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Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Vol. 2/12)
Author: Various
Language: English
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Transcriber's Notes:

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    in the original text.
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    they occur.



         THE DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
                             VOL. II.


                     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. DE LAFAYETTE, 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 in the Department of State, conformably
           to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.

                                EDITED
                           BY JARED SPARKS.

                               VOL. II.

                               BOSTON:
                    NATHAN HALE AND GRAY & BOWEN.
                   G. & C. & H. CARVILL, NEW YORK.
                                1829.

                          HALE’S STEAM PRESS.
           No. 6 Suffolk Buildings, Congress Street, Boston.



              CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.


               ARTHUR LEE’S CORRESPONDENCE.

                                                              Page.

  From the Committee of Secret Correspondence to
      Arthur Lee. Philadelphia, December 12th, 1775,               5
        Dumas.--Important to know the disposition of foreign
        powers.--Necessity of secrecy.

  To Benjamin Franklin. London, February 13th, 1776,               6

  To Lieutenant Governor Colden. London, February 13th, 1776,      7
        British preparations for the ensuing campaign.--Plan
        of operations.--Reluctance of troops to serve.--Secret
        wishes of the French government.

  To Lieutenant Governor Colden. London, February 14th, 1776,     10
        British forces; military; naval.--Character and
        disposition of the troops.--Dr Church.

  To Lieutenant Governor Colden. April 15th, 1776,                12
  Address of the city of London; answer.--Disposition of
      the English nation.

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. June 3d, 1776,       14
        Disposition of France favorable.--Spain.--Necessity
        of independency.

  Record of the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
      Philadelphia, October 1st, 1776,                            16
        Message from Mr Lee; his conferences with the French
        Ambassador; offer of arms and ammunition through
        Hortalez.--Proceedings of the Committee in
        relation to the message; determine to keep it
        secret, except in case of ill success.

  The Committee of Secret Correspondence to Arthur Lee.
      Philadelphia, October 23d, 1776,                            18
        Informing Mr Lee of his appointment as Commissioner
        to the Court of France.

  To Lord Shelburne. Paris, December 23d, 1776,                   19

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris,
      January 3d, 1777,                                           20
        Acceptance of his appointment.--Joins Dr Franklin
        and Mr Deane.--Doubtful politics of the French Court.

  From the Commissioners in Paris to Count de Vergennes.
      Paris, January 5th, 1777,                                   21
        Applying for ships; arms; promise payment for
        them.--American commerce to France and Spain.

  The Commissioners to M. Gerard. Paris, January 14th, 1777,      23
        Relative to the message of the King of France.

  The Commissioners to Count de Vergennes. Paris,
      February 1st, 1777,                                         24
        Danger of America; German troops; blacks.--English
        acquainted with the proceedings of France in favor
        of America.--Dangers of France if England subdues
        the colonies.--Interest of France to assist America.

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Nantes,
      February 11th, 1777,                                        27
        Exertions of the British.--Measures to defend the
        West India trade.--Commercial connexions of the
        Committee in Nantes.

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
      Nantes, February 14th, 1777,                                31
        Agreement with the Farmers-General for
        tobacco.--British offer of prisoners to
        the East India Company.

  From James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid,
      February 17th, 1777,                                        33
        Advises him not to come to Madrid.--Proposes
        a meeting between Grimaldi and Mr Lee at Burgos.

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
      Bordeaux, February 18th, 1777,                              35
        Plan of the British for the ensuing
        campaign.--Tobacco.

  To the Commissioners in Paris. Vitoria,
      February 26th, 1777,                                        36

  Memorial delivered by Arthur Lee to the
      Marquis de Grimaldi. Burgos, March 5th, 1777,               38
        Reasons for visiting Madrid.

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
      Burgos, March 8th, 1777,                                    40
        Promise of supplies from Bilboa, New Orleans
        and Havanna.

  Memorial presented to the Court of Spain.
      Burgos, March 8th, 1777,                                    41
        Critical state of affairs.--Importance of American
        commerce.--Policy of immediate assistance.--Danger
        of Great Britain in case of war in Europe.--Impolicy
        of allowing the reunion of the colonies by conquest
        or conciliation.

  Answer to the Memorial by the Marquis de Grimaldi at Vitoria,   44
        Objections of Spain to an immediate declaration.

  To the Count de Florida Blanca, Minister to the King of Spain.
      Vitoria, March 17th, 1777,                                  45
        Acknowledging the favors of Spain.--British oppressions.

  To the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
      Vitoria, March 18th, 1777,                                  47
        Account of the proceedings as already stated in
        preceding letters.--Supplies furnished by Gardoqui.
        --Situation of Great Britain.

  From B. Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, March 21st, 1777,        54
        New commission substituting Mr Lee instead of Mr
        Jefferson; empowering Commissioners to treat with
        Spain; particular commission to Dr Franklin for that
        purpose.--America will assist France to conquer
        the British West Indies, and Spain to conquer
        Portugal.--Loan of £2,000,000.--Sir J. Yorke’s
        memorial.--Proceedings of the States and of
        Amsterdam thereon.

  The Commissioners at Paris to Baron de Schulenburg,
      Minister to the King of Prussia.
      Paris, April 19th, 1777,                                    58
        Congress propose to send a Minister to Prussia.

  James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, April 28th, 1777,         59
        Enclosing money.

  A Minute of the sixteen enclosed Bills,                         60

  To James Gardoqui at Madrid. Paris, May 8th, 1777,              60

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, May 8th, 1777,                  62

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, May 13th, 1777,                                      62

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, May 20th, 1777,                                     63

  To the Commissioners at Paris. Vienna, May 27th, 1777,          64

  To Benjamin Franklin. Vienna, May 28th, 1777,                   65

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Berlin, June 5th, 1777,                65
        Requests an interview.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Berlin, June 7th, 1777,                66
        Commerce with America.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, June 9th, 1777,                                     68

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Berlin, June 10th, 1777,               68
        Insurance to America.--Value of American
        commerce.--Danger of its reverting into the
        hands of the British.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Berlin, June 11th, 1777,                                    70
        Cautious policy of Prussia.--No danger to be
        apprehended from Russia.--German Princes.--Hesse.
        --European powers awaiting events.--Chatham’s
        motion for a cessation of hostilities.

  To the Commissioners at Paris. Berlin, June 15th, 1777,         72

  To George Washington. Berlin, June 15th, 1777,                  73
        His plan of operations approved.--Prussian army;
        discipline; arms.--Intention of writing the history
        of the revolution.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, June 18th, 1777,                                    75
        Commercial intercourse--Difficulties.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Berlin, June 20th, 1777,               76
        Reasons for the admission of prizes, made by
        the Americans, into Prussian ports.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, June 26th, 1777,    78
        Prizes, made by the Americans, not to be admitted
        into Prussian ports.

  To the Commissioners in Paris. Berlin, June 28th, 1777,         79
        His papers stolen.--Suspects the English Ambassador.

  To the King of Prussia. Berlin, June 29th, 1777,                80
        Commerce with America; objections answered.--Justified
        by usages and law of nations.

  To the King of Prussia. Berlin, July 1st, 1777,                 85
        Complains of the loss of his papers;
        requests an audience.

  The King of Prussia to Arthur Lee.
      Potsdam, July 2d, 1777,                                     86
        Mr Lee may communicate with Baron Schulenburg.


  To the Commissioners in Paris. Berlin, July 6th, 1777,          86
        Recovery of his papers.


  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, July 29th, 1777,                                     87
        Account of his proceedings at Berlin.--Odium in
        Germany against the princes who let their troops to
        England.--Situation of Russia.--British credit low
        in Germany and Holland.--Disposition of European powers.

  To M. Gerard, Secretary to Count de Vergennes.
      Paris, August 1st, 1777,                                    91

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee.
      Philadelphia, August 8th, 1777,                             91
        Paper currency.


  To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, August 13th, 1777,              93
        Commercial affairs.


  To James Gardoqui, at Madrid. Paris, August 18th, 1777,         94

  Count de Vergennes to Mr Grand. August 21st, 1777,              95
        American Privateers in French ports.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris,
      September 9th, 1777,                                        96
        English trade in French ships.--Success of
        American cruisers in European seas.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, September 21st, 1777,           97

  To James Gardoqui, at Madrid. Paris, September 25th, 1777,      97
        Military Supplies.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, October 6th, 1777,  98
        Receives a commission to the Court of Spain.--Supplies
        from Gardoqui.--Hortalez.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, October 8th, 1777, 102
        Commerce with America.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, October 23d, 1777,             103
        Requests information of British affairs in Russia,
        Denmark and Germany.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, November 13th, 1777,           104
        William Lee appointed Commissioner to Berlin.

  To Messrs Gardoqui and Sons at Bilboa.
      Paris, November 15th, 1777,                                 105
        Supplies consigned to Mr Gerry; for whom
        intended?--Authorised to sell the prizes
        of American cruisers.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, November 27th, 1777,                                106
        Prussia declines opening her ports to American
        armed vessels.--Extract of a letter from the
        Prussian Minister; Great Britain will receive
        no reinforcements in Europe.--Decline of
        English credit.--Further extracts from Prussian
        Minister’s letter; desirous of information
        relating to America.--King’s speech; discontents
        in England.--Preparations in France, Spain, and
        Holland.--Circular to captains of American armed
        vessels relating to violations of neutrality.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, November 28th, 1777,                               111
        William Lee’s mission.

  To Dr Berkenhout. Paris, December 3d, 1777,                    111
        America expects to receive, not make overtures;
        folly of British measures.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 8th, 1777,                                 112
        Extract of a letter from M. Gardoqui; goods shipped
        to Mr Gerry.--King of Prussia refuses a passage to
        Anglo-German troops.


  The Commissioners in Paris to Count de Vergennes.
      Paris, December 8th, 1777,                                 113
        Urging an answer to propositions for a treaty.
        --Supply of three millions from France.

  To Count d’Aranda. Paris, December 9th, 1777,                  115
        Enclosing memorial of Commissioners to Vergennes.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, December 11th, 1777,           115

  The Commissioners in Paris to Lord North.
      Passy, December 12th, 1777,                                116
        Treatment of American prisoners by the British.

  To Lord Shelburne. Paris, December 14th, 1777,                 119
        Enclosing a copy of the preceding.
        --Clinton’s cruelties.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, December 18th, 1777,                               120
        Congratulations on the surrender of Burgoyne.
        --The King’s favorable disposition waits only
        for France.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 19th, 1777,                                121
        Favorable effects of recent intelligence
        from America.--Edmund Jennings.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, December 23d, 1777,                                122
        The King of Prussia refuses a passage
        to Anglo-German troops.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, January 5th, 1778,                                  123
        Dispositions of Spain; of Prussia.--Plans of
        the British Ministry; alarmed about Canada.


  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, January 15th, 1778,                                 125
        Spain promises three million livres in the course
        of the year.--Supplies shipped from Bilboa.--Fall
        of British consols.

  Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee.
      Berlin, January 16th, 1778,                                125
        Requests regular information on American affairs.
        --King of Prussia ready to follow France in
        acknowledging independence.--Purchase of arms
        in Prussia.

  To Messrs Franklin and Deane. Chaillot, January 30th, 1778,    127
        Objections to the 12th article of the treaty.

  Messrs Franklin and Deane to Arthur Lee.
      Passy, February 1st, 1778,                                 129
        Have requested that the 11th and 12th articles
        may be omitted.

  Messrs Franklin and Deane to M. Gerard.
      Passy, February 1st, 1778,                                 130
        Requesting the omission of the 11th and 12th
        articles of the treaty.

  M. Gerard to the Commissioners. Versailles, February 2d, 1778, 130
        The 11th and 12th articles have been approved
        by the King, and cannot be changed without
        inconvenience.--The sixth article changed.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. February 2d, 1778,                    131
        General Howe’s situation in America.---Military
        operations in the north.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, February 10th, 1778,                                133
        Enclosing the memorial and letter to Count de
        Florida Blanca.--The war with Portugal
        concluded.--Probability of a declaration of
        war against England by France, Spain, and
        Portugal.--Gardoqui’s remittances.--Propriety
        of separating the political and commercial
        agents.--Views of Spain on Pensacola.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, February 15th, 1778,                                134
        Beaumarchais’s demands.--Testimonial of
        Count Lauragais on this subject.

  To Messrs Franklin and Deane. Chaillot, February 26th, 1778,   136
        The return of the despatches by Mr Simeon
        Deane.--Complains of the proceedings of the
        other Commissioners therein without his
        knowledge.--Necessity and advantages of a public
        acknowledgment of the Commissioners by France.

  Messrs Franklin and Deane to Arthur Lee.
      Passy, February 27th, 1778,                                137
        Result of Mr Deane’s visit to Versailles, on
        account of the return of the despatches.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, February 28th, 1778,                                138
        Temporising conduct of Spain.--Comparison of
        the conduct of England and France towards the
        Colonies.--Prospect of a war in Germany.


  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 19th, 1778,         140
        Congratulations on Mr Laurens being chosen President
        of Congress.--Policy of Spain.--Pensacola.--The
        Commissioners are to be presented to the King of
        France.--The English Ambassador leaves France abruptly.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, March 27th, 1778,              141
        Uncertainty of the measures of Spain.


  To Messrs Franklin and Deane. March 31st, 1778,                142
        Requesting a settlement of the accounts relating
        to the expenditures of the Commissioners.

  James Gardoqui & Co. to Arthur Lee. Bilboa, April 1st, 1778,   142

  Invoice of seventyfive Bales of Merchandise shipped on board
     the George, Captain Job Knight, for Cape Ann, consigned
     to Elbridge Gerry, on account of Arthur Lee,                143
        Enclosing an invoice of merchandise shipped to
        Elbridge Gerry, on account of Arthur Lee.

  M. Gerard to Arthur Lee. Versailles, April 1st, 1778,          144
        Requesting letters to Mr Lee’s friends in America.

  To M. Gerard. April 1st, half past one o’clock, 1778,          144
        Mr Lee before ignorant of M. Gerard’s destination.

  M. Gerard to Arthur Lee. Versailles, April 1st, 1778,          145
        M. Gerard’s mission not publicly avowed.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, April 2d, 1778,                145
        Surprised to hear of M. Gerard’s mission, and
        Mr Deane’s return.--Complains of Dr Franklin’s
        silence.--Requests explanations.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 2d, 1778,    148
        Propriety of determining the rank of the United States
        in their intercourse with European powers.--Departure
        of Mr William Lee to Germany.--Gardoqui’s shipments.
        --Complains of the reserve of his colleagues.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 5th, 1778,   150
        Succors from Spain through the Havanna promised.--The
        accounts of the Commissioners never settled.--How
        kept by Mr Deane.


  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 8th, 1778,   151
        Complains of the secrecy observed towards him by
        his colleagues.--Hostile acts of Great Britain
        and France.--Views of France relative to the
        fisheries.--Probability of a war in Germany.--Russia
        and the Porte.--Importance of securing
        Holland.--Encloses a memorial for Holland.

  Memorial for Holland,                                          153
        Enclosed in the preceding.--Colonial commerce
        originally free; restricted by England; navigation
        act; effect of this monopoly in Holland.--Importance
        of the commerce of the States to Holland.

  To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, April 24th, 1778,             156
        Agents employed by the English Ministry in France
        and America to excite a mutual jealousy.--Mr Hartley
        at Paris.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee.
      Versailles, April 24th, 1778,                              157
        Intrigues of Mr Hartley referred to in the
        preceding letter.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 9th, 1778,     158
        Situation of affairs in Europe.--Folger’s
        affair.--Sums drawn by the Commissioners.

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee.
      York, May 14th, 1778,                                      159
        Supplies of Hortalez & Co.--The enemy’s cruisers
        have prevented the making remittances.--Commercial
        to be put under the direction of a Board.--Intend
        to make remittances to Hortalez & Co. and the
        Gardoquis.--Depreciation of the paper currency.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 23d, 1778,     162
        Despatches received by Mr Adams.--The orders for
        supplies from Spain renewed.--Sailing of an English
        fleet to America.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, June 1st, 1778,    162
        Confusion of Mr Deane’s accounts.--Policy of
        the European powers.--Payment and number of
        foreign Agents.--British plan of operations in
        America.--Supplies from Spain.--Necessity of
        settling the boundary between the territories of
        Spain and the United States; of regulating port
        duties, &c.--French naval force delayed.

  To M. Dumas. Chaillot, June 4th, 1778,                         168
        Commerce with America.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, June 9th, 1778,    169
        British naval expedition stopped.--Confusion
        in Great Britain.--Exchange of prisoners
        agreed to.--German affairs.--Mr Williams’s
        accounts.--Appointment of Commercial Agents.

  To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, June 14th, 1778,              171
        Explanation of the 12th article of the treaty.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, June 15th, 1778, 173

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, June 15th, 1778,   173
        Supplies from ports of France and Spain.--Politics
        of Germany; of the North.--Embarrassments of Great
        Britain.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, July 1st, 1778,    175
        An engagement between a French and English ship;
        French subjects permitted to fit out privateers.

  To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, July 18th, 1778,            176
        Enclosing the resolutions of Congress relative
        to the negotiation of a loan of two millions
        sterling.--Requests that application may be made to
        the King of Spain for the same.--Sacrifices of the
        United States.--Depreciation of paper money.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, July 29th, 1778,   178
        Engagement between the English and French
        fleets.--German affairs.--Impracticability of
        despatching cruisers to the East Indian seas.--The
        11th and 12th articles of the treaty to be omitted.

  James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, August 13th, 1778,       179
        Cannot obtain the loan required in Spain.

  James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, August 20th, 1778,       180
        Suggesting the cession of Florida and supply of
        ship timber to Spain, as a means of obtaining the
        loan.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, August 21st, 1778, 181
        Difficulty of obtaining a loan.--M. Holker.

  To James Gardoqui. Paris, August 27th, 1778,                   183
        Importance of a loan to the United States.--Peace
        the natural policy of the United States.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, August 31st, 1778, 186
        Requesting instructions as to the cession of
        Florida, and the supply of ship timber to Spain, on
        condition of supplies of money.

  To James Gardoqui. Paris, September 1st, 1778,                 187
        Mr Lee ready to treat with full powers.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, September 9th, 1778,                                187
        Remittances received.--Encloses the accounts
        of articles shipped.

  James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, September 28th, 1778,    189
        Complains of the capture of Spanish property by an
        American privateer.--Probability of obtaining the
        loan in Spain; on what terms.


  To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, September 28th, 1778,         190
        Conversation relating to M. Holker.--The duties.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, September 30th, 1778,                               191
        General reluctance to war.

  To James Gardoqui. Paris, October 6th, 1778,                   192
        Necessity of decision on the part of Spain.

  To Count de Vergennes. Paris, October 12th, 1778,              193
        Indecision of Spain.--Interference of France
        requested.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee.
      Versailles, October 17th, 1778,                            195
        Advising the suspension of his proposed measures
        at the Court of Spain.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, October 19th, 1778,                                 195
        Aspect of affairs in Holland.--Ports of the
        two Sicilies open to vessels of the United
        States.--Deceived in the fusils from Prussia.

  To Baron de Schulenburg. Chaillot, October 21st, 1778,         197
        Complains of the fusils received from Prussia.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee.
      Versailles, October 24th, 1778,                            199
        D’Estaing’s squadron separated by unfavorable
        winds.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, November 4th, 1778,                                 199
        Preparations of Great Britain.--Will receive no aid
        from Russia.--English Whale fishery on the coast of
        Brazil.--Instruments for abolishing the 11th and
        12th articles exchanged.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, November 15th 1778,                                 201
        Preparations and plans of Great Britain.--The
        effect of a general war.--Prospect of a loan or of
        supplies in Holland.--Capture of Spanish property
        by Captain Cunningham.--Arms ordered by Virginia.

  To James Gardoqui. Paris, December 4th, 1778,                  204
        Requests the shipment of blankets on the old
        plan.--Desires to know whether American produce
        and prizes may be sold in Spanish-American
        ports.--D’Estaing’s fleet.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 5th, 1778,                                 205
        Lord Suffolk’s speech.--Plan of the British to
        destroy everything before them.--France declares
        the goods of the enemy, in neutral ships, lawful
        prize.--Spain admits the sale of French prizes, and
        the entrance of American vessels.--German affairs.

  To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, December 17th, 1778,        207
        Proclamation and manifesto of the British
        Commissioners, threatening to destroy the
        Colonies.--Cruelties of the British in America.

  To the Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, December 25th, 1778,       210
        The Prussian fusils.--Counter-manifesto of Congress
        to the manifesto of the British Commissioners.

  To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, December 27th, 1778,        213
        Enclosing copies of absolution and manifesto of
        Congress in reply to the British manifesto.

  To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, Jan. 3d., 1779,               214
        Proposals of Dr Berkenhout.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee.
      Versailles, January 4th, 1779,                             214
        Advice in regard to Dr Berkenhout.

  To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, Jan. 8th, 1779,               215

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, January 5th, 1779,                                  216
        English influence in Holland.--Expenses of
        England.--Military establishment.--Fourteen
        regiments to be sent to America.--Beaumarchais.
        --Mr Lee’s account.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee.
      Versailles, January 10th, 1779,                            220
        Mr Lee’s answer to Dr Berkenhout.--English
        convoys.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, January 15th, 1779,                                 221
        Proceedings in Great Britain; Admiral Keppel’s
        trial; general excitement there; losses at sea;
        financial embarrassments.

  Dr Price to Arthur Lee. Newington-Green, January 18th, 1779,   222
        Acknowledges the reception of a letter with the
        resolution of Congress.

  John Adams to Count de Vergennes. Passy, February 11th, 1779,  224
        Mr Deane’s Address to the people of America.
        --Mr Lee’s services and fidelity.--Character
        of his two brothers.

  Count de Vergennes to John Adams.
      Versailles, February 13th, 1779,                           227
        Of Mr Deane’s Address.--Promises Mr Adams
        an interview.

  Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee.
        Versailles, February 15th, 1779,                         228
        Desiring an interview.--Mr Lee’s note, giving an
        account of the interview.

  Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, February 18th, 1779,   229
        Transmitting resolutions of Congress.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, Feb. 18th, 1779,               229
        Acknowledging receipt of preceding.

  Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, February 18th, 1779,   230
        Requesting Mr Lee to send him public papers
        belonging to his department.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, Feb. 21st, 1779,               230
        Declines sending the papers belonging to the
        Commissioners.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, February 25th, 1779,                                231
        Mr Deane’s representations to Congress; confusion
        and incompleteness of his accounts.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Nantes, March 7th, 1779,  234
        Mr Deane.--Proceedings of Dr Franklin since his
        appointment as Minister.

  Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, March 13th, 1779,      236
        Reasons for asking for the papers of the
        Commissioners in Mr Lee’s possession.--Offers Mr
        Lee copies of those in his own hands.

  Arthur Lee to Benjamin Franklin. Paris, March 19th, 1779,      238
        Relating to public papers in his
        possession.--Reasons for retaining them.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 22d, 1779,   239

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 26th, 1779,  240
        Reinforcements of the British force.--Ministry
        intend making great exertions.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 21st, 1779,    241
        Peace between Russia and the Porte.--Probability
        of the peace of Teschin.--Politics of
        the German powers.--Power, credit, and
        importance of Spain.--The States-General grant
        convoys.--Discontents in the English army
        and navy.--Irritation of Scotland.--State of
        Ireland.--Disposition of the King.--Successes
        of the English privateers.--Successes in
        India.--Prince Ferdinand.--De la Luzerne appointed
        to succeed M. Gerard.--M. de Marbois Secretary of
        the embassy.--Treaty of Teschin.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, May 31st, 1779,           246
        Requesting his recall.

  To Count d’Aranda. Paris, June 7th, 1779,                      246
        Enclosing the following.

  To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, June 6th, 1779,             247
        Enclosing a Memorial to the Court of Spain.

  Memorial to the Court of Spain. Paris, June 6th, 1779,         247
        Importance of prizes to the English.--Recommends
        an embargo on Spanish ships, or convoys to protect
        them.

  John Adams to Arthur Lee. L’Orient, June 10th, 1779,           249
        Testimony to Mr Lee’s services and fidelity.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, June 21st, 1779,          250
        Recall of the English and Spanish Ambassadors
        respectively.--Propositions in the
        House of Commons.

  To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, June 27th, 1779,            251
        Enclosing a memorial on the operations of the
        English in Georgia.

  Memorial to Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, June 27th, 1779,   252

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee.
      Philadelphia, July 16th, 1779,                             253
        Destruction of Fairfield.

  Count de Florida Blanca to Arthur Lee.
      Madrid, August 6th, 1779,                                  254
        Acknowledges the receipt of his letters
        on English affairs.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, August 10th, 1779, 255
        Junction of the Spanish and French
        fleets.--Preparations for the invasion of England;
        and the blockade of Gibraltar.--West India and
        Baltic fleets safely arrived in England.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, August 14th, 1779,                256
        Requesting Dr Franklin to consult Count de
        Vergennes as to the propriety of applying to the
        Court of Spain on the subject of an alliance.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, August 24th, 1779, 257
        Mediation of Russia between the European
        belligerents.--Embarrassments of
        England.--Combined fleet on the English coast.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, September 10th, 1779,     259
        Complains of the mode of proceeding in Congress
        relative to himself.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, September 19th, 1779,                               260
        Complains, of the treatment by Congress.--Requests
        instructions relative to the boundaries between the
        territories of Spain and the United States.

  Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, September 30th, 1779,  262
        Unable to supply Mr Lee with money for his support
        in Spain.--Advises his return to America.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, October 13th, 1779,                                 262
        Admiral Rodney appointed to the command in the West
        Indies.--Meditated invasion of England.

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee.
      Philadelphia, October 13th, 1779,                          264
        Announcing Mr Jay’s appointment to
        Spain.--Enclosing the resolution of Congress
        allowing Mr Lee’s return to America.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, October 21st, 1779,                                 264
        Disposition of England unfavorable to peace.--Debt
        of England.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, November 6th, 1779,                                 265
        Requests a decision on the accusations
        against him.--Impracticability of a loan in
        Europe.--Requests a fixed allowance.--Plans of
        the French and British cabinets for the ensuing
        campaign.--Spanish ultimatum.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, November 30th, 1779,                                271
        Change in the British Ministry.--Ascendancy of the
        war party.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 8th, 1779,                                 273
        King’s speech.--Memorial of the English Ambassador
        at the Hague.

  To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, December 16th, 1779,        273
        Plan of operations in the south.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 25th, 1779,                                274
        Exertions of the English for the ensuing campaign.


  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, January 19th, 1780,                                 275
        Receives the King’s picture on taking leave.

  To John Jay, Minister from the United States of America at
      Madrid. L’Orient, March 17th, 1780,                        276
        Necessity of secrecy at the Court of
        Spain.--Gardoqui.

  To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, October 7th, 1780, 278
        Deposits the King’s picture with the
        President.--Requests a hearing before Congress.

  To the President of Congress.
      Philadelphia, December 7th, 1780,                          280
        State of Europe.--League of the neutral
        powers.--Difficulty of obtaining a loan in
        Europe.--Necessity of a Secretary of State for
        Foreign Affairs.--Importance of Russia.


               WILLIAM LEE’S CORRESPONDENCE.

  Instructions to William Lee. Philadelphia, July 1st, 1777,     289
        Commissioner to the Courts of Vienna and
        Berlin.--Instructed to propose treaties of
        friendship and commerce with those Courts, and to
        solicit the acknowledgment of the independence of
        the States.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, Oct. 7th, 1777,           291
        Acknowledges the receipt of his instructions.

  To Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress.
      Paris, November 24th, 1777,                                292
        Anglo-German troops.--Supplies from the North.

  To Charles Thomson. Paris, Dec. 18th, 1777,                    294
        Prussia forbids the passage of the German troops;
        desirous of commerce with America.

  To Charles Thomson. Paris, January 2d, 1778,                   296
        Emperor discountenances the use of German troops
        by the English.--Commerce through Emden.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, Jan. 22d, 1778,           298
        Imperfection in his commission.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, February 28th, 1778,      300
        Threatened rupture between Austria and
        Prussia.--Situation and measures of the British
        Ministry.--Spain.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 23d, 1778,          302
        Acknowledgment of the independence of the United
        States.--France will not join either party in case
        of a German war.

  The Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Lee.
      York, May 14th, 1778,                                      304
        Resolution of Congress providing for his
        pay.--Unanimity and firmness of Congress; the
        nation.--Mr Lee’s powers to be enlarged.


  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, September 12th, 1778,                               306
        War in Germany.--Retires from Vienna to
        Francfort.--Draft of a treaty between Holland and
        the United States.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Francfort, October 15th, 1778,                             310
        Plan of a treaty with Holland.--State of German
        affairs.

  Plan of a treaty with Holland,                                 313

  From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Lee.
      Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778,                          334
        Return of the British Commissioners.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Francfort, February 25th, 1779,                            335
        States-General determine to protect their
        trade.--Prospect of a peace in Germany, under the
        mediation of France and Russia.--Commerce with
        Prussia.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 16th, 1779,         339
        Answer to Mr Deane’s charges.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, March 25th, 1779,  346
        Conferences between Prussia and Austria at
        Teschin.--Danger of England’s obtaining recruits
        from the German free corps.--Dr Franklin declines
        joining him in consulting with Count de Vergennes
        on German affairs.--Mr Deane’s charges.

  Ralph Izard and Arthur Lee to William Lee.
      Paris, June 22d, 1779,                                     349
        Propriety of waiting for the decision of Spain,
        before an application to Prussia to acknowledge the
        independence of the United States; of changing the
        channel of application.

  James Lovell to William Lee. Philadelphia, July 17th, 1779,    350
        Communicating his recall from Vienna and Berlin.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Francfort, September 28th, 1779,                           351
        Effect of Dr Franklin’s refusal to assist him
        at the French Court.--Rescript of the Spanish
        Ambassador.--Answer of the Prussian Minister to
        his application for an acknowledgment of the
        independence of the United States.--Mediation of
        Russia.--Commerce with Prussia.--British Ministry
        disposed to acknowledge the independence of
        America.--Disposition of the king.

  To the President of Congress. Brussels, February 10th, 1781,   356
        Britain determines not to send more troops to
        America.--Secret proposals of the Ministry to
        France and Spain.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Brussels, April 12th, 1781,                                357
        Mr Lee’s accounts.

  James Lovell to William Lee.
      Philadelphia, September 20th, 1781,                        358
        Enclosing the decision of Congress in regard to the
        settlement of his accounts.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      Brussels, March 31st, 1782,                                359
        Change in the British Ministry.--General
        disposition to peace in England.--Opposition of
        the King.--Propriety of sending a Minister to the
        Austrian Netherlands.


                     RALPH IZARD’S CORRESPONDENCE.

  Instructions to Ralph Izard. Philadelphia, July 1st, 1777,     367

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, October 6th, 1777, 369
        Interest of the Italian powers to diminish the
        power of England.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 18th, 1777,                                370
        Friendly disposition of the Tuscan Minister in
        France; advises a delay of Mr Izard’s visit to
        Italy.--Effect of the surrender of General Burgoyne.

  Arthur Lee to Ralph Izard. January 28th, 1778,                 372
        Requesting his opinion on the twelfth article of
        the treaty.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, January 28th, 1778,               372
        Objections to the twelfth article.--Complains of Dr
        Franklin’s reserve.

  Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, January 29th, 1778,   375
        Circumstances prevent his explaining the motives of
        his conduct.--Advice to Mr Izard.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, January 30th, 1778,               376
        Recriminations.--Twelfth article.

  The Committee of Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard.
      York, February 5th, 1778,                                  378
        Depreciation of the currency.--Importance
        of a loan.

  To Henry Laurens, President of Congress.
      Paris, February 16th, 1778,                                379
        Proceedings relative to the twelfth
        article.--Complains of the reserve of Dr Franklin
        and Mr Deane.--Preparations for war in France and
        England.--Want of funds.

  Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, March 27th, 1778,     385

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, March 29th, 1778,                 385
        Reminds him of his promise of an explanation of his
        conduct.

  Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, March 30th, 1778,     386
        Reasons of his delay in giving his explanations.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, March 31st, 1778,                 387
        Requests a speedy explanation.

  To Henry Laurens. Paris, April 1st, 1778,                      388
        Secrecy of Dr Franklin and Mr Deane relative to
        M. Gerard’s mission.--Disputes on the Bavarian
        succession.--Mr Deane’s unfitness for his
        place.--Proposes a commission for Naples.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, April 4th, 1778,                  390
        On the subject of explanations.

  Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, April 4th, 1778,      391
        Promises to explain the reasons of his conduct.

  To Henry Laurens. Paris, April 11th, 1778,                     391
        Expresses a wish to be sent to England.--Titles of
        American Ministers in Europe.

  To Benjamin Franklin, Paris, April 25th, 1778,                 394
        Subject of the explanations.

  John J. Pringle to Ralph Izard. Paris, April 26th, 1778,       395
        Interview with Dr Franklin on the subject of Mr
        Izard’s complaints.

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard.
      York, May 14th, 1778,                                      399
        Enclosing the resolve of Congress providing for his
        support.--Treaties ratified by Congress.--Future
        treaties to be made on the basis of mutual
        benefit.--Enlargement of his powers.

  To Arthur Lee. Paris, May 18th, 1778,                          401
        Objections to the fifth article of the treaty.

  Arthur Lee to Ralph Izard. Chaillot, May 23d, 1778,            406
        Objections to the fifth article.--Cession of
        territory to Spain.

  To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, June 17th, 1778,                  408
        Mr Pringle’s interview.--Subject of the
        explanations promised by Dr Franklin.

  To Henry Laurens, President of Congress.
      Paris, June 28th, 1778,                                    417
        Objections to the treaties.--Complains of Dr
        Franklin.--German affairs.

  To Henry Laurens, President of Congress.
      Paris, July 25th, 1778,                                    422
        Ratification of the treaties received in
        France.--Objections to the eighth article.--Mr Lee
        not received publicly at Vienna.

  From the Abbé Niccoli to Ralph Izard.
      Florence, July 28th, 1778,                                 426
        Advises him not to come to Florence.--State of
        Tuscany.--Improbability of his obtaining a loan
        there.--Recommends an attempt in Genoa.

  To the Commissioners. Paris, August 25th, 1778,                429
        Relative to obtaining a loan in Genoa.--Barbary
        cruisers.

  From the Commissioners to Ralph Izard.
      Paris, August 25th, 1778,                                  430
        Advise an application to Count de Vergennes on the
        subject of a loan in Genoa.--Intend to present him
        a memorial on the interposition of France with the
        Barbary powers.

  To the Abbé Niccoli. Paris, September 1st, 1778,               431
        Urging a loan.---Trade to Leghorn.

  To Count de Vergennes. Paris, Sept. 2d, 1778,                  433
        Requesting the assistance of France in obtaining a
        loan from Genoa.

  To Henry Laurens, President of Congress.
      Paris, September 12th, 1778,                               434
        Relative to the 11th, 12th, and 5th articles of
        the treaty.--Policy of Spain.--France declines
        interfering in the business of a loan.---The
        fisheries.--Confusion of the commercial business of
        the United States in France.

  The Committee of Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard.
      Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778,                          440

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, January 28th, 1779,                                 441
        Cannot be publicly received at Florence.--Dr
        Franklin refuses to accept his draft.--Requests
        permission to return to America.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, March 4th, 1779,                                    444
        Requests leave to return.

  The Committee of Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard.
      Philadelphia, July 17th, 1779,                             445
        Communicating his recall.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, September 29th, 1779,                               446
        Relative to the payment for his services.

  To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, August 6th, 1780,  448
        Announces his arrival.--Offers information
        respecting affairs in Europe.


                    HENRY LAURENS’ CORRESPONDENCE.

  Instructions to Henry Laurens.
      In Congress, October 26th, 1779,                           453

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to Henry Laurens.
      Philadelphia, December 11th, 1779,                         454
        Enclosing acts of Congress for drawing on him for
        £100,000.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Charleston, January 24th, 1780,                            455
        Relative to the bills of exchange mentioned in the
        preceding letter.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Charleston, February 14th, 1780,                           457

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Charleston, February 24th, 1780,                           458
        Proposes to embark for Martinique.--Ships indigo on
        account of the United States.

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
      Vestal--British frigate, St John’s, Newfoundland,
      September 14th, 1780,                                      461
        He and his papers captured.--Ordered to England by
        the Governor.

  To the President of Congress.
      Tower of London, December 20th, 1781,                      462
        Cruel treatment in the tower.

  To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 30th, 1782,       463
        History of his confinement in the tower.--Declines
        his appointment to treat with Great Britain.--His
        services while in confinement.--Lord Shelburne
        declares that he “shall part with America with
        regret.”

  To the President of Congress. Nantes, September 5th, 1782,     472
        Applies for a passport from England.--Dr Franklin
        offers to supply his expenses.

  Robert R. Livingston to Henry Laurens.
      Philadelphia, September 17th, 1782,                        476
        Announces his appointment as Secretary of Foreign
        Affairs.--Congress declines accepting Mr Laurens’
        resignation.

  Robert R. Livingston to Henry Laurens.
      Philadelphia, November 8th, 1782,                          477
        Union and firmness of the States.--Military
        intelligence.--Death of Colonel Laurens.

  To Lord Cornwallis. Paris, December 9th, 1782,                 479
        His exertions to effect the release of
        Lord Cornwallis.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 15th, 1782,                                480
        Acknowledges the receipt of certain acts of
        Congress.--Repairs to Paris in compliance
        with the order of Congress to assist in the
        negotiations.--His services in England.--Declines
        receiving any further sums of money.--Signing of
        the preliminary articles between Great Britain and
        the United States communicated to Russia.--Exchange
        of Lord Cornwallis.--Requests permission to return.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      Paris, December 24th, 1782,                                484
        Mr Hartley’s motion in the House of Commons on
        a reconciliation with America.--Little prospect
        of a general peace.--Notions in England of a
        _reconciliation_ with the _colonies_.
        --Attempts to excite jealousies of France.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Paris, January 9th, 1783, 487
        Little prospect of a definitive treaty.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, March 15th, 1783, 488
        Visits London.--Urges the withdrawing of British
        troops from America previous to any intercourse
        between the countries.--Provisional treaty, if
        obtained without the concurrence of France,
        disgraceful to the American Ministers.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, April 5th, 1783,  491
        Third bill of the provisional establishment of
        trade with America dropped.--Mr Laurens’s supposed
        American bill for regulating commerce with Great
        Britain.--The new Ministry arranged.--Conference
        with Mr Fox.--United States included in the Foreign
        Department.--Mr Hartley appointed to negotiate a
        definitive treaty of peace.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, April 10th, 1783, 493
        Leave given to bring in a bill repealing certain
        bills prohibiting an intercourse with the United
        States.--Deputation of merchants urge the opening
        of a communication with America.--Mr Laurens
        insists on the previous withdrawing of the troops.

  Robert R. Livingston to Henry Laurens.
      Philadelphia, May 8th, 1783,                               495
        Enclosing the resolution of Congress permitting his
        return.--The provisional treaty ratified.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, June 17th, 1783,  496
        Delays of the British negotiator.--Weakness of the
        new Ministry.

  Articles proposed by the American Commissioners to Mr Hartley, 499

  Mr Hartley’s proposed Article of Agreement, delivered
      by him to the American Commissioners for their
      Consideration, May 21st, 1783,                             500

  Observations and Propositions of Mr Hartley,
      left with the American Ministers, May 21st, 1783,          502

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Bath, June 27th, 1783,    505
        Regrets that the British troops were not removed
        previous to a free communication between the
        countries.--His accounts.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Bath, July 17th, 1783,    507
        Recommending the Rev. Mr Wells and Mr
        Carpenter.--Mr Deane reported to have been active
        in drawing up a treaty of commerce in London.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Bath, July 17th, 1783,    508
        Requested by Dr Franklin to return to Paris.--Complies.


  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      Ship Washington, off Poole, August 2d, 1783,               508
        Intends to apply to the Ministers for information,
        as to the reception of an American Minister in
        London.

  To L. R. Morris. London, August 9th, 1783,                     509
        His accounts.

  To the Ministers of the United States at Paris.
      London, August 9th, 1783,                                  510
        Conference with Mr Fox.--With the Duke of
        Portland.--Second conference with Mr Fox.--The
        meeting at Philadelphia.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      London, August 9th, 1783,                                  515
        His accounts.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      London, September 11th, 1783,                              517
        The definitive treaty only a re-confirmation of the
        provisional treaty.--Mr Jennings’s accusations.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
      Dover, September 16th, 1783,                               520

  To Charles Thomson. Bath, March 28th, 1784,                    520
        Term for exchanging ratifications
        extended.--Extension of the Intercourse
        Bill.--Trade of the United States with the British
        West Indies.--Disposition of the English towards
        America.

  David Hartley to Henry Laurens.
      Golden Square, March 26th, 1784,                           523
        Proposed term for the exchange of ratifications
        extended.

  To the President of Congress. London, April 24th, 1784,        524
        Proclamation for extending the American
        intercourse.--Restrictions on the American
        trade to the West Indies.--Effects of a
        retaliation.--Opposition to a reconciliation
        with America.--The King opposed to the late war;
        willing to receive an Ambassador from the United
        States.--Plan for the King’s abdication, and
        rescinding the alienation of the Prince of Wales’s
        inheritance.--Mischief done by the loyalists in
        England.

  To the President of Congress. London, April 30th, 1784,        527
        Bitterness in England against the United
        States.--Mr Deane and others oppose the interests
        of the United States.



                  THE CORRESPONDENCE OF ARTHUR LEE,

     COMMISSIONER FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE COURT OF FRANCE.


ARTHUR LEE was a native of Virginia, and born on the 20th of December,
1740. His early education was finished at Eton College, in England,
whence he proceeded to Edinburgh, with a view of preparing himself for
the medical profession. Having gone through with the usual courses,
he took the degree of doctor of medicine. After leaving Edinburgh, he
travelled in Holland and Germany, and then returned to Virginia, where
he commenced the practice of physic. Not well satisfied with this
calling, he resolved to abandon it, and apply himself to the study of
the law. He went over to London, and became a student in the Temple,
about the year 1766.

From this period till the beginning of the Revolution, Arthur Lee
held a correspondence with his brothers, and several other persons
in America, respecting the political state of things in England, and
the transactions relating to the Colonies. He was warmly attached to
the interests of his country, and was appointed by the Assembly of
Massachusetts to be Agent for that Colony, as successor to Dr Franklin,
who left England in the spring of 1775. In December, of the same year,
the Committee of Secret Correspondence requested Mr Lee to act as their
secret agent in London, and to transmit to them any information, which
he might think important. He wrote to the Committee several letters,
while acting in this agency.

When Commissioners to the Court of France were appointed, Mr Jefferson,
one of the number, declined accepting the appointment, and Arthur Lee
was put in his place, October 22d, 1776. He proceeded from London to
Paris, where he met the other Commissioners. In the spring of 1777 he
went to Spain, by the advice of his colleagues, with the design of
procuring aid from the Spanish Government for the United States, in
which he was partially successful. On his return to Paris, he made a
short tour to Vienna and Berlin for similar purposes, and maintained
for some time a correspondence of a political nature with Baron de
Schulenburg, one of the Prussian Ministers. Meantime he received from
Congress the appointment of Commissioner to Spain, but he never went
out of France while acting under this commission. It expired when Mr
Jay was made Minister Plenipotentiary to that Court.

Arthur Lee returned to the United States in September, 1780, and the
next year he was chosen a Representative to the Assembly of Virginia.
By this body he was sent a Delegate to Congress. While in that
capacity, he was made one of a commission to form treaties with the
Indians on the Northwestern frontiers, and was occupied several months
in the duties of that expedition. He died in Virginia, after a short
illness, on the 12th of December, 1792.

                  THE CORRESPONDENCE OF ARTHUR LEE.


     FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO ARTHUR LEE.

                             Philadelphia, December 12th, 1775.

Sir,

By this conveyance we have the pleasure of transmitting to you
sundry printed papers, that such of them as you think proper may be
immediately published in England.

We have written on the subject of American affairs to Monsieur C. G. F.
Dumas, who resides at the Hague. We recommend to you to correspond with
him, and to send through his hands any letters to us which you cannot
send more directly. He will transmit them via St Eustatia.

Mr Story may be trusted with any despatches you think proper to send
us. You will be so kind as to aid and advise him.

It would be agreeable to Congress _to know the disposition of foreign
powers towards us_, and we hope this object will engage your attention.
We need not hint that _great circumspection and impenetrable secrecy_
are necessary. The Congress rely on your zeal and abilities to serve
them, and will readily compensate you for whatever trouble and expense
a compliance with their desire may occasion. We remit you for the
present £200.

Whenever you think the importance of your despatches may require it, we
desire you to send an express boat with them from England, for which
service your agreement with the owner there shall be fulfilled by us
here.

We can now only add, that we continue firm in our resolutions to defend
ourselves, notwithstanding the _big threats_ of the ministry. We have
just taken one of their ordnance storeships, in which an abundance of
carcasses and bombs, intended for burning our towns, were found.

With great esteem, we are, Sir, your most obedient humble servants,

                                                     B. FRANKLIN,
                                                     JOHN DICKINSON,
                                                     JOHN JAY.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        London, February 13th, 1776.

The enclosed will easily explain itself. The intelligence you should
observe, and take measures accordingly. A fund for necessary expenses
should be fixed here, in such hands as can be confided in. You know
who is to be trusted. From experience I can say, (though without any
connexion or commerce with them) the New England men are fittest to be
trusted in any dangerous or important enterprise. Show this only to R.
H. L.[1] of Virginia, and he will _guess_ from whence it comes.

The intelligence, if it gets to hand in time, should be communicated as
soon as possible to every part of America, that she may be prepared.

[1] Richard Henry Lee.


TO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR COLDEN.[2]

[Enclosed in the foregoing.]

                                        London, February 13th, 1776.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 30th of November, 1775, announcing the appointment
of a Secret Committee reached me a few days since. Miscarriages will
be manifold indeed, if you have not frequently heard from me. All my
solicitude has been about my letters reaching you; every disguise was
necessary to effect that. I am, however, much obliged to the General
for the step taken to secure me.

You will be curious to know what are the ministerial intentions, and
their force for the next campaign. The following is their army upon
paper,--Hessians, 12,000; Brunswickers, Woolfenbutlers and Waldeckers,
5000; six regiments under Lord Cornwallis, 3000; eight more to sail in
the spring, 4000; Highlanders, 2000; now in America, 8000.

The sailing and destination of this armament is thus. Those under
General Lord Cornwallis are now embarked at Cork, and wait for sailing
orders, their destination, Virginia. By the treaty just now signed,
the Germans are to be ready on the 27th of this month to march to
the seacoast and embark, but for what part of America is not exactly
known; the march by land is near six weeks, so that they cannot sail
before April. The second embarkation from Cork will be about the same
time, and it seems probable that their destination will be against
Canada, under General Burgoyne, who is soliciting that command. In the
meantime, the 29th regiment, with General Carleton’s brother, is to
sail from hence immediately to reinforce Quebec, supposing that they
can get high enough up the river, as far as the Isle of Orleans, to
make good their march by land. The regiments under Lord Cornwallis are
the 37th, 33d, 54th, 15th, 28th, 46th. Those for the spring are the
34th, 53d, 62d, 3d, 9th, 11th, 20th, 24th. Lord Howe is appointed to
the command at sea, but the commander on land is not known; certain
however it is, that there are two Lieutenant Generals, and one of
them old, that go with the Germans, so that it must be one of great
reputation and old in the service to command over them. It is therefore
conjectured Count de Lippe will be the man. He commanded the army in
Portugal during the last war. They are taking up East Indiamen for
the transport service, supposing they will be able to beat off the
cruisers. A great number of artillery and waggon horses are to be sent,
and a train of large battering cannon is preparing, which it would seem
can only be intended against Quebec, should it be taken by General
Montgomery.

The English and Irish troops go with infinite reluctance, and strong
guards are obliged to be kept upon the transports to keep them from
deserting by wholesale. The Germans too, I am well informed, are almost
mutinous, but the Landgrave of Hesse is an absolute tyrant, and must be
obeyed. It is therefore conceived, that if the Congress have proposals
prepared in English and German, to distribute among them when they
land, which no precautions can prevent, multitudes will desert.

Upon the whole, the ministry, if every thing favors them, may have
about thirty thousand men in America by the latter end of June. They
will have no horse but two regiments of light dragoons, that are now
there, and Burgoyne’s, which is to go. If the Americans have horse well
trained to the woods, it will harrass such an army infinitely; and if
they act upon the defensive, entrench well, harrass them continually,
cut off their convoys, and if ever they hazard an engagement, make
their push upon one wing; it is imagined here, that no General on
earth can make the campaign decisive, and it is hardly possible this
country can stand another. They have found it impossible to recruit
in England, Ireland, or Scotland, though the leading people of the
last are to a man violently against America. They have therefore been
obliged to draft from the other regiments to complete those which are
going, so that when the whole are embarked, there will be scarce 2000
men remaining in Ireland, and as many in England, besides the foot
guards and cavalry. I am well assured, that the French Government will
wink at the exportation of arms and ammunition. A General of the first
abilities and experience would go over, if he could have any assurance
from the Congress of keeping his rank; but that being very high, he
would not submit to have any one but an American his superior, and
that only in consideration of the confidence due to an American in a
question so peculiarly American.

Let me have your opinion of all these things. The opposition gains
ground, and the nation begins to feel; but America must trust to her
own arm and Heaven for protection. The resolutions of January the 2d[3]
do you infinite honor, and will undoubtedly serve the cause. Your
conduct, I trust, will be noble, as that is great and good. I know
your attachment to the country you have adopted. Prince Ferdinand’s
recommendation of the General mentioned above is in these words. “As to
experience, intelligence and valor, I do not know whether another can
be found to equal him.” Your letter of the 30th of November, 1775, cost
19_s._ 6_d._ postage, there was so much superfluous paper; would not
a packet sent to some of the Canary Islands, and committed to proper
care, reach us safest and soonest? If there is any friend there to be
trusted, the opportunities from thence hither are frequent. Cover mine
and address it to John Horsfall, Treasurer, Middle Temple.

[2] The name of Lieutenant Governor Colden of New York, to whom this
and two other letters are directed, was doubtless assumed by Mr Lee
for the purpose of disguise, in case the letters should fall into the
enemy’s hands. Colden was a royalist.

[3] See the Journal of Congress for January 2d, 1776.


TO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR COLDEN.

                                        London, February 14th, 1776.

Dear Sir,

The enclosed list is the ministerial army upon paper. In effect it will
amount to about 15000 Germans and 18000 British; their destination I
can now give you with some certainty; 4000 Brunswickers and Waldeckers,
with 500 Hessians from Hanan, are now at Stade, a port in Hanover,
ready for immediate embarkation and destined for Canada, to be joined
by the twentyninth regiment, and 1000 drafted from the Foot Guards,
under Colonel Matthews. There is to be another embarkation in the
spring from Ireland for Canada, and the whole is to be commanded by
General Burgoyne, and Carleton I believe recalled.

The second body, being Hessians, are to march this day for Stade,
and the third on the 14th of next month; these are for Boston. Lord
Cornwallis, with six regiments, to sail immediately from Cork for
Virginia, where General Clinton is to take the command. They have
certain assurances of being joined by the Scotch in Virginia, and those
on the borders of North Carolina under the command of one M’Donald. In
the mean time, they have been directed to protect themselves under a
treaty of neutrality. Besides this land force, Lord Howe is to have a
fleet of seventytwo sail to block up the coast. For this purpose large
ships are to be stationed at the mouths of the great rivers, and the
rest are to cruise at some distance from the coast three deep, but not
in file, so as to render it more difficult to cross them. They are to
get possession of New York and Hudson’s river, so as to cut off all
south and north communications, and they have some idea of attacking
Canada too, by Montreal. Halifax is to be their naval magazine.

The Germans are commanded by two Lieutenant Generals, of whom the
eldest is named De Heister, who has some military character. This is
the favorable review of their plan. On the contrary, the whole army,
native and foreign, is averse to the service, so that it is much
apprehended, that if the provincials are dexterous in throwing among
them advantageous propositions, and faithful in performing them, the
desertion will be immense. The British troops have not one in five that
is a soldier, the rest are boys and debilitated manufacturers, just
recruited, at the reduced standard of five feet four inches. A vast
number of the best subaltern officers have quitted the service. It is
thought they will make Howe commander in chief, which must disgust the
German generals, who are much older. The expense will be immense, the
difficulty of providing magazines immense, and another campaign hardly
possible. Lord George Sackville is the minister, with absolute and
hated authority even in the Cabinet.

Great expectations too are entertained from treachery in the
provincials. Dr Church was in league with others, particularly Flemming
the printer.[4] This I have from ministerial authority, which may be
depended on. They will also endeavor to depreciate the Congress paper,
by throwing in forged notes. A general of the first rank and abilities
would go over, if the Congress would authorise any one to promise him a
proper reception. This I had from Mr Lee, agent for Massachusetts, but
it must be secret with you, as I was not to mention it.

[4] See an account of Dr Church, in Washington’s Official Letters, vol.
i. p. 36.


TO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR COLDEN.

                                                April 15th, 1776.

Dear Sir,

On the 7th ult. the Snow, Dickinson, Captain Meston, consigned to
Messrs Montandouine & Frere at Nantes, was brought into Bristol by her
crew, and delivered up with all her papers. From these the ministry are
apprized of all the ships, which have been sent to the different ports
of France, and cruisers are despatched into the Bay of Biscay to watch
them. John Sands, mate of the Dickinson, had made memorandums long
before he left Philadelphia of every material transaction, which shows
a premeditated plan of treachery. The proceedings of the ministry,
relative to this proof of the French interposition, have not yet
transpired, but France does not seem to be settled or spirited enough
to enter into a war, should England resent this business.

On the 5th of this month, a fleet sailed with 2000 Brunswick troops
and General Burgoyne; it is therefore understood that they are gone
to succor Quebec. Six regiments, about 4000 effective men, made up
with German recruits, are now ready for sailing orders at Cork. It is
probable that they are destined to Quebec. The first divisions of the
Hessians are not yet arrived, so that it is not likely the whole of
them will sail till the latter end of May. They are, by stipulation, to
serve altogether, and therefore, will go to Boston or Long Island. It
is supposed the provincials will possess the strong posts on Elizabeth
River, which, if in the enemy’s hands, will give them the command of
Jersey, Staten Island, &c. If the provincials always have redoubts in
the front and flanks of their army, it is the opinion of the ablest in
the profession, that they will be better than entrenchments or lines,
and will foil the regulars by breaking their line, or forcing them to
sacrifice a number of men, which they cannot afford.

People here begin to feel the matter as very serious, since the
publications of Dr Price and Lord Stair have convinced them, that
new taxes must be imposed for supporting this armament, which it is
certain will cost upwards of twelve millions. The ships sent out are
exceedingly ill manned, and there is such a disposition to desertion
among the German troops, that if proper offers are made to them, the
ministerial people are much afraid they will desert in great numbers.
They have hopes, however, that divisions will take place among the
provinces, and in the Congress, as they are satisfied that firmness and
unanimity will force their own terms.

The city of London has addressed the throne for an avowal of the
conditions on which peace is to be restored. The answer was in effect
unconditional submission. You may reckon that in July the troops will
be arrived, so as to enable General Howe to take the field. Lord Howe,
though he has accepted the command, is not yet sailed; he goes in the
Eagle, of sixtyfour guns. He is a brave man, but has a very confused
head, and is therefore very unfit for an extensive command. As there
will not be above two line of battle ships, if the Congress could
procure five line of battle ships from the French and Spaniards, they
might destroy or drive the whole British fleet from their coasts. Adieu.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.[5]

                                                  June 3d, 1776.

Gentlemen,

The desire of the Court of France to assist may be depended on; but
they are yet timid and the ministry unsettled. Turgot, lately removed,
was the most averse to a rupture with England; his removal is of
consequence. The contention for the lead now is between Count de
Vergennes and the Duke de Choiseul; both are friends to you and for
vigorous measures. The disposition in France may for these reasons
be relied on. Spain is more reserved, but surely when France moves
Spain will co-operate. The clear revenue from the farm of tobacco
is twentyfour millions of livres to France. It has been hinted to
me, that she is likely to tell Great Britain, that if England cannot
furnish it, she will send for it herself. You may judge, therefore,
what an important instrument that is in your hands. A Scotch banker,
Sir Robert Herries, proposed to the Farmers in France to supply them at
the home price here, that is, with the duty, to which they agreed. He
then applied to this government for leave to import it upon paying the
duties, which was refused.

In the last debate, Lord George Germain, who is undoubtedly minister,
affirmed that no treaty would be held with you till you had laid down
your arms. My opinion is, that independency is essential to your
dignity, essential to your present safety, and essential to your future
prosperity and peace. Some of the Congress correspond with Mr Jackson,
of the Board of Trade, and with Mr Molleson, a Scotch merchant; the
intelligence they give goes directly to the minister.

The young gentleman who will deliver this is of great worthiness, and
deserves much of his country for his fidelity and zeal. Six thousand of
the Hessian troops sailed last month, the remainder is not yet arrived
here, so that it may be September before they reach you. In the mean
time, it may be Howe’s plan to amuse you with a negotiation, which
may also furnish an opportunity of feeling some pulses among you, as
to the efficacy of money and promises. Beware of Joseph Reed[6] of
Philadelphia. One Brooke Watson, who was permitted to travel last year
from New York to Quebec, gave in a plan to the ministry for attacking
Canada, and is with the invaders.

[5] There are only two fragments of the original of this letter
remaining, but there is in the office a copy of the whole, endorsed as
follows.

“Copy of A. Lee’s letter to the Committee of Secret Correspondence,
dated June 3d, 1776, and taken from the original in the cover of a
Dictionary, which was delivered to the Secretary of Congress, by Robert
Morris, on the 4th of September, 1778, and to the Committee of Foreign
Affairs, 7th December following.”

This copy, as well as the endorsement, is written in Mr Lovell’s hand,
and attested, _James Lovell_.

[6] This suspicion was ill founded, as events proved. No man gave more
substantial testimonies of his patriotism, and ardent zeal in the
cause of his country, than Joseph Reed. The suspicion grew out of the
circumstance, that Mr Reed had corresponded with Lord Dartmouth a year
or two before, respecting the state of the Colonies.


_Record of the Committee of Secret Correspondence._[7]

                                  Philadelphia, October 1st, 1776.

Mr Thomas Story, (who had been sent by the Committee of Secret
Correspondence, December 13th, 1775, to France, Holland, and England)
reported verbally as follows. “On my leaving London, Arthur Lee
requested me to inform the Committee of Correspondence, that he had
several conferences with the French ambassador, who had communicated
the same to the French Court; that, in consequence thereof, the Duke de
Vergennes had sent a gentleman to Arthur Lee, who informed him, that
the French Court could not think of entering into a war with England;
but that they would assist America, by sending from Holland this fall
two hundred thousand pounds sterling worth of arms and ammunition to
St Eustatia, Martinique, or Cape François; that application was to be
made to the governors or commandants of those places, by inquiring for
_Monsieur Hortalez_, and that, on persons properly authorised applying,
the above articles would be delivered to them.”

The above intelligence was communicated to the subscribers this day,
being the only two members of the Committee of Secret Correspondence
now in this city; and on our considering the nature and importance of
it, we agree in opinion, that it is our indispensable duty to keep it a
secret, even from Congress, for the following reasons.

First. Should it get to the ears of our enemies at New York, they
would undoubtedly take measures to intercept the supplies, and thereby
deprive us, not only of these succors, but of others expected by the
same route.

Secondly. As the Court of France have taken measures to negotiate this
loan and succor in the most cautious and most secret manner, should
we divulge it immediately, we may not only lose the present benefit,
but also render that Court cautious of any further connexion with such
unguarded people, and prevent their granting other loans and assistance
that we stand in need of, and have directed Mr Deane to ask of them;
for it appears from all our intelligence that they are not disposed
to enter into an immediate war with Great Britain, though disposed to
support us in our contest with them; we, therefore, think it our duty
to cultivate their favorable disposition towards us, and draw from them
all the support we can; and in the end their private aid must assist us
to establish peace, or inevitably draw them in as parties to the war.

Thirdly. We find, by fatal experience, that the Congress consists
of too many members to keep secrets, as none could be more strongly
enjoined than the present embassy to France, notwithstanding which, Mr
Morris was this day asked by Mr Reese Meredith, whether Dr Franklin and
others were really going ambassadors to France; which plainly proves,
that this Committee ought to keep this secret, if secrecy is required.

Fourthly. We are of opinion, that it is unnecessary to inform Congress
of this intelligence at present, because Mr Morris belongs to all the
committees that can properly be employed in receiving and importing the
expected supplies from Martinique, and will influence the necessary
measures for that purpose; indeed, we have already authorised William
Bingham to apply at Martinique and St Eustatia for what comes there,
and remit part by the armed sloop Independence, Captain Young,
promising to send others for the rest.

Mr Morris will apply to the Marine Committee to send other armed
vessels after her, and also to Cape François, (without communicating
this advice), in consequence of private intelligence lately received,
that arms, ammunition, and clothing can now be procured at those places.

But should any unexampled misfortune befall the States of America, so
as to depress the spirits of Congress, it is our opinion, that, on
any event of that kind, Mr Morris (if Dr Franklin should be absent)
should communicate this important matter to Congress, otherwise keep it
until part or the whole supplies arrive, unless other events happen,
to render the communication of it more proper than it appears to be at
present.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                     ROBERT MORRIS.

[7] This record was entered at the time on the Journal of the
Committee, but was not made public.


FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                  Philadelphia, October 23d, 1776.

Sir,

By this conveyance we transmit to Silas Deane, a resolve of the
Honorable the Continental Congress of Delegates from the thirteen
United States of America, whereby you are appointed one of their
Commissioners for negotiating a treaty of alliance, amity, and commerce
with the Court of France, and also for negotiating treaties with other
nations, agreeably to certain plans and instructions of Congress,
which we have transmitted by various conveyances to Mr Deane, another
of the Commissioners. We flatter ourselves, from the assurances of
your friends here, that you will cheerfully undertake this important
business, and that our country will greatly benefit of those abilities
and that attachment, which you have already manifested in sundry
important services, which at a proper period shall be made known to
those you would wish.

                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                      B. FRANKLIN.


TO LORD SHELBURNE.

                                        Paris, December 23d, 1776.

My Lord,

A very few hours after my last letter to your Lordship, brought me the
desire of my country to serve her in a public character. Your Lordship,
I hope, thinks too well of me to suppose I could hesitate a moment. In
fact, almost the same minute saw me bid adieu, perhaps forever, to a
country where from choice I had fixed my fortunes, and to a people whom
I most respected and could have loved. But the first object of my life
is my country; the first wish of my heart is public liberty. I must
see, therefore, the liberties of my country established or perish in
her last struggle.

In truth, I have long despaired even of a struggle for liberty in
England; I will not insult Scotland with the idea. It is not the subtle
Weddeburne, poisoning the fountain of public security, nor the ruthless
Thurloe, deliberately butchering the liberties of his country, that
make me despair; but yet, perhaps, the people are only not virtuous,
and America may yet, with a sort of filial piety, reanimate her
expiring constitution.

Our _Pater Patriae_, with whom and Mr Deane I am joined in power, is in
good health and spirits. If fate will have it, that America, as she has
reared her temples and her altars to liberty, must furnish her victims
too, I know not where she can find a sacrifice more respectable.

Should the event of this measure be found fatal to England, it is
the perfidy of her Ministers which compels it, and to which the
consequences are justly imputable.

I beg your Lordship to remember me as one, who can never cease to have
the most perfect esteem for you. I have communicated to the Abbé Raynal
all the facts I could collect, in answer to his questions. He will
write to you soon.

May I beg to be remembered to our friends in the college and to those
out of it, who I hope will always do me the honor of remembering me;
Colonel Barré, Mr Dunning, Dr Priestly, Dr Price, &c.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                        Paris, January 3d, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of receiving your favor, announcing to me my
appointment as one of the Commissioners from the Congress of the United
States of America.

I cannot express how greatly I am obliged to that most respectable
body, for giving me an opportunity of showing how much I prefer the
service of my country, and of her present cause, to every other pursuit
and situation in life.

I had the happiness of joining Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, the day after
the arrival of the former at this place.

We have employed every moment in preparing the way for fulfilling the
purposes of our mission. It is impossible to say yet, in what degree we
shall be able to accomplish our instructions and our wishes.

The politics of this Court are in a kind of trembling hesitation. It
is in consequence of this, that the promises, which were made to me
by the French agent in London, and which I stated to you by Mr Story
and others, have not been entirely fulfilled. The changing of the mode
of conveying what they promised was settled with Mr Deane, whom Mons.
Hortalez, or Beaumarchais, found here upon his return from London, and
with whom therefore all the arrangements were afterwards made.

I hope you will have received some of the supplies long before this
reaches you; infinitely short as they are of what was promised in
quantity, quality, and time, I trust they will be of very material
service in the operations of the next campaign. It is that, to use
the words of our arch enemy, to which we must look forward, and no
exertions in preparing for it can be too great, because the events of
it must be very decisive.

I have the honor of being, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


FROM THE COMMISSIONERS IN PARIS TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                        Paris, January 5th, 1777.

Sir,

The Congress, the better to defend their coasts, protect their trade,
and drive off the enemy, have instructed us to apply to France for
eight ships of the line, completely manned, the expense of which they
will undertake to pay. As other princes of Europe are lending or
hiring their troops to Britain against America, it is apprehended,
that France may if she thinks fit afford our Independent States the
same kind of aid, without giving England any first cause of complaint.
But if England should on that account declare war, we conceive, that
by the united force of France, Spain, and America, she will lose all
her possessions in the West Indies, much the greatest part of that
commerce, which has rendered her so opulent, and be reduced to that
state of weakness and humiliation which she has, by her perfidy, her
insolence, and her cruelty, both in the east and the west, so justly
merited.

We are also instructed to solicit the Court of France for an immediate
supply of twenty or thirty thousand muskets and bayonets, and a large
quantity of ammunition and brass field pieces, to be sent under convoy.
The United States engage for the payment of the arms, artillery, and
ammunition, and to defray the expense of the convoy. This application
has now become the more necessary, as the private purchase made by Mr
Deane of those articles is rendered ineffectual, by an order forbidding
their exportation.

We also beg it may be particularly considered, that while the English
are masters of the American seas, and can without fear of interruption,
transport with such ease their army from one part of our extensive
coast to another, and we can only meet them by land marches, we
may possibly, unless some powerful aid is given us, or some strong
diversion be made in our favor, be so harassed and be put to such
immense distress, as that finally our people will find themselves
reduced to the necessity of ending the war by an accommodation.

The Courts of France and Spain may rely, with the fullest confidence,
that whatever stipulations are made by us, in case of granting such
aid, will be ratified and punctually fulfilled by the Congress, who
are determined to found their future character with regard to justice
and fidelity on a full and perfect performance of all their present
engagements.

North America now offers to France and Spain her amity and commerce.
She is also ready to guaranty in the firmest manner to those nations
all her present possessions in the West Indies, as well as those they
shall acquire from the enemy, in a war that may be consequential of
such assistance as she requests. The interests of the three nations
are the same. The opportunity of cementing them and of securing all
the advantages of that commerce, which in time will be immense, now
presents itself. If neglected, it may never again return. And we cannot
help suggesting, that a considerable delay may be attended with fatal
consequences.[8]

[8] There is no reply to this letter on record. It is probable, that a
verbal message was communicated in reply by M. Gerard, as may be judged
from the letter directed to him, which immediately follows.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


THE COMMISSIONERS TO M. GERARD.

                                        Paris, January 14th, 1777.

We thank M. Gerard for the polite and explicit manner in which he has
communicated his Majesty’s message.

We beg to return our most grateful sense of the gracious intentions,
which his Majesty has had the goodness to signify to our States, and
to assure his Majesty that we shall ever retain the warmest gratitude
for the substantial proofs he has given us of his regard, and that we
will endeavor in due time to impress our constituents with the same
sentiments.

We feel the strength of the reasons his Majesty has been pleased to
assign for the conduct he means to hold; and the magnanimity of his
motives. We beg leave to assure his Majesty, that we shall at all
times and in all things endeavor to conform ourselves to the views he
has opened for us, as nothing is further from our intentions than to
precipitate his Majesty into any measures, which his royal wisdom and
justice may disapprove. And if in anything we should contravene those
purposes, we shall always be happy and ready to amend it according to
the advice and direction of government.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


THE COMMISSIONERS TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                        Paris, February 1st, 1777.

Messrs Franklin, Deane, and Lee, Ministers from the Congress of the
United States, beg leave to represent to his Excellency the Count de
Vergennes, that besides the general alarming accounts of the success of
the English against their country, they have just received authentic
intelligence from England that eight thousand men, chiefly Germans,
under the command of General Burgoyne, are to be sent early in the
spring to America, and to be employed, with some ships of war, in the
invasion of Virginia and Maryland.

That if not by some means diverted from their design, it will be in
their power to destroy a great part of those States, as the houses and
estates of the principal inhabitants are situated on the navigable
waters, and so separated from each other as to be incapable of being
defended from armed vessels conveying troops, the place of whose
landing cannot be foreseen, and consequently force cannot be assembled
in all places sufficient to oppose them.

That great danger is also to be apprehended from the blacks of those
States, who, being excited and armed by the British, may greatly
strengthen the invaders, at the same time that the fear of their
insurrection will prevent the white inhabitants from leaving their
places of residence and assembling in such numbers for their own
defence against the English, as otherwise they might do.

That the greatest part of the tobacco of those States is probably
collected as usual in the warehouses of the inspectors, which are
also situated on navigable waters, and will be liable to be taken and
destroyed by the invaders; that the destruction of these two States
probably may make a great impression on the people in the rest, who,
seeing no prospect of assistance from any European power, may be more
inclined to listen to terms of accommodation.

That the supplies of arms and ammunition of war, which they have been
made to expect from France, having been by various means delayed and
retarded, are not likely to arrive before the commencement of the next
campaign, and may perhaps be despaired of, especially if those supplies
are to be carried first to the French islands.

That notwithstanding the measures taken to convince the Court of
Britain that France does not countenance the Americans, that Court,
according to our information, believes firmly the contrary; and it is
submitted to the consideration of your Excellency, whether, if the
English make a conquest of the American States, they will not take the
first opportunity of showing their resentment, by beginning themselves
the war that would otherwise be avoided; and perhaps beginning it as
they did the last, without any previous declaration.

That upon the whole, we cannot on this occasion omit expressing our
apprehensions, that if Britain is now suffered to recover the Colonies,
and annex again their great growing strength and commerce to her own,
she will become in a few years the most formidable power, by sea and
land, that Europe has yet seen, and assuredly, from the natural pride
and insolence of that people, a power to all the other States the most
pernicious and intolerable.

We would therefore with all deference submit it to the wisdom of his
Majesty and his Ministers, whether, if the independence of the United
States of America, with the consequent diminution of British power, and
the freedom of commerce with them, be an object of importance to all
Europe, and to France in particular, this is not the proper time for
effectual exertions in their favor; and for commencing that war, which
can scarcely be much longer avoided, and which will be sanctified by
this best of justifications, that a much injured and innocent people
will thereby be protected and delivered from cruel oppression, and
secured in the enjoyment of their just rights; than which, nothing can
contribute more to the glory of his Majesty and of this nation.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                        Nantes, February 11th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I received the enclosed despatches at this place on my way to Spain.
By the information I have from London, which I think may be depended
upon, the plan of operations is for Howe and his recruited army to act
against New England, while Carleton makes his way over the lakes to
keep the middle Colonies in awe; and Burgoyne, with an armament from
England of ten thousand, if it can be procured, invades the South,
probably Virginia and Maryland.[9]

The intelligence from England is, that ten thousand Germans are
actually engaged; while the French Minister and the Spanish Ambassador
both assure us, that it is with very great difficulty the enemy
can procure the recruits necessary to keep up the number formerly
stipulated. That the force of their different armaments will fall
greatly short of what they intend, I believe, but it seems to me almost
certain that the three attacks will be made.

That their utmost efforts will be made this campaign is infallible,
because nothing is more certain, than that the present state of Europe
forbids every expectation of their being long unemployed nearer home.
If, therefore, they do not succeed this year against us, there is an
end of their prospects of ravage and revenge. Even at this moment, they
have put every thing at hazard; England, Ireland, and Hanover being
left almost defenceless by their efforts against us. I should submit
whether it is not fit that it should be made known to the army, that
the forces to be sent this year, both from England and Germany, are new
raised, and therefore totally undisciplined. Because the attacking such
troops on their first arrival, would be taking them in their weakest
state, and they ought not to carry with them the terror of disciplined
troops, which, in fact, they are not, and of which it would encourage
their opponents to be apprized.

The French Minister told me when I took leave, that the king of Great
Britain had endeavored in vain to get troops in Germany to supply the
place in Hanover of those whom he sent to garrison Gibraltar. All
these things concur to show, that they are pressed on every side to
make the last effort against our liberties, which I trust will be met
with proportionable exertions on our part, and under the providence of
Heaven defeated.

The losses, which the enemy’s West India trade has suffered by captures
this year, have determined the government to make provision against it
in future, by sending a number of armed cutters, which will take the
small cruisers which have hitherto been so successful against their
West Indiamen. These too are to be armed as in time of war; I therefore
submit to your consideration the propriety of marking out another line
of cruising for the small privateers, and sending such only into the
Gulf as are of force to drive off the cutters, and make prize of the
armed West Indiamen.

Whatever orders you have for me will be forwarded from the ports of
Spain, and I must beg a few blank commissions for privateers, as it
will be one part of my endeavors to excite merchants in Spain to cruise
against our enemies.

We have been so repeatedly warned of bad arms being sent from hence,
that I cannot help mentioning the necessity of having the muskets
proved wherever it can be done before they are paid for. This too
suggests the propriety of not advancing money for goods, since though
the very capital merchants in France are men of honor, and will not
impose, yet the middle and lower orders of them are often directly the
reverse.

Bewick & Co. at Cadiz will not pay the proceeds of the Sally to Mr
Schweighauser, upon a pretence of not having any order so to do; but it
seems their real design is to keep the money in their hands for what
they pretend is due to them from Messrs Willing, Morris & Co. I shall
endeavor to have them compelled to do justice in this business, and you
will determine how far they are to be trusted for the future. A large
cargo of woollens, linen, cordage, and sailcloth, will be despatched
from hence in three weeks, which I hope will reach their destination in
time.

I could have wished that my present destination had been specifically
ordered by you, with regard to the Court, as that would have imported
a respect and consideration for them, which might have greatly
facilitated my object, which I apprehend will meet with some obstacle
in the umbrage, that the want of such attention, and the apparent
preference given where it is perhaps less deserved, may possibly
occasion. Perhaps that may yet be remedied by some such power, if it
should seem proper to you.[10]

The Corporation here have lowered the city duty on tobacco, brought
from America into this port, in order to encourage a commerce with us,
for which I have thought it my duty to return them thanks.

Upon examination, I find your commercial connexions here greatly
deranged. It appears to have been the first plan of the Committee
to place Mons. Schweighauser as a check over Mons. Penet. The
established character and credit of the former were to control the
confidence reposed in the latter, who, the Committee say, “had not such
recommendations as they could wish.” For this purpose the consignments
were to be made to Mons. Schweighauser, out of which he was to pay
Mons. Penet for such goods as were shipped on your account, after being
inspected and approved by the former. This was certainly a wise plan
and a necessary precaution. In my humble judgment, it still continues
to be absolutely necessary; but instead of the consignments having been
made to Mr Schweighauser, they have been chiefly addressed directly
to Penet; in consequence of this, the latter has not submitted the
goods sent to the inspection of the former, and Mr Schweighauser has
reason to complain of his being neglected, after an express promise
given him of your consignments, without his being able to conceive in
what he has offended. These are facts which I think it my duty to state
to you. Mons. Montanduine and Mons. Schweighauser are certainly the
first in rank and reputation here. It is of much more consequence, that
merchants of this description should be your correspondents here, than
it is in England, because they have an influence with government which
those of an inferior order have not. Of this order is Mr Gruel, and
still lower M. Penet; but the credit and character of the former are
exceedingly well established.

The rigor of the season, the badness of the roads, and the slowness of
conveyance in Spain will protract my journey miserably, but you may
depend upon my using every diligence to reach my destination in time to
make the best advantage of the present critical situation of affairs.

I have the honor to be, &c.

[9] This intelligence, which was entirely erroneous, was probably sent
into France by design, with a view of creating there a false impression
as to the real plans of the British Government.

[10] The following extract of a letter from the Commissioners to the
Committee of Secret Correspondence, will show the origin of Mr Lee’s
journey to Spain.

_Paris, February 6th, 1777._--“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 in 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
journies we cannot prudently now explain.”

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                        Nantes, February 14th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

The enclosed book is esteemed a work of genius, and as such I have
thought it proper to be sent to you. We were acquainted with the author
in Paris, who is a man of very high character and so strongly our
friend, that I have no doubt if the want of his second volume, which
is not yet published, should render any explanation necessary, he will
give it with pleasure.

Since I had the honor of writing yesterday, Mr Thomas Morris has
informed me of the agreement, which he has just concluded with the
Farmers-General for all the tobacco that shall arrive here on your
account, at seventy livres a hundred. It was probably in contemplation
of this, that they refused to sign the treaty with us, after they
had pledged their word for it. Our object was to interest government
here through them in our commerce, so much as to secure their utmost
protection of it; to insure the exports of our produce, which we
apprehended the scarcity of shipping and sailors would render
impracticable in our own bottoms, and to command a considerable advance
of ready money for a full supply of arms, ammunition, rigging, &c.
which we might convey with more certainty under their protection. To
compass these objects we were induced to offer them such tempting
terms. The price they have now agreed to give is certainly a good one,
but I fear it will not retrieve us from our difficulties, as there
is no advance stipulated, and the difficulty of exportation seems to
increase daily.

Our latest intelligence from England informs us, that a bill is now
passing for granting letters of marque against you, or rather for
repealing so much of their former act, as confined it to the navy. The
press there still continues very violent, but not equally productive;
that, together with the great preparations of France and Spain, seems
to render the continuance of peace for many months impossible. From
every thing that I can learn, their armaments against you will be
very late, if the situation of Europe will suffer them at all; but it
is best to prepare for their plan, as if it would be executed in its
fullest extent, for it is impossible to have such reliance upon the
politics of Europe, as would justify the hazarding much upon their
issue.

I believe you have not yet been apprized of what it may be material
for you to know, which is, that the British government offered to
deliver the prisoners, taken on Long Island, to the East India Company
to be sent to their settlements, if the Company would send for them to
Gibraltar. This proposition is upon record in the Company’s books, a
general court having been held expressly upon it.

I have the honor of being, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


FROM JAMES GARDOQUI TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                      Madrid, February 17th, 1777.

Sir,

My person and house, in the commercial way, are well known in
the American Colonies, not only on account of our long standing
correspondence of thirty to forty years, but also on that of the true
affection with which we have endeavored to serve them. I am lately
arrived at Madrid on some particular affairs, which have occasioned my
treating with the ministers of State, who have honored me with their
especial favors and trust, and of course this has led me into the
bottom of the principal affairs of Europe, among which I have talked
about your coming from Paris to Spain, undoubtedly with the design of
treating on the subject of the Colonies, as I judge they have already
done, and continue doing at Paris. But I have heard that in such a
small place as Madrid it would be absolutely impossible to remain
incog, either by your own or any other name, and you would of course
be spied by the gentlemen here who have a real interest therein, and
consequently you could not treat with the ministers without hurting
the Colonies in the highest degree by your own doings; and, besides,
you would set this Court at variance without success. I judge you
will improve the opportunity which offers by chance, and I think is
an excellent one, and have therefore no objections to hint it to you;
being fully assured that it will cause no displeasure here.

The Marquis of Grimaldi intends to set out soon for Biscay, and I
propose to do the same for my house at Bilboa, all which we shall so
manage as to meet one and the other at Vitoria, where we shall tarry
under some good disguise until our mutual arrival; and as this noble
minister has had to this day the entire direction of all affairs,
and is of course fully acquainted with his Majesty’s intentions, I
believe he is the most proper person with whom you may treat either
in said place, or some country house that might be picked up for the
purpose, and thereby avoid the inconveniences which must inevitably
follow by your coming to Madrid. By the aforesaid belief I have given
you a further proof of my attachment to the Colonies, and I must also
add with all truth, that the principal persons here are of the same
opinion, although the present state of affairs obliges them to make no
show thereof. In short, Sir, I hope you will approve of my proposed
method being the safest and most natural to carry on the views of both
parties, I beg you will give me an answer through the same hands, as
will deliver the present to you, not doubting that you will tarry at
Vitoria until we get there, and you will also observe that you will be
at full liberty to proceed to Madrid if you should judge proper, after
you have talked over the matter with the said nobleman.

I have the honor to subscribe myself, &c.

                                                     JAMES GARDOQUI.

_P. S._ Having considered upon the properest place for our meeting, we
have settled it on that of Burgos instead of Vitoria, which pray note
accordingly, and I hope to meet you there.

[In a letter dated at Burgos, 28th February, 1777, Mr Lee replied to
the above as follows. “I have the honor of yours of the 17th, and
agreeable to your request will wait for you at this place.”]


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                  Bordeaux, February 18th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

On my arrival here, on my way to Madrid, I found a letter dated
February 2d, from a confidential correspondent, which contains the
following passages. “Ten thousand Germans are already engaged, and
ships sent to convey them; the number of British cannot exceed three
thousand, and those very indifferent; but much is expected from their
being sent early. Boston is certainly to be attacked in the spring.
Burgoyne will command. Howe will probably attack Philadelphia. The
government expect great advantage from dissensions in Pennsylvania.”

Finding that our commerce here labors under great difficulties from the
heavy duties laid on fish, oil, wax, &c., I have directed an account
of it to be transmitted to your Commissioners at Paris, together with
an estimate of the imports and exports during the last year from
the United States, that they may be better enabled to negotiate an
alleviation or removal of the duties, which were originally intended to
discourage the British commerce.

I had the honor of stating to you a year ago, that tobacco was the
most weighty political engine we could employ with the French Court.
It is absolutely necessary to the Farmers-General, and the Farmers as
absolutely necessary to government.

Mr Delap informs me that there are several more cargoes belonging to
the Congress, in the hands of merchants in Spain, the proceeds of which
cannot be obtained. I have written to Mr Morris, at Nantes, begging the
favor of him to send me a proper account of them, that I may complain
of those merchants at the Court of Spain. There is a ship at Nantes,
totally deserted by her crew, which has been lying there many months
unregarded, at an expense to the Congress of one hundred dollars per
month. I have advised Mr Schweighauser to consult with Mr. Morris about
selling her, which ought to have been done as soon as her crew quitted
her.

The ship too, which was intrusted to Mr Myrkle, is lying here at a
considerable charge, and no appearance of her return.

I enclose you Captain Cleveland’s account of Mr Myrkle’s conduct, which
he wishes may be offered in his justification. I have referred him to
Dr Franklin for advice.

I have the honor of being your obedient servant,

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMISSIONERS IN PARIS.

                                      Vitoria, February 26th, 1777.

Dear Sirs,

I am thus far safe on my journey, which by the spur of six pistoles
more I am to finish two days sooner than was at first agreed.
Therefore, if no accident happens, I shall reach my destination the
6th of next month. In the Committee’s letter of the 23d of October to
me, it is said, “we are to negotiate with other nations agreeable to
certain plans and instructions transmitted to Mr Deane.” I have none
with me, nor do I remember to have seen any, but those which relate
expressly to France, and that plan has already been transmitted where
I am going. Nothing is more likely than my being asked what I have to
propose, particularly relative to this meridian. This question was put
to us on our first visit to ____ ____.[11] But the same answer will not
serve here. I must entreat you, therefore, to favor me with your ideas
upon this particular. What alteration would you think proper in that
plan, when applied to this country? It is best to be prepared for every
favorable moment that may offer. This must plead my pardon for urging
as speedy an answer as possible. It would grieve me to be put to the
alternative of letting a favorable opportunity pass unembraced, or
of hazarding a measure of so much moment to the public, upon my weak
judgment and very limited information.

With my best wishes for your health and success, and begging to be
remembered kindly to our friends, I have the honor to be, with the
greatest esteem, dear Sirs, your obedient servant,

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[11] This blank should probably be filled up with the name of Count
d’Aranda, the Spanish Ambassador in France.


MEMORIAL,

_Delivered by Arthur Lee to the Marquis de Grimaldi_.

                                         Burgos, March 5th, 1777.

Upon maturely weighing what his Excellency the Marquis de Grimaldi had
the goodness to communicate from his Majesty, Mr Lee feels himself
obliged (notwithstanding his earnest wish to coincide with his
Majesty’s views, and conciliate his amity to the United States) to beg
his attention to the following considerations.

1st. Were it the question now, whether Mr Lee being at Paris
should come to Madrid, he might do it or not without any material
consequences, but it being known, that he was deputed upon that
business, and upon his way, his return without going to Madrid will
beget an opinion, that Spain has renounced the States of America, in
refusing to receive their deputy. For the fact of his return being
notorious, and the reasons for it necessarily secret, it will make the
same impression as if no such reasons existed.

This opinion will very materially injure the credit of the States
in France and Holland, and it may have a very unfavorable effect in
America. For it must be considered, that the fact will reach America
by a thousand channels, while the reasons for it can pass through one
only, and that too from the situation of things in obscure hints.

Mr Lee therefore hopes, that his Majesty will weigh these reasons
before he determines finally upon a measure, which may be deemed
ungracious to the Congress, and highly detrimental to their interests.

2dly. Mr Lee cannot conceive on what pretence of reason, right, or
law, the English Ambassador, or his Court, can take exception to his
Majesty’s receiving a deputy from the United States, since the right
of a neutral Court so to do is clearly established by the unquestioned
practice of all times, and recognised by the best writers on the laws
of nations. Neither has the English Ambassador at Paris, or his Court,
taken any exception to it there.

3dly. That it will be so far from preventing the execution of any
gracious intentions his Majesty may have of assisting the States,
that the best and safest channel of conveying that aid is from one
from which Mr Lee’s being at Madrid will rather divert than direct
the attention of England. Next to an immediate declaration, a supply
of money to support the credit of the States, and pay for what is
necessary, is the most effectual aid. The support of this contest calls
upon the Congress for considerable funds. The means of establishing
them by the export of their produce are slow and uncertain. This
obliges them to have recourse for assistance to the powers that are
friendly to their cause; among whom they have the greatest reliance
upon his Majesty the king of Spain. This purpose will be answered by
his Majesty’s ordering his Ambassador at the Hague, to authorise Sir
George Grand of Amsterdam to pay the sum destined to this use to the
order of B. Franklin, Silas Deane, or Arthur Lee. Sir George Grand is
fixed upon as one, who has been already trusted by the Court of France
in this business, and on whose attachment they can depend.

Mr Lee must beg leave to wait his Majesty’s pleasure at Burgos, or
Vitoria, not at Bayonne, because he is persuaded, upon reflection, that
he should incur the highest displeasure of his constituents, if he
were to leave Spain without a definitive answer to the object of his
mission.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                        Burgos, March 8th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

A person of high rank having been sent to confer with me here, I am
authorised to assure you, that supplies for the army will be sent to
you by every opportunity from Bilboa. I can say with certainty, that
a merchant there has orders for that purpose; he is now here with
me to have a list from me, and to contract for blankets, which are
manufactured in this part of the country. I am also desired to inform
you of ammunition and clothing being deposited at New Orleans and the
Havanna, with directions to _lend_ them to such American vessels as may
call there for that purpose.

I am trying to get a sum of money put into our hands immediately,
that we may the more assuredly answer your bills, should you find it
necessary to draw, and may pay for some ships of war in Europe. It will
also be my endeavor to procure some able veteran officers from the
Irish brigades in this service.

From the best authority here I am told, that the German agreement is
for seven thousand recruits, and eight hundred Hessian Chasseurs. They
are to sail from some German port towards the end of this month.

News is just arrived here of the death of the king of Portugal.
Considerable bodies of troops have been for some time marching from
Madrid towards the frontiers of that kingdom.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


MEMORIAL,

_Presented to the Court of Spain_.

                                           Burgos, March 8th, 1777.

The present state of the dispute between America and Great Britain does
not seem to be so fully understood, as to render a clear representation
of it unnecessary.

America has declared herself independent, and has defeated all the
efforts of Great Britain to reduce her during two campaigns. In this
resistance she has hitherto stood alone and almost unassisted. Her
infant and unprepared state has been compensated by her ardor, her
indignation, her enthusiasm.

Great Britain, however, is determined to redouble her efforts to make
this campaign decisive of the fate of America. In this situation,
America offers her commerce and her friendship, which she has withdrawn
from Great Britain, to Spain and France. This offer ought to be deemed
of double value, because it takes from their rival and foe, what it
gives to _them_. It is, therefore, taken for granted, that this is an
object of the first magnitude, and worthy of the highest attention of
both these Courts. It is also taken for granted, that Spain and France
do not wish Great Britain should prevail in the contest, or regain
America by conquest or conciliation. There remains, therefore, but
this single question; whether it be more politic for the two powers to
declare immediately, or to wait the event of the next campaign?

To judge of this, it will be necessary to consider what will be the
probable event of the next campaign. As Great Britain is resolved to
put forth her utmost strength, it is probable that the event will be,
either the total reduction of America, or an accommodation founded upon
a mutual conviction of each other’s strength; and this accommodation
must be hastened by America being left destitute of any material
assistance from Europe.

It is manifest, that the neutrality of Spain and France leaves
the field open to the operations of the British force, and to the
production of one of those events, either of which must be highly
prejudicial to both nations and advantageous to their enemy. If Great
Britain should be victorious, America will become a powerful instrument
in her hands, to be wielded at her will against these countries; and
that it will not remain long unemployed, no one will doubt, who knows
that the Court of Great Britain is well informed of the countenance, at
least, given to what they call a most dangerous rebellion, and that the
head of that Court is of a temper that never forgives or forgets.

If an accommodation should produce a reunion, the same advantages will
be lost, and almost all the same consequences are to be feared. The end
of the campaign cannot, therefore, promise so favorable a moment for
the interposition of Spain and France as the present; and in all human
probability it will be then fruitless.

In truth, what moment can be wished more favorable than the present,
when Great Britain is so equally matched by what were her Colonies,
that the scales hang doubtful? Nor can it be questioned, that the
interposition of Spain or France, and much more of both, would make
that of America decidedly preponderate, and separate her from Great
Britain forever. And what object can be more important, than to deprive
her of this great and growing source of her commerce and her wealth,
her marine, and her dominion?

There is nothing of which the Court of Great Britain is more persuaded,
than that the loss of America would be the inevitable consequence of a
war in Europe; nor is there a man in the nation that is ignorant of it;
hence it is, that the king finds himself obliged, in all his speeches,
to assure his Parliament of the tranquillity of Europe, that they may
be emboldened to support his war against America. Hence it is, that
they have labored to prevent a rupture between Spain and Portugal, and
have, at length, renounced the latter. It is therefore certain, that
Great Britain would endure any insult, short of an open and outrageous
act of hostility, rather than engage in a European war during her
contest with America.

During the last war, America contributed twelve thousand seamen, and
twenty thousand troops to the assistance of Great Britain. These
are now tripled against her. The commerce of America, according to
the declaration of Mr Pitt, who conducted it, carried Great Britain
triumphantly through it. The full tide of that commerce is now turned
against her. From America, all the expeditions against the islands of
Spain and France were then supplied. Now these supplies are ready to
assist in seizing her islands.

Deprived of all those aids, which ministered to her success and
her triumphs during the last war, what could prevent her now from
experiencing the bitter reverse of her former fortune? What policy can
withhold two Sovereigns, whose prosperity is incompatible with her
power, to let slip such an opportunity of humbling her as may never
return?

If Great Britain should be again united to America by conquest or
conciliation, it would be in vain to menace her with war. America
has been felt like Hercules in his cradle. Great Britain, knit again
to such growing strength, would reign the irresistible, though hated
arbiter of Europe. This then is the moment in which Spain and France
may clip her wings and pinion her forever. One of the most respectable
bodies in England told their Sovereign some two years since, with a
kind of prophetic spirit, that his Ministers were precipitating his
dominions into a situation in which their existence would depend upon
the forbearance of their enemies. That situation is now certainly
occurred. The rest as certainly remains in the arbitration of Spain and
France.[12]

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[12] Although the above Memorial purports to have been _presented to
the Court of Spain_, it would appear, that it was put into the hands of
the Marquis de Grimaldi while he was at Burgos, and that he returned
an answer probably without consulting the Court, when he met Mr Lee
shortly afterwards at Vitoria.


ANSWER,

_To the Memorial, by the Marquis de Grimaldi at Vitoria_.

You have considered your own situation and not ours. The moment is not
yet come for us. The war with Portugal,--France being unprepared, and
our treasure from South America not being arrived,--makes it improper
for us to declare immediately. These reasons will probably cease within
a year, and then will be the moment.[13]

[13] This answer seems to have been a verbal one.


TO THE COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA, MINISTER TO THE KING OF SPAIN.

                                        Vitoria, March 17th, 1777.

Mr Lee wishes to state to his Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca,
what he has understood from his Excellency, the Marquis de Grimaldi,
to be the intentions of his Majesty relative to the United States of
America.

That for very powerful reasons his Majesty cannot at this moment
enter into an alliance with them, or declare in their favor; that
nevertheless, they may depend upon his Majesty’s sincere desire to see
their rights and liberties established, and of his assisting them as
far as may be consistent with his own situation; that for this purpose
the house of Gardoqui at Bilboa would send them supplies for their
army and navy from time to time; that they would find some ammunition
and clothing deposited for them at New Orleans, the communication with
which would be much secured and facilitated by their taking possession
of Pensacola; that their vessels should be received at the Havanna
upon the same terms with those of France, and that the Ambassador at
Paris should have directions immediately to furnish their Commissioners
with credit in Holland. The Marquis added, that his Majesty would do
these things out of the graciousness of his royal disposition, without
stipulating any return, and that, if upon inquiry any able veteran
officers could be spared from his Irish brigade, the States should have
them.

These most gracious intentions Mr Lee has communicated to the Congress
of the United States, in terms as guarded as possible without
mentioning names, so that the source of those aids, should the
despatches fall into the enemy’s hands, can only be conjectured from
the matter, not determined from the manner in which they are mentioned.
And for further security, the captain has the strictest orders to throw
the despatches into the sea should he be taken.

Mr Lee is sensible that these intentions are measured by the
magnanimity of a great and opulent prince, and becoming the character
of so illustrious a monarch as the king of Spain. He is satisfied they
will raise the strongest sentiments of gratitude and veneration in the
breasts of those whom they regard. At the same time he trusts, that
the Spanish nation will receive no inconsiderable retribution from the
freedom of that commerce, the monopoly of which contributed so much
to strengthen and aggrandize her rival and her foe; nor can anything
give more lasting satisfaction to the royal mind, than the reflection
of having employed those means which God has put into his hands, in
assisting an oppressed people to vindicate those rights and liberties,
which have been violated by twice six years of incessant injuries and
insulted supplications; those rights which God and nature, together
with the convention of their ancestors and the constitution of their
country, gave to the people of the States. Instead of that protection
in these rights, which was the due return for the sovereignty exercised
over them, they have seen their defenceless towns wantonly laid in
ashes, their unfortified country cruelly desolated, their property
wasted, their people slain; the ruthless savage, whose inhuman war
spares neither age nor sex, instigated against them; the hand of the
servant armed against his master by public proclamation, and the very
food which the sea that washes their coast, furnishes, forbidden them
by a law of unparalleled folly and injustice. _Proinde quasi injuriam
facere id demum esset imperio uti._ Nor was it enough that for these
purposes the British force was exhausted against them, but foreign
mercenaries were also bribed to complete the butchery of their people,
and the devastation of their country. And that nothing might be wanting
to make the practices equivalent to the principles of this war, the
minds of these mercenaries were poisoned with every prejudice, that
might harden their hearts and sharpen their swords against a people,
who not only never injured or offended them, but who have received with
open arms and provided habitations for their wandering countrymen.
These are injuries which the Americans can never forget. These are
oppressors whom they can never again endure. The force of intolerable
and accumulated outrages has compelled them to appeal to God and to the
sword. The king of Spain, in assisting them to maintain that appeal,
assists in vindicating the violated rights of human nature. No cause
can be more illustrious, no motives more magnanimous.[14]

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.

                                        Vitoria, March 18th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of writing to you on the 8th from Burgos, since which
I have had another conference at this place for greater secrecy and
despatch.

In addition to the supplies, which I informed you were to be furnished
through the house of Gardoqui by every opportunity, and the powder
and clothing which are at New Orleans, and will be advanced to your
order, I am assured of having credit from time to time on Holland, and
that orders will be given to receive your vessels at the Havanna, as
those of the most favored nation, the French, are received. They have
promised to examine whether there are any veteran Irish officers fit
for your service, and if there are to send them.

I have avoided stipulating any return on our part.

As to an immediate declaration in your favor, they say this is not
the moment, and for reasons, which, if I might venture to commit them
to this paper, I think you would deem satisfactory. The same reasons
render an explicit acknowledgment of your independency, and a treaty of
alliance with you, inadmissable at present; but I am desired to assure
you of their taking a sincere and zealous part in the establishment of
your liberties, which they will promote in every way consistent with
their own situation.

I cannot help thinking that the postponing of a treaty is happy for us,
since our present situation would raise demands, and perhaps enforce
concessions, of which we might sorely repent hereafter. I am sensible,
that in consequence we shall be obliged to make greater exertions,
and to search deeper for resources within ourselves; but this must in
the end be highly beneficial to a young people. It was in this manner
the Roman republic was so deeply rooted; and then _magis dandis, quam
accipiendis beneficiis, amicitias parabat_. The liberties and benefits
which are hardly earned will be highly prized and long preserved.

In conformity with the above arrangement, I have settled with M.
Gardoqui, who now is with me, and from whom I have received every
possible assistance, to despatch a vessel with all possible expedition,
laden with salt, sail and tent cloth, cordage, blankets, and warlike
stores, as he can immediately procure, and an assortment of such drugs
as I think will be necessary for the three prevailing camp diseases.
Those who furnish these supplies are very desirous of an expedition
being ordered against Pensacola, in order that the possession of that
place may render the communication between the Southern Colonies and
New Orleans, from which they would wish to succor you, more sure and
secret. The captain has my directions to make for Philadelphia, or
any port to the southward, and wait your orders. At Mons. Gardoqui’s
desire, I have given him a recommendation to all the American captains,
who may sail from Bilboa, whether in public or private service, to
receive such stores as he shall send them for your use.

When this is arranged, I am to return to Paris, where the business of
the credit upon Holland is to be settled, and of which you shall have
notice by the first opportunity.

In my former letters from Bordeaux and Nantes, I took the liberty of
remarking upon the deranged state of your commerce. I find here that
you have not sent any vessels to Bilboa, though as being the most
convenient, it is most frequented by private vessels. It is a free
port, has no custom-house, and therefore business is despatched with
more secrecy and expedition. Rice, indigo, tar, pitch, and turpentine,
bear a good price there, and fish in Lent. By the provincial laws of
Biscay, tobacco is prohibited, but it may be landed at the port of
St Sebastian, some fourteen leagues distant; and it sells well in
Spain; but it must be strong Virginia tobacco for this market. The
house of Gardoqui has promised to collect from other places, such
things as I have informed them will be proper for your service. As
Mons. Montandauine and Mons. Schweighauser at Nantes, and the Messrs
Delaps at Bordeaux, are the best and most respectable merchants, so
the Gardoquis are at Bilboa. Their zeal and activity in our cause were
greatly manifested in the affair of the privateer; they are besides in
the special confidence of the Court, and one of them has been employed
as interpreter in all our business.

If touching upon commercial subjects, which are somewhat out of my
province, should be of any use, that will be my excuse; if not, I hope
the expectation of its being useful will plead my pardon. I mentioned
in my last, that the Germans, intended to be sent the latter end of
this month through Holland, were to consist of seven thousand recruits
and eight hundred Hessian chasseurs; but from the best accounts I can
get, they will neither be so forward nor so numerous as was intended.
To retard them the more, I have proposed to the Commissioners at
Paris, to remonstrate with the States-General against granting them a
passage, which is to expedite their embarkation, and I have written to
Holland to have the account of the captivity of their countrymen and
the refusal to exchange them and settle a cartel, destributed among the
troops, in German, before they embark.

I have sent copies of General Washington’s letter, and such an account
as I could collect from the newspapers, of the success of your arms
all over Europe; since that, I find by the enclosed Gazette, that the
Court of Great Britain have already published their account of it. It
is lamentable to observe, to what unworthy means of flattering the
vices of princes the human mind will stoop. The Carletons, the Howes,
and the Perceys call themselves honorable men; yet, because they know
nothing pleases the king of England more than the grossest abuse of
the Americans, they let slip no opportunity of accusing and traducing
them. That these charges may not fall into the hands of future
historians uncontradicted, I could wish, since it has now become a
public accusation by General Howe, that General Washington might write
him a letter, stating the injustice of the charge, and mentioning the
instances, such as the burying Captain Leslie with the honors of war,
in which the troops under his command have manifested a disposition
directly opposite to that of which he has accused them; this would go
down to posterity as an authentic vindication. I am as jealous of the
honor of our name as desirous of the success of our arms.

I mentioned in my former letters their plan of sending out cutters of
twelve and fourteen guns, commanded by lieutenants of the navy, to
cruise on your coast, chiefly in the Gulf, and that the West India
ships were to be armed. On the other hand we are assured, by both
France and Spain, that such a disposition of their fleets and forces
will be made as ought to persuade England, that she cannot sustain
the war against you as she has planned. Your wisdom will direct you
how far to trust to these assurances, or their expected consequences,
when our stake is so precious, that the most ardent and unremitting
exertions cannot be too great; not that I suspect the sincerity of
these assurances, but the effects they are to produce; for I know the
nature of the king of England to be such, that nothing but personal
fear, which the quietism of the people is not likely to produce, will
restrain him from the most desperate attempts to injure and enslave us;
besides, the state of Europe is such as to render it morally certain,
that a war in Europe will relieve you from these extraordinary
exertions before a year has passed away. The death of the king of
Portugal is too recent for any certain judgment to be formed of its
consequences; probably however it will produce an accommodation with
Spain, but should it extinguish this spark of a war, it will leave
Spain more at liberty to aid us, and awe, if not attack Great Britain.
The situation of the enemy seems to be this. Great Britain and Ireland
exhausted, the difficulties of recruiting for the ensuing campaign,
from Germany, great and notorious, though the demand was proportioned
to the prosperous state of their affairs; from this quarter therefore
they have little more to hope; to Russia alone they may apply if the
cloud that is rising from Constantinople should blow over, without
which it is impossible they should have any aid from thence; but if
this should happen it will be our endeavor, and I hope we shall succeed
in raising the opposition of other European Powers to that measure. I
mean to propose on my return to Paris, the sounding both of the emperor
and the king of Prussia on this subject. The one wishes to promote the
port of Ostend, the other of Emden, and by these we may perhaps work
them up to our wishes.

It is upon this view of things, that I found my hopes of the next
campaign being the last struggle of any importance, which the enemy
can make against us. The distress of their finances and the difficulty
of raising the supplies are great. It is certain, that the Dutch, on
whom they so much depend, withhold their money as far as they can find
Spanish paper to vest it in. The degree of their alarm from France
and Spain may be seen from their embodying the militia; and their
expensive preparations by sea; that this alarm will not be suffered
to subside I believe. Their divisions at home are apparent from the
suspension of the habeas corpus act, which will probably realise their
apprehensions of domestic troubles.

I find that in consequence of my application to the Count d’Aranda in
Paris, he had written to his Court here concerning the detention of
the proceeds of some of your cargoes, by the merchants of Cadiz. As
soon as I can get an accurate statement of that affair from Mr Thomas
Morris, it will be put in a train of certainly obtaining justice. There
are some, I am informed, in the same situation at Lisbon, and I think
we may feel the pulse of the new government there, by applying to that
Court for justice.

I subjoin an estimate of the current prices of several American
articles at Bilboa, and have the honor of being, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

Flour 16 pistareens per hundred weight.--Rice from 20 to 22 do. per
do.--Fish 22 to 30 do. per quintal.--Beeswax from 212 to 215 do.--Fine
common Sugars from 49 to 54 do. per do.--Large brown Cocoa 6 bitts per
lb.--Indigo from 7 to 10 pistareens per lb.--Masts, Yards, and Spars
in great demand. Furs the same. Tobacco lower in Spain than lately in
France.

_P. S._ As well as I can collect from the foreign papers, they have
passed a bill in England to enable the King to commit to _any_ prison
such persons as he _suspects_ of favoring America, and to fix the crime
of piracy on all those who are taken at sea with your commission. In
some former resolution, you declared that retaliation should be made
on those, who were suspected of favoring the measures of the British
Government in the States; and hitherto the American privateers have
permitted the subjects of Great Britain to depart in peace. Our enemies
are determined to show how unworthy they are of such lenity, as several
individuals besides Captain Ross have done. They will compel you to
make it a war of revenge, not of redress.

It would not, I think, be difficult to negotiate a loan of money for
the States of Virginia and South Carolina, through the Havanna; if you
think this would be useful, please to give your directions in it by the
first opportunity. The present disposition to oblige us may not last
forever.

                                                        A. L.

[14] At the bottom of this letter, and of the Memorial to the Court of
Spain, Mr Lee signs himself, “_Commissioner Plenipotentiary from the
Congress of the United States of America_.” But this must have been
for the greater formality, as he had not yet received any appointment
to Spain from Congress, but only went there by the advice of the
Commissioners in Paris. See p. 40, of this volume.


FROM B. FRANKLIN TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        Passy, March 21st, 1777.

Dear Sir,

We have received your favors from Vitoria and Burgos.

The Congress sitting at Baltimore despatched a packet to us the 9th
of January, containing an account of the success at Trenton, and
subsequent events to that date, as far as they had come to knowledge.
The vessel was obliged to run up a little river in Virginia to avoid
some men of war, and was detained there seventeen days, or we should
have had these advices sooner. We learn however through England, where
they have news from New York to the 4th of February, that in Lord
Cornwallis’s retreat to New Brunswick two regiments of his rear guard
were cut to pieces; that General Washington having got round him to
Newark and Elizabethtown, he had retired to Amboy in his way to New
York; that General Howe had called in the garrisons of Fort Lee and
Fort Constitution, which were now possessed by our people; that on the
New York side, Forts Washington and Independence were retaken by our
troops, and that the British forces at Rhode Island were recalled for
the defence of New York.

The Committee in their letters mention the intention of Congress to
send ministers to the Courts of Vienna, Tuscany, Holland, and Prussia.
They also send us a fresh commission, containing your name instead of
Mr Jefferson’s, with this additional clause, “and also to enter into,
and agree upon a treaty with His Most Christian Majesty, or such other
person or persons as shall be by him authorised for that purpose, for
assistance in carrying on the present war between Great Britain and
these United States.” The same clause is in a particular commission
they have sent me to treat with the Court of Spain, similar to our
common commission to the Court of France;[15] and I am accordingly
directed to go to Spain; but as I know that choice was made merely on
the supposition of my being a little known there to the great personage
for whom you have my letter, (a circumstance of little importance) and
I am really unable through age to bear the fatigue and inconveniences
of such a journey, I must excuse myself to Congress, and join with
Mr Deane in requesting you to proceed in the business on the former
footing, till you can receive a particular commission from Congress,
which will no doubt be sent as soon as the circumstances are known.

We know of no plans or instructions to Mr Deane but those you have
with you. By the packet, indeed, we have some fresh instructions
which relate to your mission, viz. that in case France and Spain will
enter into the war, the United States will assist the former in the
conquest of the British sugar islands, and the latter in the conquest
of Portugal, promising the assistance of six frigates manned, of not
less than twentyfour guns each, and provisions equal to 2,000,000
dollars; America desiring only for her share, what Britain holds on
the continent; but you shall by the first safe opportunity have the
instructions at length. I believe we must send a courier.

If we can, we are ordered to borrow £2,000,000 on interest. Judge then,
what a piece of service you will do, if you can obtain a considerable
subsidy, or even a loan without interest.

We are also ordered to build six ships of war. It is a pleasure to find
the things ordered, which we were doing without orders.

We are also to acquaint the several Courts, with the determination of
America to maintain at all events our independence. You will see by the
date of the resolution relating to Portugal, as well as by the above,
that the Congress were stout in the midst of their difficulties. It
would be well to sound the Court of Spain on the subject of permitting
our armed ships to bring prizes into her ports, and there dispose of
them. If it can be done openly, in what manner can we be accommodated
with the use of their ports, or under what restrictions? This
government has of late been a little nice on that head; and the orders
to L’Orient have occasioned Captain Wickes some trouble.

We have good advice of our friend at Amsterdam, that in the height of
British pride on their summer success, and just before, they heard of
any check, the ambassador, Sir Joseph Yorke, had been ordered to send
a haughty memorial to the States, importing that notwithstanding their
promises to restrain their subjects from supplying the rebels, it was
notorious, that those supplies were openly furnished by Hollanders at
St Eustatia; and that the governor of that island had returned _from
his fort the salute of a rebel ship of war with an equal number of
guns_; that his Majesty justly and highly resented these proceedings,
and demanded that the States should by more severe provisions restrain
that commerce; that they should declare their disapprobation of the
insolent behavior of their governor, and punish him by an immediate
recall; otherwise his Majesty, who knows what appertains to the dignity
of his crown, would take proper measures to vindicate it; and he
required an immediate answer. The States coolly returned the memorial
with only this answer, that when the respect due to sovereigns was not
preserved in a memorial, it ought not to be expected in an answer. But
the city of Amsterdam took fire at the insolence of it, and instructed
their deputies in the States to demand satisfaction by the British
Court’s disavowal of the memorial, and the reprimand of the ambassador.
The States immediately demanded a number of men of war ships to be in
readiness. Perhaps since the bad news has come, England may be civil
enough to make up this little difference.

Mr Deane is still here. You desire our advice about your stopping at
Burgos. We are of opinion that you should comply with the request.
While we are asking aid, it is necessary to gratify the desires and in
some sort comply with the humors of those we apply to. Our business now
is to carry our point. But I have never yet changed the opinion I gave
in Congress, that a virgin State should preserve the virgin character,
and not go about suitoring for alliances, but wait with decent dignity
for the applications of others. I was overruled; perhaps for the best.

With the greatest esteem, I am ever, dear Sir, your most obedient
humble servant,

                                                        B. FRANKLIN.

[15] For a copy of Dr Franklin’s Commission from Congress to the Court
of Spain, see the _Secret Journal of Congress_, Vol. II. p. 42, under
the date of January 2d, 1777.


THE COMMISSIONERS AT PARIS TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG,

MINISTER TO THE KING OF PRUSSIA.

                                        Paris, April 19th, 1777.

Sir,

We received the letter, which you did us the honor to write to us of
the 15th ult. and should earlier have replied particularly thereto, but
from the daily expectation we had of receiving orders from the Congress
of the United States on this important subject. We have their commands
to inform his Prussian Majesty’s Ambassador here, that they propose to
send a minister to your respected Court with all convenient expedition,
properly empowered to treat upon affairs of importance, and that we
are in the mean time instructed and authorised by Congress to solicit
the friendship of your Court, to request that it would afford no aid
to their enemies, but use its good offices to prevent the landing
of troops by other powers to be transported to America for their
destruction, and to offer the free commerce of the United States to the
subjects of Prussia.

We have taken the earliest opportunity of obeying these commands.
But considering the great importance of establishing a free commerce
between the two countries as soon as possible, and confident that
every objection may be obviated, and the wished for intercourse
opened and established on the most certain and beneficial grounds to
promote the interest of both countries, we propose that one of us
shall wait on your Excellency as soon as conveniently may be done, to
explain personally the situation of America, the nature, extent, and
importance of its commerce, and the methods by which it may be carried
on with Prussia to mutual advantage. In the proposed interview, we
are confident the difficulties mentioned by your Excellency may be
surmounted, and a very considerable part of American commerce be turned
to Prussia by measures neither dangerous nor expensive.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


JAMES GARDOQUI TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        Madrid, April 28th, 1777.

Dear Sir,

The 24th instant, I had the pleasure to pay my last compliments to
you, enclosing twenty second bills, amounting to 81,000 livres French
money, as per duplicates herein to serve in case of need; and being
still without your favors, I have only to forward you a further sum of
106,500 livres, in sixteen bills, as per memorandum at foot hereof,
with which I beg your doing the needful as usual, and pass the same
to my credit, advising me of it in due time, by which you will oblige
him who longs for the pleasure of hearing from you, and is with very
unfeigned esteem and respect, &c.

                                                      JAMES GARDOQUI.

_A Minute of the sixteen enclosed Bills, viz._

    Livres 6000  drawn by P. Joyes & Sons, on Tourton & Baur.
           6100                    do                 do
           6150                    do                 do
           6200                    do                 do
           6250                    do                 do
           6300                    do                 do
           6400                    do                 do
           6600                    do                 do
           5900    "   by F. Vre. Gorvea, on Tassin, Father & Son.
           6000            do                             do
           6500            do                             do
           6800            do                             do
           7000            do                             do
           7500            do                             do
           8000            do                             do
           8800            do                             do
        -------
        106,500 in sixteen second bills, all at 90 days date,
    with which pray procure the first accepted, acknowledging
    receipt as soon as possible.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI AT MADRID.

                                              Paris, May 8th, 1777.

Dear Sir,

I received yours of the 24th ultimo, with its enclosures, which I have
disposed of as the enclosed receipt will show. It is taken for granted,
that they are for the purposes settled at Vitoria, and to such the
produce of them and of the rest will be applied.

I beg you will express my warmest sense of this assistance, where you
know the expression of it is due. The business in which we have engaged
in Holland will be much more expensive, than the estimate, which is
too often the case. Assistance therefore comes very apropos. As I am
obliged to make another little journey, I must beg you for the future
to correspond with Dr Franklin, and substitute his name for mine on the
paper. He will do every thing that is necessary, and correspond with
you in my place. You are not likely to be a loser by the change.

We have not had any express lately from America, but expect one
every moment. Our enemies have had several, and as they choose to be
perfectly silent as to their contents, and leave the public to reports
and conjectures, it is presumable that at least nothing favorable
has happened on their side. The Congress is certainly returned to
Philadelphia, which is an unquestionable proof of the security in
which our late advantages have placed that city. We have lost within
these two months four very valuable rice, indigo, and tobacco ships
by treachery and capture. But in return, one week’s advices of the
captures we have made, according to the estimate in London, exceeds
£200,000 sterling, in British goods. Indeed, common sense might have
forewarned them of this, because they have twenty ships at sea for one
of ours, and the number of privateers is always in proportion to the
temptation, that is, to the probability of making prizes. Without the
second sight, therefore, of their Scotch advisers, they might have
foreseen that their commerce would suffer infinitely in this foolish
and wicked war.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                              Paris, May 8th, 1777.

Sir,

In consequence of the letter, which, in conjunction with my brother
Commissioners, Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, I had the honor of writing to
your Excellency, I intended to depart from hence for Berlin before this
time. But an accident having happened, which inevitably prevents me
from setting out, I am under great anxiety, lest your Excellency should
impute my delay to a want of that perfect respect, which I ought to
feel for your Excellency’s Court and character.

I must, therefore, entreat you, Sir, to believe, that nothing can be
more painful to me, than the necessity which delays and will delay
me for some days longer, and that I will not intentionally lose one
moment in preparing to testify in person, with what entire respect and
consideration,

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                             Paris, May 13th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I am happy to enclose you the proofs, that our friends are not
unmindful of their promises.[16] I have given Dr Franklin a power of
attorney to endorse any future bills that may arrive, and to dispose of
the money. When the flotilla arrives, which may be in about two months,
then will be the time to press for the loan you desire.

I am now at liberty to pursue my purpose at the Court of Berlin, for
which I shall set out in a few days; as I shall be obliged to make a
tour, the direct road lying through the territories of all the hostile
princes, it will of necessity protract my journey. Mr Sayre, late
sheriff of London, is to accompany me as secretary, Mr Carmichael
having refused to go unless the Commissioners would give him a
commission, which we did not think ourselves authorised to do. This has
unavoidably delayed me some days.

From every information I am able to obtain, our enemies are much
pressed to make a tolerable appearance this campaign. Something
extraordinary must happen to enable the king of Great Britain to
continue the war, should this campaign fail. Whatever a man, impelled
by so inimical a disposition can do, may be expected from him. It is
certain, he has made some concessions in the fishery to this Court, in
hopes of keeping them quiet; but we need not be much afraid about the
effect of them. Our ground here is firm, and though not so ample as our
wishes, yet I trust it will be equal to our wants.

I beg the favor of having my utmost duty and respect presented to
Congress, and have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[16] See above, p. 59, Gardoqui’s letter of April 28th.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                          Berlin, May 20th, 1777.

Sir,

I have been informed by the letter, which you did me the honor of
writing to me the 8th instant, that in consequence of the one sent me
the 19th of last month, on the part of Messrs Franklin, Deane, and
yourself, you were on the point of coming here, but for an unforeseen
accident, that prevented you.

My answer of the 11th instant will acquaint you, Sir, that I
still apprehend difficulties which may interfere, in the present
circumstances, with the establishment of a direct commerce between
his Majesty’s subjects, and the Colonies of North America, and that I
consider our correspondence on this subject rather as preliminaries to
what may come to pass, than as negotiations from which any immediate
advantages may be expected.

This leads me to believe, Sir, that you have no reason to distress
yourself on account of this delay to your journey, and that you cannot
be reproached with want of zeal for the interests of your constituents,
when you defer for some time an affair, the success of which cannot
most probably but be slow, to manage other matters more important and
pressing.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO THE COMMISSIONERS AT PARIS.

                                            Vienna, May 27th, 1777.

Dear Sirs,

I reached this in three days from Munich, and in expectation of hearing
from you tomorrow, I shall not proceed till the 29th. Dresden will be
my next stage.

There is a cold tranquillity here, that bodes us no good. It is not
possible to quicken this German indifference. From what I learn, we
need be under no apprehensions from Russia.

I hope you will not forget to sound the two Courts, whether they will
join Prussia in declaring us independent. I am afraid this latter will
not be obtained, unless they are in our favor.

I am, dear Sirs, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                           Vienna, May 28th, 1777.

Dear Sir,

The post is in and nothing from you. I therefore shall proceed
tomorrow, and hope to reach my destination in eight days.

The chief purpose for giving money, stated in my Memorial,[17] was to
pay the interest of our loans and support our funds. I added the paying
for the ship we were obliged to build in Holland, in lieu of those
requested. To these purposes therefore they will expect the money will
be applied.

Yours, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[17] Memorial to the Court of Spain, dated Burgos, March 8th.--See
above, p. 41.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Berlin, June 5th, 1777.

Sir,

In consequence of the letter, which I had the honor, in conjunction
with the other deputies of Congress in Paris, of writing to your
Excellency, on the 19th of April, I arrived here last night.

I take the earliest opportunity to inform you of my arrival, and to
request your Excellency to have the goodness to inform me, when I may
have the honor of an interview with you, on the subject of this letter.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                                Berlin, June 7th, 1777.

Sir,

I have the honor of sending to your Excellency lists of the commodities
on both sides, which will be the most suitable for the commerce which
is projected. As to the exact price of the different articles, I cannot
speak. But as European commodities are very dear in America, and our
own are cheap, while at the same time they bear a high price in Europe,
commerce on this footing cannot but be advantageous to Europeans. A
musket, for example, which costs here twentytwo French livres, can be
sold in America for at least fifty. With these fifty livres two hundred
weight of tobacco can be bought, which in Europe will bring two hundred
livres.

It seems to me, that the mode of carrying on this trade with the
greatest security will be, to fit out vessels for the Island of St
Eustatia. Then a skilful captain can set sail directly for America,
and having a calculation of his voyage made for the express purpose
of showing, that he was driven from his course by the violence of the
winds, if he should meet any vessel of war on the American coast, he
can offer his excuse, and, under the pretence of being in want of
water, enter the nearest port. Thus, in going, the risk will not be
great; and in returning, it can always be known when the coast is
clear, and with a good wind at first, a vessel is soon out of danger.

It will be expedient for this trade, that the vessels engaged in it
should be the best sailers possible, since much will depend on that. At
Emden or at Hamburg, it cannot be difficult to find captains or sailors
who can speak English.

At first it will be better to send the vessels to the continental
commercial agent, since there is one in each of the principal
ports. The principal ports are Newburyport, Salem, and Boston in
Massachusetts; New London in Connecticut; Baltimore in Maryland; York,
Hampton, and Alexandria, in Virginia; Charleston, in South Carolina;
and Savannah, in Georgia. These are the principal ports, as you go
along the coast from North to South. In order to arrive at the ports
of Virginia and Maryland, it is necessary to enter Chesapeake Bay,
into which all the rivers of the two States empty. I shall write to
our agents directing them to give all possible facilities to your
commerce in these ports. I have omitted the ports of Rhode Island and
Philadelphia, because they are direct objects of the war, and they may
be in the possession of the enemy. It will therefore be better to avoid
them in the present state of affairs.

I hope your Excellency will do me the justice to believe, that if I had
known his Majesty’s pleasure before my departure, I should have acted
in conformity to it. And if my residence here as a traveller should
give the least uneasiness to your Court, I rely upon your Excellency’s
informing me of it; since nothing could be more disagreeable to me,
than to cause the slightest uneasiness where I owe the highest respect.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                              Berlin, June 9th, 1777.

Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor of writing to me
yesterday, and I imagine from its conclusion, that on account of the
difference of language, you did not perhaps take in the true sense some
of the expressions which I used in our conversation.

I lose no time, therefore, to assure you, Sir, as I did in the letter,
which I addressed to you at Paris, that your residence at Berlin will
not be at all disagreeable to the king, provided you live here as an
individual, and without assuming a public character.

As to the information you give me with respect to commerce, you will
be pleased, Sir, to add a memorandum of the places where insurance
can be effected on vessels destined for America, and the premiums of
insurance to be paid. I will then examine your propositions, and will
soon be able to inform you whether we conceive it possible to make an
experiment of the kind with success.

I have the honor of being, &c.

                                              BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Berlin, June 10th, 1777.

Sir,

By the accounts received a little before I left Paris, the premium
on insurance to America at Cadiz was twelve and a half per cent. At
Bordeaux it was forty per cent to and from America. A scheme was then
forming for the establishment of very considerable and responsible
companies of insurance at Rouen and Nantes. But I am apprehensive there
will be some difficulty about insuring any but French property.

I should, therefore, conceive your Excellency would do best to have it
tried at Amsterdam, where one would imagine that forty per cent, which
is infinitely beyond the risk, would be an irresistible temptation.

If the insurance to America were made here, the Congress might insure
back. There is, however, an obvious objection to this, arising from
their want of funds in Europe to answer the loss. This objection
would not now have existed, had not our commerce with Europe been so
much discouraged by an almost universal concurrence of its powers
in prohibiting our being supplied with arms and ammunition, things
essentially and immediately necessary to our defence and existence.
The European ports being also shut against our vessels of war, it is
impracticable to contrive convoys for our trade, and it is thus exposed
to the enemy.

These, and the thousand other delays and difficulties, to which the
present cautious system of Europe subjects us, give every possible
opportunity to Great Britain to recover that commerce, which her unwise
and unjust conduct has obliged us to withdraw from her, and offer to
the rest of Europe. An open acceptance of that offer would have settled
the question at once. I may not presume to doubt the wisdom of that
policy, which prefers the chance of gleaning our fields after they
have been spoiled and laid waste by a mercenary and enraged army, to
the certainty of reaping the full harvest of an unravaged country.
Undoubtedly there are better reasons for it than I can devise. This is,
however, most clear, that if the commerce of America were a thing not
valuable, or rather noxious to the European powers, they could not give
Great Britain a fairer opportunity of cutting it off from them forever,
by retrieving the monopoly, or of greatly diminishing its sources by
destroying our cities and laying waste our country with mercenary arms.
We are left, like Hercules in his cradle, to strangle the serpent that
annoys all Europe.

I beg your Excellency will accept my thanks for the satisfactory
explanation you were so good as to give me yesterday of what I confess
was not clear to me before.

Permit me to suggest, that as it is probable your captains will not be
able to provide themselves with marine charts of the American coast,
it would be proper to order some of the best of them from London. If
in any thing your Excellency should think I can be further useful, you
will do me the honor to command me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Berlin, June 11th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

In pursuance of the plan, which I had the honor of mentioning in former
letters, I arrived here the 4th of this month. Mr Sayre accompanies me
in the place of Mr Carmichael, who after promising refused to go.

The king being absent in the review of his troops, I have only had some
conversation with his Minister relative to their beginning a commerce
with you in their own bottoms. This I have reason to think will take
effect; but there seems to be a system of great caution here, which
will cramp whatever they attempt.

I have good reasons for assuring you, that Russia will send no troops
against us. The consequence of the Prince of Hesse’s conduct is
beginning to be a lesson to the other German princes, so that it is
not probable they will draw any more supplies from them. The country
of Hesse is depopulating so fast from the apprehension of being forced
into this service, that the women are obliged to cultivate the lands.
At present, therefore, the foreign resources of Great Britain seem to
be exhausted, nor is there any human probability of their reinstating
their army, should this campaign materially diminish it, except it be
with Catholics from Ireland. I have a plan for rendering that of little
effect, which I hope will succeed.

Upon your maintaining your ground this campaign, the question of
acknowledging your independence will become very serious next winter
among the European powers; but until the events of this summer
are decided, their conduct will remain the same, and no open act
of interference is likely to take place. Till that time too they
should not wish to receive commissioners, as it subjects them to the
complaints of the English Court.

A transaction has lately happened in England, which, notwithstanding
appearances speak otherwise, makes me believe that our enemies expect
some further and considerable assistance from Hesse. It is their
paying an old rejected claim to the Landgrave of £41,000. I know the
British Court too well to believe they would do this from any other
motive, than the expectation of future favors, and to soften the sense
of shame and loss, which, already sustained by the Landgrave, would
prevent him from furnishing them further. But whether the object is
merely to quicken him in supplying the stipulated recruits, or to get
some of his old regiments, I cannot learn. A letter, which I have
read, from the agent of that Prince at the Court of Great Britain to
his Minister, upon the very subject of this claim, grounds it only on
the necessities of England for troops to carry on this war, without
mentioning that he had stipulated anything specially on his part in
return. You may, however, depend upon my endeavors to get the most
speedy and accurate information on this subject, and to raise every
obstacle that can come from this and the imperial Court.

I expect to have finished what I can do here in ten days, when I shall
set out on my return to Paris, whence the conveyance being safer, I
shall write you more particularly.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ I see by the English papers, that a motion by Lord Chatham for
an address of the House of Lords to the king, to begin an accommodation
by a cessation of hostilities, and an offer of a full redress of
grievances, supported by Lords Shelburne and Camden, was rejected by
100 to 28. This motion was made on the 30th of last month, and the
chief objection on the ministerial part was, that it would stop the
career of their success that must soon reduce you.


TO THE COMMISSIONERS AT PARIS.

                                        Berlin, June 15th, 1777.

Dear Sirs,


I had the honor of writing to you from Munich and Vienna, from the
last of which I arrived here the 4th of this month. The letters you
have received from hence will show you how the wind blows here; I have
tried all in my power to make it change, hitherto in vain. In ten days
I shall set out on my return. There cannot be a state of more perfect
quiescence than prevails in this place; what is merely commercial is
planned, but whether it will be adopted remains to be determined.

I have the honor of being, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

                                          Berlin, June 15th, 1777.

Dear Sir,

It has been with uncommon satisfaction, that I have seen you in a
situation in which I long ago hoped you would be, if we were forced to
dispute the great question, which in my own judgment I was satisfied
would happen. I never forgot your declaration, when I had last the
pleasure of being at your house in 1768, that you were ready to take
your musket upon your shoulder whenever your country called upon you. I
heard that declaration with great satisfaction. I recollect it with the
same, and have seen it verified to your immortal honor, and the eminent
advantage of the illustrious cause in which we are contending.

I have the pleasure of assuring you, that your conduct against General
Howe has been highly approved by the principal military men here and
in France. That approbation has been increased in those, to whom I
have had an opportunity of stating the great inferiority of the troops
you commanded to those of the enemy, in number and in every necessary
provision for war.

The Prussian army, which amounts to 228,000 horse and foot, are
disciplined, by force of hourly exercise and caning, to move with a
rapidity and order so as certainly to exceed any troops in Europe. When
the king reviews an army of 40,000 men, not a man or horse, though the
former in full march and the latter in full gallop, is discernibly out
of the line. The regiments here are in the field every day, where,
besides the general exercise, every man is filed off singly and passes
in review before different officers, who beat his limbs into the
position they think proper, so that the man appears to be purely a
machine in the hand of a workman.

The improvements of utility, which I have been able to note, are
these. The ramrod is thicker all the way than ours, and enlarged at
each end as ours are at one; the advantage of this is, that, to ram
down the charge they do not turn the rod, but raising it to the muzzle
plunge the lower end into the barrel, and then raising it up return it
straight, without the necessity of turning it as formerly. This saves
two very awkward motions for turning the rammer, and a great deal of
time. The mouth of the loops, that receive the rammer is very large,
so that there is much more readiness in hitting them than formerly,
which also expedites the important business of charging the musket. To
compensate the increase of weight, the musket is shortened two inches
in the barrel. When they present, instead of levelling their firelocks,
they are taught to slant them down, so that a point blank shot from
them so depressed would strike the ground at about ten yards distance.
And this depression is found necessary to counteract the elevation,
which the act of firing gives inevitably to the musket. And even when a
ball does strike the ground, it generally rises and may do execution;
but if directed too high, it is lost irretrievably.

These are alterations, which seem to me of great utility; and I wish
they may appear so to you.

It is my intention, when I have leisure, to write the history of this
civil contention. The share you have had in it will form an interesting
and important part. It will be in your power to preserve a variety of
most material papers and anecdotes for such a work. May I venture to
hope, that you will think me so far worthy of your confidence, and fit
for such a work, as to preserve them for me? Dubious parts of history
can be cleared by such documents only.

The resources of our enemy are almost annihilated in Germany; and their
last resort is to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. They have already
experienced their unwillingness to go, every man of a regiment raised
there last year having obliged them to ship him off tied and bound. And
most certainly, they will desert more than any other troops whatsoever.
They themselves rely upon the present campaign, so that if it should
not produce something very decisive in their favor; which God forbid,
we may depend upon their efforts being in the wane.

With the most ardent wishes for your success, safety, and happiness, I
am, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

                   Translation.

                                            Berlin, June 18th, 1777.

    Sir,

    After having duly examined the propositions, which you have been
    so kind as to address to me, respecting the establishment of a
    direct commerce between his Majesty’s States and the English
    Colonies of America, I am of opinion with you, Sir, that it
    is very probable, that even with paying the highest premium
    of insurance, the scarcity and dearness of our merchandise
    in America, added to the abundance and low price of your
    productions, which can be advantageously sold in Europe, would
    render this commerce very profitable to the two nations. Nothing
    remains, therefore, but to make the essay; but a difficulty
    almost insurmountable presents itself, which is, that never
    having gone as far as your country, we want vessels as well as
    captains, pilots, and sailors, who could or would go to such
    distant seas. Besides, the vessels we have are necessary for the
    interior commerce between his Majesty’s different provinces,
    and for that which we carry on with France, England, and Spain.
    We can only therefore try and see if there are any proprietors
    of vessels in Holland or Hamburg, that in consideration of a
    suitable freight, will load with and carry our merchandise; and
    in the second place, if insurance can be effected.

    We will endeavor to obtain information on these two points, and
    if it is possible to succeed by these means, after having removed
    some other difficulties of less consequence, we may be able to
    derive some benefit from the information, which you have been so
    kind as to furnish me.

    I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                                Berlin, June 20th, 1777.

Sir,

I had the honor of receiving your Excellency’s letter of the 18th this
day. Upon trial, I hope the difficulties will not be found so great as
your Excellency seems to imagine.

When I had the honor of conversing with your Excellency, I mentioned,
that the admission of our cruisers into his Majesty’s ports to supply
themselves with necessaries, careen, and sell their prizes in a secret
manner, would be attended with great advantages. It is the only method
of establishing a commerce, at present, from America hither, in the
commodities and vessels of the States; for the privateers take in a
light cargo from America, which they bring to the ports where they are
permitted; this they exchange for necessary supplies, and then make a
cruise, by the profits of which they are enabled to purchase a cargo of
such manufactures as are wanted in America, with which they return.

If I had his Majesty’s permission to signify, that our cruisers would
be received in his ports upon this footing, as they are in the south,
I can have no doubt but that this species of commerce would soon take
place; and most assuredly, the advantages of it to those ports, and
consequently to his Majesty’s kingdom, would be very considerable.
Without such permission, our cruisers will be obliged to send the
prizes they make in the northern seas to the south, or directly to
America, and will have no means of commerce or communication with his
Majesty’s dominions.

In about two days I purpose quitting Berlin on my return, before which
I hope to hear from your Excellency on this important subject.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                        Berlin, June 26th, 1777.

Sir,

After having testified to you, in my letter of the 18th instant, the
inclination we have to establish a direct commerce with the Colonies of
North America, provided we can succeed in surmounting the difficulties
which are in the way, it only remains for me to answer you respecting
the free admission of your privateers into our ports, of which you
wrote me in your letter of the 20th. I can assure you, Sir, that the
king is very much disposed to please your constituents; but, on the
other hand, his Majesty in the present circumstances, as you well
know, cannot embroil himself with the Court of London. Moreover, our
ports have ever hitherto received only merchant vessels, and no ships
of war nor privateers have ever entered there, so that the officers
established in our ports would be embarrassed how to conduct themselves
on such an occasion, the usages customarily observed in this respect
being totally unknown to them.

We must therefore inform ourselves, in what manner the Courts of
France and Spain act, and of the formalities they observe towards your
privateers, and how they grant free admission to the latter, consistent
with the connexions of friendship, which they at the same time support
with Great Britain. The result of this information will decide whether,
and on what conditions, the desired permission can be granted, and it
will afford me pleasure, Sir, to inform you as soon as possible of the
measures his Majesty shall think proper to adopt.

I have the honor of being, &c.

                                                 BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO THE COMMISSIONERS IN PARIS.

                                        Berlin, June 28th, 1777.

Dear Sirs,

I have not yet received a line from you. It is not easy to divine the
reason for so long a silence.

There are for sale here, and deliverable in any port in France,
fourteen thousand weight of brass cannon, at six guineas the quintal,
and six thousand to be melted down at five guineas and a half. They
are six, twelve, and twentyfour pounders. The expense of freight and
insurance to Nantes or elsewhere will be added to this price.

Two days ago, while I was at dinner, my bureau was broken open, and
some papers stolen out, which were in my _porte-feuille_. The English
Ambassador happened to be in the hotel where I lodge, when I discovered
the robbery. Upon being informed that I was gone to the Governor, and
that the suspicion fell upon one of his servants, he went away in
great confusion, and in half an hour the _porte-feuille_ with all the
papers were laid down at the door, and the person ran off undiscovered.
The examinations that have been taken charge his servant with having
repeatedly told the servants of the hotel, that his master would give
two thousand ducats for my papers. The landlord, who charged his
servant with it before him, deposes, that he said he would send the
servant to answer for himself, but the servant never appeared. Prince
Colberg, who was also present, deposes, that he immediately quitted
the room in the greatest confusion. The whole is before the king. The
return of the papers, (those which he particularly wanted not having
been left in the bureau,) disappointed him of his object, while the
whole odium rests upon him.

I shall leave this on Thursday next, and expect to be at Strasburg in
twelve days from thence, so that a letter will meet me there by return
of post.

I am, with the greatest esteem, &c.

                                                       ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE KING OF PRUSSIA.

Translation.

                                        Berlin, June 29th, 1777.

Sire,

The singular wisdom, by which your Majesty has raised your kingdom
to so flourishing a state, the wise measures, which have carried the
prosperity of your dominions to a truly astonishing degree, do not
prevent me from being so bold, as to say to your Majesty, that there
are yet means of increasing the number and the wealth of your subjects.

Nothing is more true, than that the wealth of kings depends upon the
number of their subjects. Ancient and modern history will show, without
an exception, that commerce is the mother of population. There is
no need of citing proofs of this to the most learned king that ever
lived. Such is the fact, and the reason is plain. It is then reasonable
to say, that the king, who is desirous of increasing as much as is
possible the number of his subjects, should establish and encourage
commerce in his dominions.

Your Majesty’s dominions are admirably situated for commerce. Three
large rivers, which run through them, must furnish the greatest
facilities for it. What then is wanting? Merely an object sufficiently
distant to form sailors, and sufficiently extensive to establish and
support trade. Such an object is America; and the unexpected events,
which have made the trade of that country free, afford inducements for
it. The monopoly of this trade, which, in the opinion of that great and
wise man, Mr Pitt, supported the power of England, no longer exists,
and, without a miracle, will never exist again. The nations that shall
endeavor to obtain a part of it for themselves, by furnishing to a
young and grateful people the means of resisting their oppressors, will
be very successful. But those, who wish to await in tranquillity the
event of this war, ought not to expect to turn trade from the course,
in which custom and gratitude, before that time, will have fixed it.
The present, therefore, is the proper time for those to begin, who wish
to enjoy for the future the commerce of America.

But there are obstacles to this trade; for, in the first place, you
have no vessels of war to cause your flag to be respected. But, Sire,
you have the best regiments in the world; and Great Britain, destitute
as she is of wise counsels, is not, however, so foolish as to incur
the risk of compelling your Majesty to join your formidable forces to
those of her rival. Besides, such is the present weakness of England,
so pressed and exhausted is she by the war with America, that she is
obliged to blind herself to still harder things, which are carried on
immediately before her eyes.

Secondly. It is not practicable to have at the same time an army so
numerous as that of your Majesty, and a respectable fleet, since the
latter would require too many men, and destroy the country. This
reasoning would be sound, if population were diminished by commerce.
But the contrary is the fact. In place of diminishing, it increases
it. Thus the most commercial countries are always the most populous.
Population is always proportioned to the means of living. Commerce, by
increasing these means, increases the population. Instead therefore of
increasing the consequences of a numerous army, commerce is their most
certain remedy.

Thirdly. Sailors are wanting for the enterprise. It is the enterprise
itself that must form sailors. A handful of experienced sailors
are enough to encourage others; and the matter once put in a good
train will go on successfully by itself. If your Majesty’s ports
were open for the entrance of our armed vessels, if they could there
deliver their cargo, refit, and sell their prizes secretly, then the
instructions and the encouragement, which they would give to your
sailors, and particularly if some of them were allowed to make a
voyage in our vessels, would in a short time form sailors of your own
subjects, and would draw a number of them from other countries into
your ports, by the desire of going on a cruise to America.

But it may be said, this would be taking an active part in the affair,
and deciding for the independence of America.

Not more than it is already decided by the fact, nor more than is
authorised by the laws of nations, founded on the just interests and
the wants of a State. The fact is, that we have the sword in our hand
and that we are making war openly. Are there more convincing proofs
of actual independence? We are in the possession of the country, the
articles of commerce are the produce of our labors, and belong to us.
They are ours by right and in fact, and it belongs to us alone to
dispose of them. Is it necessary then, that other nations should wait
and suffer the most pressing want, while the English are using their
utmost exertions to ruin us, and to wrest from us our property in order
to sell it to them? Or can they not go there, buy the commodities
of which they are in want, and with which the English can no longer
furnish them, without violating the character of neutral nations?
It is not difficult to say which is most agreeable to reason, and
consequently to the rights of nations. Neutral nations, in carrying on
this trade, decide as to the fact, and not as to the right. This is
the distinction which the laws of England make; since the English are
allowed to obey the actual, or _de facto_ power, although it should not
be so by right, or _de jure_. Besides, the English acknowledged the
Duke of Braganza as king of Portugal, and received his Ambassadors, in
the year 1641, for this reason, that he had been called to the crown
by the unanimous consent of the people. Congress is established on
the same foundation. The assemblies of the States choose the members
of Congress, and empower them annually; and these assemblies are
chosen by the whole people. Can there be a consent more unanimous, or
more maturely given? Will your Majesty allow me here to adduce some
authorities on this subject?

Charles, Duke of Sudermania, having been crowned king of Sweden at the
commencement of the 17th century, sent James Vandyck into France, and
offered to Henry the Great the renewal of the treaties and alliances,
which had before been made between these two powers. Vandyck showed,
that the advantages which France would derive from the commerce
of Sweden would be so considerable, that the king listened to the
proposals of this Minister, and was desirous to conclude a treaty
with him. There was nothing to prevent him from doing it, except that
the action of Charles, who had usurped the crown from Sigismond, his
nephew, after the latter had been chosen king of Poland, was the more
odious, as the pretext of religion was the cause of the revolution. It
was also taken into consideration in France, that the king of Denmark,
who was no friend to Charles, might form an alliance against him with
his brother in law the king of England. But notwithstanding all this,
M. de Villeroy, in writing to Jeannin, April 8th, 1608, speaks plainly,
and says; “All these reasons and considerations would not prevent the
king from making a treaty with Charles, if he should find it for his
interest, and that of his kingdom to do so.”--_Wickfort_, p. 26. The
example of Henry the Great is worthy of a prince, who has no less claim
to this title.

Vatel, in examining the same question, says; “Foreign powers conform
in this case to the possession, if the advantage of their own affairs
incites them to do so. There is no rule more certain, more conformable
to the right of the people, and to the independence of nations. Since
foreigners have no right to concern themselves with the domestic
affairs of a people, they are not obliged to examine and to search into
their conduct in these same affairs, in order to determine the justice
or injustice; of it; they can, if they think proper, suppose that the
right is annexed to the possession.”

The advantages, which your Majesty’s dominions would derive from the
commerce of America, cannot but be very great. It would be a new
market, and one always increasing with the rapid increase of population
in America, for woollen and linen cloths, porcelain, and all sorts of
manufactures in iron. The returns would be in tobacco, indigo, linseed,
cotton, and peltry.

It is true, that these advantages will be very much diminished by the
ravages of the English and their mercenaries, if we are to contend
alone against their whole force, with the immense difficulty of
obtaining from Europe arms and ammunition, after a thousand evasions,
great risk, and loss of time. It is for your Majesty, in conjunction
with some other European powers, to put a stop to these ravages by a
commercial alliance with the United States.

There is no name so highly respected among us as that of your Majesty.
Hence there is no king, the declaration of whose friendship would
inspire our people with so much courage, and add so much force to our
cause.

I rely on your Majesty’s goodness to pardon me for entering into this
long detail, and for suggesting thoughts so unworthy of your attention,
and so badly expressed in a language which I have but cursorily
learnt.[18] But I prefer writing incorrectly, to communicating to any
one what I have the honor of offering to the consideration of your
Majesty.

I have the honor to be, Sire, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[18] This letter was drawn up and communicated in the French language.


TO THE KING OF PRUSSIA.

                                           Berlin, July 1st, 1777.

Sire,

Having been robbed in your city of Berlin, in a most extraordinary
manner, I have thus far relied on the common police. But as it seemed
very probable, that the individual who committed this robbery cannot
be prosecuted by the common police, I am obliged to disturb your
Majesty’s quiet, and to request that an audience may be granted to me,
in order to make my complaint, and to say some things thereupon, which
it is impossible to commit to paper, or to confide to any one but your
Majesty.

I am, Sire, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


THE KING OF PRUSSIA TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                        Potsdam, July 2d, 1777.

The King having received Mr Lee’s letter, dated Berlin, 1st July, and
his complaint of the robbery that has been committed, is pleased to
return him for answer, that his Majesty has just ordered his Minister
of State, Baron de Schulenburg, to hear what he has further to offer
on the subject; that for this purpose Mr Lee may communicate to the
said Minister without reserve every thing he may wish to inform his
Majesty of, who assures him through the present letter, that an
inviolable secrecy and profound silence shall be observed, respecting
the overtures he may think proper to make through this channel.

                                                         FREDERIC.


TO THE COMMISSIONERS IN PARIS.

                                        Berlin, July 6th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I informed you in my last of the 28th, of my having been robbed of my
papers and having retrieved them in a few hours. Whether they were read
I cannot ascertain, but I think they would never have returned them
had they known their contents. My journal book, which was among them,
contains all our transactions in France and Spain. You will therefore
judge whether it be proper to guard those Courts against any complaints
from England. As they have returned the evidence of what they will
allege, it may well be treated as a forgery.

I have just learnt, that the Envoy has despatched his Secretary to
London, but whether to guard against the storm, which he expects his
indiscretion will excite from hence, or to give the intelligence he
obtained, or both, I know not. I have thought it prudent to wait here
some days, to see whether the ill humor he has excited will furnish a
favorable opportunity of obtaining something, but I shall leave this
place next week, unless something from you should stop me; hitherto I
have not been favored with a single line. I see in the English papers,
that cruisers are sent to the Baltic, which I am afraid are against
Wickes. Perhaps you will think it proper to change the name of Boux’s
ship, to embarrass their complaints to the States, should they make
any. I enclose you the price of several articles we want, and which
seem to be cheaper here than in France. Adieu.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                             Paris, July 29th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of informing the Committee of my proceedings at Berlin,
in a letter from thence dated 11th of the last month. On my first
interview with his Excellency, the Baron de Schulenburg, he informed me
that upon receiving information of my intending to come to Berlin, he
had written to signify the king’s resolution not to receive me as a
public Minister, but that he should be glad to receive any information
relative to the proposal of carrying on trade with us. I urged the
example of civil wars both in England and Holland, during which public
Ministers were received from them by neutral powers, without its being
deemed as an infringement of their neutrality, with many other similar
instances of great authority. He answered, that his Majesty had pledged
his honor to the king of Great Britain, not to interfere in this
dispute; he therefore wished I would confine myself entirely to the
subject of trade, as he could not hear any further propositions.

As I had not been expressly commissioned by Congress to the Court of
Berlin, I thought it not prudent to insist upon this point; I therefore
gave him what lights I could touching the proper articles of commerce,
the best ports in America, and the safest means of conducting the
trade. I trusted, that I should find an opening for going further
upon better acquaintance and opportunity; accordingly I ventured in
a little time to propose the opening of their ports to our cruisers,
and allowing the sale of prizes. I was assured in answer to this
proposition, that they would inquire upon what footing this was done in
France and Spain, and inform me whether the same would be admitted in
their ports.

Whilst I was at dinner one day, some person contrived to get into my
chamber, which was locked, and break open my desk, from whence he took
all my papers. I soon discovered the robbery, and alarmed the police.
The English Envoy, who happened to be on a visit in the hotel when the
alarm was given, immediately went home, and in a few minutes the papers
were all returned, apparently unopened. The Envoy went to the king
next day to excuse himself, but was not admitted. It appeared upon
examination, that his servant had frequently offered a large sum to the
servants of the house if they would steal my papers; but as I never
went out of my room, upon the most trifling occasion, without locking
them up, they were obliged to have recourse to violence. The resentment
of every one at so outrageous an act was soon lost in contempt of
the Envoy’s folly, for returning what he had incurred so much odium
in acquiring. The Minister of State told me, they could do nothing
more than to insist upon his recall, which he imagined the Envoy,
considering the unfavorable light in which this action had placed him,
would do himself.

I thought this a favorable opportunity of pressing for aid from the
King, in artillery, arms, and money, of which I was well informed he
had a considerable sum in his treasury; but I could obtain nothing but
assurances of his desire to serve us if it were in his power. Upon
taking leave, the Baron de Schulenburg delivered me a message from
his Majesty, desiring me to assure my constituents that nothing would
give him more pleasure, than to hear of their success, and that he
wished whatever good news I received might be communicated to him. I
did not omit to press his interposition relative to German and Russian
auxiliaries. In answer to this, the Minister assured me, that we had no
reason to apprehend any thing either from one or the other in future.
What I have collected from various sources upon the subject is this.
The German princes who have hired their troops, besides having rendered
themselves exceedingly odious, have suffered greatly, and are still
suffering, by the emigrations of their subjects, for fear of being
forced into this service, which is excessively unpopular and odious
through all Germany; under these circumstances, those princes are
neither much inclined nor at all able to furnish new supplies; the
troops already sent were their utmost exertions, and in all probability
will be their last.

The situation of the Empress of Russia is not more favorable; she is
under a constant alarm for the internal quiet of her kingdom, in which
there are every where the seeds of great and dangerous discontent.
A considerable force is required to preserve the acquisitions she
has made in Poland. The peace with the Porte is an armed truce,
which threatens to break out into action every moment. The first and
most sacred principle of the Mahometan religion is the union of all
Mussulmans; the dividing the Crimea from them is for this reason a
mortal wound to their religious principles, and renders the late peace
universally odious. Perpetual obstacles are therefore raised to the
execution of it; and the Turks are openly preparing to avenge their
late defeats. So circumstanced, it is certain the Empress is herself in
great need of assistance, instead of being in a condition to give it;
which, were she able, it is conceived she would never stoop to do as a
_subsidiary_ of Great Britain in such a contest, and in such company
as the little German princes. What is further security against their
future efforts, is the deficiency of funds on the part of our enemies.
I found their credit in Germany had been at no time lower than it is
now. We have good intelligence from Holland of its falling there apace.
In England men ruminate every day more deeply on the dark and ruinous
prospect before them, and most assuredly their credit there is already
stretched to its utmost. All this may be well conceived, from the light
in which the contest has been always viewed. In England it was regarded
as _unwise_; in every part of Europe as _unwise and unjust_. Nothing
but the most brilliant and immediate success could have prevented the
consequence of these opinions. That has not happened, and therefore
they now begin to experience the bitter effects of their folly and
injustice. Every day confirms me more and more in the opinion, that our
enemies cannot continue the war another campaign with any effect, and
that the acknowledgment of your independency will be a serious subject
of deliberation among the powers of Europe the ensuing winter.

    Yours, &c.                                          ARTHUR LEE.


TO M. GERARD, SECRETARY TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                        Paris, August 1st, 1777.

Sir,

Understanding that his Excellency Count de Vergennes was in Paris, I
took that opportunity of endeavoring to pay my respects to him, without
the parade of coming to Versailles, which, in the present state of
things, may be troublesome. But if his Excellency has any desire to
know what I transacted at Berlin, I shall receive his commands to
attend him at Versailles with pleasure. My instructions having been
to do nothing there, that might be disagreeable to this Court, I have
endeavored to follow them precisely.

I beg, Sir, you will accept personally my respects, and I have the
honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                     Philadelphia, August 8th, 1777.

Sir,

We have to acknowledge yours of March 18th from Vitoria in Spain, and
another of May 13th from Paris. The first falls particularly under the
notice of the Committee of Commerce to whom it has been referred.

You could not, at the time of writing it, have been certified of the
arrival of some interesting despatches from Congress to your colleagues
in France on the 10th of that month, which might have occasioned a very
considerable alteration in the politics of the Court of Versailles,
which would consequently influence those of the Court of Madrid.

The intelligence contained in your last is a most pleasing confirmation
of the hopes, which you had given us of pecuniary aid from Spain.
Whatever tends to establish the value of our paper currency is
most highly important to us. Congress will immediately go into a
consideration of the several hints for this purpose given by you and
Messrs Franklin and Deane. The unpleasing events in the northern
department have so far engaged the attention of all public bodies,
that it has been impossible for Congress to decide upon the subjects
mentioned to them by you, early enough for us to forward their
determinations by the present opportunity.

By our several letters despatched in the armed sloop Independence
from hence, or by duplicates and gazettes sent by Mr M’Creary from
Baltimore, you will know by way of Paris the history of our military
affairs in a regular detail. We are at this time altogether uncertain
as to Mr Howe’s destination, his fleet not having been seen since the
1st of this month. Indeed, we shall leave you for the most part to get
information of our operations from the gentlemen at Paris, to whom we
shall have the most direct opportunities of conveyance.

We wish you success on the embassy you are now engaged in; and we
are pleased that you are so agreeably connected with Mr Sayre, whose
attachment to the cause of liberty and this country has been manifested.

We are, with much regard, Sir, your friends and humble servants,

                                                    BENJAMIN HARRISON,
                                                    ROBERT MORRIS,
                                                    JAMES LOVELL.


TO THE BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Paris, August 13th, 1777.

Sir,

Upon inquiry I find the plan for establishing assurance companies at
Rouen, Nantes, and Bordeaux is not yet carried into execution, and that
it respects French subjects only. At Cadiz they confine themselves to
forty thousand livres in one bottom.

I am satisfied, Sir, upon the maturest reflection and consultation
with my brother Commissioners, that the opening of your ports to our
cruisers is the only way of commencing a commerce with effect.

Some management, which this Court thinks necessary to use with that
of England, has thrown a temporary difficulty on the admission of our
cruisers and prizes into the ports of France. The great profit made by
privateering is an irresistible temptation to seamen, which, together
with the greater demand for our navy, will render it impossible for
merchant vessels to find hands to navigate them.

We have received no direct intelligence from America for two months.
The English Court conceal what they receive. This however is certain,
that General Howe, unable to make his way to Philadelphia through the
Jerseys, has embarked his troops for some other expedition. As far,
therefore, as we can judge, the campaign is not likely to be quite so
brilliant as was expected.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI, AT MADRID.

                                        Paris, August 18th, 1777.

Sir,

My return from Berlin gives me an opportunity of renewing our
correspondence. By what I learn from Dr Franklin, our affairs with you
have taken a sudden turn, for which I am at a loss to account. If the
reason be not a secret of State, that may not be communicated, you will
oblige me much by letting me know it. Perhaps it may be founded on some
misapprehension, which on being made known may be removed.

I was in great hopes of succeeding in my endeavors to procure the
admission of our armed vessels into some northern ports, but the late
manœuvres of this Court I am apprehensive will prevent it. We should
by that means have relieved our southern friends from part of the
burthen, which has hitherto rested on them alone, and turned both the
observation and the complaints of Great Britain into another channel.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO MR GRAND.

Translation.

                                        August 21st, 1777.

Sir,

Your idea has been thought a just one, but as it cannot as yet operate
effectually, it is conceived best to reserve the execution of it until
such time as will produce more desirable sensations.

The news from Holland, that certain persons of distinction are sent to
America, is not confirmed from any quarter. The news from London made
no mention of it. There is no doubt but that England is desirous of
peace. The Minister himself wishes it, but I do not imagine that it
is upon the same conditions as America. Your friends are neither just
nor reasonable, if they complain of the bounds that it is necessary to
set to the enterprises of their privateers. They have been informed of
what can be granted to them, they have been entreated to conform to
our obligations. We have exerted a patience, which they had no right
to expect; but when matters are carried to excess, it is necessary to
convince them that we are not insensible of it. We cannot allow the
privateers of any nation whatever to come in and go out of our ports as
they would their own. This is a duty imposed on us by treaties. Neither
can we permit the sale of prizes. In every other respect we have shown
the greatest compliance; we have even gone further than was reasonably
to be expected.

It has been with the greatest regret, that some severity has been shown
in a few instances, although the occasions have been many. Moreover, if
I am written to on the subject, and in a suitable manner, I will give
an answer; but as to what you say respecting the disposition of your
friends, I perceive that sentiments of friendship have not made a deep
impression on them. M. de Chaumont has informed us of their intention
of selling their privateers here. Should they prefer to go away with
them, let them explain themselves. I will willingly endeavor to obtain
immediate permission for them, on positive condition that they will not
return again. With regard to Hodge, you well know what he promised; I
know not whether such tricks are allowed in America, but in France and
Europe it is a very serious fault to tell the king a falsehood, which
he did when he affirmed and gave security, that the vessel which sailed
from Dunkirk was not designed as a privateer.

                                                        DE VERGENNES.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, September 9th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I have not heard from Berlin, relative to their determination about
opening their ports to our cruisers.

The Abbé Raynal, who is just returned from a tour in England, tells me
that nothing disgusts the English nation so much with the continuance
of the war, as the seeing their ports filled with French ships, to
carry on their commerce with other nations. Their merchants are obliged
to have recourse to this expedient to screen their merchandise. I
say screen, because they cannot expect, that according to the law
of nations, it will be a protection when discovered. They have been
driven to this necessity by the number and success of your cruisers in
and about the Channel; which has raised insurance so high, that their
manufactures are in danger of being augmented thereby in their price
too much for the European markets.

I thought it would be useful to inform you of these facts, to show the
utility of continuing and encouraging cruisers in these seas, as they
may perhaps be so discouraged with the late measures in this country,
which I trust will not be of long continuance, as to confine their
course to the American seas.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Paris, September 21st, 1777.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to you some reasons drawn up by Doctor
Franklin, for our conceiving that loans to us are more eligible on the
part of the lender, than to our enemies.

Your Excellency’s determination, relative to the admittance of our
armed vessels into your ports, has been waited for with great anxiety;
for the most favorable season for commencing such a commerce comes on
so fast, that there will be danger of its passing away unemployed,
should the determination be longer delayed.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI AT MADRID.

                                        Paris, September 25th, 1777.

Sir,

I have now before me your favors of May 5th and 29th, together with the
last, of the 4th of this month.

By this time I expect you have been apprized, or upon applying to those
who gave you the orders you will be informed, that with regard to what
has been remitted, both in money and effects, no return is expected,
agreeably to what you know passed at Vitoria, and of which I informed
both your Minister and my constituents in the letters, which I had the
honor of reading to you at that place. It gives me great satisfaction,
that every thing is thus arranged and settled; and I am relieved from
the embarrassment of appearing to have understood so ill what passed,
or so greatly to have misrepresented it.

We are now to begin on a new footing, and I shall take care that my
constituents be duly informed, that for all the aids they receive
hereafter from your quarter; they are to make returns in tobacco,
pitch, tar, &c. to your house, agreeably to your letter. I beg to know
by your next, whether the same arrangement is to take place for the
future with regard to the deposits at the Havanna and New Orleans, or
whether nothing further is to be transmitted through those channels,
that if so, the trouble of sending thither and the disappointment may
be prevented.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, October 6th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

From Berlin, on the 11th of June, and from this place, 29th of July, I
had the honor of informing you at large of my proceedings in Prussia.
Not having received an answer from that Court, relative to the
reception of our privateers and their prizes in Prussian ports, I have
written lately to press for one, which I hope will be favorable, as I
left so friendly a disposition there, that I was desired to communicate
his Majesty’s warmest wishes for our success. I mentioned too the
improbability of our enemy’s receiving assistance from Russia for the
next campaign, and how much their resources were exhausted in Germany.

By Captain Young I received the commands of Congress, in their
commission for me to the Court of Spain. As Dr Franklin had announced
his appointment, with an assurance of his readiness to repair to
Madrid, as soon as that Court thought proper to receive him, it seemed
unnecessary to apprize them immediately of the new appointment. During
my absence in Germany, a letter was received from Monsieur Gardoqui
at Bilboa, intimating an expectation of returns from you, for what
was transmitted to you through their house. But upon application to
his Court I am again authorised to assure you, that for the supplies
already sent no return was expected, but in future, that remittances
of American produce were expected for supplies through the house of
Gardoqui. It is impracticable to bring them to such an explanation, as
to know with certainty whether they mean this in earnest, or only as
a cover, should the transaction transpire; I am inclined to think the
latter; however, I wrote to M. Gardoqui in consequence, as follows.
“We are now to begin on a new footing, and I shall take care that my
constituents be informed, that for all the aids they receive hereafter
from your quarter, they are to make returns in tobacco, pitch, tar,
&c. to your house. I beg to know by your next, whether the same
arrangement is to take place for the future with regard to the deposits
at the Havanna and New Orleans, or whether nothing further is to be
transmitted through those channels; that if so, the trouble of sending
thither and the disappointment may be prevented. As the winter campaign
is approaching fast, in which blankets are of the greatest utility, I
wish you to send as many of them as possible.”

Upon this subject of returns, I think it my duty to state to you
some facts relative to the demands of this kind from Hortalez. The
gentleman, who uses this name,[19] came to me about a year and a half
ago in London, as an agent from this Court, and wishing to communicate
something to Congress. At our first interview he informed me, that the
Court of France wished to send an aid to America of £200,000 sterling
in specie, arms, and ammunition, and that all they wanted was to know
through which island it was best to make the remittance, and that
Congress should be apprized of it. We settled the Cape as the place,
and he urged me by no means to omit giving the earliest intelligence
of it, with information, that it would be remitted in the name of
Hortalez. At our next meeting he desired me to request, that a small
quantity of tobacco, or some other production, might be sent to the
Cape, to give it the air of a mercantile transaction, repeating over
and over again, that it was for a cover only, and not for payment, as
the remittance was gratuitous. Of all this I informed Dr Franklin,
Chairman of the Committee, by sundry opportunities. At the same time, I
stated to Monsieur Hortalez, that if his Court would despatch eight or
ten ships of the line to our aid, it would enable us to destroy all the
British fleet, and decide the question at one stroke. I repeated this
to him in a letter after his return to Paris, to which the answer was,
that there was not spirit enough in his Court for such an exertion, but
that he was hastening the promised succors. Upon Mr Deane’s arrival the
business went into his hands, and the aids were at length embarked in
the Amphitrite, Mercure, and Seine. The Minister has repeatedly assured
us, and that in the most explicit terms, that no return is expected for
these subsidies.[20]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[19] Caron de Beaumarchais.

[20] In another part of his correspondence, Mr Lee speaks as follows on
this subject.

“Three months before Mr Deane’s arrival, (in Paris) M. Beaumarchais
settled with me in London the sending these supplies of money and
munitions of war, by the Cape, under the firm of Hortalez & Co., and
that I should apprize Congress of it, which I did by Mr Story and other
opportunities, as the gentlemen of the Secret Committee know. Upon M.
de Beaumarchais’ return to Paris, he wrote me several times concerning
these supplies, mentioning the difficulties which arose in the
execution, from the timidity of the Court, but that he was putting it
into the mercantile train, which would soon overcome all difficulties.
I did not fail to press the despatch of them, and proposed too the
sending some ships of war to protect our coast, exactly similar to what
we were afterwards instructed by Congress to obtain.

“I do not state this to assume any merit to myself for these supplies.
I had none. M. de Beaumarchais sought me out in London. He found me
by means of Mr Wilkes, and communicated to me what I was to convey to
Congress; that the sum of two hundred thousand louis d’ors from this
Court were ready for our support. It was therefore no address of mine,
that procured this aid. I was only the instrument of conveying this
intelligence. As far as I know, the merit is due to M. de Beaumarchais.
I never refused it to him. But I objected to his making demands
directly contrary to what he had repeatedly assured me, and not only
desired but urged me to report to Congress.”

On the 16th of September, 1778, Count de Vergennes wrote as follows to
M. Gerard, at that time French Minister in the United States.

“Mr Franklin and his colleagues wish to know what articles have
been furnished to them by the King, and what M. de Beaumarchais has
furnished on his own account; and they have insinuated to me, that
Congress is in the belief, that all the articles which have been sent,
of at least a great part of them, were on his Majesty’s account. I have
just answered them, that the King has furnished nothing; that he has
simply permitted M. de Beaumarchais to be provided with articles from
his arsenals, upon condition of replacing them.”


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                        Berlin, October 8th, 1777.

Sir,

I should not have deferred thus long answering the two letters, which
you did me the honor to write me the 13th of August and 21st of
September last, if I could have announced anything favorable to your
wishes. But the King, notwithstanding his good inclinations towards
your nation, not judging it suitable to grant to your privateers a free
commerce with his ports, at a time when even France, notwithstanding
the considerable benefits she begins to derive from the trade with
America, has thought proper to pay a deference to the representations
of the English Ministers, I imagined, that you would have inferred
from my silence, Sir, that what I had to say would not correspond with
your views. We must wait for more favorable circumstances to begin a
commercial connexion between the two people, which his Majesty will
receive great pleasure in seeing increase, whenever it will not engage
him in measures contrary to his principles. In the mean time, Sir,
I shall always be very happy in receiving any information from you
concerning the situation of your affairs.

I am under many obligations to you, Sir, for the Memorial which you
were so kind as to send me. I find it very well written, and it will
no doubt make a proper impression in those countries, where it is an
object of speculation to put out money with foreign nations.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                              BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Paris, October 23d, 1777.

Sir,

I had the honor of receiving your favor of the 8th a few days
since. I cannot express my regret at not having been able to form a
connexion between those, whom I represent, and a monarch whom I know
my countrymen respect as the first in Europe, for wisdom and valor.
Any instance of friendship and approbation from a prince so respected,
would have added lustre even to the illustrious cause in which we are
contending.

On a subject of such dignity, I should have been happy to see his
Majesty give, not receive, an example from the rest of Europe. It is
not fit that the timid should lead the brave, or the weak direct the
wise. Satisfied, as I am, of his Majesty’s good disposition towards the
United States, I trust the motives which oppose a declaration of it
will not outlast a conviction, that our enemies cannot with all their
exertions wrest from us the sword, the possession of which is the most
substantial proof of independency.

In the meantime, I cannot help so far presuming upon his Majesty’s
graciousness, and your Excellency’s goodness, as to hope that you will
enable me to inform my constituents, if there is any likelihood of
our enemies drawing recruits or reinforcements from Germany, Russia,
or Denmark for the next campaign. It is to that we must now look, the
present not promising anything decisive, and the malignity of our
enemies urging them to continue injuring us, though at the hazard of
their own ruin. If your Excellency, therefore, will have the goodness
to inform me whether we have anything, and what, to fear from those
quarters, it will be remembered with the greatest gratitude. At the
same time, give me leave to hope, that his Majesty will use his
influence to prevent the success of their applications on this subject.

With respect to France having yielded to the representations of the
English Ambassador, the fact is, that she adheres to her treaties
with England, which admit not our armed vessels to stay in her ports,
except in case of necessity, where reparations are requisite and
indispensable. And as it is both the interest and inclination of
our cruisers to keep the sea as long as they are able, the acting
consistent with their treaties is sufficient for us. We meant to ask
no more of his Prussian Majesty; nor that the sale of prizes should be
openly practised, so as to give just cause of complaint.

Two packets have arrived here without their despatches, having been
obliged to throw them overboard by being closely pursued. We are,
therefore, without any late authentic intelligence; the immediate
communication of any such as reaches us your Excellency may rely upon.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Paris, November 13th, 1777.

Sir,

Since I had the honor of answering your Excellency’s favor of the
8th of October, a commission has been received, appointing William
Lee Commissioner of Congress to the Court of Berlin, with powers to
negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the king of Prussia. The
great knowledge of this gentleman in commerce will enable him to throw
far more light on that object, than I was able to communicate.

I am persuaded, Sir, that with the assistance he can give, a happy
foundation at least may be laid for effectuating his Majesty’s wishes
on that subject. At the same time, he will be better able to show the
value and importance of that commerce to the subjects of his Majesty,
and to the prosperity of his kingdom.

Your Excellency will have the goodness to communicate to us his
Majesty’s pleasure relative to this Commissioner’s coming to Berlin, in
which he will entirely conform himself to the King’s sentiments.

The entire discomfiture of General Burgoyne, and the northern
expedition, as well as the untruth of what was circulated about General
Howe’s success, with the sole view of diverting the public attention
from the ill success of the Canadian armament, is now universally
acknowledged in England. We have received no despatches on the subject.
But from the place he is in, we are satisfied General Howe will meet
with a manly opposition.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO MESSRS GARDOQUI AND SONS AT BILBOA.


                                       Paris, November 15th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I have learnt from America, that there was a difficulty on the
arrival of the supplies sent to America through your house, in
knowing whether they were for Congress, or for Mr Gerry, to whom they
were consigned. Possibly you explained that to Mr Gerry, and his
absence might have occasioned the doubt. At all events, you will have
the goodness in future to write so clearly as to prevent any mistake
of that kind.

When any prize, made by any continental armed vessel in the service
of the United States, is sent into Bilboa or the adjacent port, you
have my authority to sell her to the best advantage, reserving half
the proceeds for the Congress at my disposal, as their representative
in Spain. The other half is the property of the captain and the crew.

I beg you will inform me, by return of post, what interest you give
for money put into your hands. They give here at the rate of six per
cent, on condition that it be not drawn out of their hands under one
month’s notice. If your terms are as good, I should prefer depositing
what I have with you.

I have the honor to be, &c.


                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, November 27th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

Since writing the enclosed, I received a letter from the king of
Prussia’s minister, informing me that his Majesty cannot at present
open his ports to American armed vessels and the sale of their prizes,
as he finds it is not permitted in France. I have apprized the minister
of the late appointment by Congress to his Court, and do not think
it improbable but that the king will in a little time be prevailed
upon to wink at the above measure being executed, though he will not
openly approve of it till an arrangement is made for acknowledging
your independency. This will probably come under serious consideration
before the winter ends, if General Howe should not be successful.

The last letter I received from the Prussian Minister contains the
following paragraph.

_November 6._ “As to the reinforcement of troops, which Great Britain
will receive from the other powers of Europe for the approaching
campaign, I can assure you, Sir, that your nation has nothing to fear
either from Russia or Denmark, and that even Germany will furnish
only a few hundred men, whom the Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of
Hesse, and the Margrave of Anspach, in conformity with their treaties,
are obliged to send annually to recruit the troops, whom these
princes maintain in America in the pay of England. It is with sincere
satisfaction that I give you this consoling intelligence.”

Our friends in Spain had been prevailed upon to renew the order for
sending you supplies, but before anything was done, a suspension of it
was occasioned by an American privateer making prize of a French ship
coming from England with Spanish property on board. Proper measures
have been taken to explain this proceeding, so as to appease the
complaints it excited; and I have reason to hope, that we shall soon
see the former good will towards us restored, with further proofs of
its sincerity.

I have mentioned the little probability our enemies have of obtaining
troops for another campaign. Nor will their difficulties be less in
raising supplies. Their credit falls so fast in Europe, that unless the
most brilliant and effectual success of this campaign should retrieve
it by rendering the conquest of America probable, they cannot sustain
another. _Stat magni nominis umbra_ may almost now be said of Great
Britain; and the decisive weight, a weight derived from her connexion
with America in the balance of Europe which she has long held, will
assuredly fail with the failure of this year’s expectations.

It is with pleasure I inform you that the conduct of your Generals, and
the bravery of your troops and seamen, have entirely effaced through
Europe the unfavorable impressions made at first by the scandalous
reports of our enemies. At the same time, there is a great desire to
have authentic accounts from us, which unhappily we are not able to
gratify, having received no despatches since the retreat of the British
army from the Jerseys. I have imputed it to the chances of the sea and
of war, and to the arduous attention of Congress to the arrangement
and defence of a young government, pressed on all sides by a powerful
enemy. The king of Prussia is particularly anxious on this subject, as
you will judge by the following extract from his Minister’s letter.

“The king has been surprised to learn by the letter, which you have
done me the honor to write to me, that you have received no news from
America, since the public papers are filled with different kinds of
intelligence, especially respecting the entrance of General Howe into
the Chesapeake Bay, and the check given to Burgoyne by General Arnold.
As I am persuaded the king would take pleasure in the confirmation
of this last intelligence, on account of the interest his Majesty
takes in the events which are advantageous to your cause, I shall be
greatly obliged to you if you will communicate to me the authentic
details on this subject, as soon as they come to your hands, for it is
extremely difficult to tell what degree of confidence is to be placed
in relations, the greater part of which is dressed up and published by
the spirit of party.”

I enclose you the king of Great Britain’s speech to his Parliament,
with remarks on it by one who was present. My private letters say the
Ministry are exceedingly dispirited. The following is a picture of the
public, drawn by an able hand and in a high station. “This poor country
is fallen into a state of lethargy, from which all efforts to rouse her
are ineffectual. The single loss of Minorca drove the people of England
almost to madness; now thirteen provinces dismembered from the British
empire, scarcely excite a murmur except among the few who dare to love
their country, even at this disgraceful period. The Parliamentary
campaign will soon open, but nothing is to be expected. Corruption,
like a Scotch mist, has spread over and pervades every thing.” It is
certain that France and Spain are arming with uncommon diligence and to
a great extent. The States of Holland have ordered ten men of war as a
convoy for their West India trade, and will not permit any interruption
of it by our enemies.

Yet with these circumstances to oppose it, the impracticability of
obtaining any adequate number of troops, the lowness of their credit,
the probability of an European war, the carrying on of their commerce
by the ships of their rivals, the impossibility of success, and I may
add with certainty their own conviction of it, I am clear in my opinion
that they will attempt another campaign, and that every man and every
shilling they can procure will be devoted to the desolation of our
country.

The privateer, which gave so much offence by taking a French ship, _La
Fortune_, with Spanish property on board, is called the _Civil Usage_.
Since that the Portsmouth privateer from Portsmouth, Captain Hart,
has taken an English merchantman in the mouth of the Garonne. These
captures have given great offence to the two Courts; to remove which
we have promised to warn all American captains to desist from such
conduct, till the pleasure of Congress is known. The following is a
copy of the letter I have sent to the different ports of Spain for that
purpose.

     _To all Captains or Commanders of Ships of War, armed Vessels and
          Privateers from the United States of North America._

Gentlemen,

          Complaint having been made of violence
          done by American armed vessels to
          neutral nations, by seizing ships
          belonging to their subjects and under
          their colors, and in making captures
          of those of the enemy, when under the
          protection of neutral coasts, contrary
          to the usage and custom of nations;
          this is therefore to warn and request
          you not to commit any such violation of
          the law of nations, but (according to
          the powers given in your commission)
          to confine yourselves to the capture
          of the enemy’s vessels, when not
          within sight of a neutral coast, and
          of all others whatsoever that shall be
          carrying soldiers, arms, ammunition,
          provisions, or other contraband goods,
          to any of the British armies or ships,
          employed against the United States. And
          that in other cases you will treat all
          neutral ships with the utmost kindness
          and friendship, for the honor, of your
          Country and of yourselves.[21]

There remains nothing for me to add at present, but to assure you,
that I have neglected no opportunity of writing to you, and giving a
full account of my proceedings in Spain and Prussia.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S. November 30th._ I have written to Spain for ten thousand
blankets to be sent to you immediately, which order, as I have also
remitted the money, will I hope be executed.

[21] This letter was agreed upon by the Commissioners, and sent by them
conjointly as a circular “To the Captains or Commanders of all ships
of war, armed vessels, and privateers from the United States of North
America.”


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                        Berlin, November 28th, 1777.

Sir,

As to the commission of Mr William Lee, the King having repeatedly
declared his sentiments respecting the actual difficulties attending
a commercial connexion with America, notwithstanding his constant
good disposition towards the Colonies, cannot possibly conjecture, as
circumstances have not changed, what proposition Mr Lee can make more
acceptable to his Majesty, nor consequently what can be the object of
his mission.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO DR BERKENHOUT.[22]

                                        Paris, December 3d, 1777.

Sir,

My last might serve as an answer to yours. We have powers to receive,
but not to make overtures. _Voilà la difference._ We have as much
dignity, and I hope more reason on our side. If they, therefore,
stay for overtures from us, I promise you they will not receive
them, till their faith can move our mountains. I hoped something
from this negotiation, and therefore more willingly lent myself to
it; but I now see too well their abundant pride and folly, to think
the public will derive any advantage from it. They are determined to
make us a great people, by continuing a contest which forces us to
frugality, industry, and economy, and calls forth resources, which,
without such necessity, would never have been cultivated. I have long
thought, that if they intended us the benefits their conduct will
bring us, we should owe them statues of gold. As you love me, do not
fail endeavoring to learn to whom I am indebted for reporting the
difference between Dr Franklin and me, which you mention. It concerns
me infinitely to know it. Adieu.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[22] Dr Berkenhout had been formerly a friend of Arthur Lee in London,
and was employed by the government as a secret agent to endeavor to
obtain from the Commissioners in Paris the terms of an accommodation
with England.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, December 8th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

Since my last to you, I have seen your despatches of the 6th of
October. The answer relative to the Havanna will be obtained as soon
as possible; but I think such a connexion will in a short time take
place between the two countries, as will put that matter out of all
doubt.

I received yesterday a letter from the Messrs Gardoqui at Bilboa,
containing the following passage.

“Our worthy friend, Elbridge Gerry, thinking that the goods shipped
per Captain Hodges to his address were on his account, he wrote us
that he would place the amount thereof to our credit; but as we
have answered him, that this remittance, as well as the rest that
followed through the same channel, were on account of Congress,
and of consequence out of our power, as he will have seen by the
sundry letters written to him since, we doubt not that he will of
consequence conform thereto, and we assure you, that in future all
possible means will be used to prevent mistakes of this kind.”

By a letter from Holland we are assured, that the king of Prussia
has announced to the States his having refused a passage through his
territories to German troops hired by Great Britain. The West India
fleet from Amsterdam, &c. is to be convoyed by six men of war. I
cannot be more explicit than to assure you, that the prospect of our
enemies is as gloomy here as with you, and that I am not mistaken in
what I formerly wrote you, that the confirming our independence would
be matter of serious consideration among the powers of Europe this
winter.

I have remitted Mons. Gardoqui money for ten thousand blankets, which
he promises to send with all possible expedition.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


THE COMMISSIONERS IN PARIS TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                        Paris, December 8th, 1777.

Sir,

The Commissioners from the Congress of the United States of North
America, beg leave to represent to your Excellency, that it is near
a year since they had the honor of putting into your hands the
propositions of Congress for a treaty of amity and commerce with this
kingdom, to which, with sundry other memorials, requesting the aid
of ships of war and offering engagements to unite the forces of the
said States with those of France and Spain, in acting against the
dominions of Great Britain, and to make no peace but in conjunction
with those Courts, if Great Britain should declare war against
them; to all which they have received no determinate answer; and
apprehending that a continuance of this state of uncertainty with
regard to those propositions, together with the reports that must
soon be spread in America of rigorous treatment met with in the
ports of these kingdoms, may give advantage to our enemy in making
ill impressions on the minds of our people, who, from the secrecy
enjoined on us, cannot be informed of the friendly and essential
aids that have been so generously, but privately afforded us; the
Commissioners conceive, that, the present circumstances considered,
the completing of such a treaty at this time must have the most
happy effect, in raising the credit of the United States abroad, and
strengthening their resolution at home, as well as discouraging and
diminishing their internal enemies and confirming their friends who
might otherwise waver. And the Commissioners are further of opinion,
that the aid of ships desired might at this juncture be employed with
great advantage to America, which when honored with a conference they
can more particularly explain. They therefore request your Excellency
most earnestly to resume the consideration of those affairs, and
appoint them some speedy day of audience thereupon.

They pray also, that their grateful acknowledgments may be presented
to the king, for the additional aid of three millions, which he has
been graciously pleased to promise them; and that his Majesty may be
assured whatever engagements they may enter into in behalf of the
United States, in pursuance of the full powers they are vested with,
will be executed with the most punctual good faith by the Congress,
who, believing their interest to be the same, and that a sure
increase of the commerce, wealth, and strength of France and Spain
will be one consequence of their success in this contest, wish for
nothing so much, after establishing their own liberty, as a firm and
everlasting union with those nations.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT D’ARANDA.

                                        Paris, December 9th, 1777.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a copy of a Memorial
presented to his Excellency Count de Vergennes, by the Commissioners
of Congress for this Court. The knowledge I have of the great
veneration entertained by the United States for the king of Spain,
and affection for the people, enables me to assure your Excellency,
that nothing will give them greater joy than the happy conclusion
of a firm and lasting treaty of amity and commerce between the two
nations.

Permit me therefore to hope, that your Excellency will co-operate
with the favorable disposition of this Court, in bringing the treaty
formerly proposed to a speedy conclusion.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration and respect,
&c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                        Paris, December 11th, 1777.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a detail of the
operations in the North, in addition to what I sent on the 4th. Since
that time, I have been honored with yours of the 28th of November.

I have apprized my brother, the Commissioner, of his Majesty’s
pleasure. He desires me to say, that whenever the king thinks his
coming to Berlin will be of any utility he hopes your Excellency will
inform him of it. Till that time arrives, he would not wish to give
trouble, or excite suspicions by coming, even in a private character.
We have heard reports of his Majesty’s gracious interposition,
relative to the march of troops hired against us, which I hope are
well founded.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


THE COMMISSIONERS IN PARIS TO LORD NORTH.

                                        Passy, December 12th, 1777.

My Lord,

From motives of duty and an earnest desire of mitigating the
calamities of war, we proposed near a year since, to the king of
Great Britain’s Ambassador here, an exchange of prisoners in Europe.
The answer we received must have been made known to your Lordship,
and the world will judge of its decency. It would have been honorable
for that noble lord, and happy for thousands who have since suffered
unnecessarily, if he had considered that moderation is a mark of
wisdom, and humanity an ornament to the highest station. These are
the sentiments at least, which have governed the Congress and people
of the United States. They have wished that this war, into which they
entered with reluctance, might be distinguished by the humanity with
which it was conducted; and that compassion might heal the wounds
that were inflicted. The records of Congress, my lord, are filled
with proofs of tender care and attention, not only to the wants, but
to the comforts and accommodation of their prisoners.

We have wished in vain to find such instances in the acts of the
British government, for unhappily all we have seen on this subject,
is the public declaration of the governor and general, who was chosen
to commence this war, that the American officer and soldier should be
treated with equal indignity, and all devoted without distinction to
the most ignominious fate, in terms too low for us to repeat. We have
never heard of this proceeding having been censured by the government
from which he derived his authority. Neither has the invitation to
the Indian savages, at a public treaty, to drink the blood and feast
upon the bodies of those, whom you called your subjects, been ever
disavowed.

It is a universal complaint, that the practices of those in authority
under you have been conformable to the principles of those public
acts. Colonel Parker, a gentleman of rank, was thrown into a common
jail in Boston, covered over with wounds, where he perished unpitied
for want of the common comforts, which his situation and humanity
required. Colonel Ethan Allen was dragged in chains from Canada to
England, from England to Ireland, and from Ireland to Carolina, and
from thence to New York, at a time when the officers taken from you
in the same expedition were treated not only with lenity but with
every possible indulgence. The barbarous treatment of Mr Lovell in
Boston has no parallel. Of the prisoners made in Fort Washington,
two thirds of them perished by the unexampled cruelty and rigors of
their captivity. Even in England, the severities which the American
prisoners suffer are, according to the testimony of every one we
have seen, of the most grievous kind. Stripes have been inflicted on
some to make them commit the deepest of all crimes, that of fighting
against the liberties of their country. And numbers are now groaning
in bondage in Africa and India, to which they are compelled by
menaces of an immediate and ignominious death, as contrary to every
rule of war among civilized nations, as to every dictate of humanity.

It is with the greatest regret we mention these cruelties. For the
honor of humanity, we hope they will not be committed again. Your
Lordship must know, that it is in the power of those we have the
honor to represent, to make ample retaliation upon the numerous
prisoners of all ranks in their possession; and we warn and beseech
you not to render it their indispensable duty. Upwards of five
hundred British seamen have been generously treated, set at liberty
by our cruisers in those seas, and sent at the public expense to
their country. We trust you will think yourselves bound to dismiss an
equal number of seamen, taken in the service of the United States.

We also desire, that a person appointed by us may have permission to
furnish the citizens of the United States, who are in your prisons,
with the necessaries they may want from time to time; and that a
general cartel may be immediately settled, by which the unfortunate
on both sides may be relieved as soon as possible from the miseries
of imprisonment.

We must beg a speedy answer, that we may transmit Without delay the
determination of your Court to our constituents.

We have the honor to be, with the highest respect, my Lord, your
Lordship’s obedient servants,

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO LORD SHELBURNE.

                                        Paris, December 14th, 1777.

My Lord,

I have the honor of enclosing to you a copy of a letter, transmitted
at the same time to the First Lord of the Treasury. The honor of the
nation, and the rights of humanity, are too much interested in the
object of it, not to receive your Lordship’s advocation.

The enclosed papers contain the principal transactions between the
northern armies. The burning of defenceless towns, and of every
thing before him, as General Clinton has done, will probably draw
upon him and his government the vengeance which such enormities
deserve, in spite of all the efforts of Congress to prevent any hasty
retaliation. The South Carolina Gazette mentions the arrival of an
American captain, who had been taken by Captain Jarvis, and who
mentions with the highest praise the generous and humane treatment
he received from that officer. We have had from other prisoners
accounts equally to his honor, which I am sure will give your
Lordship pleasure. Captain Jarvis may be assured, that such conduct
will command from us the praise and esteem, which are always due to a
generous enemy.

The necessity, which has made us enemies for a time, and separated
us forever from the same government, has not altered the esteem I
felt for the good and wise in England. Among those, I hope your
Lordship and your friends will accept an assurance of my respect and
friendship. I condole most sincerely with the family at Combwood for
the misfortune at New York.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect and esteem, your
Lordship’s humble servant and friend,

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                     Berlin, December 18th, 1777.

Sir,

A few days after the departure of my last of the 13th inst. in
which I requested you to give me authentic intelligence concerning
the progress of General Howe, of which the English Ambassador had
received an account, I learned by the letter you did me the honor to
write on the 4th of this month, that these advantages, far from being
so considerable as they were thought to be, are more than balanced
by the surrender of General Burgoyne, and by the liberty which the
troops under Arnold will have of acting where they shall be most
wanting, which may very much harass General Howe.

I am much pleased, Sir, with these favorable events, and as from
the situation in which affairs were when your despatches were sent,
other events of consequence are to be expected before the end of
the campaign, or even during the winter, I hope you will continue
to communicate, without delay, all the authentic advices you may
receive.

The King, who always graciously receives the news you send me, and
expresses his satisfaction when it is in your favor, has seen the
passage of your brother’s letter, and I can assure you, Sir, that his
Majesty will not be the last power to acknowledge your independency;
but you must feel yourself, that it is not natural that he should be
the first, and that France, whose commercial and political interests
are more immediately, connected with yours, should set the example.

I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, Sir, your
very humble servant,

                                              BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, December 19th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

Our joint despatches will inform you of the forwardness in which
things are here towards the desired conclusion. In three weeks we
shall hear from Spain, and all will I hope be settled. The late
intelligence from America has staggered and confounded our enemies,
as much as it has elated and decided our friends. Should they at
length resolve to continue in rage and despair what they commenced
in wickedness and folly, and venture upon a general war, by which
they must be overwhelmed, their principal efforts will be pointed
against us, unless your being in a respectable state of preparation
should deter them. In that case they will probably confine themselves
to a piratical coasting war, and preying upon our commerce. I have
directed all the naval stores that are collected at Bilboa to be
shipped forthwith, the moment the Court of Spain agrees to furnish
the money. To accelerate this material supply, I proposed to my
colleagues to remit the money from our funds here, but they did not
think it advisable.

Should Congress want any person to serve them in a public character
in Europe, I am authorised to say, that Edmund Jennings, now in
London, will obey their commands. His abilities, attachment, and
respectable character are well known. It has also fallen very
particularly within my knowledge, that Mr Thomas Digges, of Maryland,
has exerted himself with great assiduity and address, in gaining
intelligence and doing other services in England.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                     Berlin, December 23d, 1777.

Sir,

I received the letter, which you did me the honor to write to me
the 11th of this month, and I give you many thanks for the detail
of operations in the north of America, which you were so kind as to
add. I will not fail to acquaint Mr William Lee, as soon as the king
shall judge that his arrival at Berlin can be of mutual utility, and
I assure you, Sir, that the information which you have had, that his
Majesty has refused a passage to the auxiliary troops of Germany
destined for America, is strictly true.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                               BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, January 5th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

My despatches by Captain Young, and since by Mr Deane, Jr, will have
informed you of whatever has happened worthy of your attention in the
departments of Spain and Prussia. The latter is now resigned to the
care of the Commissioner appointed to it, who will inform Congress
(as he is instructed) of the assurance from Baron de Schulenburg,
Secretary of State to the king of Prussia, that his master will not
be the last to acknowledge your independency. This may show you the
favorable disposition of that monarch, who I believe waits only for
the example of this Court. That example, I trust, will not be long
delayed.

I have received a complaint from St Sebastian, of the imprisonment
of the sailors who carried in a prize made by an American privateer,
and the seizure of the prize. This passed previous to the news of
Burgoyne’s surrender, and General Washington’s having given battle
to the British army. As this news has made a strong sensation in our
favor, I am in hopes the representations I have made will not only
relieve them, but prevent any violence of this kind in future.

It would seem, that the Court of Spain will not enter into any
negotiation, till we have concluded the business here. But I shall
hold myself ready to execute that duty, in obedience to the commands
of Congress, the moment it is permitted. I expect every day to hear,
that the blankets and stockings ordered from Bilboa are shipped.

I have this moment received the letter, of which I enclose an
extract.[23] It proves the sincerity of those professions I had the
honor of receiving from his Prussian Majesty, and as he is in great
esteem with the Empress of Russia, I think we may be satisfied that
he will use all his influence to prevent our enemies from succeeding
in their solicitations with her.

There appears no reason to alter my opinion of the obstinacy with
which our enemies are determined to pursue the war. Their ill success
has produced a disinclination in the public to persevere, which gives
them some alarm. I have secret and sure information, that in order
to overcome this reluctance, by the hope of a speedy end to the war,
they mean very soon to lay before Parliament a plan of accommodation.
Under the delusion of this hope, they expect to pass easily over the
inquiry into the state of the nation, and to have its force continued
another year under their direction.

Mr Stevenson, who will have the honor of delivering you this, was a
merchant in Bristol, whom I have long known to be zealously attached
to the cause of his country.

The British Court are greatly alarmed about Canada, for the
defence of which, they are informed eight thousand men at least
are necessary. I hardly think it will be possible for them to
procure anything like that number. The refusal of a passage by the
king of Prussia will embarrass and impede their German supplies as
stipulated; and I have good intelligence that it was done with the
approbation of the Emperor, and that he will use his influence to
prevent any future supplies.

I beg the favor of having my duty and respects recommended to
Congress, and have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[23] From Baron de Schulenburg.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.


Paris, January 15th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have the pleasure to inform you, that our friends in Spain have
promised to supply us with three millions of livres in the course of
this year. I should be happy that immediate and precise orders were
sent from Congress for the appropriation of it; which will prevent
it from being expended in a manner, perhaps, less useful than the
purposes they may wish to fulfil.

My last advices from Bilboa assure me, that they are shipping the
blankets and stockings I ordered. The enemy are raising men in
England and Scotland with great industry; but their best stock (the 3
per cent consols) has fallen 7 per cent.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BARON DE SCHULENBURG TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                     Berlin, January 16th, 1778.

Sir,

In answer to the letter, which you did me the honor to write me the
28th of December last, I begin with remarking, that before this last,
I have received two letters from you, viz. of the 4th and 11th of
the same month; but as you say that you have written twice to me
since the 4th of December, this expression may leave some doubt,
whether the letter of the 4th is comprehended in these two or not; in
the latter case, one of your letters must be lost. With respect to
myself, Sir, since my letter of the 13th of December, the receipt
of which you acknowledge, I have sent you two answers, dated the
18th and 23d of the same month, which, as I hope, have reached you.
I address this, as you desire, to the care of Mr Grand, banker, Rue
Montmartre, and to be certain in future, that none of our letters
miscarry, I propose to you, Sir, to number yours as I shall do mine,
beginning with the present.

Your reflections concerning the present state of American affairs
are very just, and we can perceive that General Howe’s situation
must be very difficult and embarrassing. Time must discover how he
will extricate himself, and whether he will choose and maintain his
quarters with more prudence and good fortune than he did last year.

As the events of this war become daily more interesting, I must
again request, Sir, that you will be kind enough to communicate to
me regularly the advices you may receive. The king interests himself
very much in them, and his Majesty wishes that your generous efforts
may be crowned with success; and as I have already advised you, in my
letter of the 18th of December, he will not hesitate to acknowledge
your independence whenever France, which is more interested in the
event of this contest, shall set the example. His Majesty would
not, moreover, make the least difficulty in receiving your vessels
into his ports, were it not that he has not a fleet to resent the
affronts, which might be shown there to your ships; the port of
Emden, however fine and secure it is, has not even a fort to defend
it. He will not, therefore, expose himself to the disagreeable
consequences.

As to the muskets and other arms of our manufacturing, you shall be
at liberty, Sir, to purchase or to command them; and the Bankers,
Spittgerber, contractors for the manufacture of arms, have received
orders to deliver such as you may demand. I enclose you a memorandum
of their prices, which are the same as the king pays, and I add, that
the muskets for the infantry can be delivered at a lower price, if
you will be content with the solidity of the work, without being so
exact as to their similarity, as the king requires.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                BARON DE SCHULENBURG.


TO MESSRS FRANKLIN AND DEANE.

                                    Challiot, January 30th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

More mature consideration, and fuller lights upon the subject have
satisfied me, that I was wrong in receding from my opinion against
the admissibility of the 12th article in the proposed commercial
treaty. I should, therefore, think myself neglectful of the duty I
owe the public, if I did not endeavor yet to prevent that measure
before our signature has rendered it irrecoverable. And certainly
nothing short of totally preventing the treaty from being concluded
will prevail upon me to sign it, if that article is to stand.

What has thus confirmed me in my former sentiments is this. At the
conclusion of M. Gerard’s observations upon what we proposed, he said
they had no design to lay any duties upon their molasses, nor was
it compatible with their policy. Dr Franklin informed me yesterday,
that a substitute had been found in America for molasses, procurable
from a substance which is the growth of the country, and of infinite
plenty. A prohibition on the export of their molasses will effect
every purpose, which we are providing against by restraining the
imposition of duties.

From these considerations it seems clear to me, that molasses are
not such an important object as was stated; that the demand is more
likely to diminish than increase; that there is no sound reason for
apprehending that without any restraint, duties will be imposed upon
that article; that if there were the strongest reasons for that
apprehension, the sacrifice proposed does not secure us from the evil
it is intended to prevent.

If these arguments are not utterly fallacious, we are by the article
proposed really tying both our hands with the expectation of binding
one of their fingers. The principle, too, is, and the effect of
this measure must be, the encouragement of commerce at the expense
of agriculture, which, whatever temporary advantages it may give,
will be permanently pernicious to the peace and real welfare of our
country.

Nor is it an argument of little weight with me, that we are binding
our constituents forever in a point on which they have not had an
opportunity of giving their instructions, concerning which, how
far it is within the limits of our power and our discretion, I am
extremely doubtful. I would therefore propose to you, Gentlemen,
that, upon the ground of the article not having been in the plan
given for our guidance, and of doubts, which have arisen among
ourselves about the approbation it might meet with, if it should
be unrejected by the Court here, that we should propose that both
the articles be left open to be rejected or admitted by Congress,
without affecting their ratification of the rest of the treaty.
This exception will, it seems to me, refer the decision to that
arbitration, which ought to determine it, and free us from any
possible imputation of having acted wrong or exceeded our powers.

I am willing, that whatever charge of levity may arise from this
resuming the negotiation may be wholly visited on me. Though, indeed,
as I think we are treating with gentlemen of sense and candor, I
am under no apprehension, that they will view in any such light an
anxiety to act with the utmost circumspection in a business of great
moment and doubtful effect.

As this is a matter that admits of no delay, I must beg, Gentlemen,
an immediate consideration of what I propose; and that you will do me
the favor of apprizing me of your determination as soon as you have
made it.[24]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[24] A particular account of the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty,
and the manner in which they were proposed and adopted, will be found
above, in Silas Deane’s Correspondence, Vol. i. p. 155.


MESSRS FRANKLIN AND DEANE TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        Passy, February 1st, 1778.

Sir,

We have maturely considered your letter of the 30th past, and though
we cannot see the mischievous consequences of the 12th article which
you apprehend, yet, conceiving that unanimity on this occasion is of
importance, we have written to M. Gerard this morning, that we concur
in desiring that article and the preceding to be omitted, agreeable
to his first proposal.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE.


MESSRS FRANKLIN AND DEANE TO M. GERARD.

                                        Passy, February 1st, 1778.

Sir,

Mr Lee having signified to us, that on further consideration he has
changed his sentiments relating to the 12th article, and that he
cannot join in signing the treaty if that article remains in, and as
unanimity on this occasion is of some importance, and the articles
11th and 12th seem not perfectly consonant with the declared spirit
of the treaty, which is to leave each party free in its regulations
of commerce, we concur in requesting (if it can be done without
occasioning delay) that these two articles be omitted, agreeable to
your own first proposition.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE.


M. GERARD TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

Translation.

                                   Versailles, February 2d, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have acquainted his Majesty’s Ministers with the fresh demand
respecting the 11th and 12th articles of the Treaty of Commerce. The
king having approved these two articles, agreeable to your unanimous
wishes, they cannot be submitted to a new examination without
inconvenience and considerable delay.

I am, therefore, charged to send you the French copies of the two
treaties, that you may have them transcribed side by side with the
English translation, and when this is done, I trust you will give me
notice.

The only remark, which I have to offer, is on the 6th article of the
Treaty of Alliance. It stands the same as when it was read, with
the addition of the Bermudas, concerning which there was a question
in our last conference. I have found another change in one of the
sheets of observations, which have been sent to me. I should wish
that the object of this addition should be treated in a conference.
I have been charged to explain to you the reasons, which prevent the
Ministers from agreeing to it, and I am ready to fulfil this object.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        GERARD.

_P. S._ The translation of the two treaties appears to me well made,
and I have no remarks to add in regard to it.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                              February 2d, 1778.

Sir,

I was honored with yours of the 16th of January some few days since,
and have delayed an answer in hopes that despatches from America
would have enabled me to give your Excellency some acceptable
intelligence. But in this I am disappointed, so that we have nothing
but the relations of the enemy to direct our judgment of the
present situation of things in and near Philadelphia. There is one
thing, however, that must strike your Excellency in General Howe’s
narration, which is that in attempting to make his forward movement,
he was constantly attacked instead of attacking, and however well
he might have defended himself, he was obliged to measure back his
ground, and put his army into winter quarters. His tranquillity, or
even safety there, will depend much upon the mildness of the winter,
and the equipment of the army of the United States for a campaign
in that rigorous season. If the winter is severe, and General
Washington’s army tolerably provided, it seems to me that General
Howe’s situation will be far from being that of security.

Congress have approved of the Convention with General Burgoyne. The
enemy is driven back entirely into Canada, after blowing up the works
of Ticonderoga; and New York is pressed on all sides.

The 4th and the 11th were the letters I referred to, and I have had
the honor of receiving those your Excellency mentions.

I hope the period for executing his Majesty’s most gracious purpose
towards us is not remote, as well as that of the reduction of the
British power within the limits of due respect for other powers.

I thank your Excellency a thousand times for the facilities you
have procured us in the supplying of ourselves with arms. But I
find things must be more arranged before we can avail ourselves
of your goodness. The enemy’s preparations are more sounding than
substantial. They mark a radical weakness, and will certainly be
impotent when we are fortified with alliances.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Paris, February 10th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

The enclosed Memorial and letter to Count de Florida Blanca,[25]
will inform you particularly of my proceedings in Spain, with the
reasons of the cautious conduct of that Court, which I did not think
it safe to communicate before. France is now prepared, the war with
Portugal is happily concluded by her accession to the family compact,
and there remains only the hazard of the treasure at sea, which is
expected in April next. When that arrives, I have no doubt of their
acceding to the treaties signed here, and joining in the war, which
it seems probable will be declared before that time between France
and England.

From the enclosed accounts you will also see what has been sent
from the house of Gardoqui, in pursuance of orders from the Spanish
Court, and what by my order, which I am to pay for out of the fund
remitted me from Spain of 170,000 livres. This fund would have been
applied in time to have had the blankets, &c. with you for the
winter’s campaign, but for the following reason. On my return from
Germany in August, I found that from various expensive purchases,
not only all our funds from our friends here had been exhausted,
but we also involved in a considerable debt, and not half of your
orders fulfilled, nor any fund to answer your draughts. It was
therefore thought prudent to retain that sum, till we were sure of
an additional supply from hence. The moment this was secured, I
sent orders for the shipping of blankets and stockings, which are
certainly cheap, and I hope will be of use. Upon this mercantile
subject, I must beg leave to observe, that I have had nothing more
to do with the proceedings of that kind here, but signing my name to
contracts made by my colleagues, or rather by Mr Deane. You will, I
presume, be able to judge, by the manner in which near five millions
of livres have been expended, whether it is wise to unite the
political and commercial characters.

I am given to understand, that Spain will wish to have the possession
of Pensacola secured to her in the treaty. I shall hope to receive
the commands of Congress upon that point as soon as possible. Perhaps
Congress may think that circumstances are materially changed, since
the passing the Resolve on this subject, December 30th, 1776;[26] and
that the Mississippi is likely to be the only permanent boundary
between the two people.

I beg the favor of having my duty recommended to Congress and have
the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[25] For this Memorial and the letter, see p. 41 and p. 45 of the
present volume.

[26] Secret Journal, Vol. II. p. 38.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, February 15th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have before written to you the reason I had to conceive, that M.
de Beaumarchais’ demands of payment for the supplies furnished in
the Amphitrite, Mercury, and Flammand are unjust. The following
testimonial from Count Lauragais will corroborate what I informed
you, relative to his having himself proposed the supplies to me
as a subsidy from the Court. Mr. Wilkes knows it more accurately,
but his situation prevents him from giving it under his hand. The
ministry, as you will see by our joint letter, have often given
us to understand that we are not to pay for them, yet still M. de
Beaumarchais, with the perseverance of such adventurers, persists in
his demand. He alleges some promise or agreement made with Mr Deane.
I should suppose Mr Deane would have apprized you of it, if any such
exists. But certainly Doctor Franklin and myself are kept so much in
the dark about the existence of such agreement, as to expose us to
much unnecessary plague from this M. de Beaumarchais, who I cannot
think has any right, to make the demand in question.[27] A copy of the
following declaration has been given to Count Maurepas, but I have
not heard his sentiments upon it.[28]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_Testimonial of Count Lauragais_.

I was present in Mr Arthur Lee’s chamber in the temple, London, some
time in the spring of the year 1776, when Caron de Beaumarchais made
offers to Mr Lee to send supplies of money and stores through the
Islands to the Americans, to the amount of two hundred thousand louis
d’or, and he said he was authorised to make those proposals by the
French Court.--Paris, February 8th, 1778.

[27] Mr Lee seemed to be somewhat less certain afterwards, having in
the mean time conversed repeatedly with M. de Beaumarchais on the
subject. Writing to Mr Pringle, July 4th, 1779, he says, “I absolutely
do not know whether Beaumarchais is right or wrong, and while it is
doubtful, one would not impeach his character.”

[28] See also on this subject p. 98 of the present volume; and for some
further particulars respecting Count Lauragais, see Vol. 1. p. 150.


TO MESSRS FRANKLIN AND DEANE.

                                   Chaillot, February 26th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

The return of our despatches by Mr Simeon Deane appears to me to be
an event, from which great public consequences may flow. I therefore
feel it the more extraordinary, that you should have taken any steps
in it without a consultation with me. And this more especially, after
I have so lately remonstrated against a similar conduct. I was silent
upon it today, when Dr Franklin mentioned that Mr Deane was gone upon
this business to Versailles without my knowledge, not because I did
not feel the impropriety of it, but because I do, and have always
wished, to avoid the indecency of a personal altercation.

In my judgment, the failure of our despatches is an event which will
warrant our desire to be immediately acknowledged by this Court, and
such acknowledgment will have a powerful effect in preventing the
success of the overtures from England, and securing the peace and
independency of America. The strong impression of the unfavorable
disposition of this Court towards us, which former proceedings
made on every mind, will reach America by a thousand channels. Our
contradiction of it being unfortunately frustrated, will possibly
commit our countrymen into measures, which a knowledge of the true
state of things would have prevented. A public acknowledgment of
us would reach America by numberless ways, and give them a decided
proof of the sincerity and determination of France. Our despatches
are a private and single channel, and may fail or arrive too late.
With respect to us, the covert proceedings of France leaves them too
much at liberty to renounce us, on any unfortunate event, and is a
situation in which I think it neither for our honor nor safety to
remain. These are sentiments which I submit to your better judgment,
and beg we may have a consultation on the subject as soon as possible.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


MESSRS FRANKLIN AND DEANE TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                    Passy, February 27th, 1778.

Sir,

The greater the public consequences that may flow from the return
of our despatches, the more necessary it seemed the Court should be
immediately acquainted with it, that the miscarriage might as soon
as possible be repaired. It was near nine at night when the news
arrived, and Mr Deane set out immediately. If we could have imagined
it necessary to have a consultation with you on so plain a case, it
would necessarily have occasioned a delay of that important business
till the next day. He has been at Versailles, and obtained an order
for another and larger frigate, and an express to be immediately
sent off, carrying that order, that she may be ready. We think that
Mr Deane deserves your thanks, and that neither of us deserves your
censure. We are at present both engaged in copying the treaties,
which will employ us closely till Sunday. After they are gone we
shall be ready to enter into the consultation you propose, relating
to our being publicly acknowledged here.

We have the honor of being, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                       SILAS DEANE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Paris, February 28th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

Our joint despatches of the 28th of December, 1777, informed you,
that Spain had promised us three millions of livres, to be remitted
to you in specie, through the Havanna. This information we had
through the French Court. We have since been informed through the
same channel, that it would be paid to our Banker here in quarterly
payments. Of this I apprized you in my letter of the 15th of January,
1778. Finding however that no payment was made, I applied lately to
the Spanish Ambassador here for an explanation. From him I learned,
that by order of his Court, he had informed the Court of France, that
such a sum should be furnished for your use; but in what manner he
was not instructed, nor had he received any further communication
on the subject. He promised to transmit my application to his Court
without delay.

The balancing conduct, which these Courts have until very lately held
towards us, has involved us inevitably in continual contradictions
and disappointments. It is in this respect fortunate, that so many of
our despatches have miscarried, otherwise you would have been equally
vexed, embarrassed, and disappointed.

The chief reason that induced Spain to temporise subsists still;
except the war with Portugal, which is happily concluded by her
accession to the family compact. Our general despatches will
convey to you the bills, as they are now passing in the Parliament
of Great Britain, for appointing Commissioners to negotiate with
_their deluded subjects, and declaring in what manner they will
be graciously pleased to exercise in future_ their right of taxing
us. It would not be doing justice to these bills to attempt any
comment upon them; they speak for themselves, and loudly too. But
the ministers of England give out, that they have despatched half a
million of guineas to pave the way to a favorable acceptance of their
propositions. And I know from the best authority here, that they
have assured Count Maurepas of their being secure of a majority in
Congress. By such arts do they endeavor to sustain their desperate
cause. France has done us substantial benefits, Great Britain
substantial injuries. France offers to guaranty our sovereignty, and
universal freedom of commerce. Great Britain condescends to accept of
our submission and to monopolise our commerce. France demands of us
to be independent; Great Britain, tributary. I do not comprehend how
there can be a mind so debased, or an understanding so perverted, as
to balance between them.

The journies I have made, both north and south, in the public
service, have given me an opportunity of knowing the general
disposition of Europe upon our question. There never was one in which
the harmony of opinion was so universal; from the prince to the
peasant there is but one voice, one wish--the liberty of America and
the humiliation of Great Britain.

The troubles, which the death of the Elector of Bavaria was likely
to excite in Germany, seemed to have subsided, when, of late, the
movements of the king of Prussia threaten to excite a general war.
Great Britain, whose expiring hope sustains itself on every straw,
finds comfort in the expectation, that this will involve France, and
divert her from engaging in our war. But in my judgment, it is much
more likely to operate against her in Russia, than against us in
France.

I beg the favor of having my duty laid before Congress, and have the
honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Paris, March 19th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I congratulate our country on your filling so distinguished and
important an office in her service. Her prosperity will always depend
upon the wisdom of her choice.[29]

Before this can reach you, the treaties concluded here must have
arrived. I am sensible they will admit of very useful additions. But
we were bound by the plan given us for the one; and by the critical
situation of affairs, admitting of no delay, in the other. These
things being considered, I hope what defects are found will be
excused.

It is altogether uncertain when it will be convenient for Spain to
accede to the alliance; and I am apprehensive that the war, which
is likely to break out in Germany, will prevent the king of Prussia
from declaring so soon, and so decidedly, as he promised. The Court
of Spain will, I apprehend, make some difficulties about settling
the dividing line between their possessions, and those of the United
States. They wish to have the cession of Pensacola. I have written
for, and hope to have the instructions of Congress on this head.
If anything should strike you on the subject, the communication
of it will infinitely oblige me. The high opinion I have of your
abilities, and zeal for the public good, will always render your
advice a favor to me; and the acquaintance I have had the honor of
having with you, makes me hope I may ask it without offence. I beg
to be remembered to your son, and have the honor to be, with the
greatest esteem and respect, dear sir, your most obedient servant,

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ Tomorrow we are to be presented to the king of France, and
the English ambassador quits this Court without taking leave. War
must immediately be the consequence, as these movements have been
determined on, from the treaty of amity and commerce, which we
have concluded with this Court, having been announced in form to
that of London. The consequence of this, in relieving our country
from the chief weight of the war, cannot but follow, and therefore
I congratulate you upon it most sincerely. In my judgment, a year
or two must reduce Great Britain to any terms the allies may think
proper to demand.

[29] This letter is directed to Henry Laurens, who had recently been
chosen President of Congress.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                    Chaillot, March 27th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

In consequence of what you mentioned to me relative to the German
Courts, I consulted the Spanish Ambassador, whether it could be
determined with any degree of certainty, how long it would be before
the business I am pledged for with his Court would require my
presence. His answer was, that it was altogether uncertain. In this
situation, it appeared to me, that under my present engagements I
could not venture to so great a distance. My brother has, therefore,
set out on his original plan that was settled at Versailles.

Mr Grand has not yet returned me the account completed. The moment I
receive it, I will wait upon you to settle the business of the loan
bills.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO MESSRS FRANKLIN AND DEANE.

                                             March 31st, 1778.

Gentlemen,

The reports I hear of Mr Deane’s intending soon to leave Paris,
oblige me to repeat the request I long ago and repeatedly made, that
we should settle the public accounts relating to the expenditure
of the money intrusted to us for the public. And this is the more
absolutely necessary, as what vouchers there are to enable the
Commissioners to make out this account are in Mr Deane’s possession.
I therefore wish that the earliest day may be appointed for the
settlement of these accounts; which appears to me an indispensable
part of our duty to the public and to one another.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


JAMES GARDOQUI & CO. TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        Bilboa, April 1st, 1778.

You will see by this invoice, that agreeable to what you are pleased
to communicate to us in your very esteemed favor of the 6th instant,
we have reduced our commission to 3 per cent. But, dear Sir, besides
our being allowed 5 per cent by all the American friends we have
worked for in the present troublesome times, several of whom have
been, and actually are, eye witnesses of our troubles, as those
blankets must be collected in the country round about Palencia, and
the money must be remitted in specie there long beforehand for the
purpose, we are not only obliged to pay the freight thereof and run
the risks of it, but also to make good to the persons employed in
their collection, their expense and trouble; the whole out of our
commission, so that at present we reckon that half of it will be our
profit.

We are, &c.

                                             JAMES GARDOQUI & CO.


     _Invoice of seventyfive Bales of Merchandise shipped
          on board the George, Captain Job Knight, for Cape
          Ann, consigned to Elbridge Gerry, on Account of
          Arthur Lee._

    No. 1 to 75.----75 bales containing 1926 fine
        large Palencia blankets, at 27 riales,       52,002,00

                     _Charges._
    To 413 vares of wrappers, at 2 riales,      826
    To packing, lighterage, &c.                 750   1,576,00
                                                ---  ---------
                                                     53,578,00
    Commission, 3 per cent,                           1,607,11
                                                     ---------
                                      Riales of V.   55,185,11

    Placed to the debit of Arthur Lee.
           Bilboa, the 28th of March, 1778.
                    _Errors excepted._
                               J. GARDOQUI & CO.

      April 1, 1778.%--Number of blankets sent from Bilboa
    for Congress, since January, 1778.
                                      1586
                                       615
                                       550
                                      1695
                                      2296
                                      1926
                                     ------
                            Total,    8668


M. GERARD TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                    Versailles, April 1st, 1778.

Sir,

I called at your house, to have the honor of your commands to the
country where you know I am sent. Not having the honor of finding you
at home, and my time pressing me, allow me the honor of taking my
leave by writing, and requesting the favor of your commissions for
America. You will truly oblige me, Sir, if you will charge me with
letters for some of your connexions or friends, especially those who
are members of Congress.

My acknowledgments shall equal the considerations of regard with
which I have the honor of being, &c.

                                                            GERARD.


TO M. GERARD.

                       April 1st, half past one o’clock, 1778.

Sir,

I had the honor of receiving your favor this moment, which is the
first intimation I have received of what you mention. By six o’clock
I will send you the letters you desire. I did intend to have spoken
to you more upon what passed between the Spanish Ambassador and
myself, which gave you uneasiness. But I must repeat, that I only
related to him what I heard from Mr Deane, as coming from you, and
what we in consequence of that information have written to Congress.
Be so good as to accept of my best wishes for the happiness and
success of your voyage.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


M. GERARD TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                   Versailles, April 1st, 1778.

Sir,

I have received the letter you did me the honor to write to me, as
also the packets you send by me. I shall carry them with a great
deal of pleasure, and am much flattered with your confidence. I
must inform you, Sir, that notwithstanding the public nature of my
mission, I do not avow it, and the confidence I place in you in this
respect will, I hope, be considered by you as a proof of the regard,
with which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          GERARD.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                      Chaillot, April 2d, 1778.

Sir,

It was with the utmost surprise, I learnt yesterday, that M. Gerard
was to set out in the evening for America, in a public character; and
that Mr Deane was to accompany him, without either you or Mr Deane
having condescended to answer my letter of the preceding day.

That a measure of such moment as M. Gerard’s mission should have been
taken without any communication with the Commissioners, is hardly
credible. That if it was communicated, you should do such violence to
the authority which constituted us, together with so great an injury
and injustice to me as to conceal it from me, and act or advise
without me, is equally astonishing. If success to the mission and
unanimity on the subject were your wish, with what propriety could
you make it a party business, and not unite all the Commissioners in
advising and approving a measure, in which you wished their friends
and constituents might be unanimous?

I do not live ten minutes distance from you. Within these few days,
as usual, I have seen you frequently; particularly on Monday I was
with you at your house for some time. I asked you about the sailing
of the ships at Nantes, expressing my desire to know when we should
have an opportunity of writing. You said you did not know when they
sailed. I asked if there were no letters, none but one from M. Dumas
having been shown to me for some time. You answered no. I had at a
former meeting asked you whether it was not proper for us to send an
express to give intelligence of such consequential events, as our
being acknowledged here, and the treaty avowed. You told me it would
be sufficient to write by the ship at Nantes, (for it was afterwards
you mentioned there were two,) as the news being public would find
its way fast enough.

Upon Mr Amiel, who came to my house from yours, having mentioned on
Tuesday, that Mr Deane was to go away in a few days, I wrote to you
and him to repeat what I have so often requested, that the public
accounts might be settled, for which Mr Deane had taken possession of
all the vouchers, and that the public papers might be delivered to
us before his departure. You made me no answer. I sent my secretary
again yesterday to desire an answer; you sent me a verbal one, that
you would settle accounts with me any day after tomorrow. Your reason
for not doing it before was, that it was not your business. _Now_ it
seemed your business only, and Mr Deane has no concern with it. The
delivery of the public papers, which are the property of all, not of
any one of the Commissioners, though you and Mr Deane have constantly
taken them to yourselves, was too immaterial for you to answer.

During all this time, and with these circumstances, you have been
totally silent to me about the present opportunity of writing to
Congress concerning the important public measure in agitation, and
about Mr Deane’s departure. Nay more, what you have said, and the
manner in which you have acted, tended to mislead me from imagining
that you knew of any such thing. Had you studied to deceive the most
distrusted and dangerous enemy of the public, you could not have done
it more effectually.

I trust, Sir, you will think with me, that I have a right to know
your reasons for treating me thus. If you have any thing to accuse me
of, avow it, and I will answer you. If you have not, why do you act
so inconsistent with your duty to the public, and injurious to me? Is
the present state of Europe of so little moment to our constituents,
as not to require our joint consideration and information to them?
Is the character of the Court here, and the person sent to negotiate
with our constituents of no consequence for them to be apprized of?
Is this the example you in your superior wisdom think proper to set
of order, decorum, confidence, and justice?

I trust, Sir, you will not treat this letter, as you have done many
others, with the indignity of not answering it. Though I have been
silent I have not felt the less the many affronts of this kind, which
you have thought proper to offer me.[30]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, April 2d, 1778.

Gentlemen,

The conclusion of the treaties here has ended the powers of our
commission. Whatever character it may please Congress to give to
their representatives in future must be specified by new powers, and
letters of credence to the Sovereign, with whom they are to act.
The first example of this kind will be material, in determining the
future rank of the United States of America among other sovereign
nations. Since the treaty of Munster, Venice and the United Provinces
have had their rank as crowned sovereigns. I presume the United
States of America will not think a lower rank competent to their
dignity, and to the importance they must command in the balance of
European power. For I am satisfied, that in a few years that balance
must be in their hands. Whatever orders Congress are pleased to give
on this subject, their Ministers must support with firmness and
inflexibility, _at first_, to prevent any disagreeable disputes for
the future.

By the enclosed copies of letters, I hope to give you a distinct view
of what passed in Spain and Prussia. I have never been able to learn,
to what was owing the sudden change in the favorable disposition of
the Spanish Court during my absence in Germany. Whether it arose from
the proceedings at Dunkirk, &c. which produced such rigor on the part
of France, they will not inform me. But it is clear from Baron de
Schulenburg’s letter, that the conduct of France, in consequence of
the Dunkirk business, prevented Prussia from adopting what I proposed.

I have written to Messrs Gardoquis about their charging five per cent
commission, which appears to be exorbitant, because I remit them the
money before they lay it out.

My brother William Lee is gone to Germany in pursuance of the
commands of Congress. The war, that is kindling between the two
Powers to whom he is destined, makes it hardly possible to hope that
he can succeed with both. If one is disposed to form an alliance with
us, the other will probably, for that reason, refuse it. I observe
it was the desire of Congress that we should keep an account of our
expenses. I have done so as minutely as the nature of things would
admit; and they have not exceeded, including my two journies, the
sum allotted by Congress. I shall endeavor to continue within those
bounds, though the being acknowledged will necessarily augment the
expense.

The Messrs Gardoquis have transmitted to me regularly the accounts of
what they shipped on the public account; copies of which I have in
the same manner sent to you. This I conceived to be the usual course
of business, and necessary for the due information of all concerned.
For this reason it was my wish, that the same might be done with
regard to the public money expended here. My colleagues have not
thought proper to concur with me. The Committee and Congress will
order, if they think it proper, what I have not only requested in
vain, but to my utter astonishment, have given very great offence in
requesting.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[30] The reason why the sailing of the French fleet, and the Mission of
M. Gerard, were not made known to Mr Lee by Dr Franklin and Mr Deane,
seems to have been, that they had not the permission of the French
Court to communicate the intelligence to him. It does not appear, that
Dr Franklin answered the above letter.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, April 5th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

Having pressed the matter of supplies from Spain, I received an
answer yesterday, that endeavors would be used to send you succors
through the Havanna. The present critical situation of that Court
renders them averse to being more particular, or to have applications
made to them, but I think they will not long remain under this
embarrassment.

Dr Franklin and I are now settling the accounts as well as we can,
from the papers Mr Deane thought proper to leave in Dr Franklin’s
hands. How orderly and adequate they are, you will judge yourselves
from the list, which I shall take care to transmit to you. I am
obliged to say, that this gentleman took to himself the entire
management of the business, in which I could obtain no share without
a quarrel; that my advice and assistance were always rejected, and
he never would settle accounts. Whether he has conducted it well,
you will have the means of determining by what you have received,
compared with the sums expended, which I shall make it my duty to
transmit to you.

I cannot venture to detail to you the plans of this Court relative
to the conduct of the war in your quarter. You will probably see
the commencement of them before this reaches you. I enclose some
additional, and as I conceive necessary articles, which I shall
endeavor to obtain if Congress approve of them. I also send an
accurate list of the actual and intended force of Great Britain.

With my utmost duty and respect to Congress, I have the honor to be,
&c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ Being obliged to send this by post, the articles must be
deferred as being too voluminous.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, April 8th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

Whether there were any public despatches for you by the opportunity
that carries Mr Deane, the late Commissioner, I do not know, because
my colleagues concealed his departure from me. I trust you will think
it proper to desire the reason of such conduct, the tendency of
which is too plain and too pernicious not to require censure, if it
cannot, as I conceive it cannot, be justified by stronger reasons of
utility.[31]

Great Britain has not yet thought proper to declare war in form
against France, but the vessels and sailors of each nation are
reciprocally seized in their ports, and a French frigate has lately
made prize of an English privateer. Both are preparing with all
possible despatch, and both waiting for your decisive declaration
with an anxiety proportioned to their conviction of that declaration
deciding the fate of the war.

As far as I can venture to judge of Courts and Ministers, those
of this country seem cordially disposed to co-operate with you in
driving the English entirely out of America. But from what I could
observe during the conference on the treaty, they seem to have
some wishes relative to the islands of the fishery, which are not
altogether compatible with the system laid down by Congress.

The war between the Emperor and the King of Prussia seems inevitable.
It will be a war of giants and must engage all Germany. Three
hundred thousand men, the best disciplined and the best led that
ever made war, are ready to dispute the question on each side.
Russia is sufficiently occupied by her own situation in regard to
the Porte. The North is therefore no longer a subject for your
apprehension. The whole house of Bourbon will certainly join in the
war against England. Holland, therefore, seems the principal object
of negotiation now; because, if the enemy should be deprived of her
amity, they soon must be reduced to a _carte blanche_.

This is the present situation of Europe. I enclose you a Memorial,[32]
which I wrote last year, and have now sent to Holland to promote the
disposition we are informed they entertain at present in our favor.
In the additional articles I sent for your consideration, there are
some not very materially different, but as they are expressed in a
different manner, I thought it might be of use to submit the choice
to you.

The enclosed report[33] is what I received from the Court of Spain, in
answer to an application in behalf of the people, who have involved
themselves in this unfortunate situation.

It is proper to inform you, that the department of Spain, to which
it has pleased Congress to destine me, is the most expensive of any,
because the Court pass different parts of the year at four different
places, at which every public Minister is obliged to reside, and
consequently to have a house, which augments very much his expense.
As I wish to avoid all occasion of blame, I mention this circumstance
that I may not appear to be extravagant, should my expense increase
on going thither.

You will greatly oblige me by presenting my duty to Congress, and
believing me to be, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[31] The reason was, as previously stated, that Franklin and Deane were
not authorised by the French Court to make known to any person the
sailing of the fleet.

[32] This Memorial was printed and circulated in Holland by the friends
of the American cause.

[33] Missing.


MEMORIAL FOR HOLLAND.

When the ancestors of the present inhabitants of the United States of
America first settled in that country, they did it entirely at their
own expense. The public of England never granted one shilling to aid
in their establishment. Had any such grants existed, they must have
been upon record. The state of England, therefore, could not justly
claim the benefit of an acquisition which it never made.

Upon this principle the first settlers conceived they had _a right to
exchange and sell the produce of their labor to all nations without
control_. This right they actually enjoyed unquestioned till the year
1652; then it was that the English, in violation of every principle
of justice, usurped and established a monopoly of the American
commerce, which they maintained till the rigor of their domination
compelled the Americans to reclaim their ancient unalienable rights,
by declaring themselves free and independent States. In consequence
of this, all nations are restored to the participation of that
commerce, from which the monopolising spirit of the English had
unjustly excluded them.

No nation is more interested in this event than the Dutch, because it
was against them that the establishment of the monopoly was chiefly
intended. The great object of commercial policy with the States of
Holland was and is the _carrying trade_. In consequence of this, when
the commerce of America was free, the Dutch vessels in the American
ports outnumbered those of England. But in the year 1651, a quarrel
arose between the States of Holland and the then republic of England.
The English, jealous of their naval power, resolved to destroy their
American commerce, which contributed so much to its support. To
effect this, the Council of State projected and passed on the 1st of
December, 1651, the navigation ordinance, by which the carriage of
American produce was prohibited except in English bottoms. The Dutch
foresaw the intention, and felt the effects of this measure. Their
resentment of it added fuel to the war, that raged from that time to
the year 1654 with so much fury.

Their success, however, was not sufficient to re-establish what had
been thus violently wrested from them. In negotiating the peace that
concluded that war, De Witt labored with his usual abilities to
obtain an abolition of the act, but all his efforts were ineffectual.
Cromwell, who was not his inferior in acuteness, maintained the
usurpation, and under Charles the Second it received the form and
sanction of an act of Parliament. Thus in despite of all their
efforts, this valuable branch of commerce was wrested from the Dutch,
and monopolised by the English.

But what neither the uncommon talents of De Witt, nor the struggles
of an obstinate and bloody war could effect, the course of human
events has produced. The wealth and power arising from this very
monopoly so intoxicated Great Britain, as to make her think there
were no bounds to the exercise of the control she had usurped. Not
content, therefore, with thus restraining the Americans for her own
emolument in the mode of acquiring money, she arrogated to herself
the right of taking that which was obtained under those restraints.
The natural consequence of thus urging her domination, and adding a
new usurpation to the former, was the abolition of the whole. America
has, in form, renounced her connexion with Great Britain, and is
maintaining her rights by arms.

The consequence of her success will be the re-establishment of
commerce upon its ancient, free and general footing; all nations are
interested in this success, but none so much as the Dutch. From them,
therefore, America _in a most special manner looks for support_.
_Resentment of an ancient injury, the policy of their ancestors,
their present interest_, unite in calling upon them for a spirited
avowal and support of the independence of America. They will not
forget the blood, that was spilt in endeavoring to vindicate their
right when it was first invaded. They will not forget the insolence
and injustice with which Great Britain harassed their trade during
the late war, by means of that very naval strength which she derived
from her usurped monopoly. They cannot but feel at this moment the
insult and indignity from the British Court, in presuming to forbid
them that free participation of commerce which America offers.

The extraordinary remittances, which the people of America have
made to the merchants of Great Britain, since the commencement of
this dispute, is a proof of their honor and good faith; so much
more safe and advantageous is it to trust money with a young,
industrious, thriving people, than with an old nation overwhelmed
with debt, abandoned to extravagance and immersed in luxury. By
maintaining the independence of America, a new avenue will be opened
for the employment of money where landed property, as yet untouched
by mortgage or other incumbrances, will answer for the principal,
and the industry of a young and uninvolved people would insure the
regular payment of interest. The money holder would in that case be
relieved from the continual fears and apprehensions, which every
agitation of the English stocks perpetually excites. He might count
his profits without anxiety, and plan his monied transactions with
certainty.

_These_ are the _substantial objects_ of advantage, which America
holds up to the people of Holland; and _this_ the moment of embracing
them.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                     Chaillot, April 24th, 1778.

Sir,

Since I had the honor of seeing your Excellency, I have learnt that
Mr Hartley in conversing with French people, whose opinions he thinks
may have weight, insinuates to them, that engaging in a war in our
favor is very impolitic, since you can expect nothing from us but
ingratitude and ill faith, with which we have repaid Great Britain.
To us he says, the French have done nothing for you, they can never
be trusted, no cordial connexion can be formed with them, therefore
you had better return back to your former connexions, which may be
upon your own terms if you will renounce France. This gentleman
and the wise men who sent him, have so high an opinion of our
understandings, that they flatter themselves these insinuations will
succeed.

I have also been informed, that besides their commissioners, the
ministry have despatched two persons to America to work privately
as Mr Hartley is doing. One of them is an American. I know them,
and both the size of their understandings and the degree of their
influence. There is nothing to apprehend from either. These are
the little projects of little spirits, and will be attended with
proportional success. They show the imbecility and distress of our
enemies, and will only change the detestation of America into utter
contempt.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                  Versailles, April 24th, 1778.

Sir,

I am obliged to you for your attention in communicating Mr Hartley’s
insinuations, as well to yourself as to such other persons as he
may suppose he can influence in this country. I doubt that he finds
easier access to you, than he will surely find with us; and I can
assure you, that he will not find us accessible to the prejudices he
may wish to inspire us with.

I conclude, being obliged to attend the Council, requesting you to
accept of the assurances of the perfect respect, with which I have
the honor, &c.

                                                      DE VERGENNES.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, May 9th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

No declaration of war in Germany or England. All things are preparing
for it. Count d’Estaing had not passed Gibraltar the 27th of last
month, contrary winds having prevented his passing the Straits. About
thirty sail of the line are assembled at Spithead, under Admiral
Keppel, but are not yet in a state for action. They are arraying
their militia, and the chief object of their attention now seems
to be their own defence. As far as I can judge, the King and his
Ministers are not now sincere in their propositions, even such as
they are, of peace and accommodation.

I have not yet obtained any light on Folger’s affairs. The enclosed
copy of a letter from Count de Vergennes will show you the train in
which I have put the inquiry. But I have reason to apprehend, that
persons are concerned, who will have address enough to frustrate
it. The blank paper substituted for the letters taken should be
preserved, and compared with the paper of all the letters received by
the same vessel. Some discovery may be pointed out by that. Mr Deane
and Mr Carmichael should be examined, and their accounts transmitted
here to be compared with those of others.

Spain and the German powers are yet undecided with regard to us. I do
not think our enemies will succeed with Holland. We shall endeavor to
establish a fund for the purposes you desire.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ By the banker’s accounts it appears, that the following
sums were paid from December, 1776, to March, 1778, to the private
disposition of the Commissioners.

                            Livres.
    To Dr Franklin,          65,956   3 13
    To Silas Deane,         113,004  12 13
    To Arthur Lee,           68,846   2 16

In my sum is included the additional expense of my journies to Spain
and Germany.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        York, May 14th, 1778.

Sir,

Your several favors of October 6th, November 27th, and December 8th,
were delivered to us on the 2d instant, the despatches by Mr Deane
and those by Captain Young arriving on the same day. We had before
received your short letter of the 1st of June, but are yet without
that of the 29th of July, in which you had informed us “at large of
your proceedings in Prussia.” Its contents would have proved highly
agreeable to us in these months, when we were quite uninformed of the
proceedings and prospects of your colleagues at Paris. Impressed with
the sense of the value of the King of Prussia’s “warmest wishes for
our success,” we give assurances of equal wishes in Congress for that
monarch’s prosperity. We have little doubt of open testimonies of his
Majesty’s friendship in consequence of the late decision of the king
of France.

Your information in regard to our connexion with the fictitious
house of _Roderique Hortalez_ & _Co._ is more explicit, than any we
had before received, but we further expect that all mystery should
be removed. Surely there cannot now be occasion for any, if there
ever was for half of the past. Our commercial transactions will
very speedily be put under the direction of a Board consisting of
persons not members of Congress, it being impracticable for the
same men to conduct the deliberative and executive business of the
Continent now in its great increase. It has been next to impossible
to make remittances for many months from the staple Colonies, their
coasts having been constantly infested by numerous and strong
cruisers of the enemy. We hope the alliance of maritime powers with
us will remove our embarrassments, and give us opportunity to carry
into effect our hearty wishes to maintain the fairest commercial
reputation.

There will be great impropriety in our making a different settlement
for the supplies received from Spain, from that which we make in
regard to those received from France. We are greatly obliged to the
friends, who have exerted themselves for our relief, and we wish you
to signify our gratitude upon every proper opportunity. But having
promised to make remittances to the house of _Hortalez_ & _Co._ for
the prime cost, charges, interest and usual mercantile commission
upon whatever is _justly_ due to that house, we must keep the same
line with Messrs Gardoqui. On the one hand, we would not willingly
give disgust by slighting princely generosity, nor on the other
submit to unnecessary obligations.

The unanimity with which Congress has ratified the treaties with
France, and the general glad acceptance of the alliance by the people
of these States, must shock Great Britain, who seems to have thought
no cruelty from her would destroy our former great partiality in her
favor. What plan she will adopt in consequence of her disappointment,
time only can discover. But we shall aim to be in a posture, either
to negotiate honorable peace, or continue this just war.

We stand in need of the advice and assistance of all our friends
in the matter of finance, as the quantity of our paper currency
necessarily emitted has produced a depreciation, which will be
ruinous if not speedily checked. We have encouraging accounts of the
temper of the Hollanders of late, and expect that we may find relief
from that quarter among others.

A few weeks, if not a few days, must produce fruitful subject for
another letter, when we shall, in our line of duty, renew our
assurances of being, with great regard,

Sir, your affectionate humble servants,

                                                   RICHARD H. LEE,
                                                     JAMES LOVELL,
                                                     ROBERT MORRIS.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, May 23d, 1778.

Gentlemen,

In consequence of your despatches by my colleague, Mr Adams, I lost
no moment to press the renewal of the order for the supplying you
with such stores as you want, and as that country affords, from the
Court of Spain. I have the satisfaction to inform you that such
orders are given, and I am assured will be carried into execution as
speedily as possible.

We mean to apply for the loan desired to the monied men of Holland,
and in my particular department, I shall endeavor to take the
favorable opportunity of the arrival of the flotilla to urge the same
in Spain.

War is not begun in Germany or Great Britain; but it seems to be
inevitable.

I have sent orders to all the ports in France and Spain to
communicate the account of the sailing of a fleet of thirteen ships
from England against America, to all the captains who sail for the
United States or the French islands. This I conceived would be
the most certain means of communicating the alarm, and preventing
surprise.

The ministry here are also to convey a letter from us, by every
opportunity, to the same purpose.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, June 1st, 1778.

Gentlemen,


The hurry in which the last despatches went away, prevented me from
being so particular about them as I wished. Nos. 7, 8 and 9 were
omitted, being newspapers, and too voluminous for the conveyance.
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. It is this sort
of neglect, and a studied confusion, that have prevented Mr Adams
and myself, after a tedious examination of the papers left with Dr
Franklin, from getting any satisfaction as to the expenditure of
the public money. All that we can find is, that millions have been
expended, and almost everything remains to be paid for. Bargains have
been made of the most extravagant kind with this Mr Monthieu and
others. For example, the uniforms that are agreed for at thirtyseven
livres might have been had here for thirtytwo livres each, and
equally good, which, being five livres in every suit too much, comes
to a large sum upon thousands.

Of the 100,000 livres advanced to Mr Hodge, there appears no account.
I have been told that Cunningham’s vessel cost but three thousand
pounds sterling; for what purpose the overplus 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, it rests with Mr Deane
or Mr Hodge to explain. I have enclosed you all the receipts found
among those papers, the sending of which has been neglected. Of the
triplicates and duplicates an original is sent, and copies of those
that are single. You will see that my name is not to the contracts.
In fact they were concealed from me with the utmost care, as was
every other means of my knowing how these affairs were conducted;
and as both my colleagues concurred in this concealment, and in
refusing my repeated requests to make up accounts and transmit
them to Congress, it was not in my power to know with accuracy,
much less to prevent, this system of profusion. I was told that Mr
Williams, to whom I knew the public money was largely intrusted, was
to furnish his accounts monthly, but they were never shown me, and it
now appears, that for the expenditure of a million of livres he has
given no account as yet, nor can we learn how far what he has shipped
is on the public, how far on private account. We are in the same
situation with regard to Mr Ross. This indulgence to Mr Williams,[34]
and favoring M. Chaumont, a particular friend of Dr Franklin, is
the only reason I can conceive for the latter having countenanced
and concurred in all this system. You will see a specimen of the
manner of it in the enclosed copy of a letter from Dr Franklin to his
nephew, which the latter sent me as an authority for his doing what
the commercial agent conceived to be encroaching on his province. I
have done my utmost to discharge my duty to the public, in preventing
the progress of this disorder and dissipation in the conduct of its
affairs. If it should be found that my colleagues have done the
same, I shall most cordially forgive them the offence and injury so
repeatedly offered me in the manner of it. I do not wish to accuse
them, but excuse myself; and I should have felt as much happiness in
preventing, as I have regret in complaining of this abuse.[35]

The appearance of things between this country and Great Britain,
and the Emperor and the King of Prussia, has been so long hostile,
without an open rupture, that it is not easy to say when either
war will begin. The King of Prussia has found it so necessary to
cultivate the aid of Hanover, Hesse, Brunswick, &c. that he has
declined receiving your deputy, or following the example of France
as he promised. It remains therefore to try the Empress, who,
independent of the present crisis, was much less inclined to our
cause. It seems to be the settled system of northern politics, that
if a war should happen, the Empress of Russia will assist the King of
Prussia, as far as the Porte will permit her.

In this country, the appointment of Marechal de Broglio commander of
the army on the sea coast, and the Duc de Chartres, son to the Duc
d’Orleans and Prince of the blood, going on board the fleet at Brest,
announce designs of some dignity and magnitude.

I am of opinion, with our colleague Mr Adams, that it would be better
for the public, that the appointment of your public ministers were
fixed, instead of being left at large, and their expenses indefinite.
From experience I find the expense of living in that character cannot
well be less than three thousand pounds sterling a year, which I
believe too is as little as is allowed to any public minister above
the rank of a consul. If left at liberty, I conceive that most
persons will exceed this sum. Neither do I perceive any adequate
advantage to be expected from having more than one person at each
Court. When things take a more settled form, there will be little
need of that check, which is the chief utility of it at present.

The mixing powers too, and vesting them in several persons at the
same time, give ground for disputes, which are disgraceful as well
as detrimental to the public. This has been much experienced in the
case of the commercial agents, and the agent of the Commissioners,
who have been clashing and contesting till the public business was
almost entirely at a stand. For the present, however, we have settled
this matter, by directing all commercial business to be put into the
hands of those appointed by the commercial agent, till the pleasure
of Congress is known.

Two more ships have been lately sent to Newfoundland, and two to the
Mediterranean, which, with thirteen detached under Admiral Byron to
reinforce Lord Howe, leave seventeen of the line and eight frigates
for Admiral Keppel, and these very ill manned. I have exceeding good
information, that their plan of operations for America is as follows.

General Howe is to evacuate Philadelphia, sending five thousand of
his troops and two ships of war to Quebec; the rest of the troops
with the fleet are to return to Halifax, where the latter being
joined by Admiral Byron will, it is presumed, maintain a superiority
in those seas over the allied fleet.

I wrote you before, that the lowest estimate given to the English
Ministry for the defence of Canada was eight thousand men, and that
their actual force there was about four thousand; the five thousand
added will, in their opinion, be sufficient, with their superiority
at sea, for its protection. I cannot learn that any but some German
recruits are to be sent out this year, and from the situation of
things they are more likely to recall a great part of their troops,
than to reinforce them.

Our friends in Spain have promised to remit me 150,000 livres more,
which I shall continue to vest in supplies that may be useful to you.

I hope, in consequence of what I formerly wrote, to have the express
order of Congress relative to the line they would choose to fix
between the territories of the United States, and those of the crown
of Spain. The privileges to be enjoyed by the subjects of the United
States, settling for the purposes of commerce, and the regulation
of port duties, remain yet to be settled in both nations. But I
foresee that if they are left unregulated, they will be the source of
complaints and disagreements.

The flotilla is not yet in port, which retards the operations in
Europe. I could have wished that the great object of having a
superior naval force in America, had not been left to the uncertain
issue on which it was placed by other advice than mine. Had the Brest
and Toulon fleets, which were equally ready, been ordered to sail at
the same time, that which met immediately with favorable winds to go
on, and the other to return, one of them would probably have been
upon your coast before this time, that is, before the English fleet
could possibly have sailed to reinforce and save Lord Howe; and as
having a superior force in America was the great object, together
with that of taking the Howes by surprise, they should have made as
sure of this aim as possible. And indeed, had it been executed with
address, the war would have been ended.

M. Penet has proposed to me the collecting and carrying over a number
of workmen to establish a foundery of cannon, and a manufactory
of small arms. It is to be at his expense, under the protection
of Congress. As this seems to me much more likely to answer your
purposes than our sending them, I have ventured to give him my
opinion, that it will be acceptable to Congress. We have found such
a universal disposition here to deceive us in their recommendations,
that it is ten to one, if workmen chosen by us in such a circumstance
were skilful.

The disposition in Holland seems to be favorable to us, but I
apprehend it is not warm enough to produce any decided proof of it,
till they see Great Britain more enfeebled. M. Dumas has published
a Memoir I sent him on the subject, which he thinks will have some
effect.

With my humble duty to Congress, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[34] The insinuation here, that Dr Franklin was disposed to favor Mr
Williams, because he was his nephew, seems to have been made without
just grounds. The contrary indeed would appear from the following
extract of a letter, written by Dr Franklin to Mr William Lee, March
6th, 1778, when Mr Lee proposed to him that the Commissioners should
appoint Mr Williams as a commercial agent at Nantes.

“Your proposition,” says Dr Franklin, “about appointing agents in the
ports, shall be laid before the Commissioners when they meet. In the
mean time, I can only say, that as to my nephew, Mr Williams, though
I have from long knowledge and experience of him a high opinion of
his abilities, activity, and integrity, will have no hand in his
appointment, or in approving it, not being desirous of his being in any
way concerned in that business.

“I am obliged to you for your good opinion of my nephew, manifested in
your intention of nominating him as above, and I beg you to accept my
thanks, though for particular reasons, which you know, I do not wish
him to accept the employment.”

[35] For a full explanation of all the charges contained in this
letter, see Silas Deane’s Correspondence in the present work, Vol. I,
p. 139, under the date of October 12th, 1778,--also, p. 148 of the same
volume. And for a further notice of Mr Williams’s accounts, see p. 172.


TO M. DUMAS.

                                        Chaillot, June 4th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

It gave me great pleasure to receive the key to the treasure you sent
us before in Dutch, my unacquaintance with which having prevented
me from knowing how much I was obliged to you, for the improvement
made in the little essay I had the honor of sending to you. _Felix
faustumque sit._ May it open the eyes of your people to their own
interests, before a universal bankruptcy in England, and a compelled
frugality in America, have deprived them of the golden opportunity of
extricating themselves from bad debtors, and connecting themselves
with good ones.

So fair an opportunity of sharing in the most valuable commerce on
the globe, will never again present itself; and, indeed, they are
greatly obliged to the noble and disinterested principles of the
Court of France, which prevented this country from attempting to
possess itself of the monopoly, which Great Britain had forfeited. In
truth, they were great and wise principles, and the connexion formed
upon them will be durable. France, and the rest of Europe, can never
pay too large a tribute of praise to the wisdom of The Most Christian
King, and his Ministers, in this transaction.

You are happy in having the esteem and counsel of the Grand Facteur,
who seems to have equal good sense and good intentions. Our enemies
seem embarrassed in their operations. As far as we can learn, their
fleet has not yet sailed for America to save the Howes from the fate
that hangs over them. We have no intelligence on which we can rely.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, June 9th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

My last of the 1st, informed you of Admiral Byron, with thirteen
sail, being ordered against you, of which we sent notice by every way
most likely to warn the States of their danger.

We have now certain advice, that this fleet having put into Plymouth
is there stopped, their remaining fleet being found too weak to
protect them at home. I enclose you a late account of their force and
the disposal of it; and nothing seems more certain, than that the
naval and land force now employed against you will be diminished, not
augmented. However, I have now settled such means of intelligence,
that you will be apprized if any alteration should happen.

All our intelligence announces the utmost confusion in Great Britain
and Ireland; such as will infallibly find them employment at home,
independent of France and Spain. Their councils are so fluctuating in
consequence of the variety of their distress, that advices of them
cannot be given with certainty; that is, without being frequently
subject to appear premature.

The British Ministry have agreed to an exchange of prisoners with us,
by which we shall immediately release upwards of 200.

War is not commenced in Germany, but is talked of as inevitable.
The deputy of Congress for Vienna is at his destination to feel the
disposition of that Court. But I understand, that their attention is
so engaged with the approaching war, that other propositions proceed
slowly. As the King of Prussia contends against the Empress and the
House of Austria, in maintenance of the treaty of Westphalia, which
is the great bulwark of German rights, it is therefore necessary,
that he should league himself with the German Princes, among whom the
King of Great Britain, as elector of Hanover, bears so much sway,
that he could not hazard the turning his influence against him by
entering into an alliance with us. To cultivate and encourage the
favorable disposition towards us in Holland, we have sent them the
treaty concluded here, and we shall follow it by proposals for a
loan, as soon as Dr Franklin (to whom the digesting of the plan, and
having the proposed bills printed, is left) has prepared the business
for execution.

Mr Williams has at length given in his accounts, from which it
appears, that upwards of forty thousand suits of the soldiers’
clothes ordered, and twenty thousand fusils, have been sent from
Nantes and Bordeaux; and the present exhausted state of our finances
will not permit us to fulfil them further. The ships of war sent
hither are an enormous expense to us; hardly any of them less than
100,000 livres, and things have been hitherto so managed, that their
prizes produce us little or nothing. This seems to have arisen from
the variety of agents employed, the confusion of their provinces,
and the loose manner in which the public accounts have been kept.
To remedy this, we have to simplify the business of expenditure, by
directing the whole to be discharged by the two deputy commercial
agents appointed by my brother, in the interval of his negotiation
in Germany. By this we expect to avoid the infinite impositions
arising from a connexion with a multiplicity of merchants, many of
whom, supposing us to know no better, will endeavor to deceive us.
They, as merchants, know how to check the others, and are themselves
ultimately responsible to us.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                  Chaillot, June 14th, 1778.

Sir,

It was with great pleasure I heard the explanation, which your
Excellency did me the honor to give me yesterday relative to the 12th
article of the Commercial Treaty; that it was meant to comprehend
only provisions, and not the whole of our exports to his Majesty’s
Islands, and that _denrées_, the word employed, signifies eatables,
not merchandise. It relieved the apprehensions I had entertained,
that the having set in that article the whole of our produce
against one of your productions would seem unequal, would therefore
give uneasiness in Congress, and prevent that unanimity in their
approbation of the treaty, which the wise and liberal principles on
which it is planned deserve; and which I most sincerely wished it
might receive.

Upon referring, however, to the words of the treaty, I find they are
_denrées et marchandise_, so that the words appear, by I know not
what accident, to have been different from, and to mean more than you
intended. I lament extremely that nothing of this explanation passed
in our conference and correspondence with M. Gerard on this and the
preceding article. Yet I am not without hope, that Congress will
rather trust to the equity of your Court for reducing the article to
its intended equality, than gratify our enemies by an appearance of
dissension in ratifying the treaties.

Reciprocity and equality being the principles of the treaties, and
duration the object, your Excellency will, in my judgment, have an
opportunity of strengthening the confidence and ties between us,
by offering to remove words of a latitude not intended, and of an
inequality, which must be seen and create dissatisfaction.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                   Versailles, June 15th, 1778.

Sir,

I received with pleasure the letter you did me the honor of writing
to me yesterday. We shall not be long probably before we receive
news from your constituents, and their judgment of the act which you
signed here in conjunction with your colleagues. Should they demand
any eclaircissements, we shall not refuse to make them. You know our
principles, and I think we have given proofs of our disinterestedness.

I see with pleasure, Sir, that you are satisfied with the proofs
of the Prince de Montbaray’s zeal in procuring you the articles
you requested from him.[36] You will always find us disposed to do
everything, that may concern the welfare of the United States of
America.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     DE VERGENNES.

[36] This relates to military articles for the State of Virginia, which
Mr Lee was authorised to procure. The correspondence concerning this
subject will be found in the first volume of the _Life of Arthur Lee_.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                       Paris, June 15th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I find I was mistaken in saying in my last, of the 9th, that twenty
thousand fusils had been shipped from Nantes and Bordeaux; upwards
of ten thousand remain unshipped, at Nantes. Upon the strength of
the promised remittance from our friends in Spain, and near one
hundred thousand remaining in my hands, I have desired the Gardoquis
to continue shipping blankets and strong shoes from Bilboa; twenty
thousand livres worth of drugs, and salt to be shipped by Mr Cathatan
of Marseilles; a thousand suits of soldiers’ clothes from Bordeaux,
by Mr Bonfield; and six hundred fusils, of the Prussian make, from
Berlin, that you may judge on arming a corps with them whether they
are preferable to others.

My brother writes me from Vienna in a late letter, that Colonel
Faucit is using the utmost endeavors to raise German recruits; but
from the present state of things, I do not imagine he can succeed;
and the North, that is Russia and Denmark, are not likely to give our
enemies any assistance. As far as I can judge, their efforts against
us, except a sort of piratical war, are exhausted. The same ministry
continues. The House of Bourbon is certainly united against them.
They have the same imbecility of council. Their enemies increase
in proportion to the diminution of their means. The decay of their
commerce, the distress of their people, the rapacity of their public
officers, and the load of their debt and taxes, promise soon to bring
upon them the most deplorable distress, and prevent them from being
any longer a formidable enemy.

The flotilla is not yet arrived. The enclosed copies of Captain
Jones’ letters, and one[37] from the majority of his crew, make me
apprehend, that the Ranger will share the fate of the Revenge. We
have done all in our power to bring him and his officers into order,
but hitherto in vain.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[37] Both missing.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, July 1st, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I enclose you some extracts, by which you will see, that war is not
yet declared, though on all hands it appears to be fast approaching.

The Spanish flotilla is not yet arrived, nor their fleet from South
America. Since my last, a French frigate of twentysix guns was
attacked by an English frigate of twentyeight, off Brest, and after
an obstinate engagement the latter made off, and soon after sunk!
This has given great spirits to the French marine and nation, and
is more especially fortunate, as the English were the aggressors.
Admiral Keppel is before Brest, with twentythree sail of the line,
where I believe he will not remain long unattacked. Permission is
given to French subjects to fit out privateers; and orders are sent
to all the ports to prepare our prizes to be sold. From London, the
Ministry have offered us an exchange of prisoners, which we are
taking the necessary measures to embrace.

By some unaccountable neglect the person, to whom Dr Franklin
committed the printing of the bills resolved on for the loan, has not
furnished them, so that nothing further is yet done in that business.
But I hope you will soon have news of its further progress, and that
some event will happen to furnish us with a very favorable moment for
its execution.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


Mr Lee presents his respects to his Excellency Count d’Aranda, and
begs he will have the goodness to forward the packet, addressed to
Count de Florida Blanca, which he has the honor of enclosing him, and
which is on business of the last importance, by the first opportunity
to his Court.

TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                        Paris, July 18th, 1778.

Sir,

I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency the enclosed
resolutions of Congress,[38] with my most earnest prayer, that
they may be laid immediately before the King. Nothing but the
uncommon exigency of the present war, attended with such peculiar
circumstances with regard to the United States, would prevail upon
them to press so much upon his Majesty’s goodness. That necessity
must also plead my pardon for entreating your Excellency to let
me have as early an answer as possible. As the United States have
the highest confidence in the friendship of the King, they promise
themselves that his goodness will afford this loan as a relief to
their most urgent distresses. With regard to the interest for the
quantum of that, they refer themselves to his Majesty’s justice. Five
per cent is the legal interest with them, but I am authorised to give
six, if his Majesty should desire it.

This interest will be most punctually paid; and they will neglect
no means of liquidating the principle, if desired, sooner than the
stipulated time, which will be easily accomplished, when peace or
some other employment of the enemy’s navy than that of preying upon
their trade will permit the export of their produce to European
markets.

Your Excellency will perceive, that this loan is appropriated to
sinking the paper money, which necessity obliged Congress to issue.
An infant and unprepared people, compelled to defend themselves
against an old, opulent, powerful, and well appointed nation, were
driven to this resource of issuing paper. They were to create armies
and navies, to fortify towns, erect forts, defend rivers, and
establish governments, besides the immense expense of maintaining a
war, that pressed them powerfully on all sides. For these purposes
they had neither funds established, taxes imposed, specie in their
country, nor commerce to introduce it. In this exigency paper money
was their only resource, and not having been able hitherto for the
same reasons to redeem it, the depreciation, which necessarily
followed, threatens the total destruction of their credit, and
consequently their only means of maintaining their independence.

In this distress their hope is fixed upon his Majesty, and I most
earnestly beseech your Excellency so to represent our situation to
the King, as may move his royal benevolence to furnish the relief,
which will raise an everlasting tribute of gratitude in the minds of
the people of the United States.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency’s
most obedient, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[38] “_In Congress, December 3d, 1777._ The great quantity of paper
money, issued to defray the necessary expenses of the war, having at
length become so considerable as to endanger its credit, and Congress
apprehending, that the slow operation of taxes may not be adequate to
the prevention of an evil so pernicious in its consequences, and as
experience proves, that the method of paying the interest by bills on
France does not fill the loan office so fast as the urgent calls of war
demand,

“_Resolved_, That the Commissioners at the Courts of France and Spain
be directed to exert their utmost endeavors to obtain a loan of two
millions sterling on the faith of the United States, for a term not
less than ten years, with permission if practicable to pay the same
sooner if it shall be agreeable to these States, giving twelve months’
previous notice to the lender, of such intention to return the money.
That the Commissioners be instructed to consider the money hereby
directed to be borrowed, as a fund to be applied, unless Congress
direct otherwise, solely to the purpose of answering such drafts as
Congress shall make for the purpose of lessening the sum of paper money
in circulation.

“That in order more effectually to answer the good purposes intended by
this plan, the Commissioners be also instructed to keep as secret as
the nature of the thing will admit, whatever loan they shall be able to
obtain for this purpose on account of the United States.”


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, July 29th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I enclose you a duplicate of the news of an engagement between the
fleets of France and England. The particulars received since make
the loss on board the French fleet very inconsiderable, and paint
the behavior of the English to have been inexpert and dastardly. The
repulsing them in the first engagement will probably lead to the
defeating them in the next, for which purpose the fleet of our allies
will go out in a few days.

The Empress and Emperor seem at length sensible of the impropriety of
their conduct, and in consequence a truce for six weeks is agreed on,
to give time for negotiation to prevent the effusion of blood.

The quadruplicate of the ratification reached us on the 3d in
safety, as all the rest have done. The answer of Congress to the
Commissioners was immediately sent to the ministers, and will, I am
persuaded, give great satisfaction.

It has been forgotten, I believe, to mention both in our joint and
particular letters, that we have attended to the plan proposed by
the Committee of sending the frigates to cruise in the East Indies,
and upon considering all things it seemed to us impracticable at
present. Better order must be established in our marine, and the
ships’ companies better sorted, before it will be safe to attempt
enterprises at such a distance, and which require a certain extent of
ideas in the Captain, and entire obedience in the crew.

The authority of Congress for omitting the 11th and 12th articles of
the Commercial Treaty, which was omitted in the other despatches,
came safe in the last, and will be presented immediately to the
minister, who has already agreed to have them expunged.

I enclose you our letter, and Mr Hodge’s answer, concerning the money
expended at Dunkirk, together with a particular account of what he
has received from the public banker.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


JAMES GARDOQUI TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                      Madrid, August 13th, 1778.

    Dear Sir,

My last respects went to you under the 23d ult. and referring you
to my sequels with regard to your desires of me in money matters,
I must beg leave to inform you, that the proposal you have made
for borrowing money through the hands of a nobleman at your place
is received, and that your being served therewith would give your
friends on this side a real pleasure, but I am sorry to tell you,
that it is impossible for the present. You will please to observe
and consider upon the immense charges occasioned within these two or
three years, and that all is done merely on account of your present
quarrel, as likewise that such formidable preparations have been and
will still be of infinite service to the Americans; besides which, it
is well known to yourself, and more so to your worthy constituents,
that great succors have been sent forthwith through various channels,
and that the same is continued to this day, and will be so in future
as much as possible.

In short, it is not doubted but you will represent the whole to your
constituents, looking upon all in its true light, and observing that
if affairs should be accommodated to their satisfaction and that of
this side, the means of succoring you would be facilitated.

I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.

                                                     JAMES GARDOQUI.


JAMES GARDOQUI TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        Madrid, August 20th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I confirm my last compliments to you under the 13th inst, wherein
I observed how difficult it would be to borrow the two millions
sterling here, under the present circumstances, more especially
while the enormous charges and fitting out of vessels are carried
on merely to protect your colonies, which are besides assisted with
effective succors, and will be so in future as much as possible.
Since my letter, I have maturely considered upon the matter, and it
has occurred to me, that if your government means by it to take up
all the paper that has been laid out, perhaps the cession of Florida
to Spain, (in case you could reduce it,) might at the conclusion of
peace produce, if not the whole, at least a great part of the funds
required.

You will no doubt consider, that I cannot penetrate the way of
thinking of our Court in this and other entangled matters, but
judging like a merchant, I think a negotiation of this kind might
well take place, for I imagine it would be proper for both, that
the frontier in question should not remain in future in the hands
of enemies or suspicious powers. There is, besides, a further
negotiation which might be added to the great benefit of your States
and this Court, and that is, your providing this kingdom with good
timber for the Spanish navy at commodious prices.

I hope, Sir, you will excuse my liberty in pointing out these hints,
to which I am led by the honest principle of friendship, and by the
wished for view that the interest of both countries may be united
upon a sincere and lasting footing; therefore I hope you will weigh
the same as you may think more convenient, observing that I suppose
you will not propose it to our Court, before you know how the
honorable Congress thinks upon both objects.

I am with unfeigned esteem, &c.

                                                    JAMES GARDOQUI.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, August 21st, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I wrote you on the 28th ult. of my having pressed for the loan
directed by Congress. I have received an assurance through the
Ambassador, that an answer will be given to my memorial as soon as
possible.

I enclose you a memorial for the consideration of Congress, as we do
not think ourselves authorised to act upon it without express orders.
Could one be sure, that justice would be done to the public, it might
be of advantage to adopt this scheme, for Congress must not trust to
the success of a loan, which, for the following reasons, I apprehend
will be found impracticable.

The war in Germany supervening on that between us and Great Britain,
and the preparations for it by France and Spain, have raised and
multiplied the demand for money, so as to give the holders of it
their choice and their price. The Empress Queen has engrossed every
shilling in the Netherlands. England has drawn large sums from the
Hollanders, who cannot easily quit their former market. France is
negotiating a loan of one hundred million livres, which will exhaust
Geneva and Switzerland. The money holders regard the lending their
money at such a distance, as Jacob did the sending Benjamin into
Egypt, and it is time only will make them endure the thought of such
a separation.

These are the difficulties which the circumstances of things oppose
to our scheme of a loan, and render the aid of some other operation
necessary for sinking the superabundant paper.

The Minister’s answer relative to M. Holker was, that he had no
authority from this Court, but on this our joint letter I expect
will be more full. I have determined to write to you once a month or
oftener, as opportunity offers, and as we do not write so frequently,
I am tempted to mention things which should properly come from all
the Commissioners, as they relate to the joint commission.

From the necessity of the case we have ventured to administer the
oath of allegiance to those who desire passports of us, but I hope
Congress will authorise their Commissioners to do so where it is
necessary.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI.

                                      Paris, August 27th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I received yesterday your favor of the 13th. If I remember rightly
what made me delay writing to you relative to the bills was my desire
of informing you, at the same time, of their being accepted; and it
was long before I could learn that myself, from the manner in which
they were drawn. I am very sorry it did you any disservice.

I am neither unmindful of, nor ungrateful for, the support we have
received from your quarter. The inevitable necessity, which compelled
an application for more, gave me great uneasiness. I was sensible
the sum desired was very considerable. But so are our wants. It is
our misfortune, not our fault, that we are obliged thus to trouble
and distress our friends. I trust they will consider it in that
light. There is nothing more precarious and immeasureable than
what influences public credit. The sum sought would have enabled
Congress to call in such a quantity of the paper emitted, as must
establish the credit and value of the rest in defiance of all the
efforts of our enemies. And I think that if our friends could lend
us even as much as would constitute a fund here, on which Congress
might draw, so as to call in at once one or two million dollars, it
would greatly raise the value of the rest. This would require about
eight or ten million livres. When it is seen that the redemption is
begun, hopes and expectations will be raised, and credit grow upon
them. But emitting more, without redeeming any, makes people think
that no redemption is intended, and consequently produces doubts and
discredit.

It is long ago that I foresaw, and I had the honor of stating it at
Burgos, the necessity of providing for the support of our funds,
or rather funds themselves, by the assistance of our friends in
Europe. I will venture to say, that one million sterling, furnished
in this manner, would have been a more effectual aid than all the
preparations that have or can be made, unless they go to actual
hostilities. Have these preparations prevented twelve ships of the
line from being sent on our coasts to augment enormously that naval
force, which was already sufficient to stop our commerce and prevent
us from sending our produce to procure funds in Europe? When we
argue against facts we deceive ourselves. The fact then is, that
these preparations, however formidable, have had so little effect,
that though our enemies were hardly a match for France alone at
sea, they ventured, in the face of those preparations, to despatch
a powerful fleet against us. Some how or other they did not believe
those preparations were meant against them. Have they been deceived
in the event? Has their temerity been chastised as it deserved? Has
the fleet of Spain joined that of France to crush at one blow their
divided naval power? I do not mean to question the goodness of the
reasons for this; I mean only to state the fact. I mean to show too
that it is not extraordinary, that we should desire other aid than
that which, however well intended, does not effectually operate to
the relief intended. It is our necessity, not our choice, that
speaks. To make a diversion in our favor was benevolent, to send us
clothing for troops and naval stores was generous and friendly, but
if that diversion has not hindered our commerce from being obstructed
by powerful fleets, if the utter discredit of our money for want
of funds prevents soldiers, sailors, and others from engaging in
our service, and exposes our country to the cruel depredations and
devastations of an enraged enemy, can our friends think hardly of
us, if we press them for that assistance which only can relieve our
distress?

There is a passage in your letter, which, as I suppose it was not
inadvertently inserted, I will give my opinion upon fully. It is
“that if affairs should be accommodated to your and our satisfaction,
the means of succoring us would be facilitated.” There is nothing we
wish more than such an accommodation, consistent with our engagements
and our future security. I can assure you, that no people are more
averse to war than those of the United States. Were peace once
established upon wise principles, leaving us such neighbors as the
Spaniards, whose fair and unencroaching dispositions would prevent
any attempts to disturb us, I do not see any reason to suppose we
should ever be engaged in a foreign war. A war of ambition I am sure
we shall never have. No people were ever more sensible of the value
of peace, or more disposed to enjoy themselves and let others enjoy
in tranquillity the fruits of their labor.

We are a young people, and have had fourteen civil governments to
settle during the heat and pressure of a violent war, accompanied
with every possible circumstance, that could augment the expense and
difficulty usually attending a state of warfare. It is in this moment
of distress, that our real friends will show themselves in enabling
us to prevent those calamities, which, though they cannot subdue,
will yet injure us infinitely. Our industry, were peace and commerce
once established, would soon enable us to repay them, and they would
be sure of a gratitude more lively and lasting.

Be so good as to assure our friends, that I have not omitted, nor
shall I omit the smallest circumstance of their friendship and
generosity, which has passed through me. I hope for a speedy and
favorable answer to transmit to my constituents.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, August 31st, 1778.

Gentlemen,

It has been hinted to me, that there will be two important subjects
of negotiation with the Spanish Court, upon which I beg to have the
orders of Congress.

1st. Providing the Spanish navy with masts at a stipulated and as
reasonable a price as possible.

2d. The cession of Florida, should it be conquered, to them.

For this they would stipulate, whenever peace is concluded, to
furnish the funds for redeeming all, or a great part of the paper.

I cannot presume to proceed at all on these propositions without
express instructions. In the meantime, whatever further lights I can
obtain shall be communicated immediately.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI.

                                    Paris, September 1st, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I received your favor of the 20th ult. last night, and will trouble
you in addition to what I wrote on the 27th. It depends on your side
to begin a treaty, of which, what you mention must be a part. I have
already signified my powers and my readiness to do my part, without
receiving any answer. My powers by commission are full, and the
ratification confirms them specially. Neither my constituents nor
myself will be found unwilling to make every reasonable return for
any aid given us. There are no neighbors we could prefer to you.

By the last accounts from America, the British army and fleet, after
a bloody battle in the Jerseys, were blocked up in New York by
General Washington and Count d’Estaing.

It is not improbable they may be forced to surrender before they are
released.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, September 9th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I enclose you copies of the accounts, bills of lading, &c. of the
articles, which I before informed you I should direct to be shipped,
and which I pay for out of the funds intrusted to me alone. The only
error I find in them is the charge of five per cent commission, which
I shall endeavor to have rectified. It will be easy to compare
the uniforms at 32 livres, with those furnished by Mr Monthieu at
37 livres, according to Mr Deane’s contract, and which Mr Williams
reported to us ought to have been rejected; a report, which was
concealed from me, as well as the contract.

I have before informed you of my having received remittances in
bills, to the amount of 187,500 livres. As I knew it would not be
necessary to expend this sum sooner than three months, I thought it
better to get interest for it for that time, than let it lie idle.
The enclosed receipt will show you, that I have succeeded with the
first bill that was due, but I doubt if it will be practicable with
the rest.

It may be proper to inform you, that I have dismissed my former
secretary, Major Thornton, because it was verified to me, that he
had received from Mr Wharton a note of hand for five hundred pounds,
payable on war taking place in such a time. This afforded so strong
a suspicion, that they who are now his accusers had seduced him into
this gambling society, and probably for the purpose of betraying my
secrets in the Spanish negotiation, that I thought it prudent to
supply his place with another, and have chosen the Rev. Hezekiah
Ford, of the State of Virginia, and chaplain to the 3d and 5th
regiments of North Carolina troops, in the service of the United
States. We have administered to him an oath of secrecy and fidelity,
which from his character I have every reason to believe he will
religiously observe. The present moment is as totally barren of news,
as times of the most perfect tranquillity.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


JAMES GARDOQUI TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                Madrid, September 28th, 1778.

Sir,

A severe illness, which almost reduced me to the last, has prevented
my giving you punctual answers to your favors down to the 1st
instant; but embracing the first moments of my recovery, I have to
say, that I am afraid I did not explain my sentiments clearly in
my last. The hints given you were purely mine, and as a friend who
wishes the best to both, in order that you might make use of them as
you thought proper, and of course I cannot say anything about your
powers and treaties, being things out of my way, with which it would
be improper for me to meddle. I wish most heartily, that things may
be accommodated happily for both parties, so I pray consider this
as such, as I should be sorry, that hints given you without either
design or authority should be thought otherwise, or meet with results
of consequence.

In this same light, and as a sincere friend, who wishes the best
intelligence between your constituents and this side, I have now
to add, that the capture of the Swedish ship, the Henrica Sofia,
Captain P. Held, loaded with Spanish property, and bound from London
to Teneriffe, by Captain Cunningham of the Revenge privateer, has
occasioned the utmost disgust on this side. I would, therefore,
recommend to you not only the immediate release of said vessel, but
likewise to give the strictest orders to said Cunningham to pay more
regard to the territories of this Kingdom, and to the Spanish flag,
for there has been such complaints about his conduct, that I hear
orders have been sent to the several ports to prevent his entry;
besides which, there are rumors, that he is not properly an American
privateer, being manned by French adventurers, who, with their
commander, have acted contrary to the law of nations.

Some of my friends, with whom I tried to raise a sum for you, desire
to know the length of time you want it, the interest you will allow,
and whether you will pay said interest in tobacco, and at what price
it will be reckoned in Bilboa, with all other particulars that may
offer to you; so I wish you to let me know, if agreeable, that I may
let them see it, observing, that I judge we may raise a part, though
not the two million of livres, which you desired of me; I would also
know whether you will want the money in France or Spain.

I am with sincere esteem, your most obedient humble servant,

                                                    JAMES GARDOQUI.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                               Chaillot, September 28th, 1778.

Sir,

I had the honor of your Excellency’s letter of the 23d. I should not
trouble you with an answer, did it not appear to me necessary to
show, that the blame it imputes to me is by no means merited. For
that purpose your Excellency will permit me to remind you of what is
the fact, that I was not present when the conversation relative to
M. Holker, to which your Excellency refers passed between you and my
colleagues. I imagine too it arose accidentally, as the intention of
conversing on that subject was not communicated to me.

With regard to the duties, my knowledge of them arose from a
transaction of my own as Commissioner for Spain, in which my
colleagues had no concern. I have always been so sensible of the
impropriety of one Commissioner acting, or being acted with, for
the whole, in what regards their deputation here, as scrupulously
to avoid setting the example. Therefore I entirely agree with your
Excellency, that such a precedent should never be permitted.

It was not my intention to make any complaint about the duties, which
were probably imposed for wise purposes, but to offer my opinion
to your Excellency of what I conceived might be beneficial to that
union, which my connexion and myself have always been most zealous in
advising, and for the permanency of which, it is therefore natural
that I should be particularly anxious.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Paris, September 30th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

Since I wrote you the 9th of this month, no step has been taken either
by our enemies or allies of moment enough to advise you of; nor has
any material event happened in Europe, insomuch that times of the
profoundest peace could not possibly be more barren. This arises from
the general reluctance to war, which, though all are preparing for, no
one seems to desire. The fate of this campaign with you will determine
whether we shall have immediate offers of peace or continuance of
war. If their fleets and armies maintain their ground, or gain any
advantage, they will continue the war, and wait for something in the
chapter of accidents, which is the sole resource of the Ministers.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI.

                                     Paris, October 6th, 1778.

Sir,

I have not had the pleasure of any answer from you to mine of the
22d of August. I am afraid that the total silence of your friends
about taking an open part with us, when all the impediments, which
you know were stated, are removed, will make bad impressions on the
minds of my countrymen, and transfer all their gratitude to those
who have declared in their favor. And this more especially, as one
of the English Commissioners, Governor Johnstone, had pledged his
honor publicly to prove, that Spain disapproved of, and endeavored to
prevent, the declaration of France in our favor.

If to stop the effusion of human blood, and all the shocking
calamities attending a war like this, be worthy of a pious prince; if
to prevent the chances of war from having any influence in preventing
the dismemberment of the British Empire, and the humiliation of
their pride be an object worthy of a political prince; if to drive
the English immediately from America, and receive a portion of her
independent commerce, be an advantage to the crown and people of
Spain, this is the moment for its monarch to decide and enforce those
events by an immediate declaration of our independency, and an union
of force, which must be irresistible.

The last certain accounts from America announce preparations for an
assault upon Rhode Island, on the 16th of August. It was already
invested both by sea and land, and the enemy had been obliged to burn
several of their vessels, and among the rest one of twentysix guns.

The report is, that the Island is taken, for a confirmation of which
we wait with much anxiety. The loss of it would deprive the enemy of
their port for wintering their navy, and oblige them to abandon New
York.

I hope to receive good tidings from you soon, and have the honor to
be, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient servant,

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                      Paris, October 12th, 1778.

Sir,

Your Excellency has seen in the separate and secret act, signed the
6th of February, 1778, that I am charged with full powers to conclude
a treaty with Spain. You are also acquainted with my having been in
Spain, and having had conferences with the Marquis de Grimaldi on
this subject.

All the objections, which were then alleged against an immediate
declaration, are now removed. The consistency of our cause is
unquestionable. France is ready, and has actually declared. Their
treasure is safe, and the fleet from Buenos Ayres is in their
harbors, yet we do not see the least movement on their part towards
realising the hopes they gave us; but on the contrary such ostensible
measures as they have taken must certainly give encouragement to
our enemies. That Court has not thought proper to take the least
notice of the ratification of the separate and secret article, which
I announced to them. While we are therefore bound, they remain at
liberty.

All this, Sir, gives me much uneasiness. I am apprehensive, that
Congress will not think this mode of acting very satisfactory; and
that the encouragement, that it must hold out to the Court of London,
will prolong this pernicious war, and make it cost us much more blood
and treasure than is necessary to tie the hands of our common enemy,
and establish effectually the liberty, sovereignty, and independence,
absolute and unlimited, of the United States.

In these very critical circumstances I must have recourse to the King
and to your Excellency. Our cause is common, and it is my wish to
conduct it by your experience, your lights, and your counsel, as to
the measure I am to take, whether it be to act or to wait. This would
always be my desire; but I consider it now as my duty; for it appears
to be the mutual sentiment of your Court and of Congress, that the
eventual treaty signed at Paris, the 6th of February, is now become
actual, permanent, and indissoluble. The first article of that treaty
says, “That if war should break out between France and Great Britain,
during the continuance of the present war between the United States
and Great Britain, his Majesty and the United States will make it a
common cause, and will aid each other with their mutual good offices,
counsels, and forces, according to the exigency of things, and as
becomes good and faithful allies.”

It is upon these principles, that I think it my duty to endeavor to
place upon an equal footing the interests of France, and those of the
United States; and therefore not to commence anything without the
concurrence of your Court. Upon the same principles, I flatter myself
with obtaining the aid and assistance of your wisdom and information,
as to the moment of commencing the measures to be taken, and the
means to be employed, with the Court of Spain.

I am persuaded, and always was so, that Great Britain cannot make
head for a year against the united counsels and force of the House of
Bourbon and the United States of America.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                Versailles, October 17th, 1778.

Sir,

I have received the letter you did me the honor to write to me the
12th instant. I have examined its contents with that attention,
which is due to the interest I take in every thing that respects the
prosperity of the United States, and it is my opinion, that you will
act prudently in suspending the measures you wish to take at the
Court of Madrid, with the view of ascertaining its principles and
resolutions with regard to America.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                    DE VERGENNES.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, October 19th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

Our affairs in Holland, both as to the treaty and loan, are in a
promising state. The King of Naples and of Sicily has declared to
us in form, by his Ambassador here, that his ports are open to all
vessels belonging to the United States. As the success of our cause
gains ground daily in the opinion of mankind, I imagine this winter
will produce us some more declared friends among the European powers.

The enemy appears to have no system about continuing the war, or
ending it on the terms which Congress has marked out to them.
A little success in privateering, since the commencement of
hostilities, has given a momentary exhilaration to their depressed
spirits; and the expectation of a speedy peace, which is artfully
circulated by Ministerial agents, keeps them from entirely sinking.

I find by a specimen, which did not reach me until the goods were
shipped, that I have been most egregiously imposed upon in the fusils
sent from Berlin. I mean to complain of it to the king of Prussia’s
Minister, as it was the king’s contractor that furnished them by his
order. The impositions, that we daily meet with, are in consequence
of an opinion prevailing among individuals, that as we are not
acknowledged they may do it with impunity.

No movements yet on the part of Spain. I have consulted Count de
Vergennes on the propriety of my taking any measures to bring that
Court to a decision; his advice is in these words. “My opinion is,
that you will act prudently to suspend the advances, which you desire
to make to that Court, with the view of ascertaining its principles
and resolutions with regard to America.”

Agreeably to this advice, I shall wait the positive orders of
Congress, unless some change of circumstances should make it
evidently prudent and necessary for me to act before they arrive.

I beg my humble duty may be recommended to Congress, and have the
honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                Chaillot, October 21st, 1778.

Sir,

Your Excellency had the goodness to write me on the 16th of January
last, in the following words. “As to the fusils and other arms of our
manufacture, you will have liberty to purchase them, and the bankers
Splittgerber, who have charge of the fabrication of arms, will be
instructed to deliver to you whatsoever may be demanded on your part.
I subjoin a note of the prices, which are the same as the king pays,
and add, that the fusils for the infantry may be had at a little
lower price, if regard is only had to the solidity of the work,
without insisting on that exact uniformity which the king requires.”

In consequence of this, I ordered eight hundred fusils for infantry,
of the best kind, from the Messrs Splittgerber, and paid them their
own price immediately. My intention was to arm a regiment, that the
whole army might judge of the superiority of the Prussian model.
The fusils were sent by Hamburgh to Bordeaux, and were shipped
from thence to America, a case having previously been opened, and
a fusil taken out and sent to me. By this specimen, I find that
the fusils, so far from being of the sort at present used in his
Prussian Majesty’s army, are directly the reverse, and of the worst
and most ordinary workmanship that can be imagined. I do assure your
Excellency, that they are such as our militia would reject, and
appear to me and others, who are competent judges, to be old rejected
muskets. The ramrod is not a quarter of an inch in diameter, and the
lock holes that receive it narrow and of the same diameter above and
below; so that the Prussian manner of charging is impracticable with
these fusils. The observation I made a thousand times over of the
fusils, which the troops at Berlin used, enables me to assure you,
that this is a most egregious imposition in being sent as the same,
and I am sure they would not sell in Europe for six livres a piece.

My merchant at Bordeaux, the Commercial Agent of Congress, assures me
that he took the fusil, from which I form my judgment, with his own
hand out of one of the cases sent from Messrs Splittgerber, through
the house of Chapeaurouge at Hamburgh.

I therefore entreat your Excellency to oblige these men to do me
justice. I am not so much offended at the imposition, for the
money it has defrauded me of, as for the disgrace it will bring
on the manufactures of Prussia, and the disappointment of the
plan I had formed to introduce them into the United States. The
mildest reparation, which I conceive can be demanded of the Messrs
Splittgerber, is that they send immediately to Bordeaux, at their own
expense, eight hundred fusils, such as are ordered, that is, of the
present Prussian form, and the best workmanship. Those, that they
have sent, I will order to be sold in America, and the net amount of
what they bring shall be paid to them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                            Versailles, October 24th, 1778.

Sir,

I have received, with great sensibility, the news which you have
obtained by the way of Spain. It is a very great fatality, that the
unlucky gale of wind separated the squadrons just as Count d’Estaing
had joined the English. He then had a superiority, which he must
have lost, if the Admirals Byron and Parker have joined Lord Howe.
We are very impatient to receive some direct accounts from our Vice
Admiral. We flatter ourselves, that the favorable winds will bring
some despatches from him. I request you, in the meantime, Sir, to
communicate whatever news you may receive through other channels.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       DE VERGENNES.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, November 4th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I wrote you on April the 14th, May the 9th, 20th and 23d, June the
1st, 9th, 15th, 17th, July 6th, 16th, 20th, 28th, 29th, August 21st
and 31st, September 9th, and 30th, October 5th and 19th, none of
which have been acknowledged or answered. I usually send triplicates
of my letters and of all the papers enclosed.[39]

Whether the British cabinet have yet determined upon relinquishing
the war in America, I have not been able to learn. This is certain,
that they have ordered considerable quantities of clothing and
provisions to be made ready for that quarter, which looks as if they
intended their fleet and army should winter with you. From their
situation at present, and that of Europe, it appears improbable
that they can reinforce, or even recruit their army to any effect.
Their naval force is so exactly balanced in Europe by that of France
alone, that they can hardly venture to detach any more of their fleet
against you. It seems, therefore, that you have before you the utmost
force that you are likely to contend with.

It serves the purposes of the enemy to propagate reports of aid from
Russia, sometimes in ships, sometimes in troops. As far as there is
any certainty in political events, you may be assured they will have
neither. The plan they adopt for Parliament, which will meet the
26th, will, I imagine, depend much on the representations of Lord
Howe and Governor Johnstone, who are both arrived in England.

Should their fleet and army winter in America, it will be a capital
object to intercept their provision fleets. For this purpose I shall
obtain and transmit to you, from time to time, intelligence of their
being collected at Cork, from which you may judge what time they may
be expected on the coast.

The whale fishery, which the enemy have established on the coast of
Brazil, and which they carry on by men from Nantucket, is likely to
become very valuable; and being totally unprotected, it might be
destroyed at one blow.

The instruments for abolishing the 11th and 12th articles are
exchanged, and that matter entirely settled.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[39] Several of these letters are missing.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                  Paris, November 15th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I am informed, that it is determined in the Cabinet of London not to
recall their Commissioners this winter. Governor Johnstone has been
very graciously received; Lord Howe not. He conducts himself as one
that is discontented, and has not been at Court. It is given out,
that Johnstone declares he is possessed of impeachable matter against
both the Howes.

I before mentioned, that the enemy was preparing to send out
provisions and clothing for their troops, as if it was intended
they should remain in America. It is also certain, that they have
contracted for twelve thousand tons of shipping for the beginning of
next March. They talk of sending over either ten thousand British, or
twelve thousand Russians, for the next campaign, which I am assured
and believe they have determined to risk.

To sustain this, they affirm very confidently, that a triple alliance
offensive and defensive is concluded between Russia, Prussia, and
Great Britain. This I believe is at best anticipation. That such an
alliance will be the subject of this winter’s negotiation is very
probable; perhaps too it may succeed, and that Denmark and Sweden
may join. But the good effects of it in favor of our enemy are very
problematical. It will inevitably draw forth Spain, which in our part
of the question is of much more weight than all the rest. And as to
the general war, the league that would be necessarily formed against
the other, between the United States, the Empress, France, and Spain,
would be the most powerful. I do not count upon Portugal, Naples,
Tuscany, and Sardinia, which yet, in all human probability, will join
our confederacy. The temper of Holland is such, that the junction of
the United Provinces may well be expected, if England has not the
wisdom to recede from her claims; and if she does, the Hollanders,
having gained the points in trade which they contend for, will render
their neutrality perhaps more favorable to us in matters of supply,
than an actual confederation.

These are the plans, that must employ the negotiation of all Europe
during this winter, which will produce either a general pacification
or a general war. The latter is what our enemy is endeavoring to
effect. In doing this, by the same fated perversion of understanding,
which has happily prevailed in all their measures, they are laboring
to secure what they wish to subvert, the absolute independency of
America. For there never was a political event more manifest and
sure, than that a general war must involve in it the independence of
the United States, as an inevitable consequence.

The obtaining money in Europe is doubtful, though not desperate. But
this seems very probable, that if the irritation and ill humor in
Holland is continued by England’s persisting in the interruption of
their trade, they will lend us money out of revenge; and if England
retracts, the Dutch will send us such plentiful supplies, and take in
return our produce as in a great measure to compensate for the want
of funds. The dispute seems to be in such a state, that there is no
medium. I am therefore in hopes, that if the war should continue, the
distress of it will press with much more severity upon our enemies
than on us.

I am informed, that a Swedish ship, the Henrica Sofia, Captain P.
Held, loaded with Spanish property, bound from London to Teneriffe,
has been taken by Captain Cunningham in the Revenge, which being
considered in Spain as a violence done to them, has given great
offence. I have assured them, that upon its being made to appear in
the Admiralty Court in America, that the property is neutral, it will
be restored, with such damages as are just. The Court of Spain is
so much offended at Captain Cunningham’s conduct before this, that
they write me orders have been sent to all their ports to prohibit
his entrance. From the beginning to the end of this business of
Cunningham, it has been so bad, that Congress only can correct it, by
punishing those who are concerned. It has cost the public more than
one hundred thousand livres, and embroiled us both with the French
and Spanish Courts.

The State of Virginia having sent for arms and artillery necessary
for their defence, and some advances being absolutely necessary to
obtain the supply, I ventured to advance fifty thousand livres out of
the public funds in my hands. Had not this demand pressed so much,
I certainly should not have done this without the permission of
Congress. But as it is, and though I expect the reimbursement before
the articles I have ordered for the public will call for payment, yet
I think it my duty to communicate this transaction, and submit it to
the censure of Congress. I expect a complete cargo is by this time
shipped in my department, consisting of blankets, shoes, tentcloth,
sailcloth, and rigging for a vessel of five hundred tons. This cargo,
with what went before, should contain ten thousand blankets. I have
ordered twenty thousand more, which, with half of the freight, I am
obliged to advance for the above cargo, will more than employ all the
funds in my hands.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ _November 18th, 1778._ Every hour’s intelligence confirms the
opinion, that the enemy will not obtain any Russian auxiliaries.


TO JAMES GARDOQUI.

                                      Paris, December 4th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you on the 10th ult. and have not been favored with anything
from you since. Upon a supposition, that I should have funds
sufficient in my hands, I desired your house to collect 20,000 or
30,000 blankets, which I intended to pay for without troubling our
friends with you. But I find the clothing, shoes and stockings,
which I was obliged to send from hence, have consumed most part of
the money remitted to me, so that I shall be unable to pay for those
blankets. Yet they are an article most essential to our army both in
winter and summer. I must therefore beg you to beseech our friends to
extend their order to them, and have them shipped as fast as they are
collected by your house, _on the old plan_.

In consequence of what passed when we were at Burgos and Vitoria, I
wrote that our vessels would be received at the Havanna, as those
of the most favored nation. It is desired to know whether, under
this, the produce of the States may be carried thither for sale, and
prizes sold there or in any other of his Catholic Majesty’s ports
in America. I shall be much obliged to you to get me an explanation
on this head, as we would wish to avoid giving embarrassment or
offence, by extending the liberty further than is meant. The ports
being open in this manner would be certainly beneficial to both, but
I am no judge how far it would be consistent with the policy of your
commercial regulations.

Count d’Estaing’s fleet was refitted, and ready to sail from Boston
the 3d of November. His officers and sailors have behaved there with
the greatest decorum, and rendered themselves exceedingly agreeable
to the inhabitants. The fray, of which our enemies make so much,
was entirely accidental, and owing to some privateersmen wanting
to get biscuit for a cruise. The readiness of our enemies to hope,
from every little incident, a dissolution of our foreign connexions,
serves only to show how much they apprehend from a continuance of
them.

There is no certain intelligence of the enemy’s fleet or army.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, December 5th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of writing you on the 14th of April, May the 9th,
20th, and 23d, June the 1st, 9th, 15th, and 17th, July the 6th,
16th, 20th, 28th, and 29th, August the 21st, and 31st, September the
9th and 30th, October the 5th and 19th, November the 4th, 18th and
20th, with various enclosures, among which were triplicates of Mr
Williams’s accounts, and quadruplicates of the state of the Swiss
militia.

From Lord Suffolk’s speech on the address, it appears, that they have
adopted a dernier plan for conducting the war against you, which,
I am informed, is to burn and destroy every thing they approach.
The example of Colonel Butler is to be pursued on all the frontiers
accessible to the Indians, to whom small bodies of regulars are to be
joined. The fleet and armies are to lay waste the sea coast and its
vicinities. Lord Suffolk is the mouth of the king of Great Britain,
and his advisers, Lords Bute and Mansfield, and Mr Wedderburne. What
he says may therefore be depended on as their resolution.

From the enclosed piece (copies of which have been sent from Holland)
you will be able to judge of the nature and situation of the dispute
in Holland. The friends to themselves and us are for augmenting their
marine, the purchased advocates of England, and the dependants of the
Stadtholder, are for increasing their army.

To make them and other neutral nations feel the necessity of
supporting the privileges of their flags against the English, this
Court has declared its determination to make prize of all goods
belonging to the enemy, found in neutral ships, as long as the same
is permitted to be done by the British cruisers, with regard to the
effects of France in the same situation. This is such a blow to
their interests as, it is imagined, must rouse the Dutch to vigorous
exertions against Great Britain, in support of their privileges as
common cruisers.

The Court of Spain has published its intention of admitting the sale
of prizes, made by the French, and the entrance of all American
vessels upon the footing of all other neutral nations.

The Empress of Russia has determined to take part with the King of
Prussia in the German war, which the House of Austria seems resolved
to support against their united forces. As Hanover, and the other
German princes, are pledged to assist Prussia, our enemy can hardly
expect any aid from thence. Though it is therefore impossible to
conceive how they can maintain the war in their very exhausted state,
and without one effectual ally, yet it is certain, that they mean to
try another campaign.

I send you some charts of the Continent of America, and of the
Islands, lately published, and reckoned extremely accurate, from
which perhaps Congress may think proper to have others engraved for
the use of the navy. They consist of three volumes folio, with a
quarto volume of directions.

We are in daily expectation of the final pleasure of Congress, on the
several important matters relating to our missions.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.[40]

                                    Paris, December 17th, 1778.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a true copy of a
proclamation and manifesto lately issued in America by the British
Commissioners. The plan of desolation and cruelty announced in it
has been approved in Parliament, by one of his Britannic Majesty’s
principal Secretaries of State, the Earl of Suffolk; and a majority
in both Houses of Parliament have given their sanction to the
manifesto itself by refusing to disclaim it. Upon these grounds it
may justly be considered the act of the nation.

The intentions of Great Britain, derogatory at once of all the
sacred rights of humanity, and of the honor of God, and of the
established laws of civilized nations, are thus declared in the
manifesto. “The policy as well as the benevolence of Great Britain
have thus far checked the _extremes of war_, when they tended to
distress a people still considered as our fellow subjects, and _to
desolate_ a country shortly to become again a source of mutual
advantage. But when that country professes the unnatural design, not
only of estranging herself from us, but of mortgaging herself and
her resources to our enemy, the whole contest is changed, and the
question is how far Great Britain may, by every means in her power,
destroy or render useless a connexion contrived for her ruin, and
for the aggrandizement of France. Under such circumstances, the laws
of self-preservation must direct the conduct of Great Britain; and
if the British Colonies are to become an accession to France, will
direct her to render that acquisition of as little avail as possible
to her enemy.”

The pretext here alleged for carrying war to all extremities, which
the laws of humanity and of nations forbid, and of _desolating_
merely for the purpose of desolation, is, that the country is to be
monopolised by France. That this is merely a pretext is manifest from
the treaty itself on which they ground it, in which it is declared,
that the United States are at liberty to make the same treaty with
all nations.

Your Excellency knows too, how unjust this imputation is in our most
secret transactions. By one of those strange absurdities, into which
men blinded by bad passions are often betrayed, they denounce this
desolation against the people at large, who they in the same breath
assert have not ratified the treaty. Thus, if we are to credit their
own assertions, the ground of their rage is pretended, and the
objects of it innocent.

It is therefore most clear, that the threatened cruelties are not out
of policy, but out of revenge. And as nothing is more odious than
this spirit, nothing more dangerous to all that is deemed dear and
sacred among men, than an open avowal of such a principle, and an
exercise of the barbarities which it suggests, such a conduct ought
to arm all nations against a people, whose proceedings thus proclaim
them to be _hostis humani generis_.

It is not that they can add to the cruelties they have already
exercised; desolation and massacre have marked their steps wherever
they could approach. The sending of those captives, whom they pretend
now to be their fellow subjects, into perpetual slavery in Africa and
India; the crowding of their captives into dungeons, where thousands
perish by disease and famine; the compelling of others, by chains
and stripes, to fight against their country and their relations;
the burning of defenceless towns; and the exciting of the savages,
by presents and bribes, to massacre defenceless frontier families,
without distinction of age or sex, are extremities of cruelty
already practised, and which they cannot exceed. But the recovery of
what they called their rights, and the reduction of those who had
renounced as they alleged a just supremacy, was then avowedly the
object of the war. These cruelties were, it was pretended, incidental
severities, and necessary to the attainment of a just object. But
now destruction alone is the object. It is not profit to themselves,
but injuries to others, which they are pursuing. Desolation for the
pleasure of destroying is their only purpose. They will sacrifice to
disappointed vengeance what their injustice lost, and their power
cannot regain.

There cannot be a greater violation of those laws, which bind
civilized nations together, which are the general property, and which
distinguish their wars from those of savages and barbarians, than
this manifesto. All civilized nations are called upon, as well by
their own interests as those of humanity, to vindicate its violated
laws. Your Excellency will therefore permit me to hope, that so
daring and dangerous a procedure will call forth a declaration from
the king of Spain, whose pre-eminent character among princes for
piety, wisdom, and honor, will render him a fit avenger of the common
cause of mankind. It is not America only, that is wronged by this
savage proclamation, but the feelings of humanity, the dictates of
religion, the laws of God, and of nations.

Your Excellency will also give me leave to request, that this
representation may be laid before his Majesty, and enforced with such
arguments as your Excellency’s greater knowledge, and the favor you
have had the goodness to manifest for our just cause may suggest.

I have the honor to be your Excellency’s very humble servant,

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[40] This letter was forwarded to Count de Florida Blanca, through the
agency of Count d’Aranda, Spanish Ambassador in France.


TO THE BARON DE SCHULENBURG.

                                  Paris, December 25th, 1778.

Sir,

I had the honor of receiving your Excellency’s favor of the 1st. I
am extremely sorry for having troubled you with a representation,
which seems to have given offence, instead of obtaining redress.
Neither the character of a merchant, nor that of all the merchants of
Europe, can weigh against the evidence of one’s senses. I do assure
your Excellency upon my honor, that the musket, which is the specimen
of those sent for the best Prussian arms, and which have cost me five
livres a piece more than the best arms in France, is one of the worst
that I ever beheld. I have seen most of the troops in Europe, and I
never saw such a musket in a soldier’s hand. It has this remarkable
in it, that it is neither of the old nor the new model; but seems to
have been a barrel spoiled in attempting to new model it, and this
put into a stock of such wood, and of such fashion, that nothing
can be imagined worse. There is no mark upon it of its having been
examined. In short, a mistake between the new and the old model is
out of the question.

But your Excellency will give me leave to observe, that if my demand
was not explicit, it is a little surprising, that the house of
Splittberger, in the correspondence that passed between them and Mr
Grand, before the order was executed, did not ask an explanation,
whether the old or the new model was meant. They knew, though we did
not, that there were different kinds of arms of the Prussian make,
and therefore that a mistake might happen. As to myself, I had seen
the troops at Berlin, and the arsenal furnished with arms of the
new model. I had conversed with sundry officers upon the preference
due to arms of the Prussian make, and never found any one who by
that term did not understand those of the new model. Not knowing,
therefore, that there was any possibility of mistake, I did not
conceive I could be more explicit. Upon the whole, instead of the
best arms in Europe, which I promised, I sent the worst, if the rest
are like the specimen sent me.

I hope your Excellency will pardon me for having given you the pain
of reading one letter on this subject, and I should not have added a
second, but that there was a sort of censure thrown upon me, which
I most assuredly did not deserve. I should have thought myself
censurable, if I had concealed from your Excellency a proceeding
on the part of those gentlemen, which appeared so flagrant to me.
You thought I was alone to blame, in which I cannot in any degree
whatsoever concur.

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a copy of a
manifesto, which the avowedly savage intentions of our enemies have
compelled Congress to make. The previous resolution will show your
Excellency with what reluctance Congress has adopted retaliation. As
long as it was possible to impute the barbarities committed, to the
unauthorised malignity of individuals, they entreated forbearance.
But when a solemn avowal on the part of his Britannic Majesty’s
Commissioners, of their determination to exercise the extremes of
war, and to desolate for the sole purpose of destroying, had deprived
them of the apology they had too generously made for the actions of
their enemies, their duty to the people, to humanity, to the nations,
called from Congress this resolution of retaliation.

This conduct of our enemies will, like all their other follies and
persecutions, knit more firmly our confederation. The inhuman purpose
of massacre and desolation, upon a pretext of our being mortgaged
to France, which the very treaty to which they allude expressly
contradicts, has armed every heart and hand against them. It has
confirmed the wavering, animated the timid, and exasperated the
brave. The laws of nations are the Common property of all civilized
people. Our liberties, which _were_ the object of the war, are
secure; we are _now_ fighting the battles of humanity and of nations,
against the avowed and bitter enemies of both.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency’s,
&c.

                                                       ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                  Paris, December 27th, 1778.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a manifesto from
Congress, in answer to that of his Britannic Majesty’s Commissioners.
You have also enclosed a copy of a former resolution of Congress
on this subject, from which it will appear how earnestly they have
shunned this shocking extremity. As long as it was possible to
impute the barbarities committed to the unauthorised intemperance
of individuals, Congress exhorted the suffering people to lenity
and forbearance. But when they became acts of authority, avowed and
ordered, Congress must not only stand justified before God and man,
but would have been culpable in the eyes of both, had they longer
withheld the order for retaliation. Permit me to hope, that your
Excellency will represent these things to his Majesty, and that they
will produce an immediate declaration, which is most likely to arrest
the sanguinary progress of our enemy, and compel them to relinquish
the devastation of our country for the defence of their own.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                  Chaillot, January 3d, 1779.

Sir,

I have the honor to send to your Excellency the copy of a letter,
which I received yesterday. It is from the same person as the other,
which I had the honor of communicating to you through Mr Grand. It is
fourteen months since the writer has been proposing a rendezvous with
Mr Franklin and myself, for the purpose of arranging the conditions
of an accommodation. This gentleman, who is named Berkenhout, has
since that time been sent to America with the British Commissioners.
He has been imprisoned in Philadelphia on suspicion of the object
of his mission, and released for want of proofs. He has again, as
you see, returned to his country, and to his endeavors to seduce,
by offers of emoluments and _titles of honor_, which we call in our
language, _honors_.

If your Excellency is of opinion, that it would be of any utility to
endeavor to obtain proofs of authority for what he offers, I will
answer him accordingly; if otherwise, I will not return him any
answer. This is also the opinion of my colleagues.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                   Versailles, January 4th, 1779.

Sir,


I did not find annexed to the letter you did me the honor of writing
to me yesterday, the one from England, which you mentioned, and
which you say is from Dr Berkenhout, who rendered himself suspected
at Philadelphia. But without seeing this letter, I think, Sir, that
after what has passed between Congress and the English Commissioners,
it would be unbecoming the dignity of your commission to grant
a rendezvous to agents, who did not bring the palm of sovereign
independence in their hands. My opinion would be, therefore, that you
should answer in plain terms to this agent, that unless he assures
you of the most entire acknowledgment of your independence, and
brings you propositions conformable to the fidelity, with which your
nation and government glory in fulfilling their engagements, that you
cannot consent to any interview with him, or with any other emissary.
You and your colleagues both perceive, that these people wish to
negotiate with you, not for the purpose of granting you suitable
conditions, but to hold up an appearance that there is little
agreement between you and us, by means of which illusion the purse of
the English is drained.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                    DE VERGENNES.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                   Chaillot, January 8th, 1779.

Sir,

I have the honor to send to your Excellency the answer, which I
should have written to Dr Berkenhout, had I sent one. I have studied
the Court of London and its agents very much, and for a long time,
and I conceive, that it is most for our interest to treat them with
pride, if not with an appearance of contempt.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ My letters from England announce, that a fleet of one hundred
and twenty sail, with provisions for the English Islands, is to sail
from Cork in a short time, with an escort of two sail of the line and
one frigate.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, January 5th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

My despatches of April the 14th, May the 9th, 20th and 23d, June the
1st, 9th, 15th and 17th, July the 6th, 16th, 20th, 26th and 29th,
August the 21st and 31st, September the 9th and 30th, October the
5th and 19th, November the 4th, 18th and 20th, and December the 5th,
remain unanswered.

Nothing material has since happened in Europe. The late proceedings
in Holland discover, that the English party have gained ground there.
The truth is, that the English borrow their money and then bribe
them with it; for it is so manifestly their interest to join against
England, and their advantages from the trade of America, being free,
are clearly so much greater than those of any other nation, that
unless their rulers were blinded by some powerful application, it is
impossible but that they should be active and earnest in promoting
this revolution. The Court of France is acting with firmness and
wisdom to restrain them by powerful motives of interest.

There does not at present seem any probability of an accommodation in
Germany. The ordinary of the expense our enemy is to incur this year
stands thus.

    Exchequer bills to be paid off,                 £2,500,000
    British troops,                                  3,640,000
    Foreign do.                                        713,000
    Navy,                                            4,589,000
    Militia,                                           700,000
                                                   -----------
                                                   £12,142,000


    To this add transport service and
      extraordinaries, which cannot be less than     5,000,000
                                                   -----------
                                                   £17,142,000


                                                       Troops.
                                                       -------
    They purpose having on the British establishment    82,744
    Foreigners,                                         24,800
    Augmentation to the British by new levies,          14,400
    Militia, including fencible men,                    39,701
    American Tories,                                     6,000
    Irish establishment,                                14,685
                                                       -------
                                                       181,685

Though they will never be able to realise this number, or near it,
yet the expense will not therefore be diminished. With their taxes
doubled, and such an enormous increase of expense while her commerce
is so greatly abridged, it may easily be judged how long Great
Britain can continue so ruinous a contest. Nothing seems more sure,
than that she will not get even the stipulated number of recruits
from Germany; much less has she any chance of an augmentation.

Yet all the advices concur in assuring us, that the Cabinet is
determined on pushing the war in America, for which purpose they
propose sending the following regiments; 1st and 2d battalions of
Royals; 3d, 11th, 13th, 19th, 25th, 30th, 32d, 36th and 69th. The
18th, 66th and 67th from Ireland. These fourteen regiments may
contain from five to six thousand men. One of my correspondents,
in whom I have much reliance, thinks they will be sent to the West
Indies, and not to the Continent. In truth, I believe they will wait
till the operations of Count d’Estaing enable them to decide whether
they can venture to send them to New York, or must necessarily
re-enforce the troops in their islands in order to preserve them.

I send you copies of the bill of lading and the invoice of supplies
shipped from Bilboa, which I hope will arrive safe. You also have
an account of the money I have been intrusted with, and how I have
expended it. The vouchers are the merchants’ accounts, which I have
regularly transmitted as I received them.

We wrote to M. de Beaumarchais upon our receiving your letter, and
the agreement with his supposed company, that we were ready to
settle accounts with him whenever he chose. He has made no answer.
If your commercial agents do not keep an exact account of the marks
of what they receive on the public account, and count or weigh what
is delivered, you will want the means as we do, of checking the
demands made. For example, M. Monthieu brings in an account to us for
so many uniforms of blue cloth and so many pounds of rose copper;
and Mr Williams, the agent, gives a receipt for so many bales of
uniforms and so many casks of copper, without specifying the number,
weight, or quality, so that we are as little able to judge whether
what we are to pay for has been received, as if no receipt at all was
produced. Nor is the receipt of the agent on your side of the water
in the least more explicit.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ Circumstances are such, that it is not prudent to say much
about my particular department, but I think Congress will have reason
to be satisfied with that quarter. January 28th.

                 _Public Money expended._

    1777,                                                 Livres.
    May 25th,   Power of Attorney to Dr Franklin
                  to dispose of the first remittance,          9
                Remitted to Gardoqui at Bilboa
                  (for supplies sent to Congress)
                  November 29th, 1777, 60,790;
                  May 29th, 1778,      14,599;
                  September 25th,      24,654;
                  January 3d, 1779,    19,905;           119,848
    1778,
    Feb. 7th,     Courier with despatches to Nantes,         120
    20th,         A person’s expenses to and from
                   London, to get intelligence,            1,165
    March 30th,   Remitted to the prisoners at Portsmouth
                    by Mr Thornton,                          495
                  Advanced for the State of Virginia,     35,585
    June,         Cost and expenses of 800 fusils,        22,548
      "   10th,   Lieutenant Jones of the Providence,
                    his expenses for bringing despatches,    347
      "   23d,    Mr Thornton’s expenses to
                    Portsmouth, &c.                          480
                  My own expenses,                         2,232
    Sept. 25th,   Mr Bonfield’s accounts for supplies
                    sent,                                 52,501
                                                         -------
                  _Amount carried over_,            235,330


                  _Amount brought over_,            235,330

    Banker’s commission,                                   1,037
    30,000 blankets ordered from Bilboa,                 210,000
    Charges on them,                                      18,000
                                                         -------
                                                         464,567

                 _Public Money received._

    1777, May,    Remittance from Spain,                 187,500
    1778, Oct.    Two do       "      do                 187,500
    Interest on the last for three months,                 2,000
                                                         -------
                                                         377,000
                                                         -------
                                              Debit,      87,567
                                                         -------
    January 1st, 1779.                            Livres 464,567


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                              Versailles, January 10th, 1779.

Sir,

I received with the letter, which you did me the honor to write me
the 8th, a copy of your answer to Dr Berkenhout, which is noble
and frank. These are not qualities the most cherished in England,
but it is good that they should know there, that your intentions
are not different from those of your constituents, and that they
in vain attempt your and their fidelity. Agreeable to our advices
from England, the gales of wind towards the end of last month have
much disordered the numerous convoys, that were prepared for the two
Americas. I am going to acquaint M. de Sartine of the one that is
about sailing from Cork.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     DE VERGENNES.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, January 15th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

Our enemies are in as much confusion and disorder as possible.
Admiral Keppel’s trial, which is considered as an assassination, has
revolted all men’s minds. Those of Sir Hugh Palliser and the Howes
are soon to follow. The demon of discord has lighted among them his
most destructive torch. They have made some attempts on the landed
property in Wales, which is likely to raise that principality against
them if they persist; and the king is not remarkable for the wisdom
of retracting from what he has once commenced. It is at present by
no means improbable, that they will have intestine commotions to
employ them in the course of this year, and their possessions are
every where so ill provided, that many of them must fall an easy
prey to our ally. The parting proclamation and manifesto of their
Commissioners has disgraced them much in Europe; and the counter
manifesto of Congress is generally approved.

A large West India fleet and transport, victuallers of two hundred
sail, with twentyfive sail of men of war to convoy them, were lately
dispersed by a terrible storm in the channel. A most valuable East
Indiaman was sunk to the bottom by the Russel, a 74 gun ship, which
was greatly damaged. Many of their transports were forced into the
harbors of France and captured. The loss, damage, and delay, are
very considerable, and the more distressing to them, as they are
with great reason under infinite apprehensions for the fate of their
Islands. It is supposed, that only five of the men of war are to
continue with them quite to the West Indies.

There are many doubts of their being able to raise the loan they
want, and it certainly will not be procured but on most ruinous
terms. In short, their distress begins to be proportioned to their
deserts, and is only exceeded by the folly of their councils.

There is not yet any appearance of a pacification in Germany;
and the city of Amsterdam is exerting its utmost to preserve the
States-General in their neutrality.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


DR PRICE TO ARTHUR LEE.

                      Newington-Green, January 18th, 1779.

Dear Sir,

Your most kind and excellent letter, together with the letter
conveying the resolution of Congress, has made the deepest
impression on my mind. I entreat you to accept yourself, and to
deliver to Doctor Franklin and Mr Adams, my best acknowledgments.
Though I cannot hesitate about the reply addressed to the honorable
Commissioners, and through them to Congress, which accompanies this
letter, yet so flattering a testimony of the regard of an assembly,
which I consider as the most respectable and important in the world,
cannot but give me the highest pleasure, and I shall always reckon it
among the first honors of my life.

There is an indolence growing upon me as I grow older, which will
probably prevent me forever from undertaking any public employment.
When I am in my study and among my books, and have nothing to
encumber me, I am happy; but so weak are my spirits, that the
smallest hurry and even the consciousness of having anything to
do which _must_ be done, will sometimes distress and overpower me.
What I have written on the subject of finances has been chiefly an
amusement, which I have pursued at my leisure, with some _hope_
indeed, but very little _expectation_ of its being useful. Nothing
can be more melancholy than to see so many great European States
depressed and crippled by having debts, which have been the growth
of ages, and which in the end must ruin them, but which a small
appropriation, faithfully applied, might have always kept within the
bounds of safety. This is particularly true of this country. Here our
debts must soon produce a shocking catastrophe. The new world will,
I hope, take warning, and profit by the follies, corruptions, and
miseries of the old.

My pamphlets on the principles of Government and the American war,
were extorted from me by my judgment and my feelings. They have
brought upon me a great deal of abuse; but abundant amends have
been made me by the approbation of many of the best men here and
abroad, and particularly by that vote of Congress, to which I suppose
they may have contributed. When you write to any of the members of
that assembly, be so good as to represent me as a zealous friend
to liberty, who is anxiously attentive to the great struggle in
which they are engaged, and who wishes earnestly, for the sake of
the world, that British America may preserve its liberty, set an
example of moderation and magnanimity, and establish such forms
of government, as may render it an _asylum_ for the virtuous and
oppressed in other countries.

Tell Dr Franklin that he is one of the friends in whom, while in this
country, I always delighted, and for whom I must ever retain the
greatest esteem and affection. We are now separated from one another,
never probably to meet again on this side the grave. My connexions
and state of health and spirits are such, that I must stay in this
country and wait its fate. I do this with a painful concern for the
infatuation, that has brought it into its present danger, but at the
same time, with indifference as far as my own personal interest is
concerned, and a perfect complacency in the consciousness of having
endeavored to act the part of a good citizen, and to serve the best
of all causes. Will you further mention me particularly to Mr Adams,
and inform him, that I greatly respect his character.

Some good friends of yours and mine are well, but I differ from them
at present in opinion.

Under a grateful sense of your friendship, and with regard and wishes
of all possible happiness,

I am, dear Sir, &c.

                                                    RICHARD PRICE.


JOHN ADAMS TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                   Passy, February 11th, 1779.

Sir,

As your Excellency reads English perfectly well, my first request is,
that you would do me the favor to read this without a translation,
after which I submit it to your Excellency to make what use of it you
shall think proper.

I have hitherto avoided in my single capacity giving your Excellency
any trouble by letter or conversation; but the present emergency
demands that I should ask the favor to explain my sentiments, either
by letter or in person. If you will permit a personal interview,
I am persuaded I can make myself understood. If you prefer a
correspondence, I will lay open my heart in writing, before your
Excellency.

It is the address to the people in America under the name of Mr
Silas Deane, that has occasioned this boldness in me. It is to me
the most unexpected and unforeseen event that has happened. I hope
your Excellency will not conclude from thence, that I despair of
the Commonwealth. Far otherwise. I know that the body of the people
in the United States stand immovable against Great Britain; and I
hope that this address of Mr Deane’s (although it will occasion much
trouble to individuals) will produce no final detriment to the common
cause; but on the contrary, that it will occasion so thorough an
investigation of several things as will correct many abuses.

It is my indispensable duty upon this occasion to inform your
Excellency, without consulting either of my colleagues, that the
honorable Arthur Lee was as long ago as 1770 appointed by the House
of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, of which I had then the
honor to be a member, their agent at the Court of London in case of
the death or absence of Dr Franklin. This honorable testimony was
given to Mr Lee by an assembly in which he had no natural interest,
on account of his inflexible attachment to the American cause, and of
the abilities of which he had given many proofs in its defence. From
that time to the year 1774 he held a constant correspondence with
several of those gentlemen, who stood foremost in the Massachusetts
Bay against the innovations and illegal encroachments of Great
Britain. This correspondence I had an opportunity of seeing, and I
assure your Excellency from my own knowledge, that it breathed the
most inflexible attachment, and the most ardent zeal in the cause
of his country. From September 1774 to November 1777, I had the
honor to be in Congress, and the opportunity to see his letters to
Congress, to their committees, and to several of their individual
members. Through the whole of both these periods, he communicated the
most constant and certain intelligence, which was received from any
individual within my knowledge, and since I have had the honor to be
joined with him here, I have ever found in him the same fidelity and
zeal; and have not a glimmering of suspicion, that he ever maintained
an improper correspondence in England, or held any conference or
negotiation with any body from thence, without communicating it to
your Excellency and to his colleagues. I am confident, therefore,
that every insinuation and suspicion against him of infidelity to the
United States, or to their engagements with his Majesty, is false and
groundless, and will assuredly be proved to be so.

The two honorable brothers of Mr Lee, who are members of Congress, I
have long and intimately known; and of my own knowledge I can say,
that no men have discovered more zeal in support of the sovereignty
of the United States, and in promoting from the beginning a
friendship and alliance with France, and there is nothing of which I
am more firmly persuaded, than that every insinuation that is thrown
out to the disadvantage of the two Mr Lees in Congress is groundless.
It would be too tedious to enter at present into a more particular
consideration of that address. I shall therefore conclude this
letter, already too long, by assuring your Excellency, that I am,
with the most entire consideration, your most, &c.

                                                        JOHN ADAMS.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS.

Translation.

                              Versailles, February 13th, 1779.

Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor of writing
to me the 11th instant, and agreeable to your desire I have not
submitted its contents to the inspection of a translator. I am no
less concerned than yourself, Sir, at the appeal, which Mr Silas
Deane has made to the people of America. It does not belong to me
to qualify this step; your respective sovereigns must judge of the
measure, and decide the differences which have arisen between their
Commissioners. The manner in which you have been treated here,
conjointly and separately, must have convinced you, that if we had
been informed of your disputes we should have paid no regard to them,
and the personal esteem which we have endeavored to show each of the
Commissioners is a proof, that we have not adopted the prejudices
with which it seems it has been endeavored to inspire America, and
the foundation of which is unknown to us.

Although this disagreeable disunion is foreign to us, and it becomes
us by all means to refrain from taking part therein, I shall not be
the less pleased to see you, Sir, and whatever day you fix will be
agreeable to me. I only request you to acquaint me beforehand with
the time you shall choose.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 DE VERGENNES.[41]

[41] When Mr Deane’s address reached Paris, Mr Lee ascertained that it
was intended to be published in the _Courier de l’Europe_, and he wrote
to Count de Vergennes requesting him to order it to be suppressed. The
following answer was returned.

                              Versailles, February 9th, 1779.

Sir,

I received the letter, which you did me the honor of writing to me
the 7th instant. I had no knowledge of the writing it mentioned, and
yesterday I was about taking measures that it should not be inserted in
the Courier de l’Europe, just as that paper was sent to me, wherein I
found the writing in question, so that it was out of my power to second
your wishes. Do not doubt, Sir, of the regret I experience on account
of this disappointment.


I have the honor to be, &c.

                                        DE VERGENNES.


COUNT DE VERGENNES TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                              Versailles, February 15th, 1779.

The Count de Vergennes has the honor to present his compliments to Mr
Lee, and to inform him, that if he will take the trouble of coming to
Versailles on Wednesday or Thursday next, as shall be most convenient
to him, he will be very glad to converse with him.


_Note by Mr Lee._

Went next day to Count de Vergennes, showed him my books concerning
the treaties, and the French and English propositions. It was agreed,
that I should have the passages translated for him to lay before the
King and Council. He said, that Mr Deane’s charges were inapt, that
it was surprising he should bring them into his personal dispute,
that he had much wished Mr François to go as Minister to America.
Upon my saying, the cause of Mr Deane’s recall was his having sent
over so many officers, he said it was what he always disapproved
of, because he knew that multitudes of those who were applying were
neither officers nor any thing else.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                    Passy, February 18th, 1779.

Sir,

I have the honor to communicate to you herewith copies of resolutions
of Congress, of September the 11th and 14th, and October the 22d.
I shall endeavor strictly to comply on my part with the commands
of Congress contained in the latter, which are at the same time
perfectly agreeable to my inclinations.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        B. FRANKLIN.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                 Chaillot, February 18th, 1779.

Sir,

I this moment had the honor of receiving yours of this date,
containing copies of the resolutions of Congress of September the
11th and 14th, and October the 22d. I shall do myself the honor of
paying my compliments to you on your appointment tomorrow about 12
o’clock.

Nothing can be more agreeable to me than your intention of
cultivating the harmony recommended in the last resolve, because I
always lamented the interruption of it as detrimental to the public,
and dishonorable to ourselves.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                  Passy, February 18th, 1779.

Sir,

I beg you will be pleased to send me by the bearer all the public
papers in your hands belonging to this department.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                   Chaillot, February 21st, 1779.

Sir,

Your grandson delivered to me, between 10 and 12 o’clock on the 19th,
your letter dated the 18th, in which you desire I “will send, by the
bearer all the papers belonging to this department.”

I have no papers belonging to the department of Minister
Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles. But if you mean, Sir, the
papers relating to the transactions of our late joint Commission, I
am yet to learn, and cannot conceive on what reason or authority any
one of those who were formerly in that commission can alone claim or
demand possession of all the papers evidencing their transactions, in
which, if they should appear to have been equally concerned, they are
equally responsible.

Of these papers Mr Deane, by his own account, took and secured such
as he chose. The rest, a very few excepted, you have. Many of these I
have never even seen, but have been favored with copies. Of the few
originals in my possession, there are, I know, duplicates of the most
part at Passy, because it was for that reason only that I took them.
The rest are necessary evidence to answer Mr Deane’s accusations.

If it were indeed agreed, that all the papers belonging to our late
commission should be brought together, numbered, docketed, and
deposited where the late Commissioners, and they only, might have
access to them, I would very readily contribute the few I have. But
on no other terms can I part with them, and must therefore desire you
to command me in some other service.

Still, however, I am in the judgment of Congress, and if upon our
mutual representations, should you think it worth troubling them
with, they should be of a different opinion, I shall abide by their
decision, and obey their orders.

I hope your gout is better, and have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, February 25th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I received the remarks of Mr Deane, dated the 12th of October, 1778,
on my letter of the 1st of June, 1778.[42]

Mr Deane endeavors to mislead Congress from the real point of my
information, which is, that from the papers he left, no satisfactory
account could be obtained of the millions that had been expended, to
that of the banker’s accounts, the fairness and validity of which, as
far as they go, I never questioned.

The banker’s account proves what I said, _that millions have been
expended_; but it does not prove what I wanted to be satisfied of,
that the value of this expenditure has been received by the Agents
of Congress in Europe. Neither their receipts nor the bills of
lading appeared among the papers he left at Passy. Upon a scrap of
paper Mr Deane had left notes, that such and such sums were paid in
general for such and such purposes. This was a manner of accounting
equally mercantile and satisfactory. It was not even so explicit as
the summary of the banker’s account he has subjoined to the remarks
I am answering. It never specified the quantity, and not often the
quality, of what the sums were paid for. It was not accompanied
with accounts and receipts from the persons, to whom the money was
said to have been paid; nor the receipts of our agent, to whom the
things must be supposed to have been delivered. It is manifest why
the agent, Mr Williams, did not and will not to this moment give
receipts, specifying the quantity and quality of what he received for
the public use, because such receipts would make him responsible to
the public for their contents; which now he is not.

This then is distinctly the subject of my complaint, that Mr Deane,
who assumed to himself the management of those affairs, left them
in such confusion, that neither was there any usual or satisfactory
evidence of the thing said to have been delivered, nor were there
any means left of knowing how to settle the accounts that remained
unpaid, so as to do justice to the public. There were no books of
accounts; nothing but a confused mass of motley refuse papers,
without order, reference, or effect. I do not, nor ever did say, that
Mr Deane has not these regular, responsible accounts and vouchers,
but I said, and still say, he did not leave them with us. Perhaps
they are among those he informs the public he had _placed in safety_;
that is, in fitter hands than those of the Commissioners appointed by
Congress.

Mr Deane informs us, that there are but two sides of an account; but
he ought to know, that there also ought to be to every mercantile
account, receipts, invoices, and bills of lading. Had he ever taken
the pains to procure these and left them for our satisfaction, he
would have saved himself much discredit, and me much trouble; the
public would have been secured and satisfied.

Mr Deane lumps 244,285 livres, as had and expended in common by the
Commissioners. But this is not the fact. I had nothing to do with
what the other Commissioners received. What I took for my expenses
I gave separate and distinct receipts for. By misstating what I say
of my expenses, he would induce Congress to suppose, that I had half
of that sum. This too is not a fact, as my receipts will show. When
I said, that from my experience I judged a public minister could
not live on less than three thousand a year, I did not mean that I
had actually spent that sum; but that, as the expenses of a public
Minister must be greater than those of a Commissioner, I could
judge from my experience of the expense of the latter, what would
be necessary for the former. I had not been a public Minister, and
therefore could not speak from experience in that, or from any other
judgment.[43]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       ARTHUR LEE.

[42] See Silas Deane’s Correspondence, Vol. I. p. 139, 148.

[43] Mr Lee wrote a very long letter to the President of Congress,
dated February 10th, vindicating himself against statements of Silas
Deane. This letter, somewhat altered, was published under the title
of “_Extracts from a Letter written to the President of Congress,
by the Honorable Arthur Lee, in Answer to a Libel published in the
Pennsylvania Gazette, of the 5th of December, 1778, by Silas Deane; in
which every Charge or Insinuation against him in that Libel is fully
and clearly refuted. Philadelphia, 1780._”


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Nantes, March 7th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I had not the honor of receiving yours of the 29th of October until
the 13th of February. The two pieces it enclosed from Mr Deane, I
suppose it is expected I should answer. And I shall do it probably by
the next opportunity.

I hope it will not be expected of me to continue answering the
assertions of Mr Deane. If he produces any evidence to support his
assertions, they may be worth attention, but it is an endless as well
as fruitless and unbecoming business, to be refuting all that such a
man is capable of inventing.

On the 18th of February I received from Dr Franklin a copy of the
resolution of Congress, appointing him Minister Plenipotentiary at
the Court of Versailles, accompanied with an assurance, that the
resolution of Congress recommending harmony and confidence among the
Commissioners was agreeable to him.[44] I returned an assurance of my
sentiments being the same. The next day I received a letter from him
dated also the 18th, and demanding of me the immediate delivery of
all the public papers in my possession. I replied, that as the papers
belonging to the late Commissioners were, or ought to be, vouchers
of their joint transactions, they should be equally accessible to
them all; but that Mr Deane, by his own confession, had taken and
secured to himself all that he chose, that most of what remained were
in his (Dr Franklin’s) possession, and of the very few that were in
mine most of them were duplicates, and the remainder necessary for
my defence against Mr Deane’s accusation. But, however, I was in the
judgment of Congress whether I ought to give them up, and should obey
their orders.

I think it proper to inform you, that Dr Franklin, immediately upon
the receipt of the resolution of Congress appointing him Minister
Plenipotentiary, took into his sole management what was before under
the Commissioners, without showing us any authority for so doing,
or any revocation of our joint commission. To this we submitted
without the least question, supposing it probable, that such was the
intention of Congress, and believing that any dispute about it would
destroy all possibility of harmony, and do more injury to the public
than any possible good that could be derived from the contest.

It is supposed that peace is certain in Germany, and it has been
procured chiefly by the mediation of this Court.

Our enemies have derived considerable credit from their late
success in the West Indies, and their superiority there, which
gives expectation of much greater. This has happened in a favorable
moment for effecting their loan with great facility and success. The
consequence will be their carrying on the war with new vigor; and you
must therefore prepare for another, and perhaps another campaign.
With regard to the rest of Europe, it remains as when I wrote you
last.

It is probable, that the establishment of peace in Germany will
produce some movements among them. But, at present, it is not
possible to say with precision what they will be.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[44] In a letter to Mr Lovell, one of the Committee of Foreign Affairs,
dated June 2d, 1779, Dr Franklin writes as follows.

  “I have never meddled with the dispute between
  him (Mr Deane) and Mr Lee, but the suspicion
  of having a good will to him has drawn upon me
  a great deal of ill will from his antagonist.
  The Congress have wisely enjoined the Ministers
  in Europe to agree with one another. I had
  always resolved to have no quarrel, and have,
  therefore, made it a constant rule to answer no
  angry, affronting, or abusive letters, of which
  I have received many and long ones from Mr Lee
  and Mr Izard, who, I understand, and see by the
  papers, have been writing liberally, or rather
  illiberally, against me, to prevent, as one
  of them says here, any impressions my writing
  against them might occasion to their prejudice.
  But I have never before mentioned them in any of
  my letters.”


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                   Passy, March 13th, 1779.

Sir,

A severe fit of the gout, with too much business at the same time
necessary to be done, has prevented till now my answering yours of
the 21st past.

I did not imagine there would be any difference of sentiment between
us concerning the propriety of returning to me the papers, which
you have at various times taken from this house. When several
persons joined in the same commission are to act upon papers, it
seems necessary that they should be lodged in one place, where all
the parties may be sure of finding them, and under the care of one
person, who should be accountable for them; and if there were not
some particular reasons to influence another choice, I should suppose
the first person named in the commission might with great propriety
take charge of them; I am sure that if you had been that person I
should have made no objection to it. Mr Adams having a room more
convenient and more private than mine, and in which he lodged, I
approved of his having the papers. He has voluntarily returned me
all he had without asking, and I thought asking was only necessary
to obtain the rest from you; for the whole business, which before
was transacted by us jointly, being now devolved on me, and as there
must be frequent occasion to look back on letters received, memorials
delivered, and accounts given in, contracts made, &c. &c. which,
if I cannot have the opportunity of doing, I must be frequently at
a loss in future transactions, I did not imagine I should have any
difficulty in obtaining them, nor had I the least idea that my asking
for them would occasion any dispute.

I suppose that the papers Mr Deane mentions to have taken and
secured were those only, that related to his separate commercial
transactions for the public, before his appointment with us in the
political commission. If he took away any of the papers we were
jointly concerned in, I conceive he was wrong in doing so, and that
his doing wrong would not justify the rest of us in following his
example. I can have no desire to deprive you of any paper, that may
be of use to you in answering Mr Deane’s accusations, having no
concern in them, nor interest in supporting them. On the contrary,
if any papers remaining in my hands can be of such use to you, you
are welcome to have authenticated copies of them (which shall on
request be made out for you) as well as of any others “evidencing our
joint transactions,” which you may desire. On the whole, it seems
to me that this matter may be reasonably settled by your keeping,
if you please, all those originals of which there are duplicates
at Passy, retaining for a time such of the rest as you desire to
copy, which copies being compared by us with the originals, may be
authenticated by our joint signatures, and returning immediately all
the others docketed and catalogued as you please, so as that you may
know what and where they are, and call for a copy of any of them you
may hereafter have occasion for, which shall always be given you. If
these propositions are agreed to, the affair may soon be settled; if
not, I must wait the orders of Congress, and in the mean time do as
well as I can with their business, which I think must often suffer by
my want of the knowledge these papers might occasionally furnish me
with.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


ARTHUR LEE TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                 Paris, March 19th, 1779.

Sir,

I received the letter you did me the honor to write me on the 13th,
relative to the few papers of our late joint commission remaining
in my hands; they are confounded among a multitude of other papers.
I will examine them soon, and if I find any that relate to public
accounts remaining unpaid (which I do not believe I shall find) I
will inform you of it, that copies may be taken of them.

You are pleased to say, that Mr Adams gave you the papers unasked.
Mr Adams gave you the general papers, which no way related to him in
particular, on your promise that you would have them arranged and
kept in order. Mr Adams was not a calumniated person, nor were the
papers he delivered to you necessary to justify him and prove the
wickedness of his accuser. In circumstances so totally different I
cannot imagine, Sir, that you can think we should act the same. Your
pressing so earnestly to get from me a few original papers, which
you only conjecture may be in some shape or other useful to you,
after I have informed you that they are absolutely necessary to my
vindication from an impeachment, that touches even my life and honor,
gives me great uneasiness. Whether you are concerned or not in the
accusations, it is equally necessary for me to refute them, and I am
sure, Sir, you know that originals are better evidence than copies,
however authenticated. On the contrary, copies are as adequate to
the purposes you mention as originals, and I am most ready to give
you copies sealed and authenticated of all, or any of the papers in
my hands, as you may command. I beg, Sir, that you will have the
goodness to believe, that when I give my reasons for my conduct,
I do not mean to enter into or occasion a dispute.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, April 22d, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I enclose you copies[45] of a note and letter from me to the Marquis
de la Fayette, to show the terms on which it seems to me we are most
likely to obtain a loan from either France or Spain. If Congress
approve of them, I should be glad of some instructions in conformity
to them; if they are not approved of, I should wish to know it, that
I may not repeat the proposal.

I cannot learn that England means to send out any considerable
augmentation of their army with you. They have lately received
despatches relative to the proceedings in Georgia, but it does not
appear yet whether they will send a reinforcement thither from Great
Britain, though I think it probable they will.

I have not had a line from you since October last. The peace is not
yet signed in Germany. The news of the taking of Pondicherry and
other French settlements in India, by the English, together with
their advantageous situation in the West Indies, has raised their
funds, their credit, and their spirits.[46]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[45] Missing.

[46] This letter was accompanied by another, dated April 23d, and
entitled “_A Memorial respecting the Conduct of Mr Williams_,” which
was afterwards printed under the title of “Observations on certain
Commercial Transactions in France, laid before Congress. By Arthur Lee.
Philadelphia, 1780.” To these observations is prefixed a preface, which
is not attached to the Memorial first transmitted to Congress.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, April 26th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

Since I had the honor of writing you last, on the 22d of April,
nothing material has happened. An account of the signing of the peace
in Germany is expected here daily.

The reinforcements sent and sending out to the army against you,
amount to about 8000 in new Scotch levies, and British and German
recruits. It is the plan of the British ministry, as far as I can
learn, to make great exertions in this campaign, both against the
United States and the French Islands. Their war against you will in
all probability be in expeditions against different parts.

This will be delivered to you by Mr Hezekiah Ford, who has served me
faithfully for eight months as Secretary. He will give you the best
information in his power of the state of affairs here.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, May 21st, 1779.

Gentlemen,

It is now more than six months since I was honored with a line from
you. I wrote you last on the 26th of April; since that time a solemn
treaty of peace has been concluded, by the mediation of France,
between the Porte and the Court of Petersburg. Though this may appear
to leave Russia at liberty to assist Great Britain, I do not think
you have anything in reality to apprehend from that quarter.

It is probable the German powers will soon be at peace, though
it is not yet signed at Teschin. The effect of this will be to
furnish Great Britain with a number of German troops, such as the
free companies which are levied by different leaders in all German
wars, and are dismissed when they end. These having once pursued
the military life will the more readily engage, especially when
tempted with good pay and promises of plunder. The King of Prussia
and the Elector of Saxony are from interest inclined to our cause;
but there are so many intermediate considerations, which retard an
open declaration, that it is not possible to say when that will take
place.

The House of Austria is in its politics inclined to England, and
the Empress is personally so. The Emperor I think has different
sentiments, but he is not the Sovereign. The Grand Duke, though much
our friend, must follow the steps of his mother.

Spain, Portugal, and Naples are in perfect harmony. The first is
more able to reduce Great Britain to terms of peace, by a full
acknowledgment of our independency and sovereignty, than any power in
Europe. Her ministers are able, her credit great, her treasury well
supplied, her finances well administered, her commerce increasing,
her fleet amounting to fifty sail of the line, and a proportionable
number of frigates, fit for immediate service. In a word she is in a
state to begin at a moment’s warning a powerful war, and continue it
for three years without borrowing a sol. She has made a noble motion
to conclude what is stipulated in the treaty of alliance, and as I
have not received one word of answer to my letters to Congress of
the 10th of February, and 4th of April 1778, it is not easy for me
to know how to act. I wish always to receive the instructions of my
constituents, that I may pursue them to the best of my ability.

The States-General have at length resolved to grant convoys to their
merchant ships, and support their commerce against the pretensions of
England. Sweden and Denmark have determined the same; and all these
governments are augmenting their naval force, so as to support these
resolutions. I imagine this will, by degrees, let in the commerce of
America, to which these powers will give every protection they can,
short of open hostilities, and Great Britain will be obliged to wink
at it.

In England the discontents in the army and navy are little short of
disaffection. The Ministers are pursued with unremitting acrimony,
and supported by the king with proportionable perseverance. The
examination of the sea and land officers before the House of Commons,
in the inquiry now making into the conduct of the Howes, with the
correspondence between the Ministers and Generals, prove very
satisfactorily, that both the Ministers and Generals exerted their
utmost in the war against us; and that it did not fail from their
fault, but from the impracticability of the attempt. General Grey’s
decided opinion is, that the war can never succeed. Captain Hammond
spoke highly of the behavior and utility of our row gallies and fire
flats. The new recruiting scheme in England is very unproductive;
they have not yet raised six thousand of the fifteen thousand they
expected. Their expense is enormous, and the produce of their taxes,
though they are increased in number, greatly deficient. Scotland
is irritated by the countenance given to the Roman Catholics, and
their highland levies have twice mutinied, so that there is little
probability of that country, however hostile, supplying any more
troops.

Ireland is nearly in the state we were in six years ago. The people
are supplying themselves with arms, meeting and exercising, and
the government not venturing to interpose. They have entered into
a nonimportation agreement, and their spirit is in a train towards
independency, which nothing but the most wise and healing measures
will stop. General Clinton has thrice demanded his recall, and Lord
Cornwallis will probably command in his place.

On the contrary, there is not the smallest abatement of the hostile
intentions against us in the king and his Ministers. Nor will a
change, if the king should be forced to it, make any difference, but
that probably those intentions would be carried into execution with
more wisdom. Our alliance with France has united all parties, in the
resolution of prosecuting the war against us to the last extremity.
Almost the whole of the French commerce, having fallen a prey to
their privateers, has really enriched the nation and rendered the
war popular. Their late successes, especially in India, have given
them credit for this year and resources for the next, great and
unexpected; the peace in Germany will supply them with men. Lord
Shelburne’s plan is, and he will make a point of it should he come
in, to prevail upon Prince Ferdinand to take the command in America;
trusting that his abilities, with the confidence and graciousness of
his character among the British, as well as the German soldiery, will
overcome all difficulties.

But what they rely upon most is the derangement of our finances, the
depreciation of our paper, the divisions and discontents excited
among us by the bad ambition of some, the criminal intrigues of
others, and the unbounded avarice of many. They flatter themselves,
that what has happened in all countries and at all times will be
our fate, that public defaulters will, by the weight of their
acquisitions, obtain an ascendency which will either bring us to
ruin by the prevalence of the evil, or betray us to our former
domination, in order to keep possession with impunity of what they
have acquired. If, by these instruments, they can loosen the ties,
which by knitting the people and their leaders together have hitherto
rendered them invincible, and withdraw their confidence from those
who originally planned and have ably conducted them through this
wonderful revolution, they hope to effect what they hitherto have
attempted in vain,--to subjugate those _Quos neque Tydides, nec
Larissæus Achilles, non anni domuere decem, non mille carinæ_. As
far as I can learn, there is no probability of this Court’s supplying
any money. But of this you will be better informed by your Minister.
This letter I expect will go by the Chevalier de la Luzerne, who
succeeds M. Gerard. M. de la Luzerne’s family is among the best and
most honorable of this country. He has been Minister to the Court of
Munich, and is a gentleman of honor and ability, insomuch that the
Court of Versailles seems to me in nothing to have shown its wisdom
more, than in sending at this important moment a Minister, whose
conduct is likely to correspond with his rank and character, and who
will not descend to anything that may either dishonor himself or
disturb us.

The secretary to the embassy, M. de Marbois, is also a gentleman
respectable for his character and abilities.

The sums of public money, which I have received for my expenses (my
two journies included) from the bankers Sollier and Grand, from the
16th of December 1776, to the 20th of April 1779, amounts to 119,018
livres, 17 den. 17 sols. I observe that Mr Deane, in a summary laid
before Congress on the 12th of October 1778, lumps a sum received
by the Commissioners for their expenses, &c. from Mr Grand, only to
the 30th of April 1778, and states it at 244,285 livres, 15, 11. But
as I have no concern with what Dr Franklin and Mr Deane received, I
desire that the accounts of the bankers, and not that of Mr Deane,
may answer for me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S. May 22d._ The treaty of peace in Germany was signed on the
13th. From some intelligence I have just received, though not from
authority, I am inclined to believe we shall soon be satisfied with
the conduct of Spain. Be pleased to enclose my letters, à Monsieur le
Marquis de Malsherbe, Ministre d’Etat, Paris.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                   Paris, May 31st, 1779.

Sir,

I beg the favor of your Excellency to lay my respects before
Congress, with a repetition of my most earnest request to be recalled.

I should most willingly continue to sacrifice, as I have hitherto
done, my private interests to the public good; but I am satisfied
that the dissensions raised concerning me will be continued, by a
continuance of my commission, and will be of more injury to the
public than I can be of service; and as the public good was the sole
motive of my accepting the commission, the same reason now induces me
to desire most earnestly to resign it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT D’ARANDA.

                                        Paris, June 7th, 1779.

Mr Lee has the honor to present his respects to his Excellency the
Ambassador of Spain, and begs him to be pleased to transmit the
letter accompanying this to his Court.


TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                        Paris, June 6th, 1779.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a Memorial, which
the opportunities I have had of knowing the temper and circumstances
of Great Britain make me presume to submit to your consideration.

The earnest desire I have of rendering some service to Spain, and the
common interest that must subsist in the success of the war, should
it happen, are the motives and I hope will be the apology for what I
offer.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


MEMORIAL TO THE COURT OF SPAIN.

                                        Paris, June 6th, 1779.

It is experience that teaches wisdom. The misfortunes of our friends
carry this good with them, that they are a warning to us.

The present war between France and England has been conducted chiefly
by the privateers of the latter. They have made a prey of almost the
whole commerce of France. This, while it really enriched England,
rendered the war popular. It has deeply wounded France in the loss of
her sailors as well as of her property.

The cause of this misfortune is manifest. France permitted her
trade to go on as in time of peace, as individuals pleased, and
without convoy. It was thought better to employ their ships of war
in cruising for the privateers, than in convoying and defending
their vessels against them. It was not considered, that privateers
always go single, that they are swift and small, that it is difficult
to find a small and single ship at sea, and that an East or West
India prize is worth fifty privateers. The consequences have been
proportioned to the plan. France has captured some little privateers
of England, the English the large and rich East and West India ships
of the French. This is a misfortune, from which I would wish to warn
and guard Spain.

The English have greater expectations of rich and numerous prizes in
a Spanish than in a French war. If they are disappointed in this,
such a war would soon become unpopular and unmaintainable. Now
the means of disappointing their expectations are, as I conceive,
these. To lay an embargo on all the merchant vessels of Spain, both
in Europe and America, at the commencement of hostilities. Not to
suffer their merchantmen or galleons, which are the great objects of
English avidity, to go out of their ports but with strong convoys. So
secured, they could not be captured but by a fleet or strong squadron
of the enemy. But fleets and large squadrons hardly ever make prizes;
nor from their nature and circumstances can they do it. Privateers,
frigates, and single ships of force, are those only which cruise
with effect against merchantmen. Defended from these, the commerce
of Spain will go safe and secure, the hopes of the enemy will be
disappointed, they will sustain all the burthen of the war without
reaping any of its expected benefits.

Such a war must soon become unpopular; and the wisest Ministers in
the best of times cannot long sustain an unpopular war in England,
much less can it be sustained in times of great and manifest
difficulty and distress, and by Ministers who have not given the
most distinguished proofs of their wisdom. There is no human event
more sure than that Spain, if she secures her commerce from the
depredations of the enemy, must soon reduce Great Britain to whatever
equitable terms she pleases. Add to this, that if while the fleet of
France keeps that of England in check in the channel and in the bay,
the fleet of Spain should completely block up the Mediterranean, so
as to intercept all communication with Gibraltar and Minorca, these
strong holds must inevitably surrender in a few months.

I may, therefore, be now permitted to repeat with more confidence
than ever, that it is in the power of Spain to clip the wings of
Great Britain, and pinion her for ever.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


JOHN ADAMS TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                    L’Orient, June 10th, 1779.

Dear Sir,


I have the honor of your letter from Paris, of the 5th of this month,
in which you inform me, that by advices from America your enemies are
determined to impeach your attachment to our country and her cause,
and in which you request my opinion on that point, from the knowledge
I have had of your conduct, while we acted together in commission.

At the same time, that I lament the necessity of giving my testimony
to a point, that ought to be so well established in every part of
the world, I have great pleasure in declaring, that from my first
knowledge of your fame to this hour, I have never entertained one
moment’s suspicion of your attachment to our country and her cause,
but on the contrary through the whole course of that period, which I
think is more than ten years, I have seen frequent proofs of your
fidelity and zeal in it, oftentimes at a great expense of labor and
care at least, and at great hazard; and particularly through the
space of time I had the honor to serve with you in commission, I
never saw or heard anything which gave me the least suspicion of the
sincerity, fidelity, or zeal of your devotion to the sovereignty of
the United States, but on the contrary, constant evidence of a warm
affection for their honor, dignity, and prosperity.

I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect, &c.

                                                     JOHN ADAMS.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Paris, June 21st, 1779.

Sir,

I have the honor to inform Congress, that Spain has declared against
Great Britain, and that their respective Ambassadors are recalled. A
part of the Spanish fleet has joined that of France, which makes it
outnumber that of England, amounting to thirtythree sail of the line,
under Admiral Sir Charles Hardy, so that it is not very probable the
latter will long hold the dominion of the sea.

Two motions in the House of Commons, one for offering us peace, the
other for withdrawing all their force from America to withstand the
House of Bourbon, have been negatived since the Spanish declaration
was known to the Ministry of England. The ministerial arguments
were, that neither they nor any other Ministry could consent to
the independence of America, nor to the withdrawing their troops,
without previous offers on our part. That the number of Americans
in the King’s service was equal to General Washington’s army, with
seven thousand of our sailors volunteers in his service. Lord George
Germain said he knew, from undoubted intelligence, that Congress was
divided into parties, and that it was only the fear of the army, that
withheld a part of Congress from immediately offering terms to Great
Britain. He added, that as the prohibitory act empowered the Crown to
receive bodies, or individuals of America into the King’s protection,
and to grant pardons, this was sufficient. The majority of the House
received this with acclamations of applause.

Parliament is to be prorogued on the 24th, having voted another
million for this year’s service.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                       Paris, June 27th, 1779.

Sir,

Your Excellency will permit me to lay before you, a statement of the
late proceedings of the English in the southern parts of the United
States of America, which, in their consequences, may be as injurious
to his Catholic Majesty’s possessions in that quarter as to those
of the States. Should the measure proposed to prevent their success
appear to your Excellency to be advisable, it cannot be executed
too soon; because every day gives the enemy new strength in their
stations, and enables them to do additional mischief by destroying
whatever they can approach.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


MEMORIAL TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                     Paris, June 27th, 1779.

The English, having taken possession of Savannah in Georgia, are
extending themselves in that State so as to form a connexion with,
and establish an influence over, the Indian nations that border all
that country. They design also to possess themselves of Port Royal in
South Carolina, and if possible, of Charleston.

These acquisitions, if they are suffered, with their contiguous
possessions, will give them such a command upon that coast and in the
Gulf, as well as such means of exciting the savages, and seconding
their enterprises against the neighboring territories of Spain, as
may be difficult to resist if they are not prevented.

What renders it impracticable for the Americans to repel the enemy,
is their superiority at sea, which, at the same time that it supports
their posts on land, enables them to make diversions in various
quarters so as to keep up a general alarm, and prevent our force from
being united in any one point. With this view, they have very lately
invaded the State of Virginia, in the Bay of Chesapeake, to withhold
the aid which that State would send to South Carolina and Georgia.

In this situation it is in his Majesty’s power to give very effectual
assistance to the invaded States, and prevent the enemy from making
such dangerous establishments and such an augmentation of their
power. The naval force of the English in Georgia and South Carolina
will consist of a fifty gun ship, the Experiment, lately sailed, and
three frigates. In the Bay of Chesapeake, there are a sixtyfour and a
fortyfour gun ship, with some armed tenders.

A small squadron, therefore, of three or four large ships and a few
frigates, sent from the Havanna, would destroy the enemy’s ships in
Georgia, South Carolina, and Chesapeake Bay, and deliver their troops
into the hands of the Americans.

The state of the enemy’s fleets in Europe and the West Indies, will
not permit them to augment their force on the coast of America.
The squadron, actually sailed under Admiral Arbuthnot to New York,
consists of four ships of the line and one frigate, viz. the Robust
seventyfour, the Russel seventyfour, the Europe sixtyfour, the
Defiance sixtyfour, and the Guadaloupe twentyeight. As this squadron
must support the operations of their main army, and protect Halifax,
Rhode Island, and New York, it is not probable they will detach any
additional force from thence to the southward, so that their armament
there, if not withdrawn, must necessarily fall a sacrifice to the
Spanish squadron.[47]

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[47] On the 25th of June, Mr Lee wrote to the Count de Florida Blanca,
as follows.

“I do not press your Excellency about my coming to Madrid. I know
your Excellency’s wisdom, and the maturity of judgment with which his
Majesty’s councils are conducted. I therefore trust, that when such a
step is thought to be proper, you will have the goodness to signify it
to me through his Majesty’s Minister at this Court.”

I have the honor, &c.

                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO ARTHUR LEE.

                           Philadelphia, July 16th, 1779.

Sir,


Two days ago several of your letters came to hand, the latest
being of April 6th; it is much to be regretted that this one in
particular did not earlier arrive. The copy of its contents was sent
immediately to Governor Trumbull, but alas, too late. Fairfield had
been destroyed by the fire of the enemy. We are mistaken, however, if
that enemy does not shortly find the unprofitableness of this kind
of warfare towards their main purpose. America must be dead indeed
to all proper spirit, if such doings will not render her both as
vigilant and active as in the beginning of the contest. It is matter
of much conjecture, why you have not been able, for some months back,
to give us interesting accounts from Spain. All we know is through M.
Gerard. We have sent so many sets of the journals of Congress, that
you will doubtless get one. They are chiefly directed to Dr Franklin.
You will find the parts in which you are personally interested to be
under the following dates, viz.; April 6, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 28, 30;
May 3, 22, 24, 25, 27; June 8.

We shall speedily write again; in the meantime be assured that we are
with much regard,

Your humble servant,

                                                  JAMES LOVELL,
                             _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

_P. S._ _September 16th._ It is probable, that all the papers sent by
you, up to May 21st, have come safe, either in originals, duplicates
or triplicates.


COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA TO ARTHUR LEE.

Translation.

                                      Madrid, August 6th, 1779.

Sir,

I duly received the two letters, which you were so kind as to write
to me, dated the 7th and 25th of June last, in which you detail the
critical circumstances of the affairs of England, and the system
which you think suitable for the powers at war with her, and on this
occasion you likewise mention some points relating to the present
situation of the United Provinces of America.

I can assure you, Sir, that I read with the greatest pleasure your
very wise and prudent reflections, of which I shall make a suitable
use.

I avail myself of this opportunity to assure you of the perfect
respect, with which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                        COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Paris, August 10th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

Not being permitted to know whether there is any certain opportunity
of writing, I must send you by every probable way an account of the
present situation of affairs, which is extremely interesting.

After a long delay through unfavorable winds, the Spanish and French
fleets joined off Cape Finisterre the 26th of last month. On the 6th
of this, they were off Ushant, making for the English channel. A
courier that arrived yesterday left them in the same position, with
the wind contrary on the 7th. The combined fleet consists of fifty
ships of the line, with thirty odd frigates, bombs, and fire ships,
under the command of the Count d’Orvilliers. The Spanish and French
ships are mixed together, the former twenty and the latter thirty.
Don Cardova commands a separate fleet of sixteen Spanish ships of
the line, which attends the grand combined fleet as a _corps de
réserve_. Don Ulloa cruises off the Canaries with four of the line,
and six more block up the Bay of Gibraltar, while a Spanish army
invests the town by land.

Between thirty and forty thousand French troops are ready to embark
at Havre de Grace and at St Malo to invade England, the moment the
combined fleet appears to protect them. Besides this, large corps of
troops are assembled at Brest and Dunkirk, and transports preparing
for them, so that they may be ready to support the others, according
to the exigency of events and the place where they land.

The West India fleet, and that from the Baltic, got safe into the
English ports to the amount of three hundred sail, the first of this
month. This may enable them in a few weeks to add ten sail to their
grand fleet, which at present consists of thirtyfive sail under Sir
Charles Hardy, and is retiring up the channel. But it is to be hoped,
they will feel some decisive blow before that augmentation.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                     Paris, August 14th, 1779.

Sir,

A decent time having now elapsed since the Declaration of his
Catholic Majesty against the King of Great Britain, it seems proper
to apply to the Spanish Court to know whether they are inclined to
enter into the alliance, which Congress have agreed to. At the same
time, it appears to me that to ask Count de Vergennes’ opinion of
such a step, before I take it, would be an agreeable and useful mark
of confidence in this Court. But as I think such an application
cannot with propriety be made to his Excellency, by any one but you
as minister here, I must beg you to take the trouble of consulting
Count de Vergennes, both upon the propriety and manner of my applying
upon this subject to the Court of Spain; and that you will have the
goodness to communicate to me his opinion. I would very willingly
apply myself, were I not persuaded that it would be a trespass
against the deference due to your situation, and that the observance
of this order in our proceedings will contribute to the attainment of
the public object I have in view.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, August 24th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of writing you on the 10th, to inform Congress of the
junction of the fleets of France and Spain, the disposition of the
troops and ships of the latter for the blockade of Gibraltar, and the
security of their commerce, with the preparations here for invading
England. Since that, adverse winds have continually kept the combined
fleet from entering the channel, and of course the embarkation for
the invasion waits its approach and protection.

I am informed and believe, that the Empress of Russia has offered her
mediation between the belligerent powers in Europe. Her partiality
for England is certain, and it is to be feared, that from a partial
mediatrix she may become a powerful ally, and draw with her perhaps
Sweden and Denmark, with whom she is upon good terms, and who may
not think it their interest to let the naval power of the House of
Bourbon acquire such an ascendency, by the destruction of that of
Great Britain, as will destroy the balance and rivalship in Europe,
so as to set up an unquestioned sovereign of the seas.

Our enemies are so much pressed and kept in check at present, that I
do not see a possibility of their sending any further force against
you for the next campaign, nor a probability of their being able to
continue that which is already at New York and Rhode Island. But as
the interposition of other powers is an event always to be kept in
view, and that interposition will not only render the issue of the
war uncertain, but place the day of peace far distant, I cannot help
signifying my most earnest hope, that the wisdom of Congress will
employ that respite in so arranging and reforming the administration
of the public finances, and strengthening the country both by sea and
land, as to be able to maintain the sovereignty and independence of
the United States, in spite of any European combination, that may be
formed against it.

The English papers tell us, that the _Count d’Estaing_ of ten guns
and fourteen swivels, with despatches from Congress, was taken the
14th of July off Cape Finisterre, and that the despatches fell into
their hands.

The uncertainty of what will be the final resolution of Congress
regarding me upon the review of foreign affairs, and after all the
licentious means, that I perceive have been employed to injure my
character, has determined me to wait their ultimate commands at
this place. These will either save me from an ineffectual journey
to Madrid, or fortify me with full instructions and a reassurance
of that confidence, which it has been the endeavor of my enemies to
withdraw from me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S. August 26th._ The combined fleet was as far up the channel as
Plymouth on the 18th, and had taken the Ardent of sixtyfour guns.
This being a proper time of the moon for the embarkation of the
troops, it is probably executing at this moment, and our enemies will
soon taste of those miseries, which they have so wantonly visited
upon us.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                  Paris, September 10th, 1779.

Sir,

I have seen in the Journals of Congress, transmitted to me by the
Committee of Foreign Affairs, that Mr Paca, Mr W. H. Drayton, and Mr
Carmichael have been permitted to lay before you intelligence and
information concerning me,[48] and that at a moment in which Congress
were to decide without hearing me, on what materially concerned my
honor and reputation, both in America and Europe.

I may venture to say, Sir, without fear of contradiction, that
this is a new mode of judicial proceeding in a country contending
for liberty and justice; a mode of which every man in or out of
Congress would complain if applied to himself; and under which it is
impossible that any man’s character can be safe from the attempts of
malice and falsehood.

Congress will permit me to request, that they will order copies of
that intelligence and information to be transmitted to me, that I may
be able to do myself, though late, the justice of answering them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[48] Journal of Congress, April 30th and May 3d, 1779.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, September 19th, 1779.

    Gentlemen,

I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 16th of July, with
the Journals of Congress, in which I see with sorrow the proceedings
with regard to those, who in no moment of their lives ever neglected
to do the utmost in their power for the public good.[49]

For myself I trust, that time and maturer consideration will alter
the opinion of those gentlemen, who appeared desirous of fixing upon
me a most public mark of suspicion and censure, with some little
precipitation, they will permit me to say, as it was before I had
been heard. Among those gentlemen there are some, whose education
and profession should, in a peculiar manner, have taught them, that
it is laid down as a fundamental maxim of justice, that he who
gives judgment, the one party being heard and the other not, though
he should happen to be right in his decision, commits an act of
injustice.

I should have expected, that not only Congress but every member of
it, my accusers excepted, would have been my advocates, because your
records are filled with proofs of my early and unremitting endeavors
to serve the public. Congress will bear with me while I express my
surprise, that the delicacy observed in wording Mr Deane’s recall was
reversed in the proceedings against Mr Izard, my brother, and myself;
unless it were intended to hold us up to the world as persons, who
had been proved guilty of offences against their country; which, if
it were, may God in his infinite mercy forgive.

I am fully persuaded, that time and riper information will show you,
that as nothing could have given a deeper wound to the honor and
interests of the United States, than harmony among your Commissioners
in doing ill, there were use and merit in the suspicions and
dissensions, that arose among them. In any event, they who consider,
that suspicions and dissensions may and have existed among the best
of men, will mix some moderation with the judgment they pass upon
them. They who know with what long suffering and frequent forgiveness
I endeavored to prevent them, will not impute the blame to me.

I will trouble Congress no more upon this vexed and unworthy
business. Sensible as I was of the honor of your confidence, I was
equally sensible of the sacrifice I made of my private affairs to the
public service. I received your commission therefore not as a favor;
I do not retain it as a favor; I will do my duty while I keep it, and
resign it when it is your pleasure, without a moment’s regret. When
times less critical will admit of less reserve, it will be my duty
to prove to my country and to the world, as I have done to you, that
your confidence in me was not misplaced. This I trust I shall be able
to do by evidence, that will carry conviction to all, and confusion
to many.

Congress will permit me to hope, that long before this, they have
honored me with full instructions relative to the additional
articles, and the boundary between the territories of Spain and
the United States, on which I asked their commands as long ago as
February and April, 1778. It is fortunate, that I have not yet been
called upon on that subject. But it is impossible to say how long it
will be delayed; and no heavier misfortune could befall me, than to
be left uninstructed in a business of such moment.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[49] Journal of Congress, June 10th, 1779.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                 Passy, September 30th, 1779.

Sir,

I received but yesterday morning, just as I was going out of town,
the letter you did me the honor of writing to me, dated the 26th
instant, respecting my supplying you with money for your support in
Spain. As I cannot furnish that expense, and there is not, in my
opinion, any likelihood at present of your being received at that
Court, I think your resolution of returning forthwith to America is
both wise and honest.

With great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                 Paris, October 13th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have certain intelligence, that Admiral Rodney is to sail
immediately from England, with five sail of the line, to take the
command of the fleet in the West Indies. I am well informed, that
the plan he proposed was by dividing his fleet into three divisions,
with some landed forces on board of each, to block up and harass
continually the whole of our coast. It is probable they have adopted
his plan with him. His abilities and activity are great. Count
d’Estaing is expected here in the winter with twelve ships, which
will leave the enemy a decided and dangerous superiority. Our hope
is, that by some mortal blow on New York before his departure he will
in a great measure frustrate their intentions.

The combined fleet is ordered into the British channel, and the
troops to prepare for the invasion of England. Upon the issue of this
will depend the continuance of the war.

I have not yet received any instructions from Congress relative to
Spain, nor any answer from that Court relative to my reception there.
The public funds, which were in my hands, being nearly exhausted,
and Dr Franklin having positively declined supplying my expenses at
that Court, I must beg Congress to take some immediate order in this
business, so that it may not remain in the power of any individual to
counteract their intentions, and drive gentlemen away from Europe,
who are so unfortunate as not to be in his good graces.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO ARTHUR LEE.

                           Philadelphia, October 13th, 1779.

Sir,

This is officially to convey to you the knowledge of the appointment
of a Minister Plenipotentiary, in lieu of a Commissioner, at the
Court of Spain, and also a Resolve of Congress of this day, upon the
reading of your letter of the 31st of May.[50]

Mr Jay will probably be in a short time in Europe, to execute his
commission.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant,

                                                   JAMES LOVELL,
                             _For the Committee for Foreign Affairs_.

[50] “_In Congress, October 13th, 1779._ A letter of the 31st of May
last, from A. Lee, was read, whereupon,

“_Resolved_, That Mr A. Lee be informed of Mr Jay’s appointment to the
Court of Spain, and that, agreeably to his request, he is at liberty to
return to America.”


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, October 21st, 1779.

Gentlemen,

It may be material for Congress to know, that all disposition in the
Court of England towards peace seems at present to be removed. The
appointment of Lord Bute’s son upon an extraordinary embassy some
time since, to the Court of Turin, announced a desire in the English
cabinet to engage mediators; and the late Ambassador from Spain to
the Court of London had taken up his residence here, apparently to
embrace the more readily the opportunity of negotiating, which that
mediator might offer. But the embassy of Lord Mountstewart is talked
of no more, and Count d’Almadovar has within these few days quitted
this place entirely, and returned to Madrid.

It is no new alliance, as far as is known, that has inspired this
confidence and hardiness into the British Ministry. Probably they
flatter themselves, that as this campaign has passed away without
their suffering much from the great superiority of the combined
fleet, and the land armaments prepared against them, they will
continue to be equally fortunate. I compute, that with the supplies
for the next campaign their debt must amount fully to 200,000,000.

The siege of Gibraltar goes on in form, both by sea and land, nor
does there seem any probability of their saving that important place.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      Paris, November 6th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

The campaign in Europe seems to be concluded, and the resolution of
the enemy unabated. The siege of Gibraltar continues.

I am yet without any instructions for Spain, or overtures from that
Court relative to the conclusion of a treaty. I am satisfied that the
same means have been employed, and by the same persons, to injure
me there as here. With what success, my inquiries have not yet been
able to discover. By the advice of those, in whose knowledge and
integrity I can most confide, among whom is the late Ambassador from
this Court, now a Minister, I have not entered into any vindication
of myself to the Spanish Minister.

Disagreeable as it is to me to remain here, after what has passed,
it is, in my best judgment, more proper than going thither without
definite instructions, and without new credentials to show that the
calumnies of my enemies have not withdrawn from me the confidence
of Congress, which by no means appears from my _only being not
recalled_. I must therefore entreat Congress to decide distinctly
upon the accusations, that have been brought against me, and either
declare them unjust, or commit the public business to a fitter
person, and give me leave and leisure to vindicate my character to my
country and to the world.

Unless a demand on the part of the Spanish Court should make it
necessary, I will not hazard the public interest and my own honor,
in undertaking the negotiation, uninstructed, unvindicated, and
unsupported. Is it possible that any one gentleman in Congress can
help feeling the unexampled cruelty of leaving me in such a situation?

Uncertain as the decisions of all public bodies are, yet conscious
that there was not any colorable pretence for impeaching my conduct,
I could not but flatter myself, that the last despatches would
have brought an explicit censure of Congress against the indecent
attempts, that have been made to injure it. Insomuch that I thought
it my duty to consult this Court through your Minister here, upon the
propriety of my moving the Court of Spain on the negotiation with
which I was intrusted, so that I might avoid giving offence to that
Court by my silence and inactivity, and yet receive in time your
final instructions, and a renewed assurance of your confidence.

Though I have constantly transmitted to Congress triplicate copies of
the invoices and bills of lading, which account for the expenditure
of the small sum of public money that was in my hands, yet as the
order of the 6th of August is general, I have had triplicate copies
made out of the whole, which, when there is a proper person to
authenticate them, will show how the money has been expended. With
regard to the funds, with which I was jointly intrusted with Dr
Franklin and Mr Deane, my absence in Spain and Germany, with the
orders for the application of a great part, which my colleagues
thought proper to give without consulting me, disenables me from
furnishing any further vouchers than the accounts of the banker and
of Mr Williams, which I have also transmitted to Congress.

I perceive by the journals, that a Committee is appointed for
framing a plan of a foreign loan. It is my duty to say, that there
is not the least probability, in the present situation of things,
of obtaining any adequate loan in Europe, and to beseech Congress
not to let the vain expectation of that divert their attention from
trying every resource at home. It is necessary, that the impressions
to our discredit, which have arisen from the unsuccessful attempts
that have been already made, should be allowed to wear off, and some
favorable event occur, such as the enemy being obliged to draw off
their troops, before it will be possible to succeed in such a plan.
In the meantime, the repetition of ineffectual attempts will only
debase your credit more, and especially, if they are accompanied with
the offer of more than ordinary interest, which ever augments the
suspicion of the insecurity of the principal, and that the borrowers
are themselves conscious of their insufficiency.

It gives me pain to mention what regards myself so often; but
Congress will permit me to repeat, that if it should not please them
to recall me, it is absolutely necessary that some provision should
be made for the support of my mission, independent of Dr Franklin.
If, in the meantime, the State of Virginia should reimburse me what I
have advanced for them, that will be a fund, and I will immediately
give Congress advice of it. I must also beg, that Congress will fix
a sum for my expenses, both that I may not exceed what is thought
reasonable, nor have my time and attention employed in keeping
accurate accounts of expenses, which I never did do, nor ever shall
to my own satisfaction, or I believe to that of any one else. So that
if this is expected, it will expose me to censure, which I wish to
avoid.

The little time that remains from daily attention to public business,
and in collecting and digesting what relates to it, I wish to
devote to private correspondence and reading. I have, therefore,
thought it always sufficient to proportion my expenses in general
to my situation and means, without a minute attention to them in
detail. Whatever Congress fixes as reasonable will be the rule of my
conduct, and it will spare both them and myself a great deal of, as I
conceive, unnecessary trouble.

I cannot learn with any certainty, what probability there is of
any other powers entering next year into the present war. On that
subject, your Minister here, as his situation gives him the means,
will furnish you with earlier and surer information than it is
possible for me to obtain. But the following are nearly the plans
of the French and British cabinets for the next campaign. Fourteen
ships of seventyfour guns, and 8000 troops, are to be sent from hence
to the West Indies. The twelve expected home with Count d’Estaing,
being refitted with eight new ones, added to the sixteen remaining of
those which form the present fleet, and fifteen Spanish ships, will
make fiftyone sail, which are to convoy fifty thousand troops from
Brest, where they are all to be collected, to whatever part of the
coast of England is fixed upon for a descent. By this disposition of
the fleet and army, it is expected that the delay and disappointments
which render this campaign abortive will be avoided. The bulk of the
Spanish fleet is to secure the Mediterranean and press Gibraltar,
while the army continues its approaches by land.

The English cabinet are resolved to send all the troops they can
possibly collect, which they say will amount to 8 or 10,000 against
you, and stand upon the defensive at home. Their situation, however,
is not a little embarrassing. The Irish nation are so generally
determined upon having a free trade, that the Court was obliged to
allow it to be inserted in the address of both Houses, that a free
trade is their right and they must have it. To support this, there
are, besides the unanimous voice of the people, upwards of 15,000
men, in volunteer companies actually in arms, without the permission
or control of government. To delay or refuse the granting of free
trade, will endanger a general and most formidable insurrection
in that kingdom. To grant it, will produce commotions of no less
magnitude in England, of which they have already had some fearful
examples in and about Manchester. These insurrections, whenever they
happen, will be exasperated by great and real distress. For the fact
is, that if it be refused to Ireland, that country will be undone,
and if it be granted, the woollen and other manufactures of England
will be ruined. In such a situation, it is difficult to imagine a
medium by which the violences will be prevented, that must otherwise
call for the troops at home, which they have destined for us.

In Scotland the discontent is such, that a highland regiment actually
seized the castle of Edinburgh, and shut the gates against their
officers. This mutiny has been quelled, but the spirit that produced
it is not altered.

The inactivity of this campaign has left their credit unimpaired, and
their fleets have generally got in safe from all quarters. They will,
therefore, find money for the next campaign, but it is not probable,
that with all their efforts they will be able to equip a fleet equal
to that which will go against them. Without some accident, therefore,
they must either suffer the French army to land, or hazard an unequal
combat, which, if they are overcome, will leave their coast at the
mercy of invaders. To add to their counsels, already enfeebled by
the death of the only man of ability and business among them, Lord
Suffolk, they have put Lord Stormont, the most insufficient man
in the kingdom, into his place. Such is the present situation and
prospect of things in Europe.

Congress will, I hope, consider, that various events may change or
delay the plans above stated, and not let it impeach the veracity
of the intelligence, that they are not executed. Much, for example,
will depend upon Count d’Estaing’s movements and success, which
were not foreseen when these plans were formed. His expedition is
entirely of his own planning, and, therefore, could not be taken into
consideration here.

I enclose a copy of the Spanish ultimatum, which by mistake was
omitted being sent sometime ago. The following passage in the
manifesto, published by the Court of Great Britain, in answer to that
of France, seems to me a proof how little she herself expects from
the war with us.

    “Two years have not passed since the day the rebels
    declared their criminal resolution of shaking off the
    yoke of the mother country, and this term has been
    filled with the events of a bloody and obstinate war.
    Success has been balanced, but the army of the king,
    which occupies the most important maritime cities,
    has continued to menace the interior provinces. The
    English flag predominates in all the American seas.”

When all they can boast of, as the fruit of two years’ bloody and
obstinate war, in which, though they do not choose to say it, all
Europe knows they have expended forty millions of treasure, and
sixty thousand lives, is a balanced success, and the possession of
a few maritime towns, from whence they threaten us, it is plain
enough, that they themselves have not a hope of success. Their war,
therefore, is a war of desperate vengeance, which nothing can justify.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, November 30th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

Since my last, of the 6th and 25th, some material changes have taken
place in the British Ministry. Lord Bathurst is made Lord President
of the Council; Lord Hillsborough Secretary of State; and Lord
Carlisle first Lord of Trade. Lord Gower and Lord Weymouth are out.

I communicate this change to you, because it marks the entire
ascendency of that influence which began this war, and which will
assuredly continue it to every extremity. The two ex-ministers are
chiefs of the Bedford party, which of late has been for peace with us.

I know they are using every means with Russia and the German Princes,
to procure troops against you; but I cannot learn that they have
succeeded. It is impossible to say, what changes in the politics
of those powers the very unexpected inefficacy of this campaign
may produce. One thing is sure; that as it confirms their credit,
it will supply them with money, and enable them to continue the
war in a manner that appeared impossible six months ago. New York
and Charleston, if they can compass the possession of this latter,
are the strong holds from whence they purpose carrying continual
desolation and distress through all the States. The driving them
from New York is, therefore, an object of the last importance to the
welfare of our country.

It is certain that Holland will remain neuter, and under that
neutrality furnish us supplies, and, I hope, free from that
unexampled extortion in price, and imposition in quality, to which we
have been subjected from other quarters.

I still wait here for instructions, and must repeat to Congress,
that the refusal of Dr Franklin to furnish any money for my expenses
should I go to Spain, makes it necessary, if I am to serve, that some
other means of supplying me should be adopted; and I beg it may be
with a sum fixed, that future discussions and disputes may be avoided.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, December 8th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have the honor of transmitting to you the King of England’s speech
to his Parliament, and a memorial from his Ambassador at the Hague,
demanding assistance from the United Provinces. It is not probable he
will obtain it.

The speech shows, what I before wrote you was resolved in the British
Cabinet, a determination to continue the war. His total silence about
alliances seems as if he had not formed any, which I believe to be
the fact.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                  Paris, December 16th, 1779.

Sir,

Your Excellency will have the goodness to permit my recalling to
your consideration what I have already had the honor of stating
to you, relative to the plan of the common enemy to establish
themselves in Georgia and South Carolina, in order to carry on more
effectually the war against the possessions of Spain in America,
and against the United States. I have most undoubted intelligence,
that they are more and more determined on pursuing this plan. The
good intentions of Count d’Estaing to drive them from Georgia having
unfortunately failed, and the departure of the French fleet having
left them again a decided superiority on our coast, must give them
fresh encouragement to prosecute their enterprise, and will render
the assistance of his Catholic Majesty’s squadron at the Havanna
absolutely necessary to prevent its succeeding. Suffer me, therefore,
to entreat most earnestly your Excellency’s attention to this, if
other more near and important objects of the war should have hitherto
diverted it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Paris, December 25th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I this day had the honor of receiving yours of the 13th of October,
notifying me, by the Resolve of Congress of the same date, of Mr
Jay’s appointment and my recall. As Mr Jay is not yet arrived, I
suppose it my duty to wait his coming, that I may communicate to him
what is in my knowledge, that concerns the public in his department.
It does not appear that it has pleased Congress to give any orders
about the immediate return of the Confederacy, and taking me on
board, without which it may be many months before I can find a
passage in any other manner. Mr Izard has been waiting at Amsterdam
for two months to get even to St Eustatia on his way home.

The plans of the enemy, of which I advised you in mine of the 13th of
October and the 6th of November, are going into execution with vigor.

Admiral Rodney has probably sailed by this time. The ministry appear
to be tottering, but unfortunately for us if they do go out they will
give place to men by far more formidable to us in wisdom, economy,
popularity, and confidence, both foreign and domestic. I feel it,
therefore, in the strongest manner my duty to conjure Congress to
prepare for a campaign which, in all human probability, will be urged
with the utmost vigor, and to call forth every resource at home for
the support of the public credit, without any reliance on foreign
assistance. Such assistance is too precarious to hazard our cause on,
and strong exertions on our part will give it, should it exist, a
surer and more speedy effect. Congress may rely upon it, that on no
terms whatsoever will our independence be acknowledged at present by
Great Britain.

There are granted, for the service of the ensuing year, 178,950
men, including 4200 militia, and it is supposed that 97000 will be
employed in America and the Islands. The removal of all restrictions
on the export of wool, woollens, and glass ware from Ireland to Asia,
Africa, and America, the United States excepted, it is probable will
prevent any immediate commotions in that kingdom, and it is certain
that the British Court have not such apprehensions from that quarter,
as to prevent them from pursuing their operations against you in
their utmost extent.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                 Paris, January 19th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

Having signified to the Count de Vergennes the resolution of
Congress, assenting to my return, his Excellency proposed my taking
leave of the King in form, and upon my doing so, that minister
presented me his Majesty’s picture set in diamonds.

I thought it my duty to decline accepting it, upon which his
Excellency told me it was a mark of his Majesty’s esteem, and was
never refused. After this it appeared to me improper to persist in
the refusal, and I received it with a determination to leave it to
the disposal of Congress. It is sufficient for me, that the giving it
is a distinguished proof of the untruth of what has been asserted,
that this Court was disgusted with me and dissatisfied at my conduct.
The present itself I shall dispose of according to the pleasure
of Congress. His Majesty’s portrait is graved upon my mind by the
justice and virtue which constitute his character, of which gold and
jewels cannot enhance the value.

Permit me from this example to remark, for the sake of the ministers,
that this law should be explained so as not to leave them to the
disagreeable alternative of an ungracious refusal, or an acceptance
that may expose them to censure.

An expedition with ten thousand of the enemy’s best troops will
take place in about two months from Ireland, and though from the
profound secrecy observed, I have not yet been able to discover its
destination with certainty, yet I have sufficient reason to think
that Boston is the object of it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO JOHN JAY MINISTER FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AT MADRID.

                                  L’Orient, March 17th, 1780.

Sir,

I had not the honor of receiving your favor, dated 26th of January,
till this day, and at this place, from which I am to embark as soon
as the Alliance is ready. Your letter had a double seal upon it, the
undermost seeming to be a head, and the one above being a coat of
arms, but what I cannot clearly make out. I mention this, that you
may judge whether these seals were of your applying.

Give me leave Sir, to take this opportunity of expressing my concern
for the dangers and sufferings, which you and your family experienced
in your passage, and to congratulate you and my country on your safe
arrival in Europe.

I waited some time in Paris, after I received notice of your
appointment, in expectation of your arrival, that I might communicate
many things to you in a personal interview, which cannot be committed
to paper. It would have given me very great pleasure to obtain for
you those recommendations to the confidence of some of the first
persons at the Court of Madrid, that were promised me, which might
have been effected by making you personally acquainted with those,
who were to give them.

The copies of memoirs, and the letters, which I wrote to Congress,
contained in general what you do me the honor of asking. I have
reason to believe, that you will find a favorable disposition where
you wish. There is no Court in Europe, at which secrecy will so much
recommend a negotiator, as that to which you are destined. Insomuch,
that as far as you can keep the capital parts of your negotiation
entirely to your own breast, you will have reason to think it
prudent. You are to negotiate with a people of honor and a Ministry
of wisdom. They will propose fairly and perform faithfully. You will
not be embarrassed by intrigue, at least, none of Spanish origin,
nor will it be advantageous to employ any. These considerations,
together with the good sense and great abilities for which you are
distinguished, make me hope, Sir, that you will accomplish with
facility the important purposes of your mission; to the advantage of
our country and to your own honor.

The house of Gardoqui has executed what was intrusted to them with
diligence, and as far as I can judge, with fidelity. They therefore
deserve your confidence. There is due to them from the public
12,000 livres, which they advanced for the freight of goods sent to
Congress; and which, as it was done without my knowledge, I had made
no provision for, and therefore could not repay it. The part of the
prize money due to the public for the prizes sent into the ports of
Spain, by Captain Cunningham, was never remitted to me, nor has the
account been settled to my knowledge.

Accept my thanks for your care of the letters for me. As I shall
certainly have quitted Europe before they can reach me, I must
beg the favor of you to enclose them to Mr Lovell with the first
despatches, which you send to Congress.

If an entire stranger may be permitted to offer his homage to your
lady, I beg the favor of you, Sir, to make mine acceptable to Mrs Jay.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                           Philadelphia, October 7th, 1780.

Sir,

I must trouble your Excellency to inform Congress of my arrival
in this city; and that I shall obey their commands, in giving them
information in my power relative to the conduct of their private
affairs.

Your Excellency will permit me to deposit with you the picture of the
King of France, set with diamonds, which the Minister of that monarch
presented to me, as a mark of his Majesty’s esteem, upon my taking
leave of the Court of Versailles. But as it was in consequence of my
having been a Commissioner of Congress at that Court, I do not think
it becomes me to retain this present, without the express approbation
of Congress.

It is with infinite pain, that I feel myself obliged to mention
to Congress, that the manner of my dismission from the service of
the United States implies a censure upon my conduct abroad, and is
injurious to my character. I have already laid before Congress the
fullest evidence of the untruth and malice of the insinuations made
against me. And as they all appear at length abandoned by those who
made them, and the single assertion maintained of my having been
disesteemed at the French Court, I desire to lay before Congress a
copy of a letter from Count de Vergennes in direct contradiction to
that assertion; with two letters from my colleague, Mr John Adams, as
testimonials of my conduct, to which he was witness.[51]

Should any doubt remain in Congress, that the insinuations made
against me were groundless and malicious, and that I have discharged
the public trust reposed in me with zeal and fidelity, I must beg of
their justice to give me a full hearing at their bar, upon the whole
of the proceedings, that concern my public conduct.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

_P. S._ I have brought with me the original vouchers, to show the
manner of the expenditure in public supplies, of the money intrusted
to me, particularly for the public use. These vouchers I shall lay
before Congress as soon as it is their pleasure to receive them.

[51] For these letters see above, p. 224, 227, and 249.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                           Philadelphia, December 7th, 1780.

Sir,

I received in due time the letter, which your Excellency did me the
honor of writing me, on the 26th of October, enclosing a resolution
of Congress, by which I am directed to lay before them all the
information in my power, relative to their affairs in Europe.

As a citizen of the United States, I should have immediately complied
with the desire of that respectable body, had I not felt myself
embarrassed by the dubious light in which the manner of my dismission
from the public service had placed my conduct.[52]

The information Congress requires should comprehend the conduct,
character, views, and dispositions of the Courts and Ministers with
which these United States are connected, and the proceedings of the
servants of Congress in Europe. It is hardly to be expected, that
I should commit to paper what I know and think of the former; and
of the latter, the disputes which have been artfully excited and
fomented, make it a painful task to speak even the truth.

In my letter of the 21st of May, 1779, I have written as far as I
might of the state of Europe, and the most material alterations
since, are the declaration of Spain against Great Britain, upon a
distinct ground, and the league of the neutral powers, planned by
the Empress of Russia, to maintain and enlarge the rights of neutral
ships. But the real policy of this plan was to prevent the House of
Bourbon, as well as Great Britain, from acquiring a dominion of the
seas, dangerous to the liberties of the rest of Europe.

The ineffectual attempts, which have been made in Europe for
obtaining money, and the disposition which I observed on that
subject, satisfied me, that however essentially necessary it may
be at this juncture, it will be infinitely difficult to succeed.
The Court of France in particular will not, I am of opinion, assist
us with any adequate sum, but from being fully impressed with the
indispensable necessity of it to the maintenance of our independence,
and that we are by wise and honest systems retrieving the public
credit, and establishing funds, which may soon relieve them from the
burthen of supplying us.

With regard to loans from the public at large in Europe, you will
permit me, Sir, to repeat what I had the honor of writing to the
Committee of Congress, November 6th, 1779. “I perceive by the
journals, that a committee is appointed for framing a plan of a
foreign loan. It is my duty to say, that there is not the least
probability in the present situation of things of obtaining any
adequate loan in Europe, and to beseech Congress not to let the
vain expectation of that divert their attention from trying every
resource at home. It is necessary, that the impressions to our
discredit, which have arisen from the unsuccessful attempts, that
have been already made, should wear off, and some favorable event
occur, such as the enemy being obliged to draw off their troops,
before it will be possible to succeed in such a plan. In the meantime
the repetition of ineffectual attempts will only debase your credit
more, and especially if they are accompanied with the offer of more
than ordinary interest, which ever augments the suspicion of the
insecurity of the principal, and that the borrowers are themselves
conscious of their insufficiency.” Since the time the above was
written, the successes of the enemy against us have necessarily
increased the improbability of our having credit to found a foreign
loan.

From the experience I have had of your foreign affairs, as well
as from the example of all other States, the establishment of a
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who may digest them into
system, and conduct them with regularity, seems absolutely necessary.

There remains one object of the last importance to the most essential
interest of these States, in the final settlement of the present
contest, that is the Court of Petersburg. The vast power of the
Russian Empire, the wisdom and extensive views of its Ministers,
and the respectability of its Empress, give that Court the greatest
weight among the confederate neutral powers. These certainly hold
the balance in this war, and most probably will dictate the terms
of a general pacification. The wisdom of Congress will, therefore,
perceive, that it is of the greatest consequence, that the views and
opinions of that Court in this question should be known to them,
and measures taken to impress the Empress and her Council with a
favorable opinion of our cause. And this more especially, as the
Empress has been hitherto left entirely to English impressions, and
some degree of disrespect shown her in applications to other powers.
I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ARTHUR LEE.

[52] _December 1st._ “Resolved, That Mr Lee be informed, that Congress
approve of his retaining the picture; that he be further informed, in
answer to his letter, that there is no particular charge against him
before Congress properly supported, and that he be assured his recall
was not intended to fix any kind of censure on his character or conduct
abroad.”



THE CORRESPONDENCE OF WILLIAM LEE,

COMMISSIONER FROM THE UNITED STATES

TO THE COURTS OF VIENNA AND BERLIN.


William Lee was a native of Virginia, but at the commencement of the
revolution he had resided several years in London as a merchant.
Notwithstanding his foreign birth, he acquired so much popularity in
London, that he was chosen an Alderman, which post he held at the
breaking out of the war.

His high toned whig principles, and his zeal in the American cause,
had made him conspicuous, and pointed him out to the Congress as a
person suitable to engage in their interests abroad. At the beginning
of the year 1777, the commercial concerns of the United States in
France, particularly at the port of Nantes, became important. For
various reasons they were not well managed in the hands of the
first agent, Mr Morris, and the Committee of Secret Correspondence
appointed Mr William Lee as a joint commercial agent. He was informed
of this appointment in April by a letter received in London from
Mr Deane. Being detained by his private affairs, he did not arrive
in Paris till June 11th. Here he found no commission to act as
commercial agent, nor any other notice of his appointment, than what
had been communicated to Mr Deane in a letter from the Committee of
Congress.

Not deeming it expedient to act upon this authority alone, he
remained in Paris till August 2d, when, by the recommendation of Dr
Franklin and Mr Deane, he repaired to Nantes. The disagreements
between the agents there had brought the public business into
disorder, which Mr Lee was desired to use his influence in
correcting. He staid in Nantes two months, and then returned to
Paris, not yet having received any formal commission as commercial
agent.

Meantime on the 9th of May, Mr William Lee had been elected by
Congress a Commissioner to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. His
commission and instructions were waiting for him in Paris on his
arrival, October 6th. The commission was dated July 1st, and gave him
“full power and authority to communicate and treat with his Imperial
Majesty the Emperor of Germany, or with such person or persons as
shall be by him for such purpose authorised, of and upon a true and
sincere friendship, and a firm, inviolable, and universal peace for
the defence, protection, and safety of the navigation and mutual
commerce of the subjects of his Imperial Majesty, and the people of
the United States.” He had a separate commission to the Court of
Berlin, worded in the same manner.

The state of things at that time in Europe was not such, as to
warrant Mr Lee in rendering himself at either of the Courts of Vienna
or Berlin. He remained nearly a year in Paris, waiting the issue of
events. At length he went to Frankfort in Germany, where he took up
his residence, as a point convenient for his operations, till the
time should arrive for some decided step with reference to the main
object of his mission. On the 4th of September, 1778, he agreed to a
plan of a treaty between the Netherlands and the United States. This
was done at Aix la Chapelle, where he met M. de Neufville, the Dutch
agent. But as M. de Neufville acted only in his private capacity,
this treaty was never ratified nor matured.

In March, 1779, Mr Lee was in Paris, endeavoring to engage the French
ministry to aid him in advancing his views in Germany. Failing in
this purpose, he returned again to Frankfort, where he continued to
reside during the remainder of his mission. He was recalled by a
resolution of Congress, dated June 9th, 1779, but not required to
come to the United States. Towards the end of the year he retired to
Brussels, where he continued to live with his family for some time
afterwards.

It is a little remarkable, that during the whole of Mr Lee’s public
agency in the service of the United States, he was still an Alderman
of the city of London. He sent his resignation to the Common Council,
but they declined accepting it, on account of the difficulty of
finding a successor, whose principles agreed with those of the
majority.

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF WILLIAM LEE.


INSTRUCTIONS TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                Philadelphia, July 1st, 1777.

Sir,

Herewith you will receive Commissions from the Congress of the
United States of North America, authorising and appointing you to
represent the said Congress as their Commissioner at the Courts of
Vienna and Berlin. You will proceed with all convenient expedition
to those Courts; visiting that first, which, on consultation with
the Commissioners at the Court of France, shall be judged most
proper. You will lose no time in announcing in form to those Courts
the declaration of independence made in Congress on the fourth
day of July, 1776. The reasons of this act of independence are so
strongly adduced in the declaration itself, that further argument is
unnecessary. As it is of the greatest importance to these States,
that Great Britain be effectually obstructed in the plan of sending
German and Russian troops to North America, you will exert all
possible address and vigor to cultivate the friendship, and procure
the interference of the Emperor and of Prussia. To this end you
will propose treaties of friendship and commerce with these powers,
upon the same commercial principles as were the basis of the first
treaties of friendship and commerce proposed to the Courts of France
and Spain, by our Commissioners, and which were approved in Congress
the seventeenth day of September, 1776, and not interfering with
any treaties, which may have been proposed to, or concluded with,
the Courts abovementioned. For your better instruction herein, the
Commissioners at the Court of Versailles will be desired to furnish
you, from Paris, with a copy of the treaty originally proposed
to Congress, to be entered into with France, together with the
subsequent alterations that have been proposed on either side.

You are to propose no treaty of commerce to be of longer duration,
than the term of twelve years from the date of its ratification by
the Congress of the United States. And it must never be forgotten, in
these commercial treaties, that reciprocal and equal advantages to
the people of both countries be firmly and plainly secured.

There being reasons to suppose, that his Prussian Majesty makes
commerce an object, you will not fail to place before him, in the
clearest light, the great advantages, that may result from a free
trade between the Prussian dominions and North America.

You will seize the first favorable moment to solicit, with decent
firmness and respect, an acknowledgment of the independence of
these States, and the public reception of their Commissioner as
the representative of sovereign States. The measures you may take
in the premises, and the occurrences of your negotiation, you will
communicate to Congress by every opportunity.

It may not be improper to observe, that these instructions, and all
others, which you may receive from time to time, should be kept as
secret as circumstances will admit.

                                                   JOHN HANCOCK,
                                               _President of Congress_.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     Paris, October 7th, 1777.

Sir,

Your goodness I trust will excuse me, for requesting the favor of you
to inform the honorable Congress of the United States of America,
that this moment (on my arrival here from Nantes, where I have been
discharging the public trust reposed in me by the Secret Committee of
Congress) were put into my hands the instructions, and appointment
of me as Commissioner at the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, but not
having had an opportunity of a conference on the subject with the
Commissioners here, it is not in my power at present to enlarge on
the business, more especially as I am told, that this express is to
be immediately despatched. I understand another will be sent in ten
or twelve days, by which opportunity I shall write fully. I have only
further to entreat, that you will assure the honorable Congress of
my steady attachment to that respectable body, and to the rights of
America, which I shall invariably and on all occasions endeavor to
support and maintain.

I am, with the truest respect and esteem, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY OF CONGRESS.

                                       Paris, November 24th, 1777.

Sir,

Be so good as to inform the honorable Congress of the United States
of America, that I have received the commissions, whereby they
have done me the honor of appointing me their Commissioner and
Representative to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. In consequence
of their instructions, I have applied to their Commissioners at the
Court of Versailles for a copy of the treaty originally proposed
by Congress, to be entered into with France, together with the
subsequent alterations that have been proposed on either side, which
I presume they will furnish me with, and in the meantime I have
been taking, and shall continue to take, measures to get the best
possible information, which of these Courts it will be most for the
interest of the United States, that I should visit first, in order
to accomplish the most urgent object of Congress, that of preventing
Great Britain from obtaining more German troops to send to America.
For this object, my views shall be extended to Russia, as far as the
situation of affairs in Europe will admit.

Colonel Faucet, the British Agent, has been most of the year in
Germany, and about two months ago, General Haldiman, who was
appointed and embarked to go and succeed General Carleton as Governor
of Quebec, was recalled and sent to Germany, as it is supposed to aid
Colonel Faucet in obtaining more German troops. What success they
will meet with, I cannot at present speak of with certainty, but you
may rely on every exertion in my power to obstruct their operations,
and I have some hopes of succeeding so far as to prevent their
obtaining more than to make up the number, that the States of Hesse,
Brunswick, and Anspach, have formerly contracted to keep in the pay
and service of Great Britain in America. It would certainly add to
their difficulty, and embarrass the British Ministry, if there were
only an appearance of beating up for men for the United States, in
some of the free towns in Germany, where all the world by custom is
permitted to recruit and enlist men. Something of this sort might be
attempted, sufficient to give a great alarm and create a diversion in
your favor at a very little expense, if prudently managed.

I shall pay strict attention to my instructions, and embrace the
first favorable opportunity of prevailing upon the Courts of
Vienna and Berlin to receive the Commissioner of Congress, as the
Representative of a sovereign State, which will necessarily carry
along with it an acknowledgment of the Independence of the Thirteen
United States of America; though in this business I apprehend the
other powers of Europe will wait for France and Spain to take the
lead, as they are known every where to be friendly to the American
States, and to have received hitherto greater advantages from the
American commerce than any other kingdoms, and still have not
determined as yet to receive the American Commissioners, as the
representatives of a sovereign State. I hope I shall be excused for
observing, that neither my commission nor instructions authorise me
to conclude any treaty with the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, even if
I should find those Courts at any time disposed for such a measure.
Congress will determine whether it may be prudent to enlarge those
powers, when they consider the distance between the two countries,
and the time it will take to write to Congress, receive their answer,
return to them the treaty, and then again receive their ratification.

It occurs to me, that it will be extremely proper for me to have a
cypher, to carry on my correspondence with Congress, more especially
if any supplies of cordage, arms, cannon, or ammunition are purchased
in the Northern Countries, where it is beyond a doubt they may be had
infinitely better in quality, and very considerably cheaper, than
what have been sent already, or may be sent from France or Spain;
particularly iron and brass ordnance, ball, shot, fusils, woollen
and linen cloth for soldiers’ clothing, and tents, sailcloth, and
cordage. Ways and means may be contrived to ship any of these things
from the northern ports, as easily as from the southern ones. If this
idea is approved by Congress, any cypher you send me shall be used
when necessary. As there is no particular mode pointed out in my
instructions, how I am to correspond with Congress, I have adopted
the method of addressing myself to you as their Secretary, it being
the usual practice in similar cases in Europe, but if I am wrong, I
shall hope to be better informed by the next despatches I receive.

I am, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO CHARLES THOMSON.

                                    Paris, December 18th, 1777.

Sir,

Enclosed is a copy of what I did myself the honor of writing to
you, by the Independence, Captain Young. Be pleased to inform
the honorable Congress, that, upon application being made to his
Prussian Majesty, he has prevented the Hesse and Hanau recruits,
for reinforcing the British army in America, from passing through
his territories on the Rhine, which has kept those troops still
in Germany, who otherwise would, by this time, have been on their
voyage to America, and it is now doubtful whether they will ever
be permitted to go. Our friends at Court here are of opinion,
that it will be better for me to visit the Court of Vienna first,
as it may be of use to strengthen and unite all the branches of
the family compact, in the measures they have determined to take
here in our favor; therefore, as soon as the ceremony (which is a
pretty essential one) of _signing_ and _sealing_ has taken place, I
shall set out for Vienna, as it is thought most advisable to wait
till something decisive is absolutely concluded with the Court of
Versailles, because on _that_ must be grounded my operations at
Vienna and Berlin.

With respect to the latter, trade must be the principal object,
though the friendship of the king of Prussia will be of use to keep
Russia quiet, and to prevent Great Britain from getting any material
aid from that quarter in case of an European war, while she is mad
enough to continue the war with America. Nothing material relative
to commerce can be effected in the north till late in the spring,
because their ports are all frozen up during the winter. His Prussian
Majesty seems well disposed to our cause, and I trust will give us
every encouragement in time that we can wish; but in a country where
there is very little foreign commerce, it must be raised gradually
and by experimental conviction of its benefits. To me it seems
evident, that the commerce between America and the Prussian dominions
must be considerable, because the natural productions of the former
will come to as good a market in the latter, as almost any part
of Europe; those from the latter are what we have been heretofore
obliged to get from England. I shall omit no safe opportunity of
informing Congress of my proceedings, and with due consideration and
regard,

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO CHARLES THOMSON.

                                          Paris, January 2d, 1778.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you by the Independence, Captain Young,
a copy of which went since.

It is with infinite pleasure, that I congratulate Congress and
America on the favorable change in our affairs in Europe, since
advice was received of the noble and spirited exertions of the
northern army and militia, in making General Burgoyne and his army
prisoners. The purport of the last and present despatches from the
Commissioners at the Court of Versailles, will show how pleasing and
encouraging the prospect before us is in this country at the present
moment.

I must beg you to lay before Congress, that though we had received
repeated assurances from the king of Prussia of his good wishes for
our success, and indeed had experienced his operations in our favor,
by his forbidding his officers to permit the Hesse and Hanau recruits
for the British army in America to pass down the Rhine, yet, since
the late advices, his prime Minister writes more decidedly than
before, for he says, “I can assure you, Sir, his Majesty will not be
the last power to acknowledge the independence of the Americans, but
you must be sensible it is not natural for him to begin it; and that
at least France, whose political and commercial interests are more
immediately connected with yours, should set the example.”

From this, I conclude, that as soon as France has entered into a
treaty with you, the king of Prussia will not hesitate to do the
same. This shows, that my former opinion was well founded when I
observed to you, that it was probable, most if not all the European
powers would follow the example of France and Spain, in acknowledging
the independence of America. I have so far been able to prevail
with the Emperor, by negotiations with his Minister, as to get his
Imperial Highness to discountenance the practice of the German
princes hiring their troops to Great Britain, for the purposes of
the American war. I have been waiting some time for the conclusion
of certain affairs here, on which I presume the Commissioners at
this Court will write fully. When they are clearly decided, signed,
and sealed, I shall then immediately set out for Vienna, where it is
thought my first visit will be most proper and beneficial, and then
I shall proceed to Prussia, where I can venture to assure Congress,
that American merchant ships will be now freely admitted for commerce.

Emden is a convenient port, where many American articles will come
to a fine market, such as tobacco, furs, rice, and indigo, of
that quality which is most like the St Domingo kind. The returns
in woollens, linens, naval stores, arms, and ammunition, will be
greatly beneficial to America. I shall, by all safe opportunities,
regularly inform Congress of my proceedings, continuing to address
my letters to you until I have other directions, having not received
any instructions on that head as yet. It will certainly be of great
use to keep me regularly advised, and as early as possible, of all
the material occurrences in America. I cannot omit to mention it as
my opinion, that let the events in Europe be what they will, you
ought to prepare for another vigorous campaign, in which, if Great
Britain is foiled, you may assuredly compute on the war being at
an end. I have the pleasure to inform Congress, that from the best
intelligence, I learn that Great Britain has hitherto been very
unsuccessful in her attempts to hire fresh German troops for the
American war, but the diligence of the Ministry is greatly increased
in endeavoring, by every artifice and allurement, to raise men in
England, Scotland, and among the Roman Catholics in Ireland. I am
inclined to think, that even there they will find themselves a good
deal disappointed; but a few weeks will show their chance of success
with certainty. At all events, the troops they raise will be raw men,
and not able to encounter your veterans, aided by a well disciplined
and spirited militia. The plan of the next campaign is, I believe,
as yet to be settled; the earliest information I can get on that
head, which is to be depended on, shall be immediately transmitted to
Congress.

I am, with all due regard, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Paris, January 22d, 1778.

Sir,

Be so good as to inform Congress, that I have communicated to them,
by several letters addressed to Charles Thomson their secretary, my
proceedings hitherto, in consequence of their appointing me their
Commissioner at the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. I am now to add,
that having lately had a conference with the Imperial Ambassador at
this Court, he observed immediately an imperfection in my commission,
as it only authorises me to treat with the Emperor of Germany, and
not with his mother, who is the reigning and sovereign Prince over
all the Austrian dominions, as well in Germany and Flanders as
elsewhere.

She is extremely jealous of her power and authority, not permitting
her son to interfere in any manner in the government of her
dominions. Her title is, “The Most Serene and Most Potent Princess
Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Arch Duchess of Austria,
&c. &c.” The Emperor, her son, though heir to her dominions, is at
present only Commander in Chief of his mother’s army, and as Emperor
is the head of the German empire. I therefore beg leave to submit to
Congress, whether it may not be proper to send another commission to
treat with the Queen of Hungary, &c. since, in fact, there are two
Courts to negotiate with, though they both reside in the same city,
viz. with the Emperor, so far as relates to the German empire, such
as obstructing Great Britain from procuring German troops to send to
America; and with his mother, for the purposes of commerce with the
Austrian dominions, &c. &c.

There is every reason to believe, that our affairs will be finally
settled here, and the compact signed and sealed in a few days, after
which I shall immediately set off for Vienna, since from that quarter
we have most to apprehend, as there has been always a particular
intimacy between that Court and the Court of London, at least for the
present century, which has not been interrupted but during the last
war with France.

Notwithstanding the promising appearance of things at present, I
cannot forbear giving it as my opinion, that every possible exertion
should be made to prepare for a vigorous campaign next summer.

I am with sincere esteem, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Paris, February 28th, 1778.

Sir,

The unexpected return of Mr Simeon Deane gives me the opportunity of
enclosing you a copy of my last, which went by an express from Spain,
to which be pleased to refer. I should before this have set off
for Vienna, but the Commissioners at this Court have not yet found
time to examine the papers relative to the commercial concerns of
Congress, taken from the private papers of the late Mr Thomas Morris,
as Mr Deane’s card of this date (a copy of which is enclosed) will
show. As soon as that business is finished, I shall immediately set
out to execute your commands in Germany, where, I am sorry to inform
you, there are now appearances of an approaching rupture between
the Emperor and King of Prussia, relative to the possession of the
late Elector of Bavaria’s estates. The Elector Palatine, who is the
rightful heir, has agreed by treaty, signed the 12th ult. between him
and the Emperor, on the division of the Bavarian estates, but the
King of Prussia is not satisfied, because he has not a share; he has
therefore commenced a negotiation with Great Britain, and the Princes
in Germany, to support his pretensions to some parts of Germany,
founded on claims of right that go several generations back. Great
Britain, you may be sure, will instigate him to go on, because if war
ensues, France will probably take part with the emperor, which will
render their meditated attack on her more likely to succeed; but I
still hope peace will be maintained by negotiation in that quarter.

The British ministry are now fairly pushed to the wall; after
exerting every effort to procure men for the ensuing campaign, both
at home and abroad, and finding it impracticable any where, so
odious are they and their measures, they have recourse to acts of
Parliament, which are so presumptuous and treacherous, that it is
hardly possible to say in which they excel. You will have the two
bills by this conveyance, which are too plain to be misunderstood by
any one who knows the framers; therefore, I shall only observe, that
by the first the _right_ of taxing you is explicitly enacted, though
suspended for the present, which is going something further than the
declaratory act, for by that the right of taxation was only implied.
By the second bill, the Commissioners are vested with full powers to
do all possible mischief to you, and no possible good, until it is
confirmed by Parliament. Under these circumstances I do not well see
how any treaty can be commenced, nor perhaps will it be prudent, in
the moment of their weakness and distress, to agree to a cessation of
hostilities by land, unless your enemies will remove all their troops
to Europe.

The situation of Spain, her millions being yet on the sea, and the
circumstances in Germany beforementioned, I believe induce this
Court still to continue the injunctions of secrecy relative to the
treaties; but if war is not declared before, I do not see how it can
be avoided as soon as you publish them, which I suppose will be done
as soon as they come to hand, or at least such parts as will announce
the fact to the world in such a manner that it cannot be doubted.

The number of French troops that are now on the coast, in Brittany
and Normandy, with the powerful naval preparations both in this
country and Spain, would effectually prevent Great Britain from
sending any more troops to America this year, even if she could get
them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


Mr Deane presents his compliments to Mr Lee. As tomorrow is fixed by
the minister for sending off the despatches, it will be impossible
for him to attend the examination of Mr Morris’s papers before his
brother sets off. As Mr Deane had the honor of mentioning before, it
shall be his first business after the despatches are gone.

_Saturday Morning_.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Paris, March 23d, 1778.

Sir,

To the enclosed copy of my last be pleased to refer. I have the
pleasing satisfaction of congratulating you and my country on the
independency of the thirteen United States of America being now
openly acknowledged by the Court of France, which must soon put a
glorious end to all our troubles. About fourteen days ago the French
Minister in London formally avowed to the British Ministry the
treaty, which His Most Christian Majesty had made with you, and on
the 20th inst your Commissioners were, in form, introduced to the
King and his Ministers at Versailles, as the representatives of a
sovereign State, and on Sunday last they were introduced to the Queen
and all the royal family.

The British Ministry, as usual, have blustered a good deal, but
have not ventured to declare war, that we know of. If they do, our
business may the sooner and better be finished. I set off tomorrow
for Germany, where the prospect of a war between Austria and Prussia
seems to thicken, although this Court uses all its influence to
prevent one, and has explicitly declared to both parties, that
she will not in any manner aid or assist either side, as she is
determined to exert all her force in supporting her new alliance with
the States of America. I have already claimed the King of Prussia’s
promise to acknowledge our independence as soon as France has done
so; his answer I shall meet in Germany, and as far as one can judge
at present, there is a greater probability of my being sooner openly
received at Berlin than at Vienna, but on this head, and at this
critical moment, it is impossible for any man in the world to form a
decisive opinion, because the issue will depend on events that are
yet in the womb of time; therefore, all that is in prudence for me to
do is, on the spot to seize the first opening that is made on either
side in our favor; and I shall take care to give you the earliest
intelligence of every thing material, that occurs in my department.

I have the honor to remain, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                            York, May 14th, 1778.

Sir,

Your favors of November 24th and December 18th, reached us only the
2d of this month, with the letters of our other friends at Paris,
from whom we had not received a regular packet for eleven months.
You will readily conceive how much we have wished to hear from
you, and how very agreeable your information would have been at an
earlier period. It is evident, that you were yourself in a degree
of doubt as to the conduct of France, even after the conference of
our Commissioners in December; you will, therefore, be naturally
led to give us due credit for the resolute manner, in which we
proceeded upon the two draughts of bills which the British Ministry
had hurried over to America. Be assured we were unacquainted with
the spirit of the French Court. The decisive part it has taken was
really unexpected, judging from the accounts we had collected from
travellers. The dates of the papers herewith sent will enable you to
put this matter in a clear point of view.

The turn of affairs in Europe will make it needless for us to attempt
the finesse of recruiting in Germany, which you hint at, and which
would have a good effect in case of necessity. Mr Arthur Lee’s
letters make it quite probable, that your commission will prove
successful at Berlin, and there appears the best agreement between
the King of Prussia and the Emperor.

The enclosed Resolve of Congress, of the 7th instant, will show
their intentions with regard to your support, which was not properly
attended to when your commission was made out.[53]

Other papers herewith sent will give you a general idea of our
situation. You may be assured that independence is firmly adopted by
the States; and the unanimity of Congress is truly emblematic of all
America. Nova Scotia has long ago expressed its wishes to be adopted
by us, and now afresh solicits. Canada will be greatly affected by
the news of our alliance with its former parent State. In short,
Sir, every thing which could be added to our own determination of
being free and independent, is insured by this eclaircissement of
the Court of Versailles. Our army is growing daily, so that if we
are to negotiate with Britain we shall do it in a proper posture.
There are some reports of her drawing away her troops, that she may
with a better grace enter into parley. But this must be done without
disguise, or no treaty can be held; for surely no one can suppose,
that we shall now give up a point, which we had made a preliminary,
before we knew what powerful friendship was secured to us in Europe.

The powers which had been given to our Commissioners in France,
and our great anxiety to keep perfect faith in treaties, induced
a caution with regard to the powers given in after appointments,
which is now become unnecessary. Perfect equality being the basis of
our present treaties, without any exclusive privileges to France,
there can be no chance of discontent from the conclusion of similar
treaties with other powers of Europe; therefore, we shall doubtless
soon forward to you more full powers than were sent with your
commission. As you seem to think it may be advantageous to have a
cypher for correspondence, we would propose the same which has been
mentioned to Dr Franklin formerly by Mr Lovell, and this is the
rather chosen, because it may serve between the doctor and you or any
number of your friends, taking a different key-word for each.

We are, with great regard, &c.

                                                      R. H. LEE,
                                                      JAMES LOVELL,
                                                      ROBERT MORRIS.

_P. S._ You are to have a plenipotentiary commission with
instructions, _not_ limiting the term of the proposed treaties of
amity and commerce.

[53] “_May 7th, 1778._ Resolved, that the Commissioners appointed for
the Courts of Spain, Tuscany, Vienna and Berlin, should live in such
style and manner, at their respective Courts, as they may find suitable
and necessary to support the dignity of their public character; keeping
an account of their expenses, which shall be reimbursed by the Congress
of the United States of America;

“That besides the actual expenses of the Commissioners, a handsome
allowance be made to each of them as a compensation for their services;

“That the Commissioners of the other Courts in Europe be empowered
to draw bills of exchange from time to time for the amount of their
expenses upon the Commissioners at the Court of France.”


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                          Paris, September 12th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have just arrived here from Germany, and finding the bearer of this
about to set off in a few hours, I cannot omit saying a word or two,
though it will be impossible to be so full as I could wish. I wrote
to the President of Congress from Vienna the 30th of May last,[54]
which was forwarded from hence, to which be pleased to refer; since
then I have received your first and only letter, dated from Yorktown
the 14th of May last, wherein you acknowledge the receipt of mine of
the 24th November and the 18th of December; but I am surprised at
your not receiving also two other letters from me, dated the 28th of
February and 23d of March last, which were sent by Mr Simeon Deane,
and addressed to the President of Congress.

Since my last of the 30th of May, when the war broke out between the
Emperor and the King of Prussia, on consultation with the French
Ambassador at Vienna, it was agreed to be most advisable for me to
retire to Frankfort, and wait there until the several powers in
Germany and the rest of Europe had taken a decided line in this war,
when we might be able to direct our operations to the most advantage
for America, since it was evident, that neither the Court of Vienna,
nor that of Berlin could, in their critical situation, take an open
part with us, for fear of throwing Hanover, with a body of thirty
thousand men, into the scale of the adversary, especially too as
France had declared a neutrality, on the urgent application of the
House of Austria for aid, under the treaties subsisting between them
and France; to which however France replies with truth, that the case
does not exist as specified in the treaty, which obliges them to aid
the House of Austria. The two mighty powers have been in the field
opposed to each other ever since the beginning of July, when the
King of Prussia entered Bohemia with his army, but no battle has yet
been given, or anything material passed on either side. There have
been perpetual skirmishes between the foraging parties and advanced
posts, which on the whole seem rather in favor of the Prussians. In
the course of the winter or spring, we hope things will take such a
turn as to enable me to operate to advantage with one or the other
of the parties, but at present I think you may be assured, that such
measures have been taken as will effectually prevent our enemies
from obtaining any further aid from any part of Europe, if they
should continue the war against us another year, which I can hardly
expect they will do, for I am informed, and have reason to believe
my information true, that orders have been already sent to their
Commissioners in America to acknowledge our independence, if nothing
else will answer, in order to commence a treaty and make a peace.

After my arrival at Frankfort, finding an opportunity offered to me
of negotiating a Treaty of Commerce with the United States of Holland
and West Friesland, I embraced it, and have proceeded so far as to
agree on the draught of a treaty, with the regular representative of
the Pensionary and Burgomasters of the city of Amsterdam, of which
I have not time to send you a copy by this conveyance, but I am
sure you would approve of it, as it contains all the substantially
advantageous articles of the commercial treaty with France, and some
beneficial and agreeable additions.

So far, the business has been conducted on both sides with great
secrecy, which is absolutely necessary in order to procure final
success with the United States here, for though the city of Amsterdam
and the States of Holland pay, it is supposed, about five sixths of
the whole taxes for the support of the government, which consequently
gives them very powerful weight and influence, yet they have no
power, by their constitution, of entering into such a treaty,
without the concurrence of the other United States, in some of
which the Prince of Orange has an over due influence, and all the
world knows his blood connexions with the king of England, as well
as that he has the same designs against his country, that have been
attempted to be carried into execution against us, and which he hopes
to succeed in by the aid of his cousin of England, with whom he is in
the strictest intimacy. This renders secrecy of the last importance,
until the patriots in Holland have secured success, before the
business is agitated in the General Assembly of the States, where it
must come, to have full authority.

Here I find myself embarrassed, because I have no power to sign such
a treaty, and I know not how to determine as yet about communicating
it, in the present situation of things, to those who have a power
to sign it in your name, because it is well known that some of the
most important negotiations and proceedings here, relative to your
affairs, have sometime past been very speedily communicated in
England, and I have not yet been able to learn that the old channel
is stopped. I shall, however, proceed in the manner, that shall on
the maturest reflection appear the best to forward the wishes of
Congress, and advance the prosperity of our country.

In a week or ten days I shall return to my station in Germany, and
watch with careful attention over my charge there, and when any thing
material occurs you shall be duly advised.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.

[54] Missing.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Frankfort, October 15th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have the honor of forwarding to you herewith a third copy of a plan
of a treaty of amity and commerce, between the Seven United Provinces
of the Netherlands and the United States of America, which you will
perceive was settled by M. de Neufville, as the representative of
Mr Van Berckel, Counsellor Pensionary of the city of Amsterdam, and
myself. The Burgomasters of Amsterdam had authorised Mr Van Berckel
to treat in this business in their name, and the Pensionary regularly
authorised M. de Neufville, a capital merchant of Amsterdam, to treat
with me. I forwarded two copies of this plan from Paris last month,
where I went to communicate what had been done to the Commissioners
there, as I did not think myself authorised to proceed any further
alone.[55] They were fully informed by me of the state of politics
in Holland, and that a great deal of management and secrecy in the
present stage of the business would be requisite to complete it
successfully, because the English party having the Prince of Orange
at its head is very powerful, and might effectually obstruct the
progress, if the negotiation comes to their knowledge before the
Pensionary and Burgomasters have made sure of carrying the point in
the Assembly of the States-General.

The further progress in this business your Commissioners at Paris
will no doubt communicate to you. However, it appears to me of no
inconsiderable importance, that I have obtained from the Pensionary
an engagement, that the States-General shall not take any measures
that may be injurious to the United States of America, provided
America shall not take any measures injurious to Holland. This
engagement the Pensionary is alone capable of complying with, because
his single negative is sufficient to prevent the States-General from
entering into any such measures, and consequently the States will be
prevented from giving any aid to Great Britain against our good ally,
France.

I have so often given you a full account of the situation of affairs
in this quarter of the world, that I have little to add on that
subject. Though the king of Prussia was prevented, by the critical
situation of politics here, from complying with the promise he had
made of acknowledging our independence as soon as France had done
so, I thought it proper to write to his Minister to know whether our
privateers and armed vessels would be permitted to enter and refit in
the Prussian ports; to which he replied, that his Majesty’s absence
from Berlin, and his continual application to the great object in
which he is engaged, prevents him from being able at present to make
me a favorable reply, but he hopes that circumstances will soon
enable them to make us more advantageous proposals than they have
already done.

The campaign is ended for this year, and nothing material has passed.
There are some politicians who think the winter negotiations will
produce peace, and if they do, I think the king of Prussia will not
then hesitate to enter into a treaty with us. As to the Court of
Vienna, you know my commission only authorised me to treat with the
Emperor, who has been since the beginning of April with his armies
in Bohemia; however, while I was at that Court our affairs could not
be advanced there, because both the Emperor and the King of Prussia
stand in the same predicament with respect to Hanover, which has now
increased its army to near thirty thousand men. The Emperor wishes
to keep Hanover neuter, and the King is exerting all his political
abilities to have the Hanoverian army active on his side. This winter
will, it is generally believed, decide the part that Hanover will
take if the war continues in Germany, in which case the opposite
party will soon join issue with us; in the meantime, we must have
patience, as at present neither side can in prudence enter into any
measures with us, unless France makes a point of it.

With the advice of the French Ambassador at Vienna I shall remain
here, as being a central place for Germany, until we can see with
more precision how to direct our future operations. I understood from
his Excellency Count de Vergennes, when I saw him at Versailles last
month, that he thought our business by and by would go forward at
Vienna. As the Court of Versailles can at any time influence that of
Vienna with respect to us, I presume some plan of that sort is now
in agitation, of which I expect due information from his Excellency
the Baron de Breteuil at Vienna; but I must remind you, that under my
present commission, I have no authority to conclude, or even to treat
of any thing with this Court. This I explained fully to you in my
letters last winter, which you must have received.

I am, Gentlemen, with the highest esteem and regard, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.

[55] For letters from M. Van Berckel and M. Dumas on this subject, see
the Correspondence of the Commissioners in France. Vol. I. pp. 456,
457, 476, 480, 488.


PLAN OF A TREATY WITH HOLLAND.

    _Plan of a Treaty of Commerce, to be entered into
         between their High Mightinesses the States of the
         Seven United Provinces of Holland, and the Thirteen
         United States of North America_.

The parties being willing to fix in an equitable and permanent
manner the rules, which ought to be followed relative to the
correspondence and commerce, which they desire to establish between
their respective countries, states, subjects, and people, have
judged, that the said end could not be better attained, than by
taking for the basis of their agreement the most perfect equality
and reciprocity, and by carefully avoiding all those burdensome
preferences, which are usually the sources of debate, embarrassment,
and discontent; by leaving, also, each party at liberty to make,
respecting commerce and navigation, such interior regulations as it
shall find most convenient to itself, and by founding the advantage
of commerce solely upon reciprocal utility, and the just rules of
free intercourse, reserving withal to each party the liberty of
admitting at its pleasure other nations to a participation of the
same advantages.

On these principles the parties above mentioned have, after mature
deliberation, agreed to the following articles.

ARTICLE I.

There shall be firm, inviolable and universal peace and sincere
friendship between their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven
United Provinces of Holland, and the United States of North America,
and the subjects and people of the said parties; and between the
countries, islands, cities, and towns situated under the jurisdiction
of the said United States of Holland, and the said United States of
America, and the people and inhabitants thereof, of every degree,
without exception of persons or places.

ARTICLE II.

The subjects of the United States of Holland shall pay no other
duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands,
cities, and towns of the said United States of America, or any of
them, than the natives and inhabitants thereof shall pay, but shall
enjoy all the other rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and
exceptions in trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one
part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, from and
to any part of the world, which the said natives or inhabitants enjoy.

ARTICLE III.

The subjects, people, and inhabitants of the said United States of
America, or any of them, shall not pay any other duties or imposts
in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or towns,
subject to their said High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven
United Provinces of Holland, than the natives and inhabitants of
those countries, islands, cities, or towns shall pay; but shall
enjoy all the other rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and
exemptions in trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one
part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, and to
and from any part of the world, which the said natives or inhabitants
enjoy.

ARTICLE IV.

The subjects and people of each of the aforesaid confederates, and
the inhabitants of countries, islands, cities, or towns belonging
to either of the parties, shall have liberty freely and securely,
without license or passport, general or special, by land or by water,
or in any other way, to go into the kingdoms, countries, provinces,
lands, islands, cities, villages, towns, walled or unwalled, or
fortified ports, dominions, or territories whatsoever, of the other
confederate, there to enter, and return from thence, to abide there
or pass through the same, and in the meantime to buy and purchase as
they please all things necessary for their subsistence and use, and
they shall be treated with all mutual kindness and favor; provided,
however, that in all matters they behave and comport themselves
conformably to the public laws, statutes, and ordinances of such
kingdom, country, province, island, city, or town, in which they may
be and live, and converse with each other friendly and peaceably, and
keep up reciprocal concord by all manner of good understanding.

ARTICLE V.

The subjects and people of each of the parties, and the inhabitants
of the countries, islands, cities, or towns, subject or belonging
to either of them, shall have leave and license to come with their
ships or vessels, as also with the goods and merchandise on board the
same, (the trade or importation whereof is not prohibited by the laws
or ordinances of either country) to the lands, countries, cities,
ports, places, and rivers of either side, to enter into the same, to
resort thereto, to remain and reside there without any limitation
of time; also to hire houses, or to lodge with other people, and to
buy all kinds of lawful merchandise and goods where they think fit,
from the first workman or seller, or in any other manner, whether
in the public market for the sale of things, in mart towns, fairs,
or wheresoever those goods or merchandise are manufactured or sold.
They may also lay up, and keep in their magazines or warehouses, and
from thence expose to sale, merchandise or goods brought from other
ports; neither shall they in any wise be obliged, unless willingly
and of their own accord, to bring their said goods or merchandise
to the marts or fairs; on this condition, however, that they shall
not sell the same by retail or in shops, or anywhere else. But they
are not to be loaded with any impositions or taxes on account of
the said freedom, or for any other cause whatsoever, except what
are to be paid for their ships, vessels, or goods, according to
the laws and customs received in each country, agreeable to the
stipulations in this treaty. And, moreover, they shall have free
leave and permission, without any kind of hinderance or molestation,
to remove themselves, also if they shall happen to be married,
their wives and children, if they have any, and their servants,
if they are willing to go with their masters, together with their
merchandise, wares, goods, and effects, either bought or imported,
whatsoever or whithersoever they shall think fit, out of the bounds
of each country, by land or by sea, on the rivers and fresh waters,
notwithstanding any law, privilege, grant, immunity, or custom, in
any wise importing the contrary.

ARTICLE VI.

In the business of religion, there shall be entire liberty allowed
to the subjects of each of the confederates, as also if they are
married, to their wives and children; neither shall they be compelled
to go to the churches, or to be present at the religious worship
in any other place. On the contrary, they may, without any kind of
molestation, perform their religious exercises after their own way,
in churches, chapels, or houses, with open doors; moreover, liberty
shall be granted to bury the subjects of either party, who die in
the territories of the other, in convenient and decent places to be
appointed for that purpose, as occasion shall require; neither shall
the dead bodies of those that are buried be any ways molested.

ARTICLE VII.

Furthermore, it is agreed and concluded as a general rule, that all
and singular the subjects of their said High Mightinesses, the Seven
United Provinces of Holland, and of the said United States of America
in all countries and places subject to their power on either side as
to all duties, impositions, or customs whatsoever, concerning goods,
merchandise, persons, ships, vessels, freights, seamen, navigation,
and commerce, shall use and enjoy the same privileges, liberties, and
immunities at least, and have the like favor in all things, as well
in the courts of justice as in all such things as relate either to
commerce, or to any other right whatever, which any foreign nation
the most favored has, uses, and enjoys, or may hereafter have, use,
and enjoy.

ARTICLE VIII.

Their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United Provinces of
Holland, shall endeavor, by all means in their power, to protect and
defend all vessels and the effects belonging to the subjects, people,
or inhabitants of the said United States of America, or any of them,
being in their ports, havens, or roads, or on the seas near to their
countries, islands, cities, or towns, and to recover and cause to be
restored to the right owners, their agents, or attornies, all such
vessels and effects, which shall be taken within their jurisdiction,
and their ships of war, or any convoys sailing under their authority
shall, upon all occasions, take under their protection all vessels
belonging to the subjects, people, or inhabitants of the said United
States of America, or any of them, or holding the same course, or
going the same way, and shall defend such vessels as long as they
hold the same course, or go the same way, against all attacks, force,
and violence, in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend
vessels belonging to the subjects of their said High Mightinesses,
the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland.

ARTICLE IX.

In like manner, the said United States of America, and their ships
of war sailing under their authority, shall protect and defend,
conformable to the tenor of the preceding article, all the vessels
and effects belonging to the subjects of the said Seven United
Provinces of Holland, and use all their endeavors to recover and
cause to be restored to their right owners, the said vessels and
effects, that shall have been taken within the jurisdiction of the
said United States of America, or any of them.

ARTICLE X.

Their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United Provinces of
Holland, will employ their good offices and interposition with the
King or Emperor of Morocco or Fez, the Regency of Algiers, Tunis,
or Tripoli, or with any of them, and also with every other Prince,
State, or Power on the coast of Barbary in Africa, and the subjects
of the said King, Emperor, States, and Powers, and each of them, in
order to provide as fully as possible for the benefit, conveniency,
and safety of the said United States and each of them, their
subjects, people, and inhabitants, and their vessels and effects,
against all violence, insult, attacks, or depredations on the part of
the said Princes or States of Barbary, or their subjects.

ARTICLE XI.

It shall be lawful and free for merchants and others, being subjects
either of the said Seven United Provinces of Holland, or of the said
United States of America, by will or any other disposition made
either during the time of sickness, or at any other time before,
or at the point of death, to devise or give away to such person or
persons as to them shall seem good, their effects, merchandise,
money, debts, or goods, movable or immovable, which they have, or
ought to have, at the time of their death, or at any time before,
within the countries, islands, cities, towns, or dominions belonging
to either of the said contracting parties; moreover, whether they
die, having made their will, or intestate, their lawful heirs,
executors, or administrators, residing in the dominions of either of
the contracting parties, or coming from any other part, although they
be not naturalised, and without having the effect of this concession
contested or impeded, under pretext of any rights or prerogatives
of provinces, cities, or private persons, shall freely and quietly
receive and take possession of all the said goods and effects
whatsoever, according to the laws of each country respectively;
the wills and rights of entering upon the inheritances of persons
dying intestate must be proved according to law, in those places
where each person may happen to die, as well by the subjects of
one as of the other contracting party, any law, statute, edict,
custom, ordinance, _droit d’aubaine_, or any other right whatsoever
notwithstanding.

ARTICLE XII.

The goods and estates of the people and subjects of the one
contracting party, that shall die in the countries, islands, lands,
cities, or towns of the other, shall be preserved for the lawful
heirs and successors of the deceased, the right of any third person
always reserved, and such goods and effects, together with the
papers, writings, and books of accounts of such deceased persons,
shall be put into an inventory by the Consul or other public Minister
of such party, whose subject has so died, and put into the hands
of two or three reputable merchants, that shall be named by such
Consul or public Minister, to be kept for the heirs, executors,
administrators, or creditors of the deceased, nor shall any judiciary
whatever inter-meddle therein, until applied to according to the
forms of law by such heir, executor, administrator, or creditor.

ARTICLE XIII.

It shall be lawful and free for the subjects of each party to employ
such advocates, attornies, notaries, solicitors, or factors, as they
shall think fit; to which end, the said advocates and others above
mentioned may be appointed by the ordinary judges if it be needful,
and the judges be thereunto required.

ARTICLE XIV.

Merchants, masters of ships, owners, mariners, men of all kinds,
ships and vessels, and all merchandise and goods in general, and
effects of one of the confederates or of the subjects thereof, shall
not on any public or private account, by virtue of any general
or special edict be seized or detained in any of the countries,
lands, islands, cities, towns, ports, havens, shores, or dominions
whatsoever of the other confederate for public use, for warlike
expeditions, or for any other cause, and much less for the private
use of any one shall they be detained by arrests, compelled by
violence or under any color thereof, or in anywise molested or
injured. Moreover, it shall be unlawful for the subjects of either
party to take anything, or to extort it by force from the subjects
of the other party, without the consent of the person to whom it
belongs, and it be paid for with ready money; which, however, is not
to be understood of that detention and seizure, which shall be made
by the command and authority of justice, and by the ordinary methods
of account of debt or crimes, in respect whereof, the proceedings
must be by way of law, according to the forms of justice.

ARTICLE XV.

It is further agreed and concluded, that it shall be wholly free for
all merchants, commanders of ships, and other subjects of their High
Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland,
in all places subject to the dominion and jurisdiction of the said
United States of America, to manage their own business themselves,
or to employ whomsoever they please to manage it for them; nor
shall they be obliged to make use of any interpreter or broker, nor
to pay them any salary or fees unless they choose to make use of
them; moreover, masters of ships shall not be obliged, in loading
or unloading their ships, to make use of those workmen that may be
appointed by public authority for that purpose; but it shall be
entirely free for them to load or unload their ships by themselves,
or to make use of such persons in loading or unloading the same
as they shall think fit, without paying any fees or salary to any
other whomsoever; neither shall they be forced to unload any sort of
merchandise, either into other ships, or to receive them into their
own, or to wait for their being loaded longer than they please, and
all and every the subjects, people, and inhabitants of the said
United States of America, shall reciprocally have and enjoy the same
privileges and liberties in all places whatsoever, subject to the
dominion and jurisdiction of their High Mightinesses, the States of
the Seven United Provinces of Holland.

ARTICLE XVI.

A dispute arising between any commander of the ships on either side
and his seamen, in any port of the other party, concerning wages due
to the said seamen or other civil causes, the magistrate of the place
shall require no more from the person accused, than that he give to
the accuser a declaration in writing, witnessed by the magistrate,
whereby he shall be bound to answer that matter before a competent
judge in his own country, which being done, it shall not be lawful
for the seamen to desert the ship, or to hinder the commander from
prosecuting his voyage. It moreover shall be lawful for the merchants
on both sides, in the places of their abode or elsewhere, to keep
books of their accounts and affairs in any language or manner, and on
any paper they shall think fit, and to have an intercourse of letters
in such language or idiom as they shall please, without any search or
molestation whatever; but if it should happen to be necessary for
them to produce their books of accounts for deciding any dispute or
controversy, in such case they shall bring into Court the entire
books or writings, but so as that the judge, or any other person may
not have liberty to inspect any other articles in the said books,
than such as shall be necessary to verify and authenticate the matter
in question, or such as shall be necessary to give credit to the said
books; neither shall it be lawful under any pretence, to take the
said books or writings forcibly out of the hands of the owners, or to
retain them, the case of bankruptcy only excepted.

ARTICLE XVII.

The merchant ships of either of the parties, which shall be making
into a port of the other party, and concerning whose voyage and the
species of goods on board her there shall be any just grounds of
suspicion, shall be obliged to exhibit, as well upon the high seas
as in the ports and havens, not only her passports, but likewise
certificates expressly showing that her goods are not of the number
of those, which have been prohibited as contraband.

ARTICLE XVIII.

If, by exhibiting the abovesaid certificates, mentioning the
particulars of the things on board, the other party should discover
there are any of those sorts of goods, which are prohibited and
declared contraband by this treaty, and consigned for a port under
the obedience of his enemies, it shall not be lawful to break up
the hatches of such ship, or to open any chest, coffer, pack, cask,
or any other vessel or package found therein, or to remove the
smallest particle of the goods, whether such ship belongs to the
subjects of their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United
Provinces of Holland, or to the subjects or inhabitants of the said
United States of America, unless the loading be brought on shore in
presence of the officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an inventory
thereof made; but there shall be no allowance to sell, exchange, or
alienate the same in any manner, until after that due and lawful
process shall have been had against such prohibited goods, and the
Court of Admiralty respectively shall, by a sentence pronounced, have
confiscated the same; saving always as well the ship itself, as any
other goods found therein, which by this treaty are to be esteemed
free; neither may they be detained on pretence of their being, as
it were, infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be
confiscated as lawful prize; but if not the whole cargo, but only
part thereof shall consist of prohibited or contraband goods, and the
commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to
the captor who has discovered them, in such case, the captor having
received those goods shall forthwith discharge the ship, and not
hinder her by any means from freely prosecuting the voyage on which
she was bound; but, in case the contraband merchandise cannot be all
received on board the vessel of the captor, then the captor may,
notwithstanding the offer of delivering him the contraband goods,
carry the vessel into the nearest port, agreeable to what is above
directed.

ARTICLE XIX.

On the contrary, it is agreed that whatever shall be found to be
laden by the subjects, people, or inhabitants of either party on
any ship belonging to the enemy of the other, or to their subjects,
the whole, although it be not of the sort of prohibited goods,
may be confiscated in the same manner as if it belonged to the
enemy himself, except such goods and merchandise as were put on
board the ships before the declaration of war, or even after such
declaration, if it so be that it was done without the knowledge of
such declaration, so that the goods of the subjects and people of
either party, whether they be of the nature of such as are prohibited
or otherwise, which as aforesaid were put on board any ship belonging
to an enemy before the war, or after the declaration of the same,
without knowledge of it, shall no ways be liable to confiscation, but
shall well and truly be restored without delay to the proprietors
demanding the same; but so as that if the said merchandise be
contraband, it shall not be any ways lawful to carry them afterwards
to any ports belonging to the enemy. The two contracting parties,
that the terms of six months being elapsed after the declaration
of war, their respective subjects, people, and inhabitants, from
whatever part of the world they come, shall not plead the ignorance
mentioned in this article.

ARTICLE XX.

And that more effectual care may be taken for the security of the
subjects and people of either party, that they do not suffer any
injury by the men of war or privateers of the other party, all the
commanders of the ships of war and the armed vessels of the said
States, of the Seven United Provinces of Holland, and of the said
United States of America, and all their subjects and people shall
be forbid doing any injury or damage to the other side, and if they
act to the contrary, they shall be punished, and shall moreover be
bound to make satisfaction for all matter of damage, and the interest
thereof by reparation, under the pain and obligation of their persons
and goods.

ARTICLE XXI.

All ships and merchandise of what nature soever, which shall be
rescued out of the hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas,
shall be brought into some port of one or the other party, and shall
be delivered into the custody of the officers of that port, in order
to be restored entire to the true proprietor, as soon as due and
sufficient proof shall be made concerning the property thereof.

ARTICLE XXII.

It shall be lawful for the ships of war, privateers, or armed vessels
of either party, freely to carry whithersoever they please the ships
and goods taken from their enemies, without being obliged to pay
any duty to the officers of the Admiralty or any other judges, nor
shall such prizes be arrested or seized when they come to and enter
the ports of either party; nor shall the searchers or other officers
of those places search the same, or make examination concerning the
lawfulness of such prizes, but they may hoist sail at any time,
and depart and carry their prizes to the place expressed in their
commissions, which the commanders of such ships of war, privateers,
or armed vessels shall be obliged to show. On the contrary, no
shelter nor refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall
have made prize of the subjects, people, or property of either of the
parties; but if such shall come in, being forced by stress of weather
or the danger of the seas, all proper means shall be vigorously used
that they go out and retire from thence as soon as possible.

ARTICLE XXIII.

If any ships or vessels belonging to either of the parties, their
subjects or people, shall, within the coasts or dominions of the
other, stick upon the sands, or be wrecked, or suffer any other
damage, all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the
persons shipwrecked, or such as shall be in danger thereof; and
letters of safe conduct shall likewise be given to them for their
free and quiet passage from thence, and the return of every one to
their own country.

ARTICLE XXIV.

In case the subjects or people of either party with their shipping,
whether public and of war, or private and of merchants, be forced
through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies, or any
other urgent necessity for seeking shelter and harbor, to retreat and
enter into any of the rivers, creeks, bays, havens, roads, ports,
or shores, belonging to the other party, they shall be received
and treated with all humanity and kindness, and enjoy all friendly
protection and help, and they shall be permitted to refresh and
provide themselves, at reasonable rates, with victuals and all things
needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of their
ships and conveniency of their voyage; and they shall no ways be
detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads,
but may remove and depart when and whither they please without any
let or hinderance.

ARTICLE XXV.

For the better promoting of commerce on both sides, it is agreed,
that if a war should ever happen to break out between the said
contracting parties, six months after the proclamation of war
shall be allowed to the merchants, subjects, and people on either
side, in countries, cities, and towns where they may happen to
reside, in which time they themselves may retire, together with
all their families, goods, merchandise and effects, and carry them
whithersover they shall please, as likewise, at the same time, the
selling and disposing of their goods, both movable and immovable,
shall be allowed them freely and without any disturbance, and, in
the meantime, their goods, effects, wares, and merchandise, and
particularly their persons, shall not be detained or troubled by
arrest or seizure, but rather in the meantime, the subjects and
people on each side shall have and enjoy good and speedy justice, so
that during the said space of six months they may be able to recover
their goods and effects, intrusted as well to the public as to
private persons; and if anything be taken from them, or any injury be
done by either party, or the people, or subjects on either side, full
satisfaction shall be made for the same by the party committing such
injury or doing such damage.

ARTICLE XXVI.

No subjects of their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven
United Provinces of Holland, shall apply for or take any commission
or letter of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers
against the said United States of America, or any of them, or against
the subjects, people or inhabitants of the said United States, or any
of them, from any Prince or State with which the said United States
of America shall happen to be at war; and if any person of either
nation shall take such commission or letter of marque, he shall be
punished as a pirate.

ARTICLE XXVII.

It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers, not belonging to
the subjects of their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven
United Provinces of Holland, nor to the citizens of the said United
States of America, which have commissions from any other Prince or
State in enmity with either of the contracting parties, to fit their
ships in the ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid
parties, to sell what they have taken, or in any other manner
whatsoever to exchange their ships, merchandise, or any other lading;
neither shall they be allowed even to purchase victuals, except such
as shall be necessary for their going to the next port of that Prince
or State from which they have commissions.

ARTICLE XXVIII.

It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects of their High
Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland,
and the citizens, people, and inhabitants of the said United States
of America, to sail with their ships with all manner of liberty and
security; no distinction being made who are the proprietors of the
merchandise laden therein, from any port to the places of those who
now are or hereafter may or shall be at enmity with the said States
of the Seven United Provinces of Holland, or the said United States
of America. It shall be also lawful for the subjects and citizens
aforesaid, to sail with the ships and merchandise aforementioned,
and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places,
ports, and havens of those who are enemies of either party, without
any opposition or disturbance whatsoever, not only directly from
the places of the enemy aforementioned, to neutral places, but also
from one place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the
jurisdiction of one and the same power, or under several. And it
is hereby stipulated, that free ships shall also give a freedom to
goods, and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt,
which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of
either of the confederates, although the whole lading, or any part
thereof should appertain to the enemies of either, contraband goods
being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner, that the
same liberty be extended to persons who are on board a free ship,
with this effect, that although they be enemies to both or either
party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they
are soldiers, and in the actual service of the enemies.

ARTICLE XXIX.

This liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to all kinds
of merchandise, excepting those only, which are distinguished by
the name of contraband or prohibited goods, and under this name of
contraband or prohibited goods, shall be comprehended arms, great
guns, bombs, with their fusils, and other things belonging to
them, fire balls, gunpowder, match, cannon balls, pikes, swords,
lances, spears, halberts, mortars, petards, grenades, saltpetre,
muskets, musket balls, helmets, headpieces, breastplates, coats of
mail, and the like kinds of arms proper for arming soldiers, musket
rests, belts, horses, with their furniture, and all other warlike
instruments whatever. The merchandise which follows shall not be
reckoned among contraband or prohibited goods, that is to say, all
sorts of cloth, and all other manufactures made of wool, flax, hemp,
silk, cotton, or any other materials whatever. All kinds of wearing
apparel, together with the species whereof they are used to be made,
gold and silver, as well coined as uncoined, tin, iron, lead, copper,
brass, as also wheat and barley, and every other kind of corn and
pulse, tobacco, and likewise all manner of spices, salted and smoked
flesh, salted fish, cheese and butter, beer, oils, wines, cider,
sugars, syrup, and all sorts of salt; and in general, all provisions
which serve to the nourishment of mankind and the sustenance of life;
furthermore, all kinds of cotton, hemp, flax, tar, pitch, turpentine,
ropes, cables, sail, sailcloths, anchors, and any parts of anchors;
also ships’ masts, planks, boards, and beams of what trees soever,
and all other things proper either for building or repairing ships;
and all other goods whatsoever, which have not been worked into the
form of any instrument or thing prepared for war, by land or by
sea, shall not be reputed contraband, much less such as have been
already wrought and made up for any other use; all which shall be
wholly reckoned among free goods; as likewise all other merchandise
and things, which are not comprehended or particularly mentioned
in the foregoing enumeration of contraband goods, so that they may
be transported and carried in the freest manner by the subjects
and citizens of both confederates, even to places belonging to an
enemy, such towns and places being only excepted as are at that time
besieged, blocked up, or invested.

ARTICLE XXX.

To the end, that all manner of dissension and quarrels may be
prevented and avoided on both sides, it is agreed, that in case
either of the parties hereto should be engaged in war, the ships and
vessels belonging to the subjects or citizens of the other ally must
be furnished with sea letters, or passports, expressing the name,
property, or bulk of the ship, or vessel, as also the name, place, or
habitation of the master, or commander of the said ship, or vessel,
that it may appear thereby, that the ship really and truly belongs
to the subjects, or citizens of one of the parties, which passport
shall be made out and granted according to the form annexed to this
treaty. They shall likewise be recalled every year, that is if the
ship or vessel happens to return home within the space of a year. It
is likewise agreed, that such ships or vessels being laden are to be
provided not only with passports, as above mentioned, but also with
certificates containing the several particulars of the cargo, the
place from whence the ship sailed, and whither she is bound, that
so it may be known, whether any forbidden or contraband goods be on
board the same; which certificates shall be made out by the officers
of the place whence the ship or vessel set sail, in the accustomed
form; and if any one shall think it fit or advisable to express in
the said certificates the persons to whom the goods on board belong,
he may freely do it.

ARTICLE XXXI.

The ships or vessels of the subjects or citizens of either of the
parties coming upon any coasts belonging to either of the said
confederates, but not willing to enter into port, or being entered
into port, and not willing to unload their cargoes or break bulk,
shall not be obliged to give an account of their lading, unless they
should be suspected on some manifest tokens of carrying to the enemy
of the other ally any prohibited goods called contraband, and in
case of such manifest suspicion, the said subjects and citizens of
either of the parties shall be obliged to exhibit in the ports, their
passports and certificates in the manner before specified.

ARTICLE XXXII.

If the ships or vessels of the said subjects, or people of either
of the parties, shall be met with sailing along the coasts, or on
the high seas, by any ship of war, privateer, or armed vessel of the
other party, the said ships of war, privateers, or armed vessels, for
the avoiding of any disorder, shall remain out of cannon shot, and
may send their boats on board the merchant ship, which they shall so
meet with, and may enter her, to the number of two or three men only,
to whom the master or commander of such ship or vessel shall exhibit
his passport, concerning the property of the ship or vessel made out
according to the form annexed to this present treaty, and the ship
or vessel, after such passport has been shown, shall be free and at
liberty to pursue her voyage, so as it shall not be lawful to molest
or search her in any manner, to give her chase or to force her to
quit her intended course.

ARTICLE XXXIII.

It is also agreed, that all goods when once put on board the ships
or vessels of either party shall not be subject to any further
visitation; but all visitation and search shall be made beforehand,
and all prohibited goods shall be stopped on the spot, before the
same be put on board the ships or vessels of the respective parties,
their subjects or people; nor shall the persons or goods of the
subjects or people of their said High Mightinesses, the States of
the Seven United Provinces of Holland, or the said United States of
America, be put under any arrest, or molested by any other kind of
embargo for that cause; but only the subject of that power, by which
the said goods have been or shall be prohibited, who shall have
presumed to sell or alienate such sort of goods, may be duly punished
for the offence, according to the laws, customs or ordinances of his
own country.

ARTICLE XXXIV.

The two contracting parties grant to each other mutually the liberty
of having, each in the ports of the other, consuls, vice consuls,
agents and commissioners of their own appointing, whose functions
shall be regulated by particular agreement, whenever either party
chooses to make such appointment.

This is a rough plan of a treaty of commerce, which, in consequence
of the appointment and instructions of the Honorable Engelbert
Francis Van Berckel, Counsellor Pensionary of the city of Amsterdam,
to me John de Neufville, citizen of the said city of Amsterdam, I
have perused, considered, and settled with William Lee, Commissioner
of Congress, as a proper treaty of commerce to be entered into
between their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United
Provinces of Holland, and the United States of America.

This done at Aix la Chapelle, the 4th of September, 1778.

                                                 JOHN DE NEUFVILLE.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                 Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778.

Sir,

The enclosed resolve it is hoped will be productive of singular
advantage, so for as relates to you, who must depend greatly for
American intelligence on your connexions in Paris. Congress have
been and are exceedingly loaded with business, and of late have met
with some singular interruptions in the intended general arrangement
of their foreign affairs, so that they have yet only decided in
respect to Dr Franklin, their Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court
of France.

Our first and most pressing business is the appreciation of our
currency. This point accomplished, our enemies themselves will
acknowledge their hopes of conquering us at an end. The British
Commissioners, sent on a foolish and wicked errand to America, are
returning home completely disappointed; and there is reason from
appearances to think, that the land forces of Britain are gradually
withdrawing from these States. It is probable, that the Marquis de
la Fayette, by whom this letter goes, will obtain in Boston further
knowledge than we now have of the destination of a fleet lately
departed from New York, amounting to about one hundred and fifty sail.

We shall desire Mr Adams to give you all possible information on the
arrival of this packet, and shall soon despatch other letters from
this port.

With hearty prayers for your welfare, we are, Sir, your affectionate
friends,

                                                       R. H. LEE,
                                                       JAMES LOVELL.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                               Frankfort, February 25th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have the honor of enclosing to you with this a fourth copy of
the plan of a treaty, arranged as you will see between M. John
de Neufville, on the part of the Pensionary and Burgomasters of
Amsterdam, and myself on the part of the United States of America.
This plan, I presume, will meet with the approbation of Congress,
and if it can be carried through in the General Assembly of the
Seven United States of the Netherlands, America cannot have any just
grounds of complaint. If any further steps are taken by you in this
business, it will be necessary to authorise some person to complete
it in your name, who must advance it with the States-General as he
finds the temper of the times and politics, for it is to be observed,
that by their constitution, in all cases of treaties, alliances,
peace, or war, the unanimous consent of all the States is requisite;
however, it is with pleasure I inform you, that in consequence of
the negotiation with Amsterdam, and the correspondence I have kept
up with the parties, that city (by far the most important member of
their union) has with infinite firmness and resolution opposed all
the intrigues of Great Britain, countenanced as it is said by the
Prince of Orange, to involve the Republic in a war against France,
and consequently against America.

The efforts of Amsterdam have at last prevailed on the States-General
to come to a resolution lately much in our favor, that is, that they
insist upon Great Britain’s strictly adhering to the treaty of 1674,
whereby the Dutch commerce is allowed to be entirely free; and if
Great Britain will not accede to this, they will convoy their trade
with ships of war, and repel force with force. They are accordingly
making a very respectable addition to their navy, the care of which
Amsterdam has taken on herself.

With respect to Germany, our affairs seem to wear a more promising
aspect, than they have done for some time past. Letters of good
authority from Vienna, Berlin, and Breslaw, the present residence
of the King of Prussia, speak with confidence of the terms of peace
being fully settled between the House of Austria and Prussia, under
the mediation of France and Russia, that of Great Britain being
equally slighted by both parties. There has been about ten thousand
men raised in this country, under the title of free corps, for the
two contending powers, all of whom will be dismissed as soon as peace
is signed, and will be ready to enter into any service that will pay
them. It will require infinite address, industry, and management to
prevent Great Britain from gaining advantage from this circumstance,
which will no doubt be attempted by their agent, General Faucet,
who is now in this country, endeavoring to buy more human flesh to
sacrifice to the demon of tyranny in America. To this object I shall
apply at present my principal attention, at the same time keeping a
watchful eye upon the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, to take advantage
of the first favorable opening for as that appears at either.

I think it most probable, that one or both of those Courts will begin
a negotiation with us, in a very little space of time after the peace
between them is finally settled; however, for the present the King
of Prussia has formally engaged, by a letter from his Minister, who
writes in the King’s name, the 17th instant, “that the merchants
of North America, who should come with their merchant vessels into
the ports of his Majesty to trade there, in merchandise that is not
prohibited, should have full liberty, and should be received in all
respects, as the merchants of other countries.” This looks to me,
as if they wished the trade to be commenced between America and
the Prussian dominions, but the European merchants, and especially
those who are not accustomed to a foreign commerce, which is almost
universally the case with the merchants in the Prussian dominions,
are cautious, and do not care to venture hastily in a trade, which
they do not understand. A vessel or two from America, arriving in
the port of Emden, would convince the Prussian merchants more of
the practicability of this commerce, than a volume of the most
demonstrative reasoning, that ever was written. You will judge then
of the propriety of encouraging the American merchants to undertake a
trial of this commerce.

This will be delivered to you by Samuel W. Stockton of New Jersey,
who has been with me some months, in the capacity of Secretary to the
Commission, at the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, for which purpose he
left London in May last, where he had been some years pursuing the
study of the law. He now returns to his country, because we do not
see clearly how the expense of a Secretary is to be supported, since
the American Commissioners at the Court of Versailles have lately
demurred at paying my draft on them for my expenses, conformably to
the resolve of Congress, and though they have allowed me some money,
I am given to understand, that it is the last I am to expect from
them; therefore, if you should agree in opinion with most others on
the propriety of keeping up the Commissions in Germany, it will be
quite necessary to establish some sure funds to support the expense.
Mr Stockton has received from me 3732 livres for his expenses, and I
am obliged to refer him to Congress for such further consideration
as they may judge he deserves, not having it in my power to make
him that compensation for his services to the public, which I think
him entitled to. However, justice calls upon me to say, that he
merits consideration and esteem for his zeal and readiness to serve
his country, whenever it was in his power, and therefore I am sure
Congress will render him ample retribution.

To Mr Stockton I refer you for further information relative to the
general state of political affairs in this quarter of the world, and
expecting shortly another opportunity, I shall write again, when I
hope to be able to give you very pleasing accounts of the progress of
my negotiations in this country. I have not received any letter or
intelligence from you of a later date than May last, therefore I have
no reply to make.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, March l6th, 1779.

Sir,

I have just had communicated to me the copies of two letters from Mr
Silas Deane, addressed to Mr President Laurens, dated Philadelphia,
October the 12th, 1778, and a separate paper relative to the 11th and
12th articles in the Treaty of Commerce between His Most Christian
Majesty and the United States of America;[56] in which letters, so far
as respects me personally, he has asserted nearly the same groundless
charges as in his letter to the public, which has been already so
fully replied to, and proved to be utterly repugnant to truth. Had Mr
Deane made these very extraordinary assertions only once, he might
have had some shadow of excuse, though it is a very bad one, by
pleading a weak memory; but a deliberate repetition of them, after an
interval of time amply sufficient for recollection, shows a heart and
designs of such a complexion as all good men should avoid and guard
against. Mr Deane concludes with the following assertions, by way of
summary of all that he had before advanced.

1st. “That Mr William Lee never had a commission for the commercial
agency.” What Mr Deane may style a _commission_ I do not know, but
he knew by a letter to himself from Mr John Ross, in July, 1777, of
which he knows I have a copy, that I had as sufficient authority
to act in the commercial agency as Mr Thomas Morris, and that I
did act in that department accordingly. But if Mr Deane knew I was
not a commercial agent, how can he palliate so bold and daring an
imposition on His Most Christian Majesty and his Ministers, as to
represent me in that character to them, which he did do in the letter
signed by him to his Excellency Count de Vergennes in February, 1778,
requesting that the late Mr Thomas Morris’s papers might be put into
my possession, as then being the sole commercial agent of Congress.
But, indeed, we ought not to be surprised at any imposition whatever
on the part of Mr Deane, since he imposed himself on the King of
France, his Ministers, and the whole world, as a Commissioner of
Congress, on the 20th of March, 1778, when he confesses that on the
4th of that month he received a resolution of Congress, recalling
him to America. I also refer for his conviction to the letters and
proceedings of the Secret Committee.

2dly. Mr Deane says, “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 hear 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.” One
cannot here omit observing the studied latitude of his expressions.
Mr Deane talks of his letter in _February_ or _March_, and that I
came to Paris in the summer following. Will Mr Deane say how many
letters he wrote? I never saw or heard of but _one_. Will he please
to say whether that one letter was dated the 1st of February, or the
31st of March? For the difference of _two_ whole months makes a very
material alteration in the consequence he means to draw from the
assertion. I will answer, that his only letter is dated the 30th of
March, though he acknowledges his having received a _notification_
from Mr Robert Morris in February of my appointment, and at the same
time was desired to give me information of it _immediately_. It has
been also proved by Mr Deane’s letter to Mr Williams, on the same
day, viz. March 30th, that he was plotting a contention and rivalship
in this department, before it was possible for him to know my
determination on the subject. Again, will Mr Deane specify what time
in the _summer_ I arrived in Paris? Because here it is left to be
understood, either the first day of June, or the last day of August,
which is a still greater difference than the former expression. I
will assert what I can prove, that I arrived in Paris the 11th of
June, and that besides receiving a letter from me himself in the
month of _May_, he was personally told by my brother, Arthur Lee, by
my desire, in the beginning of May, that I would come over as soon as
possible to execute my appointment, and so far from waiting in Paris
for my brother’s return from Berlin, I waited, by the express advice
of Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, until the 31st of July, 1777, as their
letter to me of that date will show, which was nine days after my
brother’s return from Berlin to Paris.

The manner in which Mr Deane sent me the letter, informing me of my
appointment, joined with what is now manifest, a formed design in him
and Dr Franklin to make Mr Williams (nephew of the latter, and who
now appears connected with the former in private mercantile business)
commercial agent,[57] in opposition to the Secret Committee’s
appointment, renders it evident that he expected either the
interception of that letter or my answer would have subjected me to
imprisonment and secured their plan. It is this disappointment that
makes Mr Deane so outrageous against me, for not having committed so
great an act of imprudence, situated as I was, as to be writing to
him by the post upon such a subject. That this scheme of Mr Deane
might be more effectual, notice of my appointment was circulated
upon the Royal Exchange of London, before I received Mr Deane’s
letter; and not long after, it was published in the newspapers in
authentic letters written from Paris. Now, as Mr Deane acknowledges
that he received a letter announcing my appointment, it must have
been by him, that others were enabled to write and publish it to all
the world, while my life, liberty, and property were at stake. It
is hardly in charity to believe, that these were not the intended
victims of Mr Deane’s conduct.

3dly. Mr. Deane says, “So far was he (meaning me) 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.”

If anything could astonish me, that comes from Mr Deane, surely
here is abundant matter for astonishment. He had just before, from
under his own hand, on the very same paper, acknowledged my having
attempted to exercise that appointment, in the joint letter from
Mr Thomas Morris and myself as commercial agents to himself and Dr
Franklin, in August, 1777, which he calls _severe_, but which I aver
is a very civil one, and that it does not contain a single harsh
or offensive expression. He acknowledges, also, the conference I
had with all the Commissioners in France in October, on the subject
of the commercial business, when Mr Izard was present. He knew,
also, that I had received a cargo publicly at Nantes, belonging to
Congress, by the Abigail, Captain Jenne, which vessel was loaded
again by me, and despatched back for America in three weeks, while
other American vessels, of no greater size or importance, were
detained at Nantes from two to three months. He knew, also, or
ought to have known, that I had written a letter addressed to all
the Commissioners, Dr Franklin, Mr Deane, and Mr Arthur Lee, on
the 10th of November, 1777, which was delivered to Dr Franklin as
eldest Commissioner the same day, wherein I requested a copy of the
treaties, that had been proposed to the Courts of France and Spain,
agreeably to my instructions from Congress, that I might not, as a
Commissioner of Congress, propose anything repugnant thereto to the
Courts of Vienna and Berlin. After these things, and a continued
series of operations in the public service, (all of which Mr Deane
was acquainted with) from the time I was permitted to act by himself
and Dr Franklin, until the 4th of December, when the news of General
Burgoyne’s defeat arrived at Paris, with what face could Mr Deane
make such an assertion as he has done? Most of these things also
being of public notoriety, and capable of being proved by a multitude
of witnesses, can any one suppose Mr Deane so totally ignorant of
the laws of England, as to imagine he could think I might return “to
the exercise of my Aldermanship in London,” without being a madman
desirous of hanging myself?

This gentleman attempts to excuse himself and Dr Franklin, for
not answering the joint letter of Mr Morris and myself to them,
by laying the blame on Mr Arthur Lee, not a syllable of which was
mentioned at the conference I had in October, 1777, at Passy with
the Commissioners, when Mr Izard was present, and which Mr Lee has
answered himself; but he omits to say why my several letters from
Nantes, as commercial agent on public business to the Commissioners,
were not answered, and of which I not only complained at the
conference but since. In order to invalidate what Mr Izard has
written, he totally mistakes the purport of the letter, in which Mr
Izard complains of Dr Franklin’s and Mr Deane’s refusing to write.
This letter, as desired by me, was a general one to all captains and
others, informing them that I was a Commercial Agent of the Secret
Committee of Congress, and that in consequence, they ought to follow
my directions and orders in all matters relative to the commercial
business of the Committee.

So far from my proposing the suspension of Mr Morris, I never thought
that the Commissioners had the least shadow of authority to do
it. It is certain, that Mr Deane not only proposed the suspension
of Mr Morris at this conference, but at several other times. As a
confirmation of this assertion, I beg leave to give the following
extract of Mr Deane’s letter to me, dated, “Passy, December 18th,
1777. My advice before your appointment (as was well known) was
to supersede Mr Morris, and appoint another until the pleasure of
Congress should be known; I was always of the same opinion after your
appointment, that you ought to conduct the business alone; these are
well known to have been my uniform sentiments.”

Mr Deane labors much to throw an odium on me, as wishing to
monopolise to myself the places both of honor and profit. Probably,
from the weakness of his memory he forgot, that in the commencement
of his address to the public, he states, that before September,
1776, he “had the honor to be the _Commercial_ and _Political_
Agent of America in Europe.” He also forgets, that the first cause
of any difference between us was his usurping the exercise of the
Commercial Agency, to which Mr Morris and myself were appointed by
the Secret Committee, while he was not only one of the Commissioners
to the Court of Versailles particularly, but generally authorised
to treat with every power in Europe; the influence and patronage of
which very expensive commission, he was perpetually endeavoring to
retain entirely to himself. He also seems to be ignorant of what I
suppose is known to most people in Philadelphia, that his “venerable
friend,” as he calls him, Dr Franklin, is at this moment not only
sole Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Versailles, but also in
fact sole superintending Commercial Agent in all Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.

[56] See these letters and paper in Mr Deane’s Correspondence, Vol. I,
pp. 129, 139, 148, 155, of this work.

[57] For a correction of an error here, in regard to the imputed
designs of Dr Franklin respecting his nephew, see the note on p. 164,
of the present volume.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Paris, March 25th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

Be pleased to refer to the foregoing copy of my letter to you of the
25th ult. by Mr Stockton, which may not get to hand as soon as this.

On the 10th instant an armistice was published between the Emperor
and King of Prussia, and the same day the conferences were opened
at Teschin in Austrian Silesia, to consolidate and reduce into form
the treaty of peace between the two contending powers, the important
articles of which have been already agreed upon by both parties. The
operations of war have consequently ceased, but perhaps the final
signature of the peace may not take place for some weeks.

The principal objects of my coming here, were to engage this Court
to aid and assist me in adopting the most speedy and efficacious
measures to prevent our joint enemies from reaping considerable
advantage from the peace in Germany, by engaging a vast number of
the free corps that have been raised for this war, to the number
of fifteen or twenty thousand men, that will all be disbanded as
soon as the peace is signed, and to aid me in endeavoring to get
the German powers to acknowledge the independence of America, which
would certainly have a decided influence on Great Britain, and induce
her King and Ministers to make peace with us on the footing of
independence.

As it is the regular and usual mode in Europe for one nation to
treat with another on public business, through the medium of their
public ministers, I applied to Dr Franklin on my arrival here, as
the American Minister at this Court, to go with me to his Excellency
Count de Vergennes to consult with him on these points. The doctor
declined doing so, saying he was so little acquainted with German
affairs, that he could not meddle with them. I told him that it
was not his knowledge or idea of the German politics, that was to
be communicated to the Minister, but mine, on which the Minister
would form his own judgment with respect to the propriety of my
propositions, but unless they were made to him in the regular mode by
the Minister of Congress at this Court, it could not be expected that
he would pay much attention to what came from me, as an individual
unauthorised by Congress to treat with him on great political
subjects. The doctor still refused either to go with me, or to write
by me on the subject to Count de Vergennes. I shall, however, do
every thing that is in my power to accomplish these desirable ends,
and from the present appearance of things, it appears to me most
probable I shall succeed in one, if not both the objects in view, if
I can obtain the aid and concurrence of the Ministry here.

These are certainly objects of high importance, especially with
respect to the troops, as the British Ministry have now several
officers in pay in Germany waiting to engage them. Our enemies it
seems are determined to prosecute the war against us, at least for
this year; their plan must be begun before this gets to hand, and
therefore opened to you, which renders it unnecessary for me to
mention any thing on that subject.

With this, is a letter to President Jay, covering my reply to the
allegations of Mr Silas Deane against me, in his letter to Congress
of the 12th of October, to be laid before Congress, which I flatter
myself will, in the mind of every impartial person, be not only a
full vindication of my conduct, but also prove how little credit is
due to any assertions of Mr Deane. As to myself personally, I am
perfectly at ease with respect to the weak and wicked attempts of Mr
Deane to injure me, for I am shielded with the invincible armor of
innocence; but the injury his daring publication[58] has done to the
common cause of America in Europe is not easily to be delineated,
and I can assure you with truth, that our enemies are more elated
at it, than they would have been with a capital victory. The reason
for their exultation is too evident to require mentioning. Besides,
it has created a diffidence in the minds of the Europeans, which
will embarrass extremely every attempt at public negotiations, since
few Ministers will treat with a people, who permit every thing that
passes to be wantonly published to the world with impunity. I trust,
however, the wisdom of Congress will not let its attention be drawn
off from the great and principal object of providing effectually for
defeating the open and secret efforts of our enemies against us, and
finally to force them to an honorable peace; which I am convinced
they will not accede to until they are driven off the continent.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.

[58] His Address to the American People, published in the Pennsylvania
Gazette, of December 5th, 1778.


RALPH IZARD AND ARTHUR LEE TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                              Paris, June 22d, 1779.

Sir,

We had the honor of receiving your favor of the _______, in which
you ask our advice relative to an application to the King of Prussia
to comply with his promise, made through his Minister, Baron de
Schulenburg, “that he would acknowledge the independence of the
United States as soon as France had done so,” and whether it would be
proper to change the channel of application from Baron de Schulenburg
to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It is with great pleasure, that we contribute whatever is in our
power to assist your judgment in what so materially concerns the
public good.

We are of opinion, that in the present state of expectancy from
Spain, it will be prudent to wait till her example also has given
encouragement to the Court of Berlin, and contributed to counteract
the motives from Russia, which withhold that Court from pursuing its
interest and inclination in openly espousing our cause. That when it
may be proper to move the question, the promises should be touched
with delicacy, by stating, that the good will towards us, which the
King had formerly declared, having been suspended in its operation
by the war in Germany, you hope that their objection being now
removed, he will not delay to give the world a decided proof of his
sentiments, in the acknowledgment of the independency of the United
States of America, which cannot fail by the weight of such an example
to stop the further wanton effusion of blood.

As the King of Prussia is in fact his own Minister, we should
imagine, that it might have a bad effect to change from Baron de
Schulenburg, whom he seems to have appointed to transact this
particular business. But in this, a knowledge of the actual situation
of that Court must decide, and of that we are not informed.

We wish you every success in this important negotiation, and are,
with the greatest esteem, dear Sir, yours, &c.

                                                      RALPH IZARD,
                                                       ARTHUR LEE.


JAMES LOVELL TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                        Philadelphia, July 17th, 1779.

Sir,

The Committee of Congress for Foreign Affairs are officially
instructed to inform you, that on the 8th of June last past, it was
resolved to recall you from the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, to which
you had been appointed. But you are also to be informed, that it is
the sense of Congress, that you need not repair to America.

You may see the proceedings at length, respecting this business, in
their Journals, printed authoritatively by David C. Claypole, and
being in the hands of Dr Franklin or Mr Arthur Lee at Paris.

We are, Sir, with sincere regard, &c.

                                               JAMES LOVELL,
                          _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                               Francfort, September 28th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have not had the honor of receiving any answer to the various
letters I have written to you since my coming to this country, nor
any letter from you since May, 1778, except a short one of the 28th
of October last, which, added to my never receiving intelligence,
information, or assistance of any kind from your Minister at
the Court of Versailles, has rendered my situation extremely
embarrassing; and, therefore, if my success has not been so complete
as could have been wished, I shall hope for the indulgence of
Congress, especially when it is considered, that the general system
of affairs in Europe, for eighteen months past, has been so very
critical as to puzzle the deepest and most refined politicians.

Not being able to prevail on your Minister at the Court of Versailles
(as I mentioned to you in March last) to aid me, in getting the
French Ministry to exert themselves in endeavoring to obtain a
declaration of American independence by all the northern powers
of Europe, that were interested in the Congress held at Teschin
in Silesia last spring, I was consequently disappointed in the
full hopes I entertained of obtaining so desirable a point, which
there was the greatest prospect of succeeding in, if the Court of
Versailles had made a point of it; at least I am assured, that the
King of Prussia would not have had any objection, and from the very
great influence he has in the Cabinet of Petersburg, there is little
doubt but that he could easily have prevailed with the Empress of
Russia to have given her consent. Had this point been gained, our
enemies would have been deprived of every ray of hope of obtaining
any assistance to continue the war against us, for the great object
of their European politics has been, and is still, to draw the
Empress of Russia into their quarrel.

We had not in this country got sufficiently quieted, after the
signing of the peace of Teschin, on the 10th of May last, to make it
prudent for me to take any public steps under the commissions I have
from Congress, before the negotiations for peace under the mediation
of Spain were drawn to a conclusion, but as the rescript delivered
in June by the Spanish Ambassador to Lord Weymouth, in London, said
not one word in our favor, but rather seemed to look on the Thirteen
United States of America as being still colonies, or provinces,
belonging to Great Britain, it became absolutely necessary for me
to wait until this enigma could be cleared up, and till I could get
sure information of the real designs of Spain, and the measures she
intended to pursue.

As soon as I had got this information, I made a formal requisition
to the Prussian Minister, hoping that, as the late war in Germany
had prevented his Majesty’s former declarations in our favor from
being carried into effect, and as that obstruction was now removed,
his Majesty would not delay to acknowledge the independence of the
Thirteen United States of America, which might be the means of
putting a stop to the further wanton effusion of human blood. To
this requisition I received the following answer from the Minister.
“With respect to the declaration, which you again desire of the King,
in favor of the independence of the Americans, I have frequently
explained, that his Majesty having, by the position of his dominions
and those of his neighbors, very different interests from those
powers that are properly called maritime ones, he had no right to
expect a direct influence in maritime affairs, and that he could not
in wise policy take any measures in those affairs, because they would
always be unfruitful, as they could not be supported by a warlike
marine. The support of the maritime powers will make the balance
incline in your favor more effectually, than all the declinations in
the world, and Spain, by joining with France to make war on England,
renders you the most essential services, without having acknowledged
your independence. The King, in making the declaration now which you
desire, would only embroil himself with England, without rendering
the smallest service to your country. These are the reasons, which
induce the King to confine himself at present to the facilities,
which his Majesty has offered at different times with respect to
commerce, in assuring you, which I do again, that merchant vessels
of America, that choose to enter into the ports of the King, to sell
their goods and to buy ours, shall be received in a friendly manner,
and treated on an equality with the merchants of any other country.”

It has long been one object of my policy to engage the King of
Prussia to act in our favor as a mediator for peace, whereby, if
his mediation was agreed to, he might render us much more effectual
service than by sending an army of fifty thousand men into Hanover,
which step he could not take without arming the Emperor and the
whole German empire against him. I have good reason to believe,
that the King is much disposed to act in the quality of a mediator,
but he is too wise to offer his services without being previously
assured, that they would be accepted by both sides; however, we may
expect very essential benefits from his influence with the Court
of St Petersburg, who, it is said with confidence, has offered its
mediation, and that it is accepted by the parties. I am informed,
that the first proposition to be made to England by the mediating
powers, as the commencement of the negotiation, is that America
shall be treated as independent.[59] There is a strong inclination
in Prussia to enter into the American commerce, and there is now a
scheme in agitation under the direction of the Minister to make the
trial, which, if the commencement is successful, will be carried on
upon a very large scale, and will more effectually engage the King in
our interests than any thing else. For this purpose, I think it would
be of most essential service if two or three American vessels were to
enter into the port of Emden, which is a good harbor, lying between
Hamburgh and Amsterdam, and as easily got into as any of the ports of
Holland.

I have continued my correspondence at Vienna, but having no powers
to treat with the Empress Queen, who is still sole sovereign over
all the dominions of the House of Austria, and the Emperor being
much disgusted with some proceedings during the late war, and more
so with its conclusion, is become of course much more disposed in
favor of our enemies than he was, and consequently less inclined
to serve us; therefore, little advantage can be expected from that
quarter at present. Our friends in Holland increase every day, and I
am still in regular correspondence with those who regulated with me
the form of the treaty of commerce, copies of which have been sent
you by various conveyances, and even now if the Stadtholder were to
refuse to receive an American deputy, I have no doubt of his meeting
a cordial reception from the city of Amsterdam, whose weight and
decisive influence in their association you must be fully informed of.

Letters of good authority from England say, that the British Ministry
would willingly agree to give up the independence of America to
obtain peace, but it is feared that the obstinacy and folly of
their master will prevent them from executing their plan; however,
I am still firmly of opinion, that the best security and success of
America will depend on her own efforts, her wise, steady, and uniform
conduct. As the obtaining a fresh supply of troops from this country
has been a favorite point with our enemies, I have paid continual
attention to that object, and have the pleasure to inform you, that
at present there is not any prospect of their obtaining fresh troops
from this part of the world, as they have hitherto been defeated
in all their various negotiations for that purpose; but as this
campaign has passed away without any blow being struck in Europe,
all the English fleets from the different parts of the world arrived
safe without the least molestation, and the King’s hands are so much
strengthened by the exertions of all parties in England to repel the
invasion, which they have been threatened with all the year, that
I think it is most probable the war will continue another year at
least, for which, I suppose, proper provision will be made in America.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.

[59] This was not true in regard to the “mediating powers,” but it was
the invariable reply of France to all the propositions made by other
powers for a mediation between her and England, that the independence
of the United States must be assumed as a previously established point.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                  Brussels, February 10th, 1781.

Sir,

Be pleased to inform Congress, that I have received information,
which I think is to be depended on, that the British cabinet has
lately determined not to send any more troops for this campaign to
North America. I therefore submit to the wisdom of Congress the
propriety of making every possible vigorous effort this year to expel
the British troops from the continent, for there may be reason to
apprehend if this is not done, and Great Britain can by any means
extricate herself from the irresistible northern storm she has raised
against her, by the mad and foolish attack she has made on the Dutch,
that her whole force will be employed next year against America,
especially if she does not meet with some signal losses there this
campaign.

The secret proposals for peace, which Great Britain is now making at
Versailles and Madrid, are altogether insidious, and only intended to
impede the active operations of France and Spain this year, whereby
they hope, by getting the start, that they may obtain some decisive
advantages in the East and West Indies, for which countries their
expeditions are all now on the wing. The King of Prussia has been
our steady friend, though wisely so, and has been of much service to
us; therefore, from motives of gratitude as well as of justice and
sound policy he ought not to be much longer neglected, for it is most
certain that his wisdom directs greatly the present system of Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Brussels, April 12th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

Not having received any answers to various letters I have written
to you, covering my account as Commissioner to the Courts of Vienna
and Berlin, I take the liberty of again enclosing in this a copy of
that account, No 4, but having understood that Congress had adopted
another mode in settling Mr Izard’s account, I have stated another
account, No. 2, conformable to that mode as I understand it, which
is also enclosed, leaving it with your justice and discretion to
determine which of them to lay before Congress.[60]

It is impossible to avoid observing, that the prevailing sentiments
in America, and the situation of public affairs, which occasioned
the resolution of Congress of the 20th of September, 1776, were
very different from those, which dictated the resolution of August
6th, 1779.[61] Indeed, one difference is pretty remarkable, for at
the first period, the office of a commissioner was so far from
being esteemed a profitable and honorable appointment, that on the
contrary it was refused, as the journals of Congress will show; but
at the latter period there was such a change in the situation of
the affairs of America, that similar appointments were sought after
with great eagerness and much solicitude. It surely cannot be thought
unreasonable, that this should be considered in rewarding those, who
accepted of the appointments at the different periods, as well as the
situations and stations in life that were quitted, and the personal
losses that were sustained by entering into the public service. As to
myself, I can solemnly aver, that my pecuniary loss from engaging in
the service of my country exceeded the sum of £6000 sterling. This
I do not mention as a peculiar merit, because I have no doubt there
are others who have voluntarily made as great, if not much greater
sacrifices in so good a cause; but as my family now feel not only
that loss, but the want of that portion of my private fortune, which
I was necessarily obliged to expend in the public service, I have
reason to hope that the settlement of my account will be speedily
determined, and I must further hope and request, that the payment of
whatever sum Congress shall please to allow me may be ordered to me
in Europe.

I have only to solicit, Gentlemen, your kind intercession that this
business may be brought to as quick a decision as possible, in which
you will confer a singular obligation on him, who has the honor to
be, with the highest esteem, respect, and consideration, Gentlemen,
your most obedient and obliged humble servant,

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.

[60] Both missing.

[61] “_August 6th, 1779_, Resolved, that an allowance of 11,428 livres
tournois per annum be made to the several Commissioners of the United
States in Europe for their services, besides their reasonable expenses
respectively;

“That the salary, as well as the expenses, be computed from the time
of their leaving their places of abode to enter on the duties of their
offices, to be continued three months after notice of their recall, to
enable them to repair to their families respectively.”


JAMES LOVELL TO WILLIAM LEE.

                              Philadelphia, September 20th, 1781.

Sir,

The decision of Congress respecting your letter of April 12th, which
came to hand only the 4th of this month, is herewith transmitted. The
period of payment will perhaps be more distant than you wish; but I
am at liberty to assure you from the Superintendent of our Finances,
that it is his intention to take the earliest possible opportunity to
close this business.[62]

With much regard, I am, &c.

                                                 JAMES LOVELL,
                            _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

[62] “_September 12th, 1781._ The committee to whom was referred a
letter of the 12th of April last from Mr William Lee, report,

“That upon principles admitted by Congress in the settlement of an
account similar to that transmitted by Mr Lee, there appears to be due
to him a balance of 42,189 livres tournois; whereupon,

“_Ordered_, That the account be referred to the Superintendent of
Finance, to take order for payment of the balance, with interest, at
the rate of six per cent per annum from this day, as soon as the state
of the public finances will admit.”


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Brussels, March 31st, 1782.

Sir,

Although I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance with you,
yet I trust that this letter being on subjects which concern the
interests of our country in general, I shall not stand in need of any
apology for writing it.

You will be informed, probably, both by the newspapers and private
letters, before this gets to your hands, of the late revolution
in the British Ministry; the old set having given place to a new
Ministry, composed of the Rockingham, Shelburne, and Grafton
parties. This change has been forced on the king, very much against
his inclination, and that of his secret advisers, Lords Bute and
Mansfield, by the general exertion of almost the whole body of the
people of England, both in and out of the House of Commons, who
ardently wish for a peace, especially with America, and it appears
that independence will not now be any great impediment, though they
will endeavor to barter, as a consideration for acknowledging it for
a beneficial treaty of commerce, the Newfoundland fishery and some
other points.

It seems evidently to be the general wish of the nation, that a peace
with America should be immediately made almost on any terms, and
on that principle it is that they have forced the present Ministry
into place; but as I am not quite clear that the principles of Lord
Shelburne, or those of his friend, Mr Dunning, are in any manner
friendly to America, and the king’s inveteracy continuing as great as
ever, it is not possible to say how far the negotiations for peace
may be traversed and impeded by secret manœuvres and intrigues;
therefore in my opinion it will be wise in America to be well on
her guard, and take her present measures, as if the war was yet to
continue some years. I have not yet heard of his departure, but the
22d instant was fixed for General Carleton to leave Portsmouth in the
Ceres, of thirtytwo guns, for New York, to take upon him the command
in chief in America. The late British Ministry died as they lived,
for one of their last official acts was to give the traitor Arnold,
by patent, one thousand pounds sterling pension per annum for his and
his wife’s lives.

It has been mentioned to me by a gentleman in the government here,
that the Emperor is disposed to enter into a commercial treaty with
America, and afterwards that a Minister or resident from Congress
should reside at the Court here, this being the principal commercial
country belonging to his Majesty. Though this communication was not
official, yet it appears as if it had been made to me from their
knowing, that I was formerly a Commissioner of Congress at the Court
of Vienna; therefore I think it my duty to inform Congress of the
circumstance through you, that they may take such measures in it as
they think proper.

I will not presume to advise on the propriety or impropriety of
appointing a Minister to treat with his Imperial Majesty, because
Congress must be sufficiently informed, that the capital manufactures
of this country in woollen, linen and cotton, and coarse hats, and
the iron and steel manufactures at Leige, will be of great utility
at all times in America; and the consumption of tobacco, indigo,
rice, furs, skins, and salt fish is not only very considerable in
this country, but in the adjacent inland ones, that always draw
their supplies through the ports here. I will only venture to say,
in my opinion, fifteen thousand livres tournois per annum would be
a sufficient appointment for an American minister to reside at this
Court, for his salary and expenses together. Should such a minister
be appointed, his commission should run thus; “To negotiate, agree
upon, conclude, and sign a treaty of, &c. &c. &c. between his
Imperial and Apostolic Majesty Joseph the Second, Emperor of Germany,
King of the Romans, of Hungary, Bohemia, &c. &c. &c. and the Congress
of the United States of America, and afterwards to reside as Minister
from the said Congress at the Court of Brussels, in the Austrian
Netherlands, to transact such affairs as may be given to him in
charge.” I mention this because there was a capital mistake in the
original commission sent me to treat with the Court of Vienna, which
I took the liberty of pointing out at the time.

You will find enclosed with this a copy of the London Gazette, and
sentence of the Court Martial on Captain Dundass of the Boneta, which
prove pretty explicitly a breach of the articles of capitulation at
Yorktown by Lord Cornwallis and Captain Symonds. I do not know that
the situation of affairs will render it necessary to take notice of
this breach on the part of the enemy, but it appears to me proper
that Congress should be informed of the fact.

With the highest consideration and respect, I have the honor to be,
&c.

                                                       WILLIAM LEE.



                  THE CORRESPONDENCE OF RALPH IZARD,
                  COMMISSIONER FROM THE UNITED STATES
                     TO THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY.


Ralph Izard was a native of South Carolina. He was residing in
Paris with his family, when appointed by Congress a Commissioner to
the Court of Tuscany. He had lived much in England and other parts
of Europe. His Commission was dated July 1st, 1777. The state of
European politics became such, that he did not visit the Court to
which he was destined; nor did he leave Paris during the whole period
of his agency. Congress recalled him on the 8th of June, 1779, and he
returned in a few months afterwards to America. By correspondence he
attempted to procure a loan in Italy, but without effect. It does not
appear, that his services were in any way successful.

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF RALPH IZARD.


INSTRUCTIONS TO RALPH IZARD.

                                  Philadelphia, July 1st, 1777.

Sir,

Herewith you will receive a Commission from the Congress of the
United States of North America, authorising and appointing you to
represent the said Congress, as their Commissioner at the Court of
the Grand Duke of Tuscany. You will proceed with all convenient
expedition to the Court of the Grand Duke, and will lose no time in
announcing in form the declaration of Independence made in Congress,
the fourth day of July, 1776. The reasons of this act of independence
are so strongly adduced in the declaration itself, that further
argument is unnecessary.

As it is of the greatest importance to these States, that Great
Britain be effectually obstructed in the plan of sending German and
Russian troops to North America, you will exert all possible address
to prevail with the Grand Duke to use his influence with the Emperor
and the Courts of France and Spain to this end.

You will propose a treaty of friendship and commerce with the said
Grand Duke, upon the same commercial principles as were the basis of
the first treaties of friendship and commerce proposed to the Courts
of France and Spain, by our Commissioners, and which were approved in
Congress, the seventeenth day of September, 1776, and not interfering
with any treaties, which may have been proposed to or concluded with
the Courts abovementioned. For your better instruction herein, the
Commissioners at the Court of Versailles will be desired to furnish
you, from Paris, with a copy of the treaty originally proposed by
Congress to be entered into with France, together with the subsequent
alterations, that have been proposed on either side.

You are to propose no treaty of commerce to be of longer duration,
than the term of twelve years from the date of its ratification by
the Congress of the United States. And it must never be forgotten in
these commercial treaties, that reciprocal and equal advantages to
the people of both countries be firmly and plainly secured.

There being reason to suppose, that his Royal Highness makes commerce
an object of his attention, you will not fail to place before him, in
the clearest light, the great advantages, that may result from a free
trade between Tuscany and North America.

You will seize the first favorable moment to solicit, with firmness
and respect, an acknowledgment of the independence of these States,
and the public reception of their Commissioner as the representative
of a sovereign State.

The measures you may take in the premises, and the occurrences
of your negotiation, you will communicate to Congress, by every
opportunity.

It may not be improper to observe, that these instructions, and all
others, which you may receive from time to time, should be kept as
secret as circumstances will admit.

                                                   JOHN HANCOCK,
                                        _President of Congress_.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, October 6th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of receiving by the Independence, Captain Young, a
commission and instructions from Congress, the objects of which I
shall use my utmost endeavors to accomplish.

The powers of Europe seem to be waiting for the determination of
the Court of Versailles, respecting the acknowledgment of the
independence of America. As soon as she sets the example, it will
I believe be followed by all those whose interest makes them wish
for the diminution of the power of England. In this description
may be comprehended every State, that can be of any service to us.
It is very much the interest of most of the powers of Italy, that
the strength of the British navy should be lessened; some of their
ports, particularly those of Naples, and Civita Vecchia, have been
frequently insulted, and all of them are liable to be so, by a nation
not remarkable for its moderation. I think, therefore, that they must
be disposed to afford assistance to the States of America, privately,
either by subsidy or loan. Congress will be pleased to honor me with
their instructions on this point; and, in the mean time, I shall
endeavor to procure every information on the subject in my power.
Should the proposition be approved of, they will furnish me with
proper powers. If I should be so fortunate as to succeed in procuring
money, I should be glad to know how it should be disposed of, whether
in the purchase of such articles as are wanted, or remitted in specie.

I hope to be frequently favored with the proceedings of Congress, and
with the state of affairs in America, which will be of importance to
me, and cannot fail of giving weight to the appointment they have
honored me with.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

_P. S._ The Committee will be pleased to direct their despatches
to me, to the care of Dr Franklin, or whatever Commissioner may be
resident at the Court of France.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, December 18th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

Since my letter of the 6th of October, I have cultivated an intimacy
with the Tuscan Minister, resident at this Court. He is a man of
honor, of considerable abilities, and extremely friendly to our
country. I proposed to him, that I should immediately set out for
Italy, and desired his opinion and advice. He dissuaded me from
executing my intentions for the present, assured me of the good
disposition of the Grand Duke towards us, and promised me to use
his utmost endeavors to promote our interest with him. He thought,
that my presence at this time might produce some embarrassment at
his Court, which would not long be the case. He is since gone to
Florence, and I am convinced, that no services that he can render the
States will be withheld.

This gentleman is a great favorite, and I am well assured is more in
the confidence of the Grand Duke than any of his Ministers. I flatter
myself, therefore, that I have acted according to the wishes of
Congress, in conforming to his advice. I have repeatedly pressed him
on the subject of the German troops, recommended to me by Congress,
and he has done every thing I could wish him to do. I have the
satisfaction to learn, that the King of Prussia has refused to let a
body of Germans, intended for America, pass through his dominions,
and it is said, that he was induced to take this step at the desire
of the Emperor. I expect letters very soon from Florence, which will
regulate my conduct. Every thing in my power has been done to execute
the trust that has been reposed in me by Congress; and it will make
me extremely happy, whenever an opportunity offers of rendering any
service to my country.

The irresolute and indecisive state of the politics at the Court
of France, has for some time kept all Europe in suspense. The late
success of our arms against General Burgoyne has given a fortunate
turn to our affairs in this kingdom, and the conduct of the French
Ministry has confirmed me in an opinion I have long had, that the
establishment of our liberties must depend upon our own exertions.
One successful battle will gain us more friends, and do our business
more effectually, than all the skill of the ablest negotiators. I
repeat my request, that I may be furnished from time to time with the
proceedings and resolutions of Congress, and likewise with the state
of affairs in America, which will be highly useful to me.

I am, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


ARTHUR LEE TO RALPH IZARD.

                                               January 28th, 1778.

Sir,

You may if you please mention to the other Commissioners, that I have
asked your opinion of the proposition of setting all our exports to
the French Islands, against the molasses imported from them, in a
perpetual exemption from duties. If your arguments should convince
them, I am still ready to co-operate in preventing the article from
taking effect, and think there is yet time. But a day may render it
irrecoverable.

I am, &c.

                                                       ARTHUR LEE.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, January 28th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

Mr Lee has asked my opinion on an article, which he informs me has
been under the consideration of the Commissioners, viz, whether
an exemption from duty on molasses is an equivalent for a total
exemption from duty of all the exports of North America to the French
West India Islands?

In answer to this question I am clearly of opinion, that it is
not, and if that article should be agreed to by the Commissioners,
without an absolute necessity, I cannot help thinking it will be a
sacrifice of the general interests of America to those provinces
which import molasses. I shall not be suspected of partiality, or of
being actuated by any motives but those of the public good, when it
is known that South Carolina, the province in which all my property
lies, imports a considerable quantity of molasses for distillation.
Should the article in question be agreed to, the French might lay
what duty they pleased upon their European exports, and even upon
their sugar, coffee, and other productions of their Islands, without
our having any check upon them whatever. For if, in consequence of
any such duty imposed by them, a duty were to be laid by America on
any of her exports to France, the French vessels would have nothing
to do, but to clear out for the West Indies, and sail directly for
Europe, or touch first at one of their Islands. This will certainly
at least open a door for smuggling, and may occasion a discontinuance
of that friendship and harmony, which ought to subsist between the
countries. This article seems the more extraordinary to me, as I do
not think there is the least probability of any duty being ever laid
by the French upon molasses, as the distilling it into rum would
materially interfere with their brandy, and therefore a duty would
endanger a diminution of the consumption of it.

I am very sensible, that the decision of this business is committed
entirely to the Commissioners at this Court. At the same time
I cannot help thinking it my duty, not only as a gentleman of
considerable property in America, but likewise as one whom Congress
has thought proper to honor with a commission similar to your own,
though at another Court, to endeavor to prevent the execution of an
article, that I think injurious to the interests of my country. I
prefer this application to you singly as a friend, to one addressed
to all the Commissioners, and I hope the latter will be unnecessary.

It is very painful for me to write to you in the language of
complaint, but I feel myself hurt, and it is proper that I should
tell you of it. It does not appear to me to be possible, that any
inconvenience could have arisen, if you had mentioned to me the
proposition of an exemption of all duties on our exports, as a
compensation for the exemption of the duty on molasses alone. When
I had the pleasure of seeing you last at my house, I spoke to you
in general about the treaty, and particularly about the article of
molasses, and expressed my fears, that the French Ministry would
not consent to have such a restraint put upon their power, as was
contained in the article of the original treaty. I asked you whether
you were under any injunctions of secrecy, which prevented you from
satisfying me. You replied, that certainly secrecy was necessary to
be observed, but that as I was myself a Commissioner, you thought
that you might without any impropriety talk with me on the subject,
and informed me that the objection, which I apprehended, had been
made, and that the article was to be given up. Not a word was
mentioned about an equivalent. As you thought at that time, that my
being a Commissioner entitled you to speak to me on the subject, I
cannot conceive what impropriety there could possibly have been in
your doing it, when so material an alteration was under consideration.

The instructions sent to me by Congress came through your hands,
and it will be hardly necessary to remind you, that though the
conclusion of the treaty with this Court is intrusted to you,
and the other gentlemen joined with you in the Commission, I am
directed by the same authority under which you act to apply to
you for a copy, not only of the original treaty, but likewise of
“every subsequent alteration, that has been _proposed_ on either
side.” It appears therefore to me, that as soon as the alteration
was _proposed_ it ought to have been communicated to me. Had you
made such communication, I should have thought it my duty to have
called your attention to the principles of the treaty, and should
have requested you to consider whether you were not going to act in
direct violation of them. My reason for thinking so is, that I am
instructed to “propose to the Court of Tuscany a treaty on the same
commercial principles as are the basis of the treaty, which you are
directed to propose to the Court of France.” What this basis, and
these principles are, is clearly explained to me in the following
instructions. “It must never be forgotten in these commercial
treaties, that reciprocal and equal advantages to the people of
both countries be firmly and plainly secured.” This matter gives me
a great deal of uneasiness, and I am extremely anxious to know, if
there be yet a possibility of stopping the execution of the article.
You will therefore excuse my requesting, that you will favor me with
an answer to this letter as soon as possible.[63]

I have the honor to be, with great regard, dear Sir, your most
obedient humble servant,

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

[63] See the history of the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty, in Mr
Deane’s letter of the 12th of October, 1778, Vol. I. p. 166; also in
Arthur Lee’s, letters, Vol. II, p. 127.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        Passy, January 29th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I received yours late last evening. Present circumstances, which I
will explain to you when I have the honor of seeing you, prevent
my giving it a full answer now. The reasons you offer had before
been all under consideration. But I must submit to remain some days
under the opinion you appear to have formed, not only of my poor
understanding in the general interests of America, but of my defects
in sincerity, politeness, and attention to your instructions. These
offences, I flatter myself, admit of fair excuses, or rather will
be found not to have existed. You mention, that you _feel yourself
hurt_. Permit me to offer you a maxim, which has through life been of
use to me, and may be so to you, in preventing such imaginary hurts.
It is, “always to _suppose_ one’s friends _may be right_, till one
_finds_ them wrong, rather than _to suppose them wrong_, till one
_finds_ them right.” You have heard and imagined all that can be said
or supposed on one side of the question, but not on the other.

I am, nevertheless, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient
and humble servant,

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, January 30th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I was yesterday favored with your letter, containing a maxim, which
though a very old one, I am bound to thank you for, and can assure
you, that so far from disapproving it, it has been one of the
constant rules of my life. If you will be pleased to recollect the
most extraordinary inattention, to say the least of it, with which
I have been treated during the six months I have been in Paris, you
will I hope think I have profited by it. You will be pleased likewise
to recollect, that after having borne this for a considerable time,
I complained to you of it. Forced as I was into this complaint, it
was, however, not made without studying how it should be done in a
manner least likely to give you offence. I should have been extremely
glad, if you had attended to the maxim yourself yesterday. Had you
done so, I should not have been supposed to have formed an opinion,
that you had a poor understanding in the general interests of
America, or that you were insincere. My letter had no such meaning,
neither can any such construction be fairly put upon it.

I shall give you another proof of my attention to your maxim, by not
being offended at your assertion, “that I have heard and imagined all
that can be said or supposed on one side of the question, but not on
the other.” You may depend upon it, you have adopted an erroneous
opinion, and what that is I will inform you when you favor me with
the explanation promised in your letter. You will do me the justice
to remember, that it has been my constant endeavor to accommodate the
differences, that I found prevailing to a very great degree upon my
arrival here. I shall be extremely sorry, and think it a misfortune,
if I should be drawn into any with a gentleman of whom I have so
high an opinion as I have of you, and for whom I feel so strong a
disposition to continue an esteem and friendship. This I hope will
not be expected to be done at too great an expense; by my being
silent when I think it my duty to speak.

I cannot conclude without again requesting, that you would reconsider
the article, which was the subject of my last letter. If it is
determined, that it shall stand in its present form, can there be
any inconvenience in its not being finally concluded, till it has
undergone the consideration of Congress? If this proposition is
inadmissible, I sincerely wish, that the treaty may be for a term of
years only, which is very customary in treaties of commerce, that if
the mischiefs, which I apprehend, should not prove imaginary, they
may have some limitation, and not be entailed on us for ever.

I have the honor to be, with great regard, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        York, February 5th, 1778.

Sir,

Your letter from Paris, of October 6th, last year, being read in
Congress, afforded much satisfaction, as it signified your acceptance
of the commission, which had been sent by Captain Young, and also
held up a prospect of your obtaining a loan of money in Italy. Our
apprehensions of danger to our liberties are reduced to the one
circumstance of the depreciation of our currency, from the quantity
which we have been obliged to issue. The different States are sinking
their own emissions, and going largely into taxation for continental
purposes; but it will require more time than we wish, before the good
policy of taxation can have full effect upon the currency; therefore
Congress have given, in regard to you, the same instructions as to
the gentlemen at the Courts of France and Spain, and we doubt not of
your best exertions.

We wish you success in the business of the enclosed resolves, as well
as in every other undertaking for the good of the public, for your
own personal felicity. We must leave you very much from time to time
to receive intelligence of our affairs from the other Commissioners,
to whom we shall have a more ready channel of conveyance, than to you.

We are, with much regard, &c.

                                                    J. WITHERSPOON,
                                                    J. LOVELL.


TO HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Paris, February 16th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I mentioned in my last letter what good effects the successes of the
American arms had produced here. Nothing could have happened more
seasonably. Our affairs were in a very unpromising state, and had our
military operations failed, our Commissioners would not have found
themselves more acceptable here than at St James’s. This, however,
affords a very satisfactory reflection to every American who loves
his country; which is, that she owes her liberty and happiness to her
own virtuous exertions.

The Commissioners will by this opportunity send to Congress the
treaty of commerce, which was signed here a few days ago. This treaty
has not been much altered from the one agreed upon by Congress, in
September, 1776, and transmitted to the Commissioners to be proposed
to the Court of France. The principal alteration is that respecting
molasses. The 12th article in the original treaty requires, that “no
duty shall be imposed on the exportation of molasses from any of the
Islands of The Most Christian King, in the West Indies, to any of
the United States.” When this proposition was made to the French
Ministry, it was objected, that this would be laying the king under
a disagreeable restraint, and would be in fact making him not master
in his own dominions; but that the States might be perfectly easy on
that point, as it was inconsistent with the policy of France ever to
lay a duty on molasses. One of the Commissioners still discovered a
great inclination to have the article inserted in the treaty, and the
Ministry believing from this circumstance, that Congress had made a
point of it, thought it a good opportunity to secure an exemption of
all duty upon tobacco exported to every part of the French dominions,
and proposed it as an equivalent. The Commissioners objected to any
particular article being selected, lest it might be complained of as
a partiality, and offered to exempt from duty not only tobacco but
every other production of the United States, that should be exported
to the West Indies, provided molasses should be exempted from duty.
This was so advantageous a proposal, that it was immediately accepted
by them.

While this matter was depending, it appeared to me, that a very
disadvantageous bargain was about to be made on our part, and I did
every thing in my power to prevent it. Mr Lee, and his brother, who
is Commissioner for the Court of Vienna, agreed with me perfectly
in opinion. The execution of the treaty being left entirely to the
Commissioners at this Court, neither Mr William Lee nor I had any
vote in the business. Dr Franklin and Mr Deane continuing determined
to have the molasses exempted from duty, the article was agreed to,
and now forms part of the treaty. I understand, however, that if
Congress objects to it, there is a verbal promise on the part of
France, that it shall be expunged.

Mr Lee has received a commission for the Court of Madrid; and the
successes of America have once more put the French Ministry into good
humor, so that our affairs will I hope now go well. My gout, which
has been very severe, is a great deal better, and as soon as the
weather grows a little milder, I intend setting out for Italy.

Ships have been despatched to America, without the least notice given
to me, that I might get my letters ready; intelligence received from
Congress, whatever the nature of it, has never been communicated to
me but by report, and when the important news of General Burgoyne’s
surrender was received, Dr Franklin and Mr Deane did not think proper
to give me any information about it, though I was confined to my bed.
It did not seem decent, that such an event should be communicated
to me from any other quarter. These circumstances you will allow to
be not very agreeable. I was determined, however, not to quarrel;
it seemed to me better to bear with them, than to risk an addition
to those animosities, which I have already mentioned, and which
I am convinced have been very prejudicial to our public affairs.
That there might, however, be no excuse for the continuance of such
conduct, I wrote a note to Dr Franklin, appointed an interview,
and with studied moderation, mentioned such parts of his conduct
as I disapproved of. He acknowledged everything, apologized for
everything, and promised, that in future I should have no reason
to complain. He has not thought proper to be so good as his word,
and his proceedings since have been more exceptionable than before.
As far as he and Mr Deane have had it in their power, they have
concealed from Mr William Lee and me every proceeding respecting the
treaty of commerce, which has for some time been negotiating, and I
heartily wish they had carried it through without my having occasion
to interfere. I thought it my duty so to do, and have sent you my
letter to Dr Franklin on the subject, with his trifling answer, and
my reply.[64] This is all that has passed between us on the business,
and the only satisfaction that I have in the matter is, that the
French Minister has, in consequence of this correspondence, given the
verbal promise already mentioned.

Should Congress be informed by either of the Commissioners, that
there would have been danger of the miscarriage of the treaty if
this article had not been inserted, you may depend upon it, that
is not true. The Ministry were very willing to have the article
respecting the molasses left out, and likewise that, which has been
agreed to by the Commissioners as an equivalent. The instructions
from Congress, which accompanied the treaty, did not authorise them
to offer any equivalent. Congress seemed not to be much interested
in the fate of the article, and the Commissioners, instead of being
empowered to offer such a sacrifice in favor of the New England
Provinces, were expressly enjoined to give up the article, if any
objection was made to it, taking it for granted, I suppose, that it
never could enter into the heart of a Frenchman to lay a duty on a
commodity, that without the American market would be totally useless
to them. These are the words of their instructions. “The twelfth and
thirteenth articles are to be waved, if you find that the treaty will
be interrupted by insisting on them.” How those gentlemen could take
it upon them to act so directly in opposition to this instruction, I
cannot conceive. It is true, they were both born in New England, but
it is not to be supposed, that they could be so forgetful of their
duty to the public, as to suffer themselves to be biassed by any such
motives.

I understand they mean to exert themselves in support of what they
have done, and that they expect their arguments will prevail upon
Congress to approve of the article. For my part I am convinced, that
the article is injurious to America, and, therefore, I have not only
given myself but you a great deal of trouble about it, and bespeak
your attention to it, and hope, that if you agree with me in opinion,
you will not only oppose it yourself, but likewise make all the
interest you can to get it expunged.

If you are acquainted with Mr Duer, I should be glad that you would
communicate the contents of this letter to him, as I shall not be
able to write to him by this opportunity. Every thing seems to bear
the strongest appearance of war in this country, and every Frenchman
seems to be desirous of it. England on her part is making great
preparations, and in all likelihood there will be a very bloody
contest, as the two nations are exasperated against each other to a
great degree. England entered foolishly into this business at first,
and she does not yet seem perfectly convinced of her error, as she
is going to plunge deeper into misfortune, without men, money, or
allies. Russia and Portugal are the only connexions that she has.
One of these powers is in such a state as rather to require than
afford assistance, and the other will have enough upon her hands
from the Turks. Holland has manifested very unfriendly dispositions
towards her, and the King of Prussia has given the most explicit and
unequivocal assurance, that he will be the second power in Europe to
acknowledge the independence of America.

The death of the Elector of Bavaria was a circumstance, that
occasioned some alarm here, as it was feared that France might be
forced into a continental war, in support of the succession of the
Elector Palatine. This, however, in some degree has passed over, and
I hope the German Princes will be left to settle their differences by
themselves.

In one of my letters I informed you, that Congress had neglected
to furnish Mr William Lee and me with funds to support us in the
characters they had done us the honor of investing us with. We were
informed, that the Commissioners at this Court were possessed of a
very large sum of money belonging to Congress, and therefore applied
to them for a letter of credit on their banker, to the amount of two
thousand louis d’ors, each of us, on the public account, which they
gave us.

You will see how improper it will be for me to depend upon these
gentlemen for information respecting the proceedings of Congress, and
the state of affairs in America. You will I hope take care, that they
be regularly transmitted to me, as it will be of great importance to
me not to be neglected.

I am, dear Sir, with great regard, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

[64] See the three preceding letters.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        Passy, March 27th, 1778.

Sir,

The bearer says he is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and he
wants a pass to go into Italy. I do not well understand the account
he gives of himself. He seems to be lost and to want advice. I beg
leave to refer him to you, who will soon be able to discover whether
his account is true.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, March 29th, 1778.

Sir,

I have seen the person you referred to me, and who is desirous of
my recommending him to you for a passport to go into Italy. He says
that he was born in South Carolina, but has been so long out of it,
that he neither knows anybody there, nor does anybody know him. He
left London with an intention of going to Italy, and came to Paris
to see the world, before he settled with a merchant, to whom he is
engaged as a clerk, at a place he hears is called Livorno. As this
account did not appear very satisfactory, I desired him to excuse my
troubling you with any recommendations, until he put it in my power
to do it with propriety.

You will give me leave to remind you, that I had the honor of
addressing you on the 30th of January, in reply to yours of the 29th,
and requested the favor of you to reconsider the article in the
treaty then negotiating, respecting the exports of North America,
which had given me much uneasiness, and in which I think myself
greatly interested. From your letter of the 29th I had reason to
hope, that in a few days you intended to give me an explanation on
certain points, wherein I thought myself injured, and to show me
that I was mistaken. In vain have I expected this satisfaction. I
am very desirous of receiving it, and when the dates referred to
are considered, I hope I shall not be thought too importunate, in
requesting that it may be soon. At the same time, you will be so good
as to inform me, why no answer has been given to my letter to you,
and the other Commissioners at this Court, of the 5th of this month,
and whether I am to expect any.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        Passy, March 30th, 1778.

Sir,

From the account you give me of the man who pretends to be of
Carolina, as well as from my own observation of his behavior, I
entertain no good opinion of him, and shall not give him the pass he
desires.

Much and very important business has hitherto prevented my giving you
the satisfaction you desired, but you may depend upon my endeavoring
to give it to you as soon as possible. An answer was written to
your letter of the 5th of this month, and signed by us all, which
I thought had been sent to you till Mr Lee informed me that having
communicated to you the contents, you told him it would not be
satisfactory, and desired it might be reconsidered, and he had
accordingly stopped it for that purpose. We have not since had an
opportunity of reconsidering it, and as the end is now answered by
the communication of the treaty, perhaps it is not necessary.

I condole with you sincerely on the great loss sustained in
Charleston by the fire in January last, said to have destroyed six
hundred houses, valued with the goods at a million sterling.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, March 31st, 1778.

Sir,

I received yesterday the treaty of alliance, and the alterations
that have been made in the treaty of commerce proposed by Congress,
from the hands of your grandson, and likewise a letter from you,
which informs me that much and very important business has hitherto
prevented your giving me the satisfaction respecting your conduct
which I desired, but that I might depend on your endeavoring to give
it to me as soon as possible. While you were engaged in settling the
treaty, I avoided giving you any additional trouble, especially as
I am persuaded that the satisfactory explanation you have promised
will require no uncommon exertion of your abilities. I conceive you
have acted unjustifiably; you think that I am mistaken, and I shall
be heartily rejoiced to find myself so. You will excuse my requesting
that the explanation I have desired may be given soon.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


TO HENRY LAURENS.

                                        Paris, April 1st, 1778.

Sir,

I am but this moment informed by report, that Mr Gerard, who is
appointed Minister Plenipotentiary from this Court to Congress, is
immediately going to set out for America. It would have been improper
that this should have been publicly known, as the Court of England
might have endeavored to intercept him. Dr Franklin and Mr Deane
were, however, acquainted with it, and as usual concealed it from Mr
Lee and myself.[65] I shall make no comment on this behavior. If it
does not upon the bare recital of it strike you as unjustifiable, and
disrespectful to Congress, in not acquainting us whenever they knew
of proper opportunities to write, nothing that can be said will make
you think so.

I congratulate you most heartily on the presentation of the three
Commissioners at this Court, as representatives of a sovereign and
independent State. This happened on the 20th of March. I should
immediately after have left this city for Italy. My inclinations
lead me most strongly to do it, but I am sorry to inform you that a
little longer delay is become absolutely necessary. I am assured from
Florence, of the favorable dispositions of the Grand Duke towards us,
and I had no doubt but immediately after the acknowledgment of our
independence here, the example would have been followed in Tuscany.

Most unfortunately the death of the Elector of Bavaria has thrown
all Germany into convulsions. The claims of the House of Austria to
part of that Electorate, and the coldness lately shown by France
towards the Emperor on that account, are likely to dispose the latter
towards England in the approaching war. I say likely, for nothing is
certainly known yet respecting these matters. My letters, however,
from Florence give me reason to fear, that my reception there in a
public character will depend upon the proceedings of the Court of
Vienna. I have acted hitherto without paying the least regard to my
own inclinations, in perfect conformity to what I have thought the
wishes of Congress, and I shall continue to act in the same manner to
the best of my judgment. It will make me very happy to be assured of
the approbation of Congress.

Mr Deane, I understand, accompanies Mr Gerard, and has received a
present from the French Ministry. This is a thing of course; he may,
however, make use of it with Congress as a reason why he should
return. I shall avoid entering into particulars respecting this
gentleman, and shall only in general give you my opinion of him,
which is, that if the whole world had been searched, I think it would
have been impossible to have found one on every account more unfit
for the office into which he has, by the storm and convulsions of the
times, been shaken.[66] I am under the fullest persuasion, that the
Court of France might long ago have been induced to stand forth in
our favor, if America had had proper representatives at this Court.
I must repeat what I have done in some former letters, that whatever
good dispositions were shown by Mr Lee, they were always opposed and
overruled by the two eldest Commissioners.

If Congress are desirous of having a representative in Italy, it may
be proper to send a commission for the Court of Naples. It would
be agreeable to me to have such a commission, so that I might be
either there or in Tuscany, as occasion might require. This I only
mention to you in case of such a thing being thought of. I wish not
to solicit any thing for myself, neither do I desire my friends to
trouble themselves much about me. Whenever they think of me without
any application on my part, I look upon myself as the more obliged to
them.

I am, dear sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

[65] They were not permitted by the French Court to make it known.

[66] In reply to this letter, see Mr Deane’s letter to the President of
Congress, dated October 12th, 1778, Vol. I. p. 129.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, April 4th, 1778.

Sir,

It is with reluctance, that I find myself compelled to be again
troublesome to you. Your conduct has given me great uneasiness.
I have repeatedly complained to you, and you have several times
verbally and by letter promised me an explanation of it. It is of
great importance that I should have this satisfaction, and that it
should be no longer delayed; you will therefore be so good as to
write me by the gentleman, who is the bearer of this, when I may
expect you to comply with your promise. I must also request that you
will give me in writing the reasons, which at Chaillot you told me
induced you to think, that Congress did not intend I should have the
alterations proposed in the treaty of commerce communicated to me.
This you assured me, at the time, should be done within a day or two,
and though several weeks have elapsed, I have heard nothing from you
on the subject. I mention this matter to you now, because I believe
my conversation with you has been misrepresented. If this has been
done by mistake, I am desirous of having it corrected.

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        Passy, April 4th, 1778.

Sir,

If I continue well, and nothing extraordinary happens to prevent it,
you shall have the letter you so earnestly desire some time next week.

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN.


TO HENRY LAURENS.

                                        Paris, April 11th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I send copies of my letters whenever I hear of an opportunity,
in hopes of some of them getting safe to your hands.

Mr Adams arrived in Paris two days ago, and it is no small
disappointment to me, that he has brought me no letters from you.
I was at first afraid that my despatches by the Benjamin, which Mr
Folger had the charge of, had been stolen, as well as Mr Lee’s, but
am very glad to find, by a letter from Mr Lovell to Dr Franklin,
that all my letters got safe. What a very extraordinary piece of
villany this must have been. I have the strongest suspicion who the
person is that was at the bottom of it, but will not take upon me
to mention his name. I most sincerely hope, whoever he is, that he
may be discovered and brought to light. It is much to be feared,
that this will prove a difficult matter, as the person, who could be
capable of it, must be sensible how dangerous it must be for him to
be discovered, and, therefore, without doubt, the utmost cunning and
precaution have been employed to conceal himself.

I think myself much obliged to my friends in Congress, who have
assigned me the department of Tuscany; I prefer it to any of the
Courts except France or England. The former, it is probable, will
be filled by one of the present Commissioners. Should England in
two or three years acknowledge the sovereignty and independence of
the States, it would be very agreeable to me if Congress thought me
worthy of being their representative at that Court. I flatter myself
with the hopes of having your approbation; at the same time, I must
repeat what I have mentioned in a former letter, that I would wish to
be as little troublesome to my friends as possible.

It is particularly distressing to me, as I am living at the public
expense, to be obliged so often to inform you, that it still
continues improper for me to go to Florence. I have consulted this
Court on the subject, and they are of opinion, that I should wait
here until a more favorable opportunity offers. In following this
advice, I think that I am acting according to the wishes of Congress,
and you may depend upon it, that I shall upon all occasions continue
to do so to the best of my judgment. I have not written lately to
the Committee of Foreign Affairs. As I have written to you by every
opportunity, I thought it unnecessary, and I should be obliged to
you if you would give that reason to them. I have never had any
instructions on this point from Congress, and whenever you receive
anything from me, which you think necessary to be laid before those
gentlemen, I should be obliged to you if you would be so good as to
communicate it to them. You will be so good as to let me have your
opinion on this point, whether it will be necessary for me to write
to the Committee, or if it will be sufficient for me to write to you
only.

The Commissioners at this Court have not yet been received into the
_Corps Diplomatique_, because they have not had proper letters of
credence from Congress. When those letters are sent to them, you will
be so good as to let them be sent to me and also to Mr William Lee.
The title of Commissioner is not at present used, as formerly, at the
Courts of Europe. I will venture to give you my opinion privately
on this subject, which is, that the representatives from the States
of America at the Courts of France and Spain should be Ambassadors,
and at the others Ministers Plenipotentiary. The last title is in
general use; the persons possessed of it take rank below envoys, and
therefore I would prefer it because it will probably prevent all
disputes. I mention this solely to yourself, and you will either make
use of it or not, as you think proper.

Mr William Lee has a commission not only to the Emperor, but likewise
one to the King of Prussia. This is a very unlucky circumstance, as
those two princes are, in all probability, on the point of going
to war with each other. Mr Lee is gone into Germany, without being
fully determined which Court he should present himself at first. I
am inclined to think, that it will be that of Berlin. Congress, in
the commission which was sent out for the Court of Vienna, forgot
to mention the Empress Queen. This was a great mistake, as she is
during her life the sovereign of all the hereditary dominions of her
family, and the Emperor is only head of the German Empire. I do not
know whether Mr Lee has mentioned this in his letters to Congress,
but it is of considerable importance, and should be attended to
whenever a new commission is sent out.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

_P. S._ The seal, that I shall make use of in all my letters to you,
will either be my coat of arms, which is on this; or a rattlesnake
with this motto, “don’t tread on me.”


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, April 25th, 1778.

Sir,

It is with the utmost astonishment, that I find myself so often
obliged to remind you of your engagement to me. You have repeatedly
given me the strongest assurances, that you would justify your
conduct to me in writing, but you have not kept your word. Dr
Bancroft and your grandson have both told me, that this justification
has long ago been begun, and you have several times been employed
about it.

The cautious manner in which you concealed the departure of M.
Gerard, the French Plenipotentiary, and Mr Deane, from those who
have complaints against you, manifest on your part no inclination to
discontinue the causes of them. The losses of the public despatches
to Congress, by accident at sea, by the capture of the enemy, and
by the villany or negligence of those to whose care they have been
intrusted, ought to have deterred you from concealing so safe an
opportunity from those, whose duty requires them to write. It might
have been very proper, that the port from which they were to sail
should have been concealed, as well as the manner of their going, but
it appears to me to have been your indispensable duty to inform those
gentlemen, who have the honor of holding commissions from Congress,
whenever you know of a safe opportunity of writing to America.

It may not be necessary to discuss this point with you, as it will
probably be laid before Congress, and they will form a proper
judgment, both of the fact and your motives. My business with you
at present respects your conduct previous to the departure of M.
Gerard and Mr Deane, and I wish that neither your attention nor mine
may be drawn from it. Mr Lloyd has informed me, that you told him
there would be an opportunity of writing soon to America. I must
request, that you will no longer attempt to amuse me with promises
and excuses, but that you will give me the explanation, which you
have so often bound yourself to give that it may be laid, by that
opportunity, if necessary, before the representatives of my country,
or that you will let me know in writing, that you will not give it me.

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


JOHN J. PRINGLE TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        Paris, April 26th, 1778.

Sir,

In compliance with your request I waited on Dr Franklin and delivered
to him your letter; he had scarcely read it when he said, “Mr Izard
has written me a very angry letter; please to tell him, that he
has only made use of general assertions of my having done wrong,
which I cannot otherwise answer than by denying. If I have given
him any causes of offence, he should let me know what they are.”
To this I replied, “that you had been kind enough to form so good
an opinion of me, as to admit me into a share of your confidence,
therefore I could take upon me to say, that you were persuaded you
had clearly stated, in the several letters he had received from you,
circumstances affording sufficient grounds of offence.” He said, “he
should be glad to know what those circumstances were.” I answered
in the first place, “that conceiving it your duty as a member of
the States, having a considerable fortune there, and intrusted with
a commission from Congress, to communicate as occasion offered all
the intelligence you could, you found this communication greatly
obstructed by a concealment on the part of Dr Franklin of proper
opportunities, when it was quite unnecessary, or when the end of
secrecy might be answered, though you had been intrusted with the
knowledge of them.” Upon which Dr Franklin told me, “that you
had only complained of this in the present letter, and as to the
particular opportunity you mentioned by Monsieur Gerard, or Mr Deane,
he had not himself looked upon it as a good or proper one, and had
not himself made use of it to write.”

As another ground of complaint I observed, “that while the commercial
treaty was on the carpet, you considered one article as highly
unreasonable and inexpedient, and therefore expressly objected to
it; you had in a letter fully specified the reasons upon which your
disapprobation was founded, and had sent this letter to Dr Franklin,
in hopes of his removing your scruples, and setting you right if you
were wrong, or letting your reasons and objections, if they were
just, produce some good effect before the conclusion of the treaty,
but you had never been favored with any answer on the subject, though
you had repeatedly requested it.” Dr Franklin alleged, “that he would
have given a full and satisfactory answer, but he had been prevented
by business and various avocations, that he was still willing to give
one, but could not conceive why you should be so impatient. Suppose
he could not give it for a month hence, what great inconvenience
would it occasion?” I observed, “that the sooner you had it, you
might be the better prepared to guard against any misrepresentation.”
Dr Franklin assured me, that he had not been, nor would he ever be,
guilty of any misrepresentation; so far from it, that he had not even
written anything concerning the matter. I told him, perhaps you might
choose to lay it before Congress, and his answer might enable you
to do it more fully and satisfactorily. Dr Franklin said you should
have an answer, but you must be patient, for he really was very much
engaged by other business, and interrupted by people continually
coming in upon him, though some upon frivolous errands, as was the
case with the two Frenchmen, just gone away, who came only to ask him
to buy cloth.

I suggested as a third ground of complaint, that you had been
directed by the Congress to propose to the Court of Tuscany a
commercial treaty similar to the one concluded with this Court, which
you therefore required as necessary for your regulation, in pursuance
of the instructions of Congress, who directed you should have, not
only the original treaty, but also the alterations which might be
proposed; both were nevertheless withheld from you by Dr Franklin
without the least regard to your applications. Dr Franklin replied,
“did he go into Tuscany? Has not the treaty been sent to him?” I
said, you had good reasons for staying; that the treaty was kept from
you till the other day, when perhaps it was necessary for you to have
had it as early as possible, even previous to your departure, to give
it the maturer consideration, and because there might be explanations
you would like to have made here, or observations might occur to you,
which you might think it advisable to communicate to Congress, to
have their further instructions as soon as you could.

I do not recollect, that Dr Franklin made any direct reply to this.
He observed, that he was clear he had not given you any just cause
of offence, or reasonable grounds of complaint, that he was studious
to avoid contention; he acknowledged that he owed you an answer, but
though he was in your debt he hoped you would be a merciful creditor;
he would say, as the debtor in the Scripture, “have patience and I
will pay thee all;” that you certainly ought to give him time, as you
had urged so much matter as would require a pamphlet in answer. I
told him, that I was sure it was far from your disposition to court
quarrels, that if the reasons he gave in his answer to you were just
and satisfactory, you would undoubtedly allow them their full weight;
that satisfaction you were desirous of having, and were anxious to
have the affair ended. He said he should endeavor to do it as soon
as possible; in the mean time, he hoped to have no more such angry
letters from you; his answer he promised should be a cool one, and
that people who wrote such angry letters should keep them, till they
sufficiently reflected on the contents, before they sent them.

The above is nearly, to the best of my recollection, the substance,
if not for the most part the words, of the conversation, which passed
between Dr Franklin and myself, upon delivering him your letter today.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                               JOHN JULIUS PRINGLE.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        York, May 14th, 1778.

Sir,

Your favor of December the 18th came to hand the 2d of this month,
with the despatches of our Commissioners at the Court of Versailles,
from whom we had received nothing regularly for about a whole year.

The decisive part, which His Most Christian Majesty has at length
taken in our cause, must greatly influence other crowned heads in
Europe, not immediately allied to Britain, to desire a portion in our
friendship and commerce, and must prepare the way for your welcome
reception at the Court of Tuscany. We are pleased to find, that you
have formed a connexion with one, who promises to be so friendly
to your Commission as your correspondent, the favorite Minister of
the Grand Duke, and we think you could not have done better than in
following his past advice.

The enclosed resolve of Congress of the 7th inst will remove any
doubts about your support, which may have arisen in your mind from an
omission on our part, which did not occur to us until we received a
hint of it from the gentlemen at Paris, in their letter of February
the 16th.

Other papers herewith sent will convey to you a general idea of
our affairs, and we hope you will be particularly industrious to
expose those attempts of our enemies, which are calculated to
lead Europe to think we are not thoroughly fixed in our plan of
independence. You may observe, that we proceeded on the draughts
only of two intended bills, which had been sent to America by the
British Ministry. We should not have done this, but from a conviction
of insidious intentions founded upon former attempts to hurt our
character abroad. We were so well satisfied of the spirit of these
States to persevere in a noble cause, that we should have waited
for the bills themselves, if we had not been anxiously attentive
to the good opinion of Europe and the rest of the world. We were
altogether strangers to the happy state of our affairs in France,
accident and knavery having suppressed the despatches of our friends,
as our former letters will prove, if any attempts shall be made to
attribute our late determined conduct to a knowledge of our new
alliance. Congress unanimously ratified the treaties on the 4th, and
the people have showed their satisfaction, wherever the knowledge of
the proceeding has reached. The army also, which is daily increasing
in strength, has expressed its joy, and is now prepared either for
honorable peace, or a continuation of the just war.

We shall endeavor to procure an enlargement of your powers, and
shall immediately forward them to you. There can be no danger of any
clashing of future treaties with those now made, provided the plain
principles of mutual benefit, without any exclusive privileges,
are made the basis. We send you the first volume of the Journals
of Congress, another will be out in a few days, and shall be
forwarded also. We recommend to you the frequent communication of
your proceedings, and we wish you every felicity, being, Sir, your
affectionate humble servants,

                                                     R. H. LEE,
                                                     JAMES LOVELL,
                                                     ROBERT MORRIS.

_P. S._ You are to have Plenipotentiary Commissions, with
instructions not limiting the terms of the proposed treaties of
amity and commerce.


TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                        Paris, May 18th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

The fifth article of the treaty of alliance has given me a great
deal of uneasiness, as it seems to have been intended to exclude
the United States of America from possessing themselves of the two
Floridas. The article is as follows. “If the United States should
think fit to attempt the reduction of the British power remaining in
the _northern parts of America_, or the Islands of Bermudas, those
countries or islands, in case of success, shall be confederated with
or dependant upon the said United States.” I had the honor of stating
my apprehensions to you and the other Commissioners at Passy, on the
3d instant.

Dr Franklin did not think they were well founded, nor that any such
construction could possibly be put upon the article. North America,
he said, strictly speaking, comprised all parts of the Continent
north of the Equator, and the Floridas being in the latitude of
thirty degrees north, would be comprehended within the meaning of
the words “northern parts of America.” I thought it would be best
to put it out of all doubt by getting that explanation of the words
under the hands of the French Ministry, especially as they would at
least admit of dispute, and might in future produce disagreeable
consequences. Dr Franklin said, that Congress had given some
instructions respecting the cession of part of Florida to Spain,
and objected to making any application on the subject to the French
Ministry, as it might be taken ill, and added, if my apprehensions
were ever so just, it was too late for any remedy in France, but that
the Commissioner for the Court of Madrid might guard against any bad
consequences in the treaty, which he had to conclude with that Court.

The resolution of Congress of the 30th of December, 1776, to which Dr
Franklin alluded, extends only to the town and harbor of Pensacola,
and circumstances are much changed in America since that resolution
was made. It declares, “that if His Catholic Majesty will join with
the United States in a war against Great Britain, they will assist
in reducing to the possession of Spain, the town and harbor of
Pensacola.” Had Spain complied with the request, had she stood forth
our friend in the day of distress, the offer made by Congress might
with propriety have been claimed. She did not declare war against
Great Britain, and I do not know, that she has done anything yet to
entitle her to any great share of our regard. It appeared to me,
that if the French Ministry understood the words, as explained by Dr
Franklin, they could not take it ill, that such an explanation should
be required of them, but if they intended to have them understood
as I feared they did, this was the proper place to have the doubts
cleared up. If the words were meant to exclude the United States
of America from the acquisition of the Floridas, it must have been
intended for the benefit of Spain, and therefore the less likely was
it to obtain any satisfaction from that quarter.

North America, strictly speaking, according to Dr Franklin, comprises
all parts of the Continent north of the Equator. By the same rule it
may be said to extend to the ninetieth degree of latitude. Considered
in this point of view, no parts to the southward of fortyfive degrees
can with propriety be called the _northern parts of America_. But the
article seems to have no relation to so extensive a signification,
and expresses the intentions of the framers of it very clearly. “_If
the United States should think fit to attempt the reduction of_,” not
the northern parts of America, but “the _British power_ remaining in
the northern parts of America.” This power, without taking notice of
an inconsiderable settlement on the Mosquito shore, or of Hudson’s
Bay, may be said to have extended from the most southern point of
Florida to the most northern part of Canada, and I am of opinion,
that the United States of America will not be satisfied if any
attempts are made to circumscribe their possessions within narrower
limits.

The 9th article of the original treaty approved of by Congress
in September, 1776, and transmitted by them to the Commissioners
at this Court, not only confirms me in this opinion, but throws
great light upon the intentions of the French Ministry. It is as
follows; “The Most Christian King shall never invade, nor under any
pretence attempt to possess himself of Labrador, New Britain, Nova
Scotia, Acadia, Florida, nor any of the countries, cities, or towns
on the Continent of North America; nor of any of the Islands of
Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St Johns, Anticosti, nor any other island
lying near to the said Continent in the seas, or in any gulf, bay,
or river, it being the true intent and meaning of this treaty, that
the said United States shall have the sole, exclusive, undivided, and
perpetual possession of all the countries, cities, and towns on said
continent, and of all islands near to it, which now are, or lately
were under the jurisdiction of, or subject to the King or Crown of
Great Britain, whenever they shall be united or confederated with
the said United States.” These words admit of no mistake, no hidden
meaning is concealed under them, nor could there be any possibility
of contentions respecting the countries therein described, had they
been inserted in the treaty.

With all due deference to Dr Franklin, I cannot help declaring,
that I am firmly persuaded that the Court of France would not have
substituted the 5th article in the place of the above, if they had
not had some designs contrary to the intentions of Congress, so
clearly expressed in their 9th article. His Most Christian Majesty,
in the 11th article of the Treaty of Alliance, does not guaranty
_generally_ to the United States their possessions, and the additions
or conquests that their confederation may obtain during the war,
from any of the dominions now, or heretofore possessed by Great
Britain in North America, but stipulates that the guaranty shall
only be _conformable to the 5th and 6th articles_. The latter of
these contains nothing but a renunciation on the part of France of
the Islands of the Bermudas, and of the whole continent of North
America. As France does not pretend to any claim upon the Floridas,
this renunciation can in no respect affect those Provinces. Spain,
who was at the peace in 1763 obliged to cede them to Great Britain,
may be desirous of resuming them, and the 5th article in the Treaty
of Alliance seems to lay the foundation of such a claim. Should that
event ever take place, it would prove extremely prejudicial to the
interests of the United States in general, but particularly to those
of the South. Spain would by that means have a direct communication
with the Indians on our frontiers, and have it in her power to
disturb our settlements whenever she pleased.

Lieutenant Governor Moultrie, in his letter from Augustine, of the
4th of October, 1775, to General Grant, which was intercepted and
published by Congress, among other reasons why General Gage should
protect Florida, gives the following; “Consider, says he, that this
is the best and only immediate communication between Great Britain
and our red brothers,” the Indians. What a horrid use our enemies
have made of this communication, you are well acquainted with.
Florida was never of any advantage to Spain when in her possession,
nor is it probable it ever would be, were it so again; but it will
be of the greatest importance to the States of America, on account
of security, which in all negotiations has been thought a sufficient
reason for a claim, though no right existed, which is not the case
in the present instance. In the 11th article, France guaranties
to the United States, “their possessions and the additions or
conquests, that their confederation may obtain during the war from
any of the dominions now, or heretofore possessed by Great Britain
in North America, conformable to the 5th and 6th articles.” In the
6th article, I observe, that “The Most Christian King renounces
forever the possession of the Islands of Bermudas, as well as of
any part of the continent of North America.” Nothing is said about
Newfoundland, St Johns, Cape Breton, and the other islands on our
coasts. Were they understood to be included in the renunciation
and guarantee? Congress, in their original treaty, did not choose
to trust to any future constructions, but mentioned each of these
islands particularly by name. Whatever power may be in possession of
them will in a great measure command the fishery.

This is a matter of great consequence, but, however just my
apprehensions may be on this point also, I fear it is now too late
to receive any satisfactory explanation respecting it at this Court,
and we must again turn eyes towards you for relief. If the Court of
Madrid could be prevailed upon to guaranty the Floridas, and these
islands also to the United States, you would render an essential
service to your country. I have upon many occasions experienced, that
whenever her welfare has stood in need of your exertions, you have
been ready to afford them, and, therefore, I cannot doubt but you
will also do it in the business, which I have just laid before you.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


ARTHUR LEE TO RALPH IZARD.

                                        Chaillot, May 23d, 1778.

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of the 18th, and remember well the
conversation you mention. The 5th article stood originally thus. “Si
les Etats Unis jugent à propos de tenter la conquête de la Canada, de
la Nouvelle Ecosse, de Terrenueve, de St Jean, et des Bermudes, ces
conquêtes en cas de succès appartiendront aux dits Etats Unis.” Even
this did not appear to me adequate to the intentions of Congress;
I therefore proposed that it should be as extensive and explicit,
as was marked out to us in the 9th article of the plan proposed
by Congress. My colleagues did not agree with me, and I remember
perfectly Dr Franklin’s answer was, that Congress had receded from
those claims since, by the concessions directed to be made to Spain.
I submitted mine to the opinion of my colleagues.

I have already asked the commands of Congress, relative to conceding
anything to Spain agreeably to the instruction of the 30th of
December, 1776, which you mention, and you may be assured that I will
never subscribe the cession of one inch of what Congress has claimed
in the 9th article of their plan, without their express orders. I
shall make no observations respecting the degree of gratitude to
which Spain may be entitled, but the leaving of articles so loose
as to occasion disputes, or making cessions which may plant a thorn
in the side of any of the United States, is not the manner I should
choose of showing it. How the 5th article came changed so much from
what it was at first I never could learn. In my own justification
I must observe, that from the conduct of one of my colleagues, and
the intrigues of the other, I was furnished with a kind of half
information, and secretly counteracted, so as to render it very
difficult for me to be of any utility whatever in this negotiation.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       ARTHUR LEE.


TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                        Paris, June 17th, 1778.

Sir,

Mr Pringle, who was the bearer of my last letter, has given me an
account of his conversation with you on the subject of it. It would
have been much more satisfactory to me, if, instead of speaking to
him about the contents of it, you had done me the honor of writing
an answer to it. Words which pass in conversation are sometimes
forgotten and sometimes misunderstood. Misrepresentations are
sometimes the consequence, which though produced by mistake, to a
mind affected by ill treatment, of which neither the occasion can be
learned nor the progress stopped, may pass from effects proceeding
from either causes. I enclose you a copy of Mr Pringle’s letter. You
will be so good as to correct any mistakes that may be found in it.
Some there probably are; I do not, for instance, think it likely
you could have said that you did not know what I complained of, at
the same time that my complaints appear so numerous, that it would
require a pamphlet to answer them. It is impossible that both these
assertions can be true; and though I cannot agree with you in either,
I shall not dispute about them, but refer you to the several letters
which I have written since the receipt of your favor of the 29th of
January.

I have requested to be informed of your reasons for withholding
from me all communications respecting the treaty of commerce during
the negotiation, contrary to an express instruction of Congress.
You have constantly, in spite of every endeavor on my part to get
your reasons in writing, wrapped yourself up with caution, and
notwithstanding the repeated breach of your engagement with me,
have not been ashamed to make promises of the same kind and break
them again, to amuse me till Mr Deane had an opportunity of going
privately away. I shall not examine your inducements for so carefully
avoiding to commit yourself to paper on this subject, but only
observe that this determination compels me to mention the reasons
given by Dr Bancroft and your grandson, which it would have been more
agreeable to me to have had under your own hand. Those gentlemen have
informed me, that some proposals which Mr Lee had made to you and Mr
Deane, respecting his brother and me, made you apprehensive, that it
was intended to have us admitted into all consultations, and that
every question should be carried by a plurality of voices; that this
had determined your conduct with respect to communications to me; but
that if you had been ever so well inclined to communicate anything
relative to the treaty, you lay under such strong injunctions of
secrecy from the French Ministry, that it was out of your power to do
it.

With respect to the first of these reasons I shall observe, that if
Mr Lee ever made any such proposal, it was entirely unknown to me.
I have spoken to him on the subject, and he declares that he never
said anything that could in the least justify such an apprehension.
There does not indeed seem the least probability that such a proposal
could have been made. The unfortunate dispute in which he was engaged
with you and Mr Deane, and the decided majority of which you were
possessed, would have made such an attempt on his part too weak
for a man of common understanding. With regard to the injunctions
of secrecy, which the French Ministry are said to have laid you
under, I answer, that you had no right to lay yourself under any
such injunctions. Before you can avail yourself of that excuse,
you should show that you had reminded the French Ministry of there
being at that time in Paris two other Commissioners of Congress, to
whom your duty required you to communicate not only a copy of the
treaty originally proposed by Congress, but also whatever subsequent
alterations might be proposed on either side. Had this been done,
and had they expressed a desire that those Commissioners also should
be unacquainted with the transaction, rather than the smallest
obstruction should have been thrown in the way of the negotiation, I
should have been contented to have had it kept from me as long as you
thought proper.

Having examined these reasons, and I hope at least shown the
probability of their being only pretended ones, I shall proceed
to state what appears to me to be the true cause of your conduct,
and as it will be necessary to trouble you with a dull narrative,
you will I hope excuse it on account of the importance of it. I
received a letter in October last from Mr William Lee, one of the
joint commercial agents for conducting the affairs of the Congress
in this kingdom, desiring my attendance at your house at Passy, and
informing me, that he had something of importance to lay before
the Commissioners. I accordingly attended, and heard an account of
some very extraordinary abuses and embarrassments in the commercial
department, owing to the misconduct of Mr Thomas Morris, late one of
the joint commercial agents, and to the claim which certain persons
made to the management of the affairs of the Congress at Nantes. Mr
Lee complained of great obstructions, which he had met with from
these circumstances, that so far from receiving any assistance from
the Commissioners, they seemed to have encouraged the persons who
opposed him in the discharge of his duty, and that he had repeatedly
written to the Commissioners for their support, without ever having
been able to obtain the favor of an answer. He expressed his desire
of returning to Nantes, and using his endeavors to prevent the
repetition of such abuses as had been stated, and did not doubt but
with the support of the Commissioners he should be able to render
this material service to the public. The support which he required
was a letter from the Commissioners, addressed to all such captains
of ships as were in the service of the United States, informing them,
that he was an agent properly authorised by Congress to manage their
commercial concerns in this country, and that it would be proper for
them to follow his instructions. This request, which appeared to me
extremely reasonable, was to my astonishment rejected both by you and
Mr Deane.

This appeared the more extraordinary to me, as you both acknowledged,
that you were perfectly convinced of the truth of what Mr Lee had
stated to you, and said you had laid these abuses before Congress,
and complained in the strongest terms against Mr Thomas Morris, whose
misconduct had occasioned some of them; that Congress had given you
a tacit reproof, by taking no notice of the complaints you had made,
and that Mr Robert Morris, a member of the committee for foreign
affairs, had given you _a rap over the knuckles_ for having made
them. I begged you to consider that the silence of Congress, which
you had construed into a reproof, might have been occasioned by the
multiplicity of business they had to transact, or they might have
attended to it, and their letter on the subject have miscarried.
This you said could not have been the case, as the complaints to
Congress against Mr Morris made but part of your letter; there were
several other matters contained in it, which were all answered, and
as the complaint against Mr Morris was the only part unnoticed, you
considered it as a reproof to you for having written to Congress
about it. You had attempted once to correct the abuses, which every
body knew were practising at Nantes to a very scandalous degree.
Mr Robert Morris had misrepresented your good intentions, and
had insinuated in his letter to Mr Deane of June 29th, that your
complaints against his brother were made from interested motives,
and that you wished him removed to make way for your nephew. As your
conduct had in one instance, relative to the abuses at Nantes, been
thus misrepresented, you were determined it should in no other, by
adhering to your resolution of not meddling with them.

Your reasons did not appear at all satisfactory to me, and I took
the liberty of telling you so, which gave you very great offence.
I was extremely sorry for it, but did not at that time, nor have I
upon the most mature deliberation since been able to conceive how it
could have been avoided consistent with my duty. I requested you to
consider how unreasonable it was, to allow your resentment against
the Committee for a supposed tacit reproof, and against Mr Robert
Morris for what you called _a rap over the knuckles_, to operate to
the prejudice, perhaps to the destruction of the commercial concerns
of your country. Your answer was direct and positive; “If these
consequences should happen, Mr Robert Morris and the Committee must
be answerable for them, but you were determined not to meddle with
the matter.” In this determination Mr Deane co-operated, and we
parted without Mr Lee’s having been able to obtain any satisfaction
on the subjects of his complaints, except a promise on your part to
countermand an order you had given relative to the sale of one of
the prizes at Nantes. This promise, however, I understand was not
fulfilled. I most solemnly protest, that I believe this interview to
have been the cause of your excluding me from all communications.

Perhaps it may be said, that you were not required by Congress to
make those communications. This may be considered in the nature of
those injuries against which no positive law can be produced, but
which are, notwithstanding, known to be injuries by all the world.
Had the directions of Congress, however, in these points, been as
explicit as words could make them, I doubt not but you would have
found the means of evading them, as you have in others, if it suited
your purpose, and have drawn arguments for your justification from
every source. I shall trouble you with my reasons for thinking so. I
requested of you at Chaillot, to let me know why you had disregarded
the instructions of Congress respecting the treaty; you expressed
your doubts whether Congress intended to have anything communicated
to me, except the treaty after it was _concluded_. I referred you to
the words of the instruction itself, which I had quoted to you in my
letter, and asked you if you thought it possible, that the gentlemen
who had written them could have been so ignorant, as not to know the
distinction between a _proposition_ and a _conclusion_. Other doubts
arose. If I had been at Florence, the department which was assigned
me by Congress, it might have been inconvenient to have followed the
strict letter of the instructions, by sending every alteration of
the treaty, that might have been proposed on either side, on account
of the danger of their being intercepted.

In this I agreed with you perfectly, and told you that if I had
been at Florence, you would have had an excuse which at that time
was of service to you. I am sorry to be obliged to refer to words
spoken in conversation; I have wished to avoid it, but you have put
it out of my power. Had you written down what I have just related,
which you promised me to do, it might have been of service to you
in one instance. You would have recollected having already given it
as your opinion, that if I had been at Florence, it would have been
improper to have sent me the alterations proposed in the treaty, and
would probably not have mentioned to Mr Pringle a reason in your
justification totally the reverse of this. As you have, however, done
it, it will be necessary to remind you that my not having gone to
Florence has been entirely owing to reasons given me by the Tuscan
Minister at this Court, which I have informed Congress of. These
reasons were also communicated to you and the other Commissioners,
and you thought they ought to be complied with.

You observed to Mr Pringle, that I had written you an angry letter.
When you reflect upon your proceedings towards me, that ought not
to surprise you. Having considered myself injured by you, I make a
complaint to you in writing; you deny that it is well founded, and
promise me an explanation of your conduct. Relying upon your word,
I suffer myself to be amused from time to time by promises and
excuses, till Mr Deane, who has supported you in all your measures,
sails for America. Would it not have been fair and honorable to have
given me your reasons in justification of your conduct before that
gentleman’s departure, that I might have had an opportunity either
of being convinced by them or of refuting them, and that his verbal
representations in America might not be made without having anything
from me to oppose them.

I am very gravely told, that as a proof of your not having thought
it a good opportunity, you had not yourself written by Mr Deane. Is
there a man of common sense in the world, who will not see, that as
Mr Deane is a party concerned in the contest, which has unhappily
subsisted between us, and of course will be interested in your
justification, there was no absolute necessity for your writing, but
that the very reverse was the case with me? Having thus blown up a
flame about me, you are unreasonable enough to be surprised at my
being warmed by it. Does not this resemble the conduct of the tyrant
Kouli Khan, who, having cut the tendons of a man’s legs with his
sword, would afterwards have compelled him to dance? I must be very
plain in telling you, that I envy not the feelings of that man, be
his reputation ever so highly exalted, who can with coldness either
offer or receive an injury.

I have been told by a gentleman, that the French Ministry had desired
that Mr Arthur Lee and myself, _expressly mentioned by name_, might
have certain matters concealed from us. I cannot take a step in this
business without having some insinuation to encounter. My informant
was not so explicit as I wished him to be. He did not acquaint me
with the points intended to be concealed, whether they related to
the treaties or to the departure of Mr Deane. I must beg the favor
of you, therefore, to let me know if you were desired by the French
Ministry to conceal either or both the matters from me _by name_, or
whether, as I believe to be the case, you had no such injunctions at
all. There is reason to believe, that the insinuation is injurious
both to the French Ministry and to us. I have never, by any part of
my proceedings, subjected myself to be refused admittance into their
presence. I have never been compelled to have recourse to any person
to soothe and deprecate their resentment, excited by transactions,
which they thought obliged them to make use of expressions highly
reflecting on the honor of my country, at the very time when
perhaps the interests and even the safety of America might have
been affected by that resentment. Will you undertake to make the
same declaration? If you do, it shall appear, that I do not deal in
insinuations; and if the Ministry were inclined to show any marks of
their dissatisfaction, the world will judge who were the persons most
likely to experience them.

If after having been made acquainted with the instructions of
Congress relative to the treaty, the Ministry desired to have the
proposed alterations concealed from me, and there was any danger of
an obstruction to your negotiation if the directions of Congress were
insisted on, I shall endeavor to learn what could have induced them
to such a conduct. The mischievous tendency of some parts of the
treaty might have been pointed out, had they been communicated to me
before it was too late, and a troublesome and ineffectual application
to the Court of Spain for relief might have been rendered unnecessary.

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


TO HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Paris, June 28th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

The treaties are expected to arrive soon in France, as Congress
received them by the Sensible, a French frigate, in the month of
April. In some of my letters I informed you of my sentiments on
one or two of the articles in the treaty of commerce, and of the
ineffectual steps, which I took in consequence of them. Whether
Congress has been made acquainted with these sentiments, or whether
they approve of them, I know not, as I have not received a letter
from you, from the Committee, nor from any member of Congress, since
my arrival in France. The treaties were not communicated to me till
the 30th of March, when they were half the way over to America, and
of course too late for any alterations to be made until they had
undergone the inspection of Congress.

From the dispositions of the principal parties concerned in the
negotiation, and from the manner in which my application respecting
the eleventh and twelfth articles of the treaty of commerce was
received, there is very little reason to think, that any objections,
however justly founded, would have made any impression. I have,
however, done every thing in my power, and I shall be very happy if
any good effects should be produced by my endeavors. It has been
my constant wish to avoid contentions of every kind; it has been
particularly my desire to avoid them with Dr Franklin from every
consideration. His abilities are great, and his reputation high.
Removed as he is at 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. I send you by this opportunity some papers,
which I desire may be communicated to my countrymen from South
Carolina, who are members of Congress, and if it is your opinion,
that they or any part of them should be laid before Congress, you
will be so good as to do it. If, on the contrary, you think the
situation of affairs will make it improper to trouble Congress with
them, you will withhold them. It is my wish, however, that you may
approve of their being communicated to Congress. Whatever may be your
determination, I shall think I have acted right in communicating
them to you. You will find from them with what caution the treaties
were concealed from me, while they were negotiating, and even after
they were signed. When Dr Franklin thought Mr Deane had been gone
long enough to get to America, before any observations could be
written on the contents of them, they were sent to me. The article
respecting molasses, in the treaty of commerce, may be productive of
considerable mischief.

I can, however, account for that transaction from natural causes. Two
of the gentlemen engaged in it were born in New England. That part of
America is possessed of very few articles of export, and the great
use which is made there of molasses makes it a very desirable object,
that it should be perpetually exempted from duty. The articles in the
treaty of alliance, which I have complained of, are infinitely more
mischievous, and when I attempt to account for the conduct of the
gentlemen, who have concluded them, and at the same time set aside
the clear and unequivocal article on the same subject, transmitted
to them by Congress, I am utterly incapable of doing it without
suspecting the most dishonorable practices, which I cannot think they
have been guilty of.

It appears the more unaccountable, when the instructions, which were
transmitted by the Congress to the Commissioners at the time the
original treaty was sent, are examined. Congress judged, that some
alterations might be found necessary, and explained their intentions
in the following manner. “It is the wish of Congress, that the treaty
should be concluded, and you are hereby instructed to use every
means in your power for concluding it, _according to the plan you
have received_. If you shall find that to be impracticable, you are
hereby authorised to relax the demands of the United States, and
to enlarge their offers, _according to the following directions_.”
In these instructions, such articles as it was thought would admit
of alteration are pointed out. But the ninth article is not among
the number. It seems indeed essential to the safety of the United
States, that the countries and islands therein expressly mentioned,
should be in their possession. There is a most uncommon degree of
effrontery in Dr Franklin’s declaring, that the fifth article of the
treaty of alliance could not possibly admit of such a construction,
as I apprehended might be put upon it. I have not the least doubt
but it was intended to leave an opening for negotiating Florida into
the possession of Spain, if the successes of the House of Bourbon
against England should put it in the power of the former to dictate
the terms at the conclusion of a general peace. It is more than
probable likewise, that what I have hinted at in my letter to Mr Lee,
respecting Newfoundland, and the other Islands on our coasts, and
the fishery, may in future be productive of a great deal of trouble,
if proper explanations are not obtained in time.[67]

If anything was necessary to make the effrontery, which I have just
taken notice of, complete, it was Franklin’s observation, that if my
apprehensions were ever so just, it was now too late for any remedy
here. His tricks and chicanery put it out of my power to make any
objections before the treaties were signed and sent to America, and
then he gives that as a reason, why no remedy should be attempted
against the evil, which is pointed out. In my conscience, I believe
him to be an improper person to be trusted with the management of the
affairs of America in this kingdom. If he were sent to the Court of
Vienna he could not have an opportunity of doing any harm. No affront
could be taken at this exchange, as that Court is in general looked
upon to be the first in Europe, and it is improper for the same
person to have a commission both for Vienna and Berlin.

The English newspapers have given us the proceedings of Congress
on the 22d of April, respecting the conciliatory bills. I am very
anxious to know what reception the Commissioners have met with, and
the extent of their powers. It is much to be lamented, that they
have not been enabled by Parliamentary authority to acknowledge the
independence. The Ministry are fully convinced themselves, that
nothing else will do, and yet they continue to act under the same
dreadful infatuation, which has already produced so many calamities
to their country, and refuse to adopt any measures, however salutary,
till it is too late. I most ardently wish for peace, provided it
can be obtained upon terms, which Congress may think proper to be
accepted.

Mr William Lee has been some weeks at Vienna. He writes me, that the
French Ambassador advises him “to wait there with patience, till
the prospect of things open a little more than they do at present.”
I have informed you in several of my letters, that my reception
in Tuscany depends entirely upon the proceedings of the Court of
Vienna. The Emperor and the King of Prussia are each at the head of
a powerful army in Silesia, and within a few miles of one another. A
negotiation has been for several weeks constantly carrying on with
respect to the succession of Bavaria, and it is astonishing, that
nothing is yet concluded. Each of those princes has two hundred and
fifty thousand regular troops, and more are continually raising. The
Emperor has, besides, the Hungarian nobility and their dependants,
who may upon occasion be called upon to serve. They are supposed to
form a body of about three hundred thousand men, and may be looked
upon as militia.

The King of Prussia, although negotiating with the Emperor, is not
idle in other matters. He is using his utmost endeavors to excite
the northern powers to join him against the House of Austria, and if
he succeeds in bringing about an accommodation between the Russians
and the Turks, the Czarina will certainly afford him very powerful
assistance. Whether either the Emperor or the King of Prussia will
be connected with England does not yet appear. Neither of them seems
inclined to offend her at present. The troubles in Germany have
certainly produced this effect on the King of Prussia, for he made
the clearest declaration before the death of the Elector of Bavaria,
that he would be the second power in Europe to acknowledge the
independence of America.

I am, dear Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

[67] Succeeding events proved all these suspicions and speculations to
have been erroneous.


TO HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Paris, July 25th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

The treaties were received by the Spy on the 9th instant, I am glad
to find that the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty of commerce
appeared to Congress in the same light that they did to me. The
Committee of Foreign Affairs, in their letters to the Commissioners
here, of May 14th and 15th, made nearly the same observations that I
did to Dr Franklin, in my letter to him on that subject.

I have not however the satisfaction of knowing whether the part I
have acted has been approved of, or even whether any of my letters
got to your hands, as I have not been favored with a line from you
since your arrival in Congress. I shall not complain, but follow
Dr Franklin’s maxim in his letter of January 29th, which is, “to
suppose our friends right, till one finds them wrong, rather than to
suppose them wrong, till one finds them right.” It is possible that
my letters to you, and yours to me, may have been lost or stolen.
The tricks that were played with Mr Lee’s letters, and the public
despatches, that were sent by Folger, will justify any suspicion. I
shall take it for granted, that if you have written, your letters
have miscarried, or if you have not written, that you were prevented
by business of greater importance. It is however very unfortunate,
and you cannot but be sensible how mortifying it must be to me, who
have been engaged in distress and trouble, in consequence of my
doing my duty to the public, not to find attention and support from a
quarter, where I had every reason to expect it.

I had just written thus far when Mr Adams sent me your letter of
May 19th, which was enclosed to him; and I thank you heartily for
the very friendly expressions contained in it. You mention, that
you intended to write me more fully by the same opportunity; but as
that letter is not come to hand, I suppose it was too late for the
conveyance. I am very anxious to see it, and hope to find by it that
my proceedings have met with your approbation. The ratification of
the treaties by Congress has put the ministry and the whole nation
into as good spirits, as our countrymen were put by them. Except
the parts which I have mentioned to you, they seem to be very fair
and equitable, and I really believe that if a certain gentleman
had thought less of his infallibility, they might have been made
unexceptionable. The ministry made no objection to the alteration
respecting the molasses, and I most sincerely wish, that Congress
in their hurry had not passed over the other articles, which I am
convinced will occur to them, when perhaps it may not be so easy to
get them altered as at present.

The war in Germany is already begun. The King of Prussia, finding
that his negotiations proved fruitless, has marched his forces into
Bohemia, and that unhappy country, the constant seat of misery,
will in all probability experience more calamities than ever. The
wisdom of the Congress, and the valor of our countrymen, will I hope
soon remove the war from our continent, and I pray to God that the
blessings of peace may be at no great distance.

I cannot help expressing to you my astonishment, upon reading the
account given of the interview between the Commissioners here and
M. Gerard, on the 16th of December, printed in the Yorktown Gazette
of May 4th. The part I allude to is the following. The French
Plenipotentiary, speaking of the King, says, “he should moreover not
so much as insist, that, if he engaged in the war with England on our
account, we should not make a separate peace for ourselves, whenever
good and advantageous terms were offered to us.” This account I
understand was given to Congress by the Commissioners, and therefore
it must be presumed to be true. How then can it be reconciled with
the 8th article of the treaty of alliance? Suppose England should
offer to acknowledge the liberty, sovereignty, and independence of
America, upon condition that she should make a separate peace. The
question is, can we in honor do it? Monsieur Gerard, Royal Syndic
of Strasbourg, and Secretary of his Majesty’s Council of State,
informed the Commissioners on the 16th of December, _by order of the
King_, that the only condition his Majesty 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.” The 8th article of the treaty of alliance declares
directly the contrary, although the second says expressly, _Le
but essentiel et direct de la présente alliance défensive, est de
maintenir efficacement la liberté, la souveraineté, et l’indépendance
des Etats Unis_. I most ardently wish for peace; at the same time the
preservation of our national honor must be attended to. The virtue
and wisdom of the representatives of our country in Congress will be
shown, if this question should ever be agitated.

You will find by my letter to the Committee of this day’s date, that
the situation of affairs has not allowed me yet to go into Italy.
My own inclinations, if they alone had been consulted, would have
carried me there long ago. Mr William Lee was right in going to
Vienna. That Court acts from its own opinion without control, and
might possibly have been prevailed on to receive him publicly. The
event has not proved answerable to our wishes. The conduct of the
Empress Queen has certainly been occasioned by a resentment against
the Court of France, for not contributing, contrary to their own
interest, to the aggrandisement of the House of Austria. A resentment
so ill founded and unreasonable may perhaps not continue long; in
the mean time, however, it is exceedingly provoking to me, as I
am living at the public expense, without having it in my power to
fulfil the objects of my commission. Perhaps, indeed, my having been
in Paris may not prove altogether useless; and I hope the papers I
have transmitted to you may not be thought unworthy the attention of
Congress. After having had the facts stated to them relative to the
situation of affairs in Europe, they will judge what instructions are
proper to be sent to me. If they are positive, at all events they
shall be followed; if discretionary, I shall act to the best of my
judgment.

You are so good as to assure me in your letter of the 19th of May,
that you will upon all occasions have at heart my honor and interest,
and that you will by every opportunity keep me acquainted with the
state of affairs. I feel very sensibly these friendly assurances,
and promise you that amidst the troubles and vexations in which I
have been engaged, I derive considerable comfort and satisfaction
from them. You say nothing of your son. I heartily rejoice at his
promotion. He must have informed you, that he was very desirous of
going into the Prussian army. I dissuaded him from it, and advised
him, if he was determined upon becoming a soldier, to take Marshal
Saxe and the Chevalier Foland’s Commentaries upon Polybius into his
hands, and go to America, where an ample field would be open to him.
I am happy to find, that he has had no cause to repent of having
followed my advice.

My wife offers you her compliments, and joins me in desiring that
they may be presented to him. We have heard nothing very lately from
his family in England; by the last accounts Mrs Laurens was well, and
the child very much improved.

I am, dear Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


FROM THE ABBÉ NICCOLI TO RALPH IZARD.

            Translation.

                                      Florence, July 28th, 1778.

Sir,

Although M. Favi, who knows my attachment for you, regularly informs
me concerning you, yet I was very much pleased with receiving a letter
directly from yourself, dated the 11th instant, and to find thereby
that the gout had left you at last, and that your little family were
well. I beg you to embrace them for me.

I have often wished for you all at Florence, during my stay here,
and to partake with you the delights that are to be enjoyed beneath
a fine sky, and under the protection of good laws. I have tortured
myself to find some means to induce you to come here; my conscience and
honor have always dictated the counsels I have given you, so contrary
to my inclinations, but most conformable to your situation and the
circumstances you are placed in. I wish very much that the order you
have received to effect a loan in Italy might furnish you with a
plausible reason to make me a visit, but I see so many difficulties
in this design, that I dare not flatter myself with hopes. You will
permit me to mention those, which present themselves on the part of
Tuscany. Tuscany, which has been deprived for upwards of two centuries
of an active commerce, is but just emerging out of the languishing
and exhausted state into which she was plunged. There has indeed been
for some years a large quantity of cash in circulation, but although
my countrymen are convinced of the solvency of the United States, of
their honesty in keeping their word, and that they consider their
independence as established, they will not however lend their money,
because they can employ it in a much more lucrative manner under their
own eyes. To give you an evident proof of it, I send you the extract
of an edict of his Royal Highness. You will find the inducements to be
infinitely superior to anything the United States can offer.

I propose also to send you shortly an abridgment of the immunities,
privileges, and liberties granted for fourteen years past by the Grand
Duke to his subjects. You will see in it his system of administration,
and you will judge whether, in a State favored as ours is, it can
be reasonably expected to amass money to put it out to interest.
I will moreover give you a proof of what has happened under his
administration, and of which I am an eye witness. Cultivation of land
has increased double, and landed property, if there is any for sale,
is purchased at double the price it sold for before. The Grand Duke,
who has reimbursed almost the half of the State debts, which he found
at his accession, has the consolation to see the manner in which this
money has been employed.

I confine myself, Sir, to one single point, to show you the little
probability there is of accomplishing your object in Tuscany, leaving
it to you to judge whether in the present circumstances government
would not be blamed, should it permit a loan to be opened here for the
United States. I know not whether they would permit such a thing for
the Emperor.

This is enough respecting Tuscany. As to the other States of Italy,
I see none in a condition to comply with your views excepting the
Republic of Genoa. In this State, being strictly connected with
France, you may not meet with the same difficulties on the part of the
government, and as the Genoese have almost all their property in ready
money, and are accustomed to lend to every body, I am persuaded you
may find it with them, especially if the Ministry of France interposes
favorably. I imagine that they will demand large interest, with
security, perhaps, and guarantied by the King of France. You will do
well, before you open this negotiation, directly to speak about it to
the Count de Vergennes; and he should speak to the Marquis Spinola,
the Genoese Envoy. If you have not this recourse, I know not how you
can fulfil the commission of Congress, because all Europe being in
a convulsed state, money becomes scarce and dear. You know that the
Empress Queen has opened a loan in her States of Brabant; perhaps,
should the troubles not cease, she will open one likewise in Milan.
Thus, my friend, you have my opinion; I am sorry that I cannot furnish
you with some better hints, and more conformable to your wishes and
mine. I say nothing respecting myself, and I know not yet what the
Grand Duke will do with me; whenever he shall determine, you shall not
be among the last who are informed of it. Communicate always good
news of your country to me, and be assured of the perfect and sincere
attachment with which I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

                                                       NICCOLI.


TO THE COMMISSIONERS.

                                        Paris, August 25th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

In a letter, which I have lately received from Florence, and which
I have had the honor of laying before you, it is recommended that
an endeavor should be made to interest the Ministry in favor of any
loan, that may be attempted in Genoa for the United States, as it is
probable the Genoese may require the security of the Court of France
for the payment of such sums, as they may have it in their power
to lend. The Ministry must be convinced of the ability of America,
in a few years after the establishment of peace, to discharge any
pecuniary engagements she may at present have occasion to enter into,
and the connexion, which subsists between the two countries, will,
I hope, induce them to afford us every assistance in their power. I
shall be glad to know whether you think I ought to apply to Count
de Vergennes on the subject, or that the application should be made
first by you; in either case, I shall be ready to co-operate with
you, or act in any manner that shall appear most likely to produce
the desired effect.

Captain Woodford, who has lately arrived in this city from Leghorn,
informs me that there are some merchants there inclined to enter
into the American trade. He is to command a vessel from that port,
and is apprehensive of meeting some of the cruisers belonging to the
States of Africa. This danger will probably deter many Americans
from entering into the Mediterranean trade, and if possible it should
be removed. The King of France, in the 8th article of the Treaty of
Commerce, has engaged to employ his good offices and interposition
with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the Regencies of Algiers,
Tunis, and Tripoli, and every other power 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, insult, attacks, or depredations,
on the part of the said Princes and States of Barbary, and their
subjects.

You will be so good as to inform me, whether any steps have been
taken by the Court of France, for the security of the inhabitants of
the United States, in consequence of the above article.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


FROM THE COMMISSIONERS TO RALPH IZARD.

                                          Passy, August 25th, 1778.

Sir,

We have the honor of your letter of this date, and shall give the
earliest attention to its contents.

We apprehend there would be no impropriety at all in your application
to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, concerning the subject of a
loan in Genoa, and we wish that you would apply. As we wish however
to do everything in our power to procure you success, we shall do
ourselves the honor to propose the subject to his Excellency the
first time we see him, which will probably be tomorrow, when we
shall make an application to him also upon the other subject of your
letter, the interposition of His Majesty with the Emperor of Morocco,
and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and every other
power on the coast of Barbary.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       B. FRANKLIN,
                                                        ARTHUR LEE,
                                                        JOHN ADAMS.

_P. S. August 27th._ Since writing the foregoing, we have spoken of
the Genoese loan to Count de Vergennes, who gave us no encouragement
to hope that France would engage for us in that affair. The other
matter will be the subject of a proposed written memorial.


TO THE ABBÉ NICCOLI.

                                      Paris, September 1st, 1778.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 28th of July affords no very flattering prospects
to us from Tuscany. My expectations and hopes from that quarter
were high, and I confess that I am disappointed. All Europe appears
to me to be interested in the success of our cause, and Italy will
certainly receive no inconsiderable share of the benefits resulting
from the establishment of the independence of the United States; it
is, therefore, not a little to be wondered at, that she should refuse
to stir a finger towards the accomplishment of that event. I am well
aware, that the revenues of the Grand Duke are not equal to those of
the King of France; something, however, is certainly in his power;
and we are taught by Scripture to set a proper value on a single
mite, when it is proportioned to the ability of the donor.

The Grand Duke, you say, has discharged almost half the debt with
which he found the State encumbered at his accession. This is a proof
of the wisdom and good government of his Royal Highness, and shows
how well founded the opinion is, which the world has entertained of
that excellent Prince. It shows also, that his State is in a very
flourishing condition. I have been lately informed, that his Royal
Highness intends shortly to discharge another part of his debt, to
the amount of three millions of French livres. If this payment could
be postponed, and the money lent to the United States, it would be of
considerable service to them. You will excuse me for pressing this
subject with earnestness, as I have the greatest desire to execute
the business, which the Congress have done me the honor of putting
into my hands.

Captain Woodford has lately arrived here from Leghorn; he informs me
that some merchants at that port are determined to enter into the
American trade, and that he is to command a vessel from thence bound
to Virginia, which he thinks will be ready to sail in the course of
a few weeks. He is a man of a very good character, and I hope he
will succeed, which will probably induce many others to follow his
example. He has charged himself with the delivery of this letter, and
I do not doubt but that you will give him any advice or assistance in
your power to facilitate the execution of his plan.

My wife and family join in offering you their compliments, and I am,
dear Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                        Paris, September 2d, 1778.

Sir,

I am directed by the Congress to endeavor to procure a loan of money
in Italy, and have in consequence done everything in my power to
obtain proper information on the subject. My correspondent in Tuscany
gives me no hopes of procuring any there, as that country is just
beginning to emerge from a state of languor, under which it has
suffered for two centuries.

No other part of Italy seems to afford a more agreeable prospect
except Genoa, and I am told, that even there, the security of the
Court of France will probably be expected, for any sum which the
inhabitants of that Republic may have it in their power to lend to
the United States. The value of the paper currency of America has
sunk, on account of the great sums which it has been absolutely
necessary to issue in the prosecution of the war against Great
Britain. If the loan can be obtained, the Congress will be enabled to
reduce the quantity in circulation, and at the same time raise and
establish the credit of the remainder. This will be of such important
service to our country, that I am induced to hope your Excellency
will be so good as to afford us your assistance in it, and speak to
the Marquis Spinola, the Envoy from Genoa, on the subject. I shall be
extremely happy to have it in my power to inform the Congress, that
by your Excellency’s assistance, I have been enabled to execute the
trust which they have committed to me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                        RALPH IZARD.


TO HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Paris, September 12th, 1778.

Dear Sir,

My last letter to you was dated the 25th of July, and yours of the
19th of May still continues the only one I have been favored with
from you. My letter of the 28th of June was accompanied by several
papers, which appeared to me proper that you and every other friend
of our country should be acquainted with. Five sets of them were sent
to you, and it will be very unlucky if one of them does not get safe
to your hands.

The molasses business would certainly have proved the source of
continual disputes if it had not been altered, but the mischief,
which might have been expected from that, is beyond comparison
less than what is pointed out in my letter to Mr Lee of the 18th
of May. My apprehensions on this subject were communicated to the
Commissioners at this Court, but I am sorry to say that they made
no impression upon them. Mr Lee alone seemed to think it possible I
might be right; the other two gentlemen were perfectly satisfied. Dr
Franklin’s usual consciousness of infallibility was apparent, and Mr
Adams insinuated, that the business of the treaties was put entirely
into the hands of the Commissioners at this Court, and nobody else
had any right to give their opinions about them; that he understood
that I had objected to the 11th and 12th articles of the Treaty of
Commerce respecting molasses, but he believed I should find myself
greatly mistaken in that matter; that he did not doubt but those
articles would be extremely popular in Congress, and that they
would be very angry when they were informed that I had objected to
them. I answered, that I was sensible the conclusion of the treaties
was committed solely to the gentlemen he mentioned, but that the
principles in which I had been educated militated against the other
part of his opinion; that I had thought it my duty to oppose the
proceedings of the King and Parliament of Great Britain when they
were injurious to my country, that the same motives had occasioned
my opposition to the articles in question; that I had submitted my
objections to the treaty to the President, and hoped he would make
them known to Congress; that if they thought I had acted wrong, I
should of course be informed of it by him; that I should in that case
look upon myself to be no longer fit to be employed, when my opinion
differed so totally from that of my employers, and should request the
favor of the President to procure the leave of Congress for me to
return into my own country.

I have had the satisfaction, however, of finding that Mr Adams,
as well as his countrymen, Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, have been
mistaken in their expectation, that Congress would be inattentive to
the interests of nine States of America to gratify the eaters and
distillers of molasses. I am yet to learn whether the arguments made
use of in the abovementioned letter of the 18th of May have had any
weight with you, and the other gentlemen to whom I desired you to
submit them, but I am very sorry to inform you that my apprehensions
were too well founded. The letters, which Mr Lee has lately received
from Spain, leave not the least room to doubt what the expectations
of that Court are respecting the Floridas. For my own part, no such
additional proof was necessary after having compared the 5th article
of the Treaty of Alliance with the 9th article of the original
treaty, transmitted by Congress.

The conduct of Spain has been full of ambiguity; she has been arming
with all possible diligence, and at the same time sent an Ambassador
to London, who has hitherto made use of no other language but that
of peace and mediation. England, who seems to have lost her common
sense at the same time that she parted with her humanity, does not
appear to suspect that the delays of Spain may possibly be intended
only to make her blow more certain and effectual. Some politicians
believe, that the delays of Spain have been occasioned by her being
averse to the independence of America. Nothing can be more absurd
than such an opinion. Spain can have nothing to apprehend from us
alone, equal to what she had reason to fear from the united strength
of Great Britain and America. When the present war is ended, I hope
the blessings of peace will be long enjoyed. Should Spain be suffered
to get possession of the Floridas, perpetual causes of quarrel may
be expected, and therefore I hope the wisdom of Congress will guard
against this evil.

When my apprehensions on this subject were communicated to the
Commissioners at this Court, a proper explanation I believe might
have been obtained from the Ministry under their hands, as the
ratification of the treaties was not arrived, and it is certain they
were very much alarmed about them, and expected they would have
undergone a much severer scrutiny than they did. The limits, which
Congress have prescribed in the 9th article of their original treaty,
are such as I am convinced we ought to have, and I hope that nothing
will happen to make it necessary that they should be altered. Mr
Lee will, I suppose, inform Congress of the contents of his letters
from Spain on this subject. It appears of so much consequence to the
Southern States, that I think they should be consulted separately on
the subject of ceding the Floridas to Spain, before the question is
brought before Congress.

In my letter to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, of the 25th of
July, I enclosed them two letters, which I had written to the Abbé
Niccoli at Florence, on the subject of money. I now send you his
answer, by which you will find that there is no very flattering
prospect of obtaining any there. I send you likewise enclosed several
other papers, which will show you that I have done everything in
my power to fulfil the wishes of Congress; nothing has been left
unattempted to promote the success of what I have had constantly at
heart. I have had an interview with Count de Vergennes, Secretary
of State for Foreign Affairs, and endeavored to prevail upon him to
offer the security of the Court of France for any money, which might
be borrowed in Italy for the use of the United States. He refused
affording any assistance in the matter. I then wrote him the enclosed
letter of the 2d of September, without promising myself much hopes
of success from it. The King of Prussia during the last war received
a subsidy from Great Britain, of between seven and eight hundred
thousand pounds sterling. The object to be obtained was certainly
much less considerable, than what France has already got by the
dismemberment of so great a part of the dominions of her natural
enemy, and yet the States of America, her allies, whose exertions
have procured so desirable an event for her, have no subsidy, and
even her assistance in effecting a loan is refused. France has
certainly great demands for money herself; she might, however, have
been more liberal than she has been, and I am of opinion she would
have been so, had things been properly conducted by those who ought
to have thought less of themselves and more of the public.

I have in this, and some of my former letters, given you my opinion
on such parts of the treaties as appeared likely to prove injurious
to us. The Southern States are most affected by the articles, which
have been already taken notice of. The 9th and 10th articles of
the Treaty of Commerce contain matter which will, if I am not much
mistaken, prove the subject of great uneasiness to the States of
New England. The gentleman, whose presumption and self sufficiency
I have already complained of, may in this instance, I believe, be
acquitted of having any design. Whatever there may be improper in
these articles can be only attributed to the want of information, and
to their not being acquainted with the subject.

When the peace of Paris in 1763 was concluded, I was in London,
and heard the subject of the fishery much discussed; the French
pretended that by the 13th article of the treaty of Utrecht, they
had an exclusive right to fish on all that part of the island of
Newfoundland, which extends from Cape Bonavista to Point Riche. The
English Ministry would not admit of any such explanation of the
article, and accordingly the French have enjoyed no such exclusive
right since. The words “indefinite and exclusive right” are not to be
found either in the treaties of Utrecht or of Paris, yet they were
inserted in the 10th article of our treaty of commerce, and that it
may seem as if no innovation was intended, that right is claimed as
having been _designed_ by the treaty of Utrecht, and the whole is to
be conformable (not to the words,) but to the _true sense_ of the
treaties of Utrecht and Paris. I do not think that the States of New
England would be very well contented, if they should find themselves
excluded from the right of fishing on any part of the coast of
Newfoundland. I have endeavored to get all the information I could on
this matter, and am confirmed in my opinion that it is intended.

The discussion of this business will probably not be entered upon
till the conclusion of peace, and that event I fear is not very near
at hand. It is however of importance, that those persons who are
likely to be affected by this matter should be acquainted with what
I have written to you about it, that they may consider it and be
prepared.

The commercial business of America in this kingdom continues still
in confusion. You were fully informed on this point sometime ago,
and I recommended Mr Lloyd strongly as a proper person to set these
matters right. I believe him to be a very capable merchant, and I
have the highest opinion of his integrity and attachment to the cause
of America. These are qualities at all times to be valued, but in
the present situation of our affairs, at the distance the commercial
agent is placed from the seat of inquiry, the difficulty there is of
preventing the plunder of the public money, and the detecting of it
after it is done, are additional motives with me for wishing to see
the commercial business of our country in his hands. He is going to
America, and I expect that he will see you at Congress. Dr Franklin
is still endeavoring to place his nephew in that office.[68] Whether
he is a proper person I shall not take upon me to decide. Mr Lee
thinks he is not, and I suppose will offer his reasons to Congress.

I have lamented exceedingly that the situation of affairs has not
permitted my going into Italy. Perhaps my having been here, and the
observations that I have sent you respecting the treaties, may not
prove useless; should my countrymen think so, it will give me great
satisfaction.

I am, dear Sir, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.

_P. S._ I have communicated my sentiments to Mr Lee and Mr Adams
respecting the fishery, and I hope they will write on the subject to
their friends. It will, however, I think, be very proper for you to
speak to the New England delegates about it, that they may have time
to consider it, and consult their constituents.

[68] For the correction of an error here, respecting Dr Franklin’s
designs in regard to his nephew, see the present volume, p. 164, note.


THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO RALPH IZARD.

                              Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778.

Sir,

It is unnecessary to say anything to you about the particular
foundation of the enclosed Resolve. We hope you will experience good
consequences from it, in a point very interesting to you while in
Tuscany. There, you certainly must depend greatly on our correspondents
in France for American intelligence, which will be much more frequently
sent from hence to them than to you. We shall enjoin it upon them to
furnish you, and particularly upon Mr Adams, while he remains at Paris.

Mr A. Lee will communicate to you the purport of some papers, which
are sent to him, and in which you are jointly concerned. It was not
possible for us at this time to send you extracts from them.

You will be pleased at knowing that the British Commissioners are
convinced of the folly of their errand to America, and are returning
home. It is probable that the British army will follow them soon, or
at least go to the West Indies. Of this, however, the Marquis de la
Fayette, the bearer, may gain fuller information before he sails from
Boston. Though a pressing load of other business has till this time
prevented Congress from taking up the whole consideration of their
foreign affairs, yet that must be the speedy consequence of their
appointment of Dr Franklin Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of
France. All the papers of this Committee are on their table, and we
shall despatch packets upon any material decision.

In the mean time we wish you every success, and are with much regard,
Sir, your friends and humble servants,

                                                    RICHARD H. LEE,
                                                      JAMES LOVELL.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, January 28th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have had the honor of informing Congress, that the political state
of Europe has prevented the Grand Duke of Tuscany from receiving me
in the character of their representative, and as I thought it would
be injurious to them if I had resided at his Court in any other
character, I have remained in France, ready to embrace the first
opportunity of obeying the orders of Congress, if any change of
circumstances should put it in my power to do so.

In consequence of a resolution of Congress, “that the Commissioners
at the other Courts in Europe be empowered to draw bills of exchange
from time to time, for the amount of their expenses, upon the
Commissioners at the Court of France,” I drew a bill of exchange on
the 12th instant for five hundred louis d’ors, on the Commissioners
at this Court, and I waited on them at Passy with it myself for
acceptance. I presented it to Dr Franklin, as eldest, who refused to
accept it. He said the two thousand louis d’ors, which I had already
had, were so extravagant a sum, that he was sure I could not have
spent it, and if I had, he saw no reason why Congress should support
my family. Congress will be pleased to recollect, that my commission
is dated the 1st of July, 1777, and that I received it the September
following. Dr Franklin added, that the resolution of the 7th of
May, 1778, to which I referred him, directed that the Commissioners
_at_ the other Courts of Europe should draw bills for the amount of
their expenses, but as I was not _at_ Florence, he was determined
not to consent that any more money should be paid me, and I might
protest the bill if I pleased. I desired that he would favor me with
his reasons in writing, which he promised to do; but though I wrote
to him eight days after about it, and received a repetition of his
promise under his hand, he has not to this day paid the least regard
to it. Congress will judge, when they consider the differences, which
have for some time past unhappily subsisted between us, by what
motives Dr Franklin has been actuated in the conduct, which I have
just stated, and will, I hope, take such measures as will for the
future prevent any such unjustifiable proceedings.

As the Commissioners at the other Courts of Europe are directed to
draw bills of exchange for their support, on the Representatives of
Congress at the Court of France, the situation of the former will be
very deplorable, if the latter are allowed the liberty of disobeying
those orders of Congress, whatever may be the pretence for such
disobedience. At the time of Dr Franklin’s refusal to accept my bills
for five hundred louis d’ors, there were in the hands of the public
banker between two and three hundred thousand livres. Dr Franklin
is not empowered to judge of the propriety of my going into Italy,
or staying in France. I consulted him however about it, and it was
his opinion, that the situation of affairs did not admit of my going
to Florence. After Dr Franklin had refused to accept the bill, I
presented it to Mr Lee and Mr Adams, who accepted it immediately.
It is with reluctance that I lay this matter before Congress, but
it is my duty to do it, as it is an evil that requires an immediate
remedy. Our disagreements are much to be lamented by every friend to
our country; I can, with the most perfect truth declare, that I have
done every thing in my power to prevent them, but I have found it
impossible. I have a most grateful sense of the goodness of Congress
to me, in appointing me one of their Representatives in Europe; it
has been my constant wish to prove myself worthy of the confidence
with which they have honored me, and I consider it as my greatest
misfortune, that I have not had it in my power to render them any
service.

As there does not appear to be any prospect of my being received in
my public character at Florence, nor any other means of my being of
service, I am desirous of returning to America. I should take the
first opportunity of doing so, but do not think myself at liberty to
leave Europe without the permission of Congress; you will very much
oblige me if you will be so good as to obtain that permission for me,
and send me copies of it by several opportunities.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                      RALPH IZARD.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, March 4th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of writing to you on the 28th of January, and have
since received your letter of the 28th of October, informing me of
the appointment of Dr Franklin to be Minister Plenipotentiary at the
Court of France, and enclosing a resolution of Congress of the 22d
of the same month. The respect, which I owe to the Representatives
of my country in Congress, would make me follow any advice which I
might receive from them. I am most perfectly convinced, that the
cultivation of harmony and good understanding between the Ministers,
Commissioners, and Representatives of Congress, is necessary for the
honor and interest of the United States, and I have acted to the
utmost of my power in conformity to that opinion.

Congress will be enabled to judge how far their other servants have
done so, from the papers which have already been, and will be, laid
before them. I beg leave to repeat again the high sense I have
of the honor that Congress did me, in appointing me one of their
Representatives in Europe, and to request that you will be so good
as to obtain their leave for me to return to America, as I see no
prospect of my having it in my power to render them any service in
this part of the world. I should embrace the opportunity of going
under the convoy of the Alliance frigate, but do not think myself at
liberty to leave Europe without the permission of Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO RALPH IZARD.

                                 Philadelphia, July 17th, 1779.

Sir,

Your letter of March 4th was read in Congress three days ago, being
then only first received by the Committee of Foreign Affairs. We
should have been very happy to have received it before the 8th of
June,[69] as it would, undoubtedly, have founded a resolve of Congress
more agreeable to us to communicate officially, than that to which
we must now refer you in their journals, printed authoritatively by
David C. Claypole, and which are in the hands of Doctor Franklin, or
Doctor Arthur Lee, at Paris.

We have till now omitted to forward to you that resolve for your
recall from the Court of Tuscany, as we daily expected a settlement
of a definite recompense for your services to these United States.
But the modes of doing business in such an assembly as Congress will
not warrant our detaining, until such settlement, some important
papers committed to us to be sent to the Court of France.

I am, with sincere regard, &c.

                                                 JAMES LOVELL,
                              _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs_.

[69] _In Congress, June 8th, 1779._ “According to the order of the day,
Congress proceeded to the consideration of the report of the Committee
of thirteen on Foreign Affairs; and on the question, shall Mr Izard be
recalled?--resolved in the affirmative.

“A motion was then made, that Mr Izard be informed, that it is the
sense of Congress that he need not return to America;--resolved in the
affirmative.”


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, September 29th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have lately been favored with your letter of the 17th of July,
referring me to a resolution of Congress of the 8th of June, by which
I find that they have been pleased to recall me. It has long been my
wish to resign a commission, which did not put it in my power to be
of any service to America; and, therefore, if Congress had had the
goodness to have expressed their resolution in such a manner as not
to have conveyed a censure, which my conscience tells me I have not
deserved, it would have given me a great deal of pleasure.

You say that if my letter, of the 4th of March, had been received
before the 8th of June, it would have founded a resolve of Congress
more agreeable to you to communicate than the one referred to. I
have received, likewise, the resolution of Congress of the 6th of
August, respecting the allowance to be made to the Commissioners.
Upon my applying to Dr Franklin to know if he had received any
directions from Congress to pay me any money, and whether he thought
himself authorised by that resolution to do it, he answered me,
that he had received no orders about it. “On the other hand, (said
he) there is a part of it which directs, that every Commissioner,
who has been intrusted with public money, shall transmit without
delay his accounts and vouchers to the Board of Treasury in order
for settlement. Till such settlement is made, I conceive it cannot
be known what, or whether anything, is due to you.” I was in hopes,
that after what I had already written to Congress on this subject,
it would have been unnecessary to trouble them any more about
it. Their resolution of the 7th of May, 1778, directs, “that the
Commissioners appointed for the Courts of Spain, Tuscany, Vienna,
and Berlin, should live in such style and manner at their respective
Courts, as they may find suitable and necessary to support the
dignity of their public character, keeping an account of their
expenses, which shall be reimbursed by the Congress of the United
States of America.” I have repeatedly informed Congress of my reasons
for not going into Italy. Had those reasons not been satisfactory,
they would doubtless have signified their pleasure to me on the
subject, which should have been the rule of my conduct.

I do not conceive that the resolution of the 6th of August, which
directs that those who have been intrusted with public money shall
transmit their accounts and vouchers to the Board of Treasury to be
settled, can have any reference to me. I have received two thousand
five hundred louis d’ors of the public money, exclusive of the
clothes and education of my children. This latter circumstance I
should not have mentioned, had not Dr Franklin told me, that he saw
no reason why Congress should maintain my family. I cannot believe,
that Congress intended any such distinction when they sent me a
commission, nor when they entered into the resolution of the 7th of
May, 1778; neither can I think, that, by calling for the accounts and
vouchers of those who have been intrusted with public money, their
intention is to enter into an examination of my butcher’s, baker’s,
or apothecary’s bills. I hope they will be satisfied with being
informed, that my expenses during the two years, that I have had the
honor of being in their service, have amounted to sixteen hundred
louis d’ors a year. The resolution of the 6th of August set forth,
that the _reasonable expenses_ of the Commissioners shall be paid.
It is impossible for me to tell what ideas may be affixed to those
words; but I am sure, that whatever Congress may think reasonable
will be perfectly satisfactory to me, let the sum be what it will.
All I desire is, that I may not be subjected to be ill treated by
a man, who is become my enemy, because I have done my duty to the
public.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Philadelphia, August 6th, 1780.

Sir,

In several letters which I wrote to Congress from Paris, I acquainted
them with my reasons for not going into Italy. It will give me great
pleasure to be informed, that those reasons and my conduct have been
approved of by the Representatives of my country. Permit me, Sir, to
request, that you will be pleased to inform Congress of my arrival in
this city, and that I shall be ready, whenever it is their pleasure,
to give them any information in my power respecting their affairs in
Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       RALPH IZARD.



                 THE CORRESPONDENCE OF HENRY LAURENS,
            COMMISSIONER FOR NEGOTIATING A TREATY OF AMITY
                      AND COMMERCE WITH HOLLAND.


Henry Laurens was a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and born
in the year 1724. He was among the foremost in embracing the cause
of the Revolution, which he maintained to the end with extraordinary
integrity, zeal, and firmness. As President of the first provincial
Congress of Carolina, which assembled in 1775, he showed a determined
spirit, that never forsook him afterwards, even in times of severe
trial and suffering. He was a prominent member of the Continental
Congress, and chosen President of that body on the resignation
of Hancock. In the year 1779, the finances of the United States
became so low, that it was found necessary to use every effort to
procure foreign loans, and Mr Laurens was appointed a Commissioner
to negotiate a loan in Holland. On the first of November following,
there was joined to this commission another, which authorised him to
negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the United Provinces.

Various reasons prevented his leaving the country, till the last of
August, 1780. Meantime the Commission for a loan had been assigned
to John Adams, and Mr Laurens was exclusively charged with the
negotiation of a treaty. A few days after he sailed, the vessel
was taken by a British man of war, and carried into St John’s,
Newfoundland. From this place Mr Laurens wrote to Congress, but he
was immediately sent to England, where he was closely imprisoned in
the Tower for nearly fifteen months. He was at length released, in
exchange for Lord Cornwallis. His papers were thrown overboard when
the vessel was taken, but they did not sink before they were secured
by the enemy. Being forwarded to London, their contents became the
chief cause of a war between England and Holland.

After his release from the Tower, Mr Laurens went over to Holland,
where he met Mr Adams, and proposed to engage in the business of his
mission, but did not find by Mr Adams’s instructions, that he was
authorised to proceed in such a measure. In reply to his request for
a recall, Congress informed him, that his services were still needed
in Europe, and directed him to join Messrs Franklin, Adams, and Jay
at Paris, to assist in the negotiations for a general peace. This
duty he performed, as far as the precarious state of his health would
admit. Between the signing of the preliminary and definitive articles
he spent much time in London, and rendered essential service by the
intelligence he communicated to the British Ministry, and leading men
of the government party, respecting the feelings of the people in
the United States, particularly in regard to matters of trade, and a
commercial treaty, which were then agitated in the British councils.
He had several interviews on American affairs with Mr Fox, to whom he
expressed his mind freely, as he had formerly done to Lord Shelburne.

Mr Laurens returned to the United States in the summer of 1784,
and retired to his native State. No solicitations could induce
him afterwards to accept any public office. He died on the 8th of
December, 1792, at the age of sixtynine.

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF HENRY LAURENS.


INSTRUCTIONS TO HENRY LAURENS.

                              In Congress, October 26th, 1779.

Congress took into consideration the report of the Committee on
Instructions to the person appointed to negotiate a loan in Holland;
whereupon

_Resolved_, That he be instructed to borrow a sum not exceeding ten
millions of dollars, at the lowest rate possible, not exceeding six
per cent per annum.

_Resolved_, That he be empowered to employ, on the best terms in
his power, some proper mercantile or banking house in the city
of Amsterdam, or elsewhere, in the United Provinces of the Low
Countries, to assist in the procuring of loans, to receive and pay
the money borrowed, to keep the accounts, and to pay the interest.

That he be also empowered to pledge the faith of the United States,
by executing such securities or obligations for the payment of the
money, as he may think proper; and also that the interest shall not
be reduced, nor the principal paid, during the term for which the
same shall have been borrowed, without the consent of the lenders or
their representatives.

That he be directed to give notice to Congress of any loan made by
him, or under his authority, and to direct the house by him employed
to accept and pay the bills of exchange, which may be drawn under the
authority of Congress.[70]

[70] For an account of the appointment of Henry Laurens to “negotiate
a foreign loan,” and also as a “Commissioner to negotiate a treaty of
amity and commerce with the United Provinces of the Low Countries,” see
the _Secret Journal of Congress_, Vol. II. pp. 283, 285, 290, 314, 320.


COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO HENRY LAURENS.

                             Philadelphia, December 11th, 1779.

Sir,

By the enclosed resolves of Congress, you will find that we
are become more dependent upon your vigorous exertions for the
amelioration of our currency, than you perhaps expected when you left
Philadelphia.[71] We think it of so much importance, that you should
be early apprized of the measure determined upon respecting bills
of exchange, that we do not choose to omit this good opportunity
of conveying them, though unattended with a full explanation of the
reasons which urge Congress to draw, more especially as you are so
well enlightened by your late presence in that assembly.

We are, with every wish for your prosperity, &c.

                                             JAMES LOVELL,
                                             ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON,
                                             WILLIAM HOUSTON.

[71] _In Congress, November 23d, 1779._ Committee reported, “that bills
of exchange be drawn on John Jay to the amount of £100,000 sterling,
and on Henry Laurens to the amount of £100,000 sterling, payable at
six months sight, and that the same be sold at the current rate of
exchange.”

_November 29th._ “Congress took into consideration the report of the
Committee appointed to report the manner in which the resolution of the
23d instant, relative to the drawing bills of exchange on Mr Jay and Mr
Laurens, shall be carried into execution; whereupon

“_Resolved_, That the bills be prepared under the direction of the
Board of Treasury, and with such checks as they may devise to prevent
counterfeits, and be signed by the Treasurer of Loans.

“That so many of the bills as the Treasury Board shall, from time to
time think proper to issue, be put into the hands of the Continental
Loan Officer in the State of Pennsylvania, or of any other State; and
that the Board of Treasury direct the lowest rate of exchange at which
the same may be sold.

“That the Board of Treasury may, at their discretion, suspend the sale
of such bills, reporting to Congress their reasons for so doing, that
they may receive directions thereon.

“That the Committee of Foreign Affairs be, and they are hereby directed
to write to Mr Jay and Mr Laurens, informing them of the drafts that
will be made upon them, and explaining fully the reasons that urge
Congress to draw, directing them to keep up a mutual correspondence,
and afford each other every assistance in procuring money to pay the
bills.

“That 1.8 per cent on monies received in payment for the said bills
shall be allowed to the persons intrusted with the sale thereof.

“That no bill be drawn for a less sum than the amount of £50
sterling.”


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                  Charleston, January 24th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

On the 11th instant I had the honor of receiving your commands of
the 11th ultimo, accompanied by two Acts of Congress, one of the 23d
of November, 1779, for drawing bills of exchange “on Mr John Jay for
one hundred thousand pounds sterling, and on Mr Henry Laurens for a
like sum,” and for appointing a Committee to report, &c. the other
of the 29th of November, for carrying the first Act into effect by
modes therein specified. Neither of these Acts intimates where the
intended drafts are to be paid, nor where Congress expects me to be
at the presentation of the bills, which are to be assigned for my
acceptance, nor directs me to funds for discharging them; nor do the
contents of your said favor of the 11th of December elucidate these
ambiguities.

Probably, however, it might have been expected, that although I am
to cross the Atlantic single, and the bills in quadruplicate, and
although I am not yet honored with the Act of Congress appointing
me to negotiate a loan in Europe, which should have been lodged in
my hands as the corner stone for my proceeding, nor with means for
procuring or paying for a passage thither, nor with other necessary
and promised acts and letters from Congress, I am to meet one bill of
each set in some part of the United Netherlands.

Taking for granted, therefore, that the bills are not to be presented
to me in any part of America, I shall embark for Europe by the first
opportunity, and, if it please God, that I arrive in safety, I shall
proceed to Paris and Amsterdam with all possible despatch, when I
shall expect to receive further and more explicit commands from
Congress for enabling me to make those vigorous exertions, on which
you are pleased to say the credit of our paper currency, or which
is the same thing, the credit of these United States depends. Had I
been apprized in proper time, that this quick step in accommodation
bills had been in embryo, I should not have had resolution to face
them. Should there now be any failure, it will not be the result of
delinquency in any respect on my part.

I entreat you, Gentlemen, to inform Congress that I have engaged for
a passage to France on board the French frigate Chimere, commanded
by the Chevalier Durumain, who, at the special request of this
State, is gone on a short cruise on the coast, in company with three
of the Continental frigates, with a prospect of intercepting some
of the enemy’s transport ships and troops from New York, intended
for Georgia. Immediately after the Chimere arrives at the bar of
Charleston, whither she is to return for necessary stores for her
voyage, I shall embark. If any accident shall prevent her return, I
will embrace the very next earliest opportunity of proceeding, either
direct for Europe, or by way of the West Indies, without regard to my
own private interest or indulgence. No vessel has sailed from this
port for Europe, since my arrival here.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Charleston, February 14th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

My last address went forward, under the 31st ult. by Mr Renshaw, one
of the corps of escorts. The 10th instant, General Lincoln was on
the point of ordering the Ranger frigate to conduct me to France.
Governor Rutledge had given his consent, and I believe there would
have been no opposition in Council, but on the 11th we received
authentic intelligence of the arrival of the enemy’s troops from New
York, at and near Tybee, and the next day of their having landed
a large detachment on John’s Island, within sixteen miles of this
capital. We heard yesterday, that another detachment had landed,
and repossessed Beaufort, and we know that two ships of the line,
two frigates, and several armed vessels, are cruising near the bar
of this harbor. Thus environed an attack upon Charleston, very illy
prepared for defence, may be every hour expected.

In these circumstances, were I to study my own private interests and
desires, I should remain here, and stand or fall with my country.
Whatever her fate may be, exceedingly heavy losses to me will be
the consequence of my absence at this critical conjuncture, but the
Governor and other judicious friends urge me to use every endeavor
for obtaining a passage through some other channel. Duty dictates the
same measure. I shall therefore proceed to North Carolina, where are
four vessels belonging to this port, and embark immediately on board
of one of them. In the mean time, I shall omit no opportunity of
acquainting you with my circumstances.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                Charleston, February 24th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of intimating on the 14th instant, by a public
messenger, my purpose of seeking a passage to Europe from North
Carolina, but upon inquiry into the circumstances of the four vessels
alluded to, I judged it best to embark at this port. General Lincoln
has hired a swift sailing brigantine, the Adriana, Josiah Hill
master, to conduct me to Martinique, and the government has relaxed
the embargo on the vessel, and such cargo as she will be laden with,
which will be no more than sufficient to ballast her. By agreement,
this vessel should have sailed on the 20th instant, but bad weather
and distracted times have been impediments. She will be ready for sea
tomorrow. Nothing that I foresee will then detain her, unless the
wind shall be unfavorable.

The General has contracted to insure the value of the vessel, with
the condition of shipping such quantity of goods on Continental
account, as I should judge proper, freight free; but I must pay for
the use of the cabin, this being the perquisite of the master; and
although it is small and very inconvenient, I suppose it will cost
me forty or fifty guineas. I cannot yet bring Captain Hill to be
explicit in his demand, but it shall be ascertained before I embark.
Considering that the circuitous voyages, which I must make, will be
attended with great expense; that Congress would have furnished me
with means for defraying my expenses had it been in their power;
that they had in contemplation when I left Philadelphia to raise a
fund abroad, by the exportation of indigo; that I had an opportunity
of shipping that and other articles free from freight, and at very
moderate prices, compared with those of the staples of other States,
I presumed that it would be pleasing to Congress that I should make
such an export, on account of the United States, as will appear in
the enclosed invoice and bill of lading. The indigo alone will
probably yield upwards of £3200 sterling, at some market in Europe.
The whole shall be faithfully accounted for, and I trust that
Congress will enter into a resolution for indemnifying me, and order
the amount of the invoice to be placed to my credit. If it please God
to conduct me in safety, a part of the money arising from the sale of
the goods may be very acceptable to Mr Jay, or other gentlemen in the
service of these States abroad.

The vessel in which I am to embark is esteemed so good in this town,
as to induce underwriters, notwithstanding she is to sail in the
face of British men of war, to insure on her at 25 per cent; coming
into this port she was pursued by those very men of war and their
tender, but escaped them; she is now clean, and barely in ballast for
sailing, and will go out in an evening. My long delay is a subject of
grief to me, but Congress will be pleased to recollect, that I made
my coming to Charleston, in order to present myself at the tribunal
of my country, the _sine qua non_ of my acceptance of a new mission.
The first opportunity that offered for Europe was the Chimere,
Commodore Durumain. I have already informed you of the causes of my
disappointment. I had not thought it possible, that the Commodore
would have induced a junction of two Continental frigates with his
little squadron of three ships, under an excellent plan for a ten
days’ cruise, unless he had been fully determined to perform his
part in the execution. A contrary proceeding exposed those frigates
to imminent danger, which they narrowly escaped. What has happened
since the Commodore’s departure, respecting my intended embarkation,
Congress have been informed of.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                       Vestal--British Frigate,    }
                    St. John’s, Newfoundland, September 14th, 1780.}

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of writing to the Board of Admiralty, from on board
the Mercury packet, the 23d ult.[72] by Captain Young, at parting
with the Saratoga. On the 3d instant, the Vestal came in view, and
after a pursuit of some five or six hours, Captain George Keppel took
possession of the packet. Mr. Young, Captain Pickles, and myself,
were conducted on board this ship, and yesterday we arrived here.

Certain papers, among which were all those delivered to me by Mr
Lovell, and the board of Admiralty, fell into Captain Keppel’s
hands. These papers had been enclosed in a bag, accompanied by
a considerable weight of iron shot, and thrown overboard, but
the weight proved insufficient for the purpose intended. Admiral
Edwards, Governor of this Island, and commander of the stationed
squadron, has ordered me to England in the sloop of war Fairy, under
the command of Captain Keppel. Mr Young and Captain Pickles will
probably go in the same vessel.

I should be wanting in justice, and indeed deficient in common
gratitude, were I to omit an acknowledgment of Captain Keppel’s
kindness to myself, and to everybody captured in the Mercury. Captain
Pickles’ conduct, while he had the command of that vessel, was
perfectly satisfactory to me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

[72] This letter is missing, nor does it appear from the Correspondence
at what time, or from what place Mr Laurens sailed. On the 20th of
June, 1780, it was resolved in Congress, that, as circumstances had
prevented his departure, the commission to negotiate a loan in the
United Provinces and the Low Countries, should be transferred to John
Adams. And on the 7th of July, it was resolved, “That the commission,
which was agreed to on the first day of November, 1779, for the
honorable Henry Laurens, as a Commissioner to negotiate a treaty of
amity and commerce with the States-General of the United Provinces of
the Low Countries, be delivered to him; and that the consideration
of the instructions relative to the negotiation of the treaty be for
the present deferred; and that Mr Laurens, on his arrival in Holland,
inform himself of the state of affairs in that country, and advise
Congress particularly thereof, that they may be able to decide with
more certainty upon the terms on which such treaty ought to be settled.”


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                          Tower of London, December 20th, 1781.

Sir,

Almost fifteen months have I been closely confined, and inhumanly
treated, and even now have not a prospect of relief. The treaty for
exchange is abortive. There has been languor, and there is neglect
somewhere. If I merit your attention, you will no longer delay the
only speedy and efficacious means for my deliverance. Enter this if
you please, and what it may produce, on your Secret Journal, and
pardon the omission of ceremony.

I am, full of love and respect for you,

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S._ A friend will trace the direction in ink.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, May 30th, 1782.

Sir,

From the 6th of October, 1780, to November, 1781, I remained a close
prisoner in the Tower of London, without hearing of any steps taken
for my release, or for my support or consolation in that distressed
state, either by Congress or by any of their servants.[73] In the
latter month I learned that Mr Edmund Burke had, some very little
time before, applied to Dr Franklin to effect an exchange between
Lieutenant General Burgoyne and myself, that the Doctor had replied
that he had in his possession a resolution of Congress for that
purpose, a copy of which he then transmitted to Mr Burke; and about
the same time, a letter from Dr Franklin to Mr Hodgson, or to Mr
Vaughan, I forget which, was put into my hands in the Tower. In this
letter, the Doctor expressed some satisfaction in having heard from
“high authority,” that I was well satisfied with the treatment I
had received in my imprisonment, (the contrary was notorious to the
whole world) and he directed the pittance of one hundred pounds to be
paid to me, if I should stand in need. To the first part I desired
it might be answered, that the Doctor had been most egregiously
misinformed, and imposed upon by the “high authority,” and that the
second was to me, after thirteen months imprisonment, _like a drop of
water from the very tip of Lazarus’ little finger_. But I heard no
more from Dr Franklin on these subjects, or any other, while I was in
confinement, nor till four months after my enlargement, and I have
received no money from him at any time.

On the 20th of December last, being still a close prisoner, I
penciled a few lines to Congress, informing them of the ill usage
I had suffered in the Tower; that the proposed treaty for exchange
had proved abortive, slightly intimating there had been a neglect
of me somewhere, and entreating that the only efficacious measure
might be adopted for my release. I penciled seven copies of this
letter, passed the whole into the hands of a friend in London, and
desired he would forward them to Holland, and France, in moiety,
for distribution on board eight vessels bound to America. From this
precaution, I trust one has gained the place of address.

Within a day or two after the British Ministry had determined against
accepting Lieutenant General Burgoyne in exchange for me, an inquiry
was made of me, from them as I believed, whether Doctor Franklin
had power to exchange Lord Cornwallis for me, to which I could give
no positive answer, and there the subject dropped. On the 31st of
December, being, as I had long been, in an extreme ill state of
health, unable to rise from my bed, I was carried out of the Tower
to the presence of the Lord Chief Justice of England, and admitted
to bail, “to appear at the Court of King’s Bench, on the first
day of Easter term, and not to depart thence without leave of the
Court.” This measure it seems had been preconcerted, and determined
upon without my solicitation or knowledge, but I refused to enter
into that, or any other obligation, until I had previously made the
following declaration to Mr Chamberlain, Solicitor of the Treasury,
(who had been sent by the Secretaries of State to notify me in the
Tower of their intention to enlarge me upon bail) in the audience
of several officers of the Court, the Governor and Deputy Governor
of the Tower, and other persons who attended upon the occasion, at
Sergeant’s Inn. “In order to prevent, or to save trouble, as I do
not know the nature of the obligation to be required of me, I think
it necessary to premise, that I will do no act that shall involve me
in an acknowledgment of subjection to this realm, and that I save
and reserve to myself all the rights and claims of a citizen of the
united, free, and independent States of North America.”[74] This
solemn second abjuration of the King, in one of his own Courts, was
going as far as decency would permit, and I was at that moment in
so very low and languishing a state, that I could express myself no
further. None but God knows what I suffered, and I expected nothing
less than to be remanded immediately to the Tower. The Solicitor
concluded by saying, that some violence had been done to the laws for
my relief.

About ten or twelve days before the first day of Easter term, being
still in a very bad state of health, I obtained permission to leave
England, in order to hold a conference with Mr Adams, having a
warrant from under the hand of Lord Shelburne to leave England, and
for putting off the day first assigned for my appearance at the Court
of the King’s Bench. Mr Adams met me at Haerlem, (within twelve miles
of Amsterdam) and, in a conversation of a very few minutes, confirmed
me in opinions, which I had firmly and uniformly delivered to the
British Ministry, that the United States of America would not enter
upon any treaty with Great Britain, but in terms of the treaty of
alliance between France and America. On the 23d of April I returned
to London, and repeated the next day to Lord Shelburne, what I had
formerly assured his Lordship on that head, in which his Lordship had
supposed, or perhaps only hoped, that I had been mistaken for want of
better information. I left his Lordship apparently disappointed and
chagrined.

On the 25th, I peremptorily declared my intention to surrender myself
to the Court of King’s Bench, the Court being then sitting, to
discharge my bail, and submit my person to the will and disposition
of the Court. This having been signified to Lord Shelburne, his
Lordship sent to me by the hands of Mr Oswald, one of my bail, an
ample discharge on the 27th. Reflecting that there had been frequent
attempts, while I was in the Tower, to discharge me under a pardon,
even privately, and to be effected by some contrivance without my
own concurrence and knowledge, I questioned Mr Oswald before I would
accept the discharge, whether it proceeded in any degree from a grant
of pardon, to which he answered in the negative upon his honor. Lord
Shelburne having, before I had been to visit Mr Adams, proposed
to grant me a full and unconditional discharge, I had replied to
his Lordship, that I dared not accept of it myself as a gift, that
Congress would make a just and adequate return for my enlargement,
that having once offered a British Lieutenant General in exchange for
me, I was under no doubt they would give for my ransom an officer of
the same rank. And I have reason to believe that after my refusal
to accept the gift, his Lordship understood and expected that such
a return would be made, although from the nature of my commitment,
it was pretended he could not formally enter into a stipulation.
Therefore, immediately after receiving the discharge on the 27th, I
wrote to Dr Franklin, and solicited his concurrence for discharging
Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis. Hitherto I have not received
the Doctor’s answer. Should he concur in my opinion, and join in
the necessary act for that purpose, I trust we shall receive the
approbation of Congress.

On the 10th instant I received from Doctor Franklin a formal
notification of my appointment in the commission for treating with
Great Britain, and also a copy of the said commission. I left
London on the 11th, and arrived at Ostend on the 15th, from whence
I informed Doctor Franklin, that I declined the honor of that
office,[75] but that I should proceed to the Hague, and inquire of
Mr Adams whether I could be serviceable in the business originally
charged upon me by Congress, in which, if there was an opening, I
would engage with diligence and fidelity. Upon my arrival at the
Hague, I related to Mr Adams the purpose of my journey, adding, that
I was ready to enter upon my duty, provided I was included in his
commission, observing that my own had been destroyed at the time of
my capture. Mr Adams at first intimated a hearty desire to accept the
offer of my service, and said, “We will look into the commission.”
At our second meeting, without speaking of the commission, he
informed me that he had already taken the necessary measures in the
business, by employing proper mercantile houses to borrow money on
account of our United States. From the tenor of these answers it
remains to me uncertain, whether I am included in the subsequent
commission or not, but from his forbearing further to invite it, I
conclude he thinks my attention is not requisite, and that it could
only be productive of unnecessary expense to the public, which I
neither wish nor would encourage. I shall, therefore, after having
paid an indispensable debt of friendship and humanity, by visiting my
distressed relations in the South of France, from whom I have been
separated upwards of seventeen years, and after having recovered
by a change of climate and respite from fatigue a better state of
health, return to America, and present, if required, a much more
minute account of my conduct, to Congress. And I flatter myself with
hopes of convincing them, that notwithstanding the rigorous close
confinement which I suffered in the tower, I made many opportunities
even there, of rendering essential service to the interests of my
country, without permitting my ardor to be in the least degree
checked by considerations of neglect.

Permit me humbly to say it was I, though in close confinement, who
first urged the propriety and utility of passing an act of Parliament
for exchanging American prisoners. After my enlargement I further
urged that business to its completion, visited those prisoners at a
considerable expense to myself, administered to some of them relief
from my own impoverished pocket, and obtained much greater for them
from other persons. I first proposed to Lord Shelburne, and obtained
his Lordship’s promise to send those prisoners in cartel ships to
America, and I had the good fortune to prevail on his Lordship to
surmount the difficulty of doing this without the formality of
pardons. I had declared that not the meanest of all the American
prisoners at Portsmouth or Plymouth should accept pardon, and in my
zeal for the honor of my country I presumed to add, “If they are
discharged under that condition, not a British prisoner in America
shall be enlarged without a pardon.” I delivered my sentiments
freely on the bill, which had been so very long in agitation for
empowering the King to make a truce or peace with America, and
declared it would not only prove inadequate, but offensive. The bill
was frequently brought to me by members of Parliament, to receive
hints for amendment. The only amendment, which I could propose, was
annihilation, and I left it under various scratches and scars, in a
languishing condition. My advice was, “If you mean to do the business
of peace, it is vain to continue nibbling; do it fully and gracefully
by an act to authorise the King to recognise or to acknowledge the
independence of America; the fears which you affect to labor under,
that America will become dependent upon any other power, will thereby
be effectually removed.” I was told, a new bill, which would be
tantamount to my ideas, would be introduced into Parliament; but
since I left England, intimations to me from private friends speak of
their continuing to hack at the old. I think, however, the temper of
the present House of Commons will not give it passage without very
great reform. This will probably be known before my letter enters
upon its voyage.[76]

I shall conclude this head with the words of a friend, received
since my arrival on this side of the water. “_They_ (meaning the
British ministry) _think your absence good company_”. I believe
this may be applicable to that part of the Ministry, who still hear
with reluctance the doctrine of the total independence of America;
a doctrine which I asserted in the Tower of London, and out of
it, and always in the presence of their Lordships, as freely and
as strenuously as ever I had done in Philadelphia, and to which I
am assured I have made many converts amongst people of the first
importance in England, and perhaps it would be no exaggeration
instead of many, to say thousands. Even Lord Shelburne, in the last
conversation I had the honor of holding with his Lordship, discovered
his determination, if not to be reconciled, to submit to it. “I shall
part with America, Mr Laurens, with great regret, because I think a
total separation will not be for her good.” As far as I am able to
judge, the people of England, and I have lately been very much among
them, are sincerely disposed to peace with America, and to accede to
her absolute independence; and I have some grounds for hoping, that
the day is not far distant when those, who have it more immediately
in their power to breathe peace or war, will perceive it to be
for the interest of their country to enter heartily into the same
disposition. The terms and conditions they know, and they now know
the terms and conditions must be complied with.

Mr Moses Young, whom I had engaged at my first appointment by
Congress to attend me as a Secretary and assistant, has made a claim
for five hundred and sixtyseven pounds, fourteen shillings and two
pence, sterling, as due to him for salary to the 15th of February,
1782, when he entered the public service under Dr Franklin. I shall
recommend the payment of the said sum to the Doctor. Mr Young’s loss
of time, loss of effects, and suffering in imprisonment, as well as
his zeal and attachment in the cause of America, will be considered
by Congress, and I hope, when he shall make a proper representation
of his case, a further sum will be granted to him. While I remain in
Europe, the honor and interests of the United States shall be always
in my view, and though in a private character, I do not despair of
being serviceable to my country.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S. May 31st._ The success of the British fleet in the West Indies
may, and probably will, inflate the heart of his Britannic Majesty,
and turn it from an immediate disposition to peace.

[73] The following letter merits insertion in this place. It was
written to Count de Vergennes by the Marchioness de Lafayette, wife
of the Marquis de Lafayette, immediately after she heard the news of
the capture of Mr Laurens. It is translated from the original, which I
found among the American papers in the Archives of Foreign Affairs in
Paris. It should be premised, that, after the Marquis de Lafayette was
wounded at the battle of Brandywine, Mr Laurens, then at Philadelphia,
took him in his carriage to Bethlehem, and provided for him a safe and
comfortable retreat, where he remained till his wound was healed. This
letter to the Count de Vergennes, is equally a proof of the gratitude
and tenderness of its fair author.

                           “Paris, October 18th, 1780.

  “Pardon, I pray you, Sir, my importunity, and permit
  me to address you with the confidence with which
  your kindnesses to M. de Lafayette have inspired me,
  and to speak to you of an affair, which interests me
  deeply. The capture and detention of Mr Laurens in
  England has sensibly afflicted me. He is the intimate
  friend of M. de Lafayette, and took care of him during
  the time of his wound in a manner truly touching.
  His misfortune seems to me overwhelming, and when we
  consider the high station he has held in America, it
  is probable that it may become still more so. I know
  not if any means can be found to prevent it, or even
  to soften the actual rigors of his captivity; but I am
  persuaded, Sir, if there are any such, that they will
  be known to you. Should it be possible, let me entreat
  you earnestly to put them in use.

  “Permit me also to speak to you of an idea which
  has occurred to me, and which is not perhaps
  entirely unworthy of consideration. M. de Lafayette
  has friends, that are on intimate terms with Mr
  Fitzpatrick, who is himself well known. Among the
  ladies of my acquaintance are some, who are the
  confidential friends of Lady Stormont. May not
  something be done through these parties in favor of
  Mr Laurens? And what must be said to them? I beg you
  a thousand times to pardon my importunities, and give
  me in this affair your kind interest and counsels.
  You will perhaps think me very ridiculous, and very
  unreasonable, but the hope, however ill founded, of
  rendering some good service to the unfortunate friend
  of M. de Lafayette, has prompted me to run this risk,
  and make this experiment upon your indulgence, which,
  at least, I must desire you to accord to me. This will
  add yet more to the lively and sincere acknowledgment,
  with which I have the honor to be,

     Sir, your very humble, and very obedient servant,
                                          NOAILLES DE LAFAYETTE.”

[74] I have been often assured, that this declaration had a very great
effect upon the minds of the people in England in favor of American
independence.--_Note by Mr Laurens._

[75] I might assign various reasons, all valid, for this determination.
The following single consideration, I trust, will be satisfactory to
Congress. Five persons are nominated in the commission, not conjunctly,
but severally and respectively, fully empowered. Whence it evidently
appears, that Congress had not in view or expectation that the whole
would act; therefore, as there are three of those persons besides
myself, and all of superior abilities upon the spot, were I to thrust
myself in, merely to make a fourth figure, I should feel guilty of a
species of peculation by putting the public to unnecessary expense,
without any well grounded hope of rendering public service.--_Note by
Mr Laurens._

[76] I have replied to my friend, who wrote to me on this subject,
as follows; “As to the peace bill, let them shape it as they please,
Wisdom is justified of her children; if they will act foolishly, be
the consequences to themselves. I have said and done all that became
me.”--_Note by Mr Laurens._


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Nantes, September 5th, 1782.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to Congress from Amsterdam on the 30th
of May, by Captain Bacon. Copies of that address were sent by the
vessels of Captain Briggs and Captain Smedly, and a third committed
to the care of Mr Moses Young, to be despatched by a cutter from
Ostend. At that time, I was in a deplorable state of health, and
am now (after the practice of every proper means of abstemious
regimen, bathing, medicine, and bleeding,) but beginning to recruit,
still extremely weak and feeble. Notwithstanding such ill health, I
hastened in the month of July from the south of France, even at the
hazard of my life, to this port with a view of embarking for America.
While I was employed seeking for a proper vessel, Mons. Labouchere
suggested the imminent danger of a second capture, and the train of
evil consequences, adding, that I was entitled to a safe conduct from
England to one of the United States, in return for the exchange of
Lord Cornwallis at his own door, and for that purpose, recommended a
demand upon the Court of London.

The propriety of this gentleman’s reasoning was apparent, the
danger of capture was marked in every newspaper, by accounts of the
havoc on both sides the Atlantic, by British cruisers upon American
vessels. I consulted other persons, who unanimously concurred in
Mons. Labouchere’s opinion and advice. Wherefore, I requested certain
friends in London to make the necessary application on my behalf,
for permission to re-enter Great Britain to embark at Falmouth for
New York, and for a passport to proceed thence to Philadelphia, not
in terms of prayer from me, but by a representation of right to
be submitted for consideration. This day I have received letters
from London, importing that an application had been made, that Lord
Cornwallis in particular had interested himself in the measure, and
that a proper passport would soon be transmitted to me.

Doctor Franklin writes to me under the 19th of August, “though we
are very sensible if you could get well to America, you might be of
great service to the public, yet we think the hazard is too great, as
it might be winter before you could come upon the coast, and perhaps
at this juncture you might be equally useful in England; on these
considerations, we agreed to advise your return thither.” This advice
I intend to pursue, and as I ardently wish to be in America, and
present myself to Congress, I shall, if my health will permit, embark
in the November packet; or otherwise defer the voyage to March or
April, persuaded that neither my passing through England, nor even a
few months necessary, perhaps unavoidable, residence in that kingdom,
can possibly work any detriment to my country; I am therefore
confident of the approbation of Congress.

Since my discharge from restraint in England, Doctor Franklin has
very cordially pressed me to take from him a supply of money for
my expenses,[77] but from my knowledge of the state of our public
finances, I have refused to lessen them, since from the fragments of
my own funds, I shall be able to support myself in a frugal style
while I am unfortunately detained on this side of the water.

I dare not presume, in my present private character, to give an
opinion on the present state and prospect of our public affairs, but
I entreat Congress to be assured, that my endeavors, even in this
contracted sphere, have been exerted on proper occasions, and I hope
with some good effect, for promoting the honor and interest of the
United States. I have enjoyed a happy correspondence with men of
liberal sentiments in England, as well as with the American Ministers
at Paris and at the Hague. As it is possible I may be detained in
Europe through the ensuing winter, should Congress have any commands
for me, letters via Nantes or Bordeaux, directed to the care of
Madame Babut Labouchere at this port, will obtain the quickest
conveyance by way of Holland, to the care of Mr Adams. Under cover
with this will be forwarded, at the request of Mr Adams, a copy of Mr
Fitzherbert’s full power to treat for peace.

With the highest respect and regard, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

[77] In his letter of May 30th, (see above, p. 464) Mr Laurens
insinuates, that Dr Franklin had neglected him while he was in the
Tower. The following letter and extract, written by Dr Franklin, will
show that this suspicion was groundless.

            “TO SIR GREY COOPER, BARONET,
      SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY OF GREAT BRITAIN.

                             Passy, November 7th, 1780.
    “Sir,

   “I understand that Mr Laurens, an American gentleman,
  for whom I have a great esteem, is a prisoner in the
  Tower, and that his health suffers by the closeness
  and rigor of his confinement. As I do not think
  that your affairs receive any advantage from the
  harshness of this proceeding, I take the freedom of
  requesting your kind interposition, to obtain for
  him such a degree of air and liberty, on his parole,
  or otherwise, as may be necessary for his health and
  comfort. The fortune of war, which is daily changing,
  may possibly put it in my power to do the like good
  office for some friend of yours, which I shall perform
  with much pleasure, not only for the sake of humanity,
  but in respect to the ashes of our former friendship.

   “With great regard, I have the honor to be, &c.
                                           B. FRANKLIN.”

On the 14th of May, 1781, he writes to the President of
Congress.--“Agreeable to the vote of Congress, I have requested the
assistance of this (the French) Court, for obtaining the release
of Mr President Laurens. It does not yet appear that the thing is
practicable. What the present situation is of that unfortunate
gentleman, may be gathered from the enclosed letters.”

The letters here alluded to are, one from Sir Grey Cooper, dated
November 29th, 1780; and another from Charles Vernon, Lieutenant
Governor of the Tower of London, dated November 27th. They may be found
in Dr Franklin’s Correspondence under these dates.


ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO HENRY LAURENS.

                              Philadelphia, September 17th, 1782.

Sir,

Having learned by your letter to Congress, of your enlargement from
your long and severe confinement, it becomes my duty to inform
you, that Congress were pleased to appoint me their Secretary to
the United States for their Department of Foreign Affairs, and to
direct that all communications with them from their Ministers should
be through me. In this view, Sir, I have the honor to open this
correspondence, forwarding the annexed resolutions by the first of
them, marked No. 1. You will learn that they are unwilling to deprive
themselves of your assistance in the great business of negotiations
for a general peace, which, though languid at present, cannot fail
to be quickened by the first turn of fortune in favor of the allied
powers, since the King and Ministry of England are evidently trusting
to the weak hope, that some brilliant stroke will turn the popular
tide in favor of the prosecution of the war. Should she, as she
probably will, be disappointed in this, she will be compelled to fly
to peace for refuge against impending ruin. The second resolution
needs no comment. We have no intelligence here, but what I have
written to some of the gentlemen in commission with you, or what may
be found in the papers I do myself the honor to transmit to you.

I sent Doctor Franklin bills for two quarters’ salary, drawn under
your first commission. I shall, in future, in stating your account,
consider you as acting under your second. As our Ministers are
expressly prohibited by resolutions, transmitted by this conveyance,
from making any disposition of money in Europe, it becomes necessary
that they should have agents here to state their accounts, and vest
the amount of their salaries in bills and remit them. I have taken
this task upon me hitherto, and you will find by the bills drawn in
your favor since January, that your advantage in this mode, from the
low price of bills, will enable you without loss to pay an agent
here. You will be so obliging as to transmit to me your receipt,
and a state of your demands against the public, that I may get them
discharged for you.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                              ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO HENRY LAURENS.

                              Philadelphia, November 8th, 1782.

Sir,

Your letter of the 5th of September, directed to the President of
Congress, was received and referred in course to this office. If my
letter of the 17th of September last, containing their resolution not
to accept your resignation has reached you, I hope you will acquiesce
in their determination, and see the propriety of remaining in France
till their further order. In this expectation I have drawn for your
last quarter’s salary. The bills will be sent you, with a state of
your account, by Mr Lewis Morris. A duplicate of my last letter with
the resolution above referred to, will accompany this.

I send Mr Franklin such resolutions as refer to general objects,
which may be of use to you in conducting your negotiations,
presuming that he will communicate freely with you. There will be no
necessity while you are together of multiplying them with respect
to our affairs here; they have undergone no change. The number of
resolutions passed by Congress and the different States, (copies of
which have been transmitted to our Ministers) serve to show the fixed
and unalterable determination of the rulers and the people on this
side of the water, to adhere inviolably to their engagements. This
will, I hope, open the eyes of the British, and show them the vanity
of expecting to dissolve a confederacy, which is founded in mutual
interest and honor.

With respect to intelligence, we have little of importance. The
army is gone into winter quarters. The fleet, under the command of
the Marquis de Vaudreuil, still remains at Boston. Fourteen sail of
the line and eight frigates left New York the 26th ultimo. We have
yet no account of the evacuation of Charleston, though we have long
expected it. I cannot turn my eyes to that quarter, without offering
you my sincerest condolence on the untimely death of the gallant
Colonel Laurens. It is not easy for those who knew his value to
offer consolation. When time shall have turned the keen edge of your
afflictions, you may find some mitigation of it in the cause and
manner of his death, in the services he has rendered his country, and
in the honor which he reflects on all who were connected with him.

I am, Sir, with respect and esteem, &c.

                                              ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


TO LORD CORNWALLIS.

                                        Paris, December 9th, 1782.

My Lord,

Often, since the 31st of May last, your Lordship must have charged
me with want of decency and good manners, for a seeming delinquency
to an address of that date, which your Lordship intended to honor
me with. The bare apprehension has added to my unhappiness,
notwithstanding my feelings of assurance that your Lordship will
acquit me upon the instant of being informed, that only a few minutes
have passed since Mr Oswald called upon me with the letter, and an
apology for having mislaid and detained it so long.

Believe me, my Lord, though I was at a distance from Passy, I was
not unmindful of accomplishing your Lordship’s release from parole,
in exchange for my discharge. My feelings on that occasion were
always alive. I was never satisfied with my own enlargement, till I
had written pressingly to Doctor Franklin, and had finally delivered
my opinion upon an appeal from the Doctor, intimating that he would
do “what I should think best.” Without a moment’s hesitation,
I signified my ideas, both of the expediency and necessity of
satisfying the well grounded expectations of the British Ministry.
Your Lordship will find that the release followed, or that it was
the consequence of previous applications on my part, and of Mr
Oswald’s assurance that an exchange was expected, that he himself
had treated with me while I was a prisoner in the Tower of London
for that purpose, by desire of the Administration, a fact, to which
many others might be added, confronting an assertion respecting
this affair, in a late letter from the British Commissioners at
New York to General Washington. The assertion in that letter did
great violence to candor, but as I am sure your Lordship could not
possibly have been privy to the ground of that transaction, I forbear
to enlarge upon the subject. Nor do I mean to touch the veracity of
the Commissioners, who no doubt wrote as they had been instructed.
Even the instruction, I charitably hope, was rather the effect of
inadvertency than of premeditated _detour_.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Paris, December 15th, 1782.

Sir,

I have had the honor of receiving at several times, your official
despatch No 1, of September 17th, its duplicate, and the
undermentioned acts of Congress.

_Of the 14th of September._ Public monies committed to the disposal
of the Superintendent of Finance.

_17th of September._ Enjoining the attendance of the Ministers
Plenipotentiary for treating with Great Britain.[78]

_3d of October._ On the communication from the Minister of France.

_17th._ Enjoining American Ministers to transmit intelligence.

An extract of a letter from Sir Guy Carleton, of the 12th of
September.

To which several acts, I shall observe the utmost respect and
obedience.

Upon receipt of that of the 17th of September, without questioning
the right of Congress to compel the service of a citizen of America,
who had neither solicited nor accepted a commission, I proceeded with
all the despatch which a very infirm state of health would admit of,
and by travelling night and day, arrived here not only time enough to
sign the preliminary articles, but in time to offer suggestions which
my colleagues were pleased to accept and adopt as necessary.

I had considered my residence in England, not only as proper for
recovering my health, but also as essential to the service of the
United States. I embraced various opportunities of informing the
people in general of the ground and nature of the dispute between
the two countries, of which they had been amazingly ignorant, of
contradicting false reports respecting America, and of convincing
some of the most intelligent, as well as some of the most adverse
to the doctrine, that a full acknowledgment of our independence was
consistent with, and would eventually contribute to promote, the
true interest of Great Britain, and I have some ground for believing
that my labors in some degree facilitated the great business, which
has been just completed, a formal acknowledgment from the King, and a
full renunciation of all claim upon the United States; and I humbly
think, if I were in England at this moment, I might be of more real
service to my country, than I can possibly perform in my present
situation.

I thank you, Sir, for the newspapers. The melancholy intelligence,
which they contained _for me_, must have reached me by some means.
Your mode of conveying it was delicate and obliging. I have received
value for the bills, which had been sent to Dr Franklin on my
account, more particularly acknowledged in my letter of yesterday
to Mr L. R. Morris. My thanks are also due for your trouble in
stating my account. A charge for commission shall be most cheerfully
admitted, but it is impracticable to comply with your recommendation
by sending a statement of my demand, because I am ignorant of
the vote of Congress for my salary, under both the old and new
commission; nor is it needful, as I mean not to take up a further sum
while I am in Europe. Indeed, if the late remittance had not been
made, I should have persevered in paying my expenses from my own
funds. I too well know the distresses of Congress, arising from a
want of money, and therefore most earnestly wish to avoid adding to
them. Enclosed you will find a loose receipt for the 20,000 livres,
but it is not in my power to be special in the discharge.

Casting my eye this moment over the joint letter of the American
Ministers, I perceive Congress are not there informed of a letter
we have despatched to Mr Dana, at the Court of St. Petersburg,
recommending to him to announce at that Court, and to foreign
Ministers resident there, the signing of the preliminary articles
between Great Britain and the United States; a copy of which, the
separate article excepted, has been transmitted to him for that
purpose. I could not refrain from giving this intimation, lest
it should have escaped us all. This is not to be doubted, that
recognitions by applications for commercial, and perhaps other
treaties, will speedily follow from almost all the courts of Europe.
There is already an instance in one of the principal trading kingdoms
in the Baltic.

Shall I request the favor of you, Sir, with this to lay before
Congress the enclosed copy of a letter, which I had occasion to
write to the Earl of Cornwallis, on the third instant. It may tend
to throw light upon the transaction in exchanging that officer,
which I perceive has been very unfairly represented by the British
Commissioners at New York. When Congress are informed of the
precarious state of my health, and shall be pleased to reflect upon
the long sufferings I have endured, that I have devoted almost the
whole of my time, for eight years past, to the service of my country,
detached from, and regardless of my domestic interests; and when they
consider the very severe stroke lately fallen upon me, by the death
of my eldest son, and the dispersion of the survivors in my family,
for whom it is necessary I should endeavor to reprovide a home; I am
confident my present determination to return to Bath, the only place
in which I can hope to recover a part of my broken constitution,
as soon as I can be spared from present duty, and from thence to
America in March or April next, will not give offence. I shall indeed
be much better pleased to receive in the mean time, and therefore
now earnestly solicit, a formal permission, than to hazard their
displeasure by an act, which, however necessary and unavoidable, may
possibly be construed into an abandonment of their service, or even a
slight of their orders.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

[78] “_In Congress, September 17th, 1782._--_Resolved_, That the
honorable Henry Laurens be informed, in answer to his letter of the
30th of May, 1782, that the reasons which induced the United States
in Congress assembled, to appoint him to be one of their Ministers
Plenipotentiary for negotiating a peace still existing, his services in
the execution of that trust cannot be dispensed with.

“_Resolved_, That the honorable John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John
Jay, and Henry Laurens, be respectively informed, that it is the
pleasure and express direction of Congress, that they punctually attend
and assist in the negotiations for peace; and that each of them be
instructed, upon receiving information of the time and place appointed
for opening the negotiations, immediately to give notice thereof to the
rest, that may be in Europe, in order that each may have a seasonable
opportunity to take part in the trust reposed by the said commission,
and earnestly enjoined by this act.”


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    Paris, December 24th, 1782.

Sir,

Permit me to refer to what I had the honor of writing by the present
conveyance on the 15th instant.

Mr David Hartley, on the 19th, moved in the British House of Commons,

    “That an humble address be presented to his Majesty,
    stating that his faithful Commons think it their
    indispensable duty, not only to return their grateful
    thanks to his Majesty for having adopted the sense
    of his Parliament and people, in having pointed all
    his views and measures, as well in Europe as in North
    America, to an entire and cordial reconciliation with
    those Colonies, but likewise to express to his Majesty
    that, whatever may be the result of the general
    negotiation for peace now depending, our conciliatory
    sentiments towards America remain unaltered, as
    presented in their humble address to his Majesty on
    that subject in the last session of Parliament, and
    therefore that this House will consider as enemies
    to his Majesty and this country, all those who shall
    endeavor to frustrate such beneficent dispositions of
    his Majesty, by advising or by any means attempting
    the further prosecution of the war on the continent of
    America.”


The motion was seconded by Colonel Hartley. Mr Secretary Townshend
objected, by calling for the Journals, and ordering the Resolutions
of February and March last to be read, which he alleged were to the
same effect as the motion, and were still in full force.

Some debate ensued, and upon a division, the ayes for the motion were
13, and the nays 51. Perhaps it would have been better if the motion
had never been forced to a vote, than being forced, to be lost. What
were the recent inroads up the Santa Cumbahee, and other rivers in
South Carolina? What is the retaining a garrison in Charleston and
another in New York, but offensive war?

In my own mind, I have no doubt but that the Court of London would
carry on an offensive or any other war, or make partial peace, or
pursue any means and measures, which might best gratify its desires,
and its apparent interests.

My letters from London of a late date speak the following language.

“We are of opinion, that a general peace is still far distant, and
are not so eager for it; if the preliminary articles between this
kingdom and America shall terminate hostilities between us two, let
us shake hands, and be _reconciled_ with our American brethren, and
the nation _in general_ will prefer a war to a dishonorable peace
_with France_.” Who is to interpret?

I am directed to give intelligence, not advice and opinions, but I
trust Congress will not be offended with the few sentiments, which I
shall presume modestly to urge.

The people of England still retain the idea of “OUR _colonies_,” and
of “_reconciliation_.” Government gives all possible encouragement to
their humor; it has been their incessant endeavor to detach us from
our ally, and it is given out in London, that they have out-manœuvred
the Court of France. God forbid that any future act or future
supineness, on the part of the United States of America, should give
the smallest degree of countenance to so dishonorable an insinuation.
Every engine has been, every degree of craft under the mask of
returning affection will be practised, for creating jealousies
between the States and their good and great ally. The United States
of America are too wise to be duped, too honorable to commit any act,
be their distresses what they may, that shall sully their good faith.
Through their ally’s assistance and their own virtuous perseverance,
they attained to those preliminaries; they will virtuously persevere
until they shall have performed every tittle of their engagements
with that ally, against whom, I must declare for my own part, I see
no cause for entertaining more particular jealousy than ought to be
kept upon guard against every negotiating Court in the world, nor
half so much as should at this moment be upon the watch against every
motion arising from our new half friends. I had occasion to write to
the same Mr David Hartley, that I should suspect every superfluous
and every deficient word coming from that quarter. Nevertheless, I
earnestly wish, and shall continue my utmost endeavors, for obtaining
an honorable well founded peace with Great Britain. But I will not
consent to _receiving her wooden horses, nor will I listen to her
whispers_, or imbibe prejudices against a Court, which has been a
friend to my country in need. Congress will be pleased to pardon this
freedom, and accept the zeal of their faithful and most obedient
servant,

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Paris, January 9th, 1783.

Sir,

I had the honor of addressing you on the 15th and 24th ultimo, by
Captain Barney, in the ship Washington. Duplicates by way of Nantes.
Shall I request you, Sir, with my humble respects, to inform Congress
that my health has ever since been declining; that I am at this
moment reduced to a deplorable state, scarcely able to walk across
my chamber; that I should nevertheless have continued here at all
hazards, had I not been strongly advised to visit Bath, the only
place where I can hope to recover part of a constitution, broken down
by sufferings and in the service of my country, and at the same time
assured from proper authority, that there is too great a probability
of an interval, before a definitive treaty will be seriously talked
of, for performing my intended journey. Should the contrary happen,
the earliest notice from hence, as well, as from London, will be
forwarded to me, and if possible I shall return without delay. This
interval strikes no alarm to me. I had, upon my first arrival here,
intimated my apprehensions to all my colleagues.

Wherever I am, the honor and interest of the United States shall be
my great and greatest concern.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        London, March 15th, 1783.

Sir,

My last is dated Paris, 9th of January. The original and three copies
were, for conveyance, divided between Nantes and L’Orient. Five
weeks use of the waters at Bath had so far recovered my health, as
to induce me to come to London about eighteen days ago, in order to
avail myself of opportunities for urging a definitive treaty between
Great Britain and the United States, as well as the necessity for
removing the British troops from New York. I have signified my
opinion to the proper persons, that, until the latter is effected,
America will not deem herself at peace. Wise and good men feel the
impression, acknowledge the propriety of my observations, and while
there was a government by a ministry, that point was attended to. But
for some days past, the great struggle has been, who should be the
persons to form a new administration. In the mean time, the momentous
business in which we are concerned lies dormant, nor do I know where
to apply for putting it in motion. The House of Commons had indeed
introduced a bill for a “Provisional establishment, and regulation
of trade and intercourse between the subjects of Great Britain and
those of the United States of North America.” A printed copy was put
into my hands, and my opinion asked by many members of that House.
I objected generally to opening trade merely by act of Parliament,
and especially to certain parts of the bill, but above all to an
intercourse, until the citizens of New York shall be left in quiet
and complete possession of their whole country, and all hostile
troops withdrawn from the United States. That bill I am informed
is annihilated and another projected. A copy of the new bill I am
to receive tomorrow. I persevere in the same language; be the bill
what it may, however suitable to the services of Great Britain, or
speciously conducive to the mutual interests of Great Britain and
America, I think there cannot be, I hope there will not be permitted
on our part, any intercourse until the troops are effectually removed.

Why is not the definitive treaty concluded, and the important
“_Then_” established, or why are not measures adopted for withdrawing
the troops? Are the troops to be continued there _in terrorem_, to
force a trade, or to compel us to measures respecting the people
called loyalists? The late First Lord of the Treasury has not failed
to boast of his success, in obtaining the provisional treaty without
the participation or the concurrence of the Court of France, nor to
talk of the happy effects which he hoped to derive from so great an
advantage. I have endeavored to counteract his Lordship’s virtuous
designs, by observing that, admitting the fact, which I did not
admit, the consequence might be disgraceful, possibly fatal, to the
American ministers, but could work no injury to the United States.
This appears at present to have the effect I wished for. Had his
Lordship, who I believe is very angry with us, continued in office,
I know not what evils might have attended us. To his influence I
ascribe the delay of the definitive treaty, and consequently of the
removal of the troops.

I am not backward, upon every proper occasion, to signify my
apprehensions to active members of Parliament, and to every man
in government, with whom I converse upon these subjects. You will
perceive, Sir, that I find some employment here; were I in France, I
should be totally idle. I shall remain in London about a fortnight
longer. If at the end of that time, there shall be no better prospect
of a definitive treaty, I shall immediately take measures for
embarkation to America.

I am now to acknowledge the honor of your favor of the 8th of
November, No. 2, and to thank you for the remittance of £16,666.13s.
through your attention by Mr L. R. Morris.

I thank you, Sir, most sincerely for your kind condolence. I have not
yet had resolution enough to inquire into the “cause and manner,”
nor dare I indulge myself in speaking of a subject, which too much
occupies my thoughts and distresses my mind, in all the moments of
retirement.

This will be delivered by Mr John Deas, a young gentleman, native of
South Carolina, educated in Britain, who means to become a citizen in
his own country. I have every ground for hoping he will be a valuable
member of the community; hence I have encouraged him to expect a
cordial and hospitable reception. I should observe in Mr Deas’ favor,
that he has been long endeavoring to return to America; he once
embarked at Ostend, and suffered shipwreck on the coast of England,
to his great loss and disappointment.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        London, April 5th, 1783.

Sir,

With this you will receive the triplicate of a letter, which I had
the honor of writing on the 15th of March. I beg leave to refer to
its contents. A third bill, called “an amendment for a provisional
establishment, and regulation of trade, &c.” had been brought into
the House of Commons. My opinion was again solicited by different
members, which, as usual, I thought it prudent to withhold; but being
pressed, I at length framed a supposed American bill, for regulating
commerce with Great Britain, and suggested that it had been received
by a courier. This I held up as a mirror to some of the most active
men in that House. From that time, the 22d of March, their own
bill, which was to have been finished on the 23d, has slept with
very little interruption, and is now, to all appearance, dead. I do
not ascribe its demise to a sight of the supposed bill, a copy of
which you will receive enclosed, although the gentlemen acknowledged
themselves affected by it.

A new ministry is at length arranged, the Duke of Portland at the
head, Mr Fox and Lord North, the latter of whom is universally
charged with being the author of the late cruel war, Secretaries of
State. The Duke of Richmond, who it is said detests the coalition,
has resigned. It becomes not me to interfere with or censure an
arrangement of servants in this kingdom. I am attentive to the honor
and interests of the United States.

I have had a conference with Mr Fox, who has the Foreign Department,
in which is included the United States as an Independent Power. It
was stipulated, that nothing I should say as a matter of opinion
or belief on my part, should either commit or pledge me. I judged
it necessary to establish this foundation. Mr Fox was desirous of
knowing, whether the American Ministers were authorised and disposed
to open an intercourse and commerce upon terms of reciprocity without
delay. I replied, I believed they were, although a late publication
by a suspected hand, of the revocation of Mr Adams’s commission,
left me not so clear on that point, adding, that I could soon be
informed from Paris. At the same time, I urged as necessary previous,
or accompanying steps, the conclusion of a definitive treaty, and
the withdrawing of all the British troops from the United States.
In answer to supposed difficulties in obtaining transport ships,
I proposed the removal of the troops to Long Island or Staten
Island, adding, that some powers might in a similar case insist upon
hostages for their peaceable behavior and final removal. I thought
it absolutely necessary, that the State of New York should be put in
immediate possession of the city and port. Mr Fox, as the Duke of
Portland had done before him, discovered a disposition to proceed to
business with us with liberality and effect, and I place all proper
confidence in their assurances. Upon the whole, Mr Fox asked if he
might report, that I believed there was a disposition and powers
on the part of the American Ministers to open an intercourse and
commerce upon terms of reciprocity without delay? I assented, as my
belief and opinion, under the reservations above mentioned. I shall
proceed immediately to Paris, as my colleagues are desirous of my
presence. David Hartley is, or it is said will be, appointed to join
us in finishing our negotiations of a perfect peace. While I regret
the loss of Mr Oswald on this occasion, the nomination of another
honest man affords me great satisfaction. From France, or before I
commence my journey, I shall transmit what may be further necessary.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S._ I take the liberty of enclosing letters for L. R. Morris,
for the delegates from the State of South Carolina, and one for his
Excellency General Washington.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        London, April 10th, 1783.

Sir,

I beg leave to refer you to the enclosed duplicate of my last, of the
5th instant. The “bill for a provisional establishment and regulation
of trade,” &c. seems to be dead indeed. Mr Fox yesterday moved for
reading the titles of the act, commonly called the prohibitory act,
and the act for granting Letters of Marque, which being read, he
moved for leave to bring in a bill for repealing so much of said
acts, as prohibit trade and intercourse with the United States of
America, which was ordered accordingly. My anxiety to see the final
turn of this business has detained me in London three or four days
longer than I had intended. I shall call upon Mr Fox presently,
and if anything new occurs it shall be noticed in a postscript.
Immediately after sealing this packet, I shall begin my journey to
Paris. Mr Hartley tells me he will follow upon the 15th instant. I
shall enclose a copy of the amendment, called the third bill, for
the information of Congress. Mr Darby, the gentleman who will be so
good as to deliver this, has promised me also to deliver a packet of
the latest newspapers.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S._ I have conversed with Mr Fox, from whom the body of merchants
by deputation had just retired. Their errand, as I learned, was on
the business of opening the communication between Great Britain and
the United States. There is a general and pressing eagerness to that
point. I repeated the propriety and necessity of withdrawing the
troops, and of restoring to New York their city and port. Mr Fox
in return gave the strongest assurances, that this should be done
with the utmost despatch, and promised to send to the Ministers at
Paris a copy of the orders to be given for that purpose; he further
informed me, that he intended to introduce into the new bill the
clause on page 4, in the bill No. 2, here enclosed, to which I made
only a general reply, that when their plan was completed the American
Ministers at Paris would give it due consideration, and that on our
part every facility would also be given to reasonable propositions,
consistent with our instructions. That in the present moment, I could
not speak in positive terms to particular points.

                                                         H. L.

_P. S. April 16th._ Just arrived at Paris. Mr Hartley is expected
the 19th. From the latest words with that gentleman, which happened
subsequently to closing the above, I entertain apprehensions that his
principal errand will be to open a trade between the two countries,
with assurances that the troops shall be removed “as speedily as
possible,” and to take up the definitive treaty at more leisure. I
afforded him no encouragement to hope for success in the former point
singly.


ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO HENRY LAURENS.

                              Philadelphia, May 8th, 1783.

Sir,

Congress have been pleased, in compliance with your request, to pass
the enclosed resolution, giving you permission to return to America.
I sincerely wish that your native air may confirm your health, which
I hope has by this time amended by your residence at Bath, where
I presume you have been, though I have had no advice of it. The
provisional treaty has been very well received, here, and has been
ratified. The ratifications are sent to you and our other Ministers
at Paris.

I presume you have by this time made some progress in, if not
entirely concluded the definitive treaty, in which I dare say you
have taken care to fix the day which is to deliver us from our
troublesome guests, who cause great uneasiness to the unhappy people
they keep out of their possessions. At present, we are quite at a
loss to determine when this will be. We have returned them their
prisoners, who amount to about six thousand effective men, so that
you see we are not disposed to discover any distrust of the sincerity
of our new friends, with whom we at present communicate on the former
footing.

As I am uncertain whether this letter will reach you before you sail
for America, I do not choose to enlarge or enter into any of those
particulars relative to your late negotiations, on which however I
have some inquiries to make, which I could wish to have answered
by you. I wish you before you leave France to settle with Doctor
Franklin, and to receive from him the amount of the bills remitted on
your account, so that I may close my accounts.

I am, Sir,

                                              ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                    London, June 17th, 1783.

Sir,

My last address is dated London, 10th of April, forwarded by the
hands of Mr Darby, copy of the same with a postscript on the 16th,
conveyed from Paris by Doctor Franklin. Permit me to refer to the
several contents, and also to a despatch of the 6th of that month by
Mr Hodge. Duplicate by Mr Darby, triplicate from Paris.

In order to meet the question of Mr Secretary Fox, “Whether
the American Ministers were authorised and disposed to open an
intercourse and commerce upon terms of reciprocity without delay,”
the Ministers of the United States, on the 29th of April, proposed to
Mr Hartley the enclosed articles, marked A, which they were ready to
confirm. Mr Hartley signified his approbation, but could not agree
without consulting his Court. Indeed he had omitted to take with him
his commission and full powers. A messenger was despatched to London,
and upwards of three weeks were wasted in waiting for a return; the
articles were not acceptable.

On the 21st of May, Mr Hartley on his part laid before us the
enclosed article, marked B, and left it for our consideration. We
judged it necessary, without intimating our own sentiments, to
demand from him in writing, whether he was authorised to confirm his
proposition? To save writing, Mr Hartley returned a verbal answer
in the negative, and again despatched a messenger. In a word, it
appeared that his full powers, which he had then received, authorised
him to do nothing. I had in vain waited for the result of the
second consultation to the 7th instant, when, at the request of my
colleagues, founded upon a suggestion of my own, I proceeded to this
city on special business, for easing if practicable the weight of
public bills lately drawn upon Mr Grand, which probably the gentlemen
at Paris will more fully explain.

I can say nothing yet of my hopes of success. My apprehensions of
danger, in committing the United States in the present moment of
uncertainty, deters me from acting as I might have done, had our
treaties been concluded, or had I a prospect of their being soon
brought to good effect. Those assurances, which I had the honor
of communicating in my former letters, seem to have undergone a
wonderful refinement. Reciprocity appears now to mean enjoyment
on one side, and restrictions on the other. This change may have
been wrought by the sudden and unexpected arrival of divers ships
and cargoes from different ports in the United States. The British
Minister at Paris cordially assured me that he was of this opinion.

In a conference with Mr Secretary Fox on the 14th instant, he
informed me, that positive orders for the removal of the British
troops from New York were actually despatched, that he had
transmitted an answer to Mr Hartley’s last consultation, and at the
same time intimated upon a question from me, that in his opinion I
might have time enough for taking some days’ benefit of Bath, which
my enfeebled limbs call loudly for. Hence I infer, that the last
instructions to Mr Hartley are either calculated for gaining further
time, or are such as the American Ministers cannot accede to; and I
conclude that my absence from Paris, whether I make any attempts in
the particular business of my journey hither or not, will prove no
inconvenience to my colleagues. I intend therefore to go to Bath in
two or three days, and while I am endeavoring to recover my health,
the interests of my country shall be my principal study; at the same
time I flatter myself with hopes of receiving from Congress the
formal permission which I have solicited, to return to America.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S._ Besides the papers A and B, you will find enclosed a copy
of an Order in Council of the 14th of May, 1783, and Mr Hartley’s
observations on his propositions of the 21st of May.

_P. S. 18th._ I have just received an intimation of the tottering
state of the present Ministry from their own quarter. Should the late
premier recover the reins, which were plucked out of his hands, I
apprehend everything in his power will be attempted to embarrass our
proceeding.


                            A.

_Articles proposed by the American Commissioners to Mr Hartley._

ARTICLE I.

It is agreed, that as soon as his Britannic Majesty shall have
withdrawn all his armies, garrisons, and fleets from the United
States of America, and from every port, post, place, and harbor,
within the same, as stipulated by the seventh article of the
Provisional Treaty of the 30th of November, 1782, then, and from
thenceforth, for and during the term of _______ years, all rivers,
harbors, lakes, ports, and places, belonging to the United States,
or any of them, shall be open and free to the merchants, and other
subjects of the crown of Great Britain and their trading vessels,
who shall be received, treated, and protected like the merchants and
trading vessels of the States in which they may be, and be liable to
no other charges or duties.

And reciprocally, all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports, and places,
under the dominion of his Britannic Majesty, shall thenceforth be
open and free to the trading vessels of the said United States,
and of each and every of them, who shall be received, treated, and
protected like the merchants and trading vessels of Great Britain,
and be liable to no other charges and duties, saving always to the
chartered trading companies of Great Britain, such exclusive use and
trade of their respective ports and establishments, as neither the
other subjects of Great Britain nor any of the most favored nations
participate in.

ARTICLE II.

It is agreed, that such persons as may be in confinement in the
United States of America, for or by reason of the part which they may
have taken in the late war, shall be set at liberty immediately on
the evacuation of the said States, by the troops and fleets of his
Britannic Majesty.

And it is likewise agreed, that all such persons who may be in
confinement, in any parts under the dominion of his Britannic
Majesty, for, or by reason of the part which they may have taken in
the late war, shall, at the same time, be also immediately set at
liberty.

ARTICLE III.

The prisoners made respectively by the arms of his Britannic Majesty
and those of the United States of America, both by land and sea,
shall be immediately set at liberty without ransom, on paying the
debts they may have contracted during their captivity. And each
contracting party shall respectively reimburse the sums, which shall
have been advanced for the subsistence and maintenance of their
prisoners by the sovereign of the country where they shall have been
detained, according to the receipts and attested accounts, and other
authentic titles which shall be produced on each side.


B.

    _Mr Hartley’s proposed Article of Agreement, delivered by him to
       the American Commissioners for their Consideration, May 21st,
       1783._

Whereas it is highly necessary that an intercourse of trade and
commerce should be opened between the people and territories
belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, and the people and
territories of the United States of America. And, whereas, it is
highly expedient that the intercourse between Great Britain and
the said United States, should be established on the most enlarged
principles of reciprocal benefit to both countries; but from the
distance between Great Britain and America, it must be a considerable
time before any convention or treaty for establishing and regulating
the trade and intercourse between Great Britain and the said United
States of America, upon a permanent foundation can be concluded; now
for the purpose of making a temporary regulation of the commerce and
intercourse between Great Britain and the United States of America,

It is agreed, that all the citizens of the United States of America
shall be permitted to import into, and export from, any part of his
Britannic Majesty’s dominions in American ships, any goods, wares
and merchandise, which have been so imported, or exported, by the
inhabitants of the British American Colonies, before the commencement
of the war, upon payment of the same duties and charges, as the like
sort of goods or merchandise are now, or may be subject and liable
to, if imported by British subjects in British ships, from any
British island or plantation in America, and that all the subjects
of his Britannic Majesty shall be permitted to import and export
from any part of the territories of the United States of America,
in British ships, any goods, wares and merchandise, which might
have been so imported, or exported by the subjects of his Britannic
Majesty before the commencement of the war, upon payment of the same
duties and charges, as the like sort of goods, wares and merchandise
are now, or may be subject and liable to, if imported in American
ships by any of the citizens of the United States of America.

This agreement to continue in force until _______. Provided always,
that nothing contained in this agreement shall at any time hereafter
be argued on either side, in support of any future demand or claim.

    _Observations and Propositions of Mr Hartley, left with the
       American Ministers, May 21st_, 1783.

A proposition having been offered by the American ministers for
the consideration of his Britannic Majesty’s ministers, and of the
British nation, for an entire and reciprocal freedom of intercourse
and commerce between Great Britain and the American United States, in
the following words, viz.

“That all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports and places, belonging to the
United States or any of them, shall be open and free to the merchants
and other subjects of the Crown of Great Britain and their trading
vessels, who shall be received, treated and protected like the
merchants and trading vessels of the State in which they may be, and
may be liable to no other charges or duties.

“And reciprocally, that all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports and places,
under the dominion of his Britannic Majesty, shall be open and free
to the merchants and trading vessels of the said United States,
and of each and every of them, who shall be received, treated, and
protected like the merchants and trading vessels of Great Britain,
and to be liable to no other charges and duties, saving always to the
chartered trading companies of Great Britain, such exclusive use and
trade of their respective ports and establishments, as neither the
other subjects of Great Britain, or any of the most favored nations
participate in.”

It is to be observed, that this proposition implies a more ample
participation of British commerce, than the American States possessed
even under their former connexion of dependence upon Great Britain,
so as to amount to an entire abolition of the British act of
navigation, in respect to the thirteen United States of America, and
although proceeding on their part from the most conciliatory and
liberal principles of amity and reciprocity, nevertheless it comes
from them, as newly established States, and who, in consequence
of their former condition of dependence, have never yet had any
established system of national commercial laws, or of commercial
connexions by treaties with other nations, free and unembarrassed
of many weighty considerations, which require the most scrupulous
attention and investigation on the part of Great Britain, whose
ancient system of national and commercial policy is thus suddenly
called upon to take a new principle for its foundation, and whose
commercial engagements with other ancient States may be most
materially affected thereby. For the purpose, therefore, of giving
sufficient time for the consideration and discussion of so important
a proposition, respecting the present established system of the
commercial laws and policy of Great Britain, and their subsisting
commercial engagements with foreign powers, it is proposed that a
temporary intercourse of commerce shall be established between Great
Britain and the American States, previously to the conclusion of
any final and perpetual compact. In this intervening period, as the
strict line and measure of reciprocity, from various circumstances,
cannot be absolutely and completely adhered to, it may be agreed that
the commerce between the two countries shall revive, as nearly as can
be, upon the same footing and terms as formerly subsisted between
them, provided always, that no concession on either side, in the
proposed temporary convention, shall be argued hereafter in support
of any future demand or claim. In the mean time, the proposition
above stated may be transmitted to London, requesting (with his
Majesty’s consent) that it may be laid before Parliament for their
consideration.

It is proposed therefore, that the unmanufactured produce of the
United States should be admitted into Great Britain without any
other duties, (those imposed during the war excepted) than those to
which they were formerly liable. And it is expected in return, that
the produce and manufactures of Great Britain should be admitted
into the United States in like manner. If there should appear any
want of reciprocity in this proposal, upon the grounds of asking
admission for British manufactures into America, while no such
indulgence is given to American manufactures in Great Britain, the
answer is obvious, that the admission of British manufactures into
America is an object of great importance, and equally productive
of advantage to both countries, while, on the other hand, the
introduction of American manufactures into Great Britain can be of
no service to either, and may be productive of innumerable frauds,
by enabling persons, so disposed, to pass foreign European goods,
either prohibited or liable to great duties by the British laws, for
American manufactures.

With regard to the West Indies, there is no objection to the most
free intercourse between them and the United States. The only
restriction proposed to be laid upon that intercourse, is prohibiting
American ships carrying to those Colonies any other merchandise, than
the produce of their own country. The same observation may be made
upon this restriction as upon the former. It is not meant to affect
the interests of the United States, but it is highly necessary, lest
foreign ships should make use of the American flag, to carry on a
trade with the British West India Islands.

It is also proposed upon the same principle to restrain the ships,
that may trade to Great Britain from America, from bringing foreign
merchandise into Great Britain. The necessity of this restriction is
likewise evident, unless Great Britain meant to give up the whole
navigation act. There is no necessity for any similar restrictions on
the part of the American States, those States not having as yet any
acts of navigation.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Bath, June 27th, 1783.

Sir,

I beg leave to refer you to the contents of a letter, which I had
the honor of writing from London the 17th instant, by the hands of
Mr John Vaughan, and a copy by Mr Thomas Stoughton. Two days ago, I
had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 8th of May, together
with an act of Congress of the 1st of April, giving leave for my
return to America, agreeably to my request, for which I make the most
sincere acknowledgments.

I am happy to find the provisional treaty had received the plaudit
and ratification of Congress, and should have been ready to have
given the best answers in my power to the inquiries which you allude
to, had you been pleased to extend them. I know not whether any
steps have been taken toward a definitive or other treaty since the
7th instant, when I left Paris, having received no letters from my
colleagues, but they no doubt will keep you regularly informed.

You will have seen, Sir, in several of my former letters, which
must have reached you before this day, that no exertions of mine
were wanting, for delivering you from those troublesome guests of
whom you complain. I foresaw the great uneasiness, which their long
continuance at New York would create. I regret exceedingly, that
so free a communication as “on the former footing” preceded the
accomplishment of that great and necessary work. I had entertained
ideas, that my country would have treated it with more solemnity.

I have no account to settle with Dr Franklin, having received no
money but from Mr Grand, viz. twenty thousand livres, and sixteen
thousand six hundred and sixtysix livres, thirteen sols, which I
believe are all the remittances you have made to me, and which I have
already formally acknowledged. The latter sum, indeed, I have not
actually received, but it stands to my credit with Mr Grand, and I
soon shall have occasion to draw for it. I am at present in a poor
state of health, but I hope Bath and sea bathing will be of service
to me. The summer season being so far advanced, I shall prepare for
embarkation early in October. No opportunity of serving my country in
the mean time shall be slighted or neglected.

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

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Bath, July 17th, 1783.

Sir,

My present address will be accompanied by a copy of my last of
the 27th of June, to which I beg leave to refer. The enclosed
proclamation of the 2d of July, in the London Gazette of the 12th,
seems to complete a commercial treaty with America on the part of
Great Britain, “until further order.” I am informed Mr David Hartley
is soon expected from Paris, without having made any treaty with the
American Ministers. I speak from report, but have received no advices
from my colleagues.

This will be delivered to you by Thomas Carpenter, who is going
with three other persons, under the auspices of Rev. Mr Wells of
Broomsgrove, to offer themselves as settlers and citizens in the
United States. Mr Wells and his concerns are strongly recommended to
me by Dr Price, and by the Rev. Mr Wrenn, of Portsmouth. Upon this
ground, permit me to crave your countenance and protection in favor
of Mr Carpenter and his associates. I was informed yesterday, and
though by pretty good authority I speak only as from report, that Mr
Silas Deane, who has been in London about four months, has been an
active hand in chalking out a treaty of commerce for us. I shall know
more of this when I get to London, some ten days hence. I have not
yet fully recovered my health, but am nevertheless taking measures
for embarking early in October.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                        Bath, July 17th, 1783.

Sir,

A few hours after I had despatched an address to you of the present
date, by the hands of Mr Carpenter, who, I hope, will also be the
bearer of this, I received a letter from Doctor Franklin, in which he
writes, “I want you here on many accounts, and should be glad of your
assistance in considering and answering our public letters; there are
matters in them, of which I cannot conveniently give you an account
at present.” Although I had flattered myself with the hope of being
free, and however so long a journey at the present season may further
impair my health, and the delay derange my measures for embarkation,
I must not refuse to obey such a call. I shall begin my journey
tomorrow morning, and, barring accidents, be at Paris in seven days,
or sooner.

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

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                         Washington, off Poole, August 2d, 1783.

Sir,

In pursuance of the determination signified in the preceding copy of
my last, of the 17th ult, I proceeded to Paris, and arrived there
on the 23d. The despatches being finished for captain Barney, by
advice of Dr Franklin and Mr Jay, I embarked in the Washington,
and am presently going on shore at Poole, from whence I shall
immediately proceed to London, and apply to the Ministers at that
Court for learning their resolutions, respecting the long pending
treaties, and particularly for information, whether a Minister from
the United States will be properly received there. Had the wind been
unfavorable, I should have detained Captain Barney for conveyance
of such answers as I may receive, but I have recommended to him to
profit by the present easterly gale, without losing a moment. I am
from sea sickness unable to add more, except that I shall advise by
the earliest opportunities, and that,

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO L. R. MORRIS.

                                        London, August 9th, 1783.

Sir,

On the 4th instant, I had the honor of receiving your very obliging
letter of April the 18th, accompanied by “a state of Mr Laurens’s
account with the United States,” &c. and a bill on Mr Grand for its
apparent balance 7083 livres, 7s. which is said to be for three
months’ salary from the 1st of January, to the 31st of March 1783.
For former quarter’s salary, about 16,666 livres, 13s. had been
remitted to me, wherefore I presume there is an error in the present
article. I have not learned of any alteration made by Congress in
the Ministers’ salaries, except in the mode of calculating the
exchange of dollars. If there is an error you will cause it to be
rectified. Be pleased, Sir, to accept this as an acknowledgment of
the receipt of the said bill for seven thousand and eighty-three
livres and seven sols, and also of my best thanks for your goodness
in forwarding the remittance. Besides the above mentioned error,
the account is partial, confined probably to the administration of
Mr Robert R. Livingston, or of Mr R. Morris, and an adjustment of
the whole therefore must be deferred to a future day. I would also
remark another omission, the commission for agency, due either to Mr
Livingston or yourself, which may be deducted from a future bill, and
will be admitted on my part with alacrity and thankfulness for your
trouble.

I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem,

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE MINISTERS OF THE UNITED STATES AT PARIS.

                                        London, August 9th, 1783.

Gentlemen,

Availing myself of your consent and recommendation, I embarked at
Lettavre, on board the Washington, and sailed from thence the 1st
instant. On the 2d, 9 o’clock A.M. we were within six leagues of
Poole, in Dorsetshire. The wind being very favorable, I quitted the
ship, went on board a small hoy bound to Poole, and urged Captain
Barney to proceed on his voyage, leaving my excellent post carriage
to take its fate on the ship’s deck, in preference to the risk of
delaying him a single hour. Had the wind been westerly, I might have
detained him a few days, for despatching to Congress the result of my
application to the Ministers of this Court. I judge from the state of
the wind since I parted with Captain Barney, that he was clear of the
channel Sunday night the 3d, and that he is now 150 or 200 leagues
advanced on his voyage.

I arrived in London late in the night of the 3d, and on the 5th had
a conference with Mr Fox, which I committed to writing as soon as it
had ended. I shall give it in a short dialogue, as the best way, not
pretending to accuracy in every word, but fully preserving the sense
and substance.

_Mr Fox._ I suppose, Mr L. you wish to forward the ratification of
the provisional articles.

_L._ I could wish that was done, Sir, but it is not the particular
business I have in charge.

_F._ I understood from Mr Hartley’s letter, which you sent me, that
it was, but he does not speak positively.

_L._ No, Sir, the only business I have in charge, is to inquire,
whether a Minister from the United States of America would be
properly received at this Court.

_F._ Most undoubtedly, Sir; I could wish that there was one here at
present; I think we have lost much time from a want of a Minister
from your side.

_L._ Then, Sir, will you be so good as to ask his Majesty, and inform
me?

_F._ I will take the King’s pleasure tomorrow, and you shall hear
from me; I suppose there is already a conditional appointment of some
person now in Europe.

_L._ Not that I know of, though I do not know the contrary, but I
have an excellent opportunity of writing to Congress, and I have no
doubt an appointment will be made immediately.

_F._ That is unlucky; there must be two crossings of the ocean
then; if a Minister of Congress had been here, we might have done
our business in half the time we have already spent, but I shall
certainly inform you tomorrow; this is the very time a Minister from
your people is most necessary.

_L._ Though I have nothing particularly in charge except the business
already mentioned, I regret the delay of both the commercial and
definitive treaty. We had flattered ourselves with hopes in March and
April, that both would have been finished in a few days.

_F._ Why, as to a definitive treaty, I cannot see any necessity for
one, or not immediately. The provisional articles are to be inserted,
and to constitute a treaty; a ratification of those, I apprehend,
will answer all the purposes of a definitive treaty; they may be made
definitive. The case with respect to France and Spain differs widely;
several articles in our preliminaries with them refer to a definitive
treaty.

_L._ I agree with you, Sir, that the provisional articles, mutually
ratified, may, by the consent of the parties, be made definitive; but
there may be additional articles suggested and agreed to for mutual
benefit.

_F._ That is true; but I do not see any at present; I very much
regret the want of a Minister from America.

_L._ Permit me, Sir, to ask you, is it intended by the proclamation
of the 2d of July, to exclude American ships from the West India
trade, between the United States and the British islands?

_F._ Yes, certainly, it was so intended, in order that we might have
something to treat for, and this will be a subject for a commercial
treaty.

On the 6th, I waited upon his Grace, the Duke of Portland. His Grace
was equally clear and positive as Mr Fox had declared himself, that a
Minister from the United States of America would be well received at
this Court, and also regretted that an appointment had not earlier
taken place. I touched upon the commercial and definitive treaty,
referred to assurances in March and April, intimated my apprehensions
of pernicious effects, which might arise from excluding American
ships from a freedom between the United States and the British West
India Islands, adding what I had learnt from Doctor Franklin of the
commerce intended by the Court of France, between our America and
the French Islands. I can only say, the Duke seemed to wish that
everything had been settled to mutual satisfaction, and hoped that
everything would soon be settled.

Yesterday, by the desire of Mr Fox, I called upon him again; he said
he had not seen the King, but that he had transmitted an account to
his Majesty of my application; that we might be perfectly satisfied,
however, that a Minister from Congress would be well received; that
the appointment of one was much wished for here; that he must take
blame to himself in some degree for the long delay of a commercial
regulation, but that business would now soon be finished; he had no
objection himself to opening the West India trade to the Americans,
but there were many parties to please, and you know, added Mr Fox,
the people of this country very well. Yes, Sir, I know something
of them, and I find not only the West India planters, but some of
the most judicious merchants, anxious for opening the trade. I have
been told by some of them, that they should be ruined without it.
I believe all this, said Mr Fox, but there are other people of a
different opinion. As to the definitive treaty, there may be, as
you observed, new articles necessary for mutual advantage, and we
may either add such to the provisional articles and make the whole
definitive, or make a new treaty; but I understand it is expected
this should be done under the eye of, or in concert with the Court of
France, which for my own part I do not like, and cannot consent to.
I replied, in my opinion a new treaty definitive would be best, as
well for incorporating additional articles, as for clearing away some
of the rubbish in the provisional, which contained, if not nonsense,
more than a little ambiguity; that though I did not see the necessity
for it now, yet I had been told it was expected our definitive treaty
should be finished in communication with the French Court, but as I
had formerly observed, I had received no charge on this head, and
spoke only the sentiments of Mr Laurens to Mr Fox, and not to a
Minister of Great Britain.

I have detailed facts as fully and freely as memory has enabled me.
I leave them with you under this one remark, that we are cooler in
the dog days than we were at the vernal equinox. The philosophy of
Versailles and Passy may account for, and guard against the effect of
extreme changes. I have found my presence here at this juncture of
some use in explaining, or attempting to explain, the late mutiny at
Philadelphia. The enemies of this country, and of the United States
had exulted, the friends of both had too much abandoned themselves
to dread, that the soldiery had assumed the reins of government, and
that all the States of America were rushing into anarchy. Captain
Carberry and Lieutenant Sullivan, those rash young officers who led
on the mutineers to the State House, arrived a few days ago. The
former has been with me, expressing deep concern for his conduct,
desirous of returning, with an assurance of personal safety, and
wanting money for supporting daily expenses, alleging that the United
States are indebted to him at least “twelve hundred pounds currency
exclusive of land.” I have recommended to him to return immediately,
and demean himself to the laws of his country, and submit to the
magnanimity of Congress. He expresses a dread of undergoing a
trial. Could I afford it, and were to advance money for his living
in London, should I not incur censure at home? I beg you will
communicate such particulars of that disturbance and the event of it,
as you may have learned, and your opinion for my conduct respecting
these officers.

Mr Barclay will tell you of a display of the American standard under
a triumphant British pendant at a very capital inland fair. Trifling
as the insult may appear, it discovers a little leaven at the centre.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                      London, August 9th, 1783.

Sir,

The annexed is a duplicate of a few lines, which I had the honor of
addressing you, on the 2d instant, by Captain Barney, in the ship
Washington, and enclosed with this you will find an exact copy of my
letter of the present date, written to the Ministers of the United
States at Paris, which will show in brief, what I have been doing
since my return to London, and afford some information to Congress
for their government in the appointment of a Minister at this Court.
To both which I beg leave to refer.

I have received a letter of the 18th of April from Mr L. R. Morris,
enclosing what is called a state of my account with the United
States, and a bill on Mr Grand for its balance, 7083 livres, 7s.
which, as far as it goes, appears to be right, though I have not
yet had time for minute examination. I am much obliged for the
remittance, but the account must rest to a future day for final
settlement. I had formerly intimated my ignorance of the stipend
Congress had determined to allow me, and having no information on
that head it is not in my power to correct or confirm this, or to
frame a new account. It may appear that my services were as valuable
in the Tower of London, and after my release, antecedently to an
appointment in the commission for peace, as they could possibly have
been in any other station, notwithstanding the former might not have
been quite so pleasant a sphere to myself; but I am in the judgment
of Congress, and shall perfectly acquiesce in their will.

I shall go tomorrow to Bath, in hopes of confirming my lately
recovered health, and shall be preparing for embarkation in October.
I am in treaty for one of the cabins of the packets at Falmouth, and
know but one circumstance that can detain me. My brother, who has
resided upwards of six years in the south of France, had been many
months past in a most deplorable state, every day expected to be his
last, yet he lives. The prospect of leaving a widowed sister and
my youngest daughter, who is with them, at such a distance without
a protector is exceedingly distressing to me. Should my brother’s
unhappy condition be extended a month or two, I may be compelled
to defer my voyage to the next spring; in such case, I shall hold
myself discharged from the service of Congress, I mean so far only as
respects salary. I shall miss no opportunity of serving my country
while I am in Europe. No doubt Congress will admit a reasonable time
for my return, and provide for the expense of my passage. Letters
under cover to Richard Oswald will find me here, or overtake me.

I am, with the highest esteem, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S._ Reviewing the above mentioned “state of account,” I perceive
only 7083 livres, 7s. have been carried to my credit, for three
months from the 1st of January to the 30th of March, 1783, and only
that sum remitted, which I presume is an error.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                  London, September 11th, 1783.

Sir,

Permit me to refer to copies of my letter to yourself, and to
the American Ministers at Paris, both of the 9th ult. which will
accompany this. I was on the point of agreeing for the cabin of
the packet, alluded to in my last letter, when I received a letter
from my sister Laurens in the south of France, informing me that my
brother, who has been long in a declining state, feeling himself
approaching fast to dissolution, earnestly wished to see me before
I should leave Europe. I cannot refuse to comply with the request
of a dying friend, and besides this, humanity and gratitude forbid
my leaving a widowed sister, who has been the foster mother of my
daughters, at such a distance from her home, and unacquainted with
the language of the country, without a friend and protector. I
intend, therefore, to proceed immediately, trusting in the goodness
of Congress for an exemption from censure in this singular case.
When it is considered how exceedingly detrimental to my own interest
the delay will be, it must appear that I submit to it from necessity.
The journey, going and coming, will probably take up two, perhaps
three months, allowing a reasonable time for detention at Vigan;
hence I have no prospect of embarking before the next Spring. I
should have been already advanced on my journey, but I wait the
arrival of Mr Jay and Mr Hartley, who are daily expected from Paris.

Yesterday I received from Dr Franklin a copy of a letter written the
31st of August to Congress, which shows that the definitive treaty
amounts to nothing more than a re-confirmation of the Provisional
Articles, which I much regret. As it is possible this may arrive
before the advices from France, I think it proper to enclose the
copy abovementioned.

A Mr Edmund Jennings has been long hovering over, and as often as
he could find opportunity, penetrating into American councils on
this side of the water, and there is good reason for believing,
notwithstanding all his pretensions to friendship, that his chief
business has been to create dissensions, and also that he has been
the principal contriver and manager of anonymous letters, calculated
for that purpose. As I had detected Mr Jennings in some very improper
conduct of this sort, and therefore refused him my countenance any
longer, he, knowing no medium between familiarity and enmity, pricked
by his own conscience, and enraged by my silence, took an opportunity
in my absence of printing about forty pages of misrepresentation
and falsehood, which he circulated in a private way, with a view,
I suppose, of injuring me, and I am informed he has sent a large
quantity of his paper to America, under the patronage, as I have
reason to believe, of Dr Bancroft. Congress, and my fellow citizens
in general, are too wise to condemn before they hear; therefore, I
have taken the liberty to send you for their information, forty two
copies of “a true state of the case,” packed in a box put under the
care of Captain Josiah, the bearer of this. I write this “state of
the case” in very great haste, and might have said much more to Mr
Jennings’s disgrace, but there is enough to show, that he is not
worthy of public trust, and that he is a dangerous confidant to a
Minister of State.

Readers of Mr Jennings’s paper, from the profusion of his charges
against me of animosity, enmity, uncalmness of temper, &c. &c. would
suppose there had been much altercation between us, either by letter
or verbally. On the contrary, I have neither corresponded with, or
seen him but twice passing in the streets, since the sixth of January
last, and nothing is more evident than my carefully avoiding to
relate to those whom he alludes to as his particular friends, the
discovery of his folly in asserting a lie upon his honor, unless
he means to include Mr Adams as one of them; a sense of duty to my
country, and a sincere regard for Mr Adams, led me to attempt to open
his eyes, and I judged it equally necessary to inform Dr Franklin and
Mr Jay. But I shall trouble you no longer on this subject. Congress
will be possessed of the two papers, and I shall submit to their
judgment. I do not esteem it a trifling affair, to remove a wicked
and mischievous favorite from his influence in our councils.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

_P. S._ You will receive with this two of the latest Gazettes, and
divers other newspapers to this day inclusive.


TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                     Dover, September 16th, 1783.

Sir,

In my way to France, I found here the sloop Olive Branch, on the
point of sailing to Philadelphia. By her I trouble you with the
preceding copy of my last address of the 11th instant, and also
a couple of newspapers. Mr George Taylor goes in this vessel,
recommended by that very worthy man, Granville Sharpe, than whom the
United States have not a warmer friend in Europe. Shall I therefore
request you, Sir, to countenance this young gentleman, and assist him
in his virtuous pursuits? I think he can have no other in view, going
from Mr Sharpe.

Mr Hartley was with me yesterday morning, and said he had hopes
“things would do yet,” alluding to the Commercial Treaty. I am sure
he means well, but I put “all proper confidence” in everything they
say. “Things will indeed do yet,” provided we take care of ourselves.

With the highest regard and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO CHARLES THOMPSON.

                                      Bath, March 28th, 1784.

Sir,

Doctor Franklin lately conveyed to me a copy of your letter of
the 5th of January last, directed to the Ministers of the United
States for treating with Great Britain. It found me at this place
in a very ill state of health. Ill as I was, I should have repaired
immediately to Whitehall, had not Mr David Hartley, who still
retains his commission, happened to have been present, and just
going to London. I requested him to propose to Lord Carmaerthen,
a convention for extending the stipulated term for exchanging
ratifications of our definitive treaty of the 3d of September,
and for that purpose I would without delay repair to London, for
executing it on the part of the United States, if necessary; to add
that if the formality might be dispensed with, without prejudice
to either of the contracting parties, I desired the assent of the
minister should be signified to me in writing. This morning brought
me a letter from Mr Hartley, a copy of which will accompany this. I
flatter myself, that the contents will afford the same satisfaction
to Congress, as I feel upon the occasion.

Previous to the late dissolution of Parliament, a bill was passed,
extending what is called the Intercourse Bill to the 20th of
June, upon which probably will be grounded a new proclamation,
for regulating the commerce between this kingdom and the United
States. I have requested Major Jackson, who will do me the honor
to take charge of this letter, to watch the London Gazette, and
should a proclamation appear while he is in London, to enclose one
of those papers to you, for the information of Congress. The West
India merchants, and owners of estates in the British Islands,
held several meetings and consultations, while I was in London,
on the commerce in which they are particularly interested. I was
frequently applied to, and delivered such sentiments as appeared to
me to be necessary, particularly that I was firmly persuaded the
United States separately, or in Congress, would retaliate every
restriction, by which means we should have a treaty of commerce by
acts of Parliament on one part, and acts of Assembly or of Congress
on the other, and bring the great question to a test, which country
would sustain the most damage or inconveniency by partial or total
prohibitions.

I have just received a letter from a very eminent merchant in London,
in which he writes,

“I could have wished to have given better accounts of the
administration, touching the American Intercourse Bill, but there are
strong remains of the old leaven among us, and the same disposition
of monopolising the trade and navigation of the world to ourselves.”

That there is a continuance of the old leaven, on this side, may be
concluded from the following sentiments of a gentleman, who writes as
a professed friend to America, in opposition to Lord Sheffield.

“There is not yet that stock of good temper in either people, that
could be wished.”

“The English are yet sore from their disappointment, and though
they have lost a part of their dominions, they have not lost the
recollections of having been masters, and expect something like the
usual deference to be paid to them.” Hence I am not surprised at
anything published by an inveterate enemy, whose design seems to
be to declare commercial war in the first instance, possibly for
introducing his “chain of stout frigates from Halifax to Bermuda.”

I went from hence the middle of January, determined to prepare for
embarkation, and to be at sea about the 20th instant, but was taken
very ill upon the road, and have continued ever since incapable of
business. After being confined seven weeks in London, I returned to
Bath, in hopes of receiving benefit again from the waters, but if
I were perfectly in health, a recent circumstance would retard my
progress. My brother lately died in the South of France, and I am
constrained to wait the arrival of his widow. The affairs of two
distressed families demand my attention, and as neither expense, nor
as I apprehend other detriment, to the public will be sustained by
my absence, the delay of a month or six weeks longer I trust will
not give offence. Be pleased, Sir, to lay this before Congress, with
assurances of my utmost respect, and continued attention to the
interests of the United States.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


DAVID HARTLEY TO HENRY LAURENS.

                                 Golden Square, March 26th, 1784.

Dear Sir,

It is with great satisfaction, that I am able to inform you, that
it is not thought necessary on the part of Great Britain, to enter
into any formal convention for the prolongation of the term, in which
the ratifications of the definitive treaty were to be exchanged, as
the delay in America appears to have arisen merely in consequence of
the inclemency of the season. I took care to express on your part,
the motives of candor and attention to this country, which were the
ground of your offer, and it gives me pleasure to assure you, that
they were received with equal candor and attention on the part of
the British Ministers. My compliments and best wishes always attend
yourself and family.

I am, dear Sir, with great respect and esteem, your most obedient,
humble servant,

                                                     DAVID HARTLEY.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      London, April 24th, 1784.

Sir,

I had the honor of addressing Congress, under directions to Mr
Secretary Thompson, the 28th ultimo, by Major Jackson, and a copy by
the packet from Falmouth, and the 8th instant by the same packet,
copy by Sir James Jay, to which I beg leave to refer. Mr Hartley went
off for Paris the 17th, preferring that spot to this for the exchange
of ratifications. I am told there is a pretty handsome stipend
annexed to each journey.

The London Gazette of the 17th instant, a copy of which will be
enclosed with this, contains a proclamation of the 16th, for
extending the American intercourse to the 20th of June next, in
terms, almost verbatim, a repetition of the antecedent. The friends
of administration say, that the present Ministers are afraid of
attempting enlargements before the meeting of the new Parliament. At
present, from the best information I can collect, their utmost view
is to a restricted trade in small vessels, of sixty or eighty tons,
of American property, between the United States and the British West
Indies. The tonnage on their part to be unlimited.

I have the pleasure of conversing often with men the most judicious
and experienced in commercial affairs; all agree with me, that
precise retaliation would produce good effects; possibly retaliation
may be the very wish of our implacable enemies; certainly there is a
majority still in council mumbling the Thistle,--of which wise men
think they have already had enough. What new maggot has bitten them?
“See,” say they, and reason upon the falsehood, “there is already a
secession of four States; only nine could be collected for ratifying
the treaty; New York we know is unrepresented, Connecticut is also
unrepresented, (then presume upon two other States) they are all
in confusion, weary of their independence, and will soon return to
Great Britain upon her own terms.” I allude to no person eastward of
Charing Cross. I cannot impute such conduct to ignorance; they will
not be convinced, although they have Moses and the Prophets; in my
mind, it proves a determination in that majority, not to _return_
to America with any degree of cordiality or generosity to urge a
commercial, hoping in time to provoke a more hostile war, and to
improve upon what they call the errors of the last. I am assured,
that the last commander in chief of the British troops in America is
a principal adviser. Mr Brooke Watson is added. To bring the King and
people in general to consent to war with the United States will be a
work, however, requiring no small exertion of skill. “His Majesty was
dragged into the late war, as reluctantly as ever a bull was dragged
to a baiting. I have seen the Queen shed floods of tears in the
cruel progress, and have heard her Majesty say, I do not interfere
in politics, but I think the Americans are an injured people. The
King has often expressed to me his regret at the shedding of so much
blood, but, said his Majesty, what can I do? They drew me in little
by little; I have been deceived, I have had more truth from you, W.
than from all of _them_ together. The King has been, and is willing
to send to, and receive from the United States Ambassadors, (this
part is undoubtedly a fact) and wishes for a liberal intercourse
and commerce with them. Those men, who were called the King’s
friends, for promoting the war, from the old Rubicon Peer, to the
one always supposed to have been the invisible counsellor, (naming
them specially) are now his enemies, because he has acknowledged the
independence of the States. Had a late violent measure succeeded, and
_that party_ gained the power aimed at, a voluntary abdication was
determined upon, arrangements were absolutely made for that purpose.
I can live, said the King, in an humbler state and be happy. The
heir apparent would have mounted the throne, a question on the right
of _alienating the Prince of Wales’s inheritance_ would have been
brought forward, a war as soon as possible commenced for recovery,
mistakes and errors of the last to be avoided.” I might add &c. &c.
but that must rest to a future day.

I think it my duty, Sir, to communicate these memorable circumstances
to Congress. If the intelligence merits attention, they will make
proper application, but for the sake of our friend who delivered it
to me, from no second hand report, upon whose honor and veracity all
America would place the highest confidence, who could have no motive
to a studied unprofitable falsehood, I humbly request it may not
become suddenly a subject of out door conversation.

Two of my friends, characters highly esteemed in the United States,
have been with me at several times within these three days past;
whether they are in the secret of the above written history I know
not, but rather believe the contrary, each confirmed that part
relative to an intended breach, trusting, however, in the resistance
of the people. If I trust at all, it is in their imbecility. The
people may, by “exertions of skill,” be taught to believe, that
going to war will mend their fortunes and recover national glory;
let us contrast some of the late addresses of thanks with the later
elections, and we shall see the inconsistency of conduct in the
“first city in Europe,” and many other instances will appear. It may
be asked how they can support a war under such a load of debt? It is
averred by competent judges, that ragged and deranged as the finances
of this country are, they are infinitely better than those of the
neighboring maritime powers. A determination may be founded upon the
comparative essay of resources; but I am under no apprehension from
all they can do, provided timely, wise precautions are taken on our
part. If all the people called loyalists were scattered in America,
they would not do so much mischief as they do here; we could manage
them best at home. I have employed a person to look out for a proper
ship for my passage to America, hoping to embark in the course of
next month.

With great respect and regard, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                     London, April 30th, 1784.

Sir,

Under cover of this will be found a copy of my last despatch,
dated the 24th. I have only to add, that the more I converse with
intelligent men, the more I am confirmed in believing, that there
is a core of bitterness and pride against the United States in this
kingdom, which cannot easily be dissipated; and which will break out
whenever the parties have, or shall fancy they have, power. It is
true, indeed, “Englishmen cannot lose the recollection of having been
masters, and expect something like the usual deference to be paid
to them, they are yet sore from their disappointment.” (Quoted in
a former letter to Mr Thompson.) I have asked when were Englishmen
masters of their brethren in America? When were the Americans subject
to Englishmen? We were once fellow subjects under one King, now
separated forever; willing, nevertheless, in peace to be friends,
ready at the same time to resent injuries of whatever kind or degree.
I do not presume to touch your navigation laws, but I maintain the
right of the United States to follow good examples; to speak of
retaliating any restrictions in commerce, is held to be the height of
arrogance. It is assured me, that Mr Deane is an active counsellor
against us, and Mr Galloway, no doubt all the old Governors, Mr
Smith of New York, and others have their influence. Mr Smith, I am
informed, has reported very extraordinary things, which I shall not
repeat without further confirmation.

I have the honor to be, with perfect esteem and respect, &c.

                                                     HENRY LAURENS.

END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.





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