANKFORT.

                                            Passy, January 13th, 1779.

  Sir,

The letter which you did us the honor to write us on the 16th of
December we have received. As we have heard nothing further of the
Congress in Germany, which you inform us was talked of, we presume
that no such measure will take place.

However, whether there be a Congress or not, we cannot comply with the
terms of the gentleman you mention, nor advise him to take any steps
in the business.

We have also the honor of your letter of the 9th of December,
informing us of your draft upon us for twentyfour thousand livres, at
one month's date, payable to Mr Grand. The bill of exchange itself has
also been presented to us and accepted.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      TO JOHN LLOYD, AND OTHERS.

                                            Passy, January 26th, 1779.

  Gentlemen,

We had yesterday the honor of your letter of the 21st of this month.

You desire to know what port, or ports, is or are made free, pursuant
to the treaty? We believe that none has as yet been determined on; at
present all the ports of France are open to American vessels of all
denominations, and we are at present rather doubtful whether it would
be politic in us to apply to have any distinction made. If the
appointment of free ports would relieve us from the payment of duties,
import or export, we should apply immediately. But as we apprehend
this advantage would not be the consequence, the limits of the free
ports would be prescribed, and the same duties must be paid upon
removing goods, within or without those limits, as are now paid upon
the imports and exports. Goods, however, might be brought into such
free ports from abroad, and then landed and stand for a time, and then
exported without paying duties; but whether this would be any great
advantage to our trade, you are better judges than we. We shall be
glad of your advice upon this head, and if you think of any advantages
of considerable moment, that would arise, we shall be always ready to
apply for such an appointment.

We are sorry it is not in our power to give you any acceptable
information respecting the 8th article of the treaty, relating to the
Barbary corsairs. All we can say is, that we have applied to the
Ministry upon this head some months ago, and received satisfactory
expressions of the disposition of this government to do every thing,
which is stipulated in that article of the treaty. But some things
remain to be determined by Congress, to whom we have written upon the
subject, and we must necessarily wait their instructions.

There are two inquiries to be made, viz. which of all the nations, who
now trade with France, is the most favored, and what duties are paid
by that nation? These duties, and these only, we suppose we are to
pay, and as soon as circumstances will permit, (two of us having been
for a fortnight very ill, and one of us continuing so) we shall apply
to the Ministry for an eclaircissement upon this head, which we will
endeavor to communicate to you as soon as we shall obtain it.

We have received an answer to our last application for a convoy, from
their Excellencies Count de Vergennes and M. de Sartine; but the
answers convinced us, that M. de Sartine was under some
misinformation, or misunderstanding relative to the business, which
obliged us to write again. As soon as we shall be honored with an
answer, we will communicate the result of it to you.

Meantime we have the honor to be, with great respect, Gentlemen, your
most obedient humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                            Passy, February 9th, 1779.

  Sir,

It is now six months since Captain M'Neil, of the Mifflin privateer
from America, has been embarrassed with a process on account of a
French ship, which he retook from the English, after she had been
three days in their possession. The laws of France are clear with
regard to the validity of this prize, and our Captains have orders,
contained in their commissions, to submit their prizes to the laws of
the country into which they carry them, and they ought undoubtedly to
regulate their own conduct by those laws, without any regard to the
laws of America relating to this matter, which may be different in
every one of the United States, and, therefore, too uncertain to be
made the rule for judgement in the courts here. But the persons
reclaiming this prize insist, among other reasons, that their cause
should be judged by the laws of Captain M'Neil's country, because more
favorable for them.

We believe that no Americans in France will ever think of claiming
here any advantage by virtue of the laws of their own country, and it
seems not just to put those laws in force against them in France, when
it may be done to their detriment. The vexation of these kinds of
processes, and the slowness and length of these expensive proceedings
before a decision can be obtained, discourage our armed vessels, and
have tended to impress them with an opinion that their operations
against the English cannot be carried on to advantage in the European
seas. We, therefore, request your Excellency to join your
solicitations to those we have had the honor to make to M. de Sartine,
that these processes may be more speedily determined, and that the
Americans in France may be treated, in those respects, on the same
footing with the subjects of his Majesty; of which we shall be glad to
give information to the Congress, that so some popular prejudices
occasioned by these affairs may be effectually removed, and the
American armed ships be encouraged to return and cruise again upon the
coasts of England.

We have the honor to be, with the greatest consideration and respect,
&c. &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO M. SCHWEIGHAUSER.

                                           Passy, February 10th, 1779.

  Sir,

Captain Jones has represented to us his desire and intention of
returning to the Countess of Selkirk some plate, which his people took
from her house.

We apprehend that Congress would not disapprove of this measure, as
far as it should depend upon them, and we therefore consent on the
part of the United States, that this plate should be returned. This
consent is to be understood to extend no further than to the share, to
which the United States may be supposed to have a claim. The claim of
the officers and men, Captain Jones must be responsible to them for.
This plate in the whole is represented to be worth about one hundred
guineas.

We are, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                           Passy, February 10th, 1779.

  Sir,

As your separation from the Ranger, and the appointment of Lieutenant
Simpson to the command of her, will be liable to misinterpretations
and misrepresentations by persons, who are unacquainted with the real
cause of those facts, we hereby certify, that your leaving the Ranger
was by our consent, at the express request of his Excellency Monsieur
de Sartine, who informed us, that he had occasion to employ you in
some public service; that Lieutenant Simpson was appointed to the
command of the Ranger with your consent, after having consented to
release him from an arrest, under which you had put him.

That your leaving the Ranger, in our opinion, ought not, and cannot,
be any injury to your rank or character in the service of the United
States; and that your commission in their navy continues in full
force.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.



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