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Full text of "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"

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Published under tlio Direction of the President of the United States, from 

the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformalily 

to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818. 




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


# \^'»^^l 

*:"iv J^^-ic ■% 

iiale's steam press. 
Nos. 6 Suffolk Buildiagfs, Congress Street, Boston 

Resolution of Congress of March 21th, 1818. 

Resolution directing the Publication <ind Distribution of the .lournnl <ind 
Proceedings of the Convention, whicli formed the present Constitution 
of the United States. 

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

[Approved March 27th, 1818.] 


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

On the 29th of November, 1775, a Committee of five 
was appointed to correspond with the friends of America in 
other countries. It seems to have been the specific object 
of this Committee, to gain information in regard to the pub- 
lic feeling in Great Britain towards the Colonies, and also 
the degree of interest which was likely to be taken by 


Oilier European powers in the contest, then beginning to 
grow warm on this side of the Atlantic. Certain commer- 
cial designs came also under its cognizance, such as pro- 
curing ammunition, arms, soldiers' clothing, and other mili- 
tary stores from abroad. A secret correspondence was 
immediately opened with Arthur Lee in London, chiefly 
widi die view of procuring intelligence. Early in the next 
year, Silas Deanc was sent to France by the Committee, 
with instructions to act as a commercial or political agent 
for the American Colonies, as circumstances might dictate. 
This Committee was denominated Uie Committee of Secret 
Correspondence, and continued in operation till April 17th, 
1777, when the name was changed to that of the Commit-. 
tec of Foreign Affairs. The duties and objects of the 
Committee appear to have remained as before, notwith- 
standing the change of name. 

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

Robert R. Livingston was chosen Secretary of Foreign 
Afiairs on the 10th of August, 1781, when the Committee 
was dissolved, and the foreign correspondence from that 


lime went through the liancls of the Secretary. As the 
responsibility thus devolved on a single individual, instead of 
being divided among several, the business of the depart- 
ment was afterwards exeruted with much more promptness 
and efficiency. 

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

It will be seen, that letters are occasionally missing. 
Tnese are not to be found in the archives of the govern- 
ment. The loss may be accounted for in several ways. 
In the first place, the modes of conveyance were precari- 
ous, and failures were frequent and unavoidable. The 
despatches were sometimes intrusted to the captains of 
such American vessels, merchantmen or privateers, as 
happened to be in port, and sometimes forwarded by regu- 
lar express packets, but in !)oth cases they were subject to 
be captured. Moreover, liie despatches were ordered to 
be thrown overboard if ilie vessel conveying them 
should be pursued by an enemy, or exposed to the 


hazard of being taken. It thus happened, tliat many 
letters never arrived at their destination, although du- 
plicates and triplicates were sent. Again, the Com- 
mittee had no Secretary to take charge of the papers, 
and no regular place of deposit ; the members themselves 
were perpetually changing, and each had equal access to 
the papers, and was equally responsible for their safe 
keeping. They were often in the hands of the Secretary 
of Congress, and of other members who wished to consult 
them. Nor does it appear, that copies were methodically 
taken till after the war. In such a state of things, many 
letters must necessarily have been withdrawn and lost. 
When Mr Jay became Secretary of Foreign Affairs, in the 
year 1 784, that office had been made the place of deposit 
for all the foreign correspondence which then remained. 
Under his direction, a large portion of it was copied into 
volumes, apparently with much care, both in regard to 
the search after papers, and the accuracy of the trans- 
cribers. These volumes are still retained in the archives 
of the Department of State, together with such originals 
as have escaped the perils of accident, and the negli- 
gence of their early keepers. 

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


this respect. His letters are numerous, full, and in- 

In preparing the papers tor the press, according to the 
spirit of the resolution of Congress, the first rule has been 
to print such matter only as possesses some value, either as 
containing historical facts, or illustrating traits of character, 
or developing the causes of prominent events. In such a 
mass of materials, so varied in iheir character and in the 
topics upon which they treat, it has not always been easy 
to discriminate with precision in regard to these points. 
The editor can only say, that he has exercised his best 
judgment to accomplish the end |)roposed. His task has 
been rendered still mon.' per|)lexing, from tlis^ disputes, and 
oven quarrels, which e.xisled between the early American 
Commissioners, and with the effects of which a large por- 
tion of their correspondence is tinged. No worthy pur- 
pose can be answered by reviving the remembrance of 
these contentions at the present day ; but, at the same 
time, such particulars ought to be retaitied, ;is will exhibit 
in their proper light the characters of the persons con- 
cerned, and show how far their altercations operated to the 
public good or injury. Tliis line has been pursued as far 
as practicable, and those parts of the correspondence 
chiefly marked with personalities, and touching little on 
public interests, have been omitted, as neither suited to the 
dignity of the subject, nor to the design of this publication. 
On perusing these volumes, it may at first seem extraor- 
dinary, that so large a collection o< letters, written by differ- 
ent persons at different times, embracing topics of great 
moment, and assuming the character of secret and confi- 
dential despatches, should be so generally well fitted to 
meet the public eye. But it must be kept in mind, tiiat 


the writers knew their letters would be read in open Con- 
gress, which was much the same as publishing them, and 
under this impression they were doubtless prompted to 
study circumspection, both in matter and manner. 

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





Fiom the CoiDmittee of Correspondence lo Silas 
Deaoe. Philadelphia, March 3d, 1776, - 5 

Instructions to Mr Deane on his dei)artiiie for l-'rancc. 

Silas Deane to the Committee of Secret Corres- 
pondence. Paris, August 1 8th, 1776, - - 9 

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

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

Account of his contract with Mr Deane for furnishiiip 
the United Slates with military supplies. 

Silas Deane to Count de V^ergennes. Paris, August 
22d, 1776, 10 

To Robert Morris. Bordeaux, September 17tli, 

1776, ----- _ - 40 

To Robert :VIorrIs. Paris, September 3()th, 1776, 41 

On mercantile affairs. 

To the ComiTiittee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, October 1st, 1776, - - - - 4o 

.Military supplies. — Asks for blank commUsions for 
ships of war. Dr Bancroft. 


To the Coiumiliee uf Secret Coriespui)dence. 

Paris, October SUk 1 776, - - - - 48 

Agreement between M. Alonthieu and Silas Deane 
for the Transportation of military Supplies to A- 
merica. Paris, October 15ih, 1776, - - 51 
To the Comm.ittee of Secret Correspondence- 
Paris, October IStli, 1776, - - - 53 

UrgPi the importance of making known rorinally lo 
foreign j)o\vers the independence ol tiic Unite<i 
States. — Case of Captain Lee, who went into Bilboa 
with prizes.— Demands remittances. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, October 

17th, 1776, 56 

To William Bingham. Paris, October 17th, 1776, 57 
To William Bingham. Paris, October 25ih, 1776, 58 
To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

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

Paris, November 6ih, 1776, - - - 60 

Supplies forwarded. — M. du Coudray. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, November, 9th, 1776, - - - 64 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 

Paris, November 26th, 1776, . - - 64 

Grand Duke of Tuscany proposes commercial inter- 
course witii America. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, November 

27th, 1776, - : - - - - 65 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, November 27th, 1776, - - - 66 

Proposals to send frigates to harass the British fish- 
ery on the Grand Bank. — Recommends sending 
American privateer.s into the European seas. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, November 28th, 1776, - - - 67 

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

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, November 29th, 1776, - - - 74 

Beaumarchais's military supplies. 

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

Military officers recommended. — Colonel Conway. 


To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
Paris, December, 1st, 1770, - - . 77 

Thoughts ou the means of defraying; liic expenses of 
the war. — A loan for tlie purpose. — Great resources 
in the western lands. — Plan for constituting them a 
pledge to redeem a loan. — Credit of the difiierent 
European powers. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
Paris, December 3d, 177G, - - - 88 

Military artides shipped for the use of the United 

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

Flan of a treaty with France sketched by Mr Deane. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
Paris, December Cth, 1776, - _ . 95 

List of officers destined to serve iu the United Slates. — 
Agreement with the .Marquis de la Fayette, and 
Baron de Kalb 

To Count de Vcrgemies. Paris, December Sih, 

1776, - r _ . : . _ 100 

Airival of Dr Franklin at Nantes. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, December lith, 1776, - - - 100 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, January 20th, 1777, - _ - 101 

Uisappoinlmeut in shipping the military articles. — 
M. (Iu Coudray censured. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, February 6th, 1777, - - - 103 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 

Paris, February 27th, 1777, - - - 103 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 3th, 

1777, - - - - - - - 104 

To Robert ^lorris. Paris, August 23d, 1777, 105 

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

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 3d, 1777, 112 

Account of articles shipped under rharjje of Captain 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 10th, 1777, llj 

.Articles shipped. — M. Francy, agent for Horla- 
talci k Co 

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

Remarks concernine Die commerri:il agency at Nante« 


Committee of Foreign Affairs to Silas Dearie. 

York, in Pennsylvania, December 4th, 1777, 117 Lovell to Silas Deane. Fork, December 8th, 

1777, ------- 117 

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

Count de Vergennes to the President of Congress. 
Versailles, March 2r)th, 1778, - - - 118 

Approving Mr Di'ane's conduct in Frasice. 

Count de Vergennes to Silas Deane. Versailles, 
March 2Gth, 1778, - - - - - 119 

Commendatory of his conduct. 

Dr Franklin to the President of Congress. Passy, 

March 31st, 1 778, - _ t . J i20 

Approving Mr Dcane's conduct. 

To the President of Congress. Delaware Bay, 

July 10th, 1778, -"^ - - - - 120 

Notice of his arrival. 

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

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

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 8th, 1778, ----- 123 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 1 1th, 1778, ----- 123 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 22d, 1778, - - - - - 124 

Nature of communications made to Congress. — Ofters 
any further information that may be desired. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 24th, 1778, - - - - - i27 

Asks copies of Mr Izard's letters to Congress. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Octo- 
ber 7th, 1778, - - - - - 127 

To the President of Couirrcss. Philadelphia, Octo- 
ber 12th, 1778, '^- - - - - 128 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Octo- 
ber 12th, 1778, - - - - - 129 

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

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Octo- 
ber 12th, 1778, 139 

Vindication agaiast charges made to Congress by 


Arlliur Lcc. — Political and conimoiciiil transactions 
in Fraiuu. — Dr I'lankliii. — Atlair of Dunkirk. — 
Vindication of Dr Franklin against Mv Lie's 
charges.— Count Latiragais. — M. Holker. — Mr Wil- 

To tlie President of Congress. Pliilaclclphia, Octo- 
ber 12ili, i778, 155 

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

To the PresitJent of Congress. Philadelphia, No- 
vember 1st, 1778, - - - - - 158 

Communicating a project for the redemption of the 
Coutinriital money ;— and a plan for equipping a 
fleet for defending the coasts and commerce of the 
United Stales. 

To the President of Congress. Piiiladelphia, No- 

. vember 19th, 1778, 172 

Further observations on transactions in France. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, No- 
vember oOth, 1778, - - - _ _ 175 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, De- 
cember 4th, 1778, 170 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, De- 
cember 21st, 1778, - _ . _ _ 177 

Solicits a speedy settlement of his affairs with Conirress. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, De- 

ceinber 30th, 1778, - - - - - 178 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Janu- 
ary 4th, 1779, - 178 

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

To the President of Conirress. January 21st, 

1779, - - ." - . \ : ISO 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Feb- 
ruary 22d, 1779, ISO 

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

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, March 
29th, 1779, --..-. 1S2 

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

VOL. I. c 



To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 

2d, 1779, - 185 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 

17th, 1779, - - - . - . - - 186 

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

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

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, April 

27th, 1779, - 194 

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

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

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

1779, 197 

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

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

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, May 

12th, 1779, - 203 

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

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

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Au- 
gust 18th, 1779, 214 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 4th, 1779, 214 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, No- 
vember 23d, 1779, 215 

To the President of Congress. Williamsburgb, De- 
cember 18th, 1779, - - - - - 216 

Declines accepting the money granted to him by 

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

1781, 217 

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

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



From the Committee of Secret Correspondence to 
Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, 
Commissioners at Paris. Baltimore, 21st De- 
cember, 177G, - - _ - _ 225 

Campaig:ii of ITTfi. — New levies to be raised. — Neces- 
sity of speedy aid from France. — Recall of Mediter- 
laaean passes. — Loan of two millions sterling. 

Robert .Morris to the Commissioners. Philadel- 
phia, 1st December, 177G, - _ _ _ 233 

Retreat through the Jerseys. — Depreciation of Conti- 
nental currency. — Gloomy situation of the country. 

Tiie Committee of Secret Correspondence to the 

Commissioners. Baltimore, 30th December, 1776, 246 

Success at Trenton. — Tenders to France and Spain. 

Committee of Secret Correspondence to Captain Lar- 
kin Hammond. Baltimore, 2d Jannarv, 1777, 249 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 

17th January, 1777, - - _ _ _ 250 

Audionce of Vergennes. — Privateers. — German troops 
in the British service. — Disposition of the French. 

The Committee of Secret Correspondence to Wil- 
liam Bingham at Martinique. Baltimore, Feb- 
ruary, 1777, ------ 255 

The Committee of Secret Correspondence to the 

Commissioners. Baltimore, 2d February, 1777, 257 

Want of ships of wnr. — Reverses of the British in 
the Jerseys. — New levies. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 

6th February, 1777, - - _ . _ 260 

Tobacco. — German troops. — Offers of supplies and ser- 
vice — Mr Lee goes to Spain. — No danger from 

To the President of Congress. Paris, 6th Februa- 
ry, 1777, ----... 264 

Introducing M.duCoudray. 

Agreement between the Commissioners and certain 
French officers, ----._ 265 

Committee of Secret Correspondence to the Com- 
missioners. Baltimore, 19th February, 1777, 266 

Military events. — Preparations in Great Britaio. — Ur- 
gect necessity of aid. — Disposition of Spain. 



To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Paris, 

4th March, 1777, 269 

Complain of want of intelligence. 

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

Want of intelligence from America. — Particular ac- 
counts of their proceedings, and favorable but cau- 
tious policy of the Frenc!- Court. — Disposition of 
Holland.— Of Spain.— Secret supplies from the lat- 
ter. — Loan of two millions sterling. — Applications 
for service from foreign officers.— Contract for 5000 
hogsheads tobacco with the Farmers-General. — All 
Europe favorable to the American cause. — English 
and French fleet.— Sir J. Yorke's memorial to Hol- 
land. — Contract for monthly packet^. 

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

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

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

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, 2d May, 1777, 280 

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

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, 9th May, 1777, - 290 

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

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

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

To the Connnittee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, 2Gth 

May, 1777, ------ 296 

Warfare on the British successful and important. — Im- 
portance of a naval force in the German ocean ; and 
of carrying the v/ar into Great Britain. 

From die Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, May 30th, 1777, - 300 

Loan. — Importance of America to Britain in (he 
French war. — Facilities for an attack on the West 

To John Jay. Dunkirk, 2d Jmie, 1777, - - 302 

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



From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
jnissioners. Philadelphia, June l3ih, 1777, - 304 

Position ol" the aruiies ; in tiie Jerseys ; in the iioith. — 
Favorable asuoct of allairs. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, June ISth, 1777, - 300 

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

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, June 26th, 1777, - 309 

Military operations. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, July 2d, 1777, - - 310 

Military operations. — Con.niission and Instructions for 
William Lee to Vienna and Berlin ; for Ilalpli Izard 
to Tuscany. 

Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Ver- 
sailles, IGth July, 1777, - - - - 311 

Complains of American privateers fur violating neu- 

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

Apolofv for the American privateers. 

From the Committee of Foreign iVffairs to the Com- 
missioners. Philadelphia, August 7th, 1777, - 315 

Military operations. — Loss of Ticondcroga. 

To Count de Vergennes. Versailles, August 12th, 

1777, ^ - - 317 

Arrest of Mr Hodge. 

Messrs Franklin and Deane's Contract with ]M. 

Holker, 318 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, Sth 

September, 1777, - - - - - 319 

Mr Lee's return from Berlin.— Disposition of Prussia. — 
England and France ecjually averse to begin liosiili- 
ties. — English funds losing credit on the Conti- 
nent. — English trade in French bottoms. 

From the Comtnittee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Yorktown, 6th October, 1777, - 323 

Military operations. — Burgoyne ; Fort Schuyler; Ben- 
nington. — Middle Department; Brandywine; Howe 
enters Philadelphia ; CJertnantown. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Yorktown, Gili October, 1777, - 330 

DilTiculty of raising money by appropriation of vacant 
land. — Loan of twenty millions. 



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

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

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. Yorktovvn, 18th October, 1777, - 336 

Military operations. — British property in French bot- 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, 31st October, 1777, - - 338 

Surrender of Burgoyne. — Attack on Red Bank. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, 8th November, 1777, - - 340 

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

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

Remit supplies. — Capture of neutral vessels by Ameri- 
can privateers. — King of England's Speech. — Oppo- 
sition in Parliament. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, 1st December, 1777, - - 34G 

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

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, 2d December, 1777, - - 349 

Military operations. — Confederation passed by Con- 
gress ; submitted to the States. — Expenditures. — 
Emission of paper money. — Unfavorable position of 
American commerce. — An expedition to the East In- 
dia seas proposed. 

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

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

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, 12th January, 1778, - - 359 

Loss of the despatches by Folgcr. 

To John PaulJones. Paris, 16th January, 1778, 361 

Instructions for a cruise in the Ranger. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, 21st January, 1778, - - 362 

Military operations. 

CONTENTS. xxiii 


To the President of Congress. Passy, February 

8th, 1778, 364 

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

To the Committee of Foreign Ajffairs. Passy, Feb- 
ruary IGih, 1778, - - - _ _ 3GG 

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

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, Feb- 
ruary 28th, 1778, 3G9 

Lord North's plan of conciliation. — Its insidious char- 
acter. — .\dvise the occupation of the Bermudas ; and 
reduction of English fishing ports in and near New- 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William 

Bingham. York, March 2d, 1778, - - 372 


M. Gerard to the Commissioners. Versailles, IMarch 

17th, 1778, --___. 374 

Announces that the king will receive them. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, March 24th, 1778, - - 375 

Effect of depreciation of currency. 

To M. Dumas. Paris, April lOih, 1778, - - 37G 

Enclosinjf a draught of a letter to the Grand Pen- 

Draught of a proposed letter from the Commission- 
ers to the Grand Pensionary, - - - _ 377 

-Announcing the trcatv with France. 

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

Arrival of .Mr Adams to succeed Mr Deanc. — Request 
his opinion on the propriety ofsendin? a Minister to 

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

Commercial. • 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William 
Bingham at Martinique. York, April IGth, 
1778, --.-... 3S0 

Commercial Board. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, April IGth, 1778, - - .382 

M. de Sartine to Count de Vergennes. Versailles, 
April 2Gth, 1778, - - - . - 382 

Protection of Commerce in the Frciw h seas. 


From the Committee of Foreign Afflurs to William 
Bingliam. York, April 2Gth, 1778, - - 384 

Governor Tiyon. — Forged resolve of Congress. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, April 30th, 1778, - - 385 
To M. Dumas. Yorktovvn, May 14th, 1778, - 386 

Holland grants convoys against tlie British. 

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


From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, May 14th, 1778, - - 388 

Favorable situation of afl'airs. — Lord North's concilia- 
tory bi!! circulated in the country. — Referred to a 
committee in Congress. — Their report. — Objections 
to the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty with 

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

English prisoners brought into France. — General prin- 
ciple as to a prisoner in a neutral country. 

From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, May 15th, 1778, - - 393 

Advising trade to America in French bottoms. — Objec- 
tions to the 12tli article of the treaty. — Contract 
signed by the Commercial Committee with the 
agent of Beaumarchais. 

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

1778, 396 

The Boston frigate. 

To M. de Sartine. Passy, May l6th, 1778, - 396 

Requesting the grant of a frigate to Besmarine, Rain- 
beau &i Co. 

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

Revoking powers formerly granted him. 

To M. de Sartine. Passy, June 3d, 1 778, - - 398 

Requesting regulations in respect of duties to be paid 
on supplies to ships of war. — Prized of the Ran- 

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

Lieutenant Simpson's parole. 

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

Exchange of English and American prisoners. 

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

Instructing him to set sail for America. 

From the Committee of Foreigin Affairs to the Com- 
missioners. York, June 21st, 177S, - - 402 

Propositions of the British Coinmissicners, 

M. de Sariine to the Commissioners. Versailles, 

July 14th, 1778, ------ 403 

Supplies for St Pierre and IVIiquelon. 

To M. de Sariine. Passy, July lOth, 1778, - 404 

British prisoners in France. 

To the Council of the AJassachusetts Bay. Passy, 

July iGth, 1778, - . - _ . 405 

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

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

Communicating a resolve of Congress relative to 

To the President of Congress. Passv, July 20th, 

177S, - - - - '_ '. - 407 

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

The Functions of Consuls, _ - _ _ 410 

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

1778, - - ^- - - - - 412 

Intention of the British Cabinet to acknowledge our 
independence, on condition of a separate treaty. — 
Declaration of <Ip Vergennes, that war is actually 
e.\ibtiiig between France and England. 

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

1778, - - 413 

Rpcommrnding Mr Livingston. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, July 

29th, 1778, - . - - .. - 413 

M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, 

July 29ih, 1778, 414 

Obstructions to the sale of prizts in France cease. 

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

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

John Paul Jones to tl;e Commissioners. Brest, 
August loth, 1778, - - - - - 417 

Complains of injurious reports — Demands redress hy 
court martial. 

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

Regulations for prises and prisoners. 
VOL. I. D 


ToM. de Sartiiie. Passy, August 18th, 1778, 425 

Commissioners express themselves satisfied with the 

John Paul Jones to Abraham Whipple. Brest, 

August ISth, 1778, 426 

Requesting a trial of Lieutenant Simpson by court 

Abraham Whipple to John Paul Jones. Brest, 
August 19lh, 1778, _ . - . . 426 

Declines summouing^ a court martial. 

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

On the court martial. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passv, August 2Sth, 

1778, - - - -' - - - 428 

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

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

Declaration of the American Commissioners, annul- 
ling the Eleventh and Tweli'th Articles of the same 
Treaty, 433 

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

1778, - - 434 

Property of the Therese. — Accounts of Hortalez k. Co. 

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

Recapture of a French vessel. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, September 10th, 

1778, 436 

Received powers to settle with Hortalez &, Co. — Re- 
quest information as to that house. — .\1. Francy. 

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

Rights of recaplors. 

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

Principles of the law of recapture. — Case of the Isa- 

To the President of Congress., September 

17th, 1778, - - - '- - - 444 

All E'lropean powers arming. — Administer the oath of 
allegiance. — Necessity of meajures for identifying 
American property abroad. — American prisoners 
escaped from England. 



M, Neckej- to the Count de Vergennes. Paris, 

September ISth, 177S, - - - - 449 

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

To the American Prisoners in Plymouth, or else- 
where in Great Britain. Passy, September 20th, 
177S, - - - ■- - - - 450 

Promisinj^ an exchange. — Discouraging attempts to 

M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, 

September 21st, 1778, . , , _ 455 

Laws of recapture in the States!. — Importance of uni- 
formity. — Case of the Isabella. 

M. de Sariine to Count de Vergennes. Versailles, 

September 21st, 177S, _ . _ . 453 

Moiliaiion of France with the Barbary powers in favor 
i)f .Vmerica. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, September 

22d, 177S, - 455 

Introducing Mr Jonathan Loring Austin. 

E. T. Van Berckel to M. Dumas. Amsterdam, 
September 23d, 1778, - - - _ _ 455 

Enclosing the declaration of the Burgomasters of .\m- 

Declaration of E. T. Van Berckel. Amsterdam, 

September 23d, 1778, - - - . 457 

Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Ver- 
sailles, Septeinber 24th, 1778, - - - 453 

Americans returning through France. 

To William Lee. Passy, September 26th, 1778, 453 

Project of a treaty with Holland. 

To Ralph Izard. Passy, September 26th, 1778, 459 
To Count de Vergennes. Passy, September 26th, 

1*'8, 460 

Acknowledge the receipt of a letter of the 24ih, rela- 
tive to the effects of Americans returning home 
through France. — Also of the 2.5th, relative to Mr 
Izard's goods. 

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

Mr Izard's baggage taken in an English vessel. 

Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Ver- 
sailles, September 27th, 1778, - . . 462 

Interposition of France with the Barbary powers. 

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

The vessel recaptured by Captain McNeil. 



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

Relative to a treaty with Holland. 

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

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, October 1st, 

1778, 465 

Intercourse with the Barbarv powers. 

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

M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, 

October 7th, 1778, 467 

Mr Izard's elTects. 

The Ambassador of Naples to the Commissioners. 
Paris, October 8th, 1 778, - - - - 469 

Ports of Naples remain open for American vessels. 

To the Ambassador of Naples. Passy, October 

9th, 1778, - 469 

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

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

Mr Izard's effects. — American seamen in the British 

From James Lovell to the Commissioners. Phila- 
delphia, October 12th, 1778, _ - _ 474 
To Ralph Izard. Passv, October 13th, 1778, - 474 
To M. de Sartine. Passy, October 13th, 1778, 475 
To the Americans taken on board the English 
frigates. Passy, October 15th, 1778, - - 475 

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

To M. Dumas. Passy, October 16tb, 1778, - 476 

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

]V1. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Marly, Octo- 
ber 19th, 1778, - 478 

Mr Izard's effects. 

To Ralph Izard. Passy, October 22d, 1778, - 479 
M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Marly, Octo- 
ber 26th, 1778, 479 

Surrender of American seamen captured in British 
sliips. — Of American prisoners in general. 

M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, October 

27th, 1778, 480 

Memorial of the merchants of Amsterdam. — Reply of 


Lord Suflblk to representations of the States of Hol- 
Ifind. — Opinion of the city of Amsterdam. 

To E. T. Van Berckel, Burgomaster of Amster- 
dam. Passy, October 29tli, 1778, - - 483 

Proposing an interview at Aix-la.Chapelie. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, October 29th, 1 778, 483 

On the Eleventh and Twelfth articles of the Treaty. 

Count de Vergennes to the Commissioners. Ver- 
sailles, October 30th, 1778, - - - - 484 

On Arrangement w ith the Barbary Powers. 

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

Thanking him for the liberation of fonr American pris- 
oners. — English whale fishery on the coast of Bra- 
zil. — Vessels manned by American seamen. — Ex- 
posed state of the ships. — Mr Lee refuses to sign the 

Count de Vergennes to tiie Commissioners. Ver- 
sailles, Ociobt-'r 31st, 1778, .... 487 

Fixing the day for interchange of declarations annul- 
ling the Eleventh and Twelfth articles of the Treaty. 

JM. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, Novem- 
ber 4th, 1778, - 488 

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

To M. de Sartine. Passy, November 1 5th, 1 778, 490 

Succors to American prisoners. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, November 
7th, 1773, ---,-._ 491 

Enclosing declaration concerning the Eleventh and 
Twelfth articles of the treaty ; also correspondence 
with M. de Sartine on recaptures ; on the negotia- 
tion with Barbary States. — [merest on loan oftice 
certificates. — Disposition of England, of Prussia, 
Russia, Holland. — Preparations in Spain. 

M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, Novem- 
ber 10th, 1778, ------ 493 

Pioceedings in Holland. 

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

M. de Fleury, in the American service, piisoner at St. 

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

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

M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, Novem- 
ber 13ih, 1778, 497 

Project to grant a convoy for naval stores. — King of 
France declares his expectations. 
VOL. I. E 

M. de Sartine to the Commissioners. Versailles, 

November 14th, 1778, - - - - 498 

American prisoners in France. 

M. Dumas to the Commissioners. Hague, Novem- 
ber 20th, 1778, ----- 499 

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

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

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

ToM. de Sartine. Passy, January 2d, 1779, - 507 

American i)risoners in France. 

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

American prisoners in France. — English prisoners. 

To William Lee, at Frankfort. Passy, January 

13th, 1779, - - - - - - 509 

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

1779, _._--- _ 509 

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

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, February 9th, 

1779, - 511 

Recaptures of French ships by Americans. 

To M. Schvveighauser. Passy, February 1 0th, 

1779, 513 

Plate returned by Captain Jones to the Countess of 

To John Paul Jones. Passy, February 10th, 

1779, ------- 513 

>JoTK. — The French money, so often mentioned in this and the 
succeeding volumes, is reckoned in livres, sols, and denieis. Thus, 
85,706/. 16s. 3d. or 85,706. 16. 3. indicates 85,706 livres, 16 sols, 
3 deniers. In reducing this money to American currency, five livres 
and eight sols were allowed to the dollar. 





Silas Deane was born in the town of Groton, Connec- 
ticut, and graduated at Yale College in 1758. He was a 
member from his native colony of tlie first Congress tliat 
met in Pliiladelphia. Early in the year 1776 tlie Com- 
mittee of Secret Correspondence commissioned him to go 
to France, as a political and commercial agent. He was 
instructed to ascertain the disposition of tlie French Court, 
in regard to die contest between Great Britain and die Col- 
onies, and to procure if possible supplies of arms and mil- 
itary stores. Having arrived at Pans in June, he immedi- 
ately applied himself to execute his instructions, and was 
successful in obtaining the main objects for which he was 

In September three Commissioners were appointed by 
Congress to negotiate treaties with foreign powers, and par- 
ticularly with the Court of France. The persons chosen 
were Dr Franklin, Silas Deane and Ardiur Lee. They all 
met at Paris in December, and continued to procure sup- 
plies of money and arms for the United States ; till at 
length they signed the treaties of alliance and commerce 
with France, February 6th, 177S. Meantime Deane had 
been recalled on the 21st of November preceding. Of 
this he received the intelligence in !March following, and 
left Paris April 1st to join Count d'Estaing's fleet at Tou- 
lon, in which he came to America. 

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

In the spring of 1780 he returned to France, where he 
remained more than a year in reduced circumstances, at- 
tempting to settle his accounts. He exhibited large claims 
against Congress, which do not appear to have been al- 
lowed. In March, 17S2, he was living in Ghent. After 
the peace he went to England, where he died in August 





Philadelphia, March 3cl, 1776. 

On your arrival in France, you will for some time be en- 
gaged in the business of providing goods for the Indian trade. 
This will give good countenance to your appearing in the 
character of a merchant, which we wish you continually to 
retain among the French, in general, it being probable that 

* On the 29th November, 1775 a committee was appointed by Con- 
gress, which was called the Commitlee of Secret Correspondence, and con- 
sisted of five persons. The first members chosen were Harrison, 
Franklin, Johnson, Dickinson and Jay. The purpose of the committee 
was to correspond with the friends of the Colonies in Great Britain, 
Ireland, and other parts of the world, and communicate their correspon- 
dence to Congress when required . Provision was made for defraying 
expenses, and paying such agents as the committee might send on this 

There was another standing Secret Commillee of Congress, first insti- 
tuted September 18th, 1775, and empowered to purchase arras, ammu- 
nition and military stores, and also to export various articles to meet 
the charges of such purchases abroad. But this committee had no 
connexion with that of secret correspondence. It was dissolved, July 
5th. 1777. when the Committee of Commerce was appointed in its stead 


the court of France may not like it should be known pub- 
licly, that any agent from the Colonies is in that country. 
When you come to Paris, by delivering Dr Franklin's let- 
ters to Monsieur Le Roy at the Louvre, and M. Dubourg, 
you will be introduced to a set of acquaintance, all friends 
to the Americans. By conversing with them, you will have 
a good opportunity of acquiring Parisian French, and you 
will find in M. Dubourg, a man prudent, faithful, secret, 
intelligent in affairs, and capable of giving you very sage 

It is scarce necessary to pretend any other business at 
Paris, than the gratifying of that curiosity, which draws 
numbers thither yearly, merely to see so famous a city. 
With the assistance of Monsieur Dubourg, who under- 
stands English, you will be able to make immediate appli- 
cation to Monsieur de Vergennes, Ministre des Affaires 
Etrangeres, either personally or by letter, if M. Dubourg 
adopts diat method, acquainting him that you are in 
France upon business of the American Congress, in the 
character of a merchant, having something to communicate 
to him, that may be mutually beneficial to France and 
the North American Colonies ; that you request an audi- 
ence of him, and that he would be pleased to appoint the 
time and place. At this audience if agreed to, it may be 
well to show him first your letter of credence, and then 
acquaint him that the Congress, finding Uiat in the common 
course of commerce, it was not practicable to furnish the 
continent of America with the quantity of arms and ammu- 
nition necessary for its defence, (the Ministry of Great 
Britain having been extremely industrious to prevent it,) 
you had been despatched by their authority to apply to some 
European power for a supply. That France had been 


pitched on for the first application, from an opinion, that if 
we should, as there is a great appearance we shall, come to 
a total separation from Great Britain, France would be 
looked upon as the power, whose friendship it would be 
fittest for us to obtain and cultivate. That the commercial 
advantages Britain had enjoyed with die Colonies, had con- 
tributed gready to her late wealth, and importance. That 
it is likely great part of our commerce will naturally fall to 
tlie share of France ; especially if she favors us in this ap- 
plication, as that will be a means of gaining and securing 
the friendship of the Colonies ; and that as pur trade was 
rapidly increasing with our increase of people, and in a 
greater proportion, her part of it will be extremely valuable. 
That the supply we at present want, is clothing and arms for 
twenty five thousand men with a suitable quantity of ammu- 
nition, and one hundred field pieces. That we mean to 
pay for the same by remittances to France or through 
Spain, Portugal, or tlie French Islands, as soon as our nav- 
igation can be protected by ourselves or friends j and that 
we besides want great quantities of linens and woollens, with 
other articles for the Indian trade, which you are now actu- 
ally purchasing, and for which you ask no credit, and that 
die whole, if France should grant the other supplies, would 
make a cargo which it might be well to secure by a con- 
voy of two or three ships of war. 

If you should find M. de Vergennes reserved, and not 
inclined to enter into free conversation with you, it may be 
well to shorten your visit, request him to consider what you 
have proposed, acquaint him widi your place of lodging, 
that you may yet stay sometime at Paris, and that knowing 
how precious his time is, you do not presume to ask an- 
other audience, but that if he should have any commands 


for you, you will upon the least notice immediately wait 
upon him. If, at a future conference he should be more 
free, and you find a disposition to favor the Colonies, it may 
be proper to acquaint him, that they must necessarily be 
anxious to know the disposition of France, on certain points, 
which, with his permission, you would mention, such as 
whether if the Colonies should be forced to form themselves 
into an independent state, France would probably acknowl- 
edge them as such, receive their ambassadors, enter into 
any treaty or alliance with them, for commerce or defence, 
or both ■? If so, on what principal conditions ? Intimating 
that you shall speedily have an opportunity of sending to 
America, if you do not immediately return, and that he 
may be assured of your fidelity and secrecy in transmit- 
ting carefully anything he would wish conveyed to the 
Congress on tliat subject. In subsequent conversations, 
you may, as you find it convenient, enlarge on these top- 
ics, that have been the subjects of our conferences, with 
you, to which you may occasionally add the well known 
substantial answers, we usually give to the several calum- 
nies thrown out against us. If these supplies on the credit 
of the Congress should be refused, you are then to endeavor 
the obtaining a permission of purchasing those articles, or 
as much of them as you can find credit for. You will keep 
a daily journal of all your material transactions, and par- 
ticularly of what passess in your conversation with great 
personages ; and you will by every safe opportunity, fur- 
nish us with such information as may be important. When 
your business in France admits of it, it may be well to go 
into Holland, and visit our agent there, M. Dumas, confer- 
ring with him on subjects that may promote our interest, 
and on the means of communication. 

Diri.DMATIC CdRUKSCoNDr.Nrr.. ij 

Yon will endeavor to procure a meeting with Mr Han- 
croft by writing a letter to him, under cover to INIr Grifihhs 
at Turnham Green, near London, and desiring him to come 
over to you, in France or Holland, on the score of old ac- 
quaintance. From him you may obtain a good deal of 
information of what is now going forward in England, and 
settle a mode of continuing a correspondence. It may be 
well to remit him a small bill to defray his expenses in 
coming to you, and avoid all political matters in your 
letter to him. You will also endeavor to correspond with 
Mr Arthur Lee, agent of the Colonies in Ix)ndon. You 
will endeavor to obtain acquaintance with M. Gamier, late 
Charge da Affaires de France en Angleterre, if now in 
France, or if returned to England, a correspondence with 
him, as a person extremely intelligent and friendly to our 
cause. From him, you may learn many particulars occa- 
sionally, that will be useful to us. 


Paris, August l^lli, 177*1. 

I wrote you everv inaterial occurrence to the time of my 
leaving Bordeaux, and sent duplicates by Captains Palmer, 
Bunker, and Seaver, one of which you will undoubtedly 
vol,. !. 2. 


have received, before this comes to hand. I left that city 
on the last of June, and arrived here the Saturday follow- 
ing, having carefully attended to every thing in the manu- 
facturing or commercial towns in my way, which, indeed, 
are neither numerous nor of great consequence. 1 spent at 
Angouleme a day in viewing what, as to manufactures alone, 
deserves attention on the journey ; the foundery for cannon, 
where the greatest part of those used in the kingdom are 
manufactured. The cannon are cast solid, after which they 
are put as in a turner's lathe, and bored out, and the out- 
side smoothed and turned at pleasure ; they can bore and 
complete a twelve pounder in one day in each lathe, which 
takes four men only to work ; the workmen freely showed 
me every part of their furnace and foundery. On Monday 
after my arrival, I waited on my bankers, and found that 
Mr Bancroft had arrived the same day with me, JMr Thom- 
as Morris and M. Venzonals about ten days before. I 
waited on i\i. Dubourg and delivered him Dr Franklin's 
letter, which gave the good gentleman the most sincere and 
real pleasure. 

M. Penet, on his arrival in Paris, waited on M. Dubourg, 
showed him a copy of his contract with the committee of 
Congress, and told him he had letters from Dr Franklin to 
him, but had left them on the road, or at Rotterdam, through 
fear of a search ; he told I\I. Dubourg, to whom he was a 
perfect stranger, so many particular circumstances, that he 
could not doubt of his sincerity, and in consequence he 
embarked in his affairs to a large amount. Five or six 
weeks have now passed without the arrival of the letters 
said to be left on the road. Arms, powder, he. to a large 
sum were in readiness, vi^hen my arrival gave him confi- 
dence, that T would take the burden off him, as he doubted 


not that my credentials would be explicit. 1 saw imme- 
diately the arrangemeirt of the whole, and that M. Penct 
had returned to France, (copy of tlie contract excepted,) 
almost as empty handed as he came to Philadelphia, yet 
had found means to collect a very considerable quantity of 
stores, part of which he had actually shipped. This cir- 
cumstance gave me hopes, yet I found that it would now be 
expected I should become responsible for the articles, 
which embarrassed me much, since to detain them would 
be quite disagreeable, and to step out of my own line and 
involve myself with Messrs Plairno and Penet's contract, 
would be equally so. 

M. Penet had somehow got intelligence of my being in 
France, and that I was expected at Paris ; lie, therefore, 
waited for me, and I saw him the next day at my hotel, 
when he complained of want of remittances, and desired 
me to pledge my credit for the stores, which 1 waived in 
the best manner I could, for I saw the consequences mighi 
involve me in many difficulties, and frustrate my greater 
designs. I, therefore, told him 1 would certify to the 
merchants, if necessary, that ihe Congress would pay for 
whatever stores they would credit iliem with, and in the 
mean time, advised him to proceed strictly agreeable to the 
letter of the contract, and I was positive that the Congress 
would fulfil their part of it. 1 finally satisfied both him and 
]\I. Dubourg, and he parted for Nantes to ship the goods 
the next day. I must do him the justice that is his due ; 
he has been indefatigable in the business, his heart seems 
to be entirely in it, and 1 believe him honcsi, but his con- 
nexions either commercial or political arc not, of them- 
selves, equal to such an undertaking, but the cause he was 
employed in, bad, in a great measure, 1 found, supplied this 
deficiency, which was to me a favorable appearance. 

12 S[LAS DEAiNi; 

M. Dubouig told me that the ministers would not see 
me, as they meant to be quite secret in any countenance 
they gave the United Colonies, and that my arrival in 
France was already known in London, in consequence of 
which Lord Stormont arrived express but a few days before, 
and had applied to the court on the subject. 1 showed him 
my commission, and told him I was determined to apply ; 
for every circumstance, in my opinion, was favorable instead 
of otherwise. On this he wrote a letter to Count de Ver- 
gennes, asking liberty to introduce me the Thursday follow- 
ing, on which day I went to Versailles, and though the let- 
ter had not been delivered to his excellency, yet he gave us 
immediate admission. Fortimately his chief secretary 
spoke English well, by which means 1 had an opportunity^ 
of conversing freely with him on the subject of my com- 
mission for two hours, and was attentively and favorably 
heard by him, and was asked many questions, which shows 
that the American disputes had been, and still were a princi- 
pal object of attention. I pursued nearly the line marked out 
by my instructions, stating the importance of the American 
commerce and the advantages Great Britain had received 
from a monopoly of it. That all intercourse ceasing between 
the two countries the Colonies had considered where they 
might dispose of that produce, which they necessarily had 
so large a surplus of, and receive for their raw or first ma- 
terials the various manufactures they wanted. That they 
first turned their eyes on France, as the best country in 
Europe for them to be connected with in commerce. 
That I was purchasing a large quantity of manufactures for 
which I expected to pay the money, and that I should want 
a quantity of military stores, for which remittances would 
!)e made. Thai ] doubled not the Colonies had bel()re 

DirLo.MATic coiuu;sroM)i:Nct: i^j 

this declared independency, and that 1 should soon receive 
instructions in consequence, more full and explicit ; that in 
the mean lime they were very anxious to know how such a 
declaration would be received by the powers in Europe, 
particularly by France, and whether, in such case, an am- 
bassador would be received from them, Sec. 

To which he replied, that the importance of the Ameri- 
can commerce was well known, and that no country could 
so well supply the Colonies, and in return receive their pro- 
duce as France ; it was, therefore, the interest of both to 
have the most free and uninterrupted intercourse, for which 
reason the court had ordered ilieir ports to be kej)t open, 
and equally free to America, as to Britain. That, con- 
sidering the good understanding between the two courts of 
Versailles and London, they could not openly encourage the 
shipping of warlike stores, but no obstruction of any kind 
would be given ; if there should, as the custom houses 
were not fully in their secrets in this matter, such obstruc- 
tions should be removed, on the first application. That 1 
must consider myself perfectly free to carry on any kind of 
commerce in the kingdom, which any subject of any other 
state in the world might, as the court had resolved their 
ports should be equally free to both parties. That I was 
under his immediate protection, and should 1 meet with any 
difficulty, either from their police, with the rules of which 
he supposed me unacquainlcd, or from any other (piarler, 
I had but to apply to him and every thing should be settled. 
That as to independency, it was an event in the womb of 
time, and it would be highly improper for him to say any 
thing on that subjoci, until it had actually taken place ; mean 
time he informed me, that the liritish ambassador knew ol 
my arrival, and therefore Mdvisud nu' not to associate with 

^►^^\\^^ :v\ 


Ei)glis)imen, more than I was from necessity obliged; as he 
doubted not I should have many spies on my conduct. 

I then told him the precautions 1 had taken and should 
persevere in, in coming from Bermuda, and that I did not 
mean in public to pass for other than a merchant from that 
island, on speculation, during the present cessation of com- 
merce in America ; but at the same time I told his excellen- 
cy, that I was well assured it was known in London, that I 
was coming long before I arrived at Paris, and I doubted 
not, they conjectured my errand, but at the same time, I 
should take every precaution in my power ; and most sin- 
cerely thanked him for his protection and assistance so gen- 
erously offered, which he might depend I would never 
abuse. He was pleased with my having come by Bermu- 
da, and passing as an inhabitant of that island, and said, if 
questioned, he should speak of me in that character. He 
then asked me many questions with respect to the Colonies, 
but what he seemed most to want to be assured of, was their 
ability to subsist without their fisheries, and under the inter- 
ruption of their commerce. To this 1 replied, in this man- 
ner, that the fisheries were never carried on, but by a part 
of the Colonies, and by them, not so much as a means of sub- 
sistence, as of commerce. That the fishery failing, those 
formerly employed in them turned part to agriculture, and 
part to the army and navy. That our commerce must for 
sometime be in a great measure suspended, but that the 
greater part of our importations were far from Ijeing neces- 
saries of life, consequently we should not suffer under the 
want of them, whilst it was not wealth or luxuries that we 
were contending for. That our commerce ceasing, it would 
be out of the power of our enemies to s^upport themselves on 
our plunder, and on the other hand, our sJiips, as j)rivateers, 


might harrass iheir coinnicrce, without a possibility of their 
retaliating. That 1 hoped to see a considerable marine 
force in the Colonies, and that, joined to the impossibility of 
Britain's guarding so extensive a coast, would preserve some 
of our commerce, un(il it should be thought an object de- 
serving the protection of other powers. 

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

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

1«; SILAS nr.ANF. 

replied, that the people and their cause were very respect- 
able in the eyes of all disinterested persons, and that the 
interview had been agreeable. 

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

The next day I had a fresh conference with M. Dubourg, 
who brought me a number of memorials from officers and 
engineers offering iheir services in America; some of 


whom, I believe, deserve llie utmost encouragement ; but 
more of this hereafter. While I was casting in my mind, how 
best to improve the present favorable crisis for supplying the 
Colonies, JMonsieur Beaumarchais made proposals for pro- 
curing whatever should be wanted, but in such a manner as 
was understood by ^I. Dubourg to amount to- a monopoly, 
which indeed was not his only objection, for Monsieur 
Beaumarchais, though confessedly a man of abilities, had 
always been a man of pleasure and never of business ; but 
as he was recommended by Count Vergennes, I\I. Dubourg 
could not avoid noticing him, but immediately expostulated 
with the Count in a letter, which brougiit on embarrassments 
no way favorable, and I saw that M. Dubourg was so far 
from sounding the views of his superior in this manoeuvre, 
that he was, with the best intentions in the world, in dan- 
ger of counteracting his own wishes, the extent of which 
were, to obtain the supplies of merchants and manufactur- 
ers on the credit of the Colonies, in which the strictest 
punctuality and most scrupulous exactness would be neces- 
sary, and which under the present difficulties of remittance, 
I feared would not be lived up to. 

As 1 had learned, that in the late reform of the French 
army, they had shifted their arms for those of a lighter kind, 
the heavy ones, most of whicii were the same as new, to the 
amount of seventy or eighty thousands, lay useless in mag- 
azines, with other military stores, in some such proportion, 
I apprehended it no way impossible to come at a supply 
from hence, through the agency of some merchant, without 
the ministry being concerned in the matter. In such case 
the merchant would be accountable to the ministry, and the 
Colonies to the merchant, by which means a greater time 
of payment might be given, and more allowance in case of 

VOL. I. 3 


our being disappointed. With this in view f went to Ver- 
sailles on Wednesday, the 17th, and waited on M. Gerard, 
first secretary of foreign affairs, and presented to him the 
enclosed memorial, * which led to a very particular conver- 
sation on the affairs of America, and which I turned finally 
on this subject, to which he would not then give me 
any immediate answer, but promised me one in a day or 
two. Returning to town, I found Messrs Dubourg and 
Beaumarchais had a misunderstanding, the latter giving out 
that he could effect every thing we wished for, and the 
former, from the known circumstances of M. Beaumarchais, 
and his known carelessness in money matters, suspecting he 
could procure nothing, and the more so as he promised so 
largely. They parted much displeased with each other, 
and Mons. Beaumarchais went directly to Versailles. On 
M. Dubourg's coming and informing me what had passed, 
I immediately wrote to M. Gerard the enclosed letter, * and 
in return was desired to come with M. Dubourg the next 
morning to Versailles. 

We went as desired, and after explaining many things to 
M. Gerard, had a conference with his excellency, from 
whom I had fresh assurances of the utmost freedom and 
protection in their ports and on their coasts ; that in one 
word, I might rely on whatever Mons. Beaumarchais should 
engage in the commercial way of supplies, which, indeed, 
was all I wished for, as I was on the safe side of the ques- 
tion, viz. on the receiving part. I communicated to his 
excellency that clause of my instructions for procuring 
arms, he. of which he asked a copy. I then informed 
him, that I considered the present as a most critical junc- 
ture of American affairs, that the campaign would undoubt- 

* Missing. 


ediy be carried far into the winter, that supplies now ship- 
ped might arrive very seasonably in the fall to enable the 
Colonies to hold out the present campaign. He replied 
that no delay should be made by any obstruction of any 
officer, or others of the customs or police. He then told 
me that the Count Laureguais was, perhaps, a well mean- 
ing man, but not sufficiently discreet for such purposes as 
tliis ; that Mr Lee, meaning Mr Arthur Lee of London, 
had confided, he feared, too much in him, and wished me 
to caution him on the subject, and that if I would write to 
him, he would enclose it in a letter of his, by a courier 
that evening. I most readily embraced this safe way of 
corresponding, and sent a letter I had before written, with 
an addition on this subject, a copy of which is enclosed. I 
have tluis given you the heads of my negotiation to tiiis 
time, July 20th, and will not take up your time in making 
remarks on it, and the prospect before me, which are obvi- 
ous ; but inform you of the plan I mean to pursue, in the 
execution of my commission, and hint some methods, by 
which I think I may be enabled to complete every part of 
it to your satisfaction, and the relief of my country, which 
is all my wish, and the extent of my most ambitious hopes. 
I go on the supposition of an actual unconditional indepen- 
dency, without which litUe can be effected publicly ; with 
it, almost every thing we can wish for. 

It is by no means probable that Europe will long remain 
in a state of peace ; the disputes between Portugal and 
Spain are on the point of producing an open rupture ; the 
former relies on England ; the latter will look to this king- 
dom, and has already applied to this Court on the subject. 
Nothing but the division of Poland has taken the king of 
Prussia's attention off from the injustice done him by Great 


Britain, at the close of the last war. He has now com- 
pleted his part of that extraordinary work, and I am well 
informed, listens with pleasure to the dispute between the 
United Colonies and Great Britain. He is ambitious of 
becoming a maritime power, and is already in possession of 
the capital ports on the Baltic ; but without commerce it is 
impossible to effect the design, and no commerce can put 
him so directly in the road as the American. The con- 
sumption of coffee, sugar, and other West India pro- 
ductions, increases fast in the north of Europe, and it must 
be his interest, at least, to supply his own dominions. In 
case of a war in Europe, France, Spain and Prussia might 
be brought into one interest, and the emperor of Germany 
is too closely connected with his majesty of France to take 
part against them, after which Great Britain, having her 
whole force employed in America, there could be nothing 
on the one hand to prevent Spain and France from redu- 
cing Portugal to a submission to the former, nor from Prus- 
sia and France subduing and incorporating into their own 
dominions Hanover, and the other little mercenary electo- 
rates, which lie between them, and which for several cen- 
turies have been one principal cause of every war that has 
happened in Europe. 

With respect to Russia, it is as closely allied to Prussia, 
as to Great Britain, and may be expected to be master in 
the contest. Denmark and Sweden are a balance for each 
other, and opposites. Not to enlarge on this plan at present, 
I have only to suggest, that an application to the king of 
Prussia will do no harm, and may be attended with good 
and great consequences ; the Prussian ambassador at this 
court and at that of London may be sounded on the subject. 
But my powers and instructions arc so limited, that I can 


l)yno means lake such a step ; yet when I see Great Brit- 
ain exerting her whole force, and that of her allies, and 
courting every power in Europe to aid her, I can but wish 
she may be counteracted in her own system, and by ha\ ing 
employ found for her in Europe, bring her to leave America 
in peace, and I think myself bound in duty to hint at what to 
me seems the most probable means. Dr Bancroft was full 
vvidi me in this opinion. Mons. Chaumont, a very wealthy 
person, and intendant for providing clothes, &,c. &c, for the 
French army, has offered me a credit on account of the 
Colonies, to the amount of one million of livres, which I 
have accepted. I have in treaty another credit, which 
joined to this will purchase the articles directed in my 
instructions ; the credit will be until iMay next, before which 
I hope remittances will be made. I have purchased of said 
M. Chaumont a quantity of saltpetre at ten sous, or five 
and one fourtli per cent, in order that Captain Morgan 
might not return empty. 

As soon as I have given the orders for despatching him, 
and settled some other matters here, I design for Dunkirk 
to ship the Lidian goods, which I hope may arrive in season 
for tlie winter supply, though I leave you to consider my 
situation with only about G or 7000 pounds to complete a 
contract of forty, and the bills for my private expenses being 
protested, obliged to support myself out of that cajiital, which 
I labor to do with all the economy in my power. Dr Bim- 
croft is returnetl to London, and by him I wrote to IMons. 
Gamier, and agreed on a mode of correspondence. I think 
your remittances in armed vessels will be much the best 
method, and I have ordered Captain Morgan's sloop to be 
armed, anil should she arrive safe, recommend him, as one 
1 am confident will serve the Colonies with great zeal and 


fidelity ; and 1 have had some experience of the goodness 
of his temper and his abilities. Mr Seymour, his mate, is 
also deserving of encouragement, as a good seaman and of 
undaunted resolution. I am not without hopes of obtaining 
liberty for the armed vessels of the United Colonies to dis- 
pose of their prizes in the ports of this kingdom, and also 
for arming and fitting out vessels of war directly from hence, 
but I will not venture on this until 1 see what effect my last 
memoir may have ; the substance of which is, to shew the 
danger to France and Spain, if they permit Great Britain 
to keep so enormous a force in America, and to recover the 
dominion of the Colonies ; also how fully it is in their power 
to prevent it, and by that means deprive Great Britain of 
the principal source of her wealth and force, even without 
hazarding a war of any consequence in point of danger. 

This memoir, which takes several sheets, I am unable to 
send you a copy of, as I have no one to assist me, and 
must make out several copies for the persons to whom they 
are to be delivered. I was directed to apply for arms and 
clothes for 25,000 men, and for 100 field pieces, with ammu- 
nition and stores in proportion. This I wished to get of the 
ministry direct, but they evaded it, and I am now in treaty 
for procuring them, through the agency of Mons. Chau- 
mont and Mons. Beaumarchais, on a credit of eight months, 
from the time of their delivery. If I effect this, as I 
undoubtedly shall, I must rely on the remittances being 
made this fall and winter without fail, or the credit of the 
Colonies must suffer. If I can get the arms out of the 
magazines, and the field pieces here, I hope for a much lon- 
ger credit ; but if we send to Sweden for the brass cannon, 
the credit will not be lengdiened beyond that. Some new 
improvements have lately been made in this branch, conse- 


(jiiently the cannon now Jiianufactuied will be preferable lo 
those of former construction. Some engineers here assert, 
tliat iron is preferable to brass, that is, wrought iron, out of 
which tiic pieces may be made lighter, and to a better pur- 
pose. Considering the want of these pieces, and the plenty 
of iron in America, the experiment might, 1 think, be made 
without delay. I am still in hopes of procuring an admis- 
sion of the article of tobacco directly from America, but 
the Farmers-General will not offer equivalent to the risk. 

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

Merchants here would speculate deeply in the American 
trade, could tliey be insured at any premium within bounds. 
1 wish to know if offices are already open, and I would sug- 
gest that if the Congress would take the insurance under 
their own direction, it would give it such a proportionably 
greater credit, that supplies would most certainly be obtained 
in plenty. I shall be able to procure a private interview 
with the Spanish Ambassador, and shall present him my 



memorial, and am in a train, which 1 think will cany it quite 
to the fountain head. 

Thus T have in a minute, possihly a tedious detail, men- 
tioned every thing material on my mind, which has occur- 
red since my arrival, and submit the whole to the wisdom 
and candor of the honorable Congress, observing that 1 
had gone to the extent of my instructions, and though I 
have been successful beyond my expectations, yet I have 
but been laboring principally to set certain great wheels in 
motion, which still want something more decisive on my 
part, and I am confident of all that is wanting to set them so 
effectually moving, as to roll the burthen and calamities 
of war from our doors back with aggravated ruin on its 
authors, which, if I can be the means of eflecting, the world 
may bestow the rest of its honors on whom it pleases ; 1 
shall be contented, the extent of my most ambitious hopes 
thus accomplished. 

I have now to urge a survey witli respect to the contents 
of this letter ; more lliat is said in Congress transpires and 
crosses the Adantic, than you conceive of ; more than I can 
account for, widiout having uncharitable thoughts of individ- 
uals, still without fixing them on any one. I have written a 
short letter to Mr Jay on common alTairs, \ind have enclosed 
one to Mons. Longueville, which I pray may be forwarded ; 
the letter is from his friends here, who have heard of his 
being a prisoner somewhere in America. M. Dubourg has 
continued to render me every assistance in his power ; to be 
particular would swell this letter beyond all bounds ; his 
abilities and connexions are of the first style in Uiis king- 
dom, and his zeal for the cause of the United Colonies is to 
be described only by saying, that at times it is in danger 
of urging him beyond both ; in short, I am every way deeply 


indebted to him, personally for bringing me acquainted with 
agreeable persons of rank and character, and on account of 
my honored constituents, for assisting me to make such a 
favorable beginning and progress in my business. I know- 
not how affluent he may be, but as he has really for some 
time devoted himself to assist in this negociation, 1 am con- 
fident something honorable will be thought of for him. 1 
have complimented him by asking of him his portrait to be 
sent to his and my friends in America, in my private capa- 
city, mentioning our mutual friend Dr Franklin. This I 
found so agreeable, that I am confident some such distinc- 
tion would be more acceptable than more lucrative rewards. 
Dr B. took pains to collect all the political publications of 
the last year for me and brought them with him ; he was at 
considerable expense in his journey ; I sent him from Bor- 
deaux a bill of £30, and paid his expenses in my lodg- 
ings here ; at parting I desired him to keep an account, and 
when tlie money was expended to inform me. This gentle- 
man is certainly capable of giving as good, if not the best 
intelligence of any man in Great Britain, as he is closely 
connected with the most respectable of the minority in both 
houses, not particularly obnoxious to the majority, and for 
his abilities, they are too well known to Dr Franklin to need 
any attempt to do them justice in a letter. I am with the 
highest esteem and respect for the honorable Congress and 
their Committee of Secret Correspondence, &:c. 


August 1st. — Since writing the foregoing I have been at 
and am of opinion, that a war between Portugal 
and Spain is at the door, and I have had an interview propo- 
sed with the ambassador of Portugal, who resides here on 

VOL. I. 4 


commercial affairs, which 1 have most readily embraced, 
and expect to see him again on Wednesday next, after 
which I will write you further ; his proposals are merely 
commercial, as is his station, but something else may be 

August 2nd. — I should have sent this oil' earlier, but 
delayed on account of hearing something more directly ; 
if I might depend on certain articles for which I was in 
treaty, 1 am now assured I may, and the whole will be ready 
to ship in all the month of October. My next labor will 
be to obtain a convoy, which I do not despair of, though 
it is a delicate question, and I have only sounded at a dis- 
tance, yet I have no doubt of obtaining one, at least, off the 
coast of Europe, and the articles will be shipped as for the 
West India islands. I propose arming and well manning 
the vessels in which these articles shall be embarked, and I 
advise again the sending all remittances to Europe in armed 
vessels ; the probability of meeting with English merchants 
is well worth the risk. 1 hope that it will be considered 
that 100 field pieces, and arms, clothing and accoutrements, 
with military stores for 25,000 men, is a large affair ; and 
that although I am promised any credit, yet as they must be 
paid for, die sooner the better, if to be done without too 
great a risk. 

A considerable part of these articles arc now on hand, 
and orders are issued for the others by the contractors this 
day. I prefer Bordeaux to any other port for shipping them 
from, but the remittances must be made to several, on which 
I will give you my opinion in my next. A number of gen- 
tlemen of rank and fortune, who have seen service, and 
have good characters, are desirous of serving the United 


Colonics, and have applied ; pray let me have orders on 
this subject ; if it be politic to interest this kingdom in the 
present contest, what way so effectual as to get into their 
debt for supplies, and employ persons of good family and 
connexions in it, in our service ? 1 have given encourage- 
ment, on which some are prepared to en)bark. One Mons. 
C. a celebrated engineer, who was chief in that way in the 
Turkish army, is returned, and is willing to go to America, 
but the ministry caiinot as yet spare hira, as certain regu- 
lations are making elsewhere ; possibly he may go out some- 
time in the winter ; he is a first character in his profession 
and otherwise. Indeed, this contention has set on foot such 
a spirit of inquiry in Europe into the state of America, that 
I am convinced that at the first close of this war, if, as I 
trust in God, it will close in our favor, there will be an 
inundation of inhabitants from this side of the globe. Many 
persons of capital fortunes have declared to me their reso- 
lution of moving to America, as soon as the liberties of 
America shall be established, and that many of their friends 
will accompany them. « 

August l')f//. — I received from a friend at Amsterdam, a 
letter informing me that he would be with me on the iOtl),and 
as the vessel could not be sooner ready to sail, I determined 
not to risk this packet by a private hand, or by the public 
post ; he is now arrived and takes charge of it in person. 
Were it possible, I would attempt to paint to you the heart 
rending anxiety I have suffered in this time, through a total 
want of intelligence ; my arrival here, my name, my lodg- 
ings, and many other particulars have been reported to the 
British administration, on which they sent orders to the Brit- 
ish ambassador to remonstrate in high terms, and to enforce 


their remonstrances, despatched Wedderburn from London, 
and lord Rochford from Holland, as a person of great inter- 
est and address here to counteract me. They have been 
some time here, and the city swarms with Englishmen, and 
as money purchases every thing in this country, I have had 
and still have a most difficult task to avoid their machinations. 
Not a coffee-house or theatre, or other place of public diver- 
sion, but swarms with their emissaries; but knowing the min- 
istry are my friends, I attend these places as others, but cau- 
tiously avoid saying a word on American affairs any where, 
except in my own hotel or those of my intimate friends. . 

I have seen many more of the persons in power in this time, 
^nd had long conversations with them ; their intentions are 
good and they appear convinced, but there is wanting a 
great and daring genius at their head, which the Count 
Maurepas is very far from being ; he has even imbibed a 
notion, that no assistance is necessary, as the Colonies are 
too powerful for Great Britain. All eyes are turned on the 
Due de Choiseul. I am convinced the moment he comes 
into ofhce, an active, open, and will be 

taken. I think he will be minister very soon ; meantime I 
have nothing to complain of the 

Indeed they will not be ahered if he takes the lead. I find 
M. Beauraarchais, as I before hinted, possesses the en- 
tire confidence of the ministry ; he is a man of wit and 
genius, and a considerable writer on comic and political sub- 
jects ; all my supplies are to come through his hands, which 
at first greatly discouraged my friends, knowing him to be a 
person of no interest with the merchants, but had I been as 
doubtful as they, I could not have stepped aside from the 
path so cordially marked out for me by those I depend on. 
M. Coudray, the engineer I before hinted at, obtained liberty 


last week to go for America with as many engineers as ho 
should choose, and was not only assured of ]M. Beaumarchais 
being able to procure the stores he had stipulated for, but 
received orders for them, and liberty to take 200 pieces of 
brass cannon, lest part might be intercepted. ^I. Coudray 
has tbe character of tbe first engineer in the kingdom, and 
his manners and disposition will, I am confident, be biglily 
pleasing to you, as he is a plain, modest, active, sensible 
man, perfectly averse to frippery and parade. My friends 
here rejoice at the acquisition, and considering the cbarac- 
ter of the man, and at whose hands I in eflect received 
him, I must congratulate you on it. Several young gentle- 
men of fortune, whose families are nearly connected with 
the Court, are preparing to embark for America, by each 
of whom I shall without disguise, write you the char- 
acters they sustain here ; I have told them that merit is tlie 
sole object with the Congress. The bearer can give 
you some idea of the situation I am in, should this packet 
fail, and should he arrive with it he may explain some 
part of it. I am confident his attention to the affairs 
of America here will be considered by the Congress; I 
have found him in the mercantile way active and intelligent. 
Mr Carmichael is now with me from Maryland, and I find 
him a person of great merit. Respecting the Colonies he is 
recomnaended aj such by from whom he has 

received a letter but of no immediate importance ; he pro- 
poses seeing me here this month. M. Dumas has ivritten 
me two letters from the Hague, but so timid that he has not 
ventured to sign either, though he speaks in the highest 
terms of the American cause. The pamphlet called Cam- 
mon Sense has been translated, and has a greater run, if 
possible, here than in America. A person of distinction 


writing to his noble friend in office, has these words ; — " Je 
pease comme vous, mon cher Compte, que le Common 
Sense est une excellente ouvrage, at que son auteur est un 
des plus grands legislateurs des millions d'ecrivains, que 
nous connoissions ; il n' est pas douteux, que si les Ameri- 
cains suivent le beau plan, que leur compatriote leur a trace, 
ils deviendront la nation la plus florissante et la plus heu- 
reuse, qui ait jamais existe." 

Thus freely do men think and write in a country long 
since deprived of the essentials of liberty ; as I was favored 
with a sight of the letter, and permitted to make this extract, 
I thought it worth sending you as a key to the sentiments 
of some of the leading men. I must again remind you of 
ray situaUon here ; the bills designed for my use are pro- 
tested, and expenses rising fast in consequence of the busi- 
ness on my hands, which I may on no account neglect, and 
a small douceur, though I have been sparing in that way, is 
sometimes of the utmost importance. The quantity of 
stores to be shipped will amount to a large sum, the very 
charge on them will be great, for which I am the only 
responsible person. Five vessels arrived from America 
with fish, which is a prohibited ardcle, and the officers of 
the customs detained them, on which I was sent to and 
informed, that if those vessels came from the Congress to 
me, they should be permitted to unload and sell. Here 
was a difficulty indeed, for the Captain had not so much as 
applied to me by letter ; however, I assured die that 

there could be no doubt but they were designed for that 
use, and that the letters to me must have miscarried, on 
which orders were issued for unloading and storing those 
cargoes until further intelligence should arrive. 1 mention 
this case in confidence, and pray that in future some regu- 


latioii may bo inadc on this subject, and that vessels com- 
ing out may be directed to apply to mc as their agent or 
owner at least, and I will procure in the diflerent ports 
houses of known reputation to transact their business. 
This is absolutely necessary, for by diis means their arti- 
cles may be admitted. Tobacco may come in this way, 
and every other article. deeply indebted ostensibly 

to 31. Beaumarchais, he can obtain the liberty for the dis- 
charge of their debts. M. Coudray will see that the arti- 
cles of ammunition, cannon, &:c. are provided in the best 
manner for the army, and will embark himself by the 1st 
of October. 

I wrote you from Bermuda on the subject of seizing 
and fortifying that island. 1 am well informed the British 
ministry have iiad it in contemplation, and propose doing it 
next spring. Mr Warder, of Philadelphia, came a few 
days since from Bordeaux to Paris, and called on me with 
some young gentlemen from New England ; he brought 
letters from my good friends Messrs in consequence 

of letters to Uiem from Mr Alsop. I receiv^ed him as I do 
all ray countrymen, with real pleasure. A gendeman pres- 
ent warned him against conversing with a particular person 
in Paris, to which Mr W. seemed to agree, yet I am told 
he went directly from my hotel to that person, and informed 
him of every thing he heard mentioned, and of every per- 
son he saw visiting me ; happily he could inform nothing of 
any consequence ; for my chamber was full of a mixed 
company, and the conversation was general and in French 
and in English ; but this conduct of his, with his want of 
common complaisance in leaving the city without calling 
on me to receive any letters I might have for London, 
which he had promised to convey, has given me some 


uneasiness, and I mention tiie incident only as a caution 
how and what persons are recommended. The pleasure 
1 feel in seeing one of my countrymen is such, that I may 
be in as great danger from them as others, possibly much 
more. I should be unhappy if any suspicion should ope- 
rate to the prejudice of this person without cause, but my 
friends here, who are kindly attentive to every thing that is 
said or done which respects America, think very strange of 
his conduct. 

I rely on your indulgence for the length and incor- 
rectness of this letter. I have had much on my hands, 
and no one to assist me in copying, fee. Visits from per- 
sons to whom I cannot be denied, or visiting them, with con- 
stant applications made on various subjects, take up my morn- 
ings, and I have had only now and then an evening to write in. 

I have seen the prime agent, who proposed something in 
the way of supplying the Colonies with military stores from 
Prussia. I shall confer further on the subject with him 
and write you. I have drawn up a memorial on the com- 
merce of America, and its importance to Europe, and shall 
present it tomorrow to the different personages concerned. 
I shall send a copy, if I can get one made, by this convey- 
ance. The debt of the Colonies in carrying on the war 
is a common topic for ministerial writers, but permit me to 
assure you at the close of this long letter, that the demand 
for land in America, if its liberties are established, will more 
than compensate the whole expense. I will in a future let- 
ter be more explicit on this important subject, but am well 
convinced of the certainty of this fact, " that the advance 
in the price of lands in America, if the Colonies are victo- 
rious, will more than reimburse the expenses of the war." 
I have nothing material to add. Never were a people more 


anxious for news than the people of this kingdom arc for 
news from America, and surely you will put me down as 
one of the first in the roll of American heroes, when 
you consider my situation, plunging into very important 
engagements, which 1 can by no means avoid, yet without 
funds to support them. But I will not enlarge on this sub- 
ject, and only say, tliat I have met with every possible 
encouragement from every person I have seen, whether in 
or out of office, and I believe no person in the same space 
of time ever conferred with more of both. My being 
known to be an American, and supposed to be one of the 
Congress, and in business for the United Colonies, has intro- 
duced me beyond what almost any other recommenda- 
tion could have done, which 1 mention to convince you of 
the attention paid here to the cause of the United Colonies, 
and how very popular it has become in this country. 

I have repeatedly seen Mr Hopkins, formerly of Mary- 
land, now advanced to be a brigadier general in this ser\'ice ; 
he talks of coming out to America ; should the Due de 
Choiseul, who is his friend and patron, come into the lead 
of administration, he might come out to advantage. Insu- 
rance from London to Jamaica is 20 per cent. If a few of 
our cruizers should venture on this coast they might do 
very well, as they would find protection in tlie harbors of 
this kingdom. Coming ostensibly for the purpose only of 
commerce or otherwise, no questions would be asked, and 
they might wait until an opportunity offered (of which they 
might be minutely informed,) and then strike something to 
the purpose. I give this hint to individuals, rather than to 
the honorable Congress as a body. The bearer, Mr Mc 
Creary, has obliged me by copying my memoir, which 
I send herewith. It has had a great run among the rainis- 

VOL. I. .') 


ters of this and some other courts in a private way. M. 
Beaumarchais writes by this opportunity ; he has shown me 
his letter, and I have agreed in general to the contents, not 
understanding any exclusive privilege for his house. Every 
thing he says, writes, or does, is in reality the action of the 
ministry, for that a man should but a few months since con- 
fine himself from his creditors, and now on this occasion 
be able to advance half a million, is so extraordinary that 
it ceases to be a mystery. M. Coudray was not in the 
Turkish service as I was informed ; it was a gentleman 
who proposes accompanying him, but he is an officer of the 
first eminence, an adjutant general in the French service, 
and his prospects here of rising are exceeding good ; but 
he is dissatisfied with an idle life. His proposals in general 
have been, that he should be general of the artillery, and 
subject only to the orders of congress or their committee 
of war, or of their commander in chief of the army where 
he might be. In the next place, that he should rank as 
major general, and have the same wages, &;c. coming in as 
youngest major general for the present, and rising of course. 
Many other particulars are not yet adjusted, but consider- 
ing the importance of having two hundred pieces of brass 
cannon, with every necessary article for twenty five thou- 
sand men, provided with an able and experienced general 
at the head of it, warranted by the minister of this court to 
be an able and faithful man, with a number of fine and spir- 
ited young officers in his train, and all without advancing 
one shilling, is too tempting on object for me to hesitate 
about, though I own there is a silence in my instructions. 
I therefore honestly declare, I am at your mercy in this 
case, and I have no uneasiness of mind on the occasion, 
for should 1 be sacrificed, it will be in that cause to which 


I have devoted my life and every in it. The terms 

of M. Coudray may be thought high, but consider a per- 
son leaving a certain and permanent service and his native 
country, to go he hardly knows where, and it must be sup- 
posed lie will ask at least as good terms as he could have 
in his own country, but as the terms have not been particu- 
larly considered, I must defer any thing further on this sub- 
ject for tlie present, hourly In hopes of some explicit intel- 
ligence from the honorable Congress. You have the good 
wishes of every one here. Chevalier de Chastellier desires 
me this instant to write down his compliments to Dr Frank- 
lin, and with pleasure I say, the being known to be his 
friend, is one of the best recommendations a man can wish 
to have in France, and will introduce him when titles fail. 

S. D. 



Paris, August 18th, 1776. 

The respectful esteem that I bear towards that brave 
people, who so well defend their liberty under your conduct, 
has induced me to form a plan concurring in this great work, 
by establishing an extensive commercial house, solely for 
the purpose of serving you in Europe, there to supply you 
with necessaries of every sort, to furnish you expeditiously 
and certainly with all articles, clothes, linens, powder, 
ammjinition, muskets, cannon, or even gold for the pay- 
ment of your troops, and in generAl every thing that can be 
useful for the hf>norable war in which you are engaged. 


Your deputies, gentlemen, will find in me a sure friend, an 
asylum in my house, money in my colFers, and every means 
of facilitating their operations, whether of a public or 
secret nature. 1 will if possible remove all obstacles that 
may oppose your wishes, from the politics of Europe. 

At this very lime, and without waiting for any answer 
from you, I have procured for you about two hundred 
pieces of brass cannon, four pounders, which will be sent to 
you by the nearest way, 200,000 lbs of cannon powder, 
20,000 excellent fusils, some brass mortars, bombs, cannon 
balls, bayonets, platines, clothes, linens, &ic. for the clothing 
of your trooj)s, and lead for musket balls. An officer of 
the greatest merit for artillery and genius, accompanied by 
lieutenants, officers, artillerists, cannoniers, &ic. whom we 
think necessary for the service, will go for Philadelphia, 
even before you have received my first despatches. This 
gentleman is one of the greatest presents that my attach- 
ment can ofFer you. Your deputy, Mr Deane, agrees with 
me in the treatment which he thinks suitable to his office, 
and I have found the power of this deputy sufficient, that I 
should prevail with this officer to de[)art, under the sole 
engagement of the deputy respecting him, the terms of 
which I have not the least doubt but Congress will comply 
with. The secrecy necessary in some pari of the operation, 
which I have undertaken for your service, requires also, on 
your |)ari, a formal resolution, that all the vessels and their 
demands should be constanitly directed to our house alone, in 
order that there n)ay be no idle chattering or time lost — two 
things thatiirc the ruin of affiiirs. You will advise me what 
the vessels contain, which you shall send into our ports. I 
shall choose so much of their lourling, in retinn for what I 
have sent, as shall he suitable lo me, when I have not been 


able before Imiul to inform you of the cargoes uliicb 1 wish. 
I sliall facilitate to you the loading, sale, and disposal of the 
rest. For instance, five American vessels have just arrived 
in the port of Bordeaux, laden with salt fish ; though this 
merchandise coming from strangers is prohibited in our 
ports, yet as soon as your deputy had told me that these 
vessels were sent to him by you, to raise money from the 
sale for aiding him in his purchases in Europe, I took so 
much care that I secretly obtained from the Farmers-Gen- 
eral an order for landing it without any notice being taken 
of it. I could even, if the case had so happened, have taken 
upon my own account these cargoes of salted fish, though 
it is no way useful to me, and charged myself wilii its sale 
and disposal, to simplify the operation and lessen the embar- 
rassments of the merchants, and of your deputy. 

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

You very well understand that my commerce with you 
is carried on in Europe, that it is in the ports of Europe I 
make and take returns. However well bottomed my house 
may be, and liowovcr I may li;ivc appropriated many mil- 



lions to your trade alone, yet it would be impossible ibr me 
to support it. it" all the dangers of the sea, of exports and 
imports, were not entirely at your risk. Whenever you 
choose to receive my goods in an}' of our windward or lew- 
ard islands, you have only to inform nic o( it, and m)- cor- 
respondents shall be there according to } our orders, and 
then you shall have no augmentation of price, but of 
freight and insurance. But the risk of being taken' by 
your enemies, still remains with you, according to the 
declaration rendered incontestible by the measures I shall 
take by your deputy himself. This deputy should receive as 
soon as possible, full power and authority to accept what I 
shall deliver to him, to receive my accounts, examine them, 
make payments thereupon, or enter into engagements, 
which you shall be bound to ratify, as the head of that 
brave people to whom I am devoted ; in short, always to 
treat about your interests immediately with me. 

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

One thing can never vary or diminish ; it is the avowed 
and ardent desire I have of semng you to the utmost of my 
}X)wer. You will recollect my signature, that one of your 


firiends in Loodon some nme a.50 informed you of mv favor- 
able disposition towards jou, and mv attachment to your 
ioterest. Look upon my bouse then, gentlemen, from 
benceibnrard as the chief of all useful operations to you 
ia Europe, and my person as one of the roost zealous par- 
tisans of your cause, the soul of your success, and a man 
most deeply impressed with respectful ^teem, with which 
I hare the honor to be, 


P. S. I add here, to coiM^de, that every American ves- 
sd, though not immediately arroed or loaded by you, will 
be entitled to my good offices in this country ; but yours, 
pailicukrhr addressed to my house, will receive a particu- 
lar p re fe rence from me- I ought also to intimate lo vou, 
geotleinen, that from the nature of my connexion, it is to be 
wished yoa would use discretion, even m the accounts that 
you give to the general Congress. Every ihmg that passes 
in your great asembiies is known, I cannot tell bow, at 
tbe court of Great Britain. Some mdiscreet or perfidious 
citizen sends an exact account of your proceedinss to the 
palace of St James. In times of great exigency, Rome had 
a dictator ; and m a state of danger tbe more the execu- 
tire power b brought to a point, the more certain will be 
its e&ct, and there will be less to fear from indiscretion. 
It is to your wisdom, gentlemen, that I make this remark ; 
if it see m s to you just and weD planned, look upon it as a 
new mark of my ardor for your rising republic. 

R. H. AC CO. 

* Tbit sig M l ie ns asaned by M. Beasataichais for the pnpote of 



Paris, August 22(1, 1770. 

I was this morning informed of the arrival of ]\Ir Arthur 
Lee, r.nd that he would be in Paris tomorrow. This was 
surprising to me, as 1 knew of no particular afiair that might 
call him here, and considering the extreme jealousy of the 
British Ministry at tliis time, and that Mr Lee was the agent 
of the United Colonies in Great Britain, and known to be 
such, I could wish, unless he had received some particular 
intelligence from the United Colonies, that he had suspended 
his visit, as I know not otherwise liow he can serve me or 
my affairs, now (with the most grateful sense I mention it) 
in as favorable a course as die situation of the times will 

T have tiio honor to be, &i,c. 



Bordeaux, 17th September, 1776. 

Dear Sii-, 
1 shall send you in October clothing for 20,000 men, 
30,000 fusils, 100 tons of powder, 200 brass cannon, 24 
brass mortars, with shells, shot, lead, &c. in proportion. I 
am to advise you that if, in future, you will give commissions 
to seize Portuguese ships, you may depend on the friendship 
and alliance of Spain. Let me urge this measure j much 
may be got, nothing can be lost by it. Increase at all events 
your navy. I will procure, if coniinissioned, any (]uantity 


of sailclotli and cordage. A general war is undoubtedly at 
liand in Europe, and consequently America will be safe, if 
you baffle the arts and arms of the two Howes through the 
summer. Every one here is in your favor. Adieu. 1 
will write you again next week. 



Paris, September 30th, 1776. 

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

To solicit arms, clothing, and tents for thirty thousand 
men, two hundred brass cannon, mortars, and other stores 
in proportion, and to be destitute of one shilling of ready 
money, exclusive of the fund of forty thousand pounds orig- 
inally designed for other affairs, (which you know by the 
protests in London was my case) has left me in a critica' 
situation. To let slip such an opportunity for want of ready 
money would be unpardonable, and yet that was taking out 
of a fund before deficient. I hope, however, to execute 
both, though not in the season I could have wished. I have, 
voi>. I. G 


as you see, had but a few days since the receiving of yours, 
in which I have discoursed with some of the persons to 
whom I had before proposed such a scheme, and think it 
will take well, but as men of property will be engaged in 
it, the remittances should be made very punctual. 

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

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

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

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

I am, Sec. 




Paris, 1st October, 1776. 

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

Your letter found me in a most critical situation ; the 
Ministry had become extremely uneasy at your absolute 
silence ; and the bold assertions of the British Ambassador, 
that you were accommodating matters, aided by the black 
and villainous artifices of one or two of our own countrymen 
here, had brought them to apprehend, not only a settlement 
between the two countries, but the most serious consequences 
to their West India Islands, should we unite again with Great 
Britain. For me, alas ! I had nothing left but to make the 
most positive assertions, that no accommodation would or 
could take place, and to pledge myself in the strongest pos- 
sible manner, that thus would turn out the event, yet so 
strong were their apprehensions, that an order was issued to 
suspend furnishing me with stores. Think what! must feel 
upon such an occasion. Our friend, M. Bcaumarchais, 
exerted himself, and in a day or two obtained the orders to 
be countermanded, and every thing is again running on fa- 
vorably. For heaven's sake, if you mean to have any con- 
nexion with this kingdom, be more assiduous in getting your 
letters here. I know not where the blame lies, but it must 
lie heavy somewhere, when vessels are suflered to sail from 
Philadelphia and other ports quite down to the middle of 

' These letters arc mis.sinj^. 


August, without a single line. This circumstance was urged 
against my assertions, and was near proving a mortal stab to 
my whole proceedings. One Mr Hopkins, of Maryland, in 
this service, and wlio is in the rank of Brigadier General, ap- 
peared desirous of going to America, but on my not paying 
him the regard he vainly thought himself entitled to, he 
formed the dark design of defeating at one stroke my whole 
prospects as to supplies. At this critical period he pretended 
to be in my secrets, and roundly asserted that 1 had solely 
in view a reconciliation with Great Britain, immediately 
after which the stores now furnishing would be used againsi 
France. This coming from a professed enemy of Great 
Britain, from a native of America, from one who professed 
himself a zealous friend to the Colonies, you must suppose 
had weight. However thunderstruck I was, as well as my 
friend, M. Beaumarchais, at this unexpected and last efibrt 
of treachery, we exerted ourselves, and truth prevailed. 
The mischief has recoiled on himself, and having fallen into 
disgrace here, he will strive to get to America, where he 
threatens, I hear, to do much mischief to rne. However, 
he will not probably be permitted to depart, unless he slips 
off very privately. Should that be the case, or should he 
write letters, you have now a clue to unravel him and his 

It would be too tedious to recount what 1 have met with 
in this way. It has not only confined me to Paris, but to my 
chamber and pen for some weeks past in drawing up by 
way of memorial, the true state of the Colonies, their inter- 
ests, the system of policy they must unquestionably pursue, 
and showing that the highest interests of France are insepar- 
ably connected therewith. I do not mention a single diffi- 
culty with one complaining thought for myself; my all is 


devoted, and I am happy in being so far successful, and iliat 
the machinations of my enemies, or rather the enemies of my 
country, have given me finally an opportunity of experienc- 
ing tlie friendsiiip and protection of great and valuable men ; 
but it is necessary that you should know as much as possible 
of my situation. The stores are collecting, and I hope will 
be embarked by the middle of this month ; if later, I shall 
incline to send them by ^lartiniquc, on account of the season. 
It is consistent widi a political letter to urge the remittance 
of the fourteen thousand hogsheads of tobacco written for 
formerly, in part payment of these stores ; if you make it 
twenty, the public will be the gainers, as the article is rising 
fast. You are desired by no means to forget Bermuda ; if 
you should. Great Britain will seize it this winter, or France 
on the first rupture, having been made sensible of its impor- 
tance, by the officious zeal of that same JNIr H. As your 
navy is increasing, will you commission me to send you 
duck for twenty or thirty sail ? I can procure it for you to 
the northward on very good terms, and you have on hand 
tlie produce wanted to pay for it with. Have you granted 
commissions against the Portuguese ? All the friends to 
America in Europe call loudly for such a measure. 

Would you have universal commerce, commission some 
person to visit every kingdom on the Continent, that can 
hold any commerce with America. Among them by no 
means forget Prussia. Grain will be in demand in this 
kingdom, and in the south of Europe. Permit me again to 
urge an increase of the navy. Great Britain is calling in 
her Mediterranean passes, to expose us to the Algerines. I 
propose applying to this Court on that subject. Doctor Ban- 
croft, of London, merits much of the Colonies. As I shall 
now have frequent opportunities of writing by officers and 


Others going out, I will not add more, than that Mr Car- 
michael has now been with me some time, recommended by 
Mr A. Lee, of London. I owe much to him for his assist- 
ance in my despatches, and for his friendly and seasonable 
advice upon all occasions. He is of Maryland, and is here 
for his health, and proposes going soon to America. I ex- 
pect to hear from London tomorrow by Dr B. who is on 
his way here. 

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


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

I have to urge your sending to me, either a general power 
for the purpose, or a number of blank commissions for vessels 
of war. It is an object of the last importance, for in this time 
of peace between the nations of Europe, I can be acquainted 
with the time of every vessel's sailing, either from England or 
Portugal, and by despatching litde vessels armed from 
hence, and to appearance property of the citizens of the 
United States of America, to seize them while unsuspicious 
on this coast, and to stand directly for America with them, 
great reprisals may be made ; and persons of the first prop- 
erty have already solicited me on the occasion, [ndeed 
they have such an opinion of my power, that they have 
offered to engage in such an adventure, if I would authorise 


them witli my name ; but this might as yet be rather danger- 
ous ; it is certainly however a very practicable and safe plan 
to arm a ship here, as if for the coast of Africa or the West 
Indies, wait until some ship of value is sailing from England 
or Portugal, slip out at once and carry tlicin on to America. 
When arrived the armed vessel increases your navy, and the 
prize supplies the country. 

It is of importance, as 1 have mentioned in my former let- 
ters, to have some one deputed and empowered to treat with 
the king of Prussia. 1 am acquainted with liis agent here, 
and have already through him received some queries and 
proposals respecting American commerce, to which I am 
preparing a reply. I have also an acquaintance with the 
Agent of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who proposes fixing 
a commerce between the United States and Leghorn, but 
has not as yet given me his particular thoughts. France and 
Spain are naturally our allies; the Italian states want our flour 
and some other articles; Prussia, ever pursuing her own 
interests, needs but be informed of some facts relative to 
America's increasing commerce, to favor us ; Holland will 
pursue its system now fixed, of never quarrelling with any one 
on any occasion whatever. In this view is seen at once the 
power we ought to apply to, and gain a good acquaintance 
with. Let me again urge you on the subject of tobacco. 
Receive also from me another hint. It is this ; if you would 
apportion a certain tract of the Western Lands, to be divided 
at die close of this war among the ofiicers and soldiers 
serving in it, and make a generous allotment, it would I 
think have a good effect in America, as the poorest soldiers 
would then be fighting literally for a freehold; and in 
Europe it would operate beyond any pecuniary offers. I 
have no lime to enlarge on ihc thought, but may take it up 


hereafter ; if I do not, it is an obvious one, and if capable of 
execution, you can manage it to the best advantage. 

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

Paris, 8Ui October, 1776. 

Your Declaration of the fourth of July last has given this 
Court, as well as several others in Europe, reason to expect 
you would in form announce your Independency to them, 
and ask their friendship ; but a three months' silence on that 
subject apjjears to them mysterious, and the more so as you 
declared for foreign alliances. This silence has again given me 
the most inexpressible anxiety, and has more than once come 
near frustrating my whole endeavors ; on wliich subject I 
refer you to mine of the first instant. Employment must be 
found for the forces of Great Britain out of the United States 
of North America. The Caribs in St Vincent, if set agoing, 
may be supplied through Martinique with stores. The Moun- 
tain negroes in Jamaica may employ a great number of their 
forces. This is not employing slaves, which, however, the 
example of our enemy authorises. Should there arise troub- 
les in these two Islands, which a very little nioney would ef- 
fect, the consequence would be, that Great Britain, which can 
by no means think of giving them up, would be so far from 
being able to increase her force on the continent, that she 
must withdraw a large part to defend her Islands. I find that 


every one here, who is acquainted with Bermuda, is in my 
sentiments ; and by the ofliciousncss of H. tiie ministry here 
have got it by the end. This makes me the more solicitous, 
that the Island should be fortified this winter if practicable. 
Tobacco in Holland is at the enormous price of seven 
stivers, and will soon be as dear in France and Germany. 
I have promised that you will send out twenty thousand 
hogsheads this winter, in payment for the articles wanted 
here. Let me advise you to ship the whole to Bordeaux, 
after which it may be shipped in French bottoms to any 
otlier port ; the price will pay the convoy ; therefore I would 
recommend the vessels in which it should be s!ii[)ped to be 
armed, and that each ship shall sail under convoy of one of 
your frigates, which may also be ballasted with it ; this will 
be safer than coming in a fleet. On their arrival, Messrs 
Delap, whose zeal and fidelity in our service are great, will 
be directed by me, or in my absence by IMons. B. or 
ostensibly by ^Messrs Hortalez and Co. where to apply the 
money. Eight or ten of your frigates, thus collected at 
Bordeaux, with a proper number of riflemen as marines, 
where they might have leisure to refit and procure supplies, 
would strike early next season a terrible blow to the British 
commerce in Europe, and obtain noble indemnity. The 
appearance of American cruisers in those seas has amazed 
the British merchants, and insurance will now be on the war 
establishment ; this will give the rival nations a great superior- 
ity in commerce, of which they cannot be insensible ; and as 
our vessels of war will be protected in the ports of France 
and Spain, tlie whole of the British commerce will be expos- 
ed. 1 hope to have a liberty for the disposal of prizes here, 
but dare not engage for that. The last season the whole 
coast of England, Scotland, and [reland has been and still 

VOL. I. 7 


remains unguarded ; three or four frigates, arriving as they 
certainly might unexpectedly, would be sufficient to pillage 
port Glasgow or other western towns. The very alarm, 
which this would occasion, might have the most surprising 
and important effects, and in this method it might be effected 
with the utmost certainty if entered upon early next spring ; 
but should that be laid aside, the having five or six more of 
your stoutest ships in these ports, where you may every day 
receive intelligence of what is about to sail from England, 
would put it in our power to make great reprisals. 

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

Your most obedient very humble servant, 




Articles for hiring armed Vessels and Merchandize, agreed 

to between J\lessrs de Monthieu, and Rodrique Ilortalez 

4" Co. and Mr Silas Deane. 

We tlie subscribers John Joseph de INIontliieu and Rod- 
ri(Jue Hortalez k, Co. are agreed with Mr Silas Deane, 
Agent of die United Colonies, upon the subsequent arrange- 

That I, de Monthieu, do engage to furnish on account of 
the thirteen United Colonics of North America, a certain 
number of vessels to carry arms and merchandize to the 
burtlien of sixteen hundred tons, or as many vessels as are 
deemed sufficient to transport to some harbor of Nordi 
America belonging to the thirteen United Colonies, all the 
ammunition and aj>purtenances, agreeable to the estimate 
signed and lefi in my possession,and which we suppose would 
require tlie abovementioned quantity of vessels to carry six- 
teen hundred tons burthen, which are to be paid for at the 
rate of two hundred livres the ton, and that I will hold said 
vessels at the disposal of said ^Messrs Hortalez &, Co. ready 
to sail at the ports of Havre, Nantes and ^larscilles, viz. — 
The vessels which are to carry the articles and passengers 
mentioned in the aforementioned list, and are to depart from 
Havre, as w^ell as those that are to go from Nantes, to be 
ready in the course of November next, and the others in the 
course of December following, on condition that one half of 
llie aforementioned freight of 200 livres per ton, both for the 
voyage to America and back to France, laden equally on 
account of the Congress of the thirteen United Colonies and 
Messrs Hortalez k. Co. aforesaid, who are responsible for 


them, shall be advanced and paid immediately in money, 
bills of exchange, or other good merchandize or effects, and 
the other half the said Messrs Hortalez &l Co. do agree to 
furnish me with in proportion as the vessels are fitting out, in 
the same money or other effects as above ; over and above 
this they are to pay me for the passage of each officer, not 
belonging to the ship's crew, the sum of 550 livres tournois, 
and for every soldier or servant 250 livres, and for every 
sailor who goes as passenger 150 livres. It is expressly 
covenanted and agreed between us, that all risks of the sea 
either in said vessels being chased, run on shore or taken, 
shall be on account of the Congress of the United Colonies, 
and shall be paid agreeably to the estimation which may be 
made of each of these vessels, agreeably to the bills of sale of 
each, which I promise to deliver to Messrs Hortalez & Co. 
before the departure of any of the said vessels from any of 
the ports of France mentioned above. 

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



SILAS DEANE, Agent for the Uni- 
ted Colonies of North America, 


Paris, 17lli October, 1776. 


I ODce more put pen to paper, not to attempt, wliat is 
absolutely beyond the power of language to paint, my dis- 
tressed situation here, totally destitute of intelligence or 
instructions from you since 1 left America, except Mr IMorris' 
letters of the 4tli and oth of June last, covering duplicates 
of my first instructions. Nor will I complain for myself, but 
must plainly inform you, that the cause of the United Colo- 
nies or United States has, for some time, suffered at this 
court for want of positive orders to me, or some other per- 

It has not suffered here only, but at several other courts, 
that are not only willing, but even desirous of assisting 
America. Common complaisance, say they, though they 
want none of our assistance, requires that they should an- 
nounce to us inform their being Independent States, that we 
may know how to treat their subjects and their property in 
our dominions. Every excuse, which my barren invention 
could suggest, has been made, and I have presented memoir 
after memoir on the situation of American affairs, and their 
hnportance to this kingdom, and to some others. My repre- 
sentations, as well verbally as written, have been favorably 
received, and all the attention paid them I could have wished, 
but thcsj'ne qua non is wanting, — a jjower to treat from the 
United Independent States of America. How, say tliey, is 
it possible, that all your intelligence and instructions should 
be intercepted, when we daily have advice of American ves- 
sels arriving in different ports in Europe 9 It is true I have 
effected what nolhina; but the real desire tliis court has of 


giving aid could have brought about, but at the same time it 
has been a critical and delicate affair, and has required all 
attention to save appearances, and more than once have I 
been on the brink of losing all, from suspicions that you were 
not in earnest in making applications here. I will only add, 
that a ^"essel with a commission from the Congress has 
been detained in Bilboa as a pirate, and complaint against 
it carried to the court of Madrid. I have been applied to 
for assistance, and though I am in hopes nothing will be 
determined against us, yet I confess I tremble to think how 
important a question is by this step agitated, without anyx)ne 
empowered to appear in a proper character and put in a de- 
fence. Could T present your Declaration of Independence, 
and shew my commission subsequently, empowering me to 
appear in your behalf, all might be concluded at once, and 
a most important point gained, — no less than that of obtain- 
ing a free reception, and defence or protection of our ships 
of war in these ports. 

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


esteem ever attend the Congress, and particularly the Secret 


I am, Gentlemen, &:c. 


P. S. Doctor Bancroft has been so kind as to pay me a 
second visit, and that most seasonably, as my former assist- 
ant Mr Carmichael has gone to Amsterdam, and thence 
northward on a particular affair of very great importance. 
The vessel referred to is commanded by Captain Lee, of 
Newburyport, who on his passage took five prizes of value, 
and sent them back, but brought on two of tlie Captains and 
some of the men prisoners to Bilboa, where tlie Captains 
entered their protest, and complained against Captain Lee 
as a pirate, on which his vessel is detained, and his commis- 
sion, kx:. sent up to Madrid. This instantly brings on a 
question, as to the legality of the commissions; if determined 
legal, a most important point is gained ; if the reverse, the 
consequences will be very bad, and the only ground on which 
the determination can go against the Captain, is that the 
L'nited States of America, or their Congress, are not known 
in Europe, as being Independent States, otherwise tlian 
by common fame in newspapers, Sec. ; on which a serious 
resolution cannot be grounded. The best, therefore, that 
the Captain expects will be to get the matter delayed, which 
is very hard on the brave Captain and his honest owners, 
and will be a bad precedent for others, who may venture into 
the European seas. I have done every tiling in my power, 
and am in hopes from the strong assurances given me, that 
all will be settled to ray satisfaction in this affair, but cannot 
but feel on the occasion as well for the Captain as for the 
public. I have been told repeatedly I was loo anxious, and 


advised " rester sans inquietude, ^^ but I view this as a capi- 
tal affair in its consequences, and though I wish it, I cannot 
take advice. 

Warlike preparations are daily making in this kingdom 
and in Spain ; in the latter immediately against the Portu- 
guese, but they will most probably in their consequences 
involve other powers. I need not urge the importance of 
immediate remittances towards paying for the large quantity 
of stores 1 have engaged for, and depend diis winter will 
not be suffered to slip away unimproved. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 



Paris, 17th October. 1776. 

The bearer, Mons. M. Martin de la Balme, has long served 

with reputation in the armies of France as a Captain of 

Cavalry, and is now advanced to the rank of a Lt Colonel ; 

he has made military discipline his study, and has written 

on the subject to good acceptance ; he now generously 

offers his services to the United States of Nordi America, 

and asks of me what I most cheerfully grant, a letter to you 

and his passage, confident he may be of very great service, 

if not in the general army, yet in those Colonies which are 

raising and disciplining cavalry. I have only to add that he 

is in good esteem here, and is well recommended, to which 

I am persuaded he will do justice. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Paris, 17th October, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

Since receiving yours of the 4th and 5th of August last, 
I have written you repeatedly, and have no doubt of your 
receipt of my letters, to which I refer you. You are in the 
neighborhood of St Vincents, and I learn that die Caribs 
are not contented with their masters, and being an artful as 
well as revengeful people, would undoubtedly take this op- 
portunity of throwing off a yoke, which nodiing but a supe- 
rior force can keep on them. My request is, that you would 
inquire into the state of that island, by proper emissaries, 
and if the Caribs are disposed to revolt, encourage tliem and 
promise them aid of arms and ammunition. This must tear 
from Great Britain an island, which they value next to Ja- 
maica, and to which indeed they have no title but what rests 
on violence and cruelty. At any rate they will oblige Great 
Britain to withdraw part of her forces from the continent. 
If any thing can be effected there, inform me instantly, and 1 
will order to your care such a quantity of stores as you shall, 
think necessary. 

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

You will send also a copy of this, by which the Com- 

• Mr William Bingham was an American merchant, residing in 
Martinique. He was an Agent for Congress during a large portion of 
the war, and was the medium of communication with France, by way 
of the French West India Islands. 
VOL. I. 8 

58 SILAS DEANE. " " 

mittee will see the request I have made to you, and the 
reason of their receiving several duplicates in your hand- 
writing. I wish you to forward the enclosed to Mr Tucker, 
of Bermuda, and write me by every vessel to Bordeaux or 


1 am, with great esteem, he. 



25tli October, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

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

I wish you could write me oftener, and inform me very 
particularly what letters you receive from me, directed im- 
mediately to you, and what letters for other persons. In 
this way I shall know which of my letters fail. 
I am, with great respect, he. 


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


Paris, 25th October, 177<>. 


1 have purchased two hundred tons of powder, and ordered 
the same to be shipped to Martinique to the care of IMons. 
Deant, to the direction of Mr Bingham for your use. The 
first cost is IS sols per lb. or lOd sterling ; the charges will 
be added ; the amount 1 have not as yet ascertained, and 
interest at five per cent until payment. I must again urge 
you to hasten your remittances. Tobacco, rice, indigo, 
wheat, and flour are in great demand, and must be so through 
the year. Tobacco is nine stivers per lb. in Holland, rice 
50s sterling per cwt. Flour is already from 20 to 23 livres 
per cwt. and rising. I have engaged a sale for 20,000 
hogsheads of tobacco, the amount of which will establish the 
credit of the Congress with the mercantile interest in France 
and Holland. 

Let me urge your attention to these articles, though I 
must say your silence ever since the 5th of last June dis- 
courages me at times. Indeed it well nigh distracts me. 
From whatever cause the silence lias happened, it has greatly 
prejudiced the affairs of the United Colonies of America ; 
and so far as the success of our cause depended on the 
friendship and aid of powers on this side the globe, it has 
occasioned the greatest hazard and danger, and thrown me 
into a state of anxiety and perplexity, which no words can 
express. I have made one excuse after another, until my 
invention is exhausted, and when I find vessels arriving from 
different ports in America, which sailed late in August, with- 
out a line for me, it gives our friends here apprehensions that 
the assertions of our enemies, who say you are negotiating 


and compounding, are true ; otherwise, say they, where are 
your letters and directions ? Surely, they add, if the Colo- 
nies were in earnest, and unanimous in their Independence, 
even if they wanted no assistance from hence, common 
civility would cause them to announce in form their being 
Independent States. 

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

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


Paris, 6lli November, 1776. 

The only letters I have received from you were 4th and 
5th of June last, five months ago, during which time vessels 
have arrived from almost every part of America to every part 
of France and Spain, and I am informed of letters from Mr 
Morris to his correspondents, dated late in July. If the 
Congress do not mean to apply for foreign alliances, let me 
entreat you to say so, and rescind your resolutions published 


on that head, which will he but justice to the powers of 
Europe, to whom you gave reason to expect sucii an appli- 
cation. If I am not the proper person to announce your In- 
dependency, and solicit in your behalf, let me entreat you to 
tell me so, and relieve me from an anxiety, which is become 
so intolerable that my life is a burthen. Two hundred pieces 
of brass cannon, and arms, tents and accoutrements for thirty 
thousand men, with ammunition in proportion, and between 
twenty and thirty brass mortars have been granted to my re- 
quest, but the unaccountable silence on your part has delay- 
ed the embarkation some weeks already. I yesterday got 
them again in motion, and a part are already at Havre de 
Grace and Nantes, and the rest on their way thither, but I 
am hourly trembling for fear of counter orders. Had I re- 
ceived proper powers in season, this supply would before 
this have been in America, and that under the convoy of a 
strong fleet ; the disappointment is distracting, and I will 
dismiss the subject, after taking the liberty to which a free- 
man and an American is entitled, of declaring, that by this 
neglect the cause of the United States has suffered in this 
and the neighboring Courts, and the blood that will be spilt 
through the want of these supplies, and the devastation, if 
any, must be laid at this door. 

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


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

Enclosed you have also the plan of a French naval officer 
for burning ships, which he gave me, and at the same time 
showed me his draughts of ships, and rates for constructing 
and regulating a navy, of which I have the highest opinion ; 
he has seen much service, is a person of study and letters, as 
well as fortune, and is ambitious of planning a navy for 

* The Baron de Kalb. 


America, which shnll at once be much cheaper ami more 
effectual than any thing of the kind which can be produced 
on the European system. He has the command of a ship of 
the line in this service, but is rather disgusted at not having 
his proposed regulations for the navy of France attended to. 
His proposal generally is to build vessels something on the 
model of those designed by the Marine Committee, to carry 
from 24 to 36 heavy guns on one deck, which will be as 
formidable a battery as any ship of the line can avail itself of, 
and by fighting them on the upper deck a much surer one. 
Had I power to treat widi this gentleman, I believe his 
character and friends are such, that he could have two or 
three such frigates immediately constructed here on credit 
and manned and sent to America, but the want of instruc- 
tion, or intelligence, or remittances, with the late check on 
Long Island, has sunk our credit to nothing with individuals, 
and the goods for the Indian contract cannot be shipped, un- 
less remittances are made to a much greater amount than at 
present. Not ten thousand pounds have been received for 
forty thousand delivered in America as early as last Feb- 
ruary, and I am ignorant what has become of the effects 
shipped. Under these circumstances I have no courage to 
urge a credit, which I have no prospect of supporting ; but I 
will take Mr Morris's hint, and write a letter solel}- on busi- 
ness ; but politics and my business are almost inseparably 
connected. I have filled this sheet, and will therefore bid 
you adieu until I begin another. 

I am, with tlie utmost esteem, &cc. 



Paris, 9th November, 1776. 

I have wi'itten to you often, and particularly of affairs here. 
The want of intelligence retards every thing ; as I have not a 
word fi'om you since the 5th of June last, I am well nigh 
distracted. Tliat I may not omit any chance of sending to 
you, I write this, though I liave long and minute letters by 
me waiting the departure of General du Coudray and 
his train, who, had I been properly and in season instructed, 
would before this have been with you. At present I have 
})ut much to the hazard to effect what I have. Enclosed 
you have my thoughts on naval operations, and I pray you 
send me some blank commissions, wliich will enable me to 
fit out privateers from hence without any charge to yon. A 
war appears at hand, and will probably be general. All 
Europe have their eyes on the States of America, and are 
astonished to find month after month rolling away, without 
vour applving to them in form. I hope such application is 
on its way. Nothing else is wanting to effect your utmost 
wishes. 1 am, with compliments to friends, and respect to 
the Congress, Sec. 


I'aiij. -IGlh November, 177t>. 

This serves only to enclose and explain the within State 
of the Commerce of Leghorn, which w^as given me by 
the Envov of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, a gentleman of 


universal knowledge, and a warm friend to America, and in- 
deed to all mankind. I have the honor of his acquaintance 
in an intimate degree, and have communicated to him a 
memoir, setting forth the particular state of the commerce of 
America, with the history of its rise and increase, and its 
present importance, it being a copy of what I delivered to 
this Court. He has marked the articles generally in demand, 
after which he enumerates their articles for exportation, 
which in my turn I marked aiid observed upon, as you will 

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

I have tlie honor to be, Sec. 



Paris, 27th November, 1776. 

The bearer, Mr Rogers, is a native of Maryland, whom 
1 fortunately met in the hotel I some months lodged in. 
He was in Paris finishing his education, and by my advice 
accepted the office of aid-de-camp to Mons. du Coudray, 
and accompanies him out to America. I have received 
many kindnesses from him, and, confident of his integrity, 
have intrusted him with many thiugs to relate to you viva 


voce, especially should my despatches fail. He has a gene- 
ral knowledge of the history of my proceedings, and what I 
have at times to struggle with. As he speaks French toler- 
ably, he will I conceive prove a valuable acquisition, at a time 
when such numbers of foreigners are crowding to enter your 

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


Paris, 27th November, 1776. 


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

The resolution of the Court of Spain in the case of Capt. 


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

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


Paris, 28tli November, 177(5. 

Your favor of the 7th of August last, covering a copy of 
yours of the 8th of July, I received, though the original never 
came to hand. This letter also enclosed the Declaration of 
Independency, with instructions to make it known to this and 
the other powers of Europe; and I received it the 7thinst. 


though the vessel which brought it had but 38 days passage 
from Salem. This letter was very far from relieving me, as 
it enclosed what had been circulated through Europe for two 
months before, and my pretending to inform this Court would 
be only a matter of form, in consequence of your orders, 
which were expressed in the style of any common affair. 
I certainly prefer simplicity of style, as well as manners, 
but something is due to the dignity of old and powerful states, 
or if you please to their prejudices in favor of long estab- 
lished form and etiquette ; and as the United States of 
America, by this act, introduce themselves among the estab- 
lished powers, and rank with them, it must of course be ex- 
pected that at the first introduction, or the announcing of it, 
some mode more formal, or if I may so say, more respectful, 
would have been made use of, than simply two or three lines 
from the committee of congress, in a letter something more 
apparently authentic, not that either your power or the real- 
ity of your letter could be doubted. I mention it as deserv- 
ing consideration, whether in your application here and 
your powers and instructions of a public nature, it is not 
always proper to use a seal ? This is a very ancient custom 
in all public and even private concerns of any consequence. 
Further, to keep a proper intercourse with Europe, it is 
by no means sufficient to write a single letter, and leave it to 
be forwarded when the captain of a vessel thinks of it, or has 
nothing else to do. Duplicates of every letter should be 
lodged in every port in the hands of faithful and attentive 
persons, to be forwarded by the first conveyance to any part 
of Europe. Had this been practised since my leaving Amer- 
ica, instead ofreceiving but two short letters from you, I might 
have had intelligence every month ; let me urge you, from 
the danger our afliliirs have been in of totally miscarrying for 
want of intelligence, to pay some attention to this in future. 


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


alliance with France were under consideration, and that 
1 might soon expect them. 

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

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


more and more striking to all Europe, but particularly to this 

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

I am well nigh harrassed to death with applications 
of officers to go out to America. Those 1 have engaged 
are I trust in general of the best character ; but that I 
should engage, or rather take from tlie hands of some 
leading men here, some one or two among the rest not 
so accomplished, cannot be surprising, and may, consid- 
ering my situation, be pardonable, but I have no suspicion of 
any such in my department, of consequence. I have been 
ofFercd troops from Germany on the following general terms, 
viz; — oflkers to recruit as for the service of France, and cm- 
bark for St Domingo from Dunkirk, and by altering their 
route land in the American States. The same has been pro- 
posed with Switzerland, to which I could give no encourage- 
ment, but submit it to your consideration in Congress, 
whether, if you can establish a credit as I have before hinted, 
it would not be well to purchase at Leghorn five or six stout 
frigates, which might at once transport some companies of 
Swiss, and a quantity of stores, and the whole be defended 
by the Swiss soldiers on their passage 7 Or, if you prefer 


Germans, which I really do not, the vessels might go from 
Dunkirk. I daily expect important advices from the North, 
respecting commerce at least, having sent to the King of 
Prussia, in consequence of a memorial he ordered his 
agent here to show me, and propose some queries to me, 
a state of the North American commerce at large. I have 
presented memorial after memorial here, until in my last I 
think I have exhausted the suhject as far as the present 
time, having in my last given the history of the controversy, 
obviated the objections made against us, and pointed out the 
consequences that must ensue to France and Spain if they 
permit the Colonies to be subjugated by their old hereditary 
enemy. It consisted of fifty pages, and was, after being 
translated, presented to his Majesty and his Ministers, and 
I was assured was favorably received and considered. I 
presented it about two weeks since, and whether it has has- 
tened the preparations or not I cannot say. The Ministry 
were pleased to say, that I had placed the wbole in the most 
striking point of view, and they believed with great justice. 
I could wish to send you copies of these, but I have no as- 
sistant except occasionally, and the uncertainty ol my situ- 
ation will not permit my making engagements to one, who 
might deserve confidence, and those who are deserving are 
but few. 

Bread will be scarce before the next harvest. Flour is 
now 22 and 23 livres per cwt. and tobacco is as I have be- 
fore mentioned ; and I promise myself you will not let slip 
so favorable an opportunity of making remittances to ad- 
vantage. In expectation of your sending over frigates to 
convoy your ships, and of your giving instructions on what 
I have written you of operations in these seas, I design 
being at Bordeaux in March, when I shall be able to give 


you the needful diicctioiis in any such affair ; but, at any 
rate, send out a number of blank commissions for privateers 
to be fitted out in Europe under your flag. The prizes 
must finally be brought to you for condemnation, and the 
principal advantage will remain with you. I have written* 
largely, and on many subjects, yet fear I have omitted some 
things deserving attention. 

Mons. du Coudray will be with you by the receipt of 
this, with stores complete for thirty thousand men. The 
extraordinary exertions of this gentleman, and his character, 
entitle him to much from the United States, and I hope the 
sum I have stipulated with him for, will not be considered 
extravagant, w^hen you consider it is much less than is given 
in Europe. Baron de Kalb I consider an important acqui- 
sition, as are many other of the officers whose characters I 
may not stay to particularize, but refer you to Baron de 
Kalb, who speaks English, and to Mr Rogers, who is gen- 
erally acquainted with them. As to sea officers, they are 
not so easily obtained, yet some good ones may be had, and 
in particular two ; one of whom I have already mentioned ; 
the other is quite his equal, with some other advantages ; ho 
was first lieutenant of a men of war round the world, witJi 
Captain Cook, and has since had a ship, but wants to leave 
this for other service, where he may make a settlement, and 
establish a family. These two officers would engage a 
number of younger ones. Should they embark, I send 
herewith the plans of one of tliem for burning ships. I 
submit it to the honorable Congress, who are sensible of 
the variety and magnitude of the objects before me, wheth- 
er it is not of importance to despatch some one of its body 
to assist me, or to take a part by his own immediate direc- 
tion. Such a person known to possess your fullest confi- 
VOL. I. 10 


dence, would, by his advice and assistance, be of service 
to me, though he were, and I were, occasionally at Madrid 
or Berlin. Having obtained some knowledge of the language, 
and an acquaintance with those in power here, as well as 
others, such abilities as I have, which are ever devoted to 
my country, can be employed here to the best advantage 
at present, but I submit my thoughts to your determination, 
and am, with great truth and sincerity, 


Paris, 29th November, 1776. 

The several letters you will receive with this, will give you 
some idea of the situation I have been in for some months 
past, though after all I must refer you to Mr Rogers for 
particulars on some subjects. I should never have com- 
pleted what I have, but for the generous, the indefatigable 
and spirited exertions of Monsieur Beaumarchais, to whom 
the United States are on every account greatly indebted ; 
more so than to any other person on this side the water ; he 
is greatly in advance for stores, clothing, and the like, and 
therefore I am confident you will make him the earliest and 
most ample remittances. He wrote you by Mr McCrery, 
and will write you again by this conveyance. A nephew of 
his, a young gentleman of family, education, and spirit, 
makes a voyage to America with Monsieur du Coudray, and 
is ambitious of serving his first campaigns in your service. 
I recommend him therefore to your particular patronage and 
protection, as well on account of the great merits of h]s uncle, 
as on that of his being a youth of spirit and genius ; and just 


entering the world in a foreign country, he needs protection 
and paternal advice to countenance and encourage him. 
This I have confidendy assured his uncle lie will receive 
from you, and am happy in knowing you will fulfil my 
engagements on that score, and, in whatever department you 
may fix him, that you will recommend him to the patronage 
of some person, on whom you may rely to act at once the 
friendly and the paternal part. 

A particular account of the stores shipped may probably 
not be ready by diis vessel, but may go by the next or some 
succeeding one, as several will sail after this on the same 
errand. Let me by every letter urge on you the sending in 
season a quantity of tobacco, of rice, and flour or wheat. 
These are articles which cannot fail, and are capital ones ; 
twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco are this instant wanted 
in France, besides the demand in odier kingdoms. I think 
Monsieur Beaumarchais wrote you under the firm of Hor- 
talez ^ Co. if so, you will address him in the same style ; 
but as I must probably remain here until the arrival of these 
articles, I can regulate that on the arrival of your despatches. 
I have advised these stores being shipped for some of the 
New England ports, northeast of Newport first, and if failing 
of making a port there, to stand for the Capes of the Dela- 
ware, or for Charleston in South Carolina, as the most likely 
route to avoid interception. I cannot in a letter do full jus- 
tice to Monsieur Beaumarchais for his great address and 
assiduity in our cause ; I can only say be appears to have 
undertaken it on great and liberal principles, and has in the 
pursuit made it his own. His interest and influence, which 
are great, have been exerted to the utmost in the cause of 
the United States, and I hope the consequences will equal 
his wishes. 1 have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, 29th November, 1776. 


I have recommended several officers to your service, but 
none with greater pleasure, scarce any one with so much 
confidence of his answering great and valuable purposes, as 
the bearer. Colonel Conway, a native of Ireland, advanced 
in the service by his merit. His views are to establish him- 
self and his growing family in America ; consequently he 
becomes our countryman and engages on the most certain 
principles. This gentleman has seen much service; his 
principal department has been that of training and disciplining 
troops, and preparing for action ; and from his abilities as well 
as from his long experience, he is considered as one of the 
most skilful disciplinarians in France. Such an officer must 
be, I conceive, of very great service, and his generously 
confiding in the honorable Congress for such rank and 
appointments as they shall confer, entitles him still more to 
our immediate attention and notice. 1 have assured him 
of the most favorable reception, and am confident he will 
receive the same. 

Colonel Conway takes with him some young officers of his 
own training, who know well the English language, and may 
be of immediate service in the same important department 
of discipline. As Colonel Conway has been long in service, 
(though in prime of life) I am confident you will not think it 
right he should rank under those who have served under him 
in this kingdom, which will not be the case if he fills the place 
of an Adjutant, or Brigadier General, for which, I am well as- 
sured, he is every way well qualified. I have advanced him 
as per receipt enclosed towards his expenses and appoint- 


ments or \va2;es, ami told liini he may rely on your granting 
him one of the above ranks in the Continental forces. 
Should the honorable Congress have a new body of troops 
to form in any part of the Continent, this gentleman might 
take the direction of them to very great advantage, and may, 
I presume, be equally so in the station you may appoint him 
in the main army. 

I have the honor to be, Sec. 


Paris, 1st December, 1776. 


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

To effect any considerable loan in Europe is perliaps 
difficult. It has not been tried, and on the probability of 


succeeding in this 1 will give my sentiments hereafter. 
It is obvious, that let the loan be made when it will, it must 
have a day fixed for payment, and respect to some fund 
appropriated to that purpose. The relying on future taxes 
is holding up to the people a succession of distresses and 
burthens which are not to cease even with the war itself, 
whereas could they have a prospect of paying the expenses 
of the war at the close of it, and enjoying the remainder of 
their fortunes clear of incumberance, it must greatly encou- 
rage and animate both the public and private spirit in 
pushing it on with vigor. A loan of six or eight millions, 
or a debt of that amount, will probably enable you to finish 
the war. This I am confident may be negotiated on 
terms, which I will propose hereafter, but jireviously let it 
be attended to, that the pi'esent contest has engaged the 
attention of all Europe, and more, it will eventually interest 
all Europe in favor of the United States, the Russians in 
the north and Portugal in the south, excepted ; I make no 
consideration of the little mercenary electorates in my cal- 
culation. The mercantile part of the other powers are 
convinced, where their interest appears so evidently 
engaged. The political part are sensible of the importance 
of enlarging their own naval concerns and force, and of 
checking that of Great Britain. The good and wise part, 
the lovers of liberty and human happiness, look forward to 
the establishment of American freedom and independence 
as an event, which will secure to them and their descend- 
ants an asylum from the effects and violence of despotic 
power, daily gaining ground in every part of Europe. 
From those and other considerations, on which I need not 
be minute, emigrations from Europe will be prodigious, 
immediately on the establishment of American Indepen- 


dency. The consequence of this must be die rise of the 
lands already settled, and a demand for new or uncultivated 
land ; on this demand I conceive a certain fund may now 
be fixed. You may smile, and recollect the sale of the 
bearskin in the fable, but at the same time you must be 
sensible that your wants are real, and if others can be 
induced to relieve them, it is indifferent to you whether 
they have a consideration in hand or in prospect. 

I trace the river Ohio from its junction to its head, thence 
north to Lake Erie on the south and west of that lake to 
Fort Detroit, which is in the latitude of Boston, thence a 
west course to the Mississippi, and return to the place of 
my departure. These three lines of near one thousand 
miles each, include an immense territory in a fine climate, 
well watered, and by accounts exceedingly fertile ; it is 
not inhabited by any Europeans of consequence, and the 
tribes of Indians are inconsiderable, and will decrease faster 
than the lands can possibly be demanded for cultivation. 
To this I ask your attention as a resource amply adequate, 
under proper regulations, for defraying the whole expense 
of the war, and the sums necessary to be given the Indians 
in purchase of the native right. But to give this land value, 
inhabitants are necessary. I therefore propose, in the first 
place, that a grant be made of a tract of land at the mouth 
of the Ohio, between that and the Mississippi, equal to two 
hundred miles square, to a company formed indiscrimi- 
nately of Europeans and Americans, which company should 
form a distinct state, confederated with and under the gen- 
eral regulations of the United States General of America. 
That the Congress of the United States shall, out of such 
grant, reserve the defraying or discharging of the public 
debts or expenses ; one fifth part of all the lands, mines, 


- ;% within said tract, to be disposed of by the Congress, in 
such manner as good policy and die public exigencies may 
dictate, the said one filth to be sequestered out of every 
grant or setdement made by the company, of equal good- 
ness with the rest of such grant or setdement. The company 
on their part shall engage to have, in seven years after the 
passing such grant thousand families setUed on said 

grant, and civil government regulated and supported on free 
and liberal principles, taking therein the advice of the hon- 
orable Congress of the United States. They shall, also, 
from and after their having one thousand families as above- 
mentioned, contribute their proportion of the public 
expenses of the Continent, or United States, according to 
the number of their inhabitants, and shall be entided to a 
voice in Congress, as soon as they are called on thus to 
contribute. The company shall at all times have the 
preference of purchasing die Continental or common inter- 
est thus reserved, when it shall be offered for sale. The 
company shall consist, on giving the patent or grant, of at 
least one hundred persons. 

These are the on dines of a proposed grant, which you 
see contains more than 25,000,000 acres of land, the one 
fifth of v.hich, if a setdement is carried on vigorously, will 
soon be of prodigious value. At this time a company 
might be formed in France, Germany, &c. who would form 
a stock of one hundred thousand pounds sterling, to defray 
the expense of this setdement. By such a step, you, in the 
first place, extend the circle of your connexion and influ- 
ence. You increase the number of your inhabitants, pro- 
portionably lessen the common expense, and have in the 
reserve a fund for public exigencies. Further, as this 
company would be in a great degree commercial, the 


establishing coiiinierce at the junclion of these large rivers, 
would iinmodiately give a value to all the lands situate on 
or near them within the above extensive description, and 
future grants might admit of larger reserves, amply sufficient 
for defraying the expenses of the war, and possibly for 
establishing funds for other important purposes. It may be 
objected that this is not a favorable time for such a measure. 
I reply it is the most favorable that can happen. You want 
money, and by holding up thus early to view a certain fund 
on which to raise it, even the most certain in the world, 
tliat of land security, you may obtain the loan and engage 
tlie monicd interest of Europe in your favor. 1 have spoken 
with many persons of good sense on this subject, which 
makes me the more sanguine. 

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

It has been a question with me at times, whether, if our 
commerce were open and protected, the colonics would be 
wise in negotiating a loan. But on considering, that before 
this war, the imports of the Colonies just about balanced 
their exports, 1 cannot think it possible, widi the most 
rigid economy, supposing exports as large as formerly, to 
make a lessening of consumption equal to the amount of the 



expenses of the war ; and consequently a debt must be 
contracted by the public somewhere. The question which 
naturally arises is, whether it be most prudent to contract 
this debt at home or abroad. To me it admits of no doubt, 
that the latter is to be preferred on every account. If you 
can establish a credit and pay your interest punctually, the 
rate of interest will be less by two or three per cent in 
Europe than in America ; you will thereby engage foreign- 
ers by the strongest tie, that of their immediate interest, to 
support your cause. There are other obvious reasons for 
preferring the latter mode. 

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

This kingdom (France) has been in bad credit, from the 
villainy of a late Comptroller General, as it is said, one 
Abbe Terrai, against whose administration the severest 
things have been uttered and written. He was succeeded 
by the much esteemed Mons. Turgot, and stocks rose, and 
a commission was given to a banker (a correspondent of 
mine in Amsterdam) to negotiate a loan, but the dismission 
of Mons. Turgot, and the indifferent opinion which monied 
men at least had of his successor, Mons. Clugny, prevented 
the loan, and lowered the stocks. Mons. Clugny died 
last week, and is succeeded ostensibly by one Monsieur 
Tabonrou ; I say ostensibly, for M. Necker, a noted Pro- 


testant banker, is joined with liini as Intcndant of the 
Treasury. This raised stocks immedialely, and I am told 
they have already risen ten per cent. Tiiis is the most 
politic appointment that could have been made, and it 
deserves our notice, that where a man has it in iiis power 
to be of public service, his principles of religion are not a 
sufficient obstacle to hinder his promotion even in France. 
This will probably enable diis kingdom to borrow money, 
which from all appearances will be soon wanted. Spain, 
from the punctuality of its payments of interest, and its well 
known treasures, is in high credit in Holland. Denmark 
borrows at four per cent, Sweden at the same ; the emperor 
of Germany, from the security of his hereditary dominions, 
and the empress of Russia, from her having lately paid 
part of the large sum she borrowed in the Turkish wars, 
are both of them in good credit. The credit of Great 
Britain, though it has not fallen, yet it is in a critical situation 
with those foreseeing people, who, on receiving the news of 
the action on Long Island, which raised stocks a triHe iji 
England, began immediately to sell out. 

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


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

You are not in want of money, but the effects of money 
in the manufactures of Europe. For these the Colonies 
or United States must now have a demand to the amount 
of some millions sterling. These manufactures are to be 
had principally in France and Holland. As to the latter, 
they have not at present, and are resolved never to have, 
any peculiar connexion with, or friendship for, any power, 
further than their commerce is served by it, but that is not 
the ruling passion of the former. The desire of humbling 
their old rival and hereditary enemy, and aggrandizing their 
monarchy, are predominant, and never was there a moie 
favorable opportunity than the present, — so favorable is it, 
that were the funds of this kingdom in a litde better situa- 
tion, and were they confident that the United States would 
abide by their Independency, not a moment's time would 
be lost in declaring war, even though you had made no 


application direct. Wliatevcr part this kingdom takes will 
be pursued by the Court of Madrid. Would this Court 
give a credit even to private merchants, it would answer 
the same purpose as a loan ; as I'or instance, the United 
Colonies want about three millions value of manufactures 
annually (it has heretofore been a little more) from Europe. 
If this Court will give a credit to that amount to any body 
of men in the kingdom, that company may engage to pay 
the Court the same amount in Continental bills within a 
limited time, this company may send to America supplies 
to that amount, as the Congress shall order, such goods as 
are wanted either for the army or navy ; the Congress will 
instantly deposit their bills for the amount ; the residue may 
be sold at a stated advance for Continental bills, the whole 
of the amount immediately put on interest to this Court ; 
this will be the calling in of such an amount of the bills, and 
of course give the greater currency to the whole. Mean- 
time, this Court must become interested to have the com- 
merce free, by which alone remittances can be made. This 
is but a sudden thought, recommended to you for consider- 
ation, if deemed worthy. That something may be effected 
in this way I can have no doubt, while I have this most une- 
quivocal evidence. I am now credited to the amount of 
all the supplies for thirty thousand men, a train of artillery, 
amounting to more than two hundred pieces of brass can- 
non, ammunition, he. Sec. which must be of near half a 
million sterling, yiot ostensibly by the Court, but by a pri- 
vate company. 'At the same time other companies, as well 
as individuals, after offering any loan or credit I should 
ask, always brought in sooner or later the condition of 
having my bills endorsed by some banker or person of 
credit ; where you are sensible in my situation the affair 


ended ; though in several instances 1 had the most flattering 
encouragement, and expected most assuredly no security 
would be required ; but that this particular house should be 
able and willing to advance tiiis prodigious sum at once, 
and without security, is no way surprising, but perfectly 
consistent with what 1 have all along asserted. 

The niost eftectual card now played by the British 
Ambassador is, asserting that an accommodation will soon 
take place, and by some means or other conjecturing my 
want of [towers by my not appearing at Court, he is bold in 
this assertion, and 1 find it the greatest difficulty 1 have to 
encounter. But 1 will not enter on a subject, whicli has 
well nigh distracted me, and embarrassed and disheartened 
in a greater or less degree every friend of America. The 
late conduct of the Court of Spain respecting Captain Lee, 
whose easel mentioned before, is a striking }n-oofof what 
I have so positively asserted of t!ic good disposition of both 
these Courts. Tiiey dismissed the complaint against him, 
afforded him protection, with assurances of every assistance 
he might need, declaring puljlicly that their ports were 
equally free lor Americans as for Britons. I have besides 
these overt acts still more convincing proofs, that the 
moment your application is made every thing will be set in 
proper motion. 

I now dismiss a subject which has given, and still con- 
tinues to give me as much anxiety as I can struggle with, 
and mention another, a little new but indeed somewhat 
connected with it ; it is the equip))ing of a number of 
American ships of war in the ports of France. Consider- 
ing the price of duck, cordage, ordnance, and other mili- 
tary stores in America, they may be built much cheaper 
here. This is not the sole advantage, they may carry over 



stores of every kind in safety, as being French bott(jnis, 
ostensibly at least, all the brave and ingenious in the ^Marine 
Department in this kingdom would become adventurers 
in person, or in purse and influence in such a scheme; and 
I speak on good grounds, when T say, that in three months 
after receiving your orders I can have ten ships of at least 
thirty six guns each, at your service, independent of assist- 
ance immediately from Government ; so much attention is 
paid to the American cause by all persons of consequence 
in this kingdom. The honorable Congress must I con- 
ceive either continue emitting bills or borrow money, and I 
submit whether it be not better to borrow of foreign states 
than individuals, in the present situation of American affairs; 
I am convinced you may borrow five or six millions of 
Holland, on France becoming your security. This I am 
confident may be obtained on application to this Court and 
Spain, and that on these principles they can by no means 
be willing to permit the Colonies to return to their former 
subjection to Great Britain, armed as both countries are. 
Their possessions in America must lie at the mercy of Great 
Britain, on such an event as a reconciliation with the Colo- 
nies. The Colonies being in want of the manufactures of 
Europe, of this kingdom in particular, this sum would, a 
principal part of it, rest in France and give a great spring to 
their manufactures, and afford them the advantage of antici- 
pating others in American commerce. These are import- 
ant objects, and I have no doubt would be considered of 
consequence sufficient for them to risk such a credit. 
Rich individuals offer to supply any quantity of goods or 
stores on such security, and I believe the latter would do 
considerable, wore they only assured of five per cent inter- 
est on their debts after they become due. But I submit 


the whole to the mature consideration of the honorahle 
Congress, and am, &c. 



Paris, 3d December, 1776. 

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

I sent to procure the goods in Amsterdam, 

if to be had, but found our credit worse there than in France. 
A gendeman here offered me a credit for a million of livres, 
but it was, when explained, on the following conditions. I 


must produce direct authority from tlie Congress, with their 
promise of interest ; all American vessels must he sent to 
his address ; and until this could be secured him I must pro- 
vide a credit, or in other words a security in Europe. Here 
you are sensible my negotiation ended. I then contracted 
for the supplies of the army, and crowded into the contract 
as large a proportion of woollens as I well could, sensible 
that witli them you might do something, and hoping your 
remittances might still arrive, or some intelligence of the 
situation of your affairs, for I thought I judged rightly, that if 
in six or seven months you were unable to send out one third 
the remittances, the returns must be equally difficult. On 
this ground I have been anxiously waiting to hear something 
from you. Meantime I shipped forty tons of saltpetre, two 
hundred thousand pounds of powder, via Martinique, one 
hundred barrels via Amsterdam. The late affairs at 
Long Island, of which we had intelligence in October, and 
the burning of New York, the report of Carletoa's having 
crossed the lakes, and that you were negotiating, has abso- 
lutely ruined our credit with the greater part of individuals ; 
and finding so little prospect of completing the Indian goods, 
I have attended the closer to despatch the supplies for the 
army, for which I had obtained a credit ostensibly from a 
private person, but really from a higher source. jNIeantime 
the monies remitted are in ]Mr Delap's hands, except what 
I have drawn out for my private expenses, for payment of 
the saltpetre, for the fitting out of Captain Morgan, and for 
the equipment of certain officers going to America. For the 
200,000 weight of powder ^Ir Delap is my surety, conse- 
quently should he receive nothing more from you he will 
have no considerable balance in his hands. Could I have 
received but one half tlie amount in any season, I would 
vol,. I. 12 


have ventured on the goods long before this, but to what 
purpose would it have been, could I have been credited the 
amount, if you were unable to remit? The same obstruction 
must subsist against their arrival. I am however at last 
promised the goods on credit by tlie san^e way as the stores 
have been procured, and hope to ship them this month ; but 
some of the articles are not manufactured any where in Eu- 
rope except Great Britain, and oUiers must be substituted in 
the best manner I can. 

I have written to Mr Delap to send you his account, also 
to send the particulars to me, which I will transmit as soon 
as received. The goods may be expected in the month of 
Febmary ; meantime I pray you, not on this account only, 
but on others, to exert yourselves in remitting so much as to 
support the credit of the Continent, for which 1 am now en- 
gaged to a very great amount. Tobacco, rice. Hour, indigo, 
peltry, oil, whale fins, flaxseed, spermaceti, masts, spars, 
&£c. are in good demand, Tobacco at 9 to 10 sous per lb. 
and rising, free of duty or expense, save commission. Rice 
30 livres jier cwt. Flour 22 to 24 livres. 

I an), most respectfully, he. 


P. S. When I soy tobacco is free of duty, I mean if sold 
to the Farmers-Geneial directly ; on other conditions it is 
inadmissible at anv rate. 


Paris, 3d December, 1776. 

Dear Jay, 
If my letters arrive safe they will give you some idea of 
my situation. Without intelligence, without orders, and 


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

I have written you on several subjects, some of which I 
will attempt briefly to recapitulate. The destruction of the 
Newfoundland fishery may be effected, by two or three of 
your frigates sent there early in February, and by that 
means a fatal blow given to Great I3riiain, I mean by 
destroying the stages, boats, &:c. and by bringing away 


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

On all these subjects I have written to you. Also on 
various particulars of commerce. Our vessels have more 


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

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


Doctor Bancroft has been of very great service to me 5 
no man has better intelligence in England in my opinion, but 
it costs something. The following articles have been shewn 
to me ; they have been seen by both the courts of France 
and Spain, and I send them to you for speculation. 

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

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

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

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

5thly. The more effectually to preserve this alliance. 


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

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

Ttlily. No peace or accommodation shall be made with 
Great Britain to the infringement or violation of any one of 
these articles.* 

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


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

*• Outline of a Treaty between France and Spain and the United 


Paris, 6tli December, 1776. 

You have enclosed the diiplicate of an agreement with 
Mons. du Coudray, of my orders for clothing, stores, &c., of 
my agreement with Baron de Ka!b and others of his train, 

States, drawn up by Silas Deane, and presented to the Count Vergennes 
in his private capacity, Nov. 23, 1776. 

" 1. Independence to be recognized. 

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

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

" 4. The fisheries on the Banks of Newfoundland to be enjoyed equal- 
ly between the three contracting powers, to the exckision of all other 

" 5. The regulations of commerce to be reciprocal. 

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

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

" 8. No peace to be made with Great Britain, by either of tlie con- 
tracting parties, to the infringement or violation of any one of these 



also with the Comte de jMonau and his, which I hope will be 
agreeable, also the agreement for freight of the ships, which 
I was assured by letters from Bordeaux and elsewhere was 
as low as could be procured. At the same time, if it is 
above tlie stated price, in such cases I am promised an 
abatement. I hope the peculiarity of my situation, and the 
anxious desire I have of forwarding aid to my country, will 
be considered if any of the articles are thought high. Men 
cannot be engaged to quit their native country and friends, 
to hazard life and all in a cause, which is not their own 
immediately, at the same easy rate as men will do who are 
fightioL^ literally pro oris et focis, and it is a universal cus- 
tom in Europe to allow something extra to foreigners, but 
my allowances are very much below the rates here for offi- 
cers in the same station. 

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


List of Officers of Infantry a7id Light 
serve the United States of JVor 


Baron de Kalb, 

Vicount dc Mauroy, 

de Senneville, 

The Chevalier du Biiyssons, 

The Chevalier de Fayoles, 

Dubois Martin, 

de Holtzcndorir, 

The Chevalier de Failly, 


de Roth, 

de Gerard, 

I'hilis de Roseval. 

v.)i„ .. I.] 

Major General, 

Major General, 



Lieut. Colonel, 


Lieut. Colonel, 

Lieut. Colonel, 





Troops destined to 
th America. 


7th November, 1776. 








1st December, 17T< 
do. do. 

do. <lo. 

do. do. 

do. do. 





de Montis, 
Loquet de Granges, 
de Vrigny, 



Capt. Company Tranche, 



1st December, 1776, 
do. do. 

do. do. 

do. do. 

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


lAst of Oncers of Infantry and Light Troops destined to 
serve in the armies of the United States of JVorth America. 




M. de la Fayette, 

Major General, 

from tlie 7th December, 1776. 

Baron de Kalb, 

Major General, 

7th November, 



1st December, 

De Valfort, 


1st December, 

De Fayols, 

Lieutenant Colonel, 

20th November, 

De Franval, 

Lieutenant Colonel, 

1st December, 

Dubois Martin, 


7th November, 

De Gimat, 


1st December, 

De Vriguy, 


1st December, 

De Bedaulx, 



1st December, 

de la Colorabe, 


1st December, 

Candon ; 


7th November, 


The ranks and the pay, which the most honorable Con- 
gress sliall affix to them to commence at tlie periods mark- 
ed in the present list, have been agreed to by us the under- 
signed, Silas Deane in quality of deputy of the American 
States General on the one part, the Marquis de la Fayette 
and the Baron de Kalb on the other part. Signed double 
at Paris this Tth of December, 177G. 




The desire which the Marquis de la Fayette shows of 
serving among the troops of the United States of North 
America, and the interest which he takes in the justice of 
their cause make him wish to distinguish himself in this 
war, and to render himself as useful as lie possibly can ; but 
not thinking that he can obtain leave of his family to pass 
the seas, and serve in a foreign country, till he can go as a 
general officer ; I have thought I could not better serve my 
country, and those who have intrusted me, than by grant- 
ing to him in the name of the very honorable Congress the 
rank of Major General, which I beg the States to confirm to 
him, to ratify and deliver to him the commission to hold 
and take rank, to count from this day, with the general offi- 
cers of the same degree. His high birth, his alliances, the 
great dignities which his family holds at this Court, his con- 
siderable estates in this realm, his personal merit, his repu- 
tation, his disinterestedness, and above all his zeal for the 
liberty of our provinces, are such as to induce me alone to 
promise him the rimk of major general in the name of the 
United States. In witness of which I have signed the pres- 
ent, this Tth of December, 1 770. SILAS DEANE. 


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

Done at Paris this 1th of December, 1776, 



Paris, December SUi, 1776. 


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

I have the honor to be, ike. SILAS DEANE. 

Paris, 12th December, 1776. 

Just as I had closed my despatches by the Generals 
du Coudray and Baron de Kalb, I was most agreeably 
surprised with a letter from Dr Franklin, at Nantes, where 


lie arrived, after thirty days passage, with two prizes. I 
hourly expect him here, but knowing of liis arrival, I 
despatch tiiis with a duplicate to Havre de Grace, to go 
by tlie ships sailing thence, and have only lime to inform 
you, that I sent an express instantly to jNIr Lee to join us 
here without delay, for the news of Dr Franklin's arrival 
may occasion his friends being forbid coming from London 
to France. Nothing has, for a long time, occasioned 
greater speculation than this event, and our friends here are 
elated beyond measure, as this confirms them you will not 
negotiate with England ; and for me, 1 will not attempt to 
express the pleasure I feel on this occasion, as it removes 
at once difficulties under which I have been constantly in 
danger of sinking. I may not add, as I shall miss the 
post, but am, with the most grateful and respectful compli- 
ments to the Congress, &;c. 


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

Paris, 20|li January, 1777. 

I have met with disappointments, unexpected as they 
have been affecting ; after orders and counter orders and 
manoeuvres, the very history of which would fill a volume, 
the Araphitrite departed with the first parcel of the 
stores on the 14th ult., and I was then in full confidence 


that the other vessels would instantly follow, as they lay 
ready in their different ports, when, to my surprise, counter 
orders arrived. While laboring to remove these, the Amphi- 
trite returned into port, pretendedly through the want of 
live stock, he. by the officers. The Captain has protested, 
that he returned in consequence of the positive orders of 
Mons. du Coudray, to whom a superior power was given. 
I have no time to decide so disputable a point as that 
respecting Monsieur du Coudray's return, but the conse- 
quences have been bad. This, 1 must say, he acted an 
unwise and injudicious part, in returning into the port lie 
did, as he thereby gave a fresh alarm to the ministry, and 
occasioned a second counter order. Indeed Mons. du 
Coudray appeared to have solely in view his own ease, 
safety, and emolument, and instead of instantly despatching 
the ships with supplies, and thereby preventing a noise, he 
left the ships, and returned quite to Paris without the least 
ground, that 1 can (ind, for his conduct; and has laid hi? 
scheme to pass into America in a ship without the artillery, 
which is incoiisistcnt and absurd, and contrary to our origi- 
nal agreement, and constant understanding, as I engaged 
with this man solely on account of the artillery he was to 
assist in procuring, expediting, and attending in person. 
His desertion of this charge, with his other conduct, makes 
me wish he may not arrive in An)erica at all. I am sensi- 
ble that my difficult situation may atlect you, and thei'cfore 
I shall, if possible, prevent bis going out at all. With 
respect to the other stores they are embarked, and 1 am 
promised a permit, which is all 1 may say on the subject, 
whiclj is left solely to my management by my colleagues. 

M. du Coudray, not content with leaving the ship, took 
wit!) him the papers which occasioned a still further delay 


after she was ready ; but I will not enlar2;e on these disa- 
greeable topics, but wishing the stores at hand, 
1 am, with much esteem, &:c. 


T recomm.end the Captain to the generosity of Congress. 

Paris, Gth February, 1777. 

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


Paris, 27th February, 1777. 

This will be delivered you by Captain Goy, who, wid» 


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

I have the honor to be, 

With the most profound respect, k,c. 



Paris, 8th April, 1777. 
The bearer. Viscount Mourreu, is the gentleman of 
whom I formerly wrote, and who has been long detained by 
a variety of accidents, which he can relate to you at large. 
The engagements taken with him were previous to the 
arrival of my colleagues, who have not dierefore intermed- 


died in the affair. His character and abilities arc high in 
estimation here, and the Comte de Broglio has written in 
particular to General Washington. He served under the 
Comte, who commanded the armies of France with repu- 
tation in the last war. 

1 have the honor to be, 

Widi the most profound respect, he. 



Paris, 23d August, 1777 

Dear Sir, 

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

You know that when I left America the naval armaments 
were but beginning by the Congress, and the inquiry was 
hardly made, even by individuals, whedier foreign powers 
would admit our cruisers and their prizes. After my arrival 
the question was first started by Captain Lee of Marble- 
head, at Bilboa, of which I gave you an account in my let- 
ters of October and November last. Captain Lee carried 
no prize into Bilboa with him, and the question turned sim- 
ply on the complaint of die English Consul, charging him 
with having committed acts of piracy on the high seas in 
making prizes of English vessels. The commissary o( 
governor of the port detained his vessel and sent to Court 
for directions, and received orders to set the vessel at liber-- 
vor,. I. 14 


ty ; which orders were accompanied widi a general decla- 
ration, tliat his Catholic Majesty was neuter in the dispute 
hetween England and America. Though the issue of this 
business was favorable, it was not direct to the point ; we 
wished to establish the declaration of neutrality to be gen- 

[n my letters of October and November last, some of 
which n)ust have been received, I repeatedly gave my sen- 
timents in favor of sending cruisers into tliese seas. The 
first that arrived was the Reprisal widi two prizes ; diis 
caused much speculation, and at our first audience after, 
we were told, that by the treaties subsisting between France 
and England, ships of war belonging to any foreign power 
at war with either could not be admitted into their ports, 
unless driven by stress of weather, or want of provisions, &ic. 
and that in such case they could not be permitted to stay 
longer than twenty four hours, or until the}' had taken on 
board the provisions necessary to carry them to the nearest 
port of their respective states, he. as you will see in the 
treaty of commerce of 1713, confirmed by all the subse- 
quent treaties. At the same time we were given to under- 
stand, that every favor and indulgence compatible with the 
treaties would be shewn us, and that ways might be found 
out to dispose of those prizes without giving public offence 
to England. The hint was taken, the prizes disposed of, and 
the Reprisal repaired and fitted for another cruise ; which 
she made on the coast of Spain, taking, among other English 
prizes, the packet boat from Lisbon ; with which Captain 
Wickes returned to port L'Orient. On this the English 
Ambassador complained loudly, and the English merchants 
were alarmed. Insurance rose in London, and it was gen- 
erally supposed that there would l)e a restitution of the prizes 


and detention of Captain Wickes, or a declaration of war. 
This Court tlien ordered the prizes as well as Capt. Wickes 
to leave the port in twenty four hours. The former were 
sent out but sold to French merchants, and Captain Wickes, 
his ship being leaky, was permitted to stay. Soon after 
this, Captain Johnson arrived in the Lexington, and we, 
having bought a cutter with a view of sending her out as a 
packet, altered our resolution and equipped her as a cruiser, 
and sent her and the Lexington out under the command of 
Captain Wickes as commodore, with the design of inter- 
cepting the Irish linen ships ; but by contrary winds, and 
mistaking the time of the sailing of those ships, they were 
unsuccessful as to the main object ; but as they sailed quite 
round Ireland, and took or destroyed seventeen or eighteen 
sail of vessels, they most effectually alarmed England, pre- 
vented the great fair at Chester, occasioned insurance to 
rise, and even deterred the English merchants from ship- 
ping goods in English bottoms at any rate, so that in a few 
weeks forty sail of French ships were loading in the Thames 
on freight ; an instance never before known. 

But upon this, the English Ambassador complained in a 
higher tone, and gave us much difiiculty ; the prizes how- 
ever were disposed of, though at a prodigious loss, and 
Captain Wickes set about repairing and refitting the Repri- 
sal, which had been obliged to throw over her guns, and saw 
some of her beams, to escape a seventy four gun ship, which 
chased her and the Lexington on their return from their 
cruise. But before he was refitted, orders were sent from 
Court to detain his vessel and the Lexington, until further 
orders. This was owing partly to Captain Wickes having 
repeatedly come into the ports of France with prizes, and 
refitted his ship for fresh cruises, it being directly contrary 


to the treaty, which they pretend to hold sacred, and partly 
to the transaction at Dunkirk and the consequent ihreaten- 
ings of the British Ministry. In this situation Captain 
Wickes and Captain Johnson remain at present. Soon 
after Mr Hodge's arrival, we bought a lugger at Dover, 
and sent her to Dunkirk. Mr Hodge went after her and 
equipped her with great secrecy, designing a blow in the 
North Sea. He sent Captain Cunningham in her, and 
ordered him to intercept the packet between England and 
Holland, and then to cruise northward towards the Baltic. 
Cunningham fell in with the packet in a day or two 'after 
leaving Dunkirk, and took her. As she had a prodigious 
number of letters on board, he imagined it was proper he 
should return to Dunkirk instead of continuing his course ; 
in his return he also took a brig of some value, and brought 
both prizes into port. This spread the alarm far and wide, 
and gave much real ground of complaint, as he had been 
entirely armed and equipped in Dunkirk, and had returned 
thither with his prizes. The Ministry, therefore, to appease 
England ordered the prizes to be returned, and Cunning-^ 
ham and his crew to be imprisoned, which gave the English 
a temporary triumph. 

But not discouraged thereby, another cutter was bought 
and equipped completely in the port of Dunkirk. Cun- 
ningham and his crew were set at liberty, and with some 
address and intrigue he got again to sea from die same 
port, in a swift sailing cutter, mounting fourteen six poun- 
ders and twenty two swivels, with one hundred and six 
men. His first adventure greatly raised insurance on the 
northern trade, even the packet boats from Dover to Calais 
were for some time insured. On his leaving the port of 
Dunkirk the second time, he had orders to proceed directly 


for America, but lie and his crew, full of resentnient for the 
insults they had received from the enemy whilst in prison at 
Dunkirk, and afterwards, attacked the first vessels they met 
with, and plundered and burnt as they went on. Our last 
accounts are, that they had taken or destroyed about 
twenty sail, and had appeared off the town of Lynn and 
threatened to burn it unless ransomed ; but the wind prov- 
ing unfavorable, they could not put their threats into exe- 
cution. In a word, Cunningham, by his first and second 
bold expeditions, is become the terror of all the eastern 
coast of England and Scotland, and is more dreaded than 
Thurot was in the late war. Bui though this distresses 
our enemies, it embarrasses us. We solicited his enlarge- 
ment, and Mr Hodge engaged for his going directly for 
America. I know not how his engagement was expressed, 
but to appease the British Ministry and drive off an instant 
war, Mr Hodge has been arrested and confined. His 
friends need not be in distress for him ; he will soon 
be at liberty. He merits much from his country, having 
been ready at all times to promote and serve its interests. 

Just before the sailing of Cunningham, Captain Burrall 
arrived in a Maryland pilot boat. He made several prizes 
in his passage, and brought one into Cherbourg witli him. 
He came to Paris for our advice, but on his return suffered 
himself to be enticed on board an English cutter in the 
port, where he was instantly seized, and the cutter came to 
sail and carried him off prisoner. We complained, and 
were promised tliat he should be reclaimed by this Court ; 
it has probably been done, but we have received no answer. 
The ship General Mifflin, after cruising some time on the 
coasts of England and Ireland, put into Brest, and there, 
under Continental colors, saluted the admiral, who, afier 


consulting his officers, returned tlic salute, which causes 
much speculation, and shows that the officers, as well as the 
other orders in this kingdom, are much in our interest. 
But the politics of this Court are intricate, and embar- 
rassed with connexions and alliances on the continent of 
Europe, which, with the state of their fleet, and their sailors 
being abroad in the fishery, &lc. puts off bold and decisive 
measures. Some other prizes have arrived in different 
ports, particularly two valuable Jamaicamcn sent into 
Nantes a i'ew days since, by Captains Babson and Hen- 

This is a brief account of the proceedings of our cruisers, 
who have put into the ports of this kingdom. The prizes 
are sold widiout condemnation, and consequently to a great 
loss, as the whole is conducted secretly, and put too much 
in die power of the agents. Though these cruisers have 
not been profitable to us, they have been of infinite preju- 
dice to our enemies, both in their commerce and reputa- 
tion. J will not add to this, as I shall write another letter 
by this conveyance. 

1 beg my best compliments to Mrs Morris, and Uiat you 
will believe me ever, dear sir, yours, &lc. 


P. S. Since writing the above the two Jamaica prizes 
arc, by order of Court, arrested, and it remains doubtful 
whether they will not be restored to the original proprietors. 
The captain of one of the privateers on his passage took on 
board a lady, who was prisoner on board an American pri- 
vateci-, bound for Boston. This he did from motives of 
hiMiianily. On his arrival at Painboiif, she wrolc to her 
,'trolher, a merchant al Nantes, who came down, and 


lioping to get the consignment of the prizes, ofl'icionslv 
advised the captain to report them as sliips laden at St 
Eiistatia, which they did, and on their arrival at Nantes 
consigned the prizes to Messrs Lee &: Williams, who imme- 
diately made a private sale of them, Meantime the owners 
being acquainted with the proceeding, and knowing that the 
ships and cargoes, by being regularly entered, were in the 
hands of the custom house, lodged claims, showing that 
they had been falsely entered, and were English property 
captured by American privateers, and consequently by 
treaty could not be sold in France, This obliged the 
government to arrest tlie prizes or openly violate the treaty. 
Mr Williams came up a few days since, and presented a 
memorial on the subject, but I fear he will receive an unfa- 
vorable answer. Orders are received for Captains Wickes 
and Johnson to depart the ports of France. I purpose 
sending duplicates of this letter by each of them. I cannot 
omit any opportunity of doing justice to these gentlemen, 
their officers and seamen, whose conduct has been such as 
merits the approbation of their countrymen, and has given 
reputation to our navy in France. They will not be able 
to carry out any goods, though we had purchased some 
with a design of sending by them, particularly a quantity of 
saltpetre. This, with otlier articles to a considerable 
amount, will be sent in the course of this and the next 
month. 1 have received letters a few days since, advising 
that Captain Cunningham was at Ferrol. I know not 
where he designs next, having nothing directly from him. 

S. D. 



Paris, 3d September, 1777- 


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

My agreement with M. i\.'onthieu, the owner of this ship, 
in case she should not be sold in America, is that she be 
despatched with a cargo of tobacco as soon as possible, if 
the article is to be had, if not, with such articles as can be 
procured, as I have engaged for the freight out and home, 
and you are sensible of the necessity of having remittances 
by every opnortunity. Whatever this ship may be loaded 
with, 1 pray the cargo may come to Messrs Rodriquc 
Hortalez &- Co. as tliey have advanced for the arms and 
other articles of this cargo, over and above their other large 
advances. Tobacco is the best article at present, in the 
])orts of France, or indeed in any [)art of Europe, and must 
continue so for a very considerable time yet to come, most 
probab!\- tnr twelve months. You will please to send me 


an account of llic cargo, whatever it may be, that you ship 
in this vessel, and duplicates by others. 
I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, lOtli September, 1777. 

This will be handed you by M. Francy, who is agent for 
Messrs Rodrique Hortalez &; Co.* You will see by the 
bills of ladinc:, the quantity of stores shipped by that house, 
and make some judgment of thoh* considwable amount. 
The vessel, in which JM. Francy sails, is loaded with 
stores, which were long since engaged, but by a succession 
of obstacles have been until this detained. 1 still hope they 
will arrive in safety, and in season to be of service. The 
ship will be offered you to purchase, if she suits you, and if 
not, it will be equally agreeable to have her returned on 
the owners' account. I could not say any thing of pur- 
chasing a sliip, without knowing more of her than I could 
know of this ; 1 have therefore left it to your option to pay 
the price demanded, or the freight ; the latter is to be what 
is at this time customary in vessels of such force, which not 
being precisely fixed, is submitted to M. Chaumont, by the 
advice and consent of my colleagues ; it will probably be 
about two hundred and fifty livres per ton of goods to 
America, and back to Fiance ; it will not exceed that. 

• For a copy of the power given to RI. Francy, by Caron Beaumar- 
chais, r^resenting in France the house of Hortalez k. Co., and also 
for several resolutions of Congress on the subject, see the Journals of 
the Old Congress for April 7th, 177S. 
VOL. I. 15 


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



Paris, 23d September, 1777. 

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


1 am iiiformecl that it is insinuated, that interested and 
private views infiuenced nie to write as 1 did,* and that the 
fixing Mr Williams at Nantes was the object I had in view. 
I am very sorry you should be so imposed upon ; the con- 
sequences must ultimately be more prejudicial to yourself 
than to any other person. In the meantime, as a man of 
honor, I assure you 1 have neither interest or connexion in 
Mr Williams' business, nor have I engaged in the smallest 
private concern, except what you have been acquainted 
with, and which you know was in consequence of your 
letters in June, 1776. 

Mr Williams came to France to visit Dr Franklin ; he 
was in a good way of business in London, where he was 
entering into business with a capital house in the sugar 
business. England was disagreeable to him, solely on 
account of the animosities, which prevailed among individ- 
uals on account of the public quarrel. The stores which I 
had engaged, and which were sent out in the Mercury and 
Therese, were at Nantes, where matters had been so con- 
ducted that you must suppose I had no confidence in the 
managers. On this occasion I applied to 3Ir Williams, as 
a friend, to make a journey to Nantes, to examine the goods 
and see them shipped. He left Paris without intending to 
tarry longer than to perform this business. But his conduct 
at Nantes was so much the reverse of what had preceded, 
that every one who wished well to our affairs desired that he 
might be continued there. I needed no solicitations ; the 
interest of my country was my sole motive ; I knew he 

Allusion is here made to certain charges or complaints against Mr 
Thomas Morris, brother of Mr Robert Morris. He had been a merchant 
in Nantes, and was an agent for transacting in thai port llic mcrcaniile 
aflairs of the United Slates. 


served it faithfully, and 1 knew him to be generous and 
disinterested in the service. Yes sir, disinterested ; and 
you will acknowledge it when you are informed, that what 
he exacted of us was barely a sufficiency to support him, 
not amounting to one fourth of one per cent on the busi- 
ness. He has, if I am to have the credit of fixing him 
there, done me great honor ; he has, at the same time, 
obtained the good opinion and friendship of the capital 
persons at Nantes. I am thus particular on this subject, as 
I am well convinced it has been represented to you very 
differently. How it has been represented I know not, nor 
am I likely to be informed but from second hand, from your 
brother's showing your letter directed to me to Mr Ross, 
and telling some others what were its contents, and that 
you not only justified his conduct, but had obtained for him 
more ample appointments, widi severe reprimands to me, 
and even oblique censure on Dr Franklin, who happens to 
be Mr Williams' uncle. 

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

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

I have not the least desire of intermeddling in the com- 
mercial concerns of the Congress in Europe, nor of going 
out of my own department, whatever it may be, on any 
occasion ; but I have been obliged to take much upon my 
hands in procuring supplies of clothing, &c. as have also 
my colleagues, on account of the unhappy situation of our 
affairs here as to commerce. 1 will not add to a letter 


already long, only that if 1 have been mistaken in any thing, 
you will reflect that I write in reply to a part of one of 
yours, which I am unable to procure a sight of, and assure 
you that no private concern affects me more, than having 
drawn on myself your resentment by my desire of serving 
you. Be assured that I retain the highest esteem and 
respect for you in your public as well as private character, 
and am your sincere friend, Sec. 


York, in Pennsylvania, 4tli December, 1777. 

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

R. H. LEE, 


York, 8tli December, 1777. 


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

The order stands in need of no comment from the com- 
mittee to elucidate it ;* and being drawn up in terms com- 

• Mr Deanc was recalled by a resolution of Con?;ress, Nov. 21st. 1777. 
The following preamble and order were passed on the 8th of Decern- 


plimentary to your abilities of serving these United States 
upon your arrival here, I take pleasure in conveying it, 
being, sir, your very humble servant, 




Versailles, the 25th March, 177S. 

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

ber following; viz. — "Whereas it is of the greatest importance, that 
Congress should at this critical juncture be well informed of tlie state of 
affairs in Europe ; and whereas Congress have resolved that the Hon. 
Silas Deane be recalled from the Court of France, and have appointed 
another commissioner [John Adams] to supply his place there ; 

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

It may here be observed, that after the 17th of April, 1777, the Com- 
mitlee of Secret Correspondence was by a resolution of Congress, passed 
ou that date, styled the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 


founded on principles unalterable, but also that they will 
contribute to the happiness of botli nations. 

I have the honor to be, Sec. 




Versailles, 26th March. 1778. 

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

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

I have the honor to be, with the most sincere considera- 
tion, kc. 



Passv, near Paris, 31st March, 1778. 


My colleague, ]\Ir Dcane, being recalled by Congress, 
and i!0 reasons given that have yet appeared here, it is 
apprehended to be the eftect ot" some misrepresentations 
from an enemy or two at Paris and at Nantes. I have no 
doubt, that he will be able clearly to justify himself; but 
having lived intimately with him now fifteen months, the 
greatest part of the time in the same house, and been a 
constant witness of his public conduct, I cannot omit giving 
this testimony, though unasked, in his behalf, that I esteem 
him a faithful, active, and able minister, who, to my know- 
ledge, has done in various ways great and important ser- 
vices to his country, whose interests I wish may always, by 
every one in her employ, be as much and as efiectually 

With my dutiful respects to tlie Congress, I have the 
honor to be, he. 



Dei:uvaro Bay, 10th July, 1778. 

T have now the pleasm-e of acquainting your Excellency 
of ir.y arrival here yesterday, on board the Languedoc, 
commanded by his Excellency Count d'Estaing, with a 
fleet of twelve sail of the line, and four frigates. We 
sailed from Toulon the 10th of Aj)ril last. I presume 


therefore that I have no intelligence from Europe so late as 
what you must be possessed of already. Finding that the 
enemy had escaped, the Admiral resolved instantly to pur- 
sue them to New York, and will sail this morning for that 
port, but he has no pilot. If, therefore, pilots can be sent 
to meet him on his arrival, it u ill be of the utmost service 
to the expedition. 1 shall embark this afternoon in com- 
pany with his Excellency, Mons. Gerard, for Philadelphia, 
and hope soon to have the honor of paying my respects to 
your Excellency and the honorable Congress in ])erson, 
and to congratulate you on the late glorious events. I have 
sent Commodore Nicholson express, who can inform you 
of our situation. Permit me to recommend him as an 
active, spirited officer, to whom the Admiral has been much 
obliged by his services during our passage. 

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


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

VOT,. 1. 10 



Philadelphia, 28tli Julv, 1778. 


I had the honor of receiv^ing on the 4th of March last, in 
a letter from Mr Lovell, (a copy of which I now enclose,*) 
the orders of Congress, announcing my recall, and direct- 
ing my immediate return. 

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

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

With the most sincere respect, &lc. 


; , i, " See above, pn!^«^ 117. 



Pliiladolpl.ia, Sth September, J778. 


I pray your Excellency to remind the Congress, tliat 1 
still wait to receive their orders, and though I am sensible 
that they have many and important affairs under their con- 
sideration, yet I must entreat them to reflect on the peculiar 
situation I have for some time past been placed in, and 
inform me if they desire my further attendance. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your 
Excellencv's, Sec. 



Philadelphia, 11th September, 1T7S. 

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


is expected from nic, I may liave an early opportunity of 
giving it. 

I flatter myself your EKcellency and the Congress will 
not judge my repeated applications improper, when the 
circumstances which attended my leaving Europe, and the 
situation 1 have been in since my arrival in America, are 
recollected and considered. 

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



Pliiladeipliia, 22d September, 1778. 


In consequence of an order of Congress on the Sth of 
December, 1777, for me to embrace the first opportunity 
of returning to America, and " upon my arrival to repair 
with all possible despatch to Congress, that they might be 
well informed of the state of afiairs in Europe in that criti- 
cal juncture," 1 left Paris the 1st of April last, having 
received the order on the 4th of March preceding, and 
arrived in Philadelphia, the seat of Congress, on the loth 
of July following, ready at the pleasure of Congress to ren- 
der such information as was in my jjower to give. In this 
situation I continued until the 15th of August, when I 
received the order of Congress to attend them on die 17U), 
on which day, and on the 2 1st, I had the honor personally 
to inform Congress generally, of my public transacdons 
under their authority from the time of my departure from 
Philadelphia in IMarch, 177G, unul my return. 

In these audiences, I particularly stated and explained 


the iinsetlled state, in which the coinnicrcial transactions of 
ihe commissioners in Europe were at my departure, and 
that as well from their nature and extent, as that even at 
my departure from Paris many large orders were not com- 
pleted, and of consequence, neither the accounts or vouchers 
delivered ; that the interval hetween my receiving my order 
of recall, and my departure in compliance with it was so 
short, as to render it impossible for me to arrange those 
affairs further, than to be able to give a general state of 
them, which I then mentioned generally, and added, that I 
was under the necessity of returning speedily to Europe, as 
well on account of those, as of other important affairs left 
by my sudden departure in an unsettled slate. At my last 
audience, I found and expected, that I should be called 
upon to answer questions, which might be put to me for the 
obtaining more clear and explicit information, than what I 
had given of some particulars in my general narration, and 
I held myself in readiness to attend the pleasure of Con- 
gress for that purpose. In this situation my private affairs 
pressed my immediate departure from Philadelphia, and 
my public as well as private affairs in Europe no less urged 
my departure from America. On the Sth of September, I 
took the liberty of reminding that honorable body, that I 
was still wailing to receive their orders, if they desired my 
furdier attendance upon them, and my affairs daily pressing, 
on the 11th of September, 1 again reminded Congress of 
my waiting their pleasure, and took the liberty of mention- 
ing the reasons that pressed mc to be anxious for their 
immediate decision. As Congress have not ihoughi proper 
to make any reply to my letters, nor to admit me to lay 
before them such further information as they may desire, 
and 1 am enabled to give, and as from the many weighty 


affairs upon their hands it is uncertain when I may be ad- 
mitted, and as my concerns will not permit my longer con- 
tinuance in Philadelphia, I take the liberty of enclosing to 
your Excellency the account of the banker, in whose hands 
all the public monies were deposited, of which I gave you 
some time since a general state for your private informa- 
tion, and which I obtained from the banker but a day or 
two before my departure from Paris, with the view of giving 
all the information in my power on every subject to Con- 
gress, in which they were interested, and which account I 
expected in the course of my narration to have delivered 
personally to Congress. 

As to any oiher subject on which further information 
may be desired, 1 shall be ready to give it, whenever that 
honorable body shall call on me for it, during the short time 
my affairs will permit me to tarry in this city. I have 
indeed thought that some fiu'ther information would be 
necessary; 1 have daily expected to be called upon for it. 
On this consideration alone, I have, notwithstanding the 
pressing circumstances I have found myself in, waited with 
patience the orders of Congress. I shall be happy if such 
information or any other service in my power may be found 
agreeable and of use to that respectable body and the 
United States, to whom I have long since, and ever shall 
be devoted. I have only further to request that honorable 
body to be assured, that I shall ever retain a most grateful 
sense of the confidence, which they have heretofore honored 
me with, and consider it as the most honorable and happy 
circumstance of my life, that 1 have had the opportunity of 
rendering important services to my country, and that I am 
conscious of having done them to the utmost of my ability. 

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




Philailelpliia, 2-lth Scptciuljcr, 1778. 

Being informed tbat letters from Mr Izard, reflecting on 
n)y character and conduct whilst in the service of the public 
abroad, have been read in Congress, I have to ask that 
honorable body to grant nie copies thereof, and that I may 
be permitted to wait on Congress, and to be heard in my 
vindication. I have that regard for Mr Izard's opinion of 
my ability and disposition to transact public business, which 
I ought to have, and am consequently easy on that subject j 
but facts assorted, which aflect either, call for an explana- 
tion. Those indeed, which respect niyself personally, 
require none before Congress, nor will I trouble that hon- 
orable body with the making any ; but those which regard 
my character and conduct as a public minister, and in so 
important a transaction as that of the late treaties of Paris, 
call on n)e, as well injustice to the public as to myself, for 
an explanation, which 1 am very happy in the having it in 
my power to give, as well as in the confidence I have, that 
Congress will neither delay nor refuse doing th-s justice to 
a faithful and greatly injured servant of theirs. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 



Philadclpliia, Till October, 1778. 


In consequence of my letter of the 24th ult. I had the 
honor of receiving tlie order of Congress of the 2Gtii, direct- 


ing me to attend on the 29lh, at three o'clock in the after- 
noon, that day being assigned for my being heard ; I was 
at the same time favored with extracts from Mr Izard's 
letters.* On the 29th, I was served with an order of 
Congress, which postponed my being heard to some future 
time. On the 8d instant an extract of a letter from the 
honorable Arthur Lee, dated Paris, June 1st, 1778, was 
gii^en me by order of Congress. 1 hav'e for some time past 
waited with the greatest impatience for an opportunity of 
being heard before that honorable body, confident that my 
peculiar situation will excuse my impatience. 1 must, with- 
out repeating what I have already had the honor of writing 
to you, once more urge for as early an audience as the 
important business before Congress will admit of. 
! have the honor to be, Sic. 



riiiladelphia, 12th October, 1778. 


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

Though totally unable even to conjecture, what relation the 
examination of that gentleman can possibly have to those abu- 
sive and injurious lctters,written by Mr Izard and Mr Lee, yet, 
as I had so often troubled Congress during a three months' 

* See Mr Tznrd's loUcis to tlie President nf f'ongress, Feb. Ifith and 
April 1st, 


fllteiulance, with my repeated solicitations to be licard, I 
forbore repealing them until neither my health, my interest, 
nor my honor will permit me a much longer stay in Amer- 
ica ; I have, therefore, taken the liberty of enclosing my 
answers to the letters of those gentlemen. It pains me to be 
obliged to answer at all, and it grieves me exceedingly to be 
deprived of the opportunity of doing it in person ; 1 still hope 
to be indulged before leaving America. I have only further 
to inform Congress, that I shall go into the country tomorrow, 
for a few days, that having engaged a passage in a ship, 
which will sail for France sometime next month, 1 pro- 
pose to leave Philadelphia in a few days after 1 return from 
the country, in order to embark, and shall esteem myself 
honored by Congress if tliey have any thing further in 
which I may be of service to my country, if they will favor 
me with their commands. 

I have the honor to remain, &.c. 

SILAS deane;. 


Philadelphia, I'2th October, 1778. 

In the extracts froin the letters of the honorable ]\Ir 
Izard, I find charges which respect me, supported by his 
opinions, and by what he declares to have heard from the 
honorable Arthur Lee, who, by his own account, is my 
irreconcilable enemy. I find also charges against the hon- 
orable Dr Franklin and myself jointly, supported on the 
same grounds, with this difference, that almost every com- 
plaint against us lies equally against Mr Lee, and it is wor- 

VOL. 1. ]? 


thy of remark, that where the charge lies equally against us 
all, Mr Izard leaves Mr Lee wholly out, and fixing it solely 
on Dr Franklin and myself, proceeds to represent the Doc- 
tor as entirely under my influence. My situation has, 
through the whole been peculiarly unfortunate, and in noth- 
ing more so than in this, that Mr Izard's letters, written as 
much with the design of impeaching Dr Franklin's conduct 
as mine, now operates solely against me. 

Mr Izard says, in his letter of the first of April, '■'■That if 
the tvhoh world had been searched, it would have been 
impossible to have found a person more unfit than 1 was for 
the trust, with which Congress had honored me." It does 
not become me, and possibly not even Mr Izard himself, to 
determine on my competency to that trust, and I have only 
to observe, that both of us were appointed by the authority 
of Congress, with this only difl^erence, that I had the honor 
of being personally known to the members who composed 
that body, and 1 can add with pleasure, that 1 always paid 
respect to Mr Izard from the choice they had made of him, 
which I doubt not was on good information. I shall feel 
no uneasiness on my own account, that Mr Izard's o[)inions 
of ine remain on the journals of Congress, whilst on the 
same records there will be found that of his Most Christian 
Majesty, of his Minister, and Secretary of Stale, and of my 
venerable colleague, revered through Europe as the first 
of patriots, as well as philosophers, whom this age has pro- 
duced. I find but two charges which respect me person- 
ally ; the first is, the exercising such a degree of hauteur 
and presumption as to give offence to every gentleman with 
whom I transacted business. I transacted none with Mr 
Izard, and therefore must appeal from his opinion to the 
fjusiness I transacted, and the worthy and honorable persons 


with whom 1 tiansuLtcd il, and who, from the firsi of my 
acquaintance with them to my leaving the kingdom, honoied 
me with their friendship and their confidence. I desire it 
may be remembered, that, when I w^ent abroad, cliarged 
with the transaction of political and commercial business for 
Congress, in the year 177G, 1 arrived at Paris as late in the 
season as the month of July, without funds, uncertain of 
remittances, widiout credit, ignorant of the language and 
manners of France, and an utter stranger to the persons in 
power and influence at Court ; that I had not the patronage 
of any person of importance, and had no correspondence 
or connexions established in any part of Europe. The 
news of our misfortunes in Canada arrived in France with 
hie, and that of our subsequent misfortunes immediately 
after, and was, as usual, exaggerated by tiie British Ambas- 
sador and his emissaries. In a word, without remittances, 
or even intelligence from Congress, and under all these dis- 
agreeable circumstances, I had to oppose the artifice, the 
influence, and the power of Great Britain ; yet I have the 
pleasing reflection that before the first of December follow- 
ing, I procured thirty thousand stand of arms, thirty thou- 
sand suits of clothes, more than two hundred and fifty pieces 
of brass artillery, tents, and other stores to a large amount,, 
provided the shins to transport them, and shipped a great 
part of tliem for America. Many of these supplies fortu- 
nately arrived at the commencement of the last year's 
operations, and enabled my brave countrymen, in some 
parts of America, to make a good stand against the enemy^ 
and in tlie north to acquire ip.nnortal renown by the defeat 
and surrender of General Burgoyne and his whole army^ 
an event peculiarly fortunate in its consecjuences, as it 
accelerated the completion of that alliance, to which tii« 


honorable Congress, with every true friend to the Unftedt 
States, have given tlieir approbation. During this short 
period I had established a very extensive correspondence 
for the service of my country, not only in France but in 
Holland, at the Court of Russia, and elsewhere in Europe ; 
and though the grant of money by the Court of Versailles 
was not at this time actually made, I had entered upon the 
negotiation and laid the foundation for obtaining it. These 
facts, without mentioning others of no less importance, will 
shew what business I transacted ; and the character given 
me by those great personages, with whom I was in my 
public character connected, will evince the degree of repu- 
tation in which I stood. It is my misfortune that Mr Izard 
was of a different opinion. 

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

Mr Izard complains that Dr Franklin and myself con- 
cealed from him, or attempted to conceal the opportunities 
of writing to America, as well as the intelligence received 
from thence. In reply to this, it need only be observed, 
that no packets or letters were sent by the commissioners to 
America and to Congress, without the knowledge and con- 
sent of Mr Arthur Lee, and no intelligence received to 
which he was not privy. That he was often with Mr 
Izard, and therefore it was naturally to be supposed woukl 


give him every necessary information ; if Mr Lee did not; 
acquaint INIr Izard, he is at least equaJly culpable with us, 
and if he did, there is no ground for the complaint. It is 
true, that neither Dr Franklin nor myself considered our- 
selves at liberty to conmiunicate the treaty or its contents, 
until the consent of the Court should be had ; we consider- 
ed ourselves in tlie same situation as to the appointment of 
INIons. Gerard, and the sailing of the Toulon fleet. Mr 
Izard appears, however, to have been well informed of the 
former at least, and that very early, and of the latter on the 
day of our leaving Paris. Mr Arthur Lee knew of it 
sometime before, as he wrote many letters by his Excel- 
lency Mons. Gerard. In justice, therefore, the complaint 
ought not to have been made solely against Dr Franklin 
and ^Ir Deane, and particularly against the latter. 

-Mr Izard represents that there were dissensions and mis- 
understandings between the commissioners at Paris. It is 
true. He is of opinion that the interest of the public suf- 
fered by it, but in this he is mistaken, as the treaty itself 
and all our other public transactions will demonstrate. Mr 
Izard is of opinion that France might have been brought to 
have taken an active part much earlier. If circumstances, 
not in our ])ower, had taken place earlier, they possibly 
might ; but even in that case they would have done it under 
great disadvantages, as is evident from the representation I 
made to Congress when 1 had the honor of being heard on 
the 19th of August last. As the 11th and 12th articles of 
the treaty are complained of, and as this subject imme- 
diately interests the public, I have drawn up a concise nar- 
ration of the whole of that transaction and have communi- 
cated it to his Excellency Mons. Gerard, who agrees to the 
truth of every part thereof, which has come to his know- 


ledge. This I beg leave to present to Congress, as it will 
show that Mr Izard had not the best information, and that 
neither Dr Franklin or myself (though " born in New Eng- 
land") procured the insertion of those articles ; it will further 
show that the Court of France never urged it, but on the 
contrary left us perfectly free to have them both inserted or 
both omitted. It will also appear, that Mr Lee himself 
wrote and signed the letter, desiring they might be inserted, 
and that he afterwards had a private conference with M. 
Gerard on the subject, and appeared perfectly satisfied. 
If any doubts arise on this subject, I shall be happy to refer 
for satisfaction on that head to Mons. Gerard, and also for 
what passed between Mr Lee and himself on the occasion^ 
as well as for the pretended verbal promise that the article 
should be expunged if objected to by Congress. I have 
signed that narration, and shall sign these observations in 
which I have avoided taking those advantages of Mr Izard, 
which the passionate and partial complexion of his letters 
has given me, were I disposed to make use of them ; 
because, I conceive it to be an abuse, if not an insult to 
trouble Congress with any thing merely personal, though I 
have provocation sufficient to justify me in the eyes of the 
world, and am by no means deficient in materials. 

I recollect perfectly well the interview at Passy with Mr 
William Lee, at which Mr Izard present, but I do not 
remember that any such letter as he describes was either 
desired or refused. 1 rather think that Mr Izard misunder- 
stood Dr Franklin at the time, or that his memory has de- 
ceived him. Tlie facts are these. The late Mr Thomas 
Morris had a commission to act as conniiercial agent; his 
commission was entirely distinct from, and independent of,- 
the conunissioners; he at least construed it so himself fron> 


the beginulng. We were very early iiifonncd of his irreg- 
ularities, and adinonishcd him, and advertised Congress of 
them. As we could get no account of the disposition of the 
prizes brought into France, and the expense of repairing 
and equip[)ing the vessels of war fell on the commissioners, 
Dr Franklin and myself (Mr A. Lee being then at Berlin) 
deputed ^Ir Williams to take the care of the prizes into his 
own hands, and ordered the Captains to account with him. 
On Mr William Lee's arrival at Nantes he joined with Mr 
Morris in writing a severe letter to the commissioners on 
what they had done, in which they coniplained, lliat the 
office or department of commercial Agent was broken in 
upon, and that we had no power over it. Dr Franklin, at 
the desire of Mr A. Lee and myself prepared an answer, 
in which the reason of our orders was given, and Mr Mor- 
ris' conduct urged as our principal motive, but that as he, 
Mr William Lee, was there, we would recall our commission 
from Mr Williams. Mr Arthur Lee would not agree to the 
form of the letter, and alter much dispute upon it, a second 
was written, when INIr Arthur Lee observed, that his brother 
was coming to Paris soon to receive his commission for Vi- 
enna and Berlin, and as there were then no prizes in port, 
or expected, the matter might rest. This was the reason 
why Mr W. Lee's letters were not answered. He came to 
Paris soon after, and represented the confused state in which 
affairs were at Nantes, and urged the interposition of the 
commissioners to put the whole agency into his hands. 
The situation of Mr William Lee at that time was precisely 
this ; he had never received any commission either from 
Congress or their committee for the commercial agency, 
whilst Mr Thomas Morris was, and had been in the posses- 
sion of a commission, and in the exercise of the agency. 


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


nature incompatible with each other, and impossible to have 
been executed by the same person. But as one of the 
places was supposed to be a lucrative one, tiie subject was 
too delicate to be touched on by us. 

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

VOL. I. 18 


Mr Izard is pleased to say, that "to let Mens. Gerard go 
away without giving him the least intimation of it, was a 
very high insult to Congress." It was not in our power to 
permit or prevent Mons. Gerard's going away, and if we 
did not, circumstanced as we then were, think ourselves 
authorised to communicate it to Mr Izard, I cannot conceive 
this to be a high insult to Congress ; certain it is, we meant 
no such thing ; we meant to serve, not insult that honorable 
body. " The object," he says, " of these gentlemen is to 
have Mr Deane come back in a public character, if not to 
France, perhaps to Holland, or some other part of Europe, 
and therefore they are afraid of having reasons given why 
this should not be the case." And he adds, " I am of opinion 
that he is upon every account an improper person to be 
employed by Congress." I have already appealed from 
this gentleman's opinions, sol shall say nothing further about 
them ; his reasons, if he ofters any, are to be judged of by 
Congress. I fmd, however, he had more apprehensions than 
reasons in this part of his letter; his apprehensions as well 
as opinions were in part at least groundless ; he was appre- 
hensive lest my venerable colleague would solicit some 
appointment for me ; I do not learn that he has done it, I 
never desired or expected that he would. Mr Izard, I 
presume, knew that I had a very extensive correspondence 
with gentlemen of the mercantile and monied interest and 
character in Europe, but particularly in Holland, where I 
had long before been preparing the minds of such men in 
favor of a loan. He knew that there was not merely a 
correspondence, but a strict personal friendship subsisting 
between certain gentlemen in Amsterdam and at the Hague 
and myself, and that I had proposed to go there on the 
subject of the loan, as well as for other purposes. I pre- 


sume also lie knew, that the Frencli Ambassador in Holland, 
the Duke de Vaugiiyson, who spent last winter in Paris, 
honored me with his acquaintance, and with all the polite- 
ness as well as zeal for the interest of the United States of 
North America, which make part of that nobleman's char- 
acter, urged me to go there, assuring me of every personal 
service and civility, which should be in his power. I\Iy 
recall prevented the execution of the plan, and INIr Izard 
doubtless apprehended that 1 should solicit for the appoint- 
ment. His apprehension was groundless ; the honorable 
Congress know that I have not solicited for any appoint- 
ment ; my life and fortune, with what abilities I am blessed 
with, have been from the first, and will ever be devoted to 
the service of my country, who are most certainly the best 
judges in what department they can be most useful ; or if 
they can be of any use at all, and to their judgment I most 
cheerfully submit. 

I have the honor to be. 

With the most respectful attachment, &:c. 



rhiladclpliia, 12ili October, 177P. 

I beg leave to lay before Congress a few observations on 
the extracts from Mr Arthur Lee's letter, dated Paris, June 
1st, ITTS, read in Congress the 3d instant, which were 
ordered to be communicated to me. Mr Lee begins by 
saying that, 'OI. Monthieu's papers were sent to show you 
the demands tliat are made upon us, and the grounds of 


them J you will see that they are accounts, which !Mr Doane 
ought to have settled." 

Not having seen the accounts or papers said to have 
been sent, I can only reply generally by iulonuing Congress, 
that I contracted with M. Monthieu (nearly at the time that 
I contracted with Mons. Beaumarchais for the stores) to 
procure ships to transport them over to America;* the rate, 
I was told in Paris and elsewhere, was as low as could be 
then procured in France ; it has risen since that time. 
The ships were to have been despatched in a reasonable 
time to and from America. Mons. Beaumarchais was my 
surety. The ditliculty met with in getting away the stores 
was such, that the last of the ships did not sail from Mar- 
seilles until in September, 1777. The delay of near twelve 
months of some of them in France, and an uncommon delay 
of all of them, occasioned by repeated counter orders, and 
fresh obstacles rising in the way of embarking those stores, 
as well as the unexpected detention of those ships in Amer- 
ica, as for instance, of the Amphitrite, from April until the 
October following, with the capture of them, were circum- 
stances unforeseen and unexpected at the time of making 
the contract, and entitled M. Monthieu to an equitable 
consideration over and above the freight stipulated. Before 
the last ship sailed, therefore, M. Monthieu insisted that 
some mode for a settlement should be agreed upon ; on 
which Dr Franklin and myself agreed with him to submit 
the whole to Mons. Chaumont ; the submission was made 
and signed. M. Monthieu, on his return from Marseilles, 
(to which place he went immediately to embark and send 
off the remainder of the stores) urged 31. Chaurrr)nt to 

* See the articles of agprecment, for this purpose, dated 15th October, 
1776, — p. 51, of this volume. 


undertake it. I did ilie same ; he declined, telling ine 
that he found Mr Lee of so jealous and unquiet a disposi- 
tion, and so much disposed to abuse every one that he had 
any concerns with, that he had well nigh resolved never to 
have any thing more to do wilii the commissioners, while 
he was one of them ; but as M. Monthieu had other con- 
cerns wiUi the commissioners, he thought it best to settle 
the whole at once, and when the whole was ready for a 
settlement, if Mr Lee would then desire him to undertake it, 
he would do it as well to oblige us as M. ^lonthieu, for 
whom he had a regard. This put olT the settlement lor 
llje lime. 

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

I am not surprised at any thing of this kind from ^Ir Lee, 
nor that Mr John Adams has not joined with him in this 
letter, though I dare say, that gentleman knows his duty, 
and has done it, as well to the public as to me. After 
premising that Mr Lee had in his hands the accounts of all 
the monies received and paid out on the public account, 1 
will lay before Congress the facts, which he had before him 
when he wrote this letter, after which Congress will be able 
to judge whether Mr Lee had any grounds for his repre- 
senting me as a public defaulter for millions. It is certain, 
that Mr Lee knew that the total amount of monies received 
by the commissioners to the time of my leaving Paris, 

14!^ SILAS Or.A.NK 

nmoiinled (o (livros) 3,7ij;),2.')0 

And llial llio hnlaiirc due TNlr Cnind, tlie 

27lh March, was 293,7.^8 17 

And thai die whole expeiuhtnre.s to thai 

day, eonseiiiiently was (livres) 4,04G,9S8 17 

In the uvW place, it will appear, that hy niuch the greater 
part of this was aclnally expended and paid out by and 
with Mr Lee's consent and orchM's at the time ; the whole 
was well known to hitn, as he had, iVoni time to lime, access 
to Mr Grand's books, and Mr Grand delivered him copies 
thereof tip to the 27lh of March last, hy which he had before 
him an account of every pavuKMit thai had been made, and 
I sent him in wriiini; an explanation of every |)ayment that 
had been made in his absence, or which had not been made 
by his written order. 

'I'lie accoiiiilsof tlu> j)arlicii!ar articles in detail, not being 
her(>, I am unable to explain every charge in Mr Grand's 
account. It is siiliicient that Mr Grand's account shows, 
that tlu> nature of nearly the whole of the expenditures was 
perfectly well known to Mr Lee, when he wrote the above 
account of millions expended, and rejjresented he knew not 
how to show this. 1 have slated Mr (irand's aceoinU in a 
shorter compass than what it was before, and iiave brought 
the dillerent payments for particular objects made to dif- 
iercnt people into one view, as will be seen in the annexed 
slate or explanation of IMr Grand's account. 

I have no design in answering this pari of Mr Lee's 
letter to go farther into the accounts than to show demon- 
strativi'ly, that nothing can be more groundless and unjust, 
than for him to represent that millions had been profusely 
expended, and as if ho knew not in what manner or to wliat 


purpose. The an)ounl of expenditures, uiuil the lime of my 
leaving Paris, was 4,040,938 17 livers, and it appears, as 
well from the nature of llie account, as from the knowledge 
Mr Lee had of the transactions, that he knew generally 
of the payment of every livre, and to whom it had been 
made, having the accounts and the explanation of them in 
his hands, up to the very day I set out from Paris. The 
particular application, indeed, of every part, could not be 
known until the several accounts should be given in. ^Ir 
Lee himself signed the orders for much the greater part of 
the monies to Mr Williams, and the other principal pay- 
ments, and was well informed of the business which he (Mr 
^Villiams) was executing. By this staling of the account 
it will appear, that the commissioners, for their private 
expenses, from December, 177G, to 27th March, 1778, 
for the support and relief of Americans, escaping from 
prison in England, for the payment of Mons. Dumas, agent 
in Holland, the sending of expresses, the purchase of a 
large quantity of shoes, which were sent to Nantes, to be 
shipped for America, and for several less disbursements, 
had of Mr Grand only the sum of 244,235 livres, equal to 
the sum often thousand two hundred and sixty one pounds 
ten shillings sterling, which is of itself a demonstration, that 
there was no misapplication of the public monies, since 
Mr Lee has written, that he could not live under three thou- 
sand pounds sterling per annum himself. Whether or not 
extravagant prices were given for any of the articles pur- 
chased, will be an after consideration. 

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

1 really know not what he means. Things once paid for 
are not to be paid for a second lime, and the payments 


Stated above arc proved, by Mr Grand's accounts, to have 
been bona fide made. " Bargains," he says, " of the most 
extravagant kind, have been made with this Mons. Monthieu 
and others ;" and then he proceeds to give an example. 
As to the bargains I was concerned in with this man, and 
with every other person, I totally deny the fact, and the 
example given is but a mere pretence. I am so confident 
of the contrary, that I will most cheerfully take every bar- 
gain made by me, or with my consent, in Europe, the 
contract with the Farmers-General excepted, (which was 
partly political at the time,) on myself, and will be bound to 
abide the profit or loss, leaving them to be judged of by the 
ablest merchants in Europe. Mr Lee informs us of one 
hundred thousand livres given to Mr Hodge, and that the 
privateer or vessel he bought cost about £3000, or 72000 
livres, and adds, " for what purpose the surplus was given to 
Mr Hodge, how the public came to pay for her refitting, and 
at length the vessel, and her prize money, made over to Mr 
Ross and Mr Hodge, without a farthing being brought to 
public account, rests with Mr Deane or Mr Hodge to 
explain ;" and in a few lines further he says, "you will see 
my name is not to the contracts ;" but he forgets to add, — 
that he was at Berlin when they were made. What 1 have 
already observed upon in Mr Lee's letter, and what T pur- 
pose to notice, confirms me in the opinion, which Dr 
Franklin and some others have for some time had of him, 
that, from a long indulgence of his jealous and suspicious 
dis[)osition and habits of mind, he is at last arrived on the 
very borders of insanity, and that at times he even passes 
the line ; and it gives me pleasure, thougli it is but a 
melancholy one, that I can attribute to the misfortunes of 
his head, what I must otherwise place to a depravity of 


Mr Hodge went to Dunkirk, by order of the commis- 
sioners. Tiiey sent liim in consequence of orders from the 
Secret Committee ; lie purchased and fitted out two vessels, 
a fact though forgotten by Mr Lee, known to every one 
at the time. From what that brave and virtuous young 
American did and suffered on the occasion, it was the com- 
mon topic of conversation every where ; it raised insurance 
in England ten per cent for a time. !Mr Hodge, to appease 
the British Ambassador, was sent to the Bastile, and Cun- 
ningham, making his cruise round England and Ireland, put 
into Spain without prize money equal to the repairs he 
wanted. Mr Hodge was released from his imprisonment, 
and one of the first things he did, was to give Mr Lee the 
account of his whole disbursements in writing. ]Mr Hodge 
had taken a small interest in the adventure from the first, 
and proposed following Cunningham into Spain by land, 
and making a cruise with iiim. He proposed that ]\Ir Ross 
and he should purchase the vessel ; but as a price could not 
easily be agreed upon, they proposed to take the vessel as 
she was, and do the best with her against the common 
enemy, and to account to Congress therefor. ]Mr Ross 
desired that such an agreement should be signed by the 
commissioners for his security. I know not that it was 
ever done. 1 have only to add on this subject, that all the 
monies received by Mr Hodge amounted to 92,729 iivrcs 
18 3, in tiie whole, and that I\lr Hodge rendered us other 
services besides equipping these two vessels. 

Speaking of the contracts, he says, " they were in fact 
concealed from me with the utmost care, as was every 
other means of rny knowing how these affairs were con- 
ducted." I have in reply to relate the following facts 
which are easy to be ascertained. Mr Lee, on his return 

VOL. I. 19 


from Berlin, wos made acquainted with the contracts ; 
Messrs Ilolker, (now in Boston) Sabbaiier and Desprez 
repeatedly conferred with Mr Lee on the subject in my 
presence, and when they brought in their accounts Mr Lee 
assisted in adjusting them, and signed with us the orders for 
the payment, as Mr Grand's account and the orders and 
accounts themselves will show. It is true, the execution of 
M. Monthieu's contract was not completed, when I lel't 
Paris, and therefore liis accounts could not be settled. Mr 
Williams had the oversight of repairing the arms in the 
magazine at Nantes ; he settled his accounts with his work- 
men monthly ; he had a frigate fitting out for the commis- 
sioners, 10,000 suits of clothes making uj), a number of 
shirts, shoes, he. together with the charge of all the stores 
the connnissioners were sending to Nantes to be shipped. 
Monthly accounts were not to be expected in reason from a 
man in such a situation; it could not be done if promised, 
and Mr Williams is a gendeman of too much probity as 
well as knowledge in business, to promise what he cannot 
perform. It is not enough to say, that no man in France 
enjoys a better character for strict honor and probity, both 
at Court and in the city, than Mons. Chaumont. JusUce 
must add, there is no man enjoys it perhaps so universally 
through the kingdom, among the merchants, the farmers or 
husbandmen, and mechanics, in all which branches of busi- 
ness he is constandy speculating. This man is the friend 
of Dr Franklin ; I have the pleasure of knowing him to be 
mine, and what is more, the friend of my country, on all 
and in the most trying occasions. I do not wonder that Mr 
Lee should appear jealous of this gentleman, as well as of 
every body else, a select few excepted, and very few indeed 
are those, who escape his jealous suspicions, either in 


Europe 01- America. It is a uielanclioly triitli, but 
justice to the public requires my declaring It, that I never 
knew Mr Lee, from his first coming to Paris, satisfied 
with any one person ho did business with, whether of a 
public or private nature, and his dealings, whether for trifles 
or for things of importance, almost constantly ended in a 
dispute, sometimes in litigious quarrels. 

Mr Lee lived some time in ]M. Chauinonl's house. M. 
Chaumont knew him perfectly well, and was not reserved 
in speaking his opinion of iiim. I am sorry to be thus long 
on so disagreeable a subject, a subject which I cautiously 
waived entering on, in my narration to Congress, not choosing 
to trouble them with matters, which they might deem of a 
jiersonal natiu'e. I am grieved to have been forced on it 
at all, and hope never to be obliged to resume it, and as in 
commercial transactions there are but two sides to an 
account, and every thing goes to the debtor credit, the folio 
for profit or loss, so 1 must solicit that Dr Franklin and the 
honorable INIr Adams may be directed to see the settlement 
of all those accounts immediately on my return to Paris, 
and as there has been a charge made by Mr Lee, of profu- 
sion, of extravagant contracts, and the like, that those gen- 
tlemen be authorised to submit the accounts, with every 
allegation of the kind, to the adjustment and determination 
of gentlemen of ability and character on the s|)ot, and that 
orders may be given, that whatever sum may be found duo 
from the commissioners may by them be instantly paid 
into the hands of tlie banker for Congress, and that in like 
manner said banker may be ordered to pay whatever may 
be the balance, to the person in whose favor the same sliall 
be found. By this means the truth will he demoristrated, 
and justice done, which is all I have ever wished for. 


Having forgot to mention it in its place, I must be permitted 
to add here, that the first vessel purchased and fitted out 
by Mr Hodge was, on the return and imprisonment of 
Cunningham, detained by order from Court, and a second 
purchased, in which Cunningham went on his second cruise. 
The first was put up for sale at Dunkirk, but not disposed 
of when I left Paris, at least I had not heard of it. 
I have the honor to be, 

With the most respectful attachment, Sec. 


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

Mr Deane's Observations on Mr Arthur Lee's Letter of 
June \st, 1778. 

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


and since in his letter of the JStli of June last, speaking of 
Doctor Franklin and myself, he says, 

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

Afterwards in the same letter speaking of Doctor Frank- 
lin he says, 

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

Gratitude as well as justice to that truly great man, to 
whose friendship and counsel I owe much, oblige me to say 
on this occasion that I not only believe, but know that this is, 
to say no more of it, directly the reverse of the character 
which Dr Franklin has ever sustained, and which he now 
most eminently supports. It gives me pleasure to reflect 
on the honors and respect universally paid him by all orders 
of people in France, and never did I enjoy greater satisfac- 
tion, than in being the spectator of the public honors often 
paid him. A celebrated cause being to be heard before the 
Parliament of Paris, and the house, and streets leading to it 
crowded with people, on the appearance of Doctor Frank- 
lin, way was made for him in the most respectful manner, 
and he passed through the crowd to the seat reserved for 
him, amid the acclamations of the people, an honor seldom 
paid to their first princes of the blood. When he attended 


the operas and plays, similar honors were paid him, and I 
confess I felt a joy and pride, which were pure and honest, 
though not disinterested ; for 1 considered it an honor to he 
known to be an American and his friend. What were the 
sensations of the writers of these letters on such occasions I 
leave their letters and conduct towards him to speak, and 1 
cannot now express the indignation and grief I feel at find- 
ing such a character, represented as the worst that hunian 
depravity is capable of exhibiting, and that such a represen- 
tation should be made by an American in a public character. 

In the course of my narrative I mentioned Mr Williams's 
accounts as being finally settled. 1 drew my conclusion 
from his letter to me of the 22d of July last read in Congress. 
I find the accounts are not finally closed, though Doctor 
Franklin and Mr Adams have ordered him the payment. 
Mr Williams informs me he has written to Congress and 
sent his accounts ; the accounts themselves will show that I 
have not, nor ever had, any private or personal interest in 
his transactions ; at the same time J beg leave to interest 
myself in what afl:ects this gentleman, because 1 think I 
know him to have been a most faithful and useful servant 
of the public, and every way deserving of the character 
given him by Dr Franklin and Mr Adams ; and as Dr 
Franklin, from being liis uncle, feels a delicacy in writing 
so fully about him, I therefore pray that this gentleman's 
accounts may be put into a train for being closed. 

I recollect that Mr Lee has mentioned Count Lauragais 
in his correspondence with Mons. Beaumarchais, and am 
informed that this gendeman has in his letters been referred 
to. Count Lauragais is a nobleman, who v/as born to an 
immense fortune, the chief of which he has long since dis- 
sipated in a wild and I may say in such an eccentric course 


of life, as hardly has a parallel in France. He has set up 
at times tor a philosopher, a wit, a poet; then as sutlcJcnly 
flew off, and engaged in building, planting, or politics ; 
he was one month lor engaging in trade, the next a country 
gentleman on his farm, the third blazing in the beau monde 
at Paris ; and France being insufficient to afford a variety of 
scenes suited to equal the restlessness of his genius, he has 
constantly been shifting thetn, from Paris to London and 
from London to Paris. In London he set up for a patriot, 
and engaged seriously in the disputes and parties of the day, 
and what was very diverting, sat down for a feu- weeks to 
study the laws of England in order to confute Blackstonc. 
His rank, to which his birth entitles him, gives him admit- 
tance to court, and the extravagancy of his wit and humor 
serves to divert and please men in high office, and he con- 
sequently at times fancies himself in their secrets. This 
gentleman knew Mv Lee in London before I arrived in 
France, and was afterwards often with him at Paris. His 
character was given me soon after my arrival, and I was put 
on my guard and warned by the minister, not that he sup- 
posed him to have designs unfriendly, either to France or 
America, but on account of his imprudence, and of his being 
frequently in London, and with those in the opposition in 
England, of whom the Court of France were more jealous, 
and against whom they were equally on their guard, as with 
tJie British ministry themselves. As this nobleman's name 
may be made use of, I cannot dispense with touching lightly 
on the outlines of a character extremely well known in 
France and England, and to which some gentlemen in 
America are no strangers. 

I have mentioned the first and principal contract having 
been made for rlothine, with Mr Holker, now aL'cnt for 


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

Mv Holker, and the other gentlemen, as I have already 
observed, saw Mr Arthur Lee several times on the subject, 
nnlil tliey became so disgusted with a man, who found fault 
with every thing, without stepping out of his door to examine 
any thing, that they declined having any thing further to 
say to him. When their accounts were ready to be settled, 
1 examined them, struck the balance, and Mr Arthur Lee 
joined with l)v Franklin an(.l myself in signing draughts on 


Mr Grantl for the money. The bills were drawn in 
favor of Messrs Sahhatier and Desprez solely, Mr Holker 
taking no share in the commissions, but generously gave in 
the time he had spent in the a(Tair, though it had been con- 
siderable. This gentleman is now in Philadelphia, and if 
necessary may be applied to respecting what I have said 
on this subject ; his character, as well as that of his worthy 
father is well known in France, where they are jointly 
inspectors of the manufactures of that kingdom, and on 
every occasion they exerted themselves to serve this coun- 
try, a testimony due to them from me when I am called on 
to mention them publicly. The instances they gave me 
personally of the most disinterested fricnilship and attac h- 
ment I shall never forget. 

I can but return to Mr Williams. This gentleman, after 
staling all his accounts in the fairest and most explicit order, 
attended near ten weeks at Passy for a settlement. Doctor 
Franklin and Mr Adams, as has before been related, so far 
approved of them as to order his balance, or nearly the 
whole of it, to be paid him, and gave him a letter certifying 
him of their full persuasion of his ability and integrity, and 
that he had done gootl services, yet sucii was the disposi- 
tion of Mr Lee towards him, that he could by no means get 
them past. Impatio'nt and wearied out with the captious 
insulting manner in which he was treated by .Mr Lcc, and 
which nothing but his official character protected him in, Mr 
Williams engaged a gentleman froni Boston, Mr Cutler, to 
copy off all his accounts, and compare them with the original 
vouchers, and to make a voyage to America, to lay them 
before Congress. This gentleman arrived a few days since, 
and having made the voyage and journey on this purpose 
only, I take the liberty to entreat Congress in behalf of my 
VOL. I. 20 


absent friend and their faithful servant, that those accounts 
may be examined, that Mr Cuder may be heard if neces- 
sary to explain them, and Mr Williams relieved from the 
embarrassments of Mr Lee, whose disposition does not 
appear to be mended since I left Paris, but, if possible, 
gready increased for dispute, and for the most vexatious 

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



riiilii(iclj)liin, l-2lU October, 177S. 

In a coiifcrciico liad with Moiis. Gerard, in the moiilli f)t' 
January last, at \'eisailles, he observed thai the thirteenth 
article* in tlie treaty proposed by Congress, which exenipled 
ihe molasses purchased by the inhabitants of the United 
States in any of the islands belonging to, and subject to, his 
I\Iost Christian Majesty, from any duties whatever, was an 
unequal article, as he termed it, that without some conces- 
sion of equal importance on the part of the United Slates, it 
could not be agreed to, as it would carry the appearance of 
inequality, and as if Congress were taking the advantage 
and dictating the terms in their own favor, that therefore it 
was expected, eillier wholly to omit the article, or place an 
equivalent over against it on our part. 

On my return to Paris, I laid i\I. Gerard's proposals 
before my colleagues, who agreed generally to the justice 
tmd propriety of them, but we found it difficult to place any 
article or articles over against that of molasses, which would 
be of equal consequence, and in which the States of America 
were at the same time equally interested. After long consid- 
eration had on the sul>ject, Dr Franklin proposed the article 
nearly as it now stands ; ]\Ir Lee objected to it, as being too 
extensive, and more than equivalent ior that of molasses 
only ; to which I answered, that though the concession might 
appear great, it was in reality nothing more than giving up 

•"Articlf. Xllf. It is ajjrned b_v ami between tbe said parties, llint 
no duties whatever shall ever hcrcafier be imposed <»n the cxporlaiion of 
molHSses from an v of the islands and dominions of Ihr Most Chrisliaii 
King, in the West liidiis, to any of ihce I'nilcd Stalei. " 


what we never could make use of but to our own prejudice, 
for nothing was more evident than the bad policy of laying 
duties on our own exports ; that molasses, though appa- 
rently but an article of small value, was the basis on which 
a very great part of the American commerce rested ; that 
the manufacture of it into rum, was every year increasing, 
especially in the middle and southern states, where it had 
been more lately introduced. 

Doctor Franklin agreed with me, and argued on much 
the same ground, but neither of us insisted on the article at 
the time, but that the proposition should be made for the con- 
sideration of Mons. Gerard, reserving to ourselves the power 
of agreeing to it or not afterwards. A few evenings after, 
and nearly as I can remember about five or six days before 
the actual signing of the treaty, we met Mons. Gerard at 
my house in Paris ; he brought the proposed treaty with 
him, in which he had inserted the 11th and 12th articles as 
they now stand. The treaty was read, considered, and 
agreed to, article by article, except the 1 Ith and 12th, 
respecting which i\I. Gerard observed at first, that he con- 
sidered them as they then stood reciprocal and equal, but 
that he left it entirely with us to retain them both, or to 
reject them both, it being indifferent with his Mojesty, but 
that one could not be retained without the other. On our 
having agreed to all the other articles, we told him we 
would confer together on the 11th and 12th, and write to 
him what onr determination should be. As soon as he was 
gone, the subject was taken up ; the arguments before used 
were again considered, and finally we unanimously agreed 
to retain both the articles ; on which I desired Mr Lee to 
write a letter to Mons. Gerard, informing him of it, and 
that 1 would send it out to Versailles the next morning, 


from Passy, tliiit lliere ini2;lit be no more delay in iianscrib- 
ing and executing the treaties. Mr Lee accordingly wrote, 
and Dr Franklin, lie, and myself signed the letter, wliieli 1 
sent the next morning.* 

A day or two after this, Mr A. Lee wrote a letter to Dr 
Franklin and nie, in which he expressed great uneasiness 
about the 11th and 12th articles, and a desire to have them 
left out, on which we advised Mr Lee to go iiimself to Ver- 
sailles on the subject, which he accordi:igly did, and we 
wrote to M. Gerard, by him, that we were content to have 
the two articles left out, if agreeable to his Majesty. f As 
we had just before unanimously agreed and written to have 
them retained, we could not, with any consistency, make a 
pointof their being expunged. Mr Lee discoursed 011 the 
subject with M. Gerard, who satisfied him as he thought 
at the time, and as we all then thought, of the impropriety of 
making any alteration in the treaty, after it had been so 
maturely considered ; had been fully agreed upon by us all ; 

* The articles in question are as follows ; 

" Article XI. It is agreed and concluded, lliat there shall never be 
any duty imposed on the exportation of molasses, that may be taken by 
the subjects of any of the United Slates from the Islands of America, 
which belonj^, or may hereafter a[)pcrtHin, to his Most Chrisliaii 

" Article XII. In compensation of the e.\en)ptiGn stipulated in the 
preceding article, it is agreed and concluded, that there shall never be 
any duties imposed on the exportation of any kind of merchandise, 
which the subjects of his Most Christian Majesty may take from the 
countries and possessions present or future of any of the lliirloen United 
Stales, for the use of the islands whi<li shall furnish molasses." 

The treaty may be seen entire in the Secret Journals of Congress, vol. 
11. p. 51>. 

t Sec these letters in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, ur.der llie date of 
January 30th, 1778. 


had been approved of in lonn by his Majesty, and ordered 
to be transcribed and signed. Neither Mr VVilliani Lee 
nor Mr izard ever spoke one word to me on the subject, 
and 1 did not think niyseir authorised or at liberty to con- 
sult them, or any other person on the subject, but my 
colleagues. SILAS DEANE. 


Philadelphia, 1st November, J778. 


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

The providing for the redemption of our money, and the 
establishment of a marine, are objects, which in n)y view, 
iar exceed in tlie magnitude and extent of their importance, 
any that are at present under public consideration ; they 
greatly depend on each other, and permit me to say, all our 
future operations in a great degree depend on them. We 
cannot pay the interest of any considerable loan without 
commerce, which cannot be revived effectually without a 
marine force of our own, which may 1 am confident be 
formed on the enclosed plan, and be ready in a short space 
of time to act with vigor. Great Britain has long had the 
empire of the ocean, and in conscfjuence the whole world 

DIlM.O.MATlf CORKKSrONDKNC i;. ] ;,() 

has been her tributary ; her own bad policy and the [)ics(mu 
war will deprive her of that empire ; at this important crisis 
it depends on the measures taken by tiie United States, 
whether they shall succeed Great Britain or not in this 
extensive dominion. Reason, observation, and experience 
authorise me to say, there is not in the world any power so 
capable of it, and as the United States can never aim at 
foreign conquests, but .simply to guard their own coasts, 
and to protect the commerce of their subjects, their supe- 
riority at sea can never give just cause of jealousy or oflencc 
lo any other nation. I am confident that a fleet of forty 
sail, to consist of twenty such large sliips as I have de- 
scribed, and twenty frigates, will be more than equal to this 
purpose, and such a fleet may be got to sea in the course 
of the coming year, if the materials wanted from Europe 
can be procured, which, if immediately applied for, 1 have 
not the least doubt of. 

1 have the honor to remain, Sec. 


P. S. 1 am slill without the honor of any answer to my 
letter of the Tdi ult. 

November 13th. 

After writing the above, my apprehension, lest I should 
be thought any way out of the usual course iji communicat- 
ing my sentiments to Congress, made me omit sending it to 
you with the enclosed, but the alarming intelligence, which 
I received but a day or two since, of the sentiments of my 
countrymen in different parts on the present situation of the 
credit of our money, the state of our finances and resources, 
and of the temper and disposition prevailing in conse- 
quence, has made me waive every personal consideration, 


and communicate ibis wiili the enclosed to Congress, and I 
shall count it one of the happiest occurrences ot" my life, if 
anything in my power will lielp to prevent that total loss of 
public as well as private credit, which 1 am sorry to lind 
begins to be almost universally apprehended, and I fear 
appearances at this time are in support of such apprehen- 
sions, which though at bottom they may be ill founded, yet, 
if once generally prevailing, \Till. produce consequences 
easily foreseen. I beg leave to refer to Colonel Duer for 
the substance of the intelligence I refer to, having commu- 
nicated the letters I have received to him, for as they con- 
tain many things merely personal, I could not lay them at 
larsie before Concires?. S. D. 

Flxu for sinking Jifty three millions of dollars of the Con- 
tinental Currency, and to establish a Bank of one million 
and a half sterling, or $'6,666,660 2-3 in Eurojie for 
the use of the States of America, at the expense of forty 
millions of dollars in specie only, or of Bills upon Eu- 
rope equivalent. 

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

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

DIPLOMATIC roRiir.spoNDi:.\cr.. ini 

odly. The calculation which follows deinonstiales, that 
this fund of two millions and a half of dollars will, in sixteen 
years, pay off the principal and interest of the twciUyfive mil- 
lions borrowed, and leave a surplus of $673,1 03 in the hands 
of the States, which may be supposed equivalent to the charge 
of managing the money, and paying the loan in Europe. 

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

Stilly. Twenlyfive millions of dollars may be computed 
in value equal to £5,025,000 sterling. Of this, let one 
million and a half, or £1,025,000 sterli'ig be applied to the 
payment of debts contracted in Europe, contracted by the 
conunissioners, for the discharge of which no particular 
mf)de has been stipulated and agreed upon, and for the 
establishing a bank or fund for other uses anrl benefit of the 
United States. 

Olhly. As the sum of £ 1 25,GC0 sterling will be equal lo 
the public debts already contracted in Europe, except those 
to the Farmers-General and the house of Kodi ique Horta- 
lez &:, Co. there will remain, agreeable to the plan, one mil- 
lion and a half sterling, or $0,606,060 2-3 in the Con- 
gress' Rank in Europe, and four millions sterling, or 

VOL. I. 21 


f 17,777,777 2-3, for the purpose of sinking the sum of 
fiftythree millions proposed. 

7thl7. The present rate of exchange is from five to six 
for one ; it must happen that as bills are brought to market 
to a greater amount they will fall, but if it be considered 
that the ordinary demand of these States on Europe for 
goods exceeded four millions sterling annually in limes of 
peace, that the demand at present and for two or three 
years to come, even if peace should take place immediately, 
must exceed the former usual demand, that though the can- 
celling and sinking of fiftythree millions of dollars will tend 
to appreciate the remainder in circulation, yet as there will 
still remain in circulation a greater nominal sum than the 
commerce of these States call for, the appreciation will not 
be repaid ; and if it be further considered, that the mer- 
chants in the United States are at present destitute of their 
usual means of remittance, having neither ships, specie, nor 
produce on hand,— I say under these considerations it is 
improbable, if not impossible, consistent with the interest of 
individuals, that bills drawn on Europe for the sum of four 
millions sterling should be under three for one on an 

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

The benefits resulting from this plan, if realized, are 
numerous, indisputable, and obvious. As the sum pro- 
posed to be drawn for, does not exceed the ordinary 


amount of importation before the war, it cannot be pre- 
sumed tliat this plan can produce any ill effects on com- 
merce, especially if tbe Congress should think it wise and 
prudent to drop the merchants themselves, and depend on 
individuals for their supplies. The capital difficulty is to 
obtain the loan. On this, as well as on the preceding plan, 
I will make a few observations after the following calcula- 
tions alreadv referred to. 




Produce of the 
sinking fund at 
the end of every 

Total of the 
Debts paid at the 
end of every year. 


































Principal Loan 




















The first column marks 
the years ; the second the 
produce or amount of the 
sinking fund at the end of 
each year; the third shows 
how large a part of the 
capital has been paid off 
at the end of each year. 
The sum in the second 
column is found by add- 
ing to it annually the in- 
terest of that part of the 
capital paid off the pre- 
ceding year, and the sum 
in the third by adding 
yearly the payments. 



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

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


The annual interest of .$25,000,000 at six 
per cent is 1,500,000, whicii at simple interest 
in sixteen years is 24,000,000, 24,000,000 

Add the principal, - - - 25,000,000 

Brin? down 39,326,897 

Surplus, 9,673,103 

By these calculations it is clearly demonstrated, 
First, that a certain net annual revenue of two millions 
and a half of dollars is sufficient for sinking the loan pro- 
posed of 25,000,000 in sixteen years, and to leave a sur- 
plus of $673,103 after dischargins; both principal and inter- 
est. In die second place, that by this plan the public will 
save the sum of $9,673,103 more than if the same sum is 
borrowed in the usual way of simple interest ; or in other 
words, the money on this plan will be borrowed at 3 1-2 
per cent interest nearest, a sum well deserving the atten- 
tion of the public at this, and at every other time, and it is 
for that purpose the foregoing plan and calculations are 

1(36 . SILAS DEANE. 

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



proposjlLS for equipping such ajleci, as will be sujficinit to 
defend the coasts and commerce of the United States 
against any force, which Great Britain will be able to 
send to America. 

It is necessary to premise, that the obtaining a loan, anil 
setting ou foot a naval force, are so connected willi, anil 
dependent on each other, and so many important conse- 
quences depend on both, that I have preferred placing one 
directly after the other, that my ideas on these great sub- 
jects may be perceived at one view, rather than the placing 
them in any manner separate or disjointed from each other. 
Without a naval force suflicient to protect in some degree 
our commerce as it revives, it will be very difficult, if not 
impossible, to pay cither the principal or interest of the 
money we may borrow, and without some probably certain 
prospect of doing this, it would hardly be honest to borrow 
at all. I have only to add, that the following calculations 
are not founded on liglu and uncertain estimates, but on 
the most certain knowledge of the quantity of each of those 
articles necessary for the purpose. The prices are (ixed at 
what they were last season in Sweden, and in the north of 
Europe ; what I have ventured to say respecting ships of a 
new construction carrying fortytwo to fortyeight cannon, 
being equal to sixtyfour and even seventyfour line of battle 
ships, I am convinced of the truth of, not merely from my 
own observation and reasoning on the subject, but from the 
opportunities I have had of conversing with some of the most 
able and experienced ccnslructors and commanders of ships 
in Europe, as well as in America. France, as well as En- 
gland, has already several ships of such a plan on the stock?, 
which is a full proof in what light they vie\v this plnn of 
building ; but fortunately for these States, their old preju- 

16S SILAS DEArrE. . " 

dices, as well as the opposition of commanders of large ships, 
and a great number of men, to the changing them for ships 
of a less rate and fewer men, as well as of less pomp and 
appearance, \vill in a great measure prevent either ol those 
nations from much immediate success in this plan for an 
improvement or reform. 

1st. A fleet consisting of twenty such ships as mentioned 
above, joined by twenty frigates from twentyfour to thirty- 
six guns, will be sufilcient to guard this coast against any 
naval force, which Great Britain, or any other maritime 
])ower can spare, to send against us. An American fleet, 
opposing a foreign one on this coast, will always have many 
very decisive circmnstances in ihcir favor, whicii are obvi- 
ous at first view, particularly that of clean ships and healthy 
rnen against foul ships and sickly men, or fatigued by along 
voyage, and that of being able with ships of the proposed 
construction to enter harbors in case of storm or other 
accident, wliicli larger ships cannot. 

idly. The twenty large ships, and ten or a less number 
of the frigates may be j)ut on the slocks and built in Amer- 
ica, and though the present price of labor is dear, yet were 
the undertakei's to be paid in sterling bills, or in specie, the 
huils or bodies of the ships may perhaps be had nearly at 
the same price as I)efore the war; but suppose they cost 
more, yet if every other article be procured from Europe 
at the first cost and common charges, ihc shins couMilete will 
not amount to nuich more ihnn such ships usually cost before 
the war in America, probably not so much. 

odly. Su|)posc also that eight of the frigates be built in 
America, and twelve purchased in Europe, to transport the 
materials from thence for the r:'?t. In the first ])lace, let a 
calculation be made what all these materials, allowing a 


large proportion, will amount to, and also for ihe purchase 
of the twelve frigates, or ships for frigates, which are to 
transport those materials over to America. 



160,000 aulms of sailcloth, - - - 240,000 

500,000 cvvt of anchors, - - - 125,000 

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

0,000,000 cwt of cannon, - - - 900,000 

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

200 tons of powder, - - . - 400,000 

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

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

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

Total amount, _ _ . - 7,365,000 

Equal to one million six hundred and seventytwo thousand 
dollars,* for which sum twelve of the ships will be purchased, 
and all the capital materials for the others. One million 
of livres, or two hundred thousand dollars, is a large allow- 
ance for the small articles, and I know, from offers made 

' There seems to be n mistake here, if the author's mode (k* reckoning 
five lirrei to the dollar be adopted. The Rum would theo be one million 
four hundred and seventy three thousand dollars 
VOL. I. 22 

170 ' . SILAS DEANE. 

me from Sweden, that the ships and other articles referred 
to, may be purchased there at the above rates, if they have 
not risen since the month of March last. 

4thly. Of the proposed loan by the plan preceding, there 
will remain, after sinking the fiftythree millions and the 
payment of the present debts, the sum of one million and a 
half sterling, or 6,066,666 2-3 dollars, out of which deduct 
the above sum of 1,672,000, and there remains the sum of 
4,994,666 2-3 dollars, or twentyfive millions of livres 
nearest, for other purposes ; a sum sufficient for many great 
purposes. The commissioners, to the time of my leaving 
France, had not in the whole ever received four millions of 
livres, to enable them to procure all the supplies, which they 
engaged and sent over. 

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

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

7thly. I will only add, that in time of peace should any 
of these ships proposed, be to be disposed of out of the 
continental, they will not be too large for many branches of 


the merchant service. If tliese proposals should appear just 
and practicable, many less matters connected with them 
will require consideration, and as in the first, so in this plan, 
every thing depends on immediate despatch. 

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

Pliiladcljiliia, 13tli November, 1778. 

P. S. Apprehensive of being tedious when I wrote the 
above, I said nothing on the methods for paying the interest 
for the first two or three years, until a certain revenue can 
he established, for considering the present depreciated state 
of our currency, and the scarcity of specie, it cannot be 
instantly expected. I take therefore the liberty of suggest- 
ing two methods, one of which will most certainly answer 
the purpose. The first is to borrow of France or Spain, 


the interest money for the first three years, by which, the 
interest punctually paid, a credit will become established, 
and future loans may be made if wanted, and our commerce 
will be so far restored, that it will not be difficult to raise 
specie equal to the payment. But should this method fail, 
there still remains a certain resource, for even if the plan 
for equipping a navy be adopted, yet there will still remain 
in bank, as will be seen by the calculation and estimate, a 
sum sufficient for more than three years interest. 



Philailelphia, 19th November, 1778. 

I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 7th of 
October last, and having since received a letter from Mr 
"Williams, 1 send it enclosed, to show Congress that the 
monies mentioned by Mr A. Lee, in his letter of the 1st of 
June last, to have been received by that gentleman, have, in 
the opinion of two of the commissioners, been well laid out 
and f^iithfully accounted for. It gives me great pleasure to 
find, that the clothes contracted for by Mons. Monthieu, 
Messrs Holker, Sabbatier, and Desprez, and others, are 
on examination approved of, and allowed to be the 
best of the kind, both as to the quality of the cloth and 
fashion they are made in, of any that have ever been 
imported ; it is indeed a fortunate circumstance, that out of 
near forty thousand suits so few have been intercepted. 
As Mr A. Lee, in his letters, has insinuated that the contracts 
for these clothes were made entirely by me, and has charged 
lue with great extravagance in them, I beg leave to inform 


Congress, that these suits complete, and delivered on board, 
do not cost, on an average, thirtysix livres, or ihirlyone 
shillings and sixpence sterling the suit. I labored hard to 
send over shoes, stockings, and shirts in proportion, and so 
far as it was effected, the suit complete, with shoes, stock- 
ings and shirt, does not amount in the whole to forty shil- 
lings sterling. These facts being known, I am content to 
take on myself the merit or demerit of furnishing these 

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

My letter of the Tth ult. covered observations on Mr Lee's 
and Mr Izard's letters to Congress, to which I am still with- 
out tiie honor of any reply ; nothing would give me greater 
satisfaction, than to learn by what part of my public conduct 
I have merited the neglect, with which my letters and most 
respectful solicitations for months past, to be heard before 
Congress, have been treated. 1 confess that I once flattered 
myself the services I performed in procuring supplies, and 
sending them to the L'nited States at the most critical 
period of their affairs, and in assisting to bring forward and 
conclude the treaties, together with the honorable testimo- 
nials from the Court of France, whilst I bad tlie honor of 


residing there, would have merited the approbation of Con- 
gress. And I now leave it with every person of sensibility 
and honor, to imagine what must be my disappointment 
and chagrin, to find myself obliged at last to leave America 
without being informed if exceptions have been taken to 
any part of my conduct, or what they may be. Thus situa- 
ted, though I can but feel most sensibly, yet a consciousness of 
the integrity and zeal, which have ever guided and animated 
my conduct, and a sense of the important services I have 
been so fortunate as to render my country, with the confi- 
dence I have that justice will yet be done me, support and 
will never permit me to forget or desert myself or my coun- 
try, whilst in my power to be useful. 

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

I have the honor to remain, 

With the most profound respect, &lc. 



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


Philadelphia, 30th November, 1778. 


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




Friday, 4th December, 1778. 


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

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


* On the 5th of December, Mr Deane publislied an article in the 
Pennsylvania Gazette, reflecting: on the conduct of some of the com- 
missioners in Europe. This publication gave much offence to Messrs 
Arthur Lee and William Lee, and Mr Izard, as will be seen hereafter in 
their letters to Conifress. 



Philadelphia, 21st December, 1779. 


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

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


•■ "liesolveil, That Silas Deane report to Conj^ress in writing as soon 
as may be, his n^ency of their aflairs in Europe, togcllier wiih any intel- 
ligence respecting their foreign allairs wliich he may jiiilgc proper. 

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

"Mr Deaoe attending, was called in, and (he foregoing resolutioni 
were read to him." 

VOL. I. 23 



Philadelphia, 30th December, 1778. 


When I had the honor of waiting on Congress last, I was 
informed that I should be favored with an opportunity of 
finishing my narrative without delay. 1 now take the 
liberty of applying to Congress, and to inform them that I 
am ready, and wait their orders. I have received letters, 
which I am desirous to communicate personally ; they 
relate to parts of my narrative. My solicitude for a final 
issue of my affairs will, I trust, not appear unreasonable to 
Congress, when it is considered that a certain Mr Thomas 
Paine, styling himself Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and 
presuming to address the public in his official character, 
has thrown out in a late paper many insinuations injurious 
to my public character, and has avowed his intentions of 
laying before die public a number of interesting facts, and 
materials, relative to my conduct, as one of the commission- 
ers of these United States at the Court of France. 

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



Philadelphia, 4(h January, 1779. 

In my letter of the 30th ult. T took the liberty of men- 
tioning to Congress a circumstance, which made me very 
solicitous for a final issue of my affairs, which was the 


illiberal and abusive attacks made on my character, as the 
public agent and minister of these States, by a certain Mr 
Tiiomas Paine, styling himself Secretary for Foreign Af- 
fairs, and pretending to address the public in his official 
capacity. This person has since, in Mr Dunlap's paper of 
the 2d inst, ventured to assure the public, that the supplies, 
which I contracted for with i\Ions. Beaumarchais, were 
promised and engaged, and that as a present, before I 
arrived in France, and that he has in his possession full 
proof of this. 

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

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




Philadelphia, 21st January, 1779. 


When I had the honor of waiting on Congress, you were 
pleased to inform ine, that if Congress had any further 
commands for me I should be notified thereof. Not having 
received any notice from you on the subject, I take the 
liberty to inform you, that my affairs are become so press- 
ing and so peculiarly circumstanced, that it is impossible 
for me to attend longer without doing greater prejudice to 
myself and interest, than 1 am able to sustain. 1 must 
therefore request of you to remind Congress of my situa- 
tion, and that you will inform me of their determination 
respecting me. 

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



Philadelpliia, 22d Ftbruary, 1779. 

In obedience to the orders of Congress of the Sth of 
December, 1777, which 1 received the 4th of March, 177S, 
I embraced the first opportunity of returning to America, 
and on my arrival repaired with all possible despatch to 
Congress on the 13th of July last, since which time I have 
attended their orders in this city. I beg leave to remind 
Congress, that early in January, 177G, 1 had the honor of 
being engaged by their committee to go as their agent to 
France, to transact important business for them, in the com- 


mercial as well as political departments, and that 1 have 
ever since been in their service, in which I flatter myself 
I have been of some utility to them and to my country ; 
but that an^^wnce of almost four years from my family 
and privdrcaffairs, more than seven months of which I have 
waited to know their pleasure respecting me here, has so 
exceedingly embarrassed and distressed me, that I hope I 
shall not be deemed guilty of an unbecoming impatience in 
pressing to know, if Congress have any further commands 
for me, and in what manner ray past transactions, as their 
agent and commissioner, are to be adjusted and closed. I 
have heretofore written repeatedly and particularly to Con- 
gress on this subject, and will not enlarge upon it at present, 
but have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, See. 



Philadelphia, 15th March, 17T9. 


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


and in what manner my past transactions, as their agent and 
commissioner, are to be adjusted and closed. 

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


Philadelphia, 29th March, 1779. 


I did myself the honor ol" writing to your Excellency the 
22d of February last, in which I mentioned the distressed 
situation into which my afiliirs were brought, by my being 
detained in this city, and in which I earnestly requested to 
know of Congress whether iliey had any further commands 
for me, and in what manner my past transr.ctions, as their 
agent and commissioner, were to be adjusted and closed. 
You were pleased to inform me verbally, that n)y letter was 
referred to the committee, who were ordered to report 
immediately. I have since been informed that they have 
reported, but that the report has not been considered by 
Congress, nor any resolutions passed thereon. This forces 
me again to apply to Congress, and to lay before that hon- 
orable body in part my situation. I have been near four 
years absent from my family and private aftairs, which have 
suffered exceedingly thereby ; more than three years of the 
time, 1 have been in the actual service of Congress. 

The settlement of the commissioners' accounts and my 
own, will show to demonstration, that 1 have received noth- 
ing therefor, except money for my necessary expenses. 
When the orders of Congress, and the service of these 
States required my immediate return, I took with me one 


hundred and eighty loiiis d'ors or guineas only, to defray 
my expenses and those of four Americans and a servant to 
America. Two of the Americans were captains in the 
navy of the United States, and liad escaped from prison in 
England ; of the other two, one had been taken in a private 
ship of war, wliich he commanded, and hatl also escaped 
from prison ; the other was a captain in the merchant ser- 
vice. Our journey to Toulon, which is near six hundred 
miles, was expensive, and was defrayed by me ; our passage 
from Toulon to America was at the expense of His Most 
Christian Majesty. 1 took those American captains with mc 
by the advice and at the desire of the ministers of France, 
and of Dr Franklin, these captains being well acquainted 
with the American coast. I have been for more than eight 
months past in this city, and at an expense to which my 
private fortune is by no means adequate, though I have reg- 
ulated my expenses by the strictest economy my situation 
could admit of. I will not trouble Congress with mention- 
ing what has past since my return. The loss of my private 
property is of no consideration with me, if my countrv is in 
any way essentially served thereby ; but whilst Congress 
defer coming to any resolution respecting my private ser- 
vices as their agent and commissioner, what is dearer to me 
than life or fortune, my character, is attacked and liable to 
suffer, from the groundless and base insinuations of some, 
and from the open calumnies of others. 1 cannot but think 
it an act of justice due not only to n.e as an individual, but 
to Congress and the public in general, that my conduct be 
either approved of or censured ; 1 have most surely mer- 
ited one or the other, from the important i)art I have acted, 
and the manner in which I have transacted it. I had the 
honor of bringing with me testimonials, not only from my 


late venerable colleague, but from his Most Christian Ma- 
jesty and his ministers, in favor of my conduct whilst in 
France ; they have been long since laid before Congress, 
and I cannot but conceive, that if I have merited the calum- 
nies which have for some months past been publicly thrown 
out against me, and industriously spread through these 
States, justice to those great personages, who condescended 
to interest themselves so warmly in my favor, requires that 
my demerits should be publicly known and made to appear, 
that they may no longer be deceived, or in a state of uncer- 
tainty, respecting my real character and merits. 

A writer, who has been busily employed for three months 
past in inventing and publishing the most scandalous false- 
hoods, in order to injure me in the opinion of my country- 
men, has produced in Dunlap's paper of the 27th inst two 
charges against me, the one for ^^negotiating an intended 
present into a loan" or, in other words, of defrauding my 
honorable constituents of a large sum of money ; the other 
of intercepting and destroying the public despatches in 
order to cover the fraud. This writer has not long since 
been in the employ of Congress as a secretary or clerk, of 
which circumstance he avails himself to give force to his 
calumnies, and has had the confidence to appeal to Con- 
gress for the truth of his assertions, though he knew at the 
time that Congress had unanimously contradicted die first, 
and that the latter was but the creature of his own forming. 
From the moment that I was ordered by Congress to lay 
before them in writing, a narration of my public transac- 
tions, I have considered myself as being before that tribu- 
nal and no other, and under their immediate protection, 
and consequently not at liberty to take that notice of the 
publications of this writer, or of his prompters, which, as an 


individual, otherways circumstanced, 1 should have took 
long since. This consideration, and the full reliance 1 have 
ever placed on the justice of Congress, have prevented my 
making any reply to the many hase and false insinuations 
thrown out hy this writer, and others, against -me, and I 
have heen encouraged to wait with patience for the deci- 
sion of Congress, hy repeated promises, that a speedy issue 
should be made of those affairs. 

I now submit it to that honorable body, whether, if my 
patience is exhausted, 1 ought to be deemed culpable ; and 
have further to entreat, that if Congress, or any of its mem- 
bers, entertain any apprehensions, that I am guilty of the 
two charges brought against me, (to which I liave referred) 
or on any other account whatever, that I may be heard 
before Congress, and I submit it to their wisdom to deter- 
mine liow public the inquiry shall be, assuring them, that 
the more public the scrutiny shall be into every part of 
my conduct, the more agreeable it will be to me. I have 
only to entreat further, that a decisive answer may be given 
to me on the above requests, and that you will be assured 
of my unalterable res[)ect and aitachnient. 

1 have the honor to be, &:c. 



Phil.idelphia, 2(1 April, 1779. 

I am without an answer to the letter I did myself the 
honor of writing to you the 30th ult. As I shall he obliged 
to leave Philadelphia in a few days at farllic?t, I hove again 
VOL. I. 24 


to solicit a decisive reply to my last. Justice to my fortune 
as well as character requires it, and I can by no means bring 
myself to suppose, that Congress will ever refuse the doing 
of justice either to the character or fortune of any free 
citizen of tliese States, much less that they will any longer 
delay it to one in their service, and under their immediate 
protection, and who has for many months past been solicit- 
ing for justice, as well to his fortune as character. 
I have the honor to be, 

With tlie utmost respect and attachment, k.c. 



Philadelphia, ITih April, 1779. 


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

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


my absence ; ihey must suffer to the last degree, if longer 

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



Philadelphia, 26th April, 1779. 


As I have received no reply to tny letters of the 30th 
uU. and 2d instant, I take the liberty of applying again to 
Congress, to remind them of my situation. It is now more 
than twelve months since, in obedience to their orders, I 
left France, to return to my native country. Having 
employed the short interval, between the receiving advice of 
my recall and m\ embarkins, in soliciting essential aid and 
succor for these States, 1 entered on my voyage with the 
pleasing reflection, that after a two years' faithful service, in 
a most difficult and embarrassed negotiation, the issue had 
been fortunate, equal to my utmost wishes : that the supplies 
I had procured, and sent out, had enabled my brave coun- 
tr)'men and fellow citizens to resist and humble the enemy ; 
that the treaty which I had the honor, with my colleagues, 
to conclude, had engaged one of the most powerful and 
generous princes in the world to guaranty the liberties and 
independence of these States. 

The great and seasonable aid sent out by him, with which 
(after having received the most iionorable testimonials of his 
approbation, and •ren of his esteem, as well as lliat of his 
ministers, and of my late worthy colleague and friend, Dr 
Fraokjin) I had tlie honor to embark, gave me in prospect 


the completion of my most sanguine hopes — the total reduc- 
tion of the British force in North America. Unfortunately 
the leno-th of our passage defeated the most essential objects 
of this great and well concerted enterprise. Extensive 
and important services were however thereby rendered, on 
which 1 need not be particular. Immediately on my land- 
ino- in America, / repaired imth all possible despatch to 
Congress, to inform, tliein of the state of affairs in Europe, 
which I had been advised, by theif resolution, was the busi- 
ness I was ordered to return upon. Between my arrival in 
tiiis citv, on the 13th of July, and my audience before Con- 
gress, on ihe 2lstol August, I was informed that the minds 
of s:) ne i)f mv ( Diuilrymeu were prejudiced against me, and 
til it iiisl I I lUons were iiidiisti'iously circulated to effect 
,,x;, ••■: ! • i'lefore t ink t'l.' earliest nppDrtunity given me, 
-i-l .;;*. \i.i"" laid bei-ie Congress a general slate ol 
,;),t;igii ;iifan--. and of ie\ p ■'• > e(li:':gs, to request ihat if any 
thing had been laid U) my v . ai;ie, or sn-gesled to my disad- 
vantage, 1 might be made acquainted therewilli, for that it 
was probable that in the difticuh, complicated, and eiT)bar- 
rassed scenes I had gone through, many things might require 
explanation. I received no reply, and continuing to solicit 
to have the business 1 returned upon concluded, I was 
informed that an honorable member produced in Congress 
an extract from a letter from a private gentleman, respect- 
ing a conversation which passed between iiim and Mr Car- 
michael, which implied a censure on my conduct. On the 
26th of September, Mr Secretary Thompson acquainted me 
with the resolution of Congress of that day, to postpone fur- 
iier consideration of my requests, until the examination of 
William Carmichael. 

What the result of that examination was I never knew, 


but having wailed sonic days, the urgent necessity for my 
speedy return pressing on me, 1 applied again, and repeat- 
edly, that I might finish the business upon which 1 had been 
sent for. Days were repeatedly appointed for that purpose, 
and I must suppose business qf more importance prevented. 
In those letters I laid before Congress the unsettled state in 
which I had, by my sudden departure, been obliged to leave 
the accounts and other mercantile transactions of the com- 
missioners, and pointed out the injuries, which the public 
must suffer by a delay of tlieir settlement, as well as the 
personal inconveniences I must be subjected to whilst they 
remained unsettled. To these letters I beg leave to refer. 
In October, extracts from letters from Mr ArthumLee and 
Mr Izard, were, by oider of Congress, delivered mo, to 
which I replied at large, on the 12di and 22(1 of the same 
month ; my letters are still before Congress, and to them I 
refer, particularly to that of tlie 12th, which closes in these 
words ; 

"As in commercial transactions there are hut two sides to 
an account, and every thing goes to the debit or credit, the 
folio for profit or loss, so I must solicit that Dr Franklin 
and Mr Adams may be directed to see the settlement 
of all those accoinits immediately on my return to Paris, 
and as there has been a charge made by ^Ir Lee, of profu- 
sion, of extravagant contracts, and the like, that those gen- 
tlemen be authorised to submit those accounts, with every 
allegation of the kind, to the adjustment and determination 
of gentlemen of ability and character on the spot, and that 
orders may be given, tliat whatever may be found due from 
the commissioners, or either of them, may be instantly paid 
into the hands of die banker for Congress, and that in like 
manner said banker may be ordered to pay whatever may 


be the balance, to the person in whose favor the same shall 
be found. By this means truth will be demonstrated, and 
justice done, which is all I have ever wished for." 

In December last I was directed to lay before Congress 
in writing,* a narrative of my proceedings, whilst their com- 
mercial and political agent, &,c. I must ask leave to refer 
to that narrative at large, as many of the honorable mem- 
bens then in Congress are now absent, and the representa- 
tives of several of the States entirely changed. On a 
reference it will be found, that I again solicited for as early 
a decision as possible on my conduct, that the most 
thorough examination might be made, and to demonstrate 
what my 'commercial conduct had been whilst the agent of 
these States, that my accounts might be put in the way of 
being settled without delay, that the part I had acted, and 
the station I had been in, could not be considered as a 
neutral or inditFereiit one, nnd that approbation or censure 
was my due, &c. ho. When I was favored with that 
audience, I flattered myself that the delays I had met with 
had given ample time for the most full and perfect scrutiny 
into every part of my conduct, and that if any charges were 
to he brought against any part of my conduct, I should 
then be informed of them. I therefore again requested to 
know if there were any. I was informed of none. Soon 
after 1 was told that a conmiittee was appointed to examine 
into, and report on foreign affairs. I previously informed 
Congress, that I had no copies of the letters written to them 
by the commissioners, from Paris ; that Doctor Franklin 

* On tlie 5tli of December Mr Deane publislied an article in the Penn- 
sylvania G.izettc, containing remarks on iiis transactions in Europe, and 
vindicating liimself from certain cliarges in Mr Arthur liee's letters to 


took the care of lliein, and that my having no appreliension 
of being questioned on them, 1 liad not taken duplicates 
will) me, therefore requested that 1 might have copies of 
Uiem, that I might explain anything which might at first 
sight appear dubious or contradictory. 

1 afterwards applied to the members of the honorable 
committee, desiring that if in the course of their examina- 
tion, anything should appear doubtful, or such as might 
support a charge against any part of my conduct, I might 
be heard, before any report should be made. I did not 
receive copies of the letters, nor was I ever called upon by 
the committee, who I am informed have made their report, 
as to which I am wholly uninformed. Soon after this 
report was delivered to Congress, having been persecuted 
in the public papers for several monllis, in the most scanda- 
lous, virulent, and licentious manner, and accused before 
the public of crimes of the blackest complexion, I again 
addressed myself to Congress, and as their servant claimed 
their protection, and that I might be heard in the most public 
manner, or in any other way they thought proper. This 
letter, of the 30ih of March, remains unanswered, and I 
now pray the contents of it may be considercrl. The part 
I acted as political agent and commissioner for Congress is 
well known, and may be judged of with certainly at this 
time, and the settlement of mine and the commissioners' 
accounts (which I have repeatedly solicited) will demon- 
strate what my commercial conduct has been. If, in^ie 
commercial, I have not acted with prudence and integrity, 
if I have neglected lo supply these States with stores to the 
utmost of my power, and have either wasted or embezzled 
the public monies, the interest of the public requires that 
speedy justice be done, and tlie settlement of the commis- 


sioners' accounts will at once acquit or condemn me. If 
in my political department I have in any instance neglected 
or betrayed the interests of my country, if I have conducted 
weakly or wickedly, or both, the public ought to know it, 
and I ought to be punished. If, on the contrary, I sacri- 
ficed all private considerations, and put my life as well as 
fortune to the hazard, to procure relief and assistance for 
these States from abroad ; if, unsupported by remittances 
from hence, without credit or friends, and a stranger to the 
language and manners of the country 1 was sent to nego- 
tiate in, I surmounted every obstacle, and in a kw months 
obtained and sent out large supplies; if I was assiduous and 
indefatigable for the space of near two years in France, in 
the commercial as well as political affairs of these States, 
at times even to my personal danger ; if, so far from hav- 
ing embezzled the public monies, I neglected my private 
fortune, and received nothing but my necessary expenses 
whilst transacting this business; if a principal share of the 
political negotiations fell on me, and if jointly with my col- 
leagues I brought them to a happy and honorable issue, 
and individually acquired the confidence and esteem of 
His Most Christian Majesty and his ministers, as well as of 
the nation in general ; and if, at my private solicitations (in 
part) after my recall, a strong fleet and armament were 
sent out to the relief of these Slates ; if these are facts, which 
they certainly are, and the greater part of them long since 
fuller ascertained, and the others ascertainable by the set- 
tlement of the commissioners' accounts, (which I have from 
the first requested) I flatter myself justice will be done by 
Congress, and that the artifices of interested and wicked 
men will not prevail to delay it, and thereby injure the pub- 
lic and their servant more essentially, than injustice itself 
would do. 


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

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

I cannot close this letter without complaining to Congress 
of the abuse I have met with in the public papers from a 
writer, who was lately their confidential servant, and who 
has abused their confidence to deceive and impose on the 
free citizens of these States, and to injure me in the public 
opinion ; also of the partial and injurious manner in which 
I have been treated by others who, deeply interested by 
family and other connexions to support my enemies, repre- 
sent my conduct and the letters written by the commis- 
sioners and myself, as inconsistent and contradictory, whilst 
1 remain deprived of any opportunity to explain them. iMv 
utmost ambition and wishes have ever been to serve these 


States, and to merit the title of their faithful and approved 
servant; nothing can deprive me of the consciousness of 
having served faithfully and with integrity. If my country 
have no further service for me, my first object as well as 
ray duty must be to justify my conduct, and to rescue my 
reputation and character from the injury and abuse of 
wicked men, and to do this I again ask of Congress, what 
I consider as my right, their decision on my conduct as 
their servant ; and if any part thereof is questioned, I may 
be permitted to explain and vindicate the same, which I 
have often said and again repeat, the settlement of the com- 
missioners' accounts will enable me to do, even to mathe- 
matical demonstration. Any further delay in my case must 
have all the consequences of a refusal, and as I have ever 
relied with confidence on the justice of Congress, and long 
waited their decision, I flatter myself it will no longer be 
postponed. I shall leave Philadelphia in the course of this 
week on my private affairs, and wish to do it as early as 

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



Philadelphia, 27th April, 1779. 

I heard yesterday, by accident, that an honorable gentle- 
man in Congress had made a calculation from the general 
account, which I gave in my narrative of the price of the 
clothes purchased in France, and that given by M. 
Holker, in a memorial of his, and had drawn conse- 


ijuences very injurious to me therelrom. In my narrative 
I informed Congress that the clothes cost 32s. or 33s. 
sterling complete, delivered on board. Tiiis was nearly the 
average price, and of that, and not of the particular, I spoke. 
32s. sterling is equal to 3G livres, 1 1 sols, 5 deniers. The 
clothes bought of Messrs Sabbatier and Desprez cost 3G 
livres nearest, delivered on board ; those of Mons. Mon- 
thieu a few sols more ; those by Mr Williams, the same, 
nearly as I recollect ; and about a thousand suits of M. 
Coder, of a dilferent fashion, more than 40 livres each. 
1 have before related to Congress, that Mr Lee himself 
approved of these purchases, having been present at the 
contracting for a part of them, those of M. Coder in par- 
ticular, and had signed the setdement of the accounts, and 
orders or draughts for the money. 

Surprised at the calculation made, and the injurious 
inferences drawn therefrom, I wrote to M. Holker the 
enclosed letter, and received his answer thereto, a copy of 
which I take the liberty of enclosing. 37 livres being 
equal to 32s. 4 l-2d. sterling, it is evident that the calculation 
made is wrong, even if I had fixed the price positively at 
32s. or 3os. sterling. 

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

But am, with much respect, &:c. 




Philadelphia, 26tli April, 1779. 


I WHS this day surprised lo hetir, that in a memorial you 
had presented to Congress, you had said that the suits of 
clothes furnished by Messrs Sabbatier and Desprez, ought 
not to cost (or did not cost) mere than 32 or 34 livres 
each, delivered in the ports of France. Permit me to 
remind you, that diese clothes were transported from Paris, 
and the other places where diey were made up, to the sea 
ports, at the expense of the commissioners ; that they cost 
something more than 34 livres, exclusive of the transporta- 
don, as I am positive the accounts themselves will show. 
1 must therefore presume, if my information is right, that 
you may be under some mistake as to this matter, and 
therefore pray you, if you have the copies of these accounts, 
that you will turn to them, which must convince you of it, 
or the error is with me, for, as 1 recollect, these suits of 
clothes cost, when delivered on board, nearest 36 livres on 
an average, and those purchased from Mons. Monthieu, a 
trifle more, and those from M. Coder, which were of a 
difierent fashion, considerably more ; occasioned my 
saying generally, in my narrative to Congress, that the suits 
cost 32s. or 33s. sterling, of which difference in our 
accounts advantage has been taken against me, though I 
spoke generally, referring to the accounts and contracts 
themselves to correct me if I erred. You will therefore 
oblige me by explaining the above, if you have the account, 
or if you recollect the circumstances of that transaction. 

I have the honor to be, with much respect, 


lJiri,OM\TK' COURK.SPU.NDIi.NC^;. 197 

ji. holkkr's answkk. 

Fliila(lcl|iliia, i:(>(li April, 177U. 


I have this moment received your favor of this date. In 
my memorial to Congress, I said that each complete suit 
ought not to cost more than .33 or 34 livres (not 32 or 34) 
delivered in the sea ports. I spoke totally from memory, 
and believe I have made a mistake, by taking the price in 
Paris, or Montpellier, for the price at which they would 
stand at the sea ports. Admitting my error, they would 
cost no rtiore than 30 or 37 livres the suit, according to the 
best calculation I can make from memory. 

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



riiilrulflphia, 30tl. April, 1771), 

In my letter of Monday lii-st, I mentioned my intention 
to leave town in the course of the week. I am now waiting 
for no other purpose, but to know if Congress will take 
notice of the requests I have so often troubled them with. 
The circumstances under which I left France, in obedience 
to their orders, and with a view of promoting their service 
in the greatest and-^nost essential manner (it is wel! known) 
rendered it impossible (o have the accounts of the commis- 
sioners and my own, connected immediately with theirs, 
settled and closed, so that the vouchers could be procured 
and brought out with ine. But a few days past between 


the knowledge of my recall, and of my actual setting out on 
my return. 

One condition of sending out the Toulon fleet, and of 
my embarking in it was, that the most profound secrecy 
should be observed, and the greatest despatch made. The 
king's ministers did not think fit to communicate this secret 
to my colleague, Mr Lee, nor did they leave me at liberty 
to do it ; I had as little grounds for confidence in that gen- 
tleman, as the ministers had, and it is evident from their 
letters and declarations that they never had any. Yet 
such is my peculiar situation, that I find myself blamed and 
censured by many in Congress as well as out, for not 
having performed an impossibility, and am represented as 
a defaulter, and as having misapplied or embezzled the 
))ublic monies, at once to prevent my future usefulness to 
my country, and to the ruin of my private fortune and 
character. Thus situated, 1 can but appeal once more to 
the justice of Congress, and remind them that I brought 
with me and delivered them, it is now more than seven 
months since, an account from under the banker's hands, 
of all the monies received and paid out by him, and to 
whom paid ; that in my letter of the 12th of October, I 
explained to Congress for what purposes those payments 
were made, and in my answers to Mr Lee's objections to 
these contracts, that I proved him to have been acquainted 
with them, and that he signed himself the orders for the 
money, for the greater part of them. 1 am informed, by 
several honorable gentlemen in Congress, that many of the 
members, from their absence at the time, or from their 
taking their seats since the delivering in of that account 
and my letter of the 12th of October, are to this moment 
uninformed of either. This obliii:es me to refer to them at 


this time, and tlioii2:li I have not the vouchers to support 
every article, yet 1 will cheerfully put my reputation as a 
merchant, as an honest man, and as a frugal servant of the 
public, on the examination of those accounts, tlie circum- 
stances under which they were taken, at the same time to 
be considered. 

That account commences in February, 1777, and ends 
the 27th day of March, 1778, three days before my leaving 
Paris. It will show, that the whole amount of the monies 
received by the commissioners, was 3,753,250 livres, and 
their expenditures 4,046,988 livres, 7 sols, and by the gen- 
eral state of the account delivered the 12th of October, it 
appears for what those expenditures were made. After 
deducting the sums paid for large contracts for supplies, 
&c. which are particularised, there will be left 219,250 
livres, 1 sol, 11 deniers, equal to £9644. 8. 7 1-2 sterling, 
for the commissioners' expenses, for almost fifteen months, 
and for small purchases, and for a variety of services not 
possible to be particularised, without the accounts at large. 
1 might with safely rest this whole sum on the score of the 
commissioners' expenses for this space of time, and support 
it on Mr Lee's letter to Congress, in which he says, that 
Mr Adams and himself were fully convinced, that they could 
not live at Paris under £3000 sterling, (or about 70,000 
livres) each annually. Had the commissioners expended 
at that rate, from February, 1777, to March, 1773, the 
whole of the sum would be no more than a sufiiciency to 
supply their expenses ; but this was not the case. The com- 
missioners, in the whole, received out of it the sum of 1 1 5,480 
livres, 5 sols, 6 deniers, for their expenses and private dis- 
bursements, as will appear by the account enclosed ; of 
this, Dr Franklin received 27,84 1 livres, Mr Lee 52,039 

200 SI I. AS DEANF, 

livres, 5 sols, 9 deniers, and myself 35,600 livres. It is 
true, at the same time, that Mi- Lee had in his hands the 
whole of the money received from Spain, which he dis- 
])osed of without the interference of the other commis- 

I appeal to the honorable gentlemen in Congress, then 
present, and perfectly well acquainted with our mode and 
style of living, to inform Congress on which of the commis- 
sioners the greatest expense of provicHng for and entertaining 
the Americans, who visited them at Paris, or who escaped 
from prison in England, and applied for relief, fell. 1 lay 
this general state before Congress, to convince them how- 
very far I was from being prodigal of the public monies, 
and that the accounts delivered, general as they are, are 
suflicient to exculpate nie from every charge of peculation 
or extravagance. My future reputation and fortune depend 
much on my mercantile character in these transactions, and 
I rely on the justice of Congress to prevent its being any 
longer undeservedly sported with, vilified and abused. 

Under the load of calumny and abuse I have for some 
mondis sustained, I have had this consolation, that the ser- 
vices I had rendered my country had been long since sen- 
sibly felt by her, and that they would one day be acknowl- 
edged, but when returning to the character of a private cit- 
izen in the mercantile line, I cannot sit down easy under 
imputations injurious to my private character. 

I have long since requested to have these accounts 
examined into, on the spot, where only a full and minute 
investigation can be made, and that they should be settled 
as justice required. I now repeat my request, and tiiat 
previous thereto, the accounts laid before Congress be 
examined, jiom which alone it will appear, ii there be any 


ground even for suspicion, and that I may be permitted to 
obviate, if in my power here, any objections that may be 
made. The mode in which the monies were received, for 
the commissioners' use at Paris, llie source from whence 
they came, with oilier circumstances relative, are such that 
I have not thought it consistent with the interest, the policy, 
or even the delicacy of Congress, or others, to lay the case 
at large before my countrymen, though I found myself 
injured in their opinion, by the abuse constantly thrown out 
against me in the papers, and from my silence on the sub- 
ject. I have ever been, and still remain confident, that a 
general examination of the accounts, even in the state they 
are, must prove satisfactory to Congress, and that a minute 
investigation will show me to have merited their approba- 
tion, and not their censure. My first duty is, to satisfy 
Congress, in whose determinations the public will undoubt- 
edly acquiesce, and to them therefore I have constantly 
made my application on this subject. 

I will make no apology for troubling them so long at this 
lime, my situation is, 1 trust, a sufficient one. I have only 
to add, that having delayed to leave the town beyond the 
time I proposed in my last, I hope for an early answer, 
and have the honor to be, with the utmost respect and 
attachment, k,c. 




Account of monies paid by Mr Grand, to Benjamin 
Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, for their par- 
ticular use, and charged by him, as paid immediately to 

To Benjamin Franklin — 


14th July, 1777, - - - 4800 

25th September, - - - - 4001 

15th November, - - - 8000 

29th December, - - . . 2400 

2d March, . . . . 3600 

25th " 4800 

10th March, - - - - 240 


To Silas Deane — 


1st July, 1777, - . - - 2400 

29th August, ... - 4800 

16th September, .... 4800 

7th October, ... - 2400 

20th November, .... 2700 

11th December, - - - 2400 

21st December, ... - 2400 

13th January, . - - . 4000 

12th February, .... 2500 

17th March, .... 4800 

24th " 2400 


To Arthur Lee — 


August, 2400 

8th October, . - - . 4800 

12th November, - - - 2400 

December, - - - 2400 

23d November, - - - 22,519 5 6 

23d December, - - - 2400 

January, . - - . 720 

11th " .... 4800 

- - - - 2400 

16th February, - - - 2400 

6th March, .... 4^00 

52,309 5 6 

115,480 5 6 


Philadolphia, 12th Mav, 1779. 


I returned last evening, and now send you the New York 
papers of the 3d and 5th instant. You will much oblige 
me, by informing me what resolutions Congress have come 
to on my letters of the 2Gth, 27th, and 30th ult. as well as 
on the petitions I have repeatedly made to them for the 
settlement of the business, on which I was ordered to return 
to America. If nothing has been done, I pray to be informed 
when I may depend on a decisive answer from Congress. 

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




Philadelphia, 22d May, 1779. 

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

From the moment, that the contest between these States 
and Great Britain became serious, 1 have taken and pursued 
a decided and active part in favor of the liberties of my 
country, have cheerfully sacrificed my fortune, and exposed 
my life, for an object much dearer to me than either, the 
peace, liberty, and safety of these States. The part I took 
in the first, and succeeding Congress, is well known to many 
of the honorable members now present, as well as to my 
countrymen and fellow citizens in general, who must do me 
the justice to say, that 1 let slip no opportunity either in 
Congress or out, which offered, for serving America, and 
distressing its enemies. 

In January, 1776, when! was about returning to my fam- 
ily and private concerns, which had suffered much by my 
absence, I was applied to, by the committee of Congress, to 
go to France, to negotiate the political as well as commer- 
cial affairs of America in that kingdom. The advantages 
proposed to me in the latter were considerable, and witliout 
any probability of difficulty, embarrassment, or risk, further 
than the dangers of the voyage, which were indeed great at 
that time. In the former it was very different, but the diffi- 
culties which presented, great as they were, had no consid- 
eration with me, in the situation in which our afiairs then 
were. My subsequent conduct, from my arrival in France, 


until 1 left that kingdom, fully demonstrates that ))iivate 
interest and personal safety never had any weight with me, 
when the service of my country called upon me. In my 
narrative I iiave been so particular on the situation I found 
myself in, on my arrival in Europe, the embarrassments and 
difficulties I constantly labored under, and had to encoun- 
ter, and in the niany letters I have written to Congress since 
my return, requesting my conduct might be examined, in 
the strictest and most public manner, I have so often repre- 
sented to them what my situation and line of conduct had 
ever been, that I am under no necessity of saying anything 
on the subject at present. 

On the fourth of March, 177S, after having succeeded in 
procuring su|)plies for these States, which fell almost solely 
on me, and having, jointly witli my colleagues, concluded the 
treaty of the sixth of February, which secured and guaran- 
tied the independence of these States, when I found myself, 
for the first time after my leaving America, free from those 
distressing embarrassments and difficulties I had been con- 
stantly under, and at liberty to pursue openly the great objects 
in view, and which I had for some time contemplated for 
the service of these Stater., I received the resolution of Con- 
gress of the 8ih of December, ordering me to return imme- 
diately to America, to inform Congress of the state of foreign 
affairs in Europe. I did not hesitate a moment as to the 
part I should take, but immediately set myself on improving 
this circumstance and others, which then fortunately coinci- 
ded, to the greatest possible advantage of these States, — the 
publication of the treaty, until that time ordered to i)e kept 
a profound secret, and the sending out the Toulon fleet, 
in which I embarked early in April. 

I submit to the consideration of Congress, whether fron. 


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

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

Having been lionored with the particular confidence, and 


I may say friendsliii), of tl)c minister, and knowing that the 
relief of my country and tlie defeat of its enemies depend- 
ed solely on our seasonable arrival, 1 suffered no priv.ite 
considerations to detain me a single moment. I was not 
insensible that I had enemies in America ; I knew well that 
I had them in France, in Mr William and Mr Arthur Lee, 
and I was well acquainted with their connexions in Amer- 
ica ; but conscious of the part I had acted, and of the ser- 
vices I had rendered, and was then doing, for my country, 
w hich services were not in words, but in acts, the most hon- 
orable testimonials of which, given by the highest and first 
characters in Europe or America, I had in my hands, I had 
nothing to apprehend. Though permit me to assure you, 
that had I at the time foreseen all that has happened, and 
that even my life, as well as reputation, were to be sacrificed 
on my return, to the interested views of my enemies, I 
should not have hesitated a moment on taking the part I 
actually did take at the time. On my arrival early in July, 
I repaired immediately to Congress, and informed them I 
waited their orders. 

It was late in August before I had the honor of an audi- 
ence. Many circumstances, as well as direct information, 
convinced me, of what I had before suspected, that ill offices 
had been done me, and my conduct misrepresented. When 
I was first heard before Congress, I therefore requested, 
that if anything had been alleged against any part of my 
conduct, or character, as the public agent and commissioner 
of Congress, I might be made acquainted therewith, and 
have an opportunity for an explanation. I received no 
answer, and consequently had a right to conclude no charge 
had been made against me. I was told by many of the 
honorable members, that they knew of none, nor had they 


heard of any. Conversing with an honorable friend of 
mine, I mentioned to him my expectation of returning to 
France early in the fall, on which he told me 1 must not 
expect it, for that my enemies had determined to throw such 
obstacles and difficulties in my way, as most probably would 
detain me here much longer than 1 thought for. I asked 
him how it was possible, when the business I was ordered 
home upon was so very simple and so easily finished, and 
when the unclosed state in which I had been obliged to leave 
many public transactions in Europe, made my returning as 
early as possible of consequence to the public, as well as to 
myself, and especially when nothing had, nor, I presumed, 
could be, alleged against me. He answered, that it was 
the design of those, who wished to sacrifice me to the family 
interests and emoluments of my enemies, to wear me out 
by delays, and, without any direct charges, to ruin me in 
the opinion of my countrymen by insinuations, hints, and 
innuendoes, that though I might with confidence rely on the 
justice of Congress, yet measures would be taken to delay 
it on one pretence or other, in a way that would prove prej- 
udicial if not ruinous to me. Though I could by no means 
bring myself to think my friend's suspicions well founded at 
the time, yet they made me more attentive to what was pass- 
ing, and my observations served to confirm them. 

The many fruitless applications I made for near five 
months to obtain an audience of Congress, and to have the 
business I came out upon closed, are well known to Con- 
gress, and the inferences I drew from the silent neglects, 
which my requests met with, may be easily conceived. In 
this situation I determined to lay my case before my coun- 
trymen and fellow citizens, to whom I considered myself 
ultimately accountable, though immediately so to their 


representatives in Congress. In consequence of this deter- 
mination,! published my address in the beginning of Decem- 
ber. On the 5th, Congress resohed to hear me ; on the 
7th I attended, and was ordered to report in icriting my 
agency of their a fairs in Europe, as soon as may be, ^-c. 
In obedience to their commands, I delivered them a brief 
and faithful narrative of my transactions, from the time of 
my leavine; America, and flattered myself, that, from the 
time which had elapsed from my recall, which was more 
than twelve months, and more than five from the time of 
my return and attendance, the fullest examination must 
have been made into every part of my conduct, and that I 
could not fail of obtaining an eaily decision. Confident in 
ihe justice of Congress, I forbore to address the public 
further, whilst my cause was before Congress, and whilst I 
daily expected their determination. From these consid- 
erations, I silently submitted to the torrent of abuse, mis- 
representation, and calumny, which almost daily poured 
forth against me in the public papers. 

I considered myself as the servant of Congress, and enti- 
tled to their protection ; to them I constantly appealed, not 
for favors, I asked none, but for justice. It is now five 
months since I laid my narrative before Congress, and on 
my being informed that a committee was appointed to 
examine and report on Foreign Affairs, and that my nar- 
rative was referred to them, I applied rcj)catedly to several 
of the honorable members, and requested that, if in the 
course of their examination they met with anything, in the 
letters and documents before them, respecting my conduct, 
which required explanation, they would call upon me and 
acquaint me therewith. I was not notified to attend them 
on the subject, and though I am informed their report has 
VOL. I. 27 


been for several weeks before Congress, I am unacquainted 
witli its contents, as well as with the letters and documents 
on which it has been made. 

Since I had the honor of laying my narrative before Con- 
gress, I have repeatedly solicited for the decision of Con- 
gress, but am to this hour without the honor of any reply to 
the many letters I have written ; it would be tedious and 
perhaps unnecessary to repeat the substance of them ; it 
would take some time to refer to the dates only ; they are 
before Congress, and to them I appeal whether they speak 
the language of a man conscious of having defrauded and 
injured the public, or that of an innocent but greatly injured 
free citizen. I have had the honor of acting in the charac- 
ter of political as well as commercial agent for these States ; 
1 have repeatedly observed that every thing reladng to the 
former is already ascertained or ascertainable at this time, 
and I freely rest my merits in diat department on facts, and 
on die testimony of those great personages, who best know 
what my conduct was, and who have generously, and with- 
out solicitation from me, publicly declared dieir approba- 
tion of it. With respect to my commercial, I have appealed 
and again appeal to that mode of trial, wiiich will prove to 
a mathematical certainty whether I have embezzled or 
misapplied the public monies, or whether, for more than 
three years' faithful services, I have received anything more 
than my private expenses. I have for more than tea 
months past been constaiUly soliciting to have the accounts 
of the commissioners setded, on the issue of which I freely 
put my reputation, and every thing dear in life. My solici- 
tations have been unsuccessful, whilst my enemies, taking 
the base and disingenuous advantage of the circumstances 
before mentioned of my leaving France, raise a cry against 


iiie and say — where are his accounts ? why did he not hiing 
them out ? if they were not settled, why did he not stay and 
settle lliem ? I must confess, that when I reflect that these 
very men owe their present political, as well as personal, 
safety, to tiie measure 1 then took, I am at a loss which pre- 
vails most in my mind, indignation or contempt. 

I trust Congress will indulge me, and the rather as 1 
hope not to be obliged to trouble them again soon, whilst I 
ask every unprejudiced and disinterested member of that 
honorable body, coolly to review the scenes I have passed 
through, and to place himself in the different situations I 
have been in at different periods, since my engaging in this 
great and important contest, and consider me, after having 
at the earliest period adopted and invariably ])ursued the 
most decisive and determined part, after having for more 
than four years devoted my whole time and abilities to the 
service of my country, more tiian three of which have been 
in the immediate service of Congress ; after having, under 
every disadvantage and embarrassment, successfully soli- 
cited and procured most essential aid and supplies for these 
States ; after having been the principal actor in concluding 
an alliance every way honorable and advantageous to these 
States, and then returning to my native country with honor- 
able testimonials of my character and conduct from His 
Most Christian IMajesty and his ministers, as well as from 
my friend and colleague, and the French nation in general ; 
and with an armament, which promised, on its sailing, com- 
plete and decisive victory over the enemies of these States, 
and which, notwithstanding its misfortunes, relieved them 
(this capital in particular) from the deepest distress and 
the most imminent danger ; after this, to be obliged to 
waste ten months in fruitless attendance and solicitation for 


justice to my fortune and character, and at last worn out 
with the most mortifying delays and contemptuous neglect, 
driven unrewarded and unthanked to collect the little which 
remains of the scattered wrecks of my fortune, and to 
retire loaded with the most outrageous and unmerited 
reproaches into obscurity, poverty, and exile ; — I ask every 
member of that honorable body, even those the most unfa- 
vorably disposed towards me, to put themselves for a few 
moments in my case, which I have by no means colored 
beyond the real life, and then pass sentence. 

The loss ot interest has little weight with me, nor loss of 
time, infinitely more precious, if by eidier, the honor, safety, 
and prosperity of these States is promoted. In the present 
case I am deprived even of this consolation, having seen, to 
iny inexpressible grief, the essential interests of these States 
sacrificed by the very measures, which have occasioned 
the delay of justice to me. I still glory in the character of 
a free American citizen, and when I fear to speak in the 
style of one, I shall deservedly forfeit the most honorable of 
all titles. It was just and proper that my first applications 
should be made to the representatives of my fellow citizens ; 
1 have made them in the most decent and urgent manner, 
and repeatedly. They have been treated with the most 
mortifying silent neglect, even whilst every thing dear in 
life to me, and more than life itself, my reputation, was suf- 
fering. I thank God I have sufficient fortitude to part with 
every thing in life, and life itself, in the service of my coun- 
try, without repining ; but no consideration whatever shall 
induce me silently to suffer my reputation and character 
to be abused and vilified, whilst I have the power either to 
act or speak. For ten months past I have presented my- 
self and my case before Congress, such as could b\ no 


means be considered in a neulral point of light, but decid- 
edly meriting their approbation or censure. 1 have not 
been able to obtain either. Justice, therefore, to my coun- 
trymen and fellow citizens, to myself, and those great and 
generous personages who protected and patronized me, 
and the cause I was charged with abroad, requires of me 
that 1 justify myself before the world, by laying before 
them a faithful and exact account of all my public transac- 
tions from the first, and of the treatment I have met with. 

In doing this, (if laid under the necessity,) I shall on no 
occasion transgress against the strictest rules of truth and 
decency, nor be wanting in that respect, which I have ever 
paid, and shall ever pay to Congress, as the representative 
body of my fellow citizens. At the same time, I shall witli 
proper firmness, and the dignity becoming a free but injured 
citizen, expose to public view those, whether in Congress 
or out, who, to promote partial, interested, and family 
views, have from the first systematically labored to pre- 
vent Congress from deciding on my conduct as the servant 
of the public, though the interest of these States called for 
their decision. I flatter myself I shall not be laid under 
tlic necessity of further application, but that Congress will 
relieve me from the unmerited distress 1 labor under by 
closing this long protracted affair, or at least by immediately 
taking such measures as will, without delay, do justice to 
my services. 

I have the honor to be, with the most re':-pectful esteem 

and attachment, kc. 




Philadelphia, 18th August, 1779. 

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

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Philadelphia, 4th September, 1779. 

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

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


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



Philadelphia, 23U NovemLor, 177i>. 


As I have received no answer to my memorial of the 
I61I1 of August last, I conclude none will be given, and, 
consequently, that I am laid under the necessity of returning 
to Europe in the best manner I can, and at my own expense. 

I must confess, that when I reflect on the part I have 
acted, and the returns made me for my services, I have 
nothing but the consciousness of having done my duty to 
my country with zeal and integrity, and of having been 
successful in the important affairs I engaged in, to support 
me. Previous to my embarking, permit me to assure 
Congress, that my respect for them as the representative 
body of these States, is not lessened, nor my zeal for the 
service, prosperity, and happiness of my country abated, 
by the treatment I have met with. The expense of time 
and money, which 1 have suffered by my detention in this 
city, with the further expense I am now unavoidably forced 
to make, fall heavy on the small remains of a very mode- 
rate fortune ; but as I go to vindicate what is dearer to me 
than either life or fortune, my honor and character, as the 
faithful servant of these States, and confident that in doing 
this, I shall render essential services to my country, I cheer- 
fully submit. 

On the 2Gth of August last, I received an order on the 
continental treasurer, signed by Joseph iVourse, for ten 
thousand five hundred dollars, said to be in full considera- 
tion of my time and expenses during my attendance on 
Congress, from the 4th of June, 1778, until the 6th day 
of August last. 


I mean not the least disrespect to that honorable body, 
nor do I feel the slightest emotions of resentment towards 
those of them, who opposed the grant even of that sum to 
me, but the same feelings, which prompt me to further 
sacrifices, forbid my acceptance of a sum so inadequate to 
my actual expenses, and confident that the day is not far 
distant in which I shall demonstrate, not only that the pub- 
lic monies and supplies from abroad have been at first 
obtained, principally by my agency, but that the disposition 
of them, so far as depended on me, was made with the 
utmost possible economy and })erfect int^^ rily. I refer to 
that time the discussion of what rec^ is due me for 

fourteen months' attendance in Philadelphia, in obedience 
to the orders of Congress, and for the odier services 1 have 
been so fortunate as to render the United States. I have 
so often troubled Congress with my letters, and been so 
particular in them respecting my situation and affairs, that 
I need only refer to them at this time, particularly to my 
letter of the 22d of May last, and to submit the whole to 
iheir wise and mature consideradon. 

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



Williamsbiirgh, IStli December, 1779. 

When I did myself the honor of writing you on the 16th 
of November last, the order of Congress in my favor on 
the continental treasurer for ten thousand five hundred 


dollars being mislaid, was not enclosed. I now take the 
liberty to enclose it, and have the honor to be, with the 
most sincere respect and attachment, &ic. 



Paris, loth Mav, 1781. 


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

I pray Congress would candidly review the circum- 
stances I have been under, from my leaving France in 
April, 1778, to this time. After having to that time faith- 
fully and successfully served them, I was, in obedience 
to their orders, obliged to make a vo} age to America, and 
to wait their pleasure in Philadelphia for more than a year, 
unable to obtain their decision on my conduct, though it 
was almost daily solicited by me ; the only objection made 
was, that my accounts remained unsettled ; as soon as Con- 
voL. I. 28 


gress appointed an auditor to examine them, I set out on 
my voyage to Europe, regardless of danger or expense, 
fondly hoping that at last I should be able to close my 
accounts, and to receive the balance due to me, but what 
was infinitely more important, to vindicate my injured char- 
acter. The expenses of my voyage were great, and during 
ten mondis' attendance here, they have been still greater, 
and though there is evidently a large balance in my favor, 
I have been refused money for my support. I have never 
asked of Congress anything but common justice, in the pay- 
ment of my just demands, out of which, I have now been 
kept for three years. My necessities would long since have 
justified my seizing on the public property here to the 
amount of the money due to me, but I have been vvithhel[d 
from doing it on account of my regard for the credit of my 
country, and have rather chosen to be obliged to strangers 
for money for my support. And to what purpose is it for 
me to leave France, and return with my accounts and 
vouchers unaudited ? It is equally useless to transmit 
them in that state. My enemies represented me as a 
defaulter, grown rich out of the public monies in my hands, 
and prejudiced the minds of Congress so strongly against 
me, that all my efforts in America to obtain even a hearing 
were vain and ineffectual. My present situation, as well 
as the state of my accounts, give the lie to every assertion 
or insinuation of the kind, yet I am still left to suffer under 
the calumny in America, and to be obliged to strangers for 
money for my support in Europe. 1 will not trust myself 
further on the subject, lest something escape me which may 
oflend, without my intending it. 

1 hope Congress will impartially review my case in every 
stage of it, and that they will not force me to appeal to the 


laws of a foreign nation, or to the tribunal of the public in 
Europe, for the recovery of my right, and for justice to my 
character, which the great and first law of nature will oblige 
me to do, unless immediately relieved by those who owe 
me, and more who owe to their own character, and to that 
of their country, the justice which I demand. 
I have the honor to be. 

With great esteem and respect, k.c. 



Ghent, nth March, 1782. 


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

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

Mr Barclay tells me, that he has no orders on the sub- 
ject, and that it lies in your department. 1 have, therefore, 
taken the liberty to address myself to you. 

Mr Barclay, after viewing my accounts, proposed that 
auditors, or arbitrators, should be named at Paris, to audit 


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

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


* In addition to articles in the newspapeis, Mr Deane wrote a pam- 
phlet, vindicating himself from the charges that were brought against 
him, ciiiefly by Mr Arthur Lee, in two publications, and in his letters to 
Congress. This pamphlet was dated London, August 10th, 1783, and 
entitled, "An Address to the United States of JVorth America; to which is 
added, a Letter to the Honorable Robert Morris, with 7iotes and observa- 
tions.'" This address was printed in England and the United States. 




Commissioners were appointed by Congress, for trans- 
acting the business of the United States at the Court of 
France, on the 26th of September, 1770. The persons 
chosen were Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Thomas 
Jefferson. On the 22d of October, Arthur Lee was 
elected in the place of Mr Jefferson, who declined accepting 
the appointment. These three commissioners met in Paris 
about the middle of December, where they continued to 
reside, chiefly employed in procuring military supplies and 
money for the United States, till they signed the treaty of 
alliance, February 6th, 1778. They were presented to 
the king, as representatives of an independent State, on the 
20th of March. Silas Deane being recalled, John Adams 
was elected to supply his place, November 2Sth, 1777. 
Dr Franklin was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to tlie 
Court of France, September 14th, 1778, at which time the 
Commission was dissolved. 






Biiltiniore, 21st December, 1776. 

After expressing onr hopes, that this will find you all 
three safely fixed at Paris, we proceed wiih pleasure to 
acknowledge the receipt of Mr Deane's letter of the 1st of 
October. When we reflect on the character and views of 
the Court of London, it ceases to be a wonder, that the 
British ambassador, and all other British agents, should 
employ every means that tended to prevent European 
powers, and France more especially, from giving America 
aid in this war. Prospects of accommodation, it is well 
known, would effectually prevent foreign interference, and, 
therefore, without one serious design of accommodating on 
any principles, but the absolute submission of America, the 

For the instruciions to the Commissioners, and tlic plan of a treaty, 
which they were directed to lay before the French Ministry, sec Secrd 
Journals of Congress, Vol. II. pp. 7,27,38. 
VOL. I. 29 


delusive idea of conciliation has been indtistrlously sug- 
gested on both sides of the water, that, under cover of this 
dividing and aid-withholding prospect, the vast British force 
sent to America, might have the fairest chance of succeed- 
ing, and this policy has in fact done considerable injury to 
the United States, as we shall presently show by a just 
detail of this campaign, for it is not yet ended. 

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

iJirLuMA'llC CuKliLbfU-NDK.NCE. 227 

General Huvve imvlug stopped lieie, and General Cuileion 
al Crown Point, eftl'Ctually disappointed the threat object ol 
joining ihj t\V(j arniies. ■ Tlie lalter, as we have said, 
returning to Canada, and the former retreating from the 
White Plains towards New York, gave us a favorable pros- 
l>ect of seeing a liappy end put to this dangerous campaign, 
however many causes have concurred in producing an 
unlucky reverse of fortune, such as the nature of die country, 
the uncommon fineness of the weather, even to this day, 
and, above all, the short enlistments, which gave the soldiery 
an opportunity of going home, tired as they wi:re wiih the 
operations of an active sunmier. 

When General Howe retreated from the While Plains, ho 
iialted his whole army on tlie NorUi River, between Dobbs' 
Ferry and Kingsbridge, where he remained for some lime. 
Having eftecled so little oT the great business that brought 
iiim here, and the season allowing hiiii time for it, most men 
were of opinion, that the next attempt v.ould be, to get pos- 
session of Philadelphia by a forced march through the 
Jerseys, whilst a fleet should be sent up the Delaware to 
facilitate tiie enterprise. To guard against such a man- 
a'uvre. General Washington crossed the Xoilh River with 
all the battalions, that had been raised to tiie westward of it, 
leaving General Loj, with the eastern troops, to guard the 
pass of the Highlands on Hudsoii River. In this situation 
of things, General Howe made a sudden attack upon Fort 
Vv ashington, with the greatest part of his army, and carried 
it with considerable loss, making nearly three thousand of our 
men prisoners. By this event, it became unnecessary 
longer to hold Fort Lee, or Fort Constitution, as it wns 
formerly called, which is on the west side of the North 
River, nearly opposite Fort Washington. It had therefore 


been determined to abandon Fort Lee, but before the stores 
could be all removed, the enemy came suddenly upon it, 
and the garrison retreated, leaving some of their baggage 
and stores behind. 

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

Since General Howe's arrival on the borders of the 
Delaware, various manoeuvres and stratagems have been 
practised to effect a passage over the river, but they have 
hitherto failed. General Washington's small army is placed 
along the West side of the Delaware to within fourteen 
miles of Philadelphia, from above Coryell's Ferry, which, with 
the gondolas, one frigate of thirtytwo guns, and other armed 
vessels in the river above the Cheveaux de Frize, cover 
the passage of it. General Lee (who had crossed the North 
River with as many of the eastern troops as could be 
spared from the defence of the Highlands, either to join 


General Washington, or to act on the enemy's rear, as 
occasions iiiiglit point out) was the other day surprised and 
made prisoner by a party of seventy light horse, who found 
him in a house a few miles in the rear of his army, with 
his domestics only. This loss, though great, will in some 
degree be repaired for the present by General Gates, who, 
we understand, has joined tlie army commanded by Gen- 
eral Lee, and who, we have reason to think, has by this 
time effected a junction of his force with that of General 

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

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


All views ot" accominodatioi) with Great Biitain, except 
on principles of peace us independent States, and in a man- 
ner perfectly consistent with the treaties our commissioners 
may make with foreign States, being totally at an end, since 
the declaration of independence and the embassy to the 
court of France, Congress have directed the raising of 
iiinetyfour battalions of infantry, with some cavalry ; thir- 
teen frigates from tvventyfour to thirtysix guns are already 
launched and fitting, and two ships of the line, with five 
more frigates, are ordered to be put on the stocks. We 
iiear the levies are going on well in the different Slates. 
Until the new army is collected, the militia must curb the 
(Miemy's progress. The very considerable force that Great 
Britain has already in North America, the possibility of 
recruiting it iiere within their own quarters by force and 
fraud together, added to the reinforcements that may be 
sent from Europe, and the difticulty of finding funds in the 
present depressed state of American commerce, all con- 
spire to prove inconlestibly, tiiat if France desires to pre- 
clude the possibility of North America being ever reunited 
with Great Britain, now is the favorable moment for estab- the glory, strength, and commercial greatness of the 
former kingdom, by the ruin of her ancient rival. A decided 
part now taken by the Court of Versailles, and a vigorous 
engagement in the war in union with North America, would 
with ease sacrifice the fleet and army of Great Britain, at 
this time chiefly collected about New York. The inevi- 
table consequence would be, the quick reduction of the 
Britisii Islands in the West Indies, already barred of defence 
by the removal of their troops to this continent. 

For reasons here assigned, gentlemen, you will readily 
discern how all important it is to the security of American 


independence, that France should enter the war as soon as 
may be ; and how necessary it is, if it be possible, to pro- 
cure from her the line of battle ships, you were desired, in 
your instructions, to obtain for us, the speedy arrival of 
which here, in the present state of things, might decide the 
contest at one stroke. 

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

The British recall of their Mediterranean passes is an 
object of great consequence, and may require much inter- 
cession with the Court of France to prevent the mischiefs, 
that may be derived to American commerce therefrom, but 
this subject has been already touched upon in your instruc- 
tions on the sixth article of the treaty, proposed to be made 
witli France. As all affairs relative to the conduct of com- 
merce and remittance pass through another department, 
we beg leave to refer you to tlie Secret Committee a/id Mr 
Thomas Morris, their agent in France, for every informa- 
tion on those subjects. The neighborhood of Philadel- 
phia having, by tlie enemy's movements, become the seat 
of war, it was judged proper that Congress should adjourn 

• Mr Deane bad found Dr AVilliamson and Mr Hopkins in Paris, and 
from circumstances, which he docs not mention, lie suspected them to be 
in the interest of England. Nothing ever occurred, however, to prove 
that this suspicion was well founded. On the contrary, Dr Williamson 
was afterwards a member of Congress, and equally distinguished for his 
patriotism and abilit) 


to this town, where the public business may be attended 
to with the undisturbed deliberation that its importance 
demands. The Congress was accordingly opened here 
on the 20th inst. 

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

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


which we have the honor to enclose you, directs the con- 
duct to be pursued with regard to Portugal.* 

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

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

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


Philadelphia, 21st December, 1776. 

I am now the only member of Congress in this city, 
unless Mr Walton, of Georgia, and AL- Clymer, my col- 

* For the resolves alluded to in this letter, and also for general instruc- 
tion! to the coramissioners, on various important topics, see the Secret 
JoumaU of Congrets, on Foreign .'iffairs, for Oct. 22d, Dec. 23d and 2yili, 
Vol. II. pp. 34,36, 37. 

VOL. I. 30 


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

All these things he stated fully, and the enemy became 
possessed of a most authentic account of his real situation. 
They determined to take advantage of it, and before General 
Washington had time to make any new arrangements at 
Fort Lee, on the west side of the North River, to which he 
had crossed, with about eight thousand men, a large body 
of troops landed above, and another below him, so that he 
was near being enclosed with a force vastly superior. In 
this situation, he had nothing left for him, but to retire 
directly off the neck of land, on which that fort stands, leav- 
ing behind him considerable baggage and stores, with most 
of our large cannon and mortars. He retreated to Hack- 
ensack, and was there in hopes of making a stand, until the 
militia of the country should come to his assistance, but the 


vigilance ol'llic enemy did not t^ive him time for this. They 
pursued, and he retreated all the way through the Jerseys 
lo Trenton, and from thence they forced him across the 
Delaware, where he still remains, to oppose their passage 
across the river. 

Lord Cornwallis commanded the British forces in the 
Jerseys, until they reached Brunswick, where General Howe 
joined tljcm willi reinforcements, and determined to make his 
way to this city, widiout further loss of time. You may he 
sure the militia of New Jersey and this State were called 
upon to turn out, and defend their country in this hour of 
distress. Alas, our internal enemies had, by various arts 
and means, frightened many, disailected odiers, and caused 
a general 'languor to prevail over the minds of almost all 
men, not before actually engaged in the war. Many are 
also exceedingly disafTected with the constitutions formed for 
their respective States, so tiiat from one or other, no 
Jersey militia turned out to oppose the march of an enemy 
through the heart of their country ; and it was with the 
utmost diflicult}', that the associators of this city could be 
prevailed on to march against them. At length, however, 
it has been effected ; they have been up witJi the General 
about two weeks, and the example is likely lo produce its 
eftect in the country, as they are now pretty generally on 
their inarch towards Trenton. 

During General Washington's retreat tiirough tlie Jerseys, 
he wrote for General Lee, who was left to command on the 
east side of tlic North River, with about ten to eleven thou- 
sand men, most of whose enlistments are now expired, or 
near it. He obeyed the summons, and brought with him 
about three thousand men ; with whom he followed the 
enemv's rear, but was obliged to make slow marches, as 


his people were in great want of shoes, stockings, and other 
necessaries, which he was ohliged to collect from the tories 
in the neighborhood of his route. After he had passed a 
place called Chatham, near Elizabethtown, he lodged at a 
farm house. Some treacherous villain gave notice to the 
enemy, and the General's ill fate, or some other cause I am 
not acquainted with, delayed him there, until near 10 
o'clock on Friday morning, his army having marched, and 
their rear about three miles from him, when he was sur- 
prised by about seventy light horse, who made him prisoner, 
and bore him off in triumph. This is an event mucli to be 
lamented. I sincerely pity Lee, and feel for the loss my 
country sustains ; his abilities had frequently been im- 
mensely useful ; the want of them will be severely felt. 

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

You will think the enemy are now in a situation for us to 


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

In this perplexbg situation of things, the Congress were 
informed, this day week, that an advanced party of Hes- 
sians and Highlanders had taken possession of Burlington, 
that they were pushing for Cooper's Ferry, opposite the 
cit}', and it was thought had tlie means of crossing the 
river. There were no troops to oppose them ; our whole 
force, both by land and water, was above ; it was therefore 
deemed unsafe for Congress to remain here, and absolutelv 
necessary that they should be in a place of safety, where 
they could deliberate coolly and freely without interrup- 
tion, and last Saturday they adjourned to Baltimore, where 
they are now sitting. This city was for ten days, the great- 
est scene of distress that you can conceive ; every body but 
Quakers were removing their families and elTects, and now it 
looks dismal and melancholy. The Quakers and their fami- 
lies pretty generally remain ; the other inhabitants are princi- 
pally sick soldiers, some few effective ones under General 


Putnam, who is come here lo throw up lines, and prepare 
for the defence of the place, if General Washington should 
be forced to retreat hither. You may be sure I have my 
full share of trouble on this occasion, but having got my 
family and books removed to a place of safety, my mind is 
more at ease, and my time is now given up to the public, 
although I have many thousand pounds' worth of effects 
here, without any prospect of saving them. 

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

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

1 must add to this gloomy picture one circumstance, more 
distressing than all the rest, because it threatens instant and 
total ruin to the American cause, unless some radical cure 
is applied, and that speedily; I mean the depreciation 
of the continental currency. The enormous pay of our 
army, the immense expenses at which they are supplied 
with provisions, clothing, and other necessaries, and, in 
short, the extravagance that has prevailed in most depart- 


ments of the public service, have called forth prodigious 
emissions of paper money, both continental and colonial. 
Our internal enemies, who, alas, are numerous and rich, 
have always been undermining its value by various artifices, 
and now that our distresses are wrought to a pitch by the 
success and near approach of the enemy, they speak 
plainer, and many peremptorily refuse to take it at any rate. 
Those that do receive it, do it with fear and trembling, and 
you may judge of its value, even amongst those, when 1 tell 
you that £250 continental money, or G66 2-3 dollars is 
given for a bill of exchange of £100 sterling, sixteen dol- 
lars for a half Johannes, two paper dollars for one of silver, 
three dollars for a pair of shoes, twelve dollars for a hat, 
and so on ; a common laborer asks two dollars a day for 
his work, and idles half his time. 

All this amounts to real depreciation of the money. The 
war must be carried on at an expense proportioned to this 
value, which must inevitably call for immense emissions, 
and, of course, still further depreciations must ensue. This 
can only be prevented by borrowing in the money now in 
circulation ; the attempt is made, and I hope will succeed 
by loan of lotter}'. The present troubles interrupt those 
measures here, and as yet I am not informed how they go 
on in other States, but something more is necessary ; force 
must be inevitably employed, and 1 dread to see that day. 
We have already calamities sufficient for any country, and 
the measure will be full, when one part of the American 
people is obliged to dragoon another, at the same time that 
they are opposing a most powerful external foe. 

For my part I see but two chances for relief; one is from 
you. If the Court of France open their eyes to their own 
interest, and think the commerce of North America will 


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

Our people knew not the hardships and calamities of 
war, when they so boldly dared Britain to arms ; every man 
was then a bold patriot, felt himself equal to the contest, 
and seemed to wish for an opportunity of evincing his 
prowess ; but now, when we are fairly engaged, when 


death and ruin stare us in the face, and when nothing but 
the most intrepid courage can rescue us from contempt 
and disgrace, sorry am I to say it, many of those who were 
foremost in noise, shrink coward-like from the danger, and 
are begging pardon witiiout striking a blow. This, how- 
ever, is not general, but dejection of spirits is an epidemical 
disease, and unless some fortunate event or otiier gives a 
turn to the disorder, in time it may prevail throughout the 
community. No event would give that turn so soon, as a 
declaration of war on the part of France against Great 
Britain, and I am sure if they lose this golden opportu- 
nity they will never have such another. 

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

Tiie frigate in New Hampshire is a very fine ship, com- 
pleted in every particular, except the want of cannon, which 
was to have been cast in Rhode Island, but the spirit of 
privateering has prevailed so eminently there, that they 
liave sacrificed every other pursuit to it, both public and 
private, as 1 am informed ; and we have ordered the guns 

VOL. 1. 31 


cast in Connecticut for that frigate to be sent to Ports- 
mouth. As soon as they arrive, the Raleigh will he man- 
ned, and sail on a cruise. 

At Boston they have also two fine frigates ; the Boston 
of twentyfour guns, 1 expect is at sea before this time, 
commanded by Captain McNeil, a very clever officer ; 
the other is nearly ready, commanded by Captain Manly. 

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

In Connecticut the frigate is said to be a fine ship, but 
she cannot get to sea this winter for want of cordage and 
other stores. In New York two very fine frigates are 
blocked up by the enemy, and hauled into Esopus Creek 
for safety. At this place we have four very fine ships, one 
of them the Randolph, Captain Biddle, of twentysix twelve 
pounders, will, I hope, go to sea in company with this letter ; 
another, the Delaware, Captain Alexander, is getting ready, 
and 1 hope will get out this winter ; the other two v/ant guns, 
anchors, and men. At Baltimore is a fine frigate, now only 
waiting for an anchor and men. 

Besides these we have in service, the Alfred, Columbus, 
and Reprisal, ships from sixteen to twentyfour guns, the 
brigantines Cabot, Camden, Andrew Doria, and Lexing- 
ton, of twelve to sixteen guns, the sloops Providence, Hor- 
net, Fly, Independence, Sachem, and schooners Wasp, 
Muscjuito, and Georgia Packet, all in actual service, and 
they have had great success, in taking valuable prizes, as 
indeed have numbers of privateers from all parts of Ame- 
rica. We have besides two very fine row galleys, built 


liere, of ninety feel keel, but lliey are not yet ricged ; and 
it has lately been determined by Congress to build some 
line of battle ships, and at all events to push forward, and 
pay the utmost attention to an American navy. The greatest 
encouragement is given to seamen, which ought to be made 
known throughout Europe. Their pay in our navy is eight 
dollars per month, with the best chance for prize money, 
that men ever had, and liberty of discharges after every 
cruise if they choose it. In the merchant service they now 
get from thirty to forty dollars per month ; and this leads 
me to the state of our commerce. 

In the Eastern States, they are so intent on privateering, 
that they mind little else ; liowever, there is some exporta- 
tion of produce from thence, and as to imports, they are the 
best supplied of any part of America, having been surpris- 
ingly successful in captures. New York being in the hands 
of the enemy, we have nothing to say to it, and the pro- 
duce of New Jersey will be totally consumed by their 
army and ours. In this State, (Pennsylvania,) we had 
last season the w^orst crop of wheat ever known, both as to 
quantity and quality ; this being our staple commodity, and 
stores prohibited, our merchants have been led to purchase 
much tobacco in Maryland and Virginia, and their ships 
are employed in the export of this article, with some flour, 
boards, beeswax, 8cc. ^Ve have a good nif.ny iniports, but 
as fast as goods arrive, they arc bought up for tlse army, or 
for the use of neighboring State?, and therefore continue to 
bear high prices. 

The value of ships has risen in the same enormous propor- 
tion with every thing else, and ships, that were deemed worth 
.€1000, twelve months ago, now sell for £3000, or upwards. 
Everv article belonging to llicui is also excessively dear, 


and hard to be got, and the insolence and difficulty of seamen 
is beyond bearing. In Maryland, Virginia, South Caro- 
lina, and Georgia, they have plenty of valuable produce oa 
hand, but no ships to carry it away, and constant cruisers 
all along the coast make it very dangerous to send ships 
from one port to another ; so that look which way you 
will, you find us surrounded with difficulties, in the land 
service, in the sea service, and in our commerce. 

Agriculture and mechanics have their impediments, by 
the enlisting of soldiers, and frequent calls on the militia. 
In short nothing but the most arduous exerUons, and vir- 
tuous conduct in the leaders, seconded by a spirited beha- 
vior in the army, and a patient endurance of hardships by 
the people in general, can long support the contest ; there- 
fore the Court of France should strike at once, as they will 
reap an immediate harvest ; they may sell their manufac- 
tures for any price they please to ask, they will get in pay- 
ment tobacco, rice, indigo, deerskins, furs, wheat, flour, 
iron, beeswax, lumber, fish, oil, whalebone, pot and pearl 
ashes, and various odier articles, and, if they please, here 
is an ample field to employ their shipping, and raise sea- 
men for their navy. 

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

I have Mr Deane's favor of the 30th of September,* to 

* See page 41, of this volume. 


myself, now before ine ; liie letter by the same conveyance 
from Martinico, under cover of Mr Bingham's, 1 sent down 
to the committee at Baltimore, and wrote them my mind 
on the justice of your complaints, for want of intelligence. 
1 had often told it to them before ; you know well 1 was not 
put in that committee to carry on the correspondence, but to 
find out the conveyances ; however, I have been obliged 
to write all the letters, that have been written for some time 
past ; but as Colonel Lee, ^Ir Hooper, and the Rev. Dr 
Witherspoon are now added to the committee, 1 shall 
excuse a}yself fron. that task, although 1 have thought it 
proper to give you a just stale of our affairs at this time, 
because I do not suppose the committee will be got lairly 
together in Baltimore yet, and when they do, it is proba- 
ble they may not be fond of laying things before you so 
fully as 1 have done. Some of us arc of very sanguine 
complexions, and arc too apt to flatter ourselves, that things 
are not so bad as they appear to be, or that they will soon 
mend, k,c. Now my notion is, that you, gentlemen com- 
missioners, should be fairly and fully informed of the true 
state of alFairs, that you may make a proper use of that 
knowledge, keejjing secret what ought to be so, and pro- 
nmlgaiing what should be known. 

Doctor Franklin will see this letter, for whose safe arri- 
val my best wishes have often gone forth, and I embrace 
this opportunity of assuring him of the high respect and 
esteem I entertain for hitn. I also beg my compliments to 
Mr Lee, if he is with you ; tell him I have the commission, 
in which he is nominated, ready to send, but it is gone into 
the country with my papers, or 1 would send it by this con- 
veyance. My own affairs necessarily detained me here 
after the departure of Congress, and it is well I staid, as I 


am obliged to set many things right, that would otherwise 
be in the greatest confusion. Indeed, I find my presence 
so very necessary, that I shall remain here until the enemy 
drive me away. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 



Baltimore, 30th December.- 1776. 


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

Upon mature deliberation of all circumstances, Congress 
deem the speedy declaration of France and European assist- 
ance so indispensably necessary to secure the independence 
of these States, that they have authorised you to make sucli 
tenders to France and Spain, as, they hope, will i)revent any 
longer delay of an event, that is judged so essential to the well 
being of Nordi America. Your wisdom, we know, will direct 
you to make such tenders to France and Spain, as they hope 


will procure tiie thing desired, on terms as much short of 
the concessions now ollered as possible ; but no advantages 
of this kind are proposed at the risk of a delay, that may 
prove dangerous to the end in view. It must be very 
obvious to the Court of France, lliat if Great Britain should 
succeed in her design of subjugating these States, their 
inhabitants, now well trained to arms, might be compelled 
to become instruments for making conquest of the French 
jKDssessions in the West Indies, which would be a sad con- 
trast to that security and commercial benefit, that would 
result to France from the independence of North America. 

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

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

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


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

In our last we say, the enemy made near 3000 prisoners 
at Fort Washington, hut the numher is fixed at 2634. The 
West Indiamen taken by our cruisers amount to 250 sail. 

The scarcity of ships here is so great, that we shall find 
much difficulty in making the extensive remittances to 
France, that we ought, in due season ; therefore, it will in 
our opinion be an object of great importance, to obtain the 
consent of the Farmers-General to send to Virginia and 
Maryland for any quantity of tobacco they may choose, or 
to the State of North Carolina for any quantity of naval 
stores, which may be wanted for public use, or to supply 
the demands of private merchants. 

The terms, both as to quantity and price, you will endea- 
vor to learn, and let it be made known to us with all possi- 
ble expedition, that you may receive an answer thereon. 

The Captain of the armed vessel, that carries these 
despatches, has orders to deliver them himself to you in 
Paris, and his vessel will expect his return in a different 
port from the one he arrives at ; he will lake your direc- 
tions about his return, and receive your letters, but the 
anxiety prevailing here to know your success, renders it 
proper, that he should return with all possible despatch. 

Wishing you health, success, and many happy years, we 
remain, gentlemen, yours, Sic. 

R. H. LEE, 



Biiltiinore, 2d Jaiuiarv, 1777. 


You are to proceed with all the despatch in your power, 
with the schooner Jenifer, under your command, to Nantes, 
in France ; on your arrival there, you are to apply to Mr 
Thomas Morris, if he should be at that port, if he should 
not, your application must be to ^Messrs Pliarne, Pcnet &; 
Co., who will furnish you with necessary cash for your 
journey to Paris, for which place you must set out imme- 
diately, and deliver your despatches to Messrs Franklin, 
Deane, and Lee, and wait their orders ; when they dis- 
charge you, you are to return with the utmost diligence to 
America, and put into the most convenient port to the south- 
ward of the Delaware ; we think Chincoteague or some 
other on the back of the Eastern shore the most likely for 
avoiding men of war, and would therefore have you attempt 
getting into one of those ports ; when arrived, you must 
leave the schooner under the command of your mate, and 
bring the despatches yourself to Congress, wherever it may 
be sitting. 

You are, before you set out for Paris, to consult wiili Mr 
Morris or the above gentlemen, whether your vessel will 
not be most likely to escape the enemy by sending her to 
some ether port to meet you on your return ; if this should 
be their opinion, you are to give orders to your mate accord- 
ingly ; you are also to deliver your pig iron to the orders 
of those gentlemen, and take from them such a qtianlilv of 
military stores, as will ballast your vessel. The safe deliv- 
ery of the despatches, with which you are intrusted, 
VOL. I. 32 


and the obtaining answers to them, are matters of siicli 
immense consequence to the Continent, that we cannot too 
strongly recommend to yon the avoiding all vessels that you 
iiiay see, either outward bound, or on your return. You 
are also to avoid as much as possible, falling in with head- 
lands and islands, as it is most usual for men of war to 
cruise off such places. 

The despatches will be delivered to you in a box, which 
you must put into a bag with two shots, that, in case of falling 
in with an enemy, from which you cannot escape, you may 
be prepared to sink them, which, on such an event hap- 
pening, we earnestly insist on your doing. 

We wish you a good voyage, and safe return, and are 
your most humble servants, 

R. H. LEE. 

P. S. When you arrive at jNantes, inquire and get 
directions from the gentlemen there, to whom you are 
recommended for cash to carry you to Paris, where Dr 
Franklin, Mr Deane, or Mr Arthur Lee lodge in Paris ; 
and above all things take care not to let it be known at 
Nantes, from whence you come, your business, or where 
you are going, except to the above gentlemen. 

I'aris, 17th Januarv, 1777. 

We joined each other at this place on the 22d of De- 
cember, and, on the 28th, had an audience of his Excellency 
the Count de Vergennes, one of His Most Christian 


Majesty^s pi incipal Secrrinrifs of State, and JMinister for 
Foreign ^Jf'airs. Jte laid before him our commissiori, 
tcith the articles of the proposed treaty of commerce." He 
ass^ured us of the protection of his Court, and that due con- 
sideration should be given to what we offered. Soon alter 
we presented a memoir of the present situation of our 
States, drawn up at the minister's request, together with the 
articles of general confederation, and the demands for ships 
of war, agreeable to our instructions. Copies of all these 
papers were given by us to the Count d'Aranda, His Cath- 
olic ISIajesty's Ambassador here, to be communicated to 
his Court. We are promised an answer from this Court, 
as soon as they can know the delerminntion of Spain, witii 
which they mean to act in perfect unanimity. 

In the mean time, we are endeavoring to expedite seve- 
ral vessels laden with artillery, arms, ammunition, and cloth- 
ing, which we hope will reach you in time for the campaign, 
though unfortunately one vessel, which IMr Dcane had sent 
so laden, has just put back, after having been three weeks 
at sea. She is, however, now sailed again. The ports of 
France, Spain, and Florence, (that is Leghorn, in the 
Mediterranean,) are open to the American cruisers, upon 
the usual terms of neutrality. 

We find it essential to the cstabiisiiinent. and mainten- 
ance of your commercial credit in Europe, that yoiu- con- 
cerns of that kind should be in the hands of the most 
respectable men, in liie diiVerent countries. From the 
observations we have made, Mr Myrtle is not of that descrip- 
tion, and we arc sorry to say, that the irregularities of Mr 

' Tills coiiiiuijsioii and plan oi a Tn aiy \\\.i\ be lomid in ihv. Secret 
Journals of Ccn^rcts, Vol. !I. pp. 7, o-. 


Thomas Morris render it absolutely necessary, that some 
other person should be immediately appointed in hi^ place. 
We also think it advisable, that you should be so far on 
your guard, with respect to Mons. Penet, as not to deviate 
from the original contract made with him, as we cannot 
learn that he is known to be a person of substance, at the 
same time it is but justice to say, that he appears to be active, 
industrious, and attentive to your interests. He is indeed 
connected with a very good house in Nantes, M. Gruel, 
but we know not the terms of that connexion, or how far 
M. Gruel is answerable. It seems to us, that those houses, 
which are connected in Great Britain, are to be avoided. 

It would be useful if we had some blank commissions for 
privateers, and we tljcrefore wish some may be sent us, by 
the first opportunity. As vessels are almost daily arriving 
from America, at the ports here, we conceive advices of 
the proceedings in the campaign might be frequently sent 
to us, so as to enable us to contradict the exaggerated repre- 
sentations m-jde by the English of their successes ; which, 
standing unrontroverted, have a considerable influence upon 
our credit and upon our cause. 

Great etlbrts are now making by the British government, 
to procure more troops from Germany. Tlie Princes in 
alliance with France have refused to lend any, or to enter 
into any guarantee of Hanover, which England has been 
mean enough to ask, being apprehensive for that Electo- 
rate, if she should draw from it more of its troops. Four 
more regiments, two of them to be light horse, are raising in 
Hesse, where there has been an insurrection, on account of 
drafting the people ; and now great sums of money are dis- 
tributed for procuring men. They talk of ten thousand 
men in all to be sent over this spring. These things do Jiot 


look as if England was very confident of success in tlie 
next campaign, without more aid. 

The hearts of the French are universally for us, and the 
cry is strong for immediate war with Britain. Indeed every 
tiling tends tlial way, but tiie Court has its reasons for post- 
poning it a little longer. In the mean time preparations 
are making for it. They have already a fleet of twentysix 
sail of the line, manned and tit for sea. Spain has seven- 
teen sail in the same state, and more are fitting with such 
diligence, that they reckon to have thirty sail in each king- 
dom, by the month of April. This must have an imme- 
diate good efiect in our favor, as it keeps ihc English fleet 
at bay, coops up their seamen, of whom they will scarce 
find enough to man their next set of transport?, and proba- 
bly keep Lord Howe's fleet more together, for fear of a 
visit, and leave us more sea room to prey upon their com- 
merce, and a freer coast to bring in our prizes ; and also the 
supplies we shall be able to send you, in conseciuence of our 
agreement with the Farmers-General, which is, that the 
Congress shall provide, purchasing bona fide at the lowest 
price possible, twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco, in 
Virginia and Maryland, at the public warehouses in those 
States, for the ships which they, the Farmers-General, shall 
send ; and that those tobaccos shall be brought to France, 
at their risk and in their ships. They understand the price 
is not likely to exceed three or four French sous in Ame- 
rica, but we do not warrant that it shall cost no more, though 
we hope it will not. Upon these conditions we are to have 
half the supposed price advanced, immediately, and the 
opportunity of shipping warlike stores on board their ships, 
at your risk, and paying reasonable freights ; the rest to be 


paid as soon as advice is received ihat the tobacco is 

The desire ol' getting money immediately to command 
the preparations for the ensuing campaign, and of interest- 
ing so powerful a body as the Farmers-General, who in 
fact make the most efticient part of government here, and 
the absolute part in all commercial or monied concerns, 
induced us to concede to these terms, which may possibly 
in the estimate of tlie price of tobacco be low, but which 
upon the whole we judged necessary, and we hope will be 
advantageous. So strong is the inclination of the wealthy 
here to assist us, that since this agreement we are offered a 
loan of two million of livres, widiout interest, and to be 
repaid when the United States are setded in peace and 
prosperity. No conditions or securities are required, not 
even an engagement from us. We have accepted diis 
generous and noble benefaction ; five hundred thousand 
livres, or one quarter, is to be paid into the hands of our 
banker this day, and five hundred thousand more every 
three months. 

As the ships we were ordered to hire, or buy from this 
Court, cannot be obtained, it being judged absolutely neces- 
sary to keep their whole naval force at home, ready in case 
of a rupture, we think of purchasing some elsewhere, or of 
building, in order as far as possible to answer the views of 
Congress. Of this we shall write more fully in our next. 
In the mean time we cannot but hint, that this seems to us 
a fair opportunity oi' supporting the credit of the paper 
money you borrow, as you may promise payment in specie 
of the interests, and may draw upon us for the same with 
all confidence. We cannot for several weighty reasons be 
more explicit ;:t present, but slial! hereafter. Present our 


dutiful respects to the Congress, and assure tli' :n of our 

most faithful services. 
We arc, gentlemen, &:c. 


P. S. 22(1 January. Our agreement with the Farmers- 
General is not yet signed, and perhaps some small changes 
may be made in it, but as these will probably not be very 
material, we wish measures may be taken immediately for 
the purchase of llie tobacco. We shall send by the next 
opportunity, a copy of the contract. We have received 
the 6ve hundred thousand livres mentioned above ; it is 
now at our disposal in the hands of our banker, who has 
orders to advance us the second payment if we desire it, 
and he is ready to do it. We are, on the strength of this, 
in treaty for some strong ships. Ten thousand French 
troops are on their march to Brest. But America should 
exert herself, as if she had no aid to expect, but from God 
and her own valor. 


Baltimore, 1st February, 1777. 

As we shall write you shordy again, our attention at pres- 
ent will be confined chiefly to your favor of December 6th, 
1776, in which you mention the conduct of Captain Patter- 
son. We have laid your letter before Congress, and they 
have appointed a committee to consider of the most proper 


Steps to be taken in this business, that speedy and condign 
punishment may be applied to Captain Patterson, when 
his crime shall be duly inquired into and established. The 
Congress having an utter abhorrence of all irregular and 
culpable violation of the law of nations, and of that respect 
and friendship, which they entertain for the French nation, 
we wish you would communicate this to their Excellencies 
the Governor and General of Martinique. 

Congress has referred the matter of remittance for dis- 
charge of the obligation, which you and Mr Harrison have 
entered into, to the State of Maryland, from whence you will 
no doubt receive remittance, as soon as the British ships of 
war now in the Chesapeake Bay will permit. It is a singular 
misfortune to us, and very injurious to the commerce of 
France, that we have not two or three line of batde ships, 
which, with our frigates and armed vessels, would keep open 
our navigation in despite of Great Britain, but at present one 
heavy ship affords protection to two or three frigates, that 
would otherwise be easily removed, and they place them- 
selves so as to shut up the entrance into our principal 
trading States. 

Prior to the Declaration of Independence, as it was not 
certain how soon our quarrel with Great Britain might be 
at an end, our armies were enlisted for short periods, and 
General Howe, having received information of the time, 
when the troops would have it in their power to go home, 
seized that opportunity for marching through the Jerseys ; 
but his career was stopped at the Delaware, and he has since 
paid severely for that visit. 

Since the 24th of December, the enemy have lost more 
than two thousand men in killed and made prisoners, they 
have been glad to recall their troops from Rhode Island to 


defend New York from die attack of an army under General 
Headi, and their whole ibrce in the Jerseys is now collected 
on the Brunswick Heights, where they are nearly sur- 
rounded by General Washington's army, and greatly dis- 
tressed for forage, fuel, and other necessaries. 

We enclose you the late newspapers for your perusal, 
and remain, sir, your most obedient humble servants. 

R. H. LEE. 


Baltimoic 2d Februar} , 1777. 


You will receive enclosed coj^ics of our letters of the 21st 
and 30th of December, and of the re-^olves of Congress 
accompanying them. It concerns us not less than we are 
sure it will you, that you should have heard so seldom from 
us, but the vigilance of the British cruisers has prevented 
our most earnest solicitude for this purpose. The manner, 
in which they now conduct their business, proves the neces- 
sity of the request made by Congress for the loan or sale of 
a few capital ships. The entrance into the Delaware and 
Chesapeake being narrow, by placing one forty or fd'tv gun 
ship for the protection of their frigates, they stop both our 
commerce and correspondence. 

Formerly their frigates protected thgir tenders, but now 
that we have frigates, their larger ships protect their frigates, 
and this winter has been so uncommonly favorable, Uiat thev 
have been able to keep the sea, undisturbed by those severe 
gales of wind so usual off this coast in the winter season ; 
if we had a few line of batdc ships to aid our frigates, the 
commerce of North America, so beneficial to ourselves and 
VOL. I. 33 


SO advantageous to France, would be carried on in spite of 
the opposition of Great Britain. As we have not received 
any of those military stores and clothing promised by Mr 
Deane, we have much reason to fear, they have fallen into 
the enemy's hands, and will render a fresh supply quite ne- 
cessary. Except Mr Deane's favor of September 17th, 
which is but just now received, and that of October 1st, we 
have been as destitute of European, as, we fear, you have 
been of true American intelligence. 

The enclosed papers will furnish you with authentic ac- 
counts of our successes against the enemy since the 24th 
of December. They have paid severely \'ov their visit of 
parade through the Jerseys, and these events are an abun- 
dant proof of British folly in attempting to subdue North 
America by force of arms. Although the short enlistments 
had dispersed our army directly in the face of a hostile force, 
and thereby induced a proud enemy to suppose their work 
was done, yet they suddenly found themselves attacked on 
all sides by a hardy active militia, who have been constantly 
beating up their quarters, and captivating and destroying their 
troops ; so that in the six or seven last weeks, they have not 
lost fewer than three thousand men, about two thousand of 
whom, witli many officers, are now our prisoners. Instead 
of remaining cantoned in the pleasant villages of Jersey, as 
the enclosed authentic copy ol" Mr Howe's order to Colonel 
Donop (the original of which fell into our hands by the 
Colonel's flight from Bordenton) will show you that Gen- 
eral vainly expected would be the case, they are now col- 
lected upon the Brunswick Heights, where they suffer every 
kind of distress from want of forage, fuel, and other necessa- 
ries, whilst General Washington's army of militia so environs 
them, that they never show their faces beyond their lines. 


but lliey gel beaten back uiih loss and disgrace. Being thus 
situated we liavc reason to liope, that this part of iheir army 
(and which is the most considerable part) will, by the end of 
winter, be reduced very low by deaths, desertion, and cap- 
tivity. General Heath, with a body of eastern troops, is 
making an impression on New York by Kingsbridge, which, 
we understand, has obliged the enemy to recall their troops 
from Rhode Island, for the defence of that city. 

The regular corps, that are to compose the new army, are 
making up in the diflercnt States as fast as possible ; but 
arms, artillery, tent cloth and clothing will be greatly want- 
ed. For these our reliance is on the favor and friendsliip 
of his Most Christian ^Majesty. If you are so fortunate as to 
obtain them, the propriety of sending them in a strong ship 
of war must be very evident to you, Gentlemen, when you 
know our coasts are so covered with cruisers, from twenty 
to fifty guns, though but few of the latter. We believe, they 
have not more than two ships of forty, and two or three of 
fifty guns, in their whole fleet on the North American sta- 
tion ; and these are employed, one of them to cover a frigate 
or two at the capes of each bay, whilst the rest remain at 
New York. 

We beg leave to direct your attention to ii)e enclosed 
propositions of Congres?, and we doubt not, you will urge 
their success with that zeal and careful assiduity, that 
objects so necessary to the liberty and safety of your coun- 
try demand. 

We are exceedingly anxious to hear from you, ami remain, 
with particular sentiments of esteem and friendship, Gen- 
tlemen, your most obedient humble servants, 

R. H. LEE, 


Paris, 6th February, 1777. 


Since our last, a copy ol' which is enclosed, Mr Hodge 
arrived here, from Martinique, and has brought safely the 
papers he was charged with- He had a long passage, and 
was near being starved. We are about to employ him in a 
service pointed out by you, at Dunkirk, or Flushing. He 
has delivered us three sets of the papers we wanted ; but 
we shall want more, and beg you vnll not fail to send thern 
by several opportunities. 

A private company has just been formed here for the 
importation of tobacco, who have made such proposals to 
the Farmers-General, as induced them to suspend the sign- 
ing of their agreement with us, though the terms had been 
setded, and the writings drawn. It seems now uncertain 
whether it will be revived or not. The company have 
offered to export such goods as we should advise, and we 
have given them a list of those most wanted. But so 
clumgeable are minds here, on occasion of news, good or 
bad, that one cannot be sure that even this company will 
proceed. With a universal good will to our cause and 
country, apparent in all companies, there is mixed a uni- 
versal apprehension, that we shall be reduced to submission, 
which often chills the purposes of serving us. The want of 
intelligence from America, and the impossibility of con- 
tradicting by that means the false news spread here, and 
all over Europe, by the enemy, has a bad effect on the 
minds of many, who would adventure in trade to our ports, 
as well as on the conduct of the several governments of 
Europe. It is now more than three months, since Doctor 


Franklin left Pliilaiiclphi.i, and we have not received u 
single letter of later date, Mv Hodge having left that place 
before him. 

We arc ahout purchasing some cutters, to be employed 
as packets. In the first we despatch, we shall write more 
particularly concerning our proceedings here, than by these 
merchant ships we can venture to do, for the orders given 
to sink letters are not well executed ; one of our vessels 
was lately carried into Gibraltar, being taken by an English 
man of war, and we hear tliere were letters for us, which 
the captain, just as he was boarded, threw out of the cabin 
windows, which floating on the water, were taken up, and a 
sloop despatched with them to London. We also just now 
hear from London, (through the ministry here) that another 
of our ships is carried into Bristol by the crew, who, con- 
sisting of eight American seamen, with eight English, and 
four of the Americans being sick, the oUicr four were over- 
powered by the eight English, and carried in as aforesaid. 
The letters were despatched to Court. 

From London, they write to us, that a body of ten thou- 
sand men, chiefly Germans, are to go out this spring, under 
the command of General Burgoyne, for the invasion of 
Virginia and Maryland. The opinion of this Court, 
founded on their advices from Germany, is, that such a 
number can by no means be obtained, but you will be on 
your guard. The Amphitrite, and the Seine, from Havre, 
and the Mercury, from Nantes, are all now at sea, laden 
with arms, ammunition, brass field pieces, stores, clothing, 
canvass, &ic. which, if they arrive safely, will put you in a 
much better condition for the next campaign, than you were 
for the last. 

Some excellent engineers, and ofllcers of the artillery, 


will also be with you pretty early, also some few I'or the 
cavalry. Officers of infantry, of all ranks, have offered 
themselves without number. It is quite a business to 
receive the applications and refuse them. Many have gone 
over at their own expense, contrary to our advice. To some 
few of those, who were well recommended, we have given 
letters of introduction. 

The conduct of our General, in avoiding a decisive 
action, is much applauded by the military people here, par- 
ticularly Marshals Maillebois, Broglio, and D'Arcy. M. 
Maillebois, has taken the pains to write his sentiments of 
some particulars useful in carrying on our war, which we 
send enclosed. But that, which makes the greatest impres- 
sion in our favor here, is the prodigious success of our armed 
ships and privateers. The damage we have done their 
West India trade, has been estimated, in a representation to 
Lord Sandwich, by the merchants of London, at one mil- 
lion eight hundred thousand pounds sterling, which has 
raised insurance to twentyeight per cent, being higher than 
at any time, in the last war with France and Spain. This 
mode of exerting our force against them should be pushed 
with vigor. It is that in which we can most sensibly hurt 
them, and to secure a continuance of it, we think one or 
two of the engineers we send over, may be usefully 
employed in making some of our ports impregnable. As 
we are well informed, that a number of cutters are build- 
ing, to cruise in the West Indies against our small priva- 
teers, it may not be amiss, we think, to send your larger 
vessels thither, and ply in other quarters with the small ones. 

A fresh misunderstanding between the Turks and Russia, 
is likely to give so much employment to the troops of the 
latter, as that England can hardly expect to obtain any of 

DFPr.OMAnr corrf.spondf.ncf.. 2G3 

them. Her malice against us, however, is so h!^;h at 
present, that she would stick at no expense to giriify it. 
Tlie New England Colonies are, according to our best 
information, destined to destruction, and the rest to slavery, 
under a military government. But the Governor of the 
world sets bounds to the rage of man, as well as to that of 
the ocean. 

Finding that our residence here together, is nearly as 
expensive as if we were separate, and having reason to 
believe, that one of tis might be useful at Madrid, and 
another in Holland, and some Courts further northward, 
we have agreed that Mr Lee go to Spain, and either Mr 
Deane or myself (Dr Franklin) to the Hague. Mr Leo 
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. Tlie 
particular purposes of these journeys we cannot prudently 
now explain. 

It is proper we should acquaint you with the behavior of 
one Nicholas Davis, who came to us here, pretending to 
have served as an officer in India, to be originally from 
Boston, and desirous of returning, to act in defence of his 
country, but through the loss of some effects coming to him 
from Jamaica, and taken by our privateers, unable to defray 
the expense of his passage. We furnished him with thirty 
louis, which was fully sufficient ; but at Havre, just before 
he sailed, he took the liberty of drawing on us, for nea^ 
forty more, which we have been obliged to pay. As in 
order to obtain that credit, he was guilty of several falsities 
we now doubt his ever having been an officer at all. We 
send his note and draft, and hope you will take proper 
rare of him. He says, his father was a clergyman in 


Jamaica. He went in the Seine, and took charge of two 
blankets for Mr Morris. 

We hope your union continues firm, and the courage of 
our countrymen unabated. England begins to be very 
jealous of this Court, and we think, with some reason. 
We have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, 6th February, 1777. 


This will be delivered to you by M. de Coudray, an 
officer of great reputation here, for his talents in general, 
and particularly for skill and abili'.'es "in his profession. 
Some accidental circumstance, we underetand, prevented 
his going in the Amphitrite ; but his zeal for our cause, and 
earnest desire of promoting it, have engaged him to over- 
come all obstacles, and render himself in America by the 
first possible opportunity. If he arrives there, you will, we 
are persuaded, find him of great service, not only in the 
operations of the next campaign, but in forming officers for 
those that may follow. We, therefore, recommend him 
warmly to the Congress, and to your countenance and pro- 

Wishing you every kind of felicity, we have the honor to 
be, with, the highest esteem, &c. 




Between the Commissioners and certain French Officers. 

Isl. It is agreed that the Congress of the United States 
of America sljall grant to the Chevalier du Portail, now 
I^ientenant Colonel in the Royal Corps of Engineers of 
France, the rank of Colonel in their service. 

2dly. The Congress of the United Slates of America 
will grant to Mons. de Laumoy, now !Major in the Royal 
Corps of Engineers of France, the rank of Lieutenant 
Colonel in their service. 

3dly. The Congress of the United States of America, 
will grant to Mons. de Gouvion, now Captain in the Royal 
Corps of Engineers of France, the rank of ^lajor in their 

4thly. Messrs Le Chevalier du Portail, de Laumoy, and 
de Gouvion, shall be at liberty to quit the service of the 
L^'nited States, provided it is not during a campaign, or 
during any particular service, unless ordered so to do, by 
the king of France ; and the Congress may dismiss them, 
or any of them, whenever they may judge it proper. 

Stilly. If all or cither of these gentlemen should be 
made prisoners by the king of Great Britain, the Congress 
shall use all due means to obtain their liberty. 

Gthly. These gentlemen shall use all possible diligence 
in preparing for their embarkation, in order to reach Phila- 
delphia, or wherever else the Congress of the United Stales 
may be, to obey their orders. 

7thly. The pay of these gentlemen shall be such, as is 
given to officers of their rank in the service of the Stales of 
VOL. I. 34 


America, find shall commence from the dale of this agree- 

Sthly. These gentlemen shall j3rocure and provide for 
their own passages, in such ships, and in such manner, as 
they shall think proper. 

The above agreement is entered into and concluded by 
us, this I3th day of February, 1777. 



Baltimore, 19tii February, 1777. 


The events of war have not since our last furnished any- 
thing decisive. The enemy's army still remains encamped 
upon the hills near Brunswick, and our troops still continue 
to beat back their convoys, insomuch, that we understand their 
horses die in numbers, and we have reason to believe, that 
the difficulty of removing their stores;, cannon, he, will be 
insuperably great, until the opening of the Rarilon furnishes 
a passage by water for their return to New York. The 
American army is not numerous at present, but the new 
levies are collecting as fast as possible, and vi^e hope to 
have a sufficient for-ce early in the field. 

We hear by the speech of the king of Great Britain to 
his Parliament, that much money will be called for, no 

l>iri.O.MAT[C rOllIJKSrONUKNCl.. 26' 

doubt 10 prosecute the wiw with uiireleuling viu;or. M'IkiI 
we sliall oppose with all our power, will be certain, hut the 
event must be doubtiiil, until Fraiu e lakes a decisive part 
in the war. Wlieu that happens our liberties will be secured, 
and the silorv and greatness of France be placed on the 
most solid ground. What may he the consequence of her 
delav, must be a paiuftd consideration to every friend of 
liberty and mankind. Thus viewing our situation, we arc 
sure it will occasion your strongest exertions to procure an 
event of such momentous concern to your country. It is 
in vain for us to have on hand a great abundance of tobacco, 
rice, indigo, flour, and other valuable articles of merchan- 
dise, if prevented from exporting them by having the whole 
naval force of Gr«jat Britain to contend against. It is not 
only for the interest of these States, but clearly for the ben- 
efit of Europe in general, that we should not be hindered 
from freely transporting om- products that abound here, and 
are much wanted tlierc. Why should the avarice and ambi- 
tion of Great Britain bo Lnatified to the great injury of 
other nations ? 

Mr Deane recununends SLiuiing frigates to Franco, to 
convoy our merchandise, but it should be considered, that 
we have an extensive coast to defend, that wc ar.,- young in 
the business of fitting out ships of war, that foundcries for 
cannon are to be erected, that there is great difliculiy of 
getting seamen quickly, when privateers abound as ihcy do 
in the States, where sailors are chiefly to be met with, and 
lastly, that our frigates arc much restrained by the hcavv 
ships of the enemy, which are placed at the entrance of our 
bays. In short, the attention of Great Britain_'must"lbe 
drawn in part from hence, l)eforc France can benefit largely 
by our commerce. We sensiulv feel the disas^reeable siii;- 


ation Mr Deane must have been in, between his receipt of 
the committee's letter in June, and the date of his own let- 
ter in October, but this was occasioned by accident, not 
neglect, since letters were sent to him in all the intervening 
months, which have either fallen into the enemy's hands, or 
have been destroyed. From the time of Dr Franklin's sail- 
ing, until Ave arrived at this place, the ships of war at the 
moulh of the Delaware, and the interruption given the post, 
added to the barrenness of events, prevented us from writ- 
ing \when we had no particular commands from Congress 
for you. 

Mr Bingham informs us from Martinique, that he learned 
from a Spanish General there, on his way to South America, 
that the king of Spain was well disposed to do the United 
States offices of friendship, and that a loan of money might 
be obtained from that Court. As the power sent you for 
borrowing is not confined to place, we mention this intelli- 
gence, that you may avail yourselves of His Catholic Ma- 
jesty's friendly designs. Perhaps a loan may be obtained 
there on better terms than elsewhere. We expect it will 
not be long before Congress will appoint commissioners to 
the Courts formerly mentioned, and in the mean time, you 
will serve the cause of your country in the best manner, 
with the ministers from those Courts to that of Versailles. 

Earnesdy wishing for good news, and quickly from you, 
we remain, with friendship and esteem, gentlemen, &c. 

R. H. LEE. 

P. S. Congress adjourns this week back to Philadel- 



Paris, -Itli Marcli, 17T7. 


We send you herewith the dralt of a frigate by a very 
ingenious oflicer in this service, which appears lo us pecu- 
liarly suitable for our purpose, and we are in hopes of being 
able to siiip cordage, sailcloth, and anchors, &:c. sufficient 
for five or six such frigates, by the time you can have them 

Deprived of any intelligence from you, since die first of 
last November, and without remittances, we are left in a 
situation easier to be conceived than described. The want 
of intelligence affects the cause of the United Slates in 
every department ; such accounts of our affairs, as arrive 
in Europe at all, come through the hands of our enemies, 
and whether defeated or victorious we are the last, who are 
acquainted with events, which ought first to be announced 
by us. We are really unable to account for this silence, 
and, while we are aftected with the unhappy consequences 
of it, we must entreat the honorable Congress to devise 
some method for giving us the earliest and most certain 
intelligence of what passes in America. 

The ship, by which this is sent, is loaded with clothing, 
cordage, and duck ; not having a full cargo of the former, 
we ordered I\Ir Williams, who acts for us at Nantes, to 
complete it with the latter, for which we have obtained a 
short credit. Mr Williams will write you by this opportu- 
nity. He has been of great service to us at Nantes, and, 
it is but justice to say, that his knowledge of business, prob- 
ity, activity, and zeal for the interests of his country, with 
the good opinion justly entertained of him by gentlemen in 


business at Nanles, render liiui very serviceable in our 
affairs there, and proper to be employed in commercial 

We apprehend that letters to I\Ions. Sclivveighauser have 
not had fair play, and therefore advise you to write to him, 
charging the captain, who carries your letters, to deliver 
them with his own hand, if he arrives at Nantes, and if at 
any other port, that he send them under cover to us. We 
are filling a packet, by which we shall write more particu- 
larly in a few days. jMr Lee wrote us last week from Bor- 
deaux, on his way to Spain. 

We present our most respectful compliments to the hon- 
orable Congress, and are, gentlemen. 

Your most obedient and very humble servants, 


Paris, 12th March, 1777. 

It is now more than four months since Mr Franklin's 
departure from Philadelphia, and not a line from thence 
written since that time has hitherto reached either of your 
commissioners in Europe. We have had no information 
of what passes in America but through England, and the 
advices are, for the most part, such only as the ministry 
choose to publish. Our total ignorance of the truth or 
falsehood of facts, when questions are asked of us concern- 
ing them, makes us appear small in the eyes of the people 
here, and is prejudicial to our negotiations. 


In ours of ilic Oiii ol February, of which a copy is 
enclosed, we acquainted you lliat we were about juirchas- 
ing some cutters to be employed as packet boal:>. We 
have succeeded in gelling one from Dover, in which we 
purpose to send our present despatches. Mr Hodge, who 
went to Dunkirk and Flushing, where he thought another 
migiit be easily found, has not yet acquainted us with his 
success. We promised that when we had a conveyance, 
which, by its swiftness, is more likely to carry safely our 
letters, we would be more explicit in accounts of our 
proceedings here, which proniise we shall now fulfil as 

In our tirst conversation with tlie minister, after the arri- 
val of 3Ir Franklin, it was evident that this Court, while it 
treated us privately with all civility, was cautious of giving 
umbrage to England, and was therefore desirous of avoid- 
ing an open reception and acknowledgment of us, or enter- 
ing into any formal negotiation with us, as ministers from 
the Congress. To make us easy, however, we were told 
that the ports of France were open to our ships as friends, 
that our people might freely purchase and export, as mer- 
chandise, whatever our States had occasion for ; vending, 
at the same time, our own commodities ; that in doing this, 
we should exi)erience all the facilities that a government 
disposed to favor us could, consistent with treaties, afford 
to the enemies of a friend. But though it was at that lime 
no secret that two hundred field pieces of brass, and thirty 
thousand fusils, with other munitions of war, in great abun- 
dance, had been taken out of the king's magazines, for the 
purpose of exportation to America ; the minister, in our 
presence, afTected to know nothing of that operation, und 
claimed no merit to his Court on that account. But he 


intimated to us that it would be well taken, if we commu- 
nicated with no other person about the Court, concerning 
our affairs but himself'j who would be ready at all conve- 
nient times to confer with us. 

W.e soon after presented several memorials, representing 
the state of the Colonies, the necessity of some naval aid, 
and the utility to France, tliat must result from our success 
in establishing the independence of America, with the free- 
dom of its commerce. In answer, we received a posi- 
tive refusal of the ships of the line, (which we had been 
instructed to ask,) on this principle, that if a war with Eng- 
land should take place, the whole fleet of France would be 
necessary at home for her defence ; that if such a war did 
not take place, yet, while England apprehended a war, it 
was equally serviceable to our States, that the fleet of 
France should remain entire in her ports, since that must 
retain an equal force of English at home, who might other- 
wise go to America, and who certainly would follow thither 
any French squadron. During these conferences, every 
step was taken to gratify England publicly, by attending to 
the remonstrances of her ambassador, forbidding the depar- 
ture of ships which had military stores on board,* recalling 
ofiicers who had leave of absence, and were going to join 
us, and giving strict orders, that our prizes should not be 
sold in French ports ; yet that we might not be discou- 
raged, it was intimated to us by persons about the Court, 
that these measures were necessary at present, France not 
being yet quite ready for a war, and tliat we might be 
assured of her good will to us and our cause. 

Means were proposed of our obtaining a large sum of 

* These were afterwards privately permitted to go, or went without 
pertnijsion. Kote by the Commissioners. 


money for present use, by an advance from the Farmers- 
General, to be repaid in tobacco, of which they wanted 
twenty thousand hogsheads. We entered accordingly into 
a treaty witii that company, but, meeting; with difficulty 
in settling the terms, we weie informed that a grant was 
made us of two millions of livres from the crown, of which 
five hundred thousand was ready to be paid us down, and 
an equal sum should be paid at the beginning of April, July, 
and October ; that such was the king's generosity, he 
exacted no conditions or promise of repayment, he only 
required that we should not speak to any one of our having 
received this aid. We have accordingly observed strictly 
this injunction, deviating only in this information to you, 
which we think necessary for your satisfaction, but ear- 
nestly requesting that you would not suffer it to be made 
public. This is the money, which, in our letter, we men- 
tioned as raised for us by subscription. 

One of the ablest sea officers of France, skilled in all 
the arts relating to the marine, having offered his services 
to the States, with the permission of the minister, we (ena- 
bled by the above grant) engaged him to superintend the 
building of two ships of war, of a particular construction, 
which, though not of half the cost, shall be superior in force 
and utility to ships of sixtyfour guns. He has built one 
here for the king, which, we are told, exceeds every thing 
in swift sailing. He has furnished us with drafts,* which 
we send yoU; that if the Congress thinks fit, others of the 
same construction may be set up in America, in which case 
we have given hiiii expectations of being their Commo- 
dore, We have seen his large and curious collection of 
memoirs, containing ever}', the minutest particular relating 

" Missing. 

VOL. I. 35 


to the construction and management of a fleet, with a 
variety of proposed improvements, and we are persuaded 
that he will be found a valuable acquisition to our country. 

April 9th. Since writing the above, we received 
despatches from the Congress, by Captain Hammond, 
others from Mr Morris, by Captain Bell, and some copies 
by Captain Adams, via Boston, which, on many accounts, 
were very satisfactory. We directly drew up and pre- 
sented memorials on the subject of those despatches ; we 
were promised immediate consideration, and speedy 
answers ; for which, we detained Captain Hammond, but 
we have not yet obtained them. We receive, however, 
continual assurances, of the good will of this Court and of 
Spain. We are given to understand, that it is by their 
operations, the raising of German troops for England has 
been obstructed. We are paid punctually the second five 
hundred thousand livres, and having convinced the ministry 
of the great importance of keeping up the credit, and fixing 
the value of our currency, which might be done, by paying 
in specie the interest of what we borrow, or in bills upon 
France, for the amount. We are now assured, that the 
abovomentioned quarterly payments shall be continued, 
(after the two millions) for the purpose of paying the inter- 
est of the five million dollars, you are supposed to have 
borrowed, which we believe will be punctually complied 
with ; and the effect must be, restoring to its original value 
the principal for which such interest is paid, and with that 
the rest of the emission. 

We have turned our thoughts earnestly to what is recom- 
mended to us by [Congress, the borrowing two millions 
sterling, in Europe. We just proposed to borrow it of this 
Court, upon interest, but were told by the minister, that it 


was impossible to spare such a sum, as they wore now 
arming, at a great expense, whicli kept their treasury bare, 
but there was no objection to our borrowing it of private 
c^italists here, provided we did not offer so high an interest 
as migin raise it upon government. Wc are advised to try 
Holland ; and we have caused the pulse to be felt there ; 
but though Holland at present is a little disgusted with 
England, and our credit is considerably mended in Europe 
by our late successes, it does not yet appear sufiicient to 
procure such a loan. Spain, it seems, has by its punctual 
payments of interest, acquired high credit diere, and we are 
told, that by her publicly borrowing, as for herself, and 
privately allowing us to draw on her banker, we might there 
obtain what money we pleased. 

IMr Lee was gone to Spain, before the conmiission and 
orders came to Doctor Franklin, for that station ; he will 
give you a particular account of his negotiations ; we here 
only mention that he received the same general assurances, 
of the good will of that Court, that we have here of this ; 
he was informed, that three thousand barrels of powder, 
and some clothing were lodged for our use at New Orleans; 
that some merchants at Bilboa had orders to shi|) for us 
such necessaries as we might want, that orders would be 
given to allow us admission into the Havanna, as a favored 
nation, and that we should have a credit on Holland, (tlic 
sum not then setded) which might be expected at Paris, the 
beginning of this month. The Spanish Ambassador here, 
a grave and wise man, to whom Mr Lee communicated the 
above, tells us, that his Court piques itself on a religious 
observance of its word, and that we may rely on a jiunctnal 
performance of its promises. 

On these grounds, we arc of ojjinion, that though we 


should not be able to borrow the two millions sterling, 
recommended to us, yet if the Congress are obliged to bor- 
row the whole twenty millions of dollars they have issued, 
we hope to find sufficient here, by way of subsidy, to pay 
the interest in full value, whereby the credit of their cur- 
rency will be established, and on great and urgent occa- 
sions they may venture to make an addition to it, which we 
conceive will be belter than ])aying the interest of two mill- 
ions sterling to foreigners. On the whole, we would advise 
Congress to draw on us for sums equal to the interest of what 
they have borrowed, as that interest becomes due, allowing 
the lenders, in the drafts, fi\c livres, money of France, for 
every dollar of interest. And we think ihey may venture to 
promise it for future loans, without, however, mentioning 
the grounds we here give for making such a promise ; for 
these Courts have ]iarlicularly strong reasons for keeping 
out of the war, as long as they can, besides this general one, 
that on both sides the nalion attacking loses the claim, which 
when attacked, it has for aid fi-om its allies. And we have 
these advantages in their keeping out of the war, that they 
are better able to afford us private assistance, that by hold- 
ing themselves in readiness to invade Britain, they keep 
more of her force at home, and that they leave to our armed 
vessels, the whole harvest of [nr/es made ujDon her com- 
merce, and of coiuse the whole encouragement to increase 
oin- force in pri\'ateers, which will breed seamen for our 

The desire that military officers here, of all ranks, have 
of going into the service of the United States, is so general, 
and so strong, as to be quite amazing. We are hourly- 
fatigued with their applications and offers, which we are 
obliged to refuse, and with hundreds of letters, which we 


cannot possibly answer to their satisfaction, having liaH no 
orders to engage any but engineers, who are accordingly 
gone. If the Congress think fit to encourage some of distin- 
guished merit, to enter their service, thoy will please to sig- 
nify it. 

Captain Wickes made a cruise this winter, and returned 
with five prizes, of the pioduce of which we suppose IMr 
^lorris will acquaint you ; for they are sold, though the 
bringing them into France has given some trouble and 
uneasiness to the Court, and must not be too frequently 
practised. We have ordered him to make another cruise 
before he returns to America, and have given him for a 
consort, tiie armed cutter. Captain Nicholson ; they will sail 
in a few days. Mr Hodge writes us, that he has provided 
another cutter ; we intended to have employed one of them 
as a packet, but several of yours being now here, and hav- 
ing lately made a contract for sending one every month, a 
copy of which we enclose, we shall make use of this new 
purchase as a cruiser. 

We have at length finished a contract with the Farmers- 
General, for five thousand hogsheads of tobacco, a copy of 
which is enclosed. We shall receive the first advance of 
two millions of livres, next month, and we entreat you to 
use your best endeavors to enable us to comply with our 
part of the agreement. We found it a measure of govern- 
ment to furnish us by that means with large advances, as 
well as to obtain the ground of some of their own taxes ; 
and finding the minister anxious to have such a treaty con- 
cluded, we complied with the terms, though we apprehend 
tiiem not to be otherwise very advantageous. We have 
expectations, however, that in case it appears, that the 
tobacco cannot be afforded so cheap, through captures, k,c. 
government will not suffer us to be losers. 


We have purchased eighty thousand fusils, a number of 
pistols, &ic. of which the enclosed is an account, for two 
hundred and twenty thousand livres. They were king's 
arms and second hand, but so many of them are unused and 
unexceptionably good, that we esteem it a great bargain if 
only half of them should arrive. We applied for the large 
brass cannon, to be borrowed out of the king's stores till we 
could replace them, but have not yet obtained an answer. 
You will soon have the arms and accoutrements for the 
horse, except the saddles, if not intercepted by the enemy. 

All Europe is for us. Our articles of confederation, 
being by our means translated, and published here, have 
given an appearance of consistence and firmness to the 
American States and government, that begins to make 
them considerable. The separate constitutions of the sev- 
eral States are also translating and publishing here, which 
afford abundance of speculation to the politicians of Europe, 
and it is a very general opinion, that if we succeed in estab- 
lishing our liberties, we shall, as soon as peace is restored, 
receive an immense addition of numbers and wealth from 
Europe, by the families who will come over to participate 
in our privileges, and bring their estates with them. Tyr- 
anny is so generally established in the rest of the world, that 
the prospect of an asylum in America, for those who love 
liberty, gives general joy, and our cause is esteemed the 
cause of all mankind. Slaves naturally become base, as 
well as wretched. We are fighting for the dignity and happi- 
ness of human nature. Glorious is it for the Americans, to 
be called by providence to this post of honor. Cursed and 
detested will every one be that deserts or betrays it. 

We are glad to learn the intention of Congress to send 
ministers to the empires of Prussia and Tuscany. With sub- 


mission, wc think Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Rus- 
sia, (if the expense is no objection,) should not be neg- 
lected. It would be of great service, if among them we 
could get a free port or two for the sale of prizes, as well 
as for commerce. A commencement of intercourse has 
been made with Prussia, as you will see by the enclosed 
copies of letters,* between his minister and us. We sup- 
pose, as the Congress has appointed one ofus to Spain, they 
will order anodier of us to some of tiie other Courts, as we 
see no utility equal to the charge, and yet some inconve- 
niency, in a joint commission here, where one, when freed 
from commercial cares and action, is sufficient for the busi- 
ness. As soon as the Court of Spain shall be willing to 
receive a minister, (which from Mr Lee's information, 
seems not to be at present the case,) ]Mr Franklin intends 
to go thiUier in obedience to the orders he has received. 
Mr Lee has expressed his readiness to go to Prussia or 
Tuscany, before the intention of Congress to send to those 
Courts was known ; and he waits here awhile, by the advice 
of his colleagues, expecting that perhaps the next ship may 
bring his future destination. 

For the procuring and sending more certain and speedy 
intelligence, we have, as before mentioned, entered into a 
contract here, whereby we are to have a packet boat des- 
patched every month ; the first will sail in about a fort- 
night. As we are yet without an explicit answer from 
Court on several important points, and we shall have that 
speedy opportunity, we do not now enlarge in answer to 
the several letters received by Hammond, Bell, Adams, 
and Johnston. We only now assure the Congress, that we 

* Missing. — A letter from the Commissioners to Baron Schulenburg, 
will be seen in Arthur I.ees correspondence, under tlie date of April 19tli, 


shall be attentive to execute all the resolutions and orders 
they have sent us for our government, and we have good 
hopes of success, in most of them. 

For news, we refer in general to the papers, and to some 
letters* enclosed, which we have received from London. 
We shall only add, that though the English begin again 
to threaten us wiih twenty thousand Russians, it is the 
opinion of the wisest men here, and particularly among the 
foreign ministers, ihat they will never be sent. The Ans- 
pachers, who were to be embarked in Holland, mutined, 
and refused to proceed, so that the Prince was obliged to 
go with his guards and force them on. A gentleman of 
Rotterdam writes us, that he saw a number of them brought, 
bound hands and feet, to that place in boats. This does 
not seem as if much service can be expected from such 
unwilling soldiers. The British fleet is not yet half man- 
ned ; the difliculty in that respect was never before found 
so great, and is ascribed to several causes, viz. a dislike to 
the war, the subtraction of American sailors, the number 
our privateers have taken out of British ships, and the enor- 
mous transport service. 

The French are free from this difhculty, their seamen 
being all registered, and serving in their turns. Their fleet 
is nearly ready, and will be much superior to the English, 
when joined with that of Spain, which is preparing with all 
diligence. The tone of the Court accordingly rises, and 
it is said, that a few days since, when the British Ambassa- 
dor intimated to the Minister, that if the Americans were 
permitted to continue drawing supplies of arms, &i,c. from 
this kingdom, the peace could not last much longer ; he 
was firmly answered — JVous ne desirous pas le guerre, mais 

* Missing. 


nous ne la cr(ii»;ons pns. '*\Vc neillicr desire war, nor 
fear it." Wlieii all arc ready for it, a small matter may 
suddenly bring it on ; and it is the universal opinion, that 
the peace cannot continue another year. Every nation in 
Europe wishes to see Britain humbled, having all-in their 
turns been offended by her insolence, which, in prosperity, 
she is apt to discover on all occasions. A lato instance 
manifested it towards Holland, when being elate with the 
news of some success in America, and fancying all that 
business ended, Sir Joseph Yorke delivered a memorial to 
the States, expressing his master's indignation against 
them, on account of Uie commerce their subjects carried 
on with the rebels, and the governor of St Eustatia's return- 
ing the salute of one of the American ships, reniaiking that 
•' if that commerce ivas not stopped, and the governor pun- 
ished,^'' the King knew what appertained to the dignity of 
his crown, and should take j)roper measures to vindicate 
it. The States were much offended, but answered coollv 
that they should inquire into the conduct of their gov- 
ernor, and, in the mean time, would prepare to secure 
themselves against the vengeance with which Britain seemed 
to threaten them. Accordingly, they immediatelv ordered 
twentysix men of war to be put upon the stocks. 

We transmit you some affidavits,* relating to the treat- 
ment of our |)risoners, with a copy of our letter* to Lord 
Stormont, communicating them, and his insolent answer. 
We request you to present our duty to the Congress, and 
assure them of our most laithftd services. 

With great respect we have tlin honor to be, kc. 


• Missing. 

VOL. I, 36 



Between Messrs Franklin and Deane, and the Farmers- 
General of France, for the sale of a quantity of To- 



We the undersigned, as well in our own name, as by 
virtue of powers derived from the Congress of the United 
States of North America, promise and oblige ourselves to 
deliver, in the course of the present year, 1777, five 
thousand hogsheads, or five million weight of York and 
James River tobacco, to the Farmers-General of France, 
in the ports of France. 


The piice of the tobacco, thus delivered, is fixed at eight 
sols per pound, net tobacco, mark weight, or forty livres 
tournois per cwt, and delivered into stores of the Farmers- 


All average, rotten, or spoiled tobacco, shall be cut off 
and deducted from the weight to be paid for, agreeably to 
the estimate, which shall be impartially made by expe- 
rienced persons, by which a general average shall be fixed 
instead thereof. 


There shall be a deduction, moreover, of four per cent, 
under the title of allowance for good weight, eight pounds 
weight i)er hogshead for samples, and two per cent dis- 
count on the amount of the invoice for prompt payment. 



The Farmers-General oblige themselves for the dis- 
charge ot the amount of five thousand hogsheads, to remit 
at the disposal of Congress, and to j)ay into the hands of 
the banker, who shall be appointed by Messrs Franklin and 
Deane, or to direct their Receiver-General at Paris, to 
accept the bills, which shall be drawn upon him by Messrs 
Franklin and Deane, as far as a million of livres tournois, 
in the course of the ensuing month, and another million the 
instant of the arrival of the first ships loaded with tobacco, 
which shall be delivered to them ; the said two millions 
making the balance and entire payment for the five thou- 
sand hogsheads, or five million weight of tobacco, mark 
weigiit, sold by Congress at the price of eight sols per 
pound, before agreed upon. 


Should Congress be able to send to France a greater 
quantity of tobacco, whatever shall exceed the value of the 
two millions advanced by the Farmers-General, shall be 
remitted to them by Messrs Franklin and Deane, at the 
same price, and upon the same terms, and the Farmers- 
General oblige themselves to pay the value thereof in cash, 
or bills on their Receiver General, at three usances as cus- 


And I, the undersigned Farmer-General, by virtue of a 
power vested in me by my company, subject and oblige 
myself in its name, to the full and entire execution of the 
six foregoing stipulated articles, and for the execution of 
the present, the parties liavc chosen their dwellings, that is 
to say, for Messrs Franklin and Deane, the Hamburgh 


hotel, University street, Parish of St Sulpice ; and for tlie 
Farmers-General, at the hotel of the King's Farms, Cre- 
nelle street, Parish of St Euslache. 

Done and concluded in duplicates, at Paris, this 24th of 
March, 1777. 



Between JVL Ray de Chawnont, on the onejjart, and Ben- 
jamin Fi'anMin and Silas Deane, on the other, viz. 
The said Ray de Chaumont engages to equip, in some 
port of France, agreed to by the said Benjamin Franklin 
and Silas Deane, in each month, for the space of one year, 
counting from the month of May next, a packet boat, or 
vessel, suitable lor the carrying of despatches between 
France and the United States of North America, which 
vessel, or packet boat, shall be capable of carrying thirty tons 
of goods, without impeding her sailing to the best advan- 
tage ; and the said Ray de Chaumont shall be at the whole 
expense of equipping, victualling, &;c. each of the said 
packet boats, and shall furnish in each of them a passage 
for one person, sent by the said Franklin and Deane, to 
take charge of their despatches and goods shipped. Each 
packet boat or vessel shall attend the orders of the said 
Franklin and Deane, in pursuing her voyage, for the safest 
and most certain delivery of the said despatches and mer- 

The said Franklin and Deane shall have liberty to load 
a quantity of goods on board each packet boat, to and from 


Ameiicn, to the amount of thirty tons consigned to tlieii 
orders ; and tliey, the said Franklin and Deanc, shall pay 
to the said Ray de Chauniont, the sum of eight thousand 
liv^es for each voyage of each packet boat, which sum of 
eight thousand livres shall be paid the said Ray de Chau- 
niont, in three nionths after the entering on each voyage 
successively, whether the packet boat arrive in safely or noi. 

The packet boat shall not be delayed afier her being 
ready to receive the goods, either in France or America. 
The said packet boat?, with all their equipments, shall bo 
solely at the risk and expense of the said Ray de Chau- 
mont ; but the goods to be shipped as aforesaid, with the 
freight stipulated therefor, as above menlioned, shall be at 
the risk of the said Franklin and Deane ; and the said Ray 
de Chaumont shall not, in case either of said packet boats 
will carry more than the said thirty tons of goods, load 
them, or either of them, beyond tlie said quantity, so as in 
any manner to impede their or her sailing to the best ad- 

In witness of which, the parties have subscribed three 

agreements, each of this tenor and date, at Paris, April, 







Paris, 1st May, 17:7. 

M. Cornic, of Morlaix, wiil order to your care a small 
vessel, designed as a packet for America ; you will sec by 


the contract copy enclosed, that we are to load goods to 
a certain amount, as she is instantly to be despatched ; we 
desire you \v\\\ put the nuantity of goods to be sent 
in her, out of the bales on hand. V/e have ordered lljat 
future packets coming from America, or elsewhere, to 
Nantes, for us, shall be under your direction, of which you 
have informed M. Penet and Mr Morris; yoti will, therefore, 
on the arrival of any vessel from America, with despatches 
for us, inform the captains, or persons charged with 
them, of your appointment, receive the letters, and send 
them to us in the most safe and expeditious manner. We 
advise you to charge the person bringing despatches, to say 
not a word of his errand to any one, and we confide in your 
prudence to conduct the receiving, as well as the expedi- 
tion of the packets with all possible secrec}'. 
We arc, Sir, &,c. 



Philadelphia, 2(1 May, 1777. 

Your despatches, dated February the 6th and Sth, were 
safely received b}' us about the middle of April. We observe 
your remarks on the timorousness of the French merchants, 
respecting the formation of trading companies, which, you 
say, is occasioned by the change and fluctuation of news. 
That the spirit for trade will always be governed by the rise 


and fall of military strength, is a maxim always to be admit- 
ted in the first attempts to establish a commerce hoiween 
any two nations, because success in war is supposed to give 
security or protection to it. But this timidity ceases natur- 
ally, as soon as a trade is opened, for losing or gaining after 
that equally produces a spirit of adventuring further. 
Therefore we wish to enter into a trade with them as soon 
as possible, because as nothing can abridge or prevent their 
profits, but the enemy's making prizes of their ships, the 
consequence will be, that they will either be encouraged by 
the gain, or aggravated by the loss to come to a serious 
understanding with the Court of Britain. We advise you 
to be constantly iiolding up the great advantages, which the 
crown and commerce would receive by their possessing 
themselves of 'the West Indies, and we trust to your wisdom 
in making all the use possible of the English newspapers, 
as a channel through which to counteract the tide of folly 
and falsehood, of which you complain, and rest assured 
that every material circumstance, either for or against, will 
be despatched to you, with the utmost expedition. 

By information from New York, it appears that the more 
discerning part of the English Generals begin to give up 
the thought of conquest, and of consequence the fear of 
totally losing the trade of America must accompany the 
despair of arms j therefore, we conceive that the English 
newspapers are now calculated to deter the French from 
beginning to taste the sweets of our trade. Their false- 
hoods, rightly understood, are the barometers of their fears, 
and in proportion as the political atmosphere presses down- 
ward, the spirit of faction is obliged to rise. We wish it to 
be understood, that we pay too much respect to the wisdom 

288 COMMISSIOInERS l\ francf.. 

of the French Cabinet, to suppose that they can be influ- 
enced by such efforts of visible despair, and that we have 
too much reverence for the honor of the American Con- 
gress to prostitute its authority, by filling our own newspa- 
pers with the same kind of invented tales, which charac- 
terise the London Gazette. 

We observe that General Howe, in his letter to the 
administration, printed in the London Gazette of Decem- 
ber 30th, apologizes for not having written to them since 
his taking possession of New York, nearly three months. 
Here is die proper field to speculate on silence, because 
this business is conquest, ours defence and repulse ; and 
because, likewise, he has the sea more open to liim than, 
we have, had he any thing to send that would please. 
Therefore, silence on his part is always to be considered as 
a species of good news on ours. 

The Congress highly approve your dividing yourselves 
to foreign Courts, and have sent conimissions for Uiat pur- 
pose, and likewise, commissions for fitting out privateers 
in France. 

The Mercury, from Nantes, is safely arrived in New 
Hampshire. The Amphitrite and Seine, we are yet in 
hopes of. We shall notice the conduct of Nicholas Davis. 
We have presented Marshal Maillebois' sentiments on the 
mode of war, to Congress, who are greatly pleased there- 
with, and entertain a liigh respect for the author. 

Our last account gave you a state of news down to 
March, since which nothing matciial has happened. The 
enemy, wearied and disappointed in their last winter's cam- 
paign, still continue in a state of inactivity at New York 
and Brunswick. The Congress is returned to Philadel- 


phia. General Washington remains at IMorristown, and 
occupies the same posts as when the last despatches were 
sent you. The principal object now is, the recruiting ser- 
vice, which has been greatly promoted by some late resolves 
of Congress. Our troops have been under inocculation 
for tlie smallpox with good success, which, we hope, will 
he a means of preserving them from fevers in summer, 
however it will frustrate one cannibal scheme of our ene- 
mies, who have constantly fought us with that disease by 
introducing it among our troops. 

When we look back to the beginning of last December, 
and see our army reduced to between two and three thou- 
sand men, occasioned by the expiration of the time for 
which they were enlisted, we feel exceedingly happy in 
contemplating the agreeable condition and prospect our 
affairs are now in. We have, since that period, reduced 
the enemy more tluui our whole army, at that time, 
amounted to, and scarce a day passes, in which they do 
not suffer either by skirmishes or desertions. 

The Congress have it in contemplation to remove the 
garrison from the present fort, in the District of Ticonde- 
roga, to fort Independence, in the same District, which they 
judge will command that pass wiUi greater advantage, and 
is a much healthier situation. We mention this, as the 
enemy will probably give an air of triumph to the evacua- 
tion, should it be done. The distance between the two is 
about a quarter of a n)ile. 

As General Howe is prej)aring a bridge of boats, we ihink 

it possible that he m.ight, by a sudden and forced march, 

repch this city ; but we are clearly of opinion, that he would 

be ruined by the event ; and though we are not under much 

VOL. I. 37 


apprehension of such a movement, yet we think it proper 
to give you the case, with our opinion thereon. 

We are, gentlemen, your obedient humble servants, 



Philadelphia, >Mh May, 1777. 

This letter is intended to be delivered to you by John 
Paul Jones, an active and brave commander in our navy, 
who has already performed signal services in vessels of 
little force, and, in reward for his zeal, we have directed 
him to go on board the Amphitrite, a French ship of 
twenty guns, that brought in a valuable cargo of stores from 
Messrs Hortalez &;, Co. and with her to repair to France. 
He takes with him his connnission, some officers and men, 
so that we hope he will, under that sanction, make some 
good prizes with the Amphitrite ; but our design of sending 
him is, (with the approbation of Congress) that you may 
purchase one of those fine frigates, that Mr Deane writes 
us you can get, and invest him with the command thereof 
as soon as ^possible. We hope you may not delay this 
business one moment, but purchase in such port or place in 
Europe, as it can be done with most convenience and 
despatch, a fine, fast sailing frigate, or larger ship. Direct 
Captain Jones where he must repair to, and he will take 
with him his officers and men towards manning her. You 

diploimatk; cokrksi'Ondence. 291 

will assign him some good house, or agent, to supjjly him 
with every thing necessary to get tlic ship speedily and 
well etjuipped and manned, somebody that will bestir him- 
self vigorously in the business, and never quit until it is 

If you have any plan or service to be performed in 
Europe by such a ship, that you think will be more for the 
interest and honor of these States, than sending her out 
directly. Captain Jones is instructed to obey your orders, 
and, to save repetition, let him lay before you the instruc- 
tions we have given him, and furnish you with a copy 
thereof; you can then judge what will be necessary for 
you to direct him in ; and whatsoever you do will be 
approved, as it will undoubtedly tend to promote the pub- 
lic service of this country. 

You see by this step how n)uch dependence Congress 
places in your advices, and you must make it a point not to 
disappoint Captain Jones's wishes, and our expectations on 
this occasion. 

We are, gentlemen, your obedient humble servants, 


Paris, 25th .Mhv, 1777. 

Agreeable to what we mentioned in ours of jMarch Jltli 
and April 9th,* (a third copy of which we send herewith) 

* iMissiiig. 


Mr Lee tarried here some time after liis return from Spain. 
No news arriving, (though we received letters from you,) of 
any commissioner being actually appointed for Prussia, and 
the necessity of a good understanding with that Court, in 
order to obtain speedily a port in the northern seas, appear- 
ing more and more, every day, on various occasions, he 
concluded with our approbation to set out for Berlin, which 
he did about a weelc since, and we have reason to hope 
good effects from that journey. 

The points principally in view are (besides the acknowl- 
edgment of American Independency) an open port for 
German commerce, and the permission of fitting out armed 
vessels, to annoy the enemy's northern trade, and of bring- 
ing in and selling our prizes. If these points can be obtained, 
we are assured we might soon have a formidable squadron 
there, and accumulate seamen to a great amount. The 
want of such a free port appears, in the late instance of 
Captain Cunningham's arrest at Dunkirk, with the prizes 
he brought in. For though the fitting out may be covered 
and concealed, by various pi'etences, so as at least to be 
winked at by government here, because those pretences 
afford a good excuse for not preventing it ; yet the bringing 
in of prizes by a vessel so fitted out, is so notorious an act, 
and so contrary to treaties, that if suffered, must occasion 
an immediate war. Cunningham will, however, through 
favor, be discharged with his vessel, as we are given to 
understand, but we must put up with the loss of the prizes, 
which being reclaimed will be restored.* This is an occa- 

* Cunningliani was the commander of an American privateer, with 
whicli he went into Dunkirk. He there took his arms out of his ship, 
and said he should load it with mercliandise for one of the ports in Nor- 
way. As tills declaration was suspected, security was deniarided. Two 


sion of triuinph to our enemies, which wc must suffer thetn 
to enjoy for the present, assured as we are by the most 
substantial proofs of the friendship of this Court and of 
Spain, which we are persuadeil will soon manifest itself to 
the whole world. The latter has already remitted to us a 
large sum of money, as you will see by Mr Lee's letters,* 
and continues to send cargoes of supplies, of which you 
have, herewith, sundry accounts. i\Iany of these transac- 
tions are by some means or other known in England, which 
dares not resent them at present, but the opinion of an 
approaching war gains ground every day. 

We are preparing the accoutrements you ordered for the 
horse, but they will take time. Had there been such in the 
magazines here, w^e might have possibly borrowed on con- 
dition of replacing them. Pistols, (four hundred and fifty 
pair) are already sent ; the whole number will be forwarded 
as fast as they can be got ready. Colonel Forrester, an 
experienced officer of horse, has given us a specimen of 
complete accoutrements, which have been found best ; the 
saddle is of a singular contrivance, very cheap, and easilv 
made or repaired ; and the buff belts so broad, that cross- 
ing on the breasts, they are good armor against the point of 
a sword, or a pistol bullet. We propose to have as many 

persons, Hodge k Allen, became responsible for him. Cunningham 
actually left the port of Dunkirk, without arms, but he caused 
sailors, cannon, and munhions, to be sent out to him in the night, 
while he was in the ship's road, off Dunkirk ; and he shortly after took 
the English packet boat, Prince of Orange. As soon as this manoeuvre 
of Cunningham's came to the knowledge of llic French government, 
they caused Hodge, one of the securities, to be arrested and conducted 
to the Bastiie. The packet boat was restored to the British government, 
without the form of a process. After six weeks' connnomeni, Hodge was 

" See Mr Arthur Lee's letter of May 13th, 1777 


sets made with these saddles, as will mount a squadron, but 
shall omit saddles for the rest, as they will take up too 
much room in the vessels, and can soon be made with you. 
Colonel Forrester is highly recommended to us, and we 
believe will go over. Clodiing for ten thousand men is 
now in hand, making for us by contract, and other proposed 
contracts are under consideration for the rest of the eighty 
thousand men ordered. We hope to have them with you 
before next winter, or that if all cannot be got, the cloth we 
have sent and are sending, will make up the deficiency. 

The large brass cannon are not to be had here; we 
have been treating with a Swedish merchant about them, 
but find too many difficulties in getting them from that 
country ; so that finally, understanding you have some 
founders with you, and that we can have others to go from 
hence, we conclude to send two artists in that way, with the 
metal, to cast the number wanted, omitting only the field 
pieces, of which we suppose you have by this time a num- 
ber sufficient. Some large iron cannon are offered to us 
cheap, from Holland, of which we think to send a quantity, 
for though too heavy for the army, they may be of use for 
the navy, gallies, gondolas, &ic. 

We cannot omit repeating, as we think it a matter of the 
greatest importance, towards supporting the credit of your 
paper money, that you may rely on a punctual payment 
here of Congress bills, drawn on us for the discharge of the 
interest of the sums borrowed, that is to say, in the propor- 
tion of six Spanish dollars, or the value in French money, 
for every hundred borrowed in your paper. But as the 
ofter of six per cent was made before you could know of 
this advantage to the borrower, perhaps you may on the 
knowledge and experience of it, be able to reduce the 


interest in future loans, to four per cent, and find some 
means by taxes, to pay off the six per cents. 

Our treaty of commerce is not yet proceeded on, the 
plan of this Court appearing to be, not to have any transac- 
tion with us, that implies an acknowledgment of American 
Independency, while their peace continues with England. 
To make us more easy with this, they tell us, we enjoy all 
the advantages already, which we propose to obtain by such 
a treaty, and that we may depend on continuing to receive 
every indulgence in our trade, that is allowed to the most 
favored nations. Feeling ourselves assisted in other re- 
spects, cordially and essentially, we are the more i-cadily 
induced to let them take their own time, and to avoid mak- 
ing ourselves troublesome by an unreasonable importu- 
nity. The interest of France and Spain, however, in 
securing our friendship and commerce, seems daily more 
and more generally understood here, and we have no doubt 
of finally obtaining the establishment of that commerce with 
all the formalities necessary. 

We submit it to your consideration, whether it might not 
be well to employ some of your frigates in bringing your 
produce hither, ordering them after refreshing and refitting, 
to make a cruise in the northern seas, upon the Baltic and 
Hamburg trade, send their prizes home, north about, then 
return to France, and take in a loading of stores for Ame- 

The Marquis de la Fayette, a young nobleman of great 
family connexions here, and great wealth, is gone to Ame- 
rica in a ship of his own, accompanied by some officers of 
distinction, in order to serve in our armies. He is exceed- 
ingly beloved, and every body's good wishes attend him ; 
we cannot but hope he may meet with such a reception as 


will make tiie country and his expedition agreeable to him. 
Those who censure it as imprudent in him do nevertheless 
applaud his spirit, and we are satisfied, that the civilities and 
respect, that may be sliovvn him, will be serviceable to our 
affairs here, as pleasing not only to his powerful relations, 
and to the Court, but to the whole French nation. He has 
left a beautiful young wife, and for her sake particularly, 
we hope that his bravery and ardent desire to distinguish 
himself, will be a litde restrained by the General's prudence, 
so as not to permit his being hazarded much, but on some 
important occasion. 

We are very respectfully, &c. 


P. S. We enclose a copy of Messrs Gardoqui's last 
letter.* We have received Mr Morris's of March 7th, 
25th, and 2Sth, and are much obliged by the intelligence 
contained. We send a quantity of papers. 


Paris, 26tli May ,'1777. 

The navy of the United States, increasing in the number 
of its ships and force, it is of the utmost importance to 
direct the cruises of the ships of war, which belong either 
to the States or individuals, so as to annoy and alarm the 
enemy the most effectually, and at the same time, to encour- 
age our brave officers and seamen, by the value of prizes. 

* Missing. 


Tlie West India trade was so intercepted last season, that, 
besides endangering tiie credit of every West India house in 
England, and absolutely ruining many, it greatly helped to- 
wards sinking the revenues of Great Britain, which it was 
confidently asserted the otlier day in the House of Com- 
mons, and was not contradicted by the minister, had sunk 
the last year nearly one million below the usual incomes. 
This trade cannot be attacked the coming season to equal 
advantage, as it will not be by any degree so large, and will 
be armed and under convoy. But as the commerce of 
Great Britain is very extensive, good policy dictates, that 
we attack it in more than one sea, and on different coasts. 
The navy of Great Britain is not sufficiently numerous, to 
infest the whole coast of North America, and at the same 
time guard their own, much less protect and convoy their 
trade in different seas. 

We have not the least doubt, but that two or three of the 
continental frigates, sent into the German ocean, with some 
less swift sailing cruisers, might intercept and seize ereat 
part of the Baltic and Northern trade, could they be in those 
seas by dje middle of August at farthest, and the prizes 
will consist of articles of the utmost consequence to the 
States. One frigate would be sufficient to destroy tiie 
whole of the Greenland whale fishery, or take the Hudson 
Bay ships returning. In a word, they are unsuspicious and 
unguarded on that quarter, and the alarm, such an expedition 
would give, would raise the insurance in England at least 
twenty per cent ; since Captain Cunningham's adventure 
occasioned ten per cent to be given on the packet boats, 
from Dover to Calais. Captain Cunningham being put in 
prison, and the prizes restored, they are again lulled into 
security ; ihe whole western coast of England and Scotland, 
VOL. I. 38 


and indeed almost the whole of Ireland, is at this moment 
unguarded either by ships of war, or troops, except a few 
sloops or cutters, to watch smugglers. 

We submit to the Congress the following plan ; to send 
three frigates, loaded with tobacco, for Nantes or Bour- 
deaux,,and that they be manned and commanded in the 
best possible manner. That on dieir arrival in either of 
the above rivers, they make but little appearance of strength, 
and endeavor to pass for common cruisers ; while they are 
refitting, which should be in different ports, near each other, 
intelligence might be had of the position of the British fleet, 
and the circumstances of the different towns on the sea coast, 
and of the merchant ships in them ; in consequence of which 
a blow might be struck that would alarm and shake Great 
Britain, and its credit, to the centre. The thought may 
appear bold and extravagant, yet we have seen as extraor- 
dinary events within these two years past, as that of carry- 
ing the war to our enemy's doors. As it appears extrava- 
gant, it will be in consequence unexpected by them, and 
the more easily executed. The burning or plundering of 
Liverpool, or Glasgow, would do us more essential service 
than a million of treasure, and much blood spent on the 
continent. It would raise our reputation to the highest pitch, 
and lessen in the same degree that of our enemy's. We 
are confident it is practicable, and with very little danger, 
but times may alter widi the arrival of the frigates, yet in 
that case their cruise on this coast bids fairer to be profita- 
ble than any other, and they may at least carry back in 
safety many of the stores wanted, which is a most capital 
object, should the other be laid aside. 

Every day's experience confirms to us, what is pointed 
out indeed by nature itself, the necessity of rendering Amer- 


ica independent, in every sense of the word. The present 
glorious, llioii^li trying contest, will do more to render this 
independence fixed and certain, if circumstances are sea- 
sonably improved, tlian would otherwise have been elFected 
in an age. The manufacturing of any one necessary article 
among ourselves, is like breaking one link of the chains, 
w hich have heretofore bound the two worlds together, and 
whicii our artful enemies had, under the mask of friendship, 
been long winding round and round us, and binding fast. 
Thus, as founderies for cannon, iron as well as brass, are 
erecting, if tliey are at once erected large enough to cast of 
any size, we may in future be easy on that important article, 
and independent on the caprice, or interest, of our pretended 
friends for a supply ; and to forward this we shall take the 
liberty of sending over some of the most skilful founders 
we can meet with. 

The jealousy which reigns among tiie maritime powers of 
Europe, with their narrow, weak, and contemptible system of 
politics, prevents our being able to procure ships of war ; to 
remedy which, you have with you timber, iron, and workmen, 
and we must send you over sailcloth and cordage, as fast 
as we can. The importance of having a considerable naval 
force, is too obvious to need our saying niore than, that we 
conceive no apparent diHiculty or obstruction ought to deter 
us from pushing it forward to the utmost of our power. We 
have sent you by a former conveyance a plan of a frigate 
on a new construction, and now send you the duplicate, 
which we submit to the judgment of those better skilled 
than we pretend to be in naval affairs, but imagine that on 
our coast, and perhaps anywhere, ships constructed in some 
such manner may be as formidable as those of seventyfour 
guns, and it is certain they will cost us less. The vessel 


building in Amsterdam is on this plan, which we hope will 
be in readiness for service this fall or autumn. 
We are, with the utmost respect, k,c. 

S. DtANE. 


Philadelphia, May 30th, 1777. 


We have delayed sending this packet, from a daily expec- 
tation of hearing from you, as some letters from France 
make mention of a quick sailing vessel, by which we were 
to receive despatches. Though it must be agreeable to 
you to hear frequently from us, yet as our letters by being 
taken might be of worse consequence than being delayed, 
we are desirous of waiting for the safest opportunity, and 
when you hear not so often as you wish, remember our 
silence means our safety. Acquainted as we are, with the 
situation and condition of the enemy, we well know, that 
the pompous paragraphs in the London papers are not the 
news, which the Ministry hear from their army ; but the 
news they make for them. 

The Amphitrite has arrived in Portsmouth, New Hamp- 
shire ; and the Seine at Martinique, but she is made a prize 
of, in her passage from thence. We request you to expe- 
dite the loan of two millions, (which we have already sent 
you a commission for, and now send you a duplicate of the 
same) for though we conceive the credit of America to be 
as well founded at least as &ny in the world, having neither 


debt nor taxes when she began the war, yet slie is like 
a man who, with a large capital all in property, is unable to 
make any new purchases, till he car. either convert some of 
it into specie, or borrow in the mean lime. Britain is now 
fighting us, and the greatest j)art of Europe negatively, by 
endeavoring to slop that trade from us to France, Spain, Sec. 
which she has most eirectually lost to herself, and we wish 
those Courts saw iheir interest in the same clear point of 
view in which it appears lo us. We have little or no doubt 
of being able to reduce the enemy by land, and we likewise 
believe ihat the united powers of France, Spain, and Amer- 
ica would be able to expel the British fleet from the western 
seas, by which the communication for trade would be 
opened, the number of interests reduced which have hith- 
erto distracted the West Indies, and consequently the peace 
of all this side of ihe globe put on a better foundation than 
it has hitherto been ; a mutual advantage, as we conceive, 
to France, Spain, and these States. 

That Britain was formidable last war, in the West Indies, 
is true, but when it is considered that her power there arose 
from her possessions here, or that she was formidable chiefly 
through us, it is impossible to suppose that she can again 
arrive at the same pitch of power. Here she was assisted 
by numberless privateers. Here she supplied and partly- 
manned her fleet ; recruited, and almost raised her armv, 
for that service ; in short, America in die last war repre- 
sented Britain removed to this side of the Atlantic. The 
scene is changed, and America now is that to France and 
Spain in point of advantages, which she was the last war to 
Britain. Therefore, putting the convenience, which wc 
might receive, out of the question, by their making an attack 
on die West Indies, we are somewhat surprised, that such 


politic Courts as France and Spain, should hesitate on a 
measure so alluring and practicable. We do not mention 
these remarks, because we suppose they do not occur 
to you, but to let you know our thoughts on the matter, 
and to give you every advantage, by conveying our minds 
to you, as well as our instructions and informations. 

This packet takes complete sets of our public paper, 
filed in order, for seventeen weeks past. 



Dunkirk,* 2d June, 1777. 

Dear Sir, 

We refer the committee to ours to you of the 26th ult. 
of which we sent duplicates, should either arrive, but appre- 
hensive of the contrary, we send you the substance in this. 
The British commerce in Europe, especially in the north, 
is unguarded, the Greenland whale fishery and the Hudson 
Bay ships in particular. Could two or three of our frigates, 
accompanied by less swift sailing cruisers, get into those 
seas in the months of August, or September, a valuable part 
of the commerce of our enemies might be interrupted. 

As tobacco, rice, he. are in great demand in France, and 
remittances wanted, we submit to the Congress the sending 
out some of their frigates loaded with these articles for 

* Tins letter is perhaps erroneously dated at Dunkirk. It is thus 
copied into the letter books, but should probably be Passr/, or Paris. 


Nantes, or Boiirdep.iix, and wliilst their cargoes were dis- 
posed of, they might refresh themselves, and make a cruise 
against the enemy. The coast of England to the west is 
unguarded, either by land or sea. The frigates, capable of 
landing five hundred men, might destroy several of their 
towns, which would alarm and shake the nation to tho 
centre, whilst the ships might fly and take refuge in the ports 
of France or Spain ; but suppose the worst, that they are inter- 
cepted in their retreat, the inevitable consequences of so bold 
an attempt will be sufficiently injurious to justify the measure. 
But this must be done by a coup de. viain, and there can be 
no great apprehension of any difficulty in retreating, since, 
by means of the daily intercourse between the two kingdoms, 
we might know the exact situations of the British fleet and 
commerce in the different ports, and never attempt until 
we had a fixed object in view, and were masters of every 

The ship, building at Amsterdam, will be near as strong 
as a seventyfour.. and may join the squadron in the months 
of February or March. The East India fleet will be 
returning to St Helens, and there waiting for a convoy, 
which is a single man of war. Three frigates on that sta- 
tion might efTcct a prodigious aflfair, and if they first come 
to Europe, as in the course of trade, it would be much 
less suspected, as they might set out from a harbor here, 
and not be supposed for any other route, but that of going 
directly for America. We have no more to add, than that 
four thousand Hanoverians are on their march for Stade to 
embark for America. 
We are, &:c. 




Philadelphia, June 13tli, 1777. 


Though the despatches prepared some time since are 
not gone, we think it best to write you again, and give you 
an exact account of the situation of our army and military 
affairs to this time. You were formerly made acquainted, 
that, immediately after the impoitant victory at Trenton, on 
the 3d of January, General Washington took post at Mor- 
ristovvn, which appears to have been a well chosen situation. 

From thence, sending out detachments of his army, he 
speedily drove the enemy from Hackensack, Chatham, 
Springfield, Westfield, and Elizabethtown, all which places 
we have possessed ever since that time, as well as Mill- 
stone and Princeton to the west, and Cranbury to the 
south ; the enemy being confined to a narrow communica- 
tion on Rariton River, from Brunswick to Amboy, twelve 
miles. About ten days ago General Washington moved 
his head quarters towards the enemy, to a place called 
Middlebrook, about eight miles from Brunswick. He has 
now called in most of his outposts, and the enemy has 
done the same, being chiefly collected about Brunswick, 
and just upon the eve of some movement, which is gener- 
ally supposed to be intended against this place. We are 
taking every measure to disappoint them, and have good 
hopes, in dependence on divine Providence, as our army 
has been augmenting daily for these three months past. It 
is given out, that the enemy intend to come up the Dela- 
ware Bay with their ships, as well as by land, through the 
Jerseys. It is probable, that before the vessel sails we 
shall have something to add on this subject. 


In die northern department, things are yet entirely (jniet. 
We have a pretty strong body at Ticonderoga. Small par- 
ties of the enemy were up the lake lately, a considerable 
way, but are gone again, and there is no appearance of any 
important motion soon. Wjiether this is owing to their not 
being ready, or to a change in their plans, and the army in 
Canada being ordered round to reinforce General Howe, 
as some late reports would make us believe, it is impossi- 
ble to say with certainty. 

A third body of our forces is at Peekskili, upon Hudson 
River, to defend the passes tow.irds Albany, and be ready 
to fall down upon New York, in case the greater part of the 
enemy's army should be drawn from that place. The con- 
vention of that State has issued an act of indemnity, to 
encourage those who had been seduced to join the enemy 
to return, which has had a very happy effect. Upon the 
whole, our affairs wear as favorable an aspect as at any- 
time, since the beginning of the war. And the unanimity 
of all ranks, in the different States, in support of our inde- 
pendence, is greater than at any preceding period. The 
arbitrary conduct, and the barbarity and cruelty of the enemy, 
for the twentysix days that they possessed a considerable 
part of New Jersey, have been of service to our cause. See, 
upon this subject, the report of a committee of Congress, 
with the proofs in the newspapers, which you may safely 
assure any person is a just and true, but very imperfect, 
sample of their proceedings. 

VOL. I. 39 

30G coiMMISS10im:k3 in France. 


Philadelphia, June 18th, 1777. 


In this we send you an account of the most material 
matters, which have happened in the military department. 

The enemy, about ten weeks ago, sent a large party, 
and destroyed some continental stores at Pcekskill, the 
value not great, and retreated immediately after. They 
afterwards made an attempt to surprise Major General 
Lincoln, at Bound Brook, which he vigilantly escaped, with 
the loss of about sixty men. Mr Tryon, who is made a 
Major General, was sent with about 2200 men to destroy 
the stores at Danbury, in Connecticut. Notice was received 
time enough to remove the most valuable part, while Gen- 
erals Arnold and Wooster raised the militia, and attacked 
the enemy on their retreat with good success. The New- 
York paper, which may be considered as General Howe's 
Gazette, makes their loss in killed and wounded 104. We 
may give them credit for twice the number. The loss 
we sustained in stores was chiefly in salt provisions and 
rum, and we had the satisfaction of learning, that the car- 
goes of the prizes brought in the same week amounted to 
double the quantity lost. General Wooster, who behaved 
gallantly, was mortally wounded, and is since dead. 

Scarce a week has passed without skirmishing, in which 
we have been very fortunate. General Washington has 
removed from Morristown, to some advantageous ground 
near Bound Brook and Middle Brook, within eight miles 
of Brunswick, and the following is a regular state of the 
intelligence received here since the 1 Ithinst. 


June \lth. — At a meeting in the State House yard, 
General Mifflin, despatched for that purpose from General 
Washington, informed the inhabitants, that from the late 
preparations of the enemy, he had reason to believe their 
desisn was, by Ji forced march, to endeavor to possess 
themselves of Philadelphia ; it was then proposed and unani- 
mously assented to, to turn out agreeably to the militia 

12M. — A letter from General' Sullivan, at Princeton, 
received about nine this evening, informed that the enemy 
at Brunswick had begun to move the preceding night, but 
was prevented by the heavy rain. 

I3th. — ^The alarm gun in this city fired at three this 
morning, answering the alarm guns up the river. Several 
letters, by express from Bristol, mention the hearing alarm 
guns towards Trenton and Princeton, but that no express 
has arrived there from General Sullivan at Princeton. 

I4tk, — An express from General Arnold, at Trenton, 
informed that the enemy had moved on the 13th, in the 
night from Brunswick, that General Sullivan had likewise 
moved from Princeton to some part of Rocky Hill, with an 
intention to harrass the march of the enemy, and thereby 
favor the approach of General Washington on their rear, 
and that of the troops from Philadelphia. 

I5(h. — An express from General Arnold, dated Tren- 
ton I4th, at six o'clock, received here at half past five this 
morning, says, that he had waited six hours, hoping to hear 
from General Sullivan, but had not ; that he should imme- 
diately set off for Corbel's Ferry ; that the reports of the 
country were, that the enemy v.-ere marching ra])idly 
towards that place, and, that General Sullivan was about 
two miles ahead of them, on the same road. 


Coryel's Ferry is the place where ourboats were stationed 
sufficient to transport 3000 men at a time. 

Another letter from General Arnold, dated CoryeVs Ferry, 
14th, 9 o'clock, P. M. received here at 9 this morning, 
says, that General Sullivan, arrived at that place about 4 
o'clock, and had with him 1 600 continental troops, and about 
the same number of Jersey militia making up the number 
already there about 4000 ; that the Jersey militia were 
turning out very spiritedly, and that he expected to be 5000 
strong by the next day, when he should march towards the 
eneiny, who had encamped at Somerset Court House, eight 
iniles from Brunswick ; that General Washington contin- 
ued at his quarters near Middle Brook, eight miles in the 
rear of the enemy, who were about 7000. 

I6th. — The above makes up the chain of intelligence, to 
General Arnold's fourth letter, which was received here this 
morning, and is printed in the papers of the 17th and 18th 
inst, to which we refer you. 

From various quarters lately we have reports, but none 
sufficient to depend on, that the enemy will receive no rein- 
forcement from Europe, and likewise that a war with France 
is inevitable. 

General Burgoyne is said to be arrived at Quebec with 

We have seen a memorial, presented to the States-Gen- 
eral by Sir Joseph Yorke, and two answers thereto, the one, 
"that they had no account to render to him of their con- 
duct," the other, that "there are no gates to the Hague." 
We are, 2:entlemen, yours, Stc. 




Philadelphia, Juno 26th, 1777. 


Since our Jast, of the Slh inst, in which you were informed 
of the enemy being encamped at Somerset Court House, 
eight miles from Brunswick, we have the pleasure of 
acquainting you, that on the 19th, at night, they made a pre- 
cipitate retreat therefrom to the last mentioned place, and on 
the22d decamped again, and wholly evacuated Brunswick, 
and retreated to Amboy. For particulars, we refer you to 
General Washington's letter to Congress, printed in the 
newspapers of the 25th inst. 

We are unable to account for those movements of Gen- 
eral Howe, on any other grounds than the following ; viz. 
that his marcli,from Brunswick to Somerset afforded him 
an opportunity of trying the disposition of the States of New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania, and finding that the militia of both 
States were turning vigorously out to support our army, he 
might reasonably conclude from thence, that his situation in 
the Jerseys was too dangerous to be continued, and therefore 
decamped to Arnboy, from whence he might, by his bridge 
of boats, intended for the Delaware, throw himself into a 
safe retreat on Staten Island. We give you circumstances 
as they are, with such natural inferences therefrom as our 
situation and knowledge of things enable us to draw. 

The memorial, presented by Sir Joseph Yorke to the 
States-General, mentioned in ours of June 18th, you will 
find in the newspapers of the 11th inst. The said memo- 
rial does not come sufficiently autiienticated to us, to give 


yoii any particular instructions respecting your conduct 
thereon, but as the progress of friendsliip depends much on 
the improvement of accidents and little circumstances, we 
doubt not you will be attentive to the conduct of the States- 
General at all times, and let us know whenever it appears 
to you that a commissioner from Congress would be favor- 
ably received thjcre, 



Philadelphia, July 2d, 1777. 


Since our last of the 2Gth ult. which mentions the enemy 
being retreated to Amboy, we have to inform you, that Gen- 
eral Washington dismissed the Jersey militia, except about 
2000, and likewise countermanded the reinforcement of 
3000 men from General Putman's Division, at Peekskill. 
We suppose General Howe to be apprized of these circum- 
stances, as he immediately after returned with his whole 
force from Amboy, and made an attempt to cut off a Division 
of our army under General Sterling, but without success. 
For particulars we refer you to General Washington's letters, 
in the newspapers of the 3d inst. 

A letter from General Washington, just received, informs 
us, tliat the enemy have totally evacuated the Jerseys, and 
are retreated to their last year's quarters on Staten Island. 


We enclose to you comiuissions anil instruciioiis for 
Ralph Izard and Williani Lee ; die first, appointc;! com- 
missioner to llie Court of Tuscany, and the latter to die 
Courts of Vienna and Berlin. Their instrucUons are so 
intimately connected vvidi your own, that we have thought 
proper to send them open to your confidential care, that 
you may give information to the gentlemen, and take every 
due step to forward the exocution of the intention of Con- 


R. :morris, 




Versailles, 16th July, 1777. 

You cannot forget, that at the first conversation I had 
with both of you, I assured you, that you should enjoy in 
France, with respect to your persons, every security and 
comfort, which we showed to foreigners ; and as to your 
commerce and navigation, we would grant every facility 
compatible with the exact observation of our treaties with 
England, which the king's principles would induce him 
religiously to fulfil. In order to prevent every doubt, with 
respect to die vessels that may participate in the favors, 
which we grant in our ports to nations in amity, I pointed 
out to you the article of the treaty, which forbids the power 
of allowing privateers free access into our ports, unless 


through pressing necessity, as also with respect to the 
deposit and sale of their prizes. You promised, gentle- 
men, to conform thereto. 

After so particular an explanation, we did not press the 
departure of the ship Reprisal, which brought Mr Franklin 
to France, because we w^ere assured it was destined to 
return with merchandise. We had quite lost sight of this 
vessel, and imagined she was in the American seas, when, 
with great surprise, we understood that she had entered 
L'Orient, after taking several prizes. Orders were imme- 
diately given, that she should depart in twentyfour hours, 
and to conduct her prizes to the only admiralties, that were 
authorised to judge of their validity. Captain Wickes com- 
plained of a leak. Being visited by proper officers, his 
allegation was found to be legal, and admissible, the neces- 
sary repairs were permitted, and he was enjoined to put to 
sea again. 

After such repeated advertisements, the motives of which 
you have been informed of, we had no reason to expect, 
gentlemen, that the said Mr Wickes would prosecute his 
cruising in the European seas, and we could not be other- 
wise than greatly surprised, that, after having associated 
with the privateers, the Lexington and Dolphin, to infest 
the English coasts, they should all three of them come for 
refuge into our ports. You are too well informed, gentle- 
men, and too penetrating, not to see how this conduct 
affects the dignity of the king, my master, at the same time 
it offends the neutrality, which His Majesty professes. I 
expect, therefore, from your equity, that you will be the 
first to condemn a conduct so opposite to the duties of hos- 
pitality and decency. The king cannot dissemble it, and it 
is by his express order, gentlemen, that I acquaint you, 


that orders have been sent to the ports, in which the said 
privateers have entered, to sequester, and detain them, until 
sufficient security can be obtained, that they shall return 
directly to their country, and not expose themselves, by new 
acts of hostility, to the necessity of seeking an asylum in 
our ports. 

As to the prizes they may have taken, if they have 
brought them into our ports, they have orders to go out 
immediately, and the same conduct shall be observed 
towards any capture of any nation whatever. Such are 
the obligations of our treaties, conformable to our marine 
ordinances, which the king cannot by any means evade. It 
will be highly proper for you to make these inlentFons 
known, wherever you may think it most expedient, so that 
new privateers, from the example of the misconduct of 
those against whom we are obliged to be rigorous, may not 
expose themselves to the like embarrassments. 

What I iiave the honor to inform you, gentlemen, of the 
king's disposition, by no means changes the assurances 
which I have been authorised to make you, at the time of 
your arrival, and which I again renew, for the security of 
your residence, and of all such of your nation whom it may 
suit to reside among us, as well as with respect to the com- 
merce allowed of, which will meet with every facility on 
our part, that our laws and usages will permit. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

VOL. I. 40 



Paris, 17th July, 1777. 


We are very sensible of the protection afforded to us, 
and to our commerce, since our residence in this kingdom, 
agreeable to the goodness of the king's gracious intentions, 
and to the law of nations ; and it gives us real and great 
concern, when any vessels of war appertaining to America, 
either through ignorance or inattention, do any thing that 
may offend His Majesty, in the smallest degree. The 
Captains Wickes, Nicholson, and Johnson, have excused 
to us their returning to France, being chased into the chan- 
nel, and close to your ports, by English men of war, of the 
truth of which we have no doubt, the Reprisal, particularly, 
having been obliged to throw her guns overboard, to facili- 
tate her escape. 

We had, some days before we were honored by your 
Excellency's letter, despatched by an express the most 
positive orders to them, to depart directly to America, 
which they are accordingly preparing to do, as your Excel- 
lency will see by the letter enclosed, which we have just 
received by the return of that express. We shall commu- 
nicate His Majesty's orders to our friends residing in your 
ports, and acquaint the Congress with the same, to the end, 
that our armed vessels may be warned of the consequence 
that must attend an infringement of them. We doubt not 
but they will be henceforth strictly attended to ; and we are 
willing and ready to give any security your Excellency 
may judge sufficient and reasonable, that, after being fitted 
and provisioned for so long a voyage, these vessels shall 
proceed directly to America, without making any other 


cruise on the coasts of England. We ure tlmnkllil lor the 
repeated assurances of His Majesty's protection continued 
to us, and such of our nation as may reside in France, and 
for the facilities indulged to our commerce, at this critical 
conjuncture, which will always be remembered in our coun- 
try, with gratitude and alfection. 
We have the honor to be, &ic. 




Philadelphia, August 7th, 1777. 


Enclosed are duplicates of commissions and instruc- 
tions for William Lee and Ralph Izard, and triplicates of 
our former despatches. 

Since our last, of July 3d, various circumstances have 
happened in the military department, niany of which are 
so intricate and unfinished, as not to enable us to draw any 
just conclusions from them. 

Immediately after the unsuccessful attempt made by 
General Howe, June 26th, to cut off a detachment of our 
army, under General Sterling, as mentioned in our last, 
the whole body of the enemy retreated to Staten Island, 
embarked on board their fleet, and on the 23d of July put 
to sea ; on the 27th, they appeared off the Capes of Dela- 
ware. General Washington, with the army, arrived at 
Germantown on the 29th. On the 31st, the enemy's fleet 
stood out to sea. They made a second appearance at the 
Capes, since which we have had no account of them. As 


this packet goes from the eastward, you will probably be 
furnished with something further from that quarter. 

Our worst news is, that we have lost Ticonderoga, 
whether by neglect or necessity, cowardice or good con- 
duct, will appear hereafter. Congress have ordered Gen- 
eral Gates to that department, and have directed Generals 
Schuyler and St Clair to appear at head quarters, that an 
inquiry may be made into their conduct, and the circum- 
stances of this mysterious affair. In the papers of July 
16th, 23d, August 5th and 6th, you have Generals Schuy- 
ler's and St Clair's letters, and the resolves of Congress. 
We have been fortunate enough to take, and so unfortu- 
nate as to lose again, the Fox frigate. She was taken by 
the Captains Manly and McNeil, but two heavy English 
ships being in sight when she struck, she was afterwards 
retaken by them. 

Major General Prescott, who commanded the enemy's 
forces at Rhode Island, was seized and made prisoner by 
a small party under Lieutenant Colonel Barton, as you 
may see by General Washington's letter to Congress, 
printed July 23d. The Congress have presented Colonel 
Barton with a sword, and likewise Lieutenant Colonel 
Meigs with another ; this officer having performed a gallant 
exploit on Long Island, bringing off nearly a hundred pris- 
oners, and destroying a large quantity of forage. 

Were it not for the Ticonderoga affair, u'e should have 
nothing but good news to communicate ; and even that may 
turn out in the end a lucky circumstance to the general 
cause, as did the attempt of the enemy to march through 
the Jerseys last winter. We have a fine healthy army, 
anxious for nothing so much as to meet their foes. Surely 
it must appear very ridiculous in Europe that General 


Howe should be thus shunning the army he came out to 
conquer, and wasting his time in cruising upon tlie coast 
with his whole fleet, at this hot season of the year, when 
the ministry in England, and perhaps Lord Stormont at 
Paris, have given out that he lias penetrated a hundred 
miles or more into the country. 

We are, with great regard, gentlemen. 
Your most humble servants, 



Versailles, August 12th, 1777. 


We understand, with great surprise, that one of our coun- 
trymen, Mr Hodge, a merchant of Philadelphia, is appre- 
hended at Paris, with all his papers, and carried away by 
the officers of police. 

As Mr Hodge is a person of character, connected with 
the best houses in our countr}', and employed here by a 
committee of Congress to purchase goods, we cannot con- 
ceive him capable of any wilful offence against the laws of 
this nation. Our personal regard for him, as well as the 
duty of our station, obliges us to interest ourselves in his 
behalf, and to request, as we do most earnestly, that he 
may be immediately restored to us. 

We have the honor to be, Jicc. 





Messrs Franklin and Deane's Contract with M, Holker. 
We the undersigned acknowledge that we have author- 
ised M. Holker to treat with Messrs Sabatier St Des- 
pres, for five thousand coats, waistcoats, and breeches, of 
which, two thousand five hundred coats are to be blue, and 
two thousand five hundred brown, with facings, linings, and 
collars of red, the waistcoats and breeches to be white, 
agreeably to the present treaty, and to the same clauses 
and conditions therein stipulated. Done at Paris, the 15th 

of Aueust, 1777. 



The present contract done and signed in duplicates to 
be faithfully executed on both sides, agreeably to its tenor 
and form. Paris, 6th of August, 1777. 



B. Franklin and self. 

Jlmoiint of sundry Articles of Merchandise mentioned in the 

above Contracts; 

6000 coats, complete, . . at 37 livres ea. 222,000 

12000 pair woollen stockings, 30 pr. doz. 30,000 

100,000 lbs. of copper, . . . 27 pr. lb. 135,000 

22,000 " I '^''n'air^^.'' .'""! ] ^^ P'"' '^- ^^'^^^ 

20,000 " English tin, . . 17 the c'tw't 17,000 

4 million flints, ... 4 pr. 100 16,000 


Sum total, four hundred fiftysix thousand three hundred 
livres, errors and omissions excepted. 



Pasgy, 8th September, 1777. 


It is long since we had a line from you, the last received 
being of the date of , we suppose from the same 

causes which have occasioned your hearing so seldom from 
us, the difficulty of finding safe conveyances, and some- 
times the loss of the despatches by the way. Mr Lee 
informs you, we suppose, of his negotiations in Prussia, 
and his safe return hither. There appears in that, as well 
as in every other country in Europe, a disposition to share 
in our commerce, and to oblige us as far as may be done 
without offending England. We have numbers of letters 
from eminent houses there, proposing to furnish us with a 
variety of commodities, at reasonable rates, to be received 
by us in Europe, and paid for here. We advise them to 
send tlieir goods in their own ships, and protect their own 
trade to and from our coasts. 

We enclose you a copy of the memorial* we sent to 
Portugal, to which we have yet received no answer. That 
Court has been lately much employed in adjusting its differ- 
ences with Spain, which it is said are now nearly all accom- 
modated, and that they will accede to the family compact. 

This Court continues the same conduct that it has held 
ever since our arrival. It professes to England a resolution 
to observe all treaties, and proves it by restoring prizes too 
openly brought into their ports, imprisoning such persons as 
are found to be concerned in fitting out armed vessels 
against England from France, warning frequently those 

*■ .Missing. 


from America to depart, and repeating orders against the 
exportation of warlike stores. To us it privately professes 
a real friendship, wishes success to our cause, winks at the 
supplies we obtain here, as much as it can without giving 
open grounds of complaint to England, privately affords us 
very essential aids, and goes on preparing for war. How 
long these two parts will continue to be acted at the same 
time, and which will finally predominate, may be a question. 
As it is the true interest of France to prevent our being 
annexed to Britain, that so the British power may be 
diminished, and the French commerce augmented, we are 
inclined to believe the sincerity is towards us, more 
especially as the united bent of the nation is manifestly in 
our favor ; their not having yet commenced a war is account- 
ed for by various reasons. The treaties subsisting among 
the powers of Europe, by which they are obliged to aid 
those attacked more than those attacking, which it is sup- 
posed will make some difference, the not being fully pre- 
pared, the absence of their seamen in their fishery and 
West Indies, and the treasure expected from New Spain, 
widi the sugars from the Islands, have all, it is said, contrib- 
uted to restrain the national desire of a breach with Eng- 
land, in which her troublesome power may be reduced, the 
wealth and strength of France increased, and some satis- 
faction obtained for the injuries received, in the unfair com- 
jnencement of the last war. 

England too is extremely exasperated at the sight of her 
lost commerce enjoyed by France, the favor our armed 
vessels have met with here, and the distress of their remain- 
ing trade, by our cruisers, even on their own coasts ; and 
yet she seems afraid of beginning a war with this country 
and Spain together, while she has our war upon her hands. 


In such a situation, some accident luay probably bring on a 
war, sooner tlian is desired by either party. In the mean 
time, perhaps the delay may have this good effect for us, 
that enjoying the whole harvest of plunder upon the British 
commerce, which otherwise France and Spain would divide 
wiUi us, our infant naval power finds such plentiful nour- 
ishment, as has increased, and must increase its growth and 
jjtrength most marvellously. 

It gave us great joy to hear of the arrival of the Mer- 
cury, Amphitrite, and other vessels carrying supplies. 
Another shi|), with a similar cargo, which had long been 
detained at Marseilles, we hope will soon arrive with you. 
Wc hope, also, that you will receive between twenty and 
thirty thousand suits of clothes, before winter, and from 
time to time quantities of new and good arms, which we 
are purchasing in different parts of Europe. But we must 
desire you to remember, that we are hitherto disappointed 
in your promises of remittance, either by the difficulties you 
find in shipping, or by captures, and that though far short 
of completing your orders, we are in danger of being greatly 
embarrassed by debts, in failing in performance of our con- 
tracts, and losing our credit with that of the Congress ; for 
though we have received three quarterly payments of the 
two millions of livres, formerly mentioned to you, and ex- 
pect the last next mondi, our contracts go beyond, and we 
must resene the continuance of that aid, for the |)urpose it 
was promised, to answer your drafts for interest, if that pro- 
posal of ours has been adopted. Particularly we beg you 
will attend to the affair of tobacco for the Farmers-Gene- 
ral, with whom we have contracted to supply five thousand 
hogsheads of tobacco, for which llicy have advanced us 
one million of livres, in ready money, and are to pay the 
VOL. r. 41 


rest on delivery, as we formerly advised you. Your vigor- 
ous exertions in these matters are tiie more necessary, as 
during the apparent, or supposed uncertainty of our affairs, 
the loan we were directed to obtain of two millions sterling 
has hidierto been judged impracticable. 

But if die present campaign should end favorably for us, 
perhaps we may be able to accomplish it another year, as 
some jealousy begins to be entertained of the English funds 
by the Dutch, and oUier raonied people of Europe, to the 
increase of which jealousy, we hope a paper* we have 
drawn up, (a copy whereof we enclose) may in some degree 
contribute when made public. 

Mr Deane has written fully to you on the effect our 
cruisers have had on the coast and commerce of Britain, 
which makes our saying much on that head unnecessary. f 
We cannot, however, omit this opportunity of expressing 
our satisfaction in the conduct of the Captains, and of 
recommending them warmly to Congress. The ostensible 
letter and answer from and to die Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, copies of which we enclose,^ will show the conduct 
which die Court has thought, and thinks itself at present 
obliged to hold with regard to our cruisers and their prizes, 
of which it seems fit some notice should be given to the 
several States. As the English goods cannot in foreign 
markets face those of die French or Dutch, loaded as they 
are with the high insurance from which their comjietitors 
are exempted, it is certain the trade of Britain must dimin- 
ish while she is at war with us, and the rest of Europe in 
peace. To evade this mischief, she now begins to make 
use of French bottoms ; but as we have yet no treaty with 

* Missing. 

t See Mr Ueanes leUei- above, p. 105, dated August 23d, 177T. 

i See tiie two preceding letters of July 16th and 17tli. 


France, or any other power that gives to free ships the 
privilege of making free goods, we may weaken that pro- 
ject, by taking the goods of the enemy wherever we find 
them, paying the freight. And it is imagined that the Cap- 
tains of the vessels so freighted may, by a little encourage- 
ment, be prevailed on to facilitate the necessary discover}\ 

Spain not having yet resolved to receive a minister from 
the Congress, jNlr Franklin still remains here. She has, 
however, afforded the aids we formerly mentioned, and 
supplies of various articles have continued till lately to be 
sent consigned to ISIr Gerry, much of which we hear has 
safely arrived. We shall use our best endeavors to obtain a 
continuance and increase of those aids. 

You will excuse our mentioning to you, that our exj)en- 
ses here are necessarily very great, though we live with as 
much frugality as our public character will permit. Ameri- 
cans, who escape from English prisons, destitute of every 
thing, and others who need assistance, are continually call- 
ing upon us for it, and our funds are very uncertain, having 
yet received but about 64,571 livres, of what was allotted 
for our support by Congress. 

With the greatest respect, we have the honor to be, ficc. 


Yorktown, 6th October, 1777. 

Since ours to you, by return of the packet from New 
Hampshire, and duplicates by Mr M'Creary, from INIary- 


land, we have not written, nor have we received any of 
your favors during the last two months, except a letter of 
old date, (April 19th) signed by Messrs Deane and Lee. 
Captain Hammond being not yet arrived, ahhough he 
sailed in April, it is too probable that he has fallen into the 
enemy's hands, or miscarried at sea. 

Two reasons have prevented us from writing hitherto ; 
because from your assurances we had cause to expect a 
monthly packet, and because the progressive state of the 
war gave us reason to look for some more decisive event 
daily, than had happened, and which might warrant the 
expense of sending a particular packet, as the casual con- 
veyance by merchant vessels is almost entirely stopped by 
the number and vigilance of the enemy's cruisers. 

We shall now give you an accurate detail of the war in 
the northern and middle departments, where alone it has 
raged since our last. You were before apprized of the 
evacuation of Ticonderoga, and of the retreat of our army 
from thence towards Albany. General Burgoyne was 
rapid in pursuit of his successes, and pressed quickly on 
towards fort Edward, upon Hudson's river, about twenty 
miles above Albany. Here his progress was interrupted 
by the American army, being halted and reinforced a little 
below him. This circumstance, with the following events, 
have continued that interruption, and bid fair to render 
abortive, at least, the great advantages expected by our 
enemies from their first successes on the lakes.. 

The better to effect his purpose. General Burgoyne had 
detached General St Leger with a body of regular troops, 
Canadians and Indians, by the Oneida Lake and Wood 
Creek, to take fort Schuyler, (formerly Stanwix) and to 
make an impression along the JMohawk river. This part of 


his plan has been totally defeated by llie bravery of Gene- 
ral Herkimer, with the Tryon county militia, and by the 
gallant defence of fort Schuyler, by Colonel Gansevoort and 
Lieutenant Colonel Willet. The former of these met the 
enemy in the field, defeated them, and killed a great num- 
ber of their Indian allies. This defeat being obtained by 
jnililia, they dispersed as usual, and left the enemy to col- 
lect and lay siege to fort Schuyler, which was defended 
with great gallantry by the two oflicers above mentioned, 
until the approach of General Arnold, with a body of troops, 
occasioned the enemy to raise the siege of that fortress and 
retreat with great precipitation, leaving their baggage, 
ammunition, provisions, and some of their artillery, which 
fell into our hands. Another body of troops was detached 
by General Burgoyne, under command of Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Baum, to the eastward, for the purpose of collecting 
horses to mount the troopers, provisions, and teams, for the 
use of tlie army. This detachment was met, attacked, and 
defeated by the brave General Stark, and the New Hamp- 
shire militia, at a place called Bennington, and now rendered 
famous by the total overthrow of fifteen hundred regular 
troops, (posted behind works fortified with cannon,) by two 
thousand militia. 

The two wings of General Burgoyne beini; thus cut oft', 
his body remained inactive until the I'Jlh of last month, 
when he moved on to attack General Gates, who com- 
mands the northern army, and who was well posted at 
Behmus's Heights. The consequence of this attack, you 
will see related by General Gates himself, among tlie en- 
closed papers, as well as the account of our successes in 
the rear of the enemy, on the lakes George and Cham- 
plain, by Colonel Brown, who had been detached by Gen- 


eral Lincoln, who is also in General Burgoyne's rear, with 
a strong body of troops. Surrounded, as it is on all sides, 
with little prospect of safe retreat, and a strong army in 
front, growing stronger every day by reinforcements, we 
hope, ere long, to give you information of definitive success 
over the British army in that quarter. An Aid of Gene- 
ral Gates, who brought us these last accounts, says, that by 
the concurring testimony of prisoners, deserters, and some 
of our own people, who escaped from the enemy, their loss 
coidd not be less than one thousand, or twelve hundred 
men, in killed, wounded, and missing ; and that General Bur- 
goyne himself was wounded in the shoulder by a rifle ball. 

In the middle department, the war has been less favor- 
able to us, as you will see by what follows. About the 
middle of August, the British fleet appeared in the Chesa- 
peake Bay, and landed General Howe's army at the head 
of Elk, about fifty miles from Philadelphia. General 
Washington's army, which had crossed the Delaware on 
the embarkation of the British troops, and the appearance 
of the fleet off the Capes of that river, now proceeded to 
meet the enemy, and came up with them near Wilmington. 
After various skirmishes and manoeuvres, a general engage- 
ment took place at Chad's Ford, over the Brandywine, on 
the 1 1 th of September last. This battle terminated in our 
leaving the enemy in possession of the field, with nine 
pieces of our artillery. Our loss in killed, wounded, and 
missing, did not exceed six hundred ; that of the enemy, 
as far as we have been able to get information, was near 
two thousand. An orderly, taken from them since the 
battle, makes it nineteen hundred.* 

* The numbers here mentioned are greatly exaggerated. No accurate 
returns seem to have been made, but the loss was afterwards estimated to 


General Washington retreated across the Scliuylkill, 
and, having refrcslied his army, recrossed that river in two 
days after the Ibrmer battle, with design to attack the ene- 
my, who remained close by the field of action until he came 
up with them again. To be the better prepared for battle, 
and to be guardOd against the consequences of defeat, our 
army marched without baggage, and left their tents behind. 
In this situation, and just in the moment of beginning an 
attack upon the enemy, a heavy, long continued, and cold 
rain, with high wind, came on and prevented it. The am- 
munition in the cartridge boxes was all rendered unfit for 
use, the arms injured, and the troops a good deal hurt and 

In this state of things, it became necessary to retire from 
before the enemy to a place of safety, in order to clean the 
arms, replace the cartridges, and refresh the men. The 
enemy were also without tents ; but they have good blan- 
kets, are better clothed, and have tin receptacles for keep- 
ing dry their cartridges. General Howe, judging of our 
situation, put his army in motion, and endeavored to har- 
rass and distress us, by marches, countermarches, and 
frequent shows of designing to give battle. After a variety 
of manoeuvres, the enemy crossed the Schuylkill below our 
army, and marching to Philadelphia, have possessed them- 
selves of that city. General Washington, having refreshed 
his men, and being reinforced, is moving now towards the 
enemy. This unfortunate rain has injured our affairs con- 
siderably, by having thrown a number of our men into hos- 
pitals, and by the distress and harrassment of the army, 

liave been, on the part of the Americans. 300 kiiled, 600 wounded, and 
400 piisoners, chiefly of the wounded. The British iotii was about 100 
killed, and 400 wounded. Holmes's Annals, 2d Ed. Vol. II. p. 265. 


consequent thereupon. However, they are recovering again, 
and we hope before long will give General Howe reason 
to repent his possession of Philadelphia. The real injury 
to America, from the enemy's possession of that city, is not 
so great as some are apt at first view to imagine, unless 
the report and misconceptions of this rVvattev in Europe, 
should too much dispirit our friends and inspirit our ene- 
mies. But we rely on your careful and just representation 
of this matter, to prevent the ill impressions which it may 
otherwise make. When this contest first began, we fore- 
saw the probability of losing our great towns on the water, 
and so expressly told our enemies, in the address of the 
first Congress ; but we are blessed with an extensive sea 
coast, by which we can convey and receive benefits inde- 
pendent of any particular spot. But it is very far from 
being a clear point to us, that the enemy will be able to 
hold Philadelphia, as we are yet masters of the Delaware 
below, and have hopes of keeping it, so as to prevent the 
British fleet from getting up to the city. Should this be 
the case, General Howe's visit cannot be of long duration. 
You say that the vessels of the United States will be re- 
ceived at the Havanna, as those of France, the most favor- 
ed nation. We wish to be exactly informed whether 
North American products may be carried thither, or prizes 
be taken to, and disposed of, in that port, or any other ports 
of his Catholic Majesty in America. You likewise men- 
tion a late draught of the Mississippi, taken for the govern- 
,ment of Great Britain ; we are desirous of being furnished 
\viih a copy. It is with pleasure we read your assurance 
of sending the soldiers' clothing, and other materials for the 
aiuny, in time to meet the approaching cold season ; they 
will be greatly wanted. 


As the small successes the enemy have met with this 
year will probahly su[)|)ort the hopes of a vindictive Court, 
and occasion the straining of every nerve for the accom- 
plishment of its tyrannic views, we doubt not your most 
strenuous exertions to prevent Great Britain from obtaining 
Russian or German auxiliaries for the next campaign ; and 
we think, with you, that it is an object of the greatest im- 
portance to cultivate and secure the friendship of his Prus- 
sian Majesty, as well for the preventing this evil, as for ob- 
taining his public recognition of our independence, and 
leave of his ports for the purposes of commerce, and dis- 
posal of prizes. 

The original papers, which you mention, in a triplicate, to 
have sent, never came to hand ; so that we can only make 
conjectures as to the disposition of that monarch. The 
marine force of the enemy is so considerable in these seas, 
and so over proportionate to our infant navy, that it seems 
quite necessary and wise to send our ships to distress the 
commerce of our enemies in other parts of the world. 
For this purpose, the Marine Committee have already or- 
dered some vessels to France, under your direction as to 
their future operations, and more, we expect, will be sent. 
But our frigates are not capable of carrying much bulky 
commodity for commercial purposes, without unfitting them 
for war ; besides, diere is the consideration of our being 
obliged to get them away, how, and when we can, or en- 
danger their being taken, which prevents our sending them 
to those staple Colonies, where the commodities wanted 
are to be obtained. The reciprocal benefits of commerce 
cannot flow from, or to North America, until some -mari- 
time power in Europe will aid our cause with marine 
VOL. I. 42 


Strength. And this ch-cumstance gives us pain, lest it should 
be construed as unwillingness on our part to pay our debts, 
when the trudi is, that we have the greatest desire of doing 
so, have materials in abundance, but not the means of con- 
veying them. 

This leads us to reflect on the great advantages, which 
must unavoidably accrue to all parties, if France, or Spain, 
were to afford effectual aid on the sea, by the loan or sale 
of ships of war, according to the former propositions of 
Congress ; or if the Farmer's-General could be prevailed 
upon to receive in America the tobacco, or otlier products 
of this northern Continent, which France may want. 
We are, Sic. &;c. 

R. H. LEE, 

P. S. On the 4th, an engagement between the two 
armies took place near Germantown, the circumstances of 
which may be known by the enclosed papers. 


Yorktown, 6th October, 1777. 

We shall follow your example in confining this letter 
entirely to yours of May 26th, respecting the loan, and the 
mode of raising it by appropriation of vacant land. It 
remains doubtful yet, whether there is any vacant land not 
included within the charter limits of some one of the thirteen 


States ; and it is an undetermined question of great magni- 
tude, whether sucli land is to be considered as common 
stock, or the exclusive property of the State within whose 
charter-bounds it may be found. 

Until this business has been determined in Congress, and 
approved by the States, you will readily discover the diffi- 
culty of doing anything in the way of raising money by 
appropriation of vacant land. We consider your proposal 
on this subject as of very great importance ; and we shall 
not fail to solicit the attention of Congress thereto, whenever 
tlie pressing business of the campaign will permit. 

In the mean time, we see no reason that should prevent 
the young nobleman, of Irish extract, from coming to 
America, because the suspension of the question concern- 
ing vacant lands will not obstruct his views of getting the 
quantity he may want either by original entry, or by pur- 
chase on the most reasonable terms, upon the frontiers of 
those States, where vacant lands are in abundance to be 
met widi. We are warranted to say that such rank, as that 
nobleman may have when he leaves service in Europe, will 
be granted to him here. Congress clearly discern, with 
you, gentlemen, the all important concern of supporting the 
credit of the continental money, and with this view have 
proposed, as you will see by the enclosed resolves, to pay 
the interest of twenty millions of dollars by bills drawn on 

This we hope will in lime replenish the loan offices so 
effectually as, with the aid of taxation now generally taking 
place, to prevent the necessity of future emissions. By your 
letters of the 2;jih of May we have no doubt, but these 
interest bills will be paid with all due punctuality. About 
five millions only of the twenty voted are yet borrowed, 


and the interest on those five will not be drawn for in bills 

till near a twelvemonth. 
We are, &cc. 

R. H. LEE, 


Passy, 7tli October, 1777. 

We received duly your despatches by Mr McCreary, and 
Captain Young, dated May 2d and 30th,*June 13th, I8th, 
26th, and July 2d. The intelligence they contain is 
very particular and satisfactory. It rejoices us to be 
informed, that unanimity continues to reign among the States, 
and that you have so good an opinion of your affairs, in 
which we join with you. We understand that you have 
also written to us of later dates by Captain Holmes. He is 
arrived at Port L'Orient, but being chased, and nearly taken, 
he sunk his despatches. 

We are also of your sentiments, with regard to the inter- 
ests of France, and Spain, respecting our Independence, 
which interests we are persuaded they see as well as we, 
though particular present circumstances induce them to 
postpone the measures, that are proper to secure those inter- 
ests. They continue to hold the same conduct described 
in our last, which went by Wickes and Johnson, a copy 
whereof we send herewith, as Johnson is unfortunately 
taken. We have lately presented an earnest jneinorial to 
both Courts, stating the difficulties of our situation, and 


requesting that if they cannot immediately make a diversion 
in our favor, they would give a subsidy sufHcient to enable 
us to continue the war without them, or afford tlie States 
their advice and influence in making a good peace. 

Our present demand, to enable us to fulfil your orders, is 
for about eisht millions of livres. Couriers, we understand, 
are despatched with this memorial to Madrid by both the 
ambassador of Spain and the minister here ; and we are 
desired to wail with patience the answer, as the two Courts 
must act together. In the meantime, they give us fresh 
assurances of their good will to our cause, and we have just 
received a fourth sum of five hundred thousand livres. 
But we are continually charged to keep the aids, that are, 
or may be afforded us, a dead secret, even from the Con- 
gress, where they suppose England has some intelligence ; 
and they wish she may have no certain proofs to produce 
against them, with the other powers of Europe. The 
apparent necessity of your being informed of the true state 
of your affairs, obliges us to dispense with this injunction ; 
but we entreat that the greatest care may be taken that no 
part of it shall transpire ; nor of the assurances we have 
received, that no repayment will ever be required from us, 
of what has been already given us, either in money or mili- 
tary stores. The great desire here seems to be, that Eng- 
land should strike first, and not be able to give her allies a 
good reason. 

The total failure of remittances from you, for a long time 
past, has embarrassed us exceedingly ; the contracts we 
entered into for clothing and arms, in expectation of those 
remittances, and which are now beginning to call for pay- 
ment, distress us much, and we are in imminent danger of 
bankruptcy ; for all your agents are in the same situation. 


and they all recur to us to save their and your credit. We 
were obliged to discharge a debt of Myrtle's, at Bordeaux, 
amounting to about five thousand livres, to get that vessel 
away, and he now duns us at every post for between four 
and five thousand pounds sterling, to disengage him in Hol- 
land, where he has purchased arms for you. With the 
same view of saving your credit, Mr Ross was furnished 
with twenty thousand pounds sterling, to disentangle him. 
All the captains of your armed vessels come to us for their 
supplies, and we have not received a farthing of the pro- 
duce of their prizes, as they are ordered into other hands. 
Mr Hodge has had large sums of us. 

But to give you some idea for the present, till a more per- 
fect account can be rendered of the demands upon us, of 
what we have paid, we enclose a sketch for your perusal ; 
and shall only observe, that we have refused no applica- 
tion, in which your credit appeared to be concerned, except 
one from the creditors of a Mr Ceronio, said to be your 
agent in Hispaniola, but of whom we had no knowledge ; 
and we had reason to hope, that you would have been 
equally ready to support our credit, as we have been yours, 
and from the same motives, the good of the public, for 
whom we are all acting, the success of our business depend- 
ing considerably upon it. 

We are sorry, therefore, to find all the world acquainted 
here, that the Commissioners from Congress have not so 
much of your regard as to obtain the change of a single 
agent, who disgraces us all. We say no more of this at 
present; contenting ourselves with the consciousness, that 
we reconimended that change from the purest motives, and 
that the necessity of it, and oiu- uprightness in proposing it, 
will soon fully appear. 


Messrs Gardoqui, at Bilboa, have sent several cargoes 
of naval stores, cordage, sailcloth, anchors, inc. for the pub- 
lic use, consigned to Elbridge Gerry. They complain, 
that they have no acknowledgment from that gentleman 
of the goods being received, though tliey know that the 
vessels arrived. We have excused it to them, on the sup- 
position of his being absent at Congress. We wish such 
acknowledgments may be made, accompanied with some 
expressions of gratitude towards those from whom the sup- 
plies come, without mentioning who they are supposed to 
be. You mention the arrival of the Amphitritc and Mer- 
cury, but say nothing of the cargoes. 

Mr Hodge is discharged from his imprisonment, on our 
solicitation, and his papers restored to him ; he was well 
treated while in the Bastile. The charge against him was, 
deceiving the government in fitting out Cunningham from 
Dunkirk, who was represented as going on some trading 
voyage ; but, as soon as he was out, began a cruise on the 
British coast, and took six sail. He is got safe into Ferrol. 

We have received and delivered the commissions to Mr 
William Lee, and Mr Izard. No letters came with them 
for these gentlemen, witli information how they are to be 
supported on their stations. We suppose they write to 
you, and will acquaint you with their intentions. 

Some propositions are privately communicated to us, 
said to be on the part of Russia, for forming a commercial 
company at Embden. We shall put them into the hands 
of Mr Lee. 

We do not see a probability of our obtaining a loan of 
two millions sterling, from any of the money holders in 
Europe, till our affairs are, in their opinion, more firmly 
established. What may be obtained from the two crowns, 


either as loan or subsidy, we shall probably know on the 
return of the couriers, and we hope we shall be able to 
write more satisfactory on those heads by Captain Young, 
who will, by that time, be ready to return. 

With the greatest respect, we have the honor to be, Sic. 



Yorktown, 18th October, 1777. 

We have the pleasure of enclosing to you the copy of a 
letter from General Gates, containing the circumstances of 
a victory gained over General Burgoyne, on the 7th. This 
event must defeat the main views of General Clinton, in 
proceeding up Hudson's river. He has, it is true, got pos- 
session of fort Montgomery, but with much loss, as we 
hear. Though the enemy should boast much of this acqui- 
sition, yet we are persuaded the consequences will be very 
litde profitable to them, as Governor Clinton, of New York, 
and his brother General James Clinton, are acting vigor- 
ously in concert with General Putnam, who commands in 
that quarter. 

, Our army under General Washington is numerous and 
in high spirits, while General Howe is busied in forming 
obstructions in the roads leading to the city of Philadelphia, 
by which he supports the hopes of keeping our troops from 
routing him out of his stolen quarters. The enclosed 
resolves need no comment from us, being sufficient of 


themselves to determine your coiuiuct in tlie points to which 
they relate. It is with concern we find, that British prop- 
erly has lately been covered by conveyance in French 
bottoms, which practice pursued, and American search dis- 
liked by France, it is obvious, that the most vulnerable part 
ol Great Britain, her commerce, will be secured against ns, 
and that by the intervention of our professed friends. We 
desire, therefore, gentlemen, that you will confer with the 
ministers of France on this subject, and satisfy them of the 
propriety, and even the necessity which there is, that either 
this commerce should be prohibited, or that the United 
States be at liberty to search into, and make distinctions 
between the bottom and the enemy's property conveyed in 
that bottom. 

To prevent ill impressions being made, by a number of 
officers who are returning to France, we think it proper to 
observe, that without totally deranging and risking even the 
annihilation of the American armies, it was not possible to 
provide for many of those gentlemen in the manner they 
wished, and which some of them had stipulated for, pre- 
vious to their leaving France. We have done all in our 
power to prevent discontent, but no doubt there will be 
some, whose dissatisfactions will produce complaints, and 
perhaps misrepresentations. You will be guarded on this 
head, and represent our conduct as founded solely on the 
necessity of our situation. 

We have the honor to be, kc. 

R. H. LEE, 

VOL. I. 43 



York, 31st October, 1777. 


We have the pleasure to enclose to you the capitulation 
by which General Burgoyne and his whole army surren- 
dered themselves prisoners of war. This great event 
might have been still greater, had not the operations on the 
Hudson river, below Albany, rendered it probable, that Sir 
Henry Clinton might come to the relief of General Bur- 
goyne, as he had urged his way up to within fortyfour miles 
of Albany, at which place were lodged the principal maga- 
zines of war and provisions for our northern army. Gene- 
ral Gates is now moving down the north river, having sent 
General Stark with two thousand brave men, to reduce 
Ticonderoga and the passes yet occupied by the enemy on 
lake George. 

General Howe is yet at Philadelphia, but whether he will 
be able to continue there, may be judged from a considera- 
tion of General Burgoyne's surrender, from the hitherto 
tinavailing efforts of the enemy to get their fleet up to the 
city, from General Washington's being with a good army 
now near Germantown, and closing upon the enemy's lines, 
which run across the commons by Philadelphia, as we are 
informed, from Delaware to Schuylkill. 

After many smaller attempts liad been made in vain, 
upon fort Island and the chevaux de frize, a general and 
very powerful attack was made upon the 22d and 23d of 
this month, on Red Bank, by twelve hundred Hessians, 
and on Fort Island, by several ships of war, which approached 
as near as the chevaux de frize would admit, and by fire 


from batteries erected on Province Island, The Hessians 
were led on by Count Donop, Colonel Commandant. 
They attempted the place by storm, and were repulsed with 
the loss of seventy dead on the spot, and seventyeight pris- 
oners wounded ; among the latter, arc Colonel Donop, and 
his aid major. Among the former, are n Lieutenant Colo- 
v,c\, and some inferior officers. From the ships and Pro- 
vince Island batteries, a furious cannonade was long con- 
tinued, and warmly returned by fort Mifflin and the gallies. 
At length the ships were obliged to retire with the loss of 
two, which the enemy set on fire themselves, and which 
were thus blown up. These two arc said to be the Au- 
gusta, of sixtyfour guns, and the Liverpool frigate. The 
names of the ships wc cannot be sure of yet, but, that two 
men of war were destroyed is certain, and being desirous 
of giving you the most early information of the great events 
at the northward, we shall be more particular about the 
Delaware business hereafter. We rely on your wisdom 
and care to make the best and most immediate use of this 
intelligence, to depress our enemies, and produce essential 
aid to our cause in Europe. 

The public acknowledgment of the independence of 
these United States, would be attended with beneficial con- 
sequences, and whilst we proceed with diligence and care 
to profit from our advantages, we are sensible how essen- 
tial European aid must be to the final establishment and 
security of American freedom and independence. We arc 
in daily expectation of hearing from you, which wc have not 
done since May last. 

As some of our frigates arc ordered to France, under 
your after direction, we hope to hear in due time, that 
more effectual distress has been conveyed to the commerce 


of our enemies. It is a pity that some of their towns should 
not be made to suffer for the licentious confla2,rations, which 
have been kindled by them in America. 
We have the honor to be, &6c. 

R. H. LEE, 


York, 8th November, 1777. 

At the time tiiis will be delivered to you, bills of exchange 
will also be presented for your acceptance, drawn by Henry 
Laurens, of Charleston, South Carolina, who was elected 
President of the Continental Congress, on the first day of 
this month, of which we thought proper to give you thus 
early information, that you may duly honor his draughts, 
the particulars of which we shall forward speedily by 
another opportunity, concluding with much regard, &tc. 

R. H. LEE, 


Passy, 30th November, 1777. 


In a former letter we acquainted you, that we had 

engaged an officer, one of the most skilful in naval affairs 

this country possessed, to build us a frigate in Holland, on 

a new construction (drafts of which we sent you) and to go 


over in lier to Aiuerica, and enter your service. The frig- 
ate is almost finislied. She is very large, is to carry thirty 
24 pounders, on one deck, and is supposed equal to a 
ship of the line. But the infinite dilhcullies we find iu 
equipping and manning such a ship in any neutral port, 
under the restrictions of treaties, together with the want of 
supplies from you, have induced us to sell her to the king, 
who, by a large pension ofiered to our officer, has engaged 
him to remain in his service, and pays us what we have 
expended on her. 

VVc have built a small frigate at Nantes, which we hope 
to get away soon, laden with supplies of various sorts. We 
meet with difficulties too in shipping arms and ammunition 
in her, but hope they will be surmoimted. Several other 
vessels, some under the direction of iMr Ross, others belong- 
ing to French merchants, are almost ready to sail for Amer- 
ica, and we had thoughts of sending them in a little fleet, 
under convoy of the Raleigh, and Alfred, but on consulta- 
tion, considering the spies maintained by England in all 
the ports, and thence the impossibility of making up such a 
fleet, without its being known, so as to give time for a super- 
ior force to be in wait for it, we concluded the chance 
belter of their going off singly, as they should be ready. 
In these vessels are clothes, ready made, for thirty thou- 
sand men, besides arms, cloths, linens, and naval stores 
10 a great amount, bought up by us and Mr Ross. The 
private adventures will also be very considerable. And as 
we shall continue our endeavor to complete your orders, 
we hope that if the ships have common success in passing, 
)ou will be better provided for the next campaign, than you 
have been for any of the preceding. 

How we are enabled to make these supplies, must be a 


matter of some surprise to you, when you reflect that little 
or nothing from you has been received by us, since what 
came by Captain Wickes, till now by the arrival of the 
Amphitrite, and that the seeming uncertainty of your public 
affairs has prevented hitherto our obtaining the loan pro- 
posed. We have however found, or made some friends, 
who have helped, and will, we are confident, continue to 
help us. 

Being anxious for supporting the credit of Congress' 
paper money, we procured a fund for payment of the interest 
of all the Congress had proposed to borrow. And we men- 
tioned in several of our letters, that we should be ready to 
pay all bills drawn for the discharge of such interest, to the 
full value in money of France, that is, five iivres for eveiy 
dollar of interest due. We were persuaded, that thus fixing 
the value of the interest would fix the value of the principal, 
and consequently of the whole mass. We hope this will 
be approved, though we have yet no answer. We cannot 
apply that fund to any other purpose, and therefore wish to 
know as soon as may be, the resolution of Congress upon it. 
Possibly none of those letters had reached you, or your ans- 
wers have miscarried ; for the interruptions of our corres- 
pondence have been very considerable. Adams, by whom 
we wrote early this summer, was taken on this coast, hav- 
ing sunk his despatches. We hear that Hammond shared 
the same fate on your coast. Johnson, by whom we wrote 
in September, was taken, going out of the channel, and poor 
Captain Wickes, who sailed at the same time, and had dupli- 
cates, we just now hear foundered near Newfoundland, 
every man perishing but the cook. This loss is extremely 
to be lamented, as he was a gallant officer, and a very wor- 
thy man. Your despatches also, which were coming by a 


small sloop from Morris's River, and by the Mere Bobie 
packet, were both sunk, on those vessels being boarded by 
English men of war. 

The Amphitrite's arrival, with a cargo of rice and indigo, 
near one thousand barrels of the one, and twenty of the 
other, is a seasonable supply to us for our support ; we 
not having for some time past, (as you will see by our for- 
mer letters) any expectations of further supplies from Mr 
Morris ; and though we live here with as much frugality as 
possible, the unavoidable expenses, and the continual 
demands upon us for assistance to Americans, who escape 
from English prisons, 8ic. &tc. endangered our being brought 
to great dilUculties for subsistence. The freight of that 
ship too calls for an enormous sum, on account of her long 

VV'e begin to be much troubled with complaints of our 
armed vessels taking the ships and merchandise of neutral 
nations. From Holland, they complain of the taking of 
the sloop Chester, Captain Bray, belonging to Rotterdam, 
by two privateers of Charleston, called the Fair Ameri- 
can and the Experiment ; from Cadiz, of the taking the 
French ship Fortune, Captain Kenguen, by the Civil 
Usage privateer, having on board Spanish property ; and 
here, of the taking the Emperor of Germany, from Cork, 
with beef, belonging to the marine of France, just off the 
mouth of Bordeaux river. We send herewith the papers 
we have received, and answers given, relating to those cap- 
tures, and we earnestly request, that if upon fair trials it 
shall appear Uiat die allegations are true, speedy justice 
may be done, and restitution made to the reclaimants, it 
being of the utmost consequence to our affairs in Europe, 
that we should wipe off the aspersions of our enemies, who 


proclaim us every where as pirates, and endeavor to excite 
all the world against us. 

The Spanish affair has already had very ill effects at that 
Court, as we learn hy the return of the courier mentioned 
in our last. We have, by letters to our correspondents at 
the several ports, done all in our power to prevent such 
mischiefs for the future, a copy of which we herewith send 
you. The European maritime powers embarrass them- 
selves, as well as us, by the double part their politics oblige 
them to act ; being in their hearts our friends, and wishing 
us success, they would allow us every use of their ports 
consistent with their treaties, or that we can make of them 
without giving open cause of complaint to England : and it 
being so difficult to keep our privateers within those bounds, 
we submit it to consideration, whether it would not be bet- 
ter to forbear cruising on their coasts, and bringing prizes 
in here, till an open war takes place, which, though by no 
means certain, seems every now and then to be apprehend- 
ed on both sides ; witness among other circumstances, the 
recall of their fishing ships by France, and the king of 
England's late speech. In consequence of this embarrass- 
ed conduct, our prizes cannot be sold publicly, of which 
the purchasers take advantage in beating down the price, 
and sometimes the Admiralty Courts are obliged to lay 
hold of them in consequence of orders from Court, obtain- 
ed by the English Ambassador. Our people, of course, 
complain of this as unfriendly treatment; and as we must 
not counteract the Court in the appearances they seem in- 
clined to put on towards England, we cannot set our folks 
right by acquainting them with the essential services our 
cause is continually receiving from this nation, and we are 
apprehensive, that resentment of that supposed unkind 



usage may induce some of them to make reprisals, and 
thereby occasion a deal of mischief. You will see some 
reason for this apprehension, in the letter* from Captain 
Babson, which we send you herewith, relating to their two 
prizes confiscated here for false entries, and afterwards de- 
livered up to the British, for which, however, we have 
hopes of obtaining full satisfaction, having already a prom- 
ise of part. 

The king of England's Speech blusters towards these 
kingdoms, as well as towards us. He pretends to great 
resolution, both of continuing this war, and of making two 
others, if they give him occasion. It is conceived he will, 
with difficulty, find men and money for another campaign 
of that already on his hands ; and all the world sees it is 
not for want of will, that he jiuts up with the daily known 
advantages afforded us by his neighbors. They, however, 
we have reason to believe, will not begin the quarrel as 
long as they can avoid it, nor give us any open assistance 
of ships or troops. Indeed, we are scarce allowed to 
know that they give us any aids at all, but are left to imag- 
ine, if we please, that the cannon, arms, &;:c, which we 
have received and sent, are the effects of private benevo- 
lence and generosity. We have, nevertheless, the strongest 
reasons to confide, that the same generosity will continue ; 
and it leaves America the glory of working out her deliver- 
ance by her own virtue and bravery, on which, with God's 
blessing, we advise you chiefly to depend. 

You will see by the papers, and a letter of intelligence 
from London, that the continuance of the war is warmly 
condemned in Parliament, by their wisest and best men in 
the debates on the Speech ; but the old corrupt majority 

* Missing. 

VOL. I. 44 


continues to vote, as usual, with the Ministers. In order 
to lessen their credit for the new loans, we have caused the 
paper, which we formerly mentioned, to be translated and 
printed in French and Dutch, by our agent in Holland. 
When it began to have a run there, the Government forbad 
the further publication, but the prohibition occasions it to 
be more sought after, read, and talked of. 

The monument for General Montgomery is finished, and 
gone to Havre, in nine cases, to lie for a conveyance. It 
is plain, but elegant, being done by one of the best artists 
here, who complains that the three hundred guineas allow- 
ed him is too lltde ; and we are obliged to pay the addition- 
al charges of package, he. We see, in the papers, that 
you have voted other monuments, but we have received no 
orders relating to them. 

The Raleigh and Alfred will be well fitted and furnished 
with every thing they wanted, the Congress' part of the 
produce of their prizes being nearly equal to their demands. 
Be pleased to present our dutiful respects to the Congress, 
and assure them of our most faithful services. 
We have the honor to be, &c. 



York, 1st December, 1777. 

As we wish the subject of this letter to be well attended 
to and understood, we shall confine ourselves entirely to 


the business of such Frencli gentlemen as have returned 
without getting emi)loyment in North America, and par- 
ticularly those of Mons. Du Coudray's corps. Whatever 
may be the clamor excited by discontent, we think that a 
candid consideration of our circumstances, and what Con- 
gress have really done, will fully justify them in the eyes of 
reasonable men. We will observe, in the first place, that 
of all those who have returned, not one came here at the 
request of Congress ; that they have cost the States a very 
large sum of money, and that the circumstances of affairs 
would not permit any benefit to be drawn from them here. 

It was necessary, previous to the opening of the cam- 
paign, that the affairs of the army should be arranged, offi- 
cers appointed, and every thing systematically made ready 
for the serious business that was approaching. At this 
time, il was not known by Congress or the Commander in 
Chief, that such a character as Mons. Coudray (under 
such agreements as he brought over w ith him) was to visit 
us. The best that could be done was therefore under- 
taken, and General Knox, the fadier of the American ar- 
tillery, was appointed to that command, and all the other 
divisions of the army were filled with Major Generals. In 
this state of things arrived General Du Coudray, with an 
agreement by which he was to command the artillery, and 
the greatest part of the Major Generals of the army, by 
being of older commission. A plentiful crop of resigna- 
tions began presently to sprout up, and the whole army must 
have been deranged and thrown into confusion, just in the 
opening of a campaign, or this agreement not accorded to 
in the whole. 

But Mons. Du Coudray would have every thing or 
nothing. An inflexible ambition, that paid no regard to the 


situation and circumstances ol'lhe arn)y, woujtl be gratitied. 
This produced a scene of contention, which was not ended 
when the unfortunate General was drowned in the Schuyl- 
kill, going to join the army. Immediately on his death, the 
rest of his coips would return to France, and in this dispo- 
sition Congress endeavored to render things as agreeable 
to them as possible, having some regard to the interest of 
the public which they serve. It is very true, that a con- 
currence of causes, such as the removal from Philadelphia, 
the time that elapsed before business was gone regularly 
into again, and the multiplicity of public afTairs, did t)cca- 
sion some delay in settling with these gentlemen ; but this 
was a loss to the community more than to them, because 
their pay was continued to the last. And you will see by 
the papers enclosed, that ample allowances have been made 
for their expenses to the shipping port, for passage to 
France, and travel to Paris. 

It has been already observed, that Mons. Du Coudray's 
desire could not be complied with, v^ithout producing very 
injurious consequences. All the other officers were offer- 
ed admittance into the army, according to the ranks stipu- 
lated fo r with Mr S. Deane ; but to avoid certain murmurs 
and discontent, by difference of pay in the army, they were 
offered the pay and rations of continental officers of similar 
rank. This they rejected ; and when the mischief of a 
difierence of pay was removed by their determination to 
return to France, they were paid their livres complete, with 
all their gratifications as agreed for, their expenses and pas- 
sages being also fully satisfied. Upon the whole, we beg 
leave to refer you to the enclosed papers for more minute 
information in this business, where we think you will find 
documents sufficient to convince unprejudiced and reason- 


able men, that Congress have done all they could, or ought 
in duty to the public to have done, for the entire satisfaction 
of these gentlemen. And we hope you will be enabled 
thereby to obviate any ill impressions, which may be at- 
tempted to be made by some of these officers ; we say by 
some, because we believe the more reasonable among thein 
are satisfied. 

We have the honor to be, &ic. 

R. H. LEE, 


York, 2d December, 1777. 


Since ours, of October the 31st, the enemy have by 
repeated efforts at last overcome our defences on the Dela- 
ware below Philadelphia, and we hear they have got up 
some vessels to the city. But we incline to think they will 
yet be interrupted much in their operations on tlie river, 
by the chevaux dc frize and the cold weather. We are 
just informed by General Gates, that the garrisons of Ti- 
conderoga and Mount Independence have destroyed the 
works and the buildings, and precipitately retreated across 
Lake Champlain to Isle aux Noix and St. Johns, taking 
with them only the brass artillery, powder, and provisions. 
The heavy stores they threw into the lake. 

If the campaign should close at this period, (and if it 
does, it will bp for want of clothes and blankets, for 
both of which we are in great distress, having received very 


(ew) the enemy will have little to boast of. They began it 
with two armies, one of which has been repeatedly beaten, 
and at length compelled to lay down its arms and surrender 
on terms. The other, after various chances, in which fortune 
more than any thing else has been its protection, has at 
length possessed itself of Philadelphia. We say fortune has 
protected the army of General Howe, and we have good rea- 
son for saying so, when the fact is, that at the battle of Ger- 
mantown the enemy were actually defeated,* and accident 
alone prevented a total and irreparable overthrow. It 
would have been otherwise had our young troops possessed 
that calmness of discipline and self recollection, which is 
habitual to veteran armies. The acquisition of Philadel- 
phia, which Mr Howe holds at present by a very precari- 
ous tenure, cannot have cost hlrn in the whole fewer than 
four thousand men, since they landed at the head of Elk ; 
and we know they have lost two ships of war before Fort 
Mifflin, one a sixtyfour gun ship, the other a frigate. 

General Washington's army, about eighteen thousand 
strong, is now about fourteen miles from Philadelphia, and 
the enemy have fortified themselves in the best manner 
they can, in and near the city, by double lines from Dela- 
ware to Schuylkill, across the common. The mancEuvres 
about New York exhibit proofs of apprehension for the 
safety of that place, because the enemy have evacuated and 
destroyed their post at Fort Independence above King's 
Bridge, and have drawn in all their outposts to concentrate 
their strength, and secure, if they can, their hold of the city 

• This language is too strong. As the British kept possession of the 
ground, fhey could hardly he said to have been defeated. They were 
attacked with spirit, and for a time gave way to General Washington's 


of New York. We hope before the opening of the next 
campaign, to put Hudson's River into a state inaccessible 
to the enemy's ships of war, and thereby to render their 
enterprises on that quarter extremely difficult and danger- 
ous to them. 

We have now given you an exact account of our military 
situation. With respect to our civil state, we would ac- 
quaint you that Congress have passed the confederation, 
and sent it to the different States, with strong recommenda- 
tions to give it speedy consideration and return. Exten- 
sive taxation is also recommended, and seems to be univer- 
sally adopting. You will readily imagine, gentlemen, that 
our extensive operations have produced great expense, as 
our inexperience in war has not furnished us with that sys- 
tematic economy, which is so necessary and so well under- 
stood by European nations. We shall have emitted twenty 
eight millions of dollars by the close of this year, exclusive 
of Pro%-incial currency. The quantity is too great, and of 
course the quality is injured. The slow operations of taxes 
will not afford adequate remedy, and the offer of sterling in- 
terest does not fill the loan offices so quickly, as the necessary 
expenses call for supply. If a loan of two millions sterling 
could be obtained, the high exchange would enable Con- 
gress, by drawing on that fund, to call so large a quantity 
of paper presently out of circulation, as to appreciate the 
rest, and give time for taxation to work a radical cure. 
Without this remedy of the evil, ver)' pernicious consequen- 
ces may follow ere long. 

Our situation is rendered still worse by the impossibility 
of supplying such products as America has largely in store, 
and which are now greatly wanted in Europe, viz. tobacco, 
naval stores, rice, indigo, k.c. The great superiority of 


the enemy's naval fleet makes it Impossible to send those 
products in any quantity to sea, with a tolerable prospect of 
safety. Thus we are prevented from sending you the five 
thousand hogsheads of tobacco, which you have contracted 
for, and which Congress has directed to be sent ; although 
several thousands have, for some time past, been purchased 
for payment of our debts in France. The good intentions 
of our friends in that country are almost entirely frustrated, 
by the exertions of the whole power of our enemies by sea, 
to prevent our sending to, or receiving from Europe, any 
thing whatever. A war in Europe would greatly and im- 
mediately change the scene. The maritime force of 
France and Spain, with the American cruisers, would 
quickly lessen the power of Great Britain in the Western 
ocean, and make room for the reciprocal benefits of com- 
merce between us and our friends. 

We have not been favored with a line from you since 
the 25th of May, which we lament exceedingly, but of 
which we cannot complain, since we doubt not but you have 
written, although we have not been so fortunate as to re- 
ceive your letters. We had reason from your promise to 
expect a monthly packet, and this expectation prevented 
us from looking out so early as we should have done for a 
vessel or two from . We have heard, with pleas- 

ure, by means of ]\Ir Carmichael, through Mr. Bingham, 
that Mr Lee had successfully accomplished his business at 
the Court of Prussia.* 

We remember that you informed us, the object which 
carried him to Berlin was, besides procuring that Prince's 
acknowledgment of our independence, obtaining open ports 
for our commerce, and the liberty of selling our prizes 

* This was a mistake. 


therein. We hope the interference of that powerful Prince 
will effectually prevent Russian or German auxiliaries, from 
being sent hither by Great Britain. 

As the Marine Committee have already sent some, and 
will order more, of the continental ships of war to France 
under your directions, permit us to suggest an expedition, 
which appears likely to benefit us and distress the enemy. 
We are informed, that two or three well manned frigates, 
despatched early in February, so as to arrive at the Island of 
Mauritius in June, being provided with letters of credence, 
and for such refreshments, or aid of stores, Sec. as may be 
necessary from the minister to the French Governor of that 
Island, may go thence to cruise on the coast of Coromandel, 
twenty days sail from the Island of ^Mauritius, where they 
will be in the way to intercept the China ships, besides dis- 
tressing the internal trade of India. The prizes may be 
sold at Mauritius, and bills of exchange be remitted to you 
in Paris. Wc would observe, that in passing to JMauritius 
our vessels had better call at Goree, than at the Cape, to 
avoid the vigilance and the apprehensions of the British 
cruisers. Another beneficial attempt may be conducted 
along the coast of Africa. The French and Dutch settle- 
ments, and perhaps the Portuguese, will purchase the prizes 
and give bills on Europe. 

We think your plan of getting one of the now constructed 
ships of war, equal to one of sixty four guns, built for the use 
of these States in Europe, is a very good one, and it mav be 
employed to very beneficial purposes. The heavy iron can- 
non, which you propose to send, will be welcome for fortifica- 
tions and for vessels ; and here they cost abundantly more 
than you can furnish them for from Europe, besides the 
VOL. I. 45 


delay in getting them, which frequently distresses us greatly- 
And surely your determination to supply us with materials 
wanted here for shipbuilding, is very wise, since it is by 
marine force, that the most destructive wound may be given 
to our enemies. 

We are directed to point out proper ports into which the 
stores mentioned in the resolve of Congress, of November 
tenth, may be imported.* We are obliged to own, that the 
port of Charleston South Carolina, and those to the east- 
ward of Rhode Island, are the only safe ones. We wish 
the number of manufacturers in lead and sulphur, had been 
limited in that same resolve ; but we place full confidence 
in your discretion. We shall be glad to receive from you 
by the first opportunity, a plan of the militia of Su'itzerland. 

We close with a desire, that you will be pleased to attend 

* The following resolve was passed in Congress, November 10th, 1777. 

" Resolved, That the Committee of Foreign Affairs be directed to write 
to the commissioners of the United States, in France and Spain, to pur- 
chase and ship on continental account, in armed vessels, in addition to 
what has heretofore been ordered by Congress, 500 tons of lead, 400 
tons of powder, one million of gun flints, tents for 50,000 men, and 
10,000 yards of flannel for cartridges, to be sent to such ports and places 
as the said committee shall direct; and that the former orders of Con- 
gress, and of the commercial committee for clothing, fire-arms, equipage, 
brass field-pieces, salt, and other articles, and for 130,000 blankets, be 
completed as soon as may be ; 

" That th^ committee be also directed to write to the commissioners, 
and instruct them to contract with, and send over, by difierent convey- 
ances, two or three persons, well acquainted with the making of gun- 
flints, in order to instruct persons in that business, and introduce into 
these States so useful a manufacture; likewise, three or more proper 
persons, skilful in working lead mines and refining lead ore, and three 
or more persons skilful in the discovery of sulphur mines, and manu- 
facturing .nnd refining sulphur. " 


to the several matters contained in our former letters, copies 
of which do not lia|)pen to be nt hand. 

VV'e arc, with much esteem, &ic. 

R. H. LEE, 

TO THK committee: of foreign affairs. 

Paris, 18th December, 1777. 


Since our last, of November oOth, a copy of which is 
herewith sent you, we received your despatches of Octo- 
ber Gdi, from Vorktown. They came to us by a packet 
from Boston, which brought the great news of Burgoyne's 
defeat and surrender ; news that apparently occasioned as 
much general joy in France, as if it had been a victory of 
their own troops over their own enemies, such is the uni- 
versal, warm, and sincere good will and attachment to us 
and our cause in this nation. 

We took the opportunity of pressing the ministry, by a 
short memorial, to the conclusion of our proposed treaty, 
which had so long been under their consideration, and been 
from time to time postponed. A meeting was had accord- 
ingly, on Friday the 1 2th instant, in which some difficulties 
were mentioned and removed, some explications asked and 
given, to satisHiction. As the concurrence of Spain is 
necessary, we were told that a courier should be despatched 
the next day to obtain it, which we are since assured was 
done, and in three weeks from the time the answer was 

On signifying to the ministry the importance it might he 
of, at this juncture, when probably Britain would be making 


some propositions of accommodation, that tiie Congress 
should be informed explicitly what might be expected from 
France and Spain, M. Gerard, one of the secretaries, 
came yesterday to inform us, by order of the king, that 
after long and full consideration of our affairs and propo- 
sitions, in council, it was decided, and his majesty was 
determined to acknowledge our independence, and make a 
treaty with us of amity and commerce ; that in this treaty 
no advantage would be taken of our present situation, to 
obtain terms from us, which otherwise would not be con- 
venient for us to agree to ; his majesty desiring that the 
treaty, once made, should be durable, and our amity sub- 
sist forever ; which could not be expected, if each nation did 
not find its interest in the continuance, as well as in the 
commencement of it. It was therefore his intention, that 
the terms of the treaty should be such as we might be will- 
ing to agree to, if our State had been long since established, 
and in the fulness of strength and power, and such as we 
shall approve of when that time shall come. That his 
majesty was fixed in his determination, not only to acknow- 
ledge, but to support, our independence, by every means in 
his power. That in doing this, he might, probably, soon be 
engaged in a war, with all the expenses, risks, and damages, 
usually attending it, yet he should not expect any compen- 
sation from us on that account, nor pretend that he acted 
wholly for our sakes; since, besides his real good will to 
us and our cause, it was manifestly the interest of France, 
that the power of England should be diminished by our 
separation from it. He should, moreover, not so much as 
insist, that if he engaged in a war with England on our 
account, we should not make a separate peace ; he would 
have us be at full liberty to make a peace for ourselves, 


whenever good and advantageous terms were ofiered to us. 
The only condition he should require and rely on would be 
ihis, that we, in no peace to be made with England, should 
give up our independence, and return to tlie obedience of 
that government. That as soon as the courier returned 
from Spain, with the concurrence expected, the affair 
would be proceeded in and concluded ; and of this we 
might give the Congress the strongest assurances in our 
despatches, only cautioning them to keep the wjjole, for the 
present, a dead secret, as Spain had three reasons for not 
mimediately declaring ; her money fleet not yet come 
home ; her Brazil army and fleet the same ; and her 
peace with Portugal not yet quite completed ; but these 
obstacles would, probably, soon be removed. 

We answered, that in what had been communicated to 
us we perceived, and admired equally the king's magna- 
nimity and his wisdom ; that he would find us faithful and 
firm allies, and we wished, with his majesty, that the amity 
between the two nations might be eternal. And, mention- 
ing that republics were usually steady in their engagements, 
for instance, the Swiss cantons, the Secretary remarked, 
that France had been as steady with regard to them, two 
hundred years having passed since their first alliance for 
fifty years had commenced, wliich had been renewed from 
time to time ; and such had been her uniform good faith 
toward them, that, as it appeared in the last renewal, the 
Protestant cantons were free from their ancient prejudices 
and suspicions, and joined readily with the rest in the league 
of which we herewith send you a copy. 

It is sometime since we obtained a promise of an addi- 
tional aid of three million of livres, whicii we shall receive in 
January. Spain, we ai'e told, will give an equal sum ; but 


finding it inconvenient to remit it here, she purposes send- 
ing it from the Havanna, in specie, to the Con2;ress. What 
we receive here will help to get us out of debt. Our ves- 
sels laden v»ith supplies have, by various means, been 
delayed, particularly by fear of falling into the hands of the 
British cruising ships, which sv^rarm in the bay and chan- 
nel. At length, it is resolved tiiat they shall sail together, 
as they are all provided for defence, and we have obtained 
a king's ship to convoy them out of the channel, and we 
hope quite to America. They will carry, we think, to 
the amount of seventy thousand pounds sterling, and sail in 
a fev/ days. 

Also, in consideration of the late frequent losses of our 
despatches, and the importance of the present, we have 
applied for, and obtained a frigate to carry them. 

These extraordinary favors, of a nature provoking to 
Great Britain, are marks of the sincerity of this Court, and 
seem to demand the thanks of the Congress. We have 
accepted five bills, drawn on us by the President, in favor 
of some returned officers, and shall pay them punctually. 
But, as we receive no remittances for our support, and the 
cargo in the Amphitrite is claimed from us by M. Bcau- 
marchais, and we are not certain that we can keep it, wo 
hope Congress will be sparing in their drafts, except for 
the interest mentioned in our former letters, of which we 
now repeat the assurances of payment ; otherwise, we may 
bo much embarrassed, and our situation rendered very 

It is said, the French 7\mbassador at London has 
desired to be recalled, being affronted there, where the late 
news from America has created a violent ferment. There 
is also a talk here of Lord Stormont's recall. The stocks 


in England fiill last, and, on both sides, there is every 
appearance of an approaching war. Being informed, by 
the concurring reports of many who had escaped, that our 
people, prisoners in England, are treated with great inhu- 
manity, we have written a letter of expostulation on that 
subject to Lord North, which is sent over by a person 
express, whom we have instructed to visit the prisoners, 
and, (under the directions of ]Mr Hartley) to relieve as 
much as may be the most necessitous. We shall here- 
after acquaint you with the result. 

The expenses we are put to by those who get to us are 
very considerable. The supplies now going out from 
hence, and what we have sent, and are sending from Spain, 
though far short of your orders, (which we have executed 
as far as we are able) will, we hope, with private adven- 
tures encouraged by us and others, put you into pretty 
good circumstances as to clothing, arms, Sec. if they 
arrive, and we shall continue to send, as ability and oppor- 
tunity may permit. 

Please to present our duty to the Congress, and believe 
us, with sincere esteem, he. 


FROM thf: committef. of foukign affairs to the 


Vorlc, 12tl. January, 1778. 

Not having received any letters from you since the 2Gth 
of May, we were severely chagrined yesterday, upon the 


arrival of Captain John Folger, who, under the name of des- 
patches from the Commissioners at Paris, delivered only an 
enclosure of clean paper, with some familiar letters, none of 
which contained any political intelligence. You will see, 
by the within examination of Folger, that he was by no 
means a discreet person, fit to have the charge of what you 
trusted to him ; but we cannot yet prove that he was wil- 
fully connected with the robbers of the packet. The paper 
referred to by the letter A, in the examination, was a plain 
cover to plain paper, which had been put in the place of an 
enclosure, probably very interesting, sent with the public 
ledgers to R. H. Lee. 

We shall endeavor to find whether the roguery was com- 
mitted after Folger left France ; but we must depend upon 
you to trace the circumstances from the time of your seal- 
ing, till that of his embarking. 

Congress have sent to Governor Caswell to explain the 
part he is said to have taken in the affair, and to examine 
the Ship-Captain and the two passengers. Should the Gov- 
ernor confirm Folger's narrative, so as to make his veracity 
less problematical than at present, his confinement may be 
rendered easier to him, but he must not be quite discharged 
till we hear from you. There ought to be the greatest cau- 
tion used with regard to the characters of all those persons, 
who are confidentially employed by you. The connexion 
which Folger has had since he left America with persons 
in England, and on the voyage to Falkland's Isles, cannot 
be thought favorable to our interest, if his own family and 
native place are so. We shall only add on this subject, that 
Folger, upon recollection, asserts, that the largest packet 
delivered to him at Havre de Grace was directed, "Des- 
patches for Captain Folger," and he laments that he did 


not himself open it before he sailed. If this circumstance 
is true, it accounts for Governor Caswell's opening tlie 

We are, with much regard, kc. 



Paris, 16th January, 1778. 


As it is not in our power to procure you such a ship 
as you expected, we advise you, after equipping the 
Ranger in tlie best manner for the cruise you propose, that 
you proceed with her in the manner you shall judge best 
for distressing the enemies of the United States by sea, or 
otherwise, consistent with the laws of war and the terms of 
your Commission. If you take prizes on the coast of 
France or Spain, send them into Bilboa, or Corogne, 
unless you should apprehend the danger too great, in which 
case we advise you to send them either into L'Orient or 
Bordeaux, directing the officers, who may have them in 
charge, to apply at L'Orient to M. IMoylan, or M. Goulade, 
and at Bordeaux to Messrs Samuel Sc T. H. Delap, and 
inform us immediately of their arrival and situation. If you 
send to Spain, or should put into the ports of that kingdom, 
apply at Bilboa to Messrs Gardoqui &: Sons ; at Corogne to 
Messrs Leagonere &. Co. 

If you make an attempt on ilie coast of Great Britain, 
we advise you not to return immediately into the ports of 
France, unless forced by stress of weather, or the pursuit 
VOL. I. 46 


of the enemy, and in such case you must make the proper 
representation to the officers of the port, and acquaint us 
with your situation. We rely on your ability, as well as 
your zeal to serve the United States, and therefore do not 
give particular instructions as to your operations. We must 
caution you against giving any cause of complaint to the 
subjects of France, or Spain, or of other neutral powers, 
and recommend it to you to show them every mark of res- 
pect and real civility, which may be in your power. 

You will communicate to your officers and seamen the 
encouragement we have given them, and explain to them, 
that though it was not in our power to be particular as to 
the rewards they should be entitled to, yet they may safely 
rely on the justice of the Congress. Before you sail, it will 
be proper to settle with Mr Williams the account of your 
disbursements, and send the account up to us. 

We most sincerely wish you success, and are, with much 
esteem. Sir, your most obedient and very humble servants. 



York, 21st January, 1778. 

We mean in this letter to give you a succinct view of the 
State of our militaiy affairs. You must, long before this 
reaches you, have been made acquainted with the signal 
success of the American arms in the northern department, 
particularly the several engagements in that quarter previous 
to the surrender of General Burgoyne and his whole army 


lo General Gales. Since Uiat lime, Ticonderoijii and 
Mount Independence liave been evacuated by the enen)y, 
so that tlie whole of that department is now in our posses- 
sion. The Indians are peji'tectly quiet, and we have lately 
received intelligence, that tliose formerly in the interest of 
our enemies incline to our side, a§ also, that the inhabitants 
of Canada, where the enemy have but small force, are in 
general much disposed to favor us. General Burgoyne 
and his troops are now near Boston ; and on account of 
several very exceptionable parts of his conduct, Congress 
have resolved, that he shall not be suffered to depart, till 
the convention of Saratoga is ratified by the Court of 

A part of the enemy's army is still in po.>session of New- 
port, in Rhode Island. An expedition intended to dispos- 
sess them of that place, on account of some mistakes and 
neglect of those who were to make the proper prepai'ations 
for it, was obliged to be laid aside, but we expect it will 
sometime hence be resumed. 

As to the armies in this State, General Howe is still in 
Philadelphia, but possesses no part of the country round it. 
General Washington's army is in liuls to the westward of 
Schuylkill, refreshing and recruiting during the winter j and 
it is in contemplation to call in a number of mililia to attempt 
to expel Howe before he can be reinforced in the spring. 
A part of our army is stationed at Wilmington, and they, 
vvidi the mililia on both sides of the river, have been very 
successful in taking several of the enemy's vessels since the 
winter set in. A committee of Congress is just going off to 
the army, to assist in regulating it for the next campaign, 
and to concert measures for the most early and vigorous 


Copies of newspapers, and the proceedings of Congress 
relating to tiie convention of Saratoga, are sent to you by 
this conveyance, besides which, we hope you will have the 
advantage of information from Mr Adams in person. 
We are, with much regard, he. 



Passy, 8th February, 1778, 

We have now the great satisfaction of acquainting you 
and the Congress, that the treaties with France are at 
length completed and signed. The first is a treaty of 
amity and commerce, much on the plan of that projected 
in Congress ;* the other is a treaty of alliance, in which it 
is stipulated, that in case England declares war against 
France, or occasions a war by attempts to hinder her com- 
merce with us, we should then make common cause of it, 
and join our forces, and councils, he. The great aim of 
this treaty is declared to be to " establish the liberty, sove- 
reignty, and independency, absolute and unlimited, of the 
United States, as well in matters of government as com- 
merce ;" and this is guarantied to us by France, together 
with all the countries we possess, or shall possess at the con- 
clusion of the war ; in return for which the States guaranty 
to France, all its possessions in America. We do not now 

* This plaii of a IrealX/ is contained at length in the Secret Journals of 
Cgngress, Vol. II. p. 7. It is accompanied with a draft of instructions 
to the commissioners, wlio were to propose it, in which modifications 
are suggested. 


add more particulars, as you will soon have the whole by a 
safer conveyance, a frigate being appointed to carry our 
despatches. We only observe to you, and with pleasure, 
that we have found throughout this business, the greatest 
cordiality in this Court ; and that no advantage has been 
taken, or attempted to be taken of our present difficulties, to 
obtain hard terms from us ; but such has been the King's 
magnanimity and goodness, that he has proposed none 
which we might not readily have agreed to in a slate of full 
prosperity and established power. The principle laid down 
as the basis of the treaty, being as declared in the preamble, 
"the most perfect equality and reciprocity," the privileges 
in trade, &-c. are mutual, and none are given to France, but 
what we are at liberty to grant to any other nation. 

On the whole, we have abundant reason to be satisfied 
with the good will of this Court, and of the nation in gene- 
ral, which we therefore hope will be cultivated by the Con- 
gress, by every means which may establish the Union, and 
render it permanent. Spain being slow, there is a separate 
and secret clause, by which she is to be received into the 
alliance, upon requisition, and there is no doubt of the event. 
When we mention the good will of this nation to our cause, 
we may add that of all Europe, which having been offended 
by the pride and insolence of Britain, w ishes to see its power 
diminished ; and all who have received injuries from her, 
are, by one of the articles, to be invited into our alliance. 
The preparations for war are carried on with immense ac- 
tivity, and it is soon expected. 

With our hearty congratulations, and our duty to the 
Congress, we have the honor to be very respectfully, &:c. 



• Passy, February 16tli, 1778. 


We have now the pleasure of sending you the treaties of 
amity and alliance, which France completed after long 
deliberation, and signed the 6th instant. This is an event, 
which will give our States such an appearance of stability, 
as must strengthen our credit, encourage other powers in 
Europe to ally themselves with us, weaken the hopes of our 
internal as well as our external enemies, fortify our friends, 
and be in many other respects so advantageous to us, that 
we congratulate you upon it most heartily. And we flat- 
ter ourselves, that the Congress will approve of the terms, 
and despatch the ratifications as soon as possible. 

It is understood that Spain is shortly to accede to the 
same treaties. We have in ours of December 18th, men- 
tioned the reasons of her delay, which still subsist, but will 
probably not subsist much longer. These treaties continue 
a secret here, and may do so till the commencement of the 
war, which is daily expected. Our little fleet formerly- 
mentioned, which has been long watched and detained 
in Nantes' river, by the English cruising otT Belisle, is now 
on the point of sailing under the convoy of a French squad- 
ron. As the English are pretty strong in the Bay, it is prob- 
able that their attack, and the French defence of our ships, 
may be the prelude of a Declaration on both sides. 

Having received part of the 3,000,000 livres we for- 
merly mentioned to you, we have furnished Mr W. Lee, 
and Mr Izard with 2,000 guineas each for the expenses of 
the missions to Germany and Italy. And as we have 


received inliinations Irom Holland, that llie ajopearance of 
one of us there might at this juncture have good effects, we 
have resumed the purpose formerly communicated to you, 
and as soon as our treaty with France is known, and the 
winter over, probably either Mr Deane or Mr Franklin will 
make a journey thither. 

But as we apprehend it may he known iiere, by some 
means or other, should we furnish the expense of these 
embassies out of the aids received from this Court, which 
we tliink not reputable to the Congress, we must again 
press you to make us the necessary remittances to replace 
what we have borrowed from the fund destined for your 
supplies. And particularly we pray more earnestly, that 
you would forward as soon as possible the 5,000 hhds 
of tobacco for the Farmers-General, who will soon be 
in want of it, and who long since advanced us a million for 
your use. Our honor is concerned in the fulfilment of this 

The seizing and delivering up to the English two prizes 
taken by Cajjtain Babson, on account of their being illegally 
entered under a false declaration, made a good deal of noise 
among our people in the ports, and gave unfavorable impres- 
sions of the friendship of this Court, which possibly may 
extend to America. We think it therefore necessary to 
inform you, that though the confiscation of these prizes on 
the above account, is said to be agreeable to the laws here, 
yet the king, after a condemnation, had the power of dis- 
posing of the produce, for what purpose, political or other- 
wise, he might think proper, and accordingly restored it at 
this juncture, perhaps usefully, to the English claimants. 
Yet as it is thought a hard case with respect to the captors, 
a beginning is made of indemnification, and we hope on the 


same principle on which we are to receive soon a part, 
50,000, we shall be able in time to recover the whole. 

We have, to avoid disputes at a particular time, delivered 
up the cargo brought by the Amphitrite to M. Beaumar- 
chais. We hear he has sent over a person to demand a 
groat sum of you on account of arms, ammunition, &-c. We 
think it will be best for you to leave the demand to be set- 
tled by us here, as there is a mixture in it of public and 
private concern, which you cannot so well develop. 

We send you herewith a great many newspapers ; you 
will see Lord North's only answer to our application about 
the prisoners ; as also the success of a subscription set on foot 
in England by our friends for their relief. They are at 
present pretty comfortably provided for. 

By our late advices from England, the ministers began 
to be alarmed for their country and perhaps for themselves. 
Some of their emissaries have been here to sound us, and 
endeavor to get from some of us propositions on which to 
found a treaty ; which we evaded generally, as not being 
empowered to make any ; and apprehending withal, that 
even reasonable ones, proposed by us, might be used impro- 
perly by the ministry to exasperate, instead of conciliating 
the pride of the nation, choosing still to consider us as sub- 
jects. Many of the speakers in parliament of both Houses 
seem to look upon a French war at this juncture, when so 
much of their force is abroad, and their public credit so 
shaken, as immediate ruin. And we are assured by the last 
post, from good authority, that even Lord iMansfield, who 
in the beginning of this business was so valiant, spoke lately 
in private to Lord Camden of the absolute necessity of an 
immediate coalition of parties, to prevent the great impend- 
ing danger to the nation, from an alliance between the House 


of Bourbon and the Americans, which he said he had good 
information was on tlie point of being concluded. 

We have the honor of being, with the highest esteem, 
Gentlemen, your most obedient humble servants. 



Passy, 28th February, 1778. 


Our despatches* of December ISth, which would have 
acquainted you with the state of our affairs here, and our 
expectations of a speedy conclusion of the treaties with this 
Court, are unfortunately returned ; the French man of 
war, which went on purpose to carry them, having met 
with some disasters at sea, wiiich obliged her to put back, 
after a long struggle of six weeks against contrary winds. 
We now have obtained another ship to sail with them im- 
mediately, and with our fresh despatches, containing the 
treaties themselves, which were happily concluded and 
signed the Gth instant, though hitherto, for some political 
reasons, kept a secret from the public. 

The English Parliament adjourned in December for six 
weeks. During that time, their ministers strained every 
nerve to raise men for their armies, intending to continue 
the war with vigor. Subscriptions were set on foot to aid 
Government in the expense, and they flattered themselves 
with being able to enlist ten thousand volunteers ; but 
whether they found this impracticable, or were discouraged 
by later accounts from America, or had some intimations 
VOL. I. 47 


of our treaties here, their vaunts and threats are suddenly 
abated, and on the 17th Lord North made a long dis- 
course, acknowledging the errors of their former conduct 
in the war with America, and proposing to obtain peace, 
by the means of two bills, of which we enclose copies. 

We make no remarks on these bills. The judgment of 
the Congress can be at no loss in determining on the con- 
duct necessary to be held with regard to them. And we 
are confident, that they will not answer the purpose of di- 
viding in order to subjugate, for which they are evidently 
intended. Our States have now a solid support for their 
liberty and independence in their alliance with France, 
which will be certainly followed by that of Spain, and the 
whole House of Bourbon, and probably by that of Holland, 
and the other powers of Europe, who are interested in the 
freedom of commerce, and in keeping down the power of 
Britain. Our people are happy in the enjoyment of their 
new constitutions of Government, and will be so in their 
extended trade and navigation, unfettered by English arts 
and Custom-house officers. They will now never relish 
the Egyptian bondage, from which they have so happily 
escaped. A long peace will probably be die consequence 
of their separation from England, as they have no cause of 
quarrel with other nations ; an immediate war with France 
and Spain, if they join again with England, and a share in 
all her future wars, her debts, and her crimes. We are, 
therefore, persuaded that their commissioners will be soon 
dismissed, if at all received ; for the sooner the decided 
part taken by Congress is known in Em'ope, the more ex- 
tended and stable will be their credit, and their conventions 
with other powers more easy to make, and more advanta- 
geous. ■ 


Americans are every where iii Fiance (reated with re- 
aped and every appearance ol' aifeclion. We think ii 
would be well to advise our people in all parts ol" America, 
to imitate this conduct with regard to the French, who may 
liappcn to be among us. Every means should be used to 
remove ancient prejudices, and cultivate a friendship that 
must be so useful to both nations. Some transactions here, 
during the last four or five months, in the rigorous observ- 
ance of treaties, with regard to the equipments of our arm- 
ed vessels in the ports, and the selling of our prizes, liave 
no doubt made ill impressions on the minds of our seamen 
and traders, relative to the friendship of this Court. We 
were then obliged to observe a secrecy, which prevented our 
removing those prejudices, by acquainting our iicople witli 
the substantial aids France was privately affording us ; and 
we must continue in the same situation, tiii it is thought fit 
to publish the treaties. But we can, with pleasure, now 
acquaint you that we have obtained full satisfaction, viz. 
400,000 livres for the owners of the prizes confiscated 
here, for a breach of the laws by a false declaration, (they 
being entered as coming from Eustatia) and the payment 
will be made to the owners in America. We mean the 
prizes taken by Captains Babson and Hendricks, in the 
Boston and Hancock privateers, which prizes, after confis- 
cation, were, from reasons of state, restored to the English. 
This is a fresh proof of the good will and generosity of this 
Court, and their determination to cultivate the friendship 
of America. 

The preparations for war continue in the ports with the 
utmost industry ; and troops are marching daily to the sea- 
coasts, where three camps arc to be formed. As France 
is determined to protect her commerce with us, a war is 
deemed inevitable. 


Mr William Lee, we suppose, acquaints you with the 
decease of Mr Morris, his colleague in the commercial 
agency. On our application to the ministry, an order was 
obtained to put Mr Lee in possession of his papers. If 
that department has been found useful, and likely to con- 
tinue so, you will no doubt appoint one or more persons to 
take care of the business, as Mr Lee has now another des- 
tination. Perhaps the general commerce, likely to be soon 
opened between Europe and America, may render such an 
appointment unnecessary. 

We would just add, for the consideration of Congress, 
whether considering the mention of Bermudas in one of 
the articles, it may not be well to take possession, with the 
consent of the inhabitants of that island, and fortify the 
same as soon as possible, and also to reduce some, or all 
of the English fishing posts in or near Newfoundland. 
We have the honor to be, he. 



York, 2d March, 1778. 

The Committee of Secret Correspondence, which almost 
a year ago was denominated the "Committee for Foreign 
Affairs," stands indebted to you for many letters, both of in- 
teresting advice and ingenious speculation. Happening to 
be the only member of that Committee at this time present in 


Yorktowii, I now take up my pen, not to form apologies 
for their long past silence, so much as to make a beginning 
of the act of justice due to you. I really fear that the col- 
lected ingenuity of the members will be put to it to offer, 
for a main excuse, any thing belter than that they relied 
upon your getting frequent intelligence of the state of our 
affairs from the Commercial Committee. In short, sir, I 
am so deeply concerned with the gentlemen in this affair, 
that I know wliat they ought to do ; and I am so well ac- 
quainted with their just manner of thinking, that I will ven- 
ture to confess in their name, that their past omission of 
corresponding widi you, is, in a considerable measure, un- 
accountable. It is certainly better to step forward towards 
a man of candor, in the straight line of honest confession, 
than in the zigzag track of awkward apology. 

Your letters, exclusive of their intrinsic merit, have been 
more peculiarly acceptable to Congress, from the circum- 
stance of our having been deprived of the satisfaction of re- 
ceiving intelligence from the iiands of our Commissioners 
in Paris since INIay of last year. Besides those of their de- 
spatches, which have been lost at sea, we know one has 
been examined and culled by some perfidious villain, who 
substituted plain sheets of paper for the real letters of our 
friends. This was probably done in Europe, before the 
bearer of it, a Captain John P'olger, emjarkud with it for 

Your ideas of the policy of the Court of Versailles ap- 
pear quite just, from the corroborating testimony of whatever 
information we can collect in any way. 

The course of Gazettes, which accompany this, will so 
well communicate our home affairs, that I shall not enlarge 
upon them. I will only soy, in brief, that you may rest as- 


sured, independence is so absolutely adopted by America, 
as to leave no hope for Britain that we shall ever relinquish 
our claim. It must, therefore, be only to delude her own 
islanders and neighbors, that she pretends to expect the con- 

In addition to the misfortune which you mention respect- 
ing the Lexington, we are told of a greater, and one which 
will more intimately affect you, respecting the Reprisal, 
which is said to have foundered on the 1st of October. 
Your acquaintance with Captain VVickes will lead you to 
lament greatly the loss of so valuable an officer and so wor- 
thy a man. I enclose you a list of your letters as they came 
to hand, both for your own satisfaction and to command 
your belief of my regard for you, as a faithful correspond- 
ing agent, and of my professions of being, Sir, Sue. 
For the CommiUee of Foreign Affairs. 


Translation. ' ' ' 

Versailles; March 17lh, 1778. 

I am charged to acquaint you, that you will be presented 
to the King next Friday, if you will have the goodness to 
render yourselves here at ten o'clock in the morning. 
Count de Vergennes hopes you will do him the honor to 
dine with him on the same day. 

1 have the honor to be, with high consideration, &ic. 




York, 24th March, 1778. 


I cannot consent to omit this opportunity of addressing 
a few lines to you, though the state of our military opera- 
tions affords nothing material. 

The manners of the continent are too much affected by 
the depreciation of our currency ; scarce an officer, civil 
or military, but feels something of a desire to be concerned 
in mercantile speculation, from finding that his salary is 
inadequate to the harpy demands, which are made upon 
him for the necessaries of life, and from observing, that but 
little skill is necessary to constitute one of the merchants 
of these days. We are almost a continental tribe of Jews ; 
but I hope heaven has not yet discovered such a settled 
profligacy in us as to cast us off, even for a year. Back- 
ward as we may be at this moment in our preparations, 
the enemy is not in a condition to expect more success in 
the coming, than in former campaigns. We have (he 
debates of the British Parliament to December 5th, and 
perceive that the old game is playing, called Reconcilia- 
tion. Depend upon it, they are duping themselves only. 

Yesterday a private letter from Doctor Franklin, dated 
October Tth, was presented, containing the only political 
intelligence which Folger brought safe with him, viz. 
"Our affairs, so far as relates to this country, arc every day 
more promising." This, with a letter from Mr Barnabas 
Deane, who tells us his brother apologized for his brevity, 
by saying he was "sending an important packet to Con- 
gress," is all the explanation we have of the nature of your 


despatches, of which we were robbed, I enclose a list, by 
which you will see the breaks in our correspondence. I 
send a pamphlet which contains, I hope, the general ideas 
of America in regard to what Britain may be tempted, fool- 
ishly, to call her successes. 

We think it strange, that the Commissioners did not 
jointly write by M, de Francy, considering the very impor- 
tant designs of his coming over, to settle the mode of pay- 
ment for the past cargoes sent by Roderique Hortahz ^ 
Co. and to make contracts for the future. It is certain 
that much eclaircissement is at this late moment wanting. 
But 1 dare not enlarge, for fear of losing this sudden good 

I therefore close, with assurances of the most affectionate 
respect, gentlemen, your very humble servant, 

For the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 


Paris, April lOtli, 1778. 

The within letter to you is so written, that you may show 
it on occasion. We send enclosed a proposed draught of 
a letter to the Grand Pentionary, but as we are unacquainted 
with forms, and may not exactly have hit your idea with 
regard to the matter and expression, we wish you would 
consult with our friends upon it; and return it with the ne- 
cessary corrections. 





We have the honor of acquaiiuing your Excellency, that 
ihe United States of North America, being now an inde- 
|)endent power, and acknowledged as such by this Court, 
a treaty of amity and commerce is completed between 
FraDce and the said United States, of which we shall 
speedily send your Excellency a copy, to be communicated, 
if you think proper, to their High Mightinesses, for whom 
the United States have the greatest respect, and the 
strongest desire that a good understanding may be culti- 
vated, and a mutually beneficial commerce established be- 
tween the people of the two nations, which, as will be seen, 
there is nothing in the above mentioned treaty to j)revcnt 
or inijiede. 

We. have the honor to be, with great respect, your 
Excellency's, Sa*. 


Passv, April lOtii, 1778. 

AVe received your despatch of the 3d instant, and approve 
very much the care and pains you constantly take in send- 
ing us the best intelligence of foreign affairs. We have 
now the pleasure of acquainting you, that Mr John Adams, 
a member of Congress, appointed to succeed Mr Deane in 
this commission, is safely arrived here. He came over in 
the Boston, a frigate of 30 guns, belonging to the United 
VOL. I. 48 


States. In the passage they met and made prize of a 
large English letter of marque ship of 14 guns, the Martha, 
bound to New York, on whose cargo £70,000 sterling 
were insured in London. It contains abundance of neces- 
saries for America, whither she is despatched, and we hope 
she will get well into one of our ports. 

Mr Adams acquaints us, that it had been moved in Con- 
gress to send a minister to Holland, but that although there 
was the best disposition towards that country, and desire to 
have and maintain a good understanding with their High 
Mightinesses, and a free commerce with their subjects, the 
measure was respectfully postponed for the present, till 
their sentiments on it could be known, from an apprehen- 
sion, that possibly their connexions with England might 
make the receiving an American minister as yet incon- 
venient, and (if Holland should have the same good will 
towards us) a little embarrassing. Perhaps, as our inde- 
pendency begins to wear the appearance of greater stability, 
since our acknowledged alliance with France, that difficulty 
may be lessened. Of this, we wish you to take the most 
prudent methods privately to inform yourself. - It seems 
clearly to be the interest of Holland to share in the rapidly 
growing conunerce of their young sister republic, and as, 
in the love of liberty, and bravery in defence of it, she has 
been our great example, we hope circumstances and con- 
stitutions, in many respects so similar, may produce mutual 
benevolence, and that the unfavorable impressions made 
on the minds of some in America, by the rigor with which 
supplies of arms and ammunition were refused them in 
their distress, may soon be worn off and obliterated by a 
friendly intercourse and reciprocal good offices. 

When Mr Adams loft America, which was about the 


midclle of February, our affairs were daily improving, our 
troops well supplied with arms and provisions, and in good 
order, and the army of General Burgoyne being detained 
for breaches of the capitulation, we had in our hands above 
10,000 prisoners of the enemy. 
We are, Sir, your most obedient humble servants, 



Passy, April 13lh, 177S. 

The papers you mention are in the disposition of Mr 
William Lee, who is gone to Germany. It is therefore not 
in our power to comply with what you desire. Neither arc 
we able to make you any further advances. We wish you 
would sfod us, with all convenient expedition, copies of the 
invoices and bills of lading for those goods, which were 
paid for with the money we formerly furnished you. We 
do not think it within our province to make an entire settle- 
ment with you. The money in Mr Schweighauser's hands, 
which you say is under the direction and order of Mr R. 
Morris, ought to be disposed of according to those orders. 
The trade being now free from this country, it seems im- 
proper to us to give the passports you ask. 
VV'e are, Sir, your most obedient servants, 

P. iS'. Mr William Leu is at Frankfort, where a letter 
from you may possibly find him, but his slay there is very 



York, 16th April, 1778. 


Herewith you have a copy of what I did myself ihe 
jileasure of writing to you, on the 2d of last month ; 
since which time we have received your favors of Janu- 
ary 14th and 26th, February 8th and 21st. Your draft 
of £23,554. 9s. 9d. in favor of the Secret (now Commer- 
cial) Committee, has been duly paid. The four first 
charges in your account current, like many other sums on 
similar occasions here, have been expended to no sort of 
profit to the Continent ; but I hope we have seen the last 
of such expenses. Your situation must have been very 
disagreeable indeed, in consequence of the failure of remit- 
tances from hence. Large quantities of tobacco have been 
long stored ; but our bays and coasts are so infested by the 
enemy's ships of war, that it is impossible for us to conduct 
agreeably to our earnest wishes, of maintaining the best 
credit in our commercial concerns abroad. It is probable, 
that a commercial board, not members of Congress, will be 
very soon established ; so that the whole time of the con- 
ductors may be spent in exertions for the public benefit, in 
that branch of Continental business. 

The want of intelligence from our Commissioners at 
Paris, makes it improper for us to draw largely on them at 
present ; therefore, you must content yourself with the eco- 
nomical bounds of the power, which is given to you by the 
within resolve of Congress of this day. Be assured, that 
all pos.siblc attempts will be made for your relief, by remit- 
tances of our produce. 


I find it impossible to convey to you anything of a plan 
of operations for this campaign. The enemy, having the 
sea open to them, must liave the lead in military matters ; 
we must oppose, or follow them, just as they think fit, 
either to attempt an advance or to retire. It is hardly 
probable they will again attack New England without largo 

Our correspondent at the Hague is very regular, but his 
intelligence is never in season to form the ground of any of 
our proceedings. We have packets from him in continu- 
ance to the letter Y, December iCth, though our Com- 
missioners have not been able to convey one safely since 
May last. It is strange that they cannot succeed through 
you. But, indeed, you appear also to know but little of 

Mr Deane being wanted here, Mr John Adams sailed 
the 17th of February, to take his place at the Comt of Ver- 
sailles. It is probable you will hear of his arrival before 
this reaches you. It seems needless to desire you to give 
us early notice of that, and other foreign intelligence. 
Your usual punctuality needed not the spur of the informa- 
tion, which I have given you of our present great ignorance 
of the situation and transactions of the gentlemen at Paris. 

I am, with much regard, your friend and humble servant, 
For the Committee of Foreign Affaim. 



York, 16th April, 1778. 

This, with iny affectionate wishes for your prosperity, 
may serve to acquaint you, that Congress has this day re- 
solved, "That William Bingharn, agent for the United 
States of America, now resident in Martinique, be authorised 
to draw Bills of Exchange, at double usance, on the Com- 
missioners of the United States at Paris, for any sums not 
exceeding in the whole one hundred thousand livres tour- 
nois, to enable him to discharge debts by him contracted 
on account of the said States, for which draft he is to 
be accountable." Mr Bingham will forward the American 
Gazettes, with this billet of advice, and tell you why we 
have enabled him to draw upon you, when we have stores 
of 'produce in magazines for exportation. He will also in- 
form you of our anxiety to know something of your pro- 
ceedings and prospects, an uncommon fatality having at- 
tended your despatches ever since the month of May 

I am, with much esteem, &c. 


For the. Committee. 



Versailles, April 2tith, 1778. 

1 have received your letter of the 20th instant, accom- 
panied by the translation of the representations addressed 
to you by the American Commissioners, relative to the 
fears of the merchants of Bordeaux and Nantes, who have 


hitherto transacted business with America, and by the re- 
quest of ihe Commissioners, with regard to the protection 
of that conmierce. For nearly a month, the French coast 
along the Bay of Biscay, and a part of that on the channel, 
have been guarded by twenty frigates and corvettes dis- 
tributed in the open sea, as well as along the entrances of 
harbors and rivers. Those stationed at the latter places, 
take under their protection the French and American 
ships which sail from those points, and convoy them be- 
yond die Capes. If they meet any vessels inward bound, 
they convoy them to the entrance of the harbors. 

The frigates stationed further out at sea, are employed 
in chasing away the Guernsey and Jersey privateers, 
which are a great interruption to commerce. The same 
orders have been issued in the Colonies, where the frigates 
there stationed convoy the French and American vessels from 
the coasts. The reports made to me assure me, that these 
orders are promptly executed, and that the protection is 
extended as fully to American as to French vessels. You 
will agree with me, that this kind of protection is for the pre- 
sent the only one, which it is possible to give to commerce ; 
and that convoys to America would be impracticable under 
present circumstances, and are always insecure, and sub- 
ject to great inconveniences. To protect the coasts, to as- 
sure a free access to the harbors, to remove the privateers, 
and afford a convoy beyond the Capes ; these aids com- 
merce requires, and has a light to expect, and they have 
long since been provided by the ordqrs of liis [Majesty. 
The Commissioners cannot reasonably complain when in 
this respect the American vessels arc on an e(jual footing 
with those of his Majesty's subjects. 

I have the honor to be, &X'. DE SARTINE. 



York, 26th April, 1778. 

Herewith you have a triplicate and copy of my former 
letters. I now send you the proceedings of Congress upon 
an appearance of the draughts of two bills, said to have 
been read in the British Parliament. Since Congress took 
notice of them, Governor Tryon has sent out from New 
York copies of them, with greater marks of authenticity 
than those bore which first came to hand.;|j^He certifies, 
that he "has his Majesty's command to cause them to be 
printed and dispersed, that the people at large may be 
acquainted with the contents, and of the favorable disposi- 
tion of Great Britain towards the American Colonies." 
1 will not attempt to lead your judgment upon these pro- 
ceedings of our enemies. I will only add one anecdote 
of their late conduct, nearly allied to that of counterfeiting 
our Continental currency. They have published, in all 
our forms, a forged Resolve of Congress, purporting a con- 
signment of power to General Washington, to detain in his 
army, during the war, all militia men who have enlisted or 
been draughted for nine months or a year ; and to treat 
as deserters such as attempt to leave him at the expiration 
of their present agreement. Perhaps you will see this pro- 
perly stigmatized in some of our eastern papers conveyed 
in the vessel, which may carry this assurance of my being, 
vvitli much regard, sir, your friend and humble servant, 

For the Committee. 



York, 30th April, 1778. 


By ihe Gazettes, which accompany this letter, you will 
see, that the enemy are entering upon a plan, which must 
shortly perplex us much, unless we receive despatches from 
you, to enlighten us as to your situation and transactions, oi' 
which we have had no information since the latter end of 
May. As we have heard of the loss of Captain Johnston 
and Captain Wickes, and know that John Folger was rob- 
bed, we cannot charge our present want of letters to negli- 
gence in you ; but we think you should not rest satisfied 
without sending triplicates of all your despatches. The 
Commercial Committee will transmit to you the contract, 
which they have entered into with the agent of the liouse of 
Roderique Hortahz Sf Co. the heads of which contract 
happening to be at hand are enclosed. 

We have read a letter written by a friend, dated House 
of Commons, February 13th, in which we are told, that 
you had concluded a treaty with France and Spain, which 
was on the water towards us. Imagine how solicitous we 
are to know the truth of this, before wc receive any propo- 
sals from Britain, in consequence of the scheme in Lord 
North's speech, and the two draughts of bills now sent to 
you. The stale of our foreign connexions is a subject 
now before Congress ; and, dubious as we are about your 
transactions, some resolutions will probably be formed to 
be transmitted to you by a specir.l conveyance shortly, 
when a general account of our affairs will also be sent. 
We have little uneasiness about the strength of our enemy. 
VOL. I. 49 


Our currency must be supported in due credit, after which 
we may bid defiance to Britain, and all her German hire- 
lings. We wish every advice and assistance from you for 
the support of such credit. 
I am, with great regard, &:c. 

For the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 


Yorktown, 14tli May, 1778. 


Your several 'avors, down to the letter Y, had come to 
our hand before the 2d instant, on which day we received 
despatches from our Commissioners in France, after an 
interruption of eleven months. Judge, therefore, sir, how 
very agreeable your letters must have been to us, though 
you wrote but briefly, always supposing that we received 
more full accounts of European politics from our friends at 

We observe, with great pleasure, that the States of Hol- 
land are discovering a proper spirit in the conduct of their 
commerce, by granting convoys, in consequence of the inso- 
lent behavior of their Briush neighbors. The magnani- 
mous conduct of His Most Christian Majesty must have 
great influence upon all around him. We doubt not of 
your hearty congratulations upon the success of our cause, 
which you so early and warmly espoused, and which you 
have aided with such judgment and resolution by your 
pen. We shall write particularly to the gentlemen at Paris, 
respecting the injuries you have received from our ene- 


mies, and shall instruct tiieni to pay the strictest attention 
to our engagements made to yon at the commencement of 
our correspondence. 

We must refer you to the prints now sent and to our 
Commissioners, for the general state of om- atiiiirs, only 
remarking iierc, that we were actuated in our proceedings 
on the 22d of April entirely by the uniform spirit, which we 
have maintained ever since the 4th of July, 177G, being 
not then acquainted with the favorable state of our cause in 
France, as an uncommon fatality had attended the letters 
of our friends for nearly a whole year, before the arrival of 
their present important packet. 

We are, with much esteem, &:c. 



VoiU, Mill May, 177S. 


At length, on the 2d instant, we received despatches 
from our Commissioners at Paris, with treaties of alliance 
and commerce, concluded on the Gih of February between 
France and these United States. They were ratified here 
on the 4ih of this mondi, and tlie prints iierewiih sent to 
you will show the principles upon which they are founded. 
We are persuaded you will greatly partake of the satisfac- 
tion, which we feel on this occasion. 

VV'c do not find by the letter?, which we have received, 


that Congress may venture to enlarge the power that was 
given to you by the resolve of April 16th.* But it becomes 
less necessary that you should be furnished in that way, as 
commerce will, in all human probability, be more easily 
carried on between this continent and your islands now, 
than for some time past. 

Great hurry of business must be an excuse for our brevity 
at this time, though it would not warrant an omission of 
sending you our congratulations and the Gazettes. 
We are, with much regard, &,c. 



York, 14th May, 1778. 
Our affairs have now a universally good appearance. 
Every thing at home and abroad seems verging towards 
a happy and permanent period. We are preparing for 
either war or peace. For although we are fully persuaded, 
that our enemies are wearied, beaten, and in despair, yet 
we shall not presume loo much on that persuasion, and the 

* " Resolved, that Mr William Bingham, agent of the United States of 
America, now resident in Martinique, be authorised to draw bills [of 
exchange at double usance, on the commissioners of the United States 
in Paris, for any sums not exceeding in the whole 100,000 livres turnois, 
to enable him to discharge debts by him contracted on account of the 
said States ; for which drafts he is to be accountable."— JournaZs of 


rather, because it is our fixed determination to admit no 
terms of peace, but such as are fully in character with the 
dignity of independent States, and consistent with the spirit 
and intention of our alliances on the continent of Europe. 
We believe, and with great reason too, that the honor and 
fortitude of America have been rendered suspicions in 
Europe, by the arts, intrigue, and specious misrepresenta- 
tions of our enemies there. Every proceeding and policy 
of ours have been tortured, to give some possible coloring 
to their assertions of a doubtful disposition in America, as 
to her perseverance in maintaining her independency, and 
perhaps the speeches of many of the minority of both Houses 
in the English Parliament, who seem to persist in the pro- 
bability of a reconciliation, may have contributed towards a 
continuance of that suspicion. But we, at this particular 
time, feel ourselves exceedingly happy in a proof, from the 
accidental arrangement of circumstances, such as we could 
neither foresee nor alter, that the disposition of America 
on that head was fixed and final. For this proof we desire 
your attention to what follows. 

The English Ministry appear to have been very indus- 
trious in getting over to America, as soon as possible, their 
two conciliatory bills, even before they had been once read ; 
the reason of which haste we did not then see ; but the 
arrival of your despctches since, widi the treaties, has unrid- 
dled that affair. General Howe was equally industrious, 
in circulating them by his emissaries through the country, 
and likewise sent them under a flag to General Washington, 
who immediately despatched them to Congress on the 
of April. They were in Uiemselves truly unworthy of the 
attention of that public body ; but lest the silence of Con- 
gress should be misunderstood, or furnish the enemy with 


new ground for false insinuation, they were referred to a 
committee, whose judicious and spirited report thereon was 
unanimously approved in the House on the 22d, then pub- 
lished and circulated through the several States with all pos- 
sible expedition. The despatches, in charge of Mr Simeon 
Deane, did not arrive till the 2d of May, ten days after the 
said reports were published ; and his expedition in bringing 
his papers to Congress prevented any intelligence from 
arriving before him. Enclosed are the reports referred to, 
which we recommend to your attention to make as public 
as possible in Europe, prefacing them with such an explana- 
tory detail of the before mentioned circumstances, as shall 
have a tendency to place the politics of America on the 
firm basis of national honor, integrity, and fortitude. 

We admire the wisdom and true dignity of the Court of 
France, on their part of the construction and ratification of 
the treaties between us. They have a powerful tendency 
to dissolve cfi^ectually that narrowness of mind, vt^hich man- 
kind have been too unhappily bred up in. Those treaties 
discover the politician founded on the philosopher, and a 
harmony of affections made the groundwork of mutual 
interest. France has ivon us more powerfully than any 
reserved treaties could possibly hind us, and by one gene- 
rous and noble act has sown the seeds of an eternal friend- 

It is from an anxiety to preserve inviolate this cordial 
union, so happily begun, that we desire your particular 
attention to the 11th and 12ih articles of the treaty of amity 
and commerce. The unreserved confidence of Congress 
in the good disposition of the Court of France, will suffi- 
ciently appear, from their having unanimously first ratified 
those treaties, and the tnrusted any alteration, which may be 


proper to be made, to after mutual negotiations. Wc are 
apprehensive, that the general and undefined line of t!;e 12th 
article may in future be misunderstood, or rendered incon- 
venient or impracticable, and so become detrimental to that 
good friendship, which we wish ever to subsist. To prevent 
this, you will herewith receive instruction and authority for 
giving up, on our part, the whole of the 11th article, pro- 
posing to the Court of France the rescinding, on their part, 
of the whole of the 12th article, those two being intended 
as reciprocal balances to each other. 

It is exceedingly disagreeable to Congress, to find there 
has been misconduct in any of the commanders of armed 
vessels under the American flag. Every authentic informa- 
tion of that kind will be strictly attended to, and every 
means be taken to punish the ofFenders and make repara- 
tion to tlie sufferers. The chief consolation we find in this 
nnpleasing business is, that the most experienced States have 
not been able to restrain the vices and irregularities of indi- 
viduals altogether. Congress has published a proclamation 
for the more effectually suppressing and punishing such 
malpractices. But we are rather inclined to hope, that as 
the line of connexion and friendship is now clearly marked, 
and the minds of the seamen thereby relieved from that 
inexplicable iBvstery respecting their real prizes, which 
before embarrassed them, such irregularities will be less 
frequent, or totally cease, to which end the magnificent 
generosity of the King of France to the owners of the 
prizes, which for reasons of State had been given up, will 
happily contribute. 

We are, Gentlemen, your very humble servants, 
^ R. H. LEE, 




Passy, May 14tli, 1778. 


In the several cruises made by Captains Wickes, John- 
ston, Cunningham, and others of our armed vessels, on the 
coast of Great Britain, it is computed that between four 
and five hundred prisoners have been made and set at lib- 
erty, either on their landing in France, or at sea, because 
it was understood, that we could not keep them confined in 
France. When Captain Wickes brought in at one time 
near a hundred, we proposed to Lord Stormont an 
exchange for as many of ours confined in England ; but al! 
treaty on the subject was rudely refused, and our people 
are still detained there, notwitlistanding the liberal dis- 
charges made of theirs, as above mentioned. We hear 
that Captain Jones has now brought into Brest near two 
hundred, whom we should be glad to exchange for our sea- 
men, who might be of use in expeditions from hence ; but 
as an opinion prevails, that p'-isoners of a nation with which 
France is not at war, and brought into France by another 
power, cannot be retained by the captors, but are free as 
soon as they arrive, we are apprehensive, that these pris- 
oners may also be set at liberty, return to England, and 
serve to man a frigate against us, while our brave seamen, 
with a number of our friends of this nation, whom we are 
anxious to set free, continue useless and languishing in their 

In a treatise of one of your law writers, entitled Traiies 
(les Piise.s qui se font sur Mer, printed 1763, we find the 
above opinion controverted, p. 129, § 30, in the following 
words ; "Hence it seems, that it is not true, as some pre- 


tend, tint from the time a prisoner escapes, or otherwise 
reaches the shore of a neutral power, he is absolutely free. 
It is true, he cannot be retaken without the consent of 
that power, but such a power would violate the laws of neu- 
trality if it should refuse its consent. This is a consequence 
of the asylum of the ship in which the prisoner or hostage 
was contained." 

We know not of what authority this writer may be, and 
therefore pray a moment of your Excellency's attention to 
this matter, requesting your advice upon it, that if it be pos- 
sible, some means may be devised to retain these prisoners, 
till as many of ours can be obtained in exchange for them. 
We have the honor to be, k.c. 



York, loth of May, 1778. 

Your pressing request for five thousand hogsheads of 
tobacco, is a matter as embarrassing to Congress as to your- 
selves. Their anxiety to get it to you is as great as yours 
to receive it. We have already lost vast quantities in the 
attempt, and thereby have furnished our enemies gratis 
with what was designed for the discharging of your con- 
tracts, and for promoting the interest and commerce of our 
friends. We request your particular attention to this in- 
formation, as it is a matter of as high moment to our allies as 
well as to ourselves. In the present slate of things it is very 
VOL. I. 50 


probable, that England will be unwilling to interrupt the trade 
of France in their own bottoms ; and our desire is, as well 
for her benefit as ours, that France would open the trade 
from her own ports, so that the intentional advantages of the 
treaties may fully operate for both countries. We need 
not enlarge on this head, as your discernment will furnish 
you with all the reasons to be alleged in support of what 
we desire. 

In addition to what is mentioned in our letter, respecting 
the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty, we observe, that 
the 12th is capable of an interpretation and misuse, which 
were probably not thought of at the time of constructing it; 
we mean, that it opens a door for all, or a great part of the 
trade of America, lo be carried through the French Islands 
to Europe, and puts all future regulations out of our power, 
either by impost or prohibition, which, though we might 
never find it to our interest to use, yet by keeping it in our 
■power, will enable us to preserve equality with, and reg- 
ulate the imposts of the countries we trade with. 

The general trade of France is not under like restriction, 
every article on our part being slated against die single 
article of molasses on theirs ; therefore, Congress think it 
more liberal and consistent that both articles should be 

We have no material military transactions to acquaint you 
with. The enemy yet remain in Philadelphia, but some 
late appearances make it probable they will not stay long. 
Our army is yet at the Valley Forge. The enemy, 
through the course of tlie winter, have carried on a low, 
pitiful, and disgraceful -kind of war against individuals, 
whom the) pushed at by sending out little parties and re- 
vengefully burning several of their houses ; yet all this mill- 


tated against themselves, by raising an unquenchable indig- 
nation in the country against them ; and on the whole, we 
know not which most to wonder at, their folly in making us 
hate them alter their inabilit} lor conquest and their desires 
of peace are coni'essed, or their scandalous barbarity in 
executing their resentments. 

You will see, gendemen, by the contract which the Com- 
mercial Committee have signed with the agent of M. Beau- 
marchais, that Congress was desirous of keeping a middle 
course, so as not to appear to slight any determined gene- 
rosity of the French Court, and, at the same time, to show 
a promptness to discharge honorably tlie debts, which may 
be justly charged against these Stales by any persons. 
We depend upon you to explain the affair ftdly, as you 
seem to make a distinction between the military stores and 
the other invoices, while no such distinction appears in Uie 
letters of Mr Deaiie or JM. Beaumarchais. In short, wu 
are rather more undetermined by your late despatches, than 
we were during your long silence. Congress being at this 
time deeply engaged in a variety of business, and the For- 
eign Committee thin of members, you will be pleased to 
excuse us from being more particular in our answer to your 
several despatches, as well as in our information of the state 
of our affairs. 

VV^e are, gendemen, ^ic 

K. H. LLE, 

P. .b'. \ou will see what we have written to ^I. Du- 
mas, and you will point out what will be our line of honor 
10 him and justice to these States. 



Passy, May 16th, 1778. 

We had ibis morning the honor of receiving your Excel- 
lency's letter of the 13th instant, relative to the Boston 
frigate. We beg leave to assure your Excellency, that the 
frigate, called the Boston, now at Bordeaux, is a ship of war 
belonging to the thirteen United States of North America, 
built and maintained at their expense by the honorable 
Congress. We, therefore, humbly presume, that his Maj- 
esty's royal determination, on the representation of the 
Farmers-General, will be according to the usage of nations 
in such cases, and your Excellency may be assured that 
Captain Tucker will conform to that determination with the 
utmost respect. 

We have the honor to be, &ic. 



Passy, May 16th, 1778. 

Messrs Basmarine, Rainbeau, & Co. having repre- 
sented to us, that they have applied to Government for a 
frigate, to be employed in defence of their commerce to 
and from America, and in making reprisals for the losses 
they have lately sustained by our enemies, we, the Com- 
missioners of the United States of North America, here- 
by request that such a frigate may be granted ; and in that 
case, we are ready to give a commission and letter of 


marque to sucli frigate, upon Messrs Basmarine &; Co. 

giving bonds to us for the regular behavior of such frigate, 

according to the law of nations and the usage of the United 


We have the honor to be, &ic. 



Passy, May 25tii, 1778. 

Your favors of May 11th and 18th are now before us. 
We shall this day acquaint Captain Jones how far it is in 
our power to comply with his desires, and in what manner. 
Your letter of the 18th informs us of a dispute between 
Mr Schweighauser and you, concerning the disposal of 
the Ranger's prizes ; and you are still of opinion, that you 
iiave authority to interfere in the disposal of prizes, and 
that you should be chargeable with neglect of duty if you 
did not. The necessities of our country demand the ut- 
most frugality, which can never be obtained, without the 
utmost simplicity in the management of her affairs ; and as 
Congress have authorised Mr W. Lee to superintend the 
commercial affairs in general, and he has appointed Mr 
Schweighauser, and as your authority is under the Com- 
missioners at Paris only, wo think it prudent and necessary 
for the public service to revoke, and we do hereby revoke, 
all the powers and authorities heretofore granted to you by 
the Commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of 
America, or any of them at Paris ; to the end, that hercaf- 


ter the management of the affairs, commercial and mari- 
time, of America, may be under one sole direction, that of 
Mr Schweighauser within his district. 

As to the merchandise and stores of every kind, which 
you have on hand at present, we leave it to your choice, 
either to ship them to America yourself, or to deliver them 
over to Mr Schweighauser to be shipped by him. It is 
not from any prejudice to you, for whom we have a great 
respect and esteem, but meiely from a desire to save the 
public money, and prevent the clashing of claims and in- 
terests, and to avoid confusion and delays, that we have 
taken this step. 

We have further to repeat our earnest request, that you 
would lay your accounts before us as soon as possible, 
because, until we have them we can never know either the 
state of our finances, or how far the orders of Congress for 
stores and merchandise to be shipped to America have 
been fulfilled. 

We are. Sir, &-c. 



Passy, June 3d, 1778. 

' We have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency, an 
account of duties paid by the agent for necessary supplies 
to the ship of war the Boston, in the port of Bordeaux. 
As these duties are very heavy, and the payment of any 
duties on mere supplies to ships of war, as on merchandise 


exported, appears to us uucoinmon, we beg the favor of 
your Excellency to give such orders relative to it in all his 
Majesty's ports, as may regulate iliisforthe future. 

The Captain of the ship of war the Ranger, belonging 
to the United Slates, has, we understand, put his prizes 
into the hands of the intendant or Commandant at Brest ; 
and no account has been rendered of them to the public 
agent, or to us. We are also given to understand, that, in 
consequence of this proceeding, very heavy fees are to be 
paid upon the sale of them. As the transaction is altogeth- 
er improper, we must trouble your Excellency for an order 
to the commandant, to deliver them, without delay or ex- 
traordinary charges, to the public agent, Mr Schweighauser 
at Nantes, or to his order. 

It would give us satisfaction to annoy our enemies, by 
granting a letter of marque, as is desired, for a vessel fitting 
out at Dunkirk, and, as it is supposed by us, containing 
a mixed crew of French, Americans, and English. But, 
if this should seem improper to your Excellency, we will 
not do it. 

We have the honor, 8cr. 



Passv, June 16lh, 1778. 

At the time when I took Lieutenant Simpson's parole, I 
did not expect to have been so long absent from America ; 
but as circumstances have now rendered the time of mv re- 


turn less certain, I am willing to let the dispute between us 
drop forever, by giving up that parole, which will entitle 
him to command the Ranger. I bear no malice, and, if I 
hav^e done him an injury, this will be making him all the 
present satisfaction in my power. If, on the contrary, he 
has injured me, 1 will trust to himself for an acknowledge- 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of esteem and 

Your obliged, Stc. 



Passy, June 16th, 1778. 

I received yours of the 5th instant, acquainting us that the 
ministry have at length agreed to an exchange of prisoners. 
We shall write to Captain Jones for the list required, which 
will be sent you as soon as received. We understand there 
are at least two hundred. We desire and expect, that the 
number of ours shall be taken from Tortune and Plymouth, 
in proportion to the number in each place, and to consist of 
those who have been longest in confinement, it being not only 
equitable that they should be first, but this method will pre- 
vent all suspicions, that you pick out the worst and weakest 
of our people to give in exchange for your good ones. If 
you think proper to clear your prisoners at once, and give 
us all our people, we give you our solemn engagement, 
which we are sure will be punctually executed, to deliver 
to Lord Howe, in America, or to his order, a number of 
your sailors, equal to the surplus, as soon as the agreement 
arrives there. 


There is one thing more wliich we desire niny be 
observed. We shall note in our lists the names and num- 
bers of those taken in the service of the King, distinguish- 
ing them from those taken in the merchants' service ; that, 
in the exchange to be made, you may give adequate num- 
bers of those taken in the service of the Stales, and of our 
merchants. This will prevent any uneasiness among your 
navymen and ours, if the seamen of merchantmen are 
exchanged before them. As it will be very troublesome 
and expensive, as well as fatiguing to them, to inarch our 
people from Brest to Calais, we may endeavor to get leave 
for your ship to come to the road of Brest, to receive them 
there ; or, if that carmot be, we must desire from your 
Admiralty a passport for the ship, that is to convey them 
from Brest to Calais. If you have any of our people still 
prisoners on board your ships of war, we request they may 
be put into the prisons, to take their chance of exchange 

with the rest. 



Passy, Jane lOtli, 1778. 

Upon the receipt of this letter, you will forthwith make 
preparations, with all possible despatch, for a voyage to 
America. Your own prudence will naturally induce you 
to keep this your destination secret, lest measures should 
be taken by the enemy to intercept you. If, in the course 
of your passage home, opportunities should present of 
making prizes, or of doing any material annoyance to the 
enemy, you are to embrace them ; and you are at liberty 
to go out of your way for so desirable a purpose. 

VOL. I. 51 


The fishery, at the banks of Newfoundland, is an impor- 
tant object, and possibly the enemy's men of war may have 
other business than the protection of it. Transports are 
constantly passing and repassing from Rhode Island, New 
York and Philadelphia to Halifax, and from all these 
places to England. You will naturally search for some of 
these as prizes. 

If the French government should send any despatches 
to you, or if you should receive any from us, to carry to 
America, you will take the best care of them, and espe- 
cially that they may not fall into improper hands. You are 
not, however, to wait for any despatches, but to proceed 
upon your voyage as soon as you can get ready. If there 
is any room on board your ship, where you could stow 
away a number of chests of arms, or of clothing, for the 
use of the United States, you will inform M. Schweighau- 
ser of it, that he may send them to you before your depar- 
ture. We do not mean to encuniber you with a cargo, 
which will obstruct the sailing of your ship, or will impede 
her fighting ; but if, consistent with her sailing and fighting, 
she can take any quantity of arms or clothing, it will be a 
desirable object for the public. 

We have the honor to be, &£c. 



York, 21st June, 1778. 

The British Commissioners have arrived and transmitted 
their powers and propositions to Congress, which have 


received the answer you will find in the Pennsylvania 
Gazette of the 20th instant. 

On the ]8tli of this montli, General Clinton, with the 
British army, (now under his command) abandoned Phila- 
delphia, and the city is in possession of our troops. The 
enemy crossed into Jersey, but whetiier with design to 
push for South Amboy, or to embark below Billingsport, on 
the Delaware, is yet uncertain. General Washington has put 
his army in motion, and is following the enemy into Jersey. 

There has arrived here a M. Holker, from France, who 
has presented a paper to Congress, declaring that he comes 
with a verbal message to Congress from the minister of 
France, touching our treating with Great Britain, and some 
other particulars which, for want of his paper, we cannot at 
present enumerate. The style of his paper is as if from 
the representative of the Court, but he has no authentic 
voucher of his mission for the delivery of this verbal mes- 
sage. VVe desire of you, gentlemen, to give us the most 
exact information in your power concerning tlie authen- 
ticity of M. Holker's mission for this purpose. 

We are, gentlemen, with esteem and regard, he. 



Versailles, 14tl. July, 1778. 

Notwithstanding the precautions, which 1 have taken to 
supply the inhabitants of the islands of St Pierre and Mi- 
quelon with provisions for their subsistence, who, in their 


present circumstances, can receive very small or no suc- 
cors from ihe commerce with France, it may happen that 
the intervention of one or more of the vessels sent to those 
islands with provisions, may reduce the people to great dis- 
tress, and it will be too late to apply a reinedy after the 
knowledge of the event shall reach us. I have thought 
that in case of pressing necessity, we might count on sup- 
plies from the United States of America, and have indi- 
cated the same to the administrators of the islands of St 
Pierre and Miquelon. It will be highly agreeable to his 
Majesty if you should concur in this opinion, and do what 
may be in your power to procure such succors, by recom- 
mending to the United Slates, and particularly to the gcv- 
erninent of Boston, to induce the fitting out of expeditions 
to those isles, for the purpose of taking provisions to the 
inhabitants, and supplying their wants. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Passy, July 16th, 1778. 

We have the honor of your Excellency's letter of the 
14th instant. We shall embrace the first opportunity of 
writing to Congress, and to the government of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay, and enclosing copies of your Excellency's 
letter to us, which we are persuaded will have the most 
powerful influence with them to exert themselves, and to 
recommend to their fellow citizens to engage in expedi- 
tions for the relief of the inhabitants of St Pierre and Mique- 
lon. There is not the smallest doubt of their ability to sup- 
ply the wants of their friends at those places, provided the 


British men of war should be uithdrawn from the Halifax 
and Newfoundland station. But if there should remain as 
many ships of war on those stations as there have been for 
the last two years, the difticulty will be very great. 

We have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a copy 
of a letter just received from Mr Schwcighaiiser, whereby 
your Excellency will see the difficulties that still embarrass 
our frigates in relation to their prizes. We entreat your 
Excellency's further attention to the subject, that orders 
may be given for the relief of our officers and men from 
these embarrassments. 

We have the honor to request your Excellency's atten- 
tion to another subject, that of the British prisoners made 
by our frigates, the Providence, the Boston, and the Ran- 
ger, and all others in future. As it is necessary for these 
frigates, forthwith to proceed to sea, and as we have some 
hopes of an exchange of prisoners in Europe, we request 
your Excellency that we may have leave to confine them in 
your prisons, to be maintained there at our expense, until 
exchanged or sent by us to America, and that your Excel- 
lency would give the necessary directions accordingly. 

We have the honor to be, with respect, your Excel- 
lency's, Stc. 



Passy, July 16, 177S. 

May it please your Honors, 
We have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter just 
received from ^L de Sartine, the minister of slate for 


the marine of this kingdom, in answer to which we hav^e 
had the honor to assure his Excellency, that we would 
embrace the first opportunity of communicating it to your 
honors. We have not the smallest doubts of the good 
inclinations of the people in America, to supply the 
necessities of their friends in St Pierre and Miquelon, 
nor of tiie abilities of those in the northern States to do 
it effectually, provided the British men of war are with- 
drawn from the Halifax and Newfoundland stations, and 
perhaps it may be done, notwithstanding the dangers of 
men of war. We hope, however, it will be attempted. 
There is no doubt but a good price may be obtained, at the 
same time that an acceptable act of friendship and of hu- 
manity will be performed. 

We have the honor to request, that this letter and its 
enclosure may be laid before the General Court, and that 
such measures may be taken as their wisdom shall dictate 
to the accomplishment of so desirable a purpose. 
We have the honor to be, k.c. 



Passy, July 17th, 1778. 

We herewith communicate to your Excellency a reso- 
lution of Congress, relative to the treaties, which we request 
may be laid before the King. Thereby his Majesty will 
perceive the unfeigned sentiments of that body, as well as 
the whole American people, whose hearts the King has 


gained, by his great benevolence towards them, manifested 
in these treaties, which has made so deep an impression on 
their minds, that no time will efface it. 
We have the honor to be, &ic. 



Passy, 20lh Julv, 1778. 


We have the honor to inform Congress, that the Spy, 
Captain Nyles, has arrived at Brest, and brought us a ratifi- 
cation of the treaties with His INIost Christian Majesty, which 
has given much satisfaction to this Court and nation. On 
the 1 Till instant we had the honor of exchanging ratifica- 
tions with his Excellency the Count de V'ergennes. The 
treaties ratified, signed by his Majesty, and under the great 
seal of France, are now in our possession, where, perhaps, 
considering the dangers of enemies at sea, it will be safest 
to let them remain at present. Copies of them we shall 
have the honor to transmit to Congress by this opportunity. 

War is not yet declared between France and England, 
by either nation, but hostilities at sea have been already 
commenced by both, and as the French fleet from Brest, 
under the command of the Count d'Orvilliers, and the 
British fleet, under Admiral Keppel, are both at sea, we 
are in hourly expectation of a rencontre between them. 
The Jamaica fleet, the Windward Island fleet, and a small 
fleet from the -Mediterranean, have arrived at London, 
which has enabled them to obtain by means of a violent 
impress, perhaps a thousand or fifteen hundred seamen, 


who will man two or three ships more, in the whole making 
Admiral Keppel's fleet somewhat nearer to an equality with 
the French. In the mean time, the Spanish flotilla has 
arrived, but the councils of that Court are kept in a secrecy 
so profound, that we presume not to say with confidence 
what are her real intentions. We continue, however, to 
receive from various quarters encouraging assurances, and 
from the situation of the powers of Europe it seems highly 
probable, that Spain will join France in case of war. 

A war in Germany, between the Emperor and King of 
Prussia, seems to be inevitable, and it is aifirmed tliat the 
latter has marched his army into Bohemia, so that we ap- 
prehend that America has at present nothing to fear from. 
Germany, We are doing all in our power to obtain a loan 
of money, and have a prospect of procuring some in Am- 
sterdam, but not in such quantities as will be wanted. W^e 
are constrained to request Congress to be as sparing as 
possible in their drafts upon us. The drafts already made, 
together with the great expense arising from the frigates 
which have been sent here, and the expenses of the commis- 
sioners, the maintenance of your ministers for Vienna and 
Tuscany, and of prisoners who have made their escape, 
and the amount of clothes and munitions of war already 
sent to America, are such, that we are under great appre- 
hensions that our funds will not be suflicient to answer the 
drafts, which we daily expect, for the interest of loan office 
certificates, as well as those from Mr Bingham. 

We have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter from 
M. dc Sartine, the Minister of Marine, and to request the 
attention of Congress to the subject of it. 

We are told in several letters from the honorable Com- 
mittee for Foreign Affairs, that we shall receive instructions 


and authority for giving up, on our part, the whole of the 
llth article of the treaty, proposing it as a condition to the 
Court of France, that they on their part should give u)) the 
whole of the 12th. But unfortunately, these instructions 
and authority were omitted to be sent with the letters, and 
we have not yet received them. At the time of the ex- 
change of the ratifications, we mentioned this subject to the 
Count de Vergcnnes, and gave him an extract of the Com- 
mittee's letter. His answer to us was, that the alteration 
would be readily agreed to, and he ordered his secretary 
not to register the ratification till it was done. We there- 
fore request that we may be honored with the instructions 
and authority of Congress to set aside the two articles as 
soon as possible, and while the subject is fresh in memory. 

The letter to M. Dimias* is forwarded, and in answer 
to the Committee's inquiry, what is proper for Congress to 
do for that gentleman, we. beg leave to say, that his extreme 
activity and diligence in negotiating our affairs, and his 
punctuality in his correspondence with Congress as well as 
with us, and his usefulness to our cause in several other 
ways, not at present proper to be explained, give him, in 
our opinion, a good title to two hundred pounds sterling a 
year at least. 

The other things mentioned in the Committee's letter to us 
shall be attended to as soo:i as possible. We have received 
also the resolution of Congress of the 9ih of February, and 
the letter of the Committee of the same date, empowering us 
to appoint one or more suitable |)ersons as commercial agents, 
for conducting the commercial business of the United States 
in France, and other parts of Europe. But as this power 

* Private Agent for American Affairs in Holland. 

VOL. I. 52 


was given us before Congress received the treaty, and we 
have never received it but with the ratification of the treaty, 
and as by the treaty Congress is empowered to appoint 
consuls in the ports of France, perhaps it may be expected 
from us, that we should wait for consuls. At present, Mr 
John Bonfield of Bordeaux, and Mr J. D. Schweighauser 
at Nantes, both by the appointment of Mr William Lee, are 
the only persons authorised as commercial agents. If we 
should find it expedient to give appointments to any other 
persons, before we hear from Congress, we will send infor- 
mation of il by the first opportunity. If Congress should 
think proper to appoint consuls, we are humbly of opinion, 
that the choice will fall most justly as well as naturally on 
Americans, who are, in our opinion, better qualified for this 
business than any others, and the reputation of such an 
office, together with a moderate commission on the business 
they may transact, and the advantages to be derived from 
trade, will be a sufficient inducement to undertake it, and 
a sufficient reward for discharging the duties of it. 
We have the honor to be, he. 


The Functions of Consuls, 

Are to maintain in their department the privileges of 
their nation according to treaties. 

To have inspection and jurisdiction, as well civil as 
criminal, over all the subjects of their States who happen 
to be in their department, and particularly over commerce 
and meirhnnts. 


This sort of commission is not given but to persons above 
thirty years of age. 

Those appointed should cause their powers to be regis- 
tered in the nearest Court of Admiralty, and in the Cham- 
ber of Commerce, if there is one, near the place of their 

On his arrival there, the Consul should publish his powers 
in the assembly of merchants of his country happening to be 
there at the time, and put them on the records of the 

When there is any question that affects the general affairs 
of the commerce of his nation, he ought to convoke all 
the merchants and masters of vessels of his nation then iu 
the place, who are obliged to attend, under penalty, accord- 
ing to the resolutions taken in iliese assemblies ; the Con- 
sul issues orders which ought to be executed, and of which 
he should send copies every three months to the Lieutenant 
General of the nearest Admiralty and Chamber of Com- 

The jurisdiction of Consuls extends to several objects, 
for he not only supplies the place of a Court of Admiralty, 
but also of a common court of justice. 

In civil matters the judgments are to be executed, pro- 
visional security being given for the sum adjudged ; in 
criminal matters definitively and without appeal, if given 
with two of the principal merchants of his country assisting, 
except where corporal punishment appertains to the crime, 
in which case the process and proofs are to be drawn up 
by die Consul, and sent with the criminal by the first vessel 
of tlie nation, to be judged by the proper authority in the 
first port thereof where he arrives. 

The Consul may also oblige any of his nation to depart, 


if they behave scandalously, and captains are obliged to 
take them, under a penalty. 

If the Consul has any difference with the merchants of 
the place, the parties are to appear in the next Court of 
Admiralty, and the cause is to be there adjudged. 

The Consul has a clerk, who keeps an office, in which 
all the acts of the Consulate are registered. He names 
also the officers who execute his precepts, and takes their 
oaths. If war happens, the Consuls retire. 


Passy, 23d July, 1778. 

We have just received a message from the Count de 
Vergennes, by his secretary, acquainting us that informa- 
tion is received from England, of the intention of the cabinet 
there to offer, (by additional instructions to their commis- 
sioners) independence to the United States, on condition of 
their making a separate peace, relying on their majority in 
both Houses for approbation of the measure. M. de Ver- 
gennes upon this intelligence requests, that we would write 
expressly to acquaint the Congress, that though no formal 
declaration of war has yet been published, the war between 
France and England is considered as actually existing, 
from the time of the return of the Ambassadors ; and that 
if England should propose a peace with France, the imme- 
diate answer to the proposition would be, " our eventual 
treaty with the United States is now in full force, and we 
will make no peace but in concurrence with them." And 
we have given it as our firm opinion, that such an answer 
will be given by you without the least hesitation or diffi- 


culty, though you may not have been informed before, as 
you now are, that war being actually begun, the eventual 
treaty is become fully and completely binding. 
We are, with great respect, Sec. 



Passv, 29tl. Julv, 1778. 

Mr Livingston received a commission from us, as Lieu- 
tenant of the Boston, and made a cruise in her, in which 
he had the good fortune to lake four prizes. He is now 
obliged to leave tlie ship, hut we have the pleasure of a 
letter from Captain Tucker, in which lie gives us a hand- 
some character of INIr Livingston, and of his conduct during 
the cruise. We have also a good opinion of him, and 
recommend him to the fav<5r of Congress. 
VV^e are. Sec. 



Passy, 29tli July, 1778. 

We have the honor of your letters of May 14th and 
15th. We congratulate you on the general good appear- 
ance of our affairs, and we arc happy in your assurances, 
that it is your fixed determination to admit no terms of 
peace, but such as are consistent with the spirit and inten- 


tion of our alliance with Fiance, especially as the present 
pdlitics of the British cabinet aim at seducing you from that 
alliance, by an offer of independence, upon condition you 
will renounce it, a measure that will injm-e the reputation of 
our States with all the world, and destroy their confidence 
in our honor. 

No authenticity from Congress to make an alteration in 
the treaty, by withdrawing the 11th and 12th articles, has 
yet reached us. But we gave an extract of your letter to 
the Count de Vergennes, when we exchanged ratifications, 
who expressed an entire willingness to agree to it. Wo wish 
for the powers by the first opportunity. We have not yet 
seen M. Beaumarchais, but the important concern with him 
shall be attended to as soon as may be. 
We have the honor to be, &,c. 




Versailles, 29th July, 1778. 


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to transmit on the 16di instant. His Majesty relies greatly 
on the succors of provisions, which the government of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay may furnish the islands of St Pierre and 

The difficulties which the privateers of the United States 
have experienced till now in the ports of France, either as 
to the sale of dieir prizes, or to secure their prisoners, must 


cease, from the change of circumstances. I make no doubt 
on the other hand, but that the United States will grant the 
same facilities to French privateers. To accomplish this 
double object, 1 have drafted a plan of regulations, whicii I 
earnestly request you to examine, and to note what you 
think of it ; or even to point out such other means as may 
answer the same purpose, so that I may receive his Majes- 
ty's orders. I have the honor to be, kc. 



P.issy, August 13lli, 1778. 


Your Excellency's letter of the 29th of July, enclosing 
a plan for a system of regulations for prizes and prisoners, 
we had the honor of receiving in due time, and are very 
sorry it has remained so long unanswered. 

In general, we are of opinion, that the regulations are 
very good ; but we beg leave to lay before your Excel- 
lency the following observations. 

Upon the 2d article we observe, that the extensive juris- 
diction of the Judges of Admiralty in America, which, con- 
sidering the local and other circumstances of that country, 
cannot easily be contracted, will probably render this regu- 
lation impracticable in America. In France it will, as far 
as we are able to judge of it. be very practicable, and con- 
sequently beneficial. But we submit to your Excellency's 
consideration, whether it would not be better in America 
after the words "/e^ dites Juges" to add, — or the Register 
of the Court of Admirality, oi some other person author- 
ized by the J'-kIzc. The juiis^dicticn of the Cotnt of .\dnii- 


ralty in America extending for some hundred miles, this 
regulation would be subject to great delays, and other incon- 
veniences, if it was confined to the Judge. The 4th article 
seems to be subject to the same inconveniencies, and there- 
fore to require the same amendment. 

Upon the 14th article, we beg leave to submit to your 
Excellency's consideration, whether the heavy duties upon 
British merchandise and manufactures, if these are to be 
paid upon prize goods, will not operate as a great discour- 
agement to the sale of prizes made by American cruisers ; 
and whether it would be consistent with his Majesty's 
interest to permit merchandise and manufactures, taken in 
prizes made by Americans, to be stored in his Majesty's 
warehouses, if you j)lease, until they can be exported to 
America, and witiiout being subject to duties. 

We know not the expense, that will attend these regula- 
tions and proceedings in the courts of this kingdom ; but as 
the fees of ofiice in America are very moderate, and our 
people have been accustomed to such only, we submit to 
your Excellency whether it will not be necessary to state 
and establish the fees here, and make the establishments so 
far public, that Americans may be able to inform them- 

As we are not well instructed in the laws of this king- 
dom, or in the course of the courts of Admiralty here, it is 
very possible that some inconveniencies may arise in the 
practice upon these regulations, which we do not at present 
foresee ; if they should, we shall beg leave to represent 
them to your Excellency, and to request his Majesty to 
make the necessary alterations. 

We submit these observations to your Excellency's supe- 
rior wisdom, and have the honor to be, with sentiments of 


the most perfect respect, your Excellency's most obedient 

and most humble servants, 



P. S. Dr Franklin concurs with us in these senti- 
ments, but as he is absent, we are obliged to send the letter 
without his subscribins;. 


Brest, August loth, 1TT8. 

I have now been five days in this place since my arrival 
from Passy, during which time I have neither seen or 
heard from Lieutenant Simpson. But Mr Hill, who was 
last winter at Passy, and sailed with me from Nantes, in- 
forms me truly, that it is generally reported in the Ranger, 
and of course through ^the French fleet and on shore, that 
I am turned out of the service, and that you, gentlemen, gave 
Mr Simpson my place with a Captain's commission ; that my 
letter of the 16th of July to you was involuntary on my part, 
and in obedience only to your orders to avert dreadful con- 
sequences to myself. These, gentlemen, are not idle, ill- 
grounded conjectures, but melancholy facts ; therefore, I 
beseech you, I conjure you, I demand of you, to atibrd me 
redress — redress by a Court ^Martial, to form which we 
have now a sufficient number of officers in France, with tijo 
assistance of Captain Hinman, exclusive of myself. Tlje 
Providence and the Boston are expected here very soon 
from Nantes, and I am certain that ihey neither can nor 
vnll depart again, before my friend. Captain Hinman, ran 
VOL. I. 53 


come down here, and it is his unquestioned right to succeed 
me in the command of the Ranger. 

I have faithfully and personally supported and fought for 
the dignified cause of human nature, ever since the Ameri- 
can banner first waved on the Delaware, and on the ocean. 
This I did when that man did not call himself a Republi- 
can, but left the Continent, and served its enemies ; and 
this I did, when that man appeared dastardly backward, 
and did not support me as he ought. 

I conclude, by requesting you to call before you, and 
examine for your own satisfaction, Mr Edward Meyers, 
who is now at the house of the Swedish Ambassador, and 
who, having been with me as a volunteer, can and will, I 
am persuaded, represent to you the conduct of the officers 
and men towards me, both before I left Brest, and after- 
wards in the Irish channel, as well as my conduct towards 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of due respect 
and esteem, your very obliged and very humble servant, 



Versailles, 16lh August, 1778. 

I take the earliest opportunity to answer the observations 
addressed to me in the letter, which you did me the honor 
10 write me the 13th instant, on the project of a regulation 
for the prizes and prisoners of the respective United States. 
I conceive that I have fulfilled the object by digesting anew 
the 2d and 14th articles, of which I annex another text, 


wiili copies of the difierent laws that have been lately pub- 
lished respecting prizes. Moreover, I will at all times 
receive with pleasure your representations of the incon- 
veniences which may attend, in your opinion, the execution 
of the regulation, and you may be assured that his Majesty 
will be always disposed to grant the inhabitants of the 
United States every facility, compatible with the interests 
of his finances and the connnerce of his subjects. 
1 have the honor to be, &:c. 


Regulations for Prizes and Prisoners. 

Bv the King. 

His Majesty, desirous of making known his intentions, as 
well with respect to the prizes, wiiich his subjects may 
carry into the ports of the United States of America, as 
also respecting admitting into his own ports the prizes made 
bv American privateers, and calculating on the perfect 
equality which constitutes the basis of his engagements with 
the said United States, he has ordained and docs ordain 
as follows. 

Articlk I. French privateers shall be permitted to 
conduct and cause to be conducted, the prizes made from 
his Majesty's enemies, into the ports of the United Stales 
of America, to repair them so as to proceed again to sea, 
or to sell them delinitivcly. 

Article ii. In the case of simple anchoring, the con- 
ductors of prizes shall be bound to make before the Judges 
of the place, a summary declaration containing the circum- 
stances of the capture and motives of anchoring, and to re- 
cjuest U)e said Judges to go on board the captured prizes 
and seal up such places as may admit of it, and make out 


a short description of wliat cannot be contained under the 
said seals, the state of which shall be verified in France by 
the officers of the admiralty, on the copy which the officer 
conducting the prize shall be obliged to report. 

Article ii, amended. Jn case of simple anchoring, 
the Captains conducting the prizes shall be bound to make 
before the Judges of the place, their secretaries, or other 
l)ersons authorised by them, a summary declaration con- 
taining the circumstances of the capture and motives of an- 
choring, and to request the said Judges, their secretaries, 
and other persons authorised by them, to go on board the 
captured vessels, and seal up such places as may admit of it, 
and make out a short description of what cannot be con- 
tained under such seals, the state of which shall be verified 
in France by the officers of the admiralty, on the copy of 
which the officer conducting his prize shall be bound to 

Article hi. His Majesty, nevertheless, permits captains 
conducting prizes to sell in the ports of the United States, 
either perishable merchandise, or such other as may supply 
the wants of the vessels during the time of their stay, the 
said conductors of prizes shall be bound to ask permission 
Irom the Judges of the place for this purpose in the ordinary 
form, and proceed to the sale by the public officers appoint- 
ed for that purpose, and to report copies, as v.cll of the pro- 
ceedings as of the verbal process of the sale. 

Article iv. The prize-masters, who shall be author- 
ised by the owners or captains of the capturing privateer 
to sell the said prizes in the ports of the United States, shall 
be obliged to make before the Judges a detailed report, 
which shall afterwards be verified in the hearing of at least 
two oi their crew, and to request the said judges to go 


directiv on board of the prizes to make out a verbal process, 
seal up the hatches and cabin, take an inventory of wliat 
cannot be sealed, and appoint sequestrators. Which 
Judges shall proceed afterwards to interrogate the captain, 
officers, and other persons of the crew of the captured 
vessel to the number of two or three, or more if it is judged 
necessarv, and shall translate the useful papers on board if 
there are interpreters, and annex compared copies of the 
said useful papers to the minutes of the proceedings, to 
have recourse to them in case of necessity, as is prescribed 
for prizes conducted into the ports of the Kingdom by the 
42d article of the declaration of the 24th of June last. 

Articlk v. As soon as the copies of the said proceed- 
ings, and the original papers and translations f;hall have 
been addressed to the Secretary-General of the Marine at 
Paris, for process in judgment by the Council of Prizes, the 
captain or his agent may require the provisional sale of the 
merchandise and effects subject to perishing, and even the 
definitive sale of the prizes and all the merchandise of their 
cargoes, whenever they shall evidently appear the enemy's 
property, from the papers on board and the interrogatories 
of the prisoners, in the manner that shall be ordered by the 
Judges of the places, and as is prescribed for prizes con- 
ducted into the ports of the kingdom by the 45th article of 
the said declaration of the 24th of June last. 

Article vi. The discharge, inventory, sale, and de- 
livery of the said prizes and merchandise shall be made 
agreeable to the formalities practised in the ports of the 
United States. The captains, conductors of prizes, shall be 
bound to report the particular liquidations or summary 
statements of the proceeds of the said prizes and expenses 
incurred on their account, that the said particular liqui- 


dalions or summary statements may be deposited by the 
owner or the secretary of the Admiralty, at the place of 
outfit, agreeable to the 57th article of the declaration of the 
24th of June last, to which secretary the judgments and 
prize papers shall be sent, in order to be registered. 

Article vii. All the prisoners that shall be found on 
board either of the French privateers, that shall come to 
anchor in the ports of the United States, or on board the 
prizes whicli shall be brought there, shall be immediately 
delivered to the governor or magistrate of the place, to be 
secured in the name of the King, and maintained at his 
expense, as shall likewise be done in the French ports, 
with respect to the prisoners made by the American priva- 
teers. The captains who carry back iheir prizes, to be 
sold in the ports of the kingdom, shall nevertheless be 
bound to carry with them two or three principal prisoners, 
in order to be interrogated by the oflicers of the Admiralty 
who shall make the inquiry. 

Article viii. The privateers of the United States 
may conduct, or cause to be conducted, their prizes into 
the ports belonging to his Majesty, whether for the purpose 
of anchoring and remaining there, until they are in a condi- 
tion to proceed again to sea, or for the purpose of selling 
them definitively. 

Article ix. In case of simple anchoring, the prize- 
masters shall be bound to make, within twenty-four hours 
after arrival, their declaration before the officers of the 
Admiralty, who shall go on board of the vessels, in order to 
seal up such places as may admit of it, and to make a brief 
description of what cannot be comprehended under the said 
seals, without allowing any thing to be landed from on board 
of the said prizes, under the penalties contained in his 
Majesty's arrets and regulations. 


Article x. His Majesty nevertheless penuits the said 
American privateers to sell in his ports, either the perishable 
merchandise, or such other, in order to defray the expenses 
of the vessels during tlie time of their being in port, charg- 
ing them to request permission from tlie officers of the 
Admiralty, in presence of whom the said sale shall be 

Article xi. When the subjects of the United Stales 
would wish to sell their prizes in the ports of the kingdom, 
the captain who shall have made the prize, or the officer 
intrusted with bringing it in, shall be bound to make before 
the officers of the Admiralty a detailed report, which shall 
be verified in the hearing of at least two of their crew ; the 
officers of the Admiralty shall go immediately on board of 
the prize to make out a verbal process, seal the hatches 
and cabins, make an inventory of what cannot be sealed, 
and appoint keepers ; they shall afterwards proceed to- 
interrogate the captains, officers, and other people belonging 
to die crew of the prize ; shall cause the useful papers on 
board to be translated, of which they shall annex compared 
copies to the minutes of the proceedings ; and the original 
and translated pieces, as also die copies of the said pro- 
ceedings, shall be sent to die deputies of the United States 
at Paris. 

Article xii. The captains, conductors of prizes, or 
dieir agents, may request the officers of the Admiralty to 
proceed to the provisional sale of such merchandise and 
eft'ects as are subject to perish, and even to the definitive 
sale of die prizes and of all dieir merchandise on board, 
when they shall appear to liave belonged to the enemv, 
from the papers on board and the information of the 
prisoners, in the same manner as is prescribed for die prizes 


taken by French privateers, by the 45th article of the 
declaration of the 24th of June last. 

Article xiii. The discharge, inventory, sale, and de- 
livery of the said prizes shall be made in presence of the 
officers of the Admiralty, whose fees, either for discharging, 
inventory, or sale, shall be reduced one half, agreeable to 
the terms of the 52d article of the declaration of the 24th of 
June last. The said officers shall not proceed to a particu- 
lar liquidation of the proceeds of the prizes until they shall 
be required by the parties concerned, and in every case 
where the delivery of several copies is required, no more 
shall be paid to the register for the second and third, than 
the price of the stamped paper and the expense of writing. 

Article xiv. It is bis Majesty's pleasure, that the arret 
of his Council, by which, agreeable to the second article of 
the 24th of June last, it shall be determined what kind and 
quality of merchandise, proceeding from prizes, shall be 
consumed in the kingdom, as also what duties they shall be 
subject to, shall likewise extend to the merchandise pro- 
ceeding from prizes taken by American privateers, who 
are charged to fulfil the formalities prescribed by the arrets 
and regulations. 

Article xiv, amended. It is his Majesty's pleasure 
that the arret of his Council, by which, agreeable to the 
second article of the 24th of June last, it shall be deter- 
mined what kind and quality of merchandise, proceeding 
from prizes, shall be consumed in the kingdom, as also what 
duties they shall be subject to, shall likewise extend to the 
merchandise proceeding from prizes taken by American 
privateers, \v'ho are charged to fulfd the formalities pre- 
scribed by the arrets and regulations, especially with respect 
to the merchandise which they would export, whether to 
the ports of the United Stales, or to all other foreign coua- 


tries, and that they shall he permitted for this purpose to 
keep them during a year, in the magazines of deposit, free 
from all duly. 

Articlf. XV. The American privateers may deliver in 
the ports, to the commissioners of the ports and arsenals of 
the marine, the prisoners they may have on board ; his 
Majesty will give orders that the said prisoners shall be con- 
ducted, guarded, and maintained in the name and at the 
expense of the United States. 


Passv, August 18tli, 1778. 


We embrace this first opportunity to answer the letter, 
which your Excellency did us the honor to address to us, 
the 16th of this month. 

We have examined with some attention the alterations, 
which your Excellency has made in the 2d and 14th arti- 
cles of the projected regulations, and are of opinion, that 
thev will remove the difficulties we apprehended from the 
first draught. 

We thank your Excellency for the obliging expressions of 
your readiness to receive any representations, w hich we may 
hereafter have occasion to make, of inconveniencies arising 
in the execution of these regulations ; which, however, we 
hope will not occur. We submit the whole to your Excel- 
lency's deliberation and decision, and are, with sentiments 
of the sincerest respect, your Excellency's most obedient 

humble servants, 



VOL. I. 54 


-,. Brest, Aug^ust 18lii, 1778. 

1 request that you will summon a court martial for the 
trial of Lieutenant Thomas Simpson, with whose conduct I 
have heen and am unsatisfied, and who is now under sus- 
pension for disobedience of my written orders. 

I am, Sir, with due regard, your most humble servant, 


Brest, August 19, 1778. 


I am honored with your letter of this day, requesting 
that I will summon a Court Martial for the trial of Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Simpson, with whose conduct you have 
been and are unsatisfied, and who, you say, is under sus- 
pension for disobedience to your written orders. Having 
maturely considered the contents of your letter, and with 
as much accuracy as possible attended to every particular, 
I return for answer the subjoined reasons, which will at 
once explain the impossibility of calling a Court Martial, 
and fully acquaint you with my sentiments on that subject. 

You are sensible that the Continental regulations have 
expressly ordered, that a Court Martial shall consist of at 
least three Captains, which is impossible, as Captain Hin- 
rnan declines to sit, he expecting a Court of Inquiry 
upon his own conduct on his arrival in America, and hav- 
ing assigned a reason of so forcible a nature, I think he is 
acting a pan at once prudent and becoming. 


Vou will permit the remark, that by Lieutenant Simpson's 
parole, taken by yoursell June lOlb, 1778, Lieutenant 
Simpson engaged on liis parole of honor to consider himself 
as under suspension till he shall be called upon to meet you 
face to face before a Court Martial, unless you should, in 
the meantime, release him. from his parole, which I con- 
ceive that you have done by your letter of the iGth of 
July to the honorable Commissioners, where you mention 
that you are willing to let the dispute drop forever, by giving 
up that parole, which would entitle Lieutenant Simpson 
to the command of the Ranger ; that this, as you bore no 
malice, would be making him all the present satisfiiction in 
your power, provided that you had injured him, and that 
you will trust to himself to make an acknowledgment, if, on 
the contrary, he lias injured you. In my opinion, this is 
giving up his parole in the most ample manner, as it does 
not appear to me that you made, by letter or otherwise, 
any compact or agreement with Lieutenant Simpson, that 
he should make any concessions on his part, or any thing 
of that nature, neither that he was to be answerable to a 
Court jMartial when the supposed crime was blotted out, 
for which he was at first responsible. 

I believe that the honorable Commissioners accepted it in 
the same light, as by their letter of the same date it would seem 
you gave them the greatest satisfaction in aftiirding them an 
opportunity to reinstate Lieutenant Simpson on board the 
Ranger. The Commissioners fiutlier order him lo l;ikc the 
command of the Ranger, as her first Lieutenant, and to 
join me and to obey my orders, all which sufiicicnllv 
evinces that Lieutenant Simpson is no longer considered ;'..s 
under suspension, and consequently cannot be responsible to 
a Court Martial for disobedience to wrilten orders from vou, 


Irom which he is amply released by your voluntary sur- 
render of his parole. However, if this explanation, at- 
tempted to be made in the most candid manner, should not 
prove agreeable, I beg leave to refer you to the absolute 
impossibility of calling a Court Martial, agreeable to the 
resolves of Congress, and flatter myself that you will believe 
me to be, with due respect. Sir, your most obedient and 
most humble servant, 



Passy, August 22d, 1778. 

We have received your letter of the 1 5th, and have writ- 
ten to Captain Whipple to appoint a Court Martial for the 
trial of Lieutenant Simpson, provided there is a sufficient 
number of officers to constitute one. This, however, is 
not to make any change in his command of the Ranger 
until the trial is over ; nor then, unless the judgment of that 
Court is against him. 
We are, sir, he. 



Passv, August 28fh, 1778. 

There are several subjects which we find it necessary to 
lay before your Excellency, and to which we have the honor 
to request your attention. 


At a time when the circumstances of the war may de- 
mand the attention ol government, and, without doubt, call 
for so great expense, we are sorry to be obliged to request 
your Excellency's advice respecting the subject of money ; 
but the nature of the war in America, the vast extent of 
country to defend, and this defence having been made 
chiefly by militia engaged for short periods, which often 
obliged us to pay more men than could be brought into 
actual service ; and above all, this war having been con- 
ducted in the midst of thirteen revolutions of civil govern- 
ment, against a nation very powerful both by sea and land, 
has occasioned a very great expense to a country so young, 
and to a government so unsettled. This has made emis- 
sions of paper money indispensable, in much larger sums 
than in the ordinary course of business is necessary, or than 
in any other circumstances would have been politic. In order 
to avoid the necessity of further emissions as much as pos- 
sible, the Congress have borrowed large sums of this paper 
money of the possessors upon interest, and have promised 
the lenders payment of that interest in Europe, and we 
therefore expect, that vessels from America will bring bills 
of exchange upon us for that interest, a large sum of which 
is now due. 

It is very true that our country is already under obliga- 
tions to his Majesty's goodness, for considerable sums of 
money ; the necessities of the United States have been 
such, that the sums, heretofore generously furnished, are 
nearly if not qtiite expended, and when your Excel- 
lency considers, that the American trade has been almost 
entirely interrupted by the British power at sea, they hav- 
ing taken as many of our vessels as to render this trade 
more advantageous to our enemy than to ourselves ; that 


our frigates and other vessels, which have arrived in 
this Kingdom, have cost us a great sum ; that the provision 
of clothing and all the necessaries of war for our army, 
except such as we could make in that country, have 
been shipped from hence at our expense ; that the expense 
we have been obliged to incur for our unfortunate country- 
men, who have been prisoners in England, as well as the 
maintenance of those taken from the enemy has been very 
considerable ; your Excellency will not be surprised when 
you are informed, that our resources are exhausted. 

We, therefore, hope for the continuance of his Majesty's 
generosity, and that the quarterly payment of seven hundred 
and fifty thousand livres may be continued. And we as- 
sure your Excellency, that the moment we are furnished 
with any other means of answering this demand, we will 
no longer trespass on his Majesty's goodness. 

We have further to inform your Excellency, that we are 
empowered and instructed by Congress, to borrow in Eu- 
rope a sum of money to the amount of two millions ster- 
ling ; which is to be appropriated to the express purpose 
of redeeming so many of the bills of credit in America, as 
will be sufficient, it is apprehended, to restore the remain- 
der to their original value. We, therefore, request his 
Majesty's permission to borrow such part of that sum in 
his Majesty's kingdom, as we may find opportunity. Al- 
though we are empowered to offer a larger interest than is 
usually given by his Majesty, yet that we may not be any in- 
terruption to his Majesty's service, we are willing and de- 
sirous of limiting the interest which we may offer, to the 
same that is given by his Majesty. And in this way, al- 
though most persons will choose to lend their money to his 
Majesty, yet there may be others desirous of forming con- 


nexions of trade with tlie people in America, who will be 
willing to serve them in this way. And perhaps nothing 
will have a greater tendency to cement the connexion be- 
tween the two nations, so happily begun, or to insure to the 
French nation the benefits of the American trade, than 
something of this kind. 

By the 8th article of the treaty of commerce, his Majesty 
has engaged to employ his good oliices and interpositions 
with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the regencies of Al- 
giers, Tunis, Tripoli, and the other powers on the coast of 
Barbary, in order to provide as fully as possible for the 
convenience and safety of the inhabitants of the United 
States, and their vessels and effects, against all violence, in- 
sults, attacks, or depredations on the part of the said princes. 

We have received information, that there are already 
American vessels in Italy desirous of returning dience, and 
that there are merchants in Italy desirous of entering into 
the American trade, but that an apprehension of danger 
from the Corsairs of Barbary is a discouragement. We 
therefore request your Excellency's attention to this case, 
and such assistance from his Majesty's good offices, as was 
intended by die treaty. 

There is another thing that has occurred of late, on 
which we have the honor to request your Excellency's 
advice. There are many Americans in England, and in 
other parts of Europe, some of whom are excellent citi- 
zens, and who wish for nothing so much as to return to 
their native country, and to take their share in her fortune, 
whatever that may be, but are apprehensive of many diffi- 
culties in recovering their property. 

Whether it will be practicable and consistent with his 
Majesty's interest to prescribe any mode by which Ameri- 


cans of the above description may be permitted to pass 
through this Kingdom with their apparel, furniture, plate, 
and other effects, not merchandise for sale here, without 
paying duties, we submit to his wisdom. 

We likewise request of your Excellency a passport for 
such cartel ship as shall be employed by the English in 
sending our people, who are their prisoner's, to France to 
be exchanged. They propose Calais as the port at which 
the exchange may be made, but as the prisoners we have 
are at Brest, and the expense of removing them to Calais 
would be considerable, we should be glad that the passport 
would permit the landing of our people as near Brest as 
may be, without danger of inconveniency to the State. 

We have the honor to be, with respect, your Excel- 
lency's, Sic. 



Of Count de Vergennes, annulling the Eleventh and 
Twelfth Articles of the Commercial Treaty tvith 


The General Congress of the United States of Novth 
America having represented to the king, that the execution 
of the lllh article of the treaty of amity and commerce, 
signed the 6th of February last, might be productive of 
inconveniencies, and having, therefore, desired the suppres- 
sion of this article, consenting in return that the 12th article 

DJi'LO.MAlIC CUiiUtlSl'O.NDK.NCK. 436 

shall likewise be of no elicct ; liis iMajesiy, in order to j^ive a 
new prooi'of his affeciion, as also ol his desire to consolidate 
the union and good correspondence esla'olished beuveen ihe 
two States, has been pleased to consider iheir reprcseniu- 
lions. His Majesty has consequently declared, and does 
declare by these presents, that he consents to the sup- 
pression olthe 11th and 12th articles aforementioned, and 
that it is his intention, thrt they be considered as having 
never been comprehended in the treaty signed the Cth of 
February last. 

Done at Versailles, this 1st day of September, 1778. 


Of the American Commissio7iers, annuUing ihe Eleventh 
and Twelfth Articles of the same Treaty. 


The Most Christian King having been pleased to regard 
the representations made to him by the General Congress 
of North America, relating to the 1 1th article of the Treaty 
of Commerce, signed the Gth of February in the present 
year, and his Majesty having therefore consented that the 
said article should be suppressed, on condition that the 12th 
article of the same treaty be equally regarded as of none 
eftect; the above said (ieneral Congress hath declared on 
their part, and do declare, that they consent to the suppres- 
sion of the 11th and I2th articles of the above mcntiont-d 
treaty, and that tlioir intention is, that these articles be 
VOL. 1. 55 


regarded as having never been comprised in the treaty 
signed the 6th of February. In faith whereof, &;c. 



Passy, September 10th, 1778. 


In a letter we have received from the Committee of 
Commerce of the 16th of May, we are informed, that they 
had ordered several vessels lately to South Carolina for 
rice, and directed the continental agents in that State to 
consign them to our address. 

In the letter from "Mr Livingston to us, dated Charleston 
South Carolina, TOth June, 1778, he has subjected the 
cargo of the Therese to our orders. 

In your letter to us, dated Passy, 8th September, 1778, 
you demand, that the cargo received in your own vessel 
should be sold, and the money remitted to you in part for 
a discharge of what is due to you by the Congress. 

We are at a loss to know how you claim the Therese as 
your proper vessel, because M. Monthieu claims her as his, 
produces a written contract for the hire of her, part of which 
we have paid, and the remainder he now demands of us. 
However, Sir, we beg leave to state to you the powers and 
instructions we hav^e received from Congress, and to request 
your attention to them as soon as possible, and to inform 
you, that we are ready to enter upon the discussion of these 
matters, at any time and place you please. 

But until the accounts of the company of Roderique Hor- 
talez h Co. are settled for what is passed, and the contracts 


proposed either ratified by you and us, or rejected by one 
partv, we canuot think we should be justified in remitting 
you the proceeds of the cargo of the Tlierese. 

AVe will, however, give orders to our agents for the sale 
of the cargo, and that the proceeds of the sale be reserved 
to be paid to the house of Roderiqiie Horlalez &:, Co. or 
their representative, as soon as the accounts shall be settled, 
or the contract ratified. By a copy of a contract between 
a committee of Congress and M. Francy, dated the IGth 
of April last, we perceive that the 17th article, respecting 
the annual supply of 24,000,000 of livres, shall not be bind- 
ing upon either of the parties, unless the same shall be 
ratified by Roderique Hortalez h Co. and the Commission- 
ers of the United States at Paris. 

We take this opportunity to inform you, Sir, that we are 
ready to confer widi Roderique Hortalez & Co or any per- 
son by them authorised for this purpose, at any lime and 
place, that they or you shall appoint. 

We have the honor to be. Sir, your most obedient hum- 
ble servants, 



Tassv, lOlli Stplcmljci, 177S. 

Captain Daniel M'Neil of Boston, in the State of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay, Commander of the American privateer, 
which has been so successful against the common enemy 
in the North Seas and White Seas, had the fortune to retake 
a French vessel from a Guernsey privateer, after s!ic had 


been in the enemy's possession three days, which prize he 
has brought into Port Louis- 
He represents to us, that he has met with some difficul- 
ties in disposing of her and her cargo, which cannot be 
removed until your Excellency's sentiments shall be known 
upon the matter. 

We have the honor to recommend his case to your Ex- 
cellency's consideration, and to request that such relief may 
be afforded him, as may consist with the laws of the State, 
and the treaties in force between the two nations. 
We have the honor to be, &;c. 



Passj-. September 10th, 1778. 


By some of the last ships from America, we received 
from Congress certain powers and instructions, which we 
think it necessary to lay before your Excellency, and which 
we have the honor to do in this letter. 

On the 13th of April last Congress resolved, "that the 
Commissioners of the United Slates in France be authorised 
to determine and .settle with the house of Roderique Horta- 
lez &i Co. the compensation, if any, which should be allowed 
them on all merchandise and warlike stores, shipped by 
ihem for the use of the United States, previous to the 14th 
day of April, 1778, over and above the cominission allowed 
ihem, in the 6th article of the proposed contract between 
the Cominittee of Commerce and John Baptiste Lazarus 
Theveneau de Francv-" ' 


In the letter of the Committee of Commerce to us, in 
which the foregoing resolution was enclosed, the Committee 
express themselves thus; "this will he accompanied by a 
contract entered into between John Baptiste Lazarus de 
Theveneau de Francy, agent of Peter Augustine Caron de 
Beaumarchais, representative of the house of Roderique 
Hortalez k, Co. and the Committee of Commerce. Von 
will observe, that their accounts are to be fairly set- 
tled, and what is justly due paid for, as on the one hand, 
Congress would be unwilling to evidence a disregard for, 
and contemptuous refusal of, the spontaneous friendship of 
His Most Christian Majesty, so on the other, they are ini- 
willing to put Into the private pockets of individuals, what 
was graciously designed for the public benefit. You will 
be pleased to have their accounts liquidated, and direct in 
the liquidation thereot, that particular care be taken to dis- 
tinguish the property of the crown of France, from the 
private property of Hortalez k, Co. and transmit to us the 
accounts so stated and distinguished. This will also be 
accompanied by an invoice of articles to be imported from 
France, and resolves of Congress relative thereto. You 
will appoint, if you should judge proper, an agent or agents 
to inspect the quality of such goods as you may apply for 
to the house of Roderique Hortalez k, Co. before they are 
shipped, to prevent any impositions.*' 

On the iGth of May last, Congress resolved, "that the 
invoice of articles to be imported from France, together with 
the list of medicines approved by Congress, be signed by 
the Committee of Commerce and transmitted to the Com- 
niissioners of the United States at Paris, who are authorised 
and directed to apply to the house of Roderique Hor- 
talez &. Co. for such of the said articles, ns thev shall have 


previously purchased or contracted for ; that copies of 
the invoices be delivered to Mons. de Francy, agent for 
Roderique Hortalez &i Co., together with a copy of the 
foregoing resolution ; and that the articles to be shipped 
by the house of Roderique Hortalez &l Co. be not insured, 
but that notice be given to the Commissioners in France, 
that they may endeavor to obtain convoy for the protection 

We have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a 
copy of the contract made between the Committee and 
Mons. Francy, a copy of Mons. Francy 's powers, and a 
copy of the list of articles to be furnished according to that 
contract, that your Excellency may have before you all the 
papers relative to this subject. 

We are under the necessity of applying to yoiu- Excel- 
lency upon this occasion, and of requesting your advice. 
With regard to what is passed, we know not who the per- 
sons are who constitute the house of Roderique Hor- 
talez &L Co., but we have understood, and Congress 
has ever understood, and so have the people in America in 
general, that they were under obligations to his Majesty's 
good will for the greatest part of the merchandise and war- 
like stores heretofore furnished under the firm of Roderique 
Hortalez h Co. We cannot discover that any written 
contract was ever made between Congress or any agent of 
theirs, and the house of Roderique Hortalez & Co. ; nor 
do we know of any living witness, or any other evidence, 
whose testimony can ascertain to us, who the persons are 
that constitute the house of Roderique Hortalez &, Co., 
or what were the terms upon which the merchandise and 
munitions of war wore supplied, neither as to the price, nor 
the time, or conditions of payment. As we said before, we 


apprcheiul lliat the United Stales hold themselves under 
obligations to liis jMajcsty lor all those supplies, and wc arc 
sure it is their wish and their determination to discharge the 
obligation to his Majesty, as soon as Providence shall put it 
in their power. In the mean time, we arc ready to settle 
and liquidate the accounts according to oui- instructions at 
any time, and in any manner which his Majesty and your Ex- 
cellency shall point out to us. 

As die contract for future supplies is to be ratified, or not 
ratified by us, as we shall judge expedient, we must re- 
quest your Excellency's advice as a favor upon (his head, 
and whether it would be safe or prudent in us to ratify it, 
and in Congress to depend upon supplies from this quarter. 
Because, if we should depend upon this resource for sup- 
plies and be disappointed, the consequences would be fatal 
to our country. 

We have the honor to be, &,c. 




Versailles, 16th September, 1778. 


I have received the letter, which you did mc die honor 
to write to me on the subject of the French shi|) Isabella, 
which the American privateer General Mifflin recaptured 
from a Guernsey privateer. 

In the General Thesis, you may see the disposition of 
ihe ordinance of the Marine of 1(381, which adjudges to 


captains, captors of recaptured vessels, when they have 
been during tvventyfour hours in the enemy's hands, a third 
for the charges of rescue, when they are retaken before the 
tvventyfour hours. The American privateers shall enjoy in 
France, without difficulty, the benefit of this law, if it has 
been adopted by the United States in such a manner, as 
that the French privateers may be assured of experiencing 
the same treatment, with respect to the recaptures they 
may conduct into the ports of North America. 

The English laws, on the contrary, grant a privateer only 
one eighth of the value of the vessels retaken within the 
first tvventyfour hours, a fifth within the second day, a third 
within the third and fourth, and afterwards one half, which 
leaves at least, in every case, the other half to the losing 
proprietors. It is possible, that the United States, as these 
laws arfi less advantageous to the privateers and more fa- 
vorable to the original proprietors of recaptured vessels, 
would give the preference to those of France. 

In these circumstances, the rules of reciprocity observed 
between the two powers require that arrangements be 
taken to adopt the law of one of the two nations, which 
shall be observed by the respective privateers, and in the 
meantime I am persuaded, that you will think with me, that 
the American privateer, General Miffhn, ought not to exact 
in France other advantages than what, in a similar case, a 
French privateer would m.eet with in North America. 

This discussion, moreover, should not take place perhaps 
in the particular affair in question. I am just informed, 
that the French proprietor claims his vessel as retaken from 
pirates, offering to pay a third of its value to the American 
privateer, which delivered it. This is agreeable to the 
10th article, under the title of Prizes, of the ordinance of 


1681, which appears justly applicable to this particular 
case. If it should be ibuiid, that the Guernsey privateer 
falls under the description of those pirates, whose depreda- 
tions have obliged his Majesty to order general reprisals, 
and that she has not been furnished with new letters of 
marque, which the Court of London did not grant be- 
fore the month of August, to cruise against French 
vessels, as appears from the declaration of the Captain 
of the Isabella, this question will be necessarily sub- 
mitted to the decision of the tribunals ; and I cannot do 
otherwise than see, that the most prompt justice be 
rendered to the American privateer. I request, at any 
rate, that you will be pleased to give me your opinion 
on the principal question, taking for granted the diller- 
ont laws of the two nations with respect to reprisals or 

I have the honor to be, &;:c. 



Passy, 17tli September, 177f^. 


We have this morning the honor of receiving your Excel- 
lency's letter of the iGth, relative to the French brigantine, 
the Isabella, retaken by the American privateer, the Gen- 
eral Mifflin, from a Guernsey ])rivateer, after having been 
eight hours in his hands. 

We have the honor to agree perfectly with your Excel- 
lency, in your sentiments of the justice and jmlicy of the 
principle of reciprocity between the two nations, and that 
this principle requires that French ships of war, or priva- 
voL. I. 50 


teers, should have the same advantage in case of prizes 
and recaptures, that the American privateers enjoy in 

We are so unfortunate, at present, as to have no copy of 
any of the laws of the United Staples relative to such cases, 
and are not able to recollect, with precision, the regulations 
in any of them. But we are informed by Captain M'Neil, 
that by the law of Jvlassachusetts Bay, if a vessel is taken 
within twentyfour hours, one third goes to the recaptors ; 
after twentyfour hours until seventytwo hours, one half; 
after seventytwo hours and before ninetysix hours, three 
quarters ; and after ninetysix hours, the whole. 

All that v*'e have power to do in this case is, to convey 
to Congress a copy of your -Excellcricy's letter, and of our 
answer, and we have no doubt but Congress will readily 
recommend to the several States to make laws, giving to 
French privateers either the same advantages that their own 
privateers have in such cases, in their own ports, or the 
same advantages that the French privateers enjoy in the 
ports of this kingdom in such cases, by the ordinance of 
the King. And we wish your Excellency would signify to 
us, which would probably be most agreeable to his Ma- 
jesty. If the case of tliis vessel must come before the pub- 
lic trlbimal, upon the simple question, whether she was 
lakeu from a pirate or not, (hat tribunal we doubt not 
will decide with impartiality ; but we cannot relVain from 
expressing to your Excellency, (hat wc think die original 
owner will bo ill advised if he should put himself to this 
trouble and expense. 

We presume not to dispute the wisdom of (he ordinance 
of the King, which gives to the recaptor from a pirate 
onlv one third ; because we know not the species of pirates 


whirli was iIil-h in couieinplatioii, nor the inoiivts oi' ihal 
regulation. But your Excellency will permit us to observe, 
that this regulation is so different from the general practice, 
and from the spirit of the laws of nations, that there is ni» 
doubt it ought to receive a strict intcrpretalion, and that it 
is incumbent on the oriaiiJal proprietor to make it very 
evident, that the (irst captor wns a pirate. 

In the case in question, the Guernsey privaieer certainly 
had a commission from tlic King of Great Britain, against 
American vessels at least. But admitting, for argument's 
sake, that he had no commission at all, the question arises, 
whether the two nations of France and England are at war 
or not. And, although there has been no formal declara- 
tion of war on cither side, yet there seems to be little 
doubt that the two nniions have been at actual war, at 
least from the time of the mutual recall of iheir Ambassa- 
dors, if not from the moment of the British King's most 
warlike speech to his Parliament. 

Now, if it is admitted that l!ie two nations are at war, we 
believe it would be without a precedent in the history of 
jurisprudence to adjudge the subject of any nation to be 
guilty of piracy for an act of hostility, commitled at se;i 
against tlie subject of another nation at war. Such a prin- 
ciple, for what we see, would conclude ail the admirals 
and other olltcers of bodi r.ations j^uilty of !he same 

It is not tlie want of a commission, as wu luim'uly con- 
ceive, that makes a man guilty of |jiracy ; but committing 
hostilities against human kind, at least against a nation not 
at war. 

Commissions are but one i^pecios of evitlence that natioi; i 
are at war. But there are man} oilier ways of proving 
die same thinsi. 

444 COMMlSSlOiNEliS IIn l<'RAiNCE 

Subjects and citizens, it is true, are i'orbiddeii by most 
civilized nations to ami vessels lor cruising against their 
enemies, without a commission from the sovereign ; but it 
is upon penalty of confiscation or some other, perhaps, 
milder punishment, not on the penalties of piracy. 

Moreover, perhaps, prizes made upon enemies by sub- 
jects or citizens, without commission from their sovereigns, 
may belong to the sovereigns, not to the captors, by the laws 
of most nations ; but, perhaps, no nation ever punished as 
pirates their ov.'n subjects or citizens, for making a prize 
from an enemy without a commission. 

We beg your Excellency's pardon for detaining you so 
long from objects of more importance, and have the honor 

lo be, ^c. 



I'assv, litli September, 177S. 

The last letter which we have had the honor to write 
jointly to Congress, was of the 20th of July,* and as we 
have sent several copies of it by different opportunities, we 
hope one of them, at least, will get safe to hand. Since our 
last, there has been an important action at sea, between 
two very powerful fleets, in which, in our opinion, the 
French had a manifest and great advantage. But as all 
the newspapers in Eurojie are full of this transaction, and 
we have taken, in our separate capacities, every opportu- 
nity to transmit these papers to Congress, we think it need- 

■* It istluis in the crigiiial, but it will liave been seen, that there are 
tliree short letters to Congress between July 20tli and September 17tli. 

DiPLoM.Vnc C0R1U:;^P0NUK.\CK. 445 

less to be more parliciihir coiiceniine; that event in this 

The French Heet, on the 1 1th of last month, again put 
to sea, and on the 22d Admiral Keppel sailed. By the 
best intelligence from London the populace are amused, 
and the public funds are supported by hopes given out, by 
administraUon of peace, by an acknowledgment of Ameri- 
can independency. But as the credulity of that nation has 
no bounds, we can draw no inference from this general 
opinion, that such is the iiitenlion of government. We sup- 
jX)se that rumor to be a consequence of the mischievous 
determination of the Cabinet, to propose independence on 
condition of a separate peace. 

We are here, at this moment, in a slate of the most anx- 
ious and critical suspense, having heard nothing irom Count 
d'Estaing, nor from America, since the 11th of July. 

Congress will be informed by Mr Arthur Lee, respecting 
the Court of Spain. 

We have taken measures in Amsterdam for borrowing 
money of the Dutch, but what success we shall have we 
cannot yet say. We have also asked leave of this govern- 
ment to borrow money in this kingdom, but having no 
answer we cannot say whether we shall get permission or 
not. We have yesterday applied for a continuation of die 
quarterly payment of seven hundred and fifty thousand 
livres ; what the answer will be we know not ; if it is in 
the negative, the consequence must be plain to Congress 
and to us. It is at all times wisest and safest, both- for the 
representative and his constituent, to be candid, and we 
should think ourselves criminal if we should disguise our 
just apprehensions. 

Congress then will be pleased to be informed, tliat ail 


the powers oi" Europe are now armed or arming themselves 
by land or sea, or both, as there seems to be a universal 
apprehension of a general war. Such is the situation of 
European nations at least, that no one can arm itself with- 
out borrowing n)oney. Besides this, the Emperor and king 
of Prussia are at actual war. All this together has produced 
this effect, that France, England, tiie Emperor, Spain, Rus- 
sia at least, are borrowing money, and there is not one of them 
that we can learn, but offers better interest than the United 
States have offered. There can be no motive then but 
simple benevolence to lend to us. 

Applications have been frequently made to us by Ameri- 
cans, who have been some time abroad, to administer the 
oath of allegiance to the United States, and to give them 
certificates that they have taken such oaths, in three in- 
stances we have yielded to their in)portunity ; in the case 
of Mr Moore, of New Jersey, who has large property in the 
East Indies, which he designs to transfer immediately to 
America, — in the case of Mr Woodford, of Virginia, a 
brother of General Woodford, who has been sometime in 
Italy, and means to return to America with his property, — 
and yesterday, in the case of Mr Montgomery, of Philadel- 
phia, who is settled at Alicant, in Spain, but wishes to send 
vessels and cargoes of his own property to America. We 
have given our opinions to these gentlemen frankly, that 
such certificates are in strictness legally void, because 
there is no act of Congress that expressly gives us power to 
administer oaths. We have also given two or three commis- 
Gions by means of the blanks with which Congress intrusted 
us, one to Mr Livingston, and one to Mr Amiel, to be 
Lieutenants in the navy, and in these cases we have ven- 
tured to administer the oaths of allegiance. We have also, 


in one instance, administered ilie oath of secrecy to one of 
our Secretaries, and periiaps it is necessary to administer 
such an oatii, as well as tliat of allegiance, to all persons 
whom we may be obliged in the extensive correspondence 
we maintain to employ. We hope we shall not have the 
disapprobation of Congress for what in this way has been 
done, but we wish for explicit powers and instructions upon 
this head. 

There are, among the nuiltitudc of Americans who are 
scattered about the various parts of Europe, some, we hope 
many, who wish 10 take the oath of allegiance, and to have 
some mode prescribed by which they may be enabled to 
send their vessels and cargoes to America with safety 
from their own friends, American men of war, and priva- 
teers. Will it not be practicable for Congress to prescribe 
some mode of giving registers of ships, some mode of evi- 
dence to ascertain the property of cargoes, by which it 
might be made to appear to the cruisers and Court of Ad- 
miralty, that the property belonged to Americans abroad ? 
If Congress should appoint Consuls, could not such power 
be given to them, or would Congress empower their Com- 
n)issioners or any others ? Several persons from England 
have applied to us to go to America ; they profess to be 
friends to liberty, to republics, to America ; they wish to 
take their lot with her, to take the oath of allegiance to the 
States, and to go over with their property. We hope to 
have instructions upon this iiead, and a mode pointed out 
for tis to proceed in. 

In observance of our instructions to inquire into iM. 
Holker's authority, we waited on his Excellency, the Count 
de Vergennes, presented him with an extract of the letter 
concerning him, and requested to know what authority M. 



Holkei- liad. His Excellency's answei" to us was, that he 
was surprised, for that M. Holker had no verbal com- 
mission from the ministry ; but iiiat M, de Vergennes, being 
informed that M. Holker was going to America, desired 
him to write to him, from time to time, the state of things 
and the temper of the people. 

We have given orders to M. Bonfield, at Bordeaux, to 
ship to America twentyeight 24 pounders, and twentveight 
IS pounders, according to our instructions. By his answer 
to us it will take some little time, perhaps two or three 
months, to got those cannon at a good rate, and in good 

Our distance from Congress obliges us very often to act 
without express instructions, upon points in which we 
should be very glad to have their orders. One example of 
which is, the case of the American prisoners in England. 
Numbers have been taken and confined in gaols ; others, 
especially masters of vessels, are set at liberty. We are 
told there are five hundred yet in England. Many Jiave 
escaped from their prisons, who make their way to Paris, 
some by the way of Holland, others by Dunkirk, and 
others by means of smuggling vessels in other ports in this 
kingdom. They somehow get money to give gaolers in 
order to escape, then they take up money in England, in 
Holland, in Dunkirk, and elsewhere, to bear their expenses 
to Paris, then they apply to us to ))ay their other expenses, 
and expenses to Nantes, Brest, and other seaport towns. 
When arrived there, they opply to the An)erican agent for 
more money ; besides this, bills of their drawing are 
brought to us from Holland, and other places ; ail this 
makes a large branch of expense. We have no orders to 
advance moncv in these cases, vet we have ventured to 


advance considerable sums ; but the demands that are 
coming upon us Iroin all quarters are likely to exceed so 
vastly all our resources, that we must request positive direc- 
tions whether we are to advance money to any prisoners 
whatever. If to any, whether to merchants, and seamen 
of private vessels, and to officers and crews of privateers, 
as well as to officers and men in the Continental service. 
We have taken unwearied pains, and have put the United 
States to very considerable expense, in order to give satis- 
faction to these people, but all we have done has not the 
effect ; we are perpetually told of disconlented speeches, 
and we often receive peevish letters from these persons in 
one place and another, that they are not treated with so 
much respect as they expected, nor furnished with so much 
money as they wanted. We should not regard these reflec- 
tions if we had the orders of Congress. 
We have the honor to be, &:c. 




Paris, SoptPinber 18lh, 1T7S. 

1 coiffclude from your note of the 5lh instant, that the 
Conmiissioners of the North American Congress have in- 
formed you, that there are many Americans in England, 
and other parts ol Europe, who, desirous of returning lo 
their country, have requested permission to transport their 
effects through France, without being subjected to the pay- 
ment of duties. 


Such an exemption would be contrary to all rule, and 
could only be granted by means of passports, which would 
indemnify the public chest ; you will doubd«ss see that such 
is not the case here. 

This favor, however, can be shown them. The transit 
regularly gives occasion for a duty on the importation, and 
a second on the exportation ; only one of these shall be 
imposed ; it shall be paid at the office of entry ; the effects 
shall be estimated at a very moderate rate if they are not 
new ; they shall then be transported with free permits, and 
under seal, to secure them from new examinations on the 
route, until they leave the kingdom. I think you will agree, 
that it would not be possible to grant them more favorable 
terms. I beg you to request the Commissioners to make 
known to us those Americans, for whom this favor is request- 
ed, that I may give the necessary orders, and prevent all 
abuses in this respect. 

I have the honor to be, &-c. 



Passy, September 20th, 1778. 

Although we have not written to you directly fot" some 
time, you may be assured we have not been unmind- 
ful of your interests, your comfort, or your liberty. We 
have been engaged a long time in negotiating a cartel of 
exchange. This work we found attended with many diffi- 
culties, but at last have obtained assurances from England, 
thai an (■xthaniro shall Inko place. \Vc liavo also obtained 


iVoiu ihe i^overiiineiu of this kingdom, a passport \'ov a ves- 
sel to come from England to Nantes, or L'Orient, with 
American prisoners, there to lake in British prisoners in 
exchange. Wc now sincerely hope that you will obtain 
your liberty. NVe cannot certainly say, however, that all 
will be immediately exchanged, because we fear we have 
not an equal number to be sent to England. Those that 
remain, if any, will be those who have been the latest in 
captivity, and consequently have suffered the least. 

While the British government refused to make any agree- 
ment of exchange, the Commissioners here never discou- 
raged their countrymen from escaping from the prisons in 
England, but on the contrary have lent several sums of 
money, suflicient with great economy to bear their ex- 
penses to some seaport, to such as have made their way 
hither. But, if the British government should honorably 
keep their agreement to make a regular exchange, we shall 
not think it consistent with the honor of the United States 
to encourage such escapes, or to give any assistance to such 
as shall escape. Such escapes hereafter would have a 
tendency to excite the British administration to depart from 
the cartel, to treat the prisoners remaining with more rigor, 
and to punish those that escape, if retaken, with more 

On the other hand, we have now obtained permission of 
this government to put all British prisoners, whether taken 
by continental frigates or by privateers, into the King's 
prisons, and we are determined to treat such prisoners pre- 
cisely as our countrymen are treated in England, to give 
them the same allowance of provisions and accommoda- 
lions and no other. We, therefore, request you to inform 


US with exactness what your allowance is from the govern- 
ment, that we may govern ourselves accordingly. 

We have the honor to be, with much respect and affec- 
tion, your countrymen and humble servants, 




Versailles, September 21st, 1778. 

I have had the honor of receiving your note of the 17th 
instant. I have no doubt that my observations on the 
necessity of a perfect reciprocity between the two nations, 
in regard to recaptures at sea, appear to you just. I am 
sorry tliat you have not at hand a copy of the laws of the 
United States relative to this subject. Many difficulties, 
which the distance of the two countries may render very 
frequent, might thus have been prevented. The laws of 
Massachusetts Bay, referred to by Captain M'Neil, are 
different from those of England, and somewhat resem- 
ble the French. The English regulations seem to be more 
favorable to the interests of commerce, (which should never 
be lost sight of even in war,) by allowing half of the vessel 
in all cases to the orignal owner. But it is particularly im- 
portant, that the different States should adopt some uniform 
and permanent system in regard to this subject, so that there 
may not be different regulations for each State, which the 
ignorance of the commanders of privateers will prevent 
them from applying to different circumstances, thus giving 


rise to difficulties, which might be avoided by uniform 

With regard to the recapture of the Isabella by Captain 
M'Neil, 1 have merely indicated to you the grounds on 
which the owners rested their claims in their letter to me. 
It is not the province of the government to examine them ; 
that matter comes under the jurisdiction of the courts ; if 
their sentence should be unfavorable to the original owners, 
you will certainly agree that a third, or even a half, of the 
value of the vessel ought to be deposited in the hands of a 
public officer appointed for that purpose, until the two 
nations shall agree upon some reciprocal regulations con- 
cerning vessels recaptured from the common enemy. 

I have the honor to be, ficc. 




Versailles, September 21st, 1778. 

I have had the honor to receive your note of the r)th 
instant, informing me of the wish of the Commissioners of 
the United Slates of North America to engage your good 
offices with the king, that the necessary measures may be 
taken to fulfil his Majesty's engagements, under the 8th 
article of the treaty of February 0th of the present year, in 
reference to the Barbary Powers. I have examined the 
article, and find that the king promised to employ his medi- 
ation with the Emperor of Morocco, and the other Barbary 
Powers, in order to provide as fully as possible for the 
interest and security of the citizens of the United States, 


and the protection of their vessels and effects against all 
violence, insult, attacks, or depredations by the said Barbary 
Powers or their subjects. 

From the nature of this engagement, it appears to me 
proper to use all means to comply widi it, notwithstanding 
any difSculties which seem to lie in the way ; but before 
presenting any plan to his Majesty, it seems to me neces- 
sary to inform him of the actual dispositions of the United 
States, and of the measures they may deem desirable on 
the part of France. 

Do the United States wish to conclude treaties with the 
Barbary Powers, or do they wish merely that our influence 
should be exerted to make their flag respected by those 
powers ? In the latter case we should never succeed, or if 
we should obtain liberty of commerce for the United States 
from some of them, it would be an illusory, temporary, and 
precarious permission, and would infallibly expose us, with- 
out being of the least benefit to the citizens of the United 
States. The Algerines, in particular, would never acknow- 
ledge the flag of the United States, unless it were made for 
their interests to do so. 

You know too well, Sir, the character of the Barbary 
States, and their policy, to be ignorant of the inefficacy and 
dangers of such a measure. It would probably be less 
difficult to induce them to acknowledge the independence 
of the United States, and to conclude treaties with this new 
power. It is necessary to know beforehand, what are the 
instructions of the Commissioners, and whether they are 
authorised to negotiate with the Barbary Powers, under the 
mediation of France. If Congress has this intention, then 
I could receive the orders of the king to give the Commis- 
sioners the information necessary for entering upon a nego- 


tiaiion with llie Barbary Powers, and we should be able to 
concert etiectual measures for succeeding in this object, 
without exposing our own interests fur those of the United 
States. This negotiation will be long and arduous, but I 
will neglect nothing to assure its success, if the Congress 
determine to prosecute it, and you consider tlie king pledged 
to forward it. I shall wait for your reply before making 
any overtures. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Passv, 22d September, 1778. 

This will be delivered to you by Mr Jonathan Loring 
Austin, who was sent the last year express to France, with 
the news of the convention of Saratoga. He has resided 
chiefly in this kingdom from that time, and has been em- 
ployed in the service of the public a part of the time, and 
his behavior from first to last has given entire satisfaction to 
us. We think it our duty, therefore, to recommend him 
to Congress as a gentleman of merit, of ability and dili- 
gence in business, zealously attached to the cause of his 
country, and of exemplary prudence and decency. 
We have the honor to be, &ic. 





Amsterdam, September 23d, 1778. 


I have the honor to transmit to you herewith the declara- 
tion, which I am authorised to make, in order to prevent 
any mistake as to the intentions of the burgomasters of the 
city of Amsterdam ; since it will be made evident by the 
above merUioned declaration, that they have not the absurd 
design of concluding a convention independently of their 
High Mightinesses, but only to make such preparations as 
are possible to accelerate the conclusion of a treaty of 
commerce, when the opportunity shall present. It is 
plain, that a treaty of commerce cannot be concluded, un- 
less the principal commercial city of the republic gives its 
consent thereto, and that it cannot give its consent without 
having examined the terms. This examination may as 
well precede, as follow the acknowledgment of the inde- 
pendence of America by the English, in which case we 
should gain much time. 

With regard to the terms, I will explain my own views, 
Sir, in a very few words, viz. that, in general, we should 
grant each other mutually all the facilities necessary to ren- 
der commerce as free as possible, and that for this purpose 
we should take the treaty between France and America 
as the basis, changing nothing except those provisions, 
which cannot be applicable in the republic. 

If this principle accord with the views of Congress on 
this subject, 1 will have the above mentioned treaty exam- 
ined by experienced merchants, and communicate to you 
their opinion with regard to the additions, or omissions, 


necessary to negotiate a treaty of commerce between the 
republic and the United States of America on that basis. 

If you wish for any further explanations, I beg you, Sir, 
to give me information, but I think the views I liave pro- 
posed so simple, that nothing further will be necessary. 
I have the honor to be, Sir, he. 


Declaration of E. T. Van Berckel. 

Amsterdam, September 23d, 1778. 

The undersigned, Pentionary of the city of Amsterdam 
has the honor to make known to those who are duly author- 
ised by the Congress of the United States of America, that 
he is empowered by the Burgomasters of the aforemention- 
ed city, to declare in their names, that, provided the said 
Congress do not enter into any engagements with the En- 
glish Commissioners, which may be hurtful or prejudicial to 
the commerce of the republic of the United Provinces, d irectly 
or indirectly, the aforesaid Burgomasters on their side will 
be entirely disposed, as far as depends on them, so to direct 
the course of affairs, that whenever the independence of the 
said United States of America shall be recognised by the En- 
glish, a perpetual treaty of amity shall be concluded between 
this republic and the aforesaid United States, containing tiie 
most extensive reciprocal advantages in relation to the com- 
merce of the subjects of the two powers. 

The undersigned has the honor further to declare, that 
it is the will of said Burgomasters, that this declaration may 
be employed, as shall be thought expedient, with the neces- 
sary precaution that it shall not come to the knowledge of 
VOL. I. 5S 


those interested, to prevent, if possible, or at least to ob- 
struct the execution of a plan, which has no other object than 
to promote mutual happiness and the true interests of the 

two republics. 




Versailles, September 24th, 1778. 

By your note of the 2Sth of August, you requested free 
entry, with exemption from all duties, of the effects of many 
Americans in Europe, desirous of returning to their country. 
I have communicated your request to M. Necker, and send 
you herewith his reply. You will see in it the reasons 
which render it impossible to comply with your wishes, and 
the arrangements which can be made to favor the Ameri- 
cans, who wish to send their effects to America by the way 
of France. 

I have the honor to be. Gentlemen, &;c. 



Passy, September 26th, 1778. 


We have considered, with some attention, the papers 
which you have laid before us, containing a project of a 
treaty to be made between the republic of the United 
Provinces, and that of the United States of America. 

As Congress have intrusted to us the authority of treat- 
ing with all the States of Europe, excepting such as have 
a particular commission designed by Congress to treat 


witli ihem ; and as no particular Commissioner has been 
appointed to treat with their High Mightinesses, we have 
already taken such measures as appeared to us suitable to 
accomplish so desirable a purpose, as a friendship between 
nations so circumstanced as to have it in their power 
to be extremely beneficial to each other in promoting their 
mutual prosperity. And we propose to continue our en- 
deavors in every way consistent with the honor and interest 
of both. 

But we do not think it prudent, for many reasons, to ex- 
press at present any decided opinion concerning the project 
of a treaty, which you have done us the honor to communi- 
cate to us. 

We cannot, however, conclude without expressing our 
real disposition to treat upon an object, which, besides 
laying the foundation of an extensive commerce between 
the two countries, would have a very forcible tendency to 
stop the effusion of human blood, and prevent the further 
progress of the flames of war. 

We have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, Sir, 
your most obedient humble servant, 



Passy, 26th September, 1778. 


Last evening we had the honor of an answer from the 

Count de Vergennes to our letter respecting your goods. 

We enclose a copy of it to you, and believe it will be 

advisable for you to wait on M. dc Sartine ; perhaps he 


may, at first, recollect the article of the treaty, as M. de 

Vergennes appears not to have done. 

We have the honor to be, with great respect, &tc. 



Passy, September 26th, 1778. 


We had last evening the honor of your Excellency's 
letter of the 24th of this month, in answer to ours of the 
28th ult. relative to the liberty for Americans to pass through 
this kingdom with their effects in their way home, duty 
free, enclosing a copy of a letter from M. Necker to your 
Excellency upon the same subject. We shall take the lib- 
erty to pursue the rules prescribed by M. Necker, as there 
may be occasion. 

At the same time we had the honor of your Excellency's 
letter of the 25th, relative to Mr Jzard's goods. 

The question your Excellency mentions, we apprehend 
cannot arise in this case, whether an enemy's ship makes 
merchandise the enemy's, because by the 1 6th article of the 
treaty of commerce, your Excellency will recollect, "that 
an exception is made of such goods and merchandise as 
were put on board such ships before the declaration of war, 
or after such declaration, if it were done without the know- 
ledge of such declaration. Ignorance of the declaration of 
war not to be pleaded after two months." 

Mr Izard's goods were shipped before any declaration of 
war, or at least, two months had not passed away after tlie 
first appearance of war, and before they were shipped. 


We have referred Mr Izard lo his Excellency M. de 
Sartine, and shall have ihe honor to apply to him ourselves, 
according to your Excellency's advice, as early as possible. 
We have the honor to be, with the most perfect con- 
sideration, &ic. 



Passy, September 26th, 1778. 

The honorable Ralph Izard, Minister from the United 
States to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, having ordered his 
baggage to Italy from London, has had the luck to h.ave it 
taken in an English vessel, and carried into Marseilles. 
We have written to the Count de Vergennes on the sub- 
ject, who referred us to your Excellency. 

We apprehend, that by the 16th article of the treaty of 
commerce, Mr Izard has a clear right to a restitution of his 
goods. But perhaps it will be necessary for your Excellency 
to transmit to ^Marseilles a copy of the treaty, or some order 
relative to this property of Mr Izard, which we have the 
honor to request. 

We have the honor to be, &ic. 





Versailles, September 27th, 1778. 


In your letter of the 28th ult. you remind me of the pro- 
mise of the king, by the Sth article of the treaty of amity 
and commerce, signed the 6th of February last, to use his 
exertions with the Barbary Powers to provide for the secu- 
rity of the commerce and navigation of the citizens of the 
United States in the Mediterranean. I have communi- 
cated your request to M. de Sartine, to whose department 
it belongs, and you will see by the reply of that minister, 
of which 1 send you a copy, that he considers it reasonable, 
but requires further explanations before he can receive the 
orders of the king on this matter. I beg you, gentlemen, 
to have the goodness to communicate them to me, and to 
be assured that the king will cheerfully do all in his power 
to satisfy the wishes of the United States, and promote their 
views with the difierent Barbary powers. 

1 have the honor to be. Gentlemen, &;c. 



Passy, September 27tli, 1778. 

We have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
US the honor to write to us on the 2 1st inst. relative to the 
Isabella, retaken from a Guernsey privateer, by Captain 
M'Neil, in the General MiffliH. 


It is oxtremely probable, that Count d'Estain:; has 
retaken several American vessels from the English ; \vc 
shall no doubt soon have iiitelligeiice what has been done 
in those cases. 

We have advised Captain M'Neil to leave one third of 

the produce of the Isabella in the hands of sucli public 

officer, as your Excellency shall point out, to be repaid to 

him, or restored to the original proprietor of the Isabella 

hereafter, according to die rule which shall be adopted by 

the two nations, and to this Captain IM'Neil has agreed. 

Captain M'Neil will have the honor of delivering lliis letter 

to your Excellency, and is ready to give your Excellency 

any assurance you may require of him, and to take tlie 

charge of your despatches respecting this affair ; if your 

Excellency is disposed to do him the honor to trust them 

to his care. 

We have the honor to be, Sec. 




TO M. ntMAS. 

Passv, September 27ili, 1778. 

We received yours in which you hint, that it is wished 
by some of our friends, that the Commissioners would pro- 
pose a treaty to your government. It would really be a 
great pleasure to them to be instruftiental in cementing a 
union between the two republics of Holland and the United 
States, by a treaty of amity and coamierce, similar to that 
Intelv concltided with France, or varvin<r where circumslan- 


ces might require it. But having received no answer from 
the Grand Pentionary to a letter they respectfully wrote to his 
Excellency some months since, expressing their disposition to 
such a good work, they apprehend that any further motion of 
that kind, on their part, would not at present be agreeable ; 
though they still hold themselves ready to enter upon such 
a treaty, when it shall seem good to their High Mightinesses. 
We have the honor to be, &ic. 



Pliilailelphia, September 28(lt, ms. 


Your several favors up to the 28th of July came duly to 
our hands, and, having been communicated to Congress, 
were received as agreeable proofs of your regular corres- 
pondence. The papers which you enclosed are with the 
Marine Committee, who will doubtless take occasion soon to 
report upon the contents. This will be conveyed to you in 
a small schooner, which perhaps is not fit for a winter^s 
return to this coast. You will determine in conjunction with 
the Captain, whether to send her back immediately, or to 
make the best use of her for the public in your neighbor- 
hood, till a proper month for her return. She is confided 
thus to your discretion. 

No absolute judgment can at this instant be formed of the 
intended movements of the enemy. A course of Dunlap's 
papers will convey to you a general insight into the posture 
of our military affairs. It is not probable that any consid- 


enable decision in ilie field will take place this fall ; and the 
councils in Britain appear to be for relinquishinii; the mad 
project of subjugating us by arms. 

It was to give conveyance to the letters of the French 
Minister, that the bearer was at this season despatched to 
Martinique; so that you will get further information of our 
alfairs through the General, with whose confidence you are 
so much honored. You will herewith receive the second 
volume of the Journals of Congress, but lately published. 
And as it was uncertain whether you had ever received the 
first, tliat also is sent j the index at least will be new to you, 
and serviceable. 

We are, Sir, &r. J^ H. LEE, 



Passv, 1st October, 1778. 


We have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
us the honor to write to us on the 27th of last month, to- 
gether with a copy of a letter from the Minister of the Ma- 
rine to your Excellency, of the 21st of the same month. 

Convinced of the propriety of those eclaircisseiuents 
which his Excellency demands, we had recourse to our 
various instructions from Congress, and although we have 
power and instructions to treat and conclude treaties with 
all the P^uropean Powers, to whom no particular Minister 
has been sent by Congress, yet we cannot find that our 
powers extend to conclude treaties with the Barbary 

VOL. I. 59 


We are, nevertheless, instructed to endeavor to obtain 
passes for vessels of the United States and their subjects 
from those powers, through the mediation and influence of 
His Most Christian Majesty, which we therefore request his 
Excellency to endeavor to j)rocure, provided he sees no 
danger in the attempt, or material objections to it. 

We have, however, the honor to agree with his Excel- 
lency in opinion, that an acknowledgment of the indepen- 
dence of the United States, on the part of these powers, 
and a treaty of commerce between them and us, would be 
beneficial to both, and a negotiation to that end not un- 
likely to succeed ; because there has been heretofore some 
trade between them and us, in the course of which our 
people and vessels were well received. 

We therefore submit to his Excellency's judgment, 
either to commence a negotiation for passes for American 
vessels immediately, or to wait until we can write to Con- 
gress, and obtain power to treat with those States, and con- 
clude treaties of commerce with them, when we shall 
request to commence and conclude the negotiation through 
the mediation and under the auspices of his Majesty. We 
have the honor to request his Excellency's advice here- 

We address this to your Excellency, as we have done 
many oilier things, which we suppose may be referred to 
other departments, because your Excellency being the 
Minister for Foreign Affairs, we have understood that we 
have no right to apply in the first instance to any other. 
Rut if we have been misinformed and ill-advised in this, 
and there is no impropriety in our making immediate ap- 
plication to other Ministers, upon subjects we know to be 
in their flcpartments, \vc request your Excellency to give 


US ail intimation ol' it ; and for the future we will avoid 

giving unnecessary trouble to your Excellency. 

We have the honor to be, with sentiments of most entire 






Passv, October 2d, 1778. 

VV^e have the honor of your Excellency's letter of yes- 
terday's date, requiring us to give to the Sieur Fagan all 
the security in our power for these vessels to transport 
the merchandise of France to England. 

We have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that 
we have accordingly given the Sieur Fagan three different 
requests in writing, to all commanders of American armed 
vessels to let the said vessels and cargoes pass without mo- 
lestation, which was all the security diat the laws of our 
country have empowered us to give. 

We have the honor to be, with most entire considera- 
tion, your Excellency's most obedient servant, 




Versailles, October 7tli, 1778. 

1 have had the honor to receive your letter of the 2<3tli 
uh., in which you support the pretensions of Mr Izard, 



Minister oi' the United States for Tuscany, who claims the 
eftects captured in the English ship, the Nile, by the Cesar 
privateer frona Marseilles. You have made a mistake in 
citing the 16th article of the treaty between his Majesty and 
the United States; the 14th article relates particularly to 
the subject. It contains, however, only the usual pro- 
visions of commercial treaties, founded on the law of na- 
tions, and I cannot see that it applies rigorously to the 
present case. Mr Izard is not named in the account of 
the goods of which he demands the restoration. There 
are no papers, which prove that those articles, shipped by 
an Englishman, addressed to Senior Martinelli for the Abbe 
Niccoli, are not on account of English subjects. U the 
government had the decision of the question without the in- 
terference of the Court, certainly, Gentlemen, your assertion 
and that of Mr Izard would be of very great weight. But 
his Majesty has granted to the captors the whole of the 
property captured ; the Board of Prizes has adjudged the 
ship Nile a lawful capture, by their decree of the 20th ult. 
Placed between the Prize Court, the captors, and the 
claimant, the government cannot undertake to decide on 
this subject ; it could pursue that course only in case the 
laws were not applicable to the point in question ; but here 
the laws are known, they decide on claims for goods ship- 
ped before the commencement of hostilities ; and in having 
recourse to the tribunals, Mr Izard may expect from them 
all the justice and favor, which the citizens of the United 
States will always experience in France. 
I have the honor, &;c. 





Paris, Stli October, 1778. 


I nm persuaded that you already know that the king of 
the Two Sicilies, my master, has ordered the ports of all 
his dominions to be kept open to the flag of the United 
States of America, for which reason, to avoid every possible 
mistake at this tiine, when the seas are covered with the 
privateers of different nations, and likewise with pirates, I 
request you to inform me of the colors of the flag of the 
United States of America, and likewise of the form of the 
clearances, the better to know the legality of the papers 
which it is customary to present in ports, to gain free 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Passv, 9th October. 1778. 

We are this moment honored with your Excellency's 
letter of the 8ih of this month, v.ud we thank your Excel- 
lency for the information, that his Majesty the king of the 
Two Sicilies, has ordered the ports of his dominions to be 
open to the flag of the United States of America, We 
should be glad to have a copy of his 3Iajesty's edict for 
that purpose, in order to conniiunicate it to Congress, who 
we are confident will be much pleased with this mark of his 
Majesty's benevolence. 


h is with pleasure, that we acquaint your Excellency, 
that the flag of the United States of America consists of 
thirteen stripes, alternately red, white, and blue ; a small 
square in the upper angle, next the flag-staff, is a blue field 
with thirteen white stars, denoting a new constellation. 

Some of the States have vessels of war distinct from 
those of the United States; for example, the vessels of 
war of the State of Massachusetts Bay have sometimes a 
pine tree, and those of South Carolina, a rattlesnake, in the 
middle of the thirteen stripes. Merchant ships have often 
only diirteen stripes, but the flag of the United States 
ordained by Congress, is die thirteen stripes and thirteen 
stars above described. 

The commissions of ships of war belonging to the United 
States, as well as those of privateers, are all signed by the 
President of Congress, and countersigned by the Secretary, 
Each State may have a different method of clearing vessels, 
outward bound, and a different form in the papers given, 
therefore we are not able to give your Excellency certain 
information respecting all of them. The Massachusetts 
Bay has only a naval officer in each port, who subscribes a 
register, a clearance, and a pass for the Casde in Boston 

We have the honor to be, &.c. 



Passy, 12th October, 1778. 

The letter your Excellency did us the honor to write to 
us the 7th of this month we duly received. 

In our letter of the 26th of last month, respecting the 


goods of Mr Iznrd, on board the Nile, we cited tlie iGtIi 
article of the treaty of commerce, in support of Air Izard's 
claim, wiiich your Excellency thinks an error, and that it is 
the 1 4th article which most nearly relates to his case. We 
cited the article as it stood in the original treaty, where it is 
the 16th. Your Excellency cites it as it stands in the treaty 
now agreed to be amended, leaving out two articles, the 
1 1th and 12th. But your Excellency and we mean all the 
same ai-ticle, which appears to us to apply to Mr Izard's 
case, as clearly, strictly and fully, as it could have been 
contrived to do, if his case had been in contemplation at the 
time when the treaty was made, and specially meant to be 
provided for. The words of the article are, "that such 
goods as were put on board any ship belonging to an enemy 
before the war, or after the declaration of the same, with- 
out the knowledge of it, shall no ways be liable to confisca- 
tion, but shall well and truly be restored, without delay, to 
the proprietor, demanding the same. Ignorance of the 
declaration of war, not to be pleaded more than two months 
after the declaration." 

Now by the bill of lading, which we had the honor to 
enclose to your ExceHency, it appears, that the goods were 
shipped in the month of April last ; at a time when cer- 
tainly two months had not elapsed from and after the decla- 
ration of war. But if other evidence of this fact, viz. the 
time when these goods were shipped, is necessary, Mr 
Izard can certainly obtain it from England, although it 
would be attended with a good deal of trouble and 

As to the question, whether the goods are Mr Izard's 
property or not, Mr Izard, in a letter to us dated the lOih 
of this month, assures us, that his niime is in many of the 


books, and that one of the boxes contains a great number 
of his papers with his name upon them. That the testis 
mony of his merchant in London, who shipped the things, 
shall be procured, if necessary, and likewise that of the 
merchant in Leghorn, and the Abbe Niccoli, to whom they 
are addressed. 

We are only desirous of what is right, and as we hold 
ourselves bound to do all in our power to assist our fellow 
citizens in maintaining their rights, and of omitting no 
advantage that they are entitled to by the treaty, and as 
the treaty is so express that goods so circumstanced shall 
be restored without delay, and upon demand ; and as Mr 
Izard apprehends he ought not to be put to the trouble, 
delay, and expense of a lawsuit on this occasion, we have 
thought it our duty to write again to your Excellency on 
the subject. 

We are sensible, that his Majesty has granted the whole 
of the property, which shall be taken from the enemy and 
shall be lawful prize, to the captors, and the encouragement 
of adventurers in this way is of so much importance to our 
country, as well as to this, that we wish them to enjoy all 
the profits and advantages of their prizes. But the captors 
in this case must be sensible, that the goods belonged to a 
friend, not an enemy, and therefore not included in his 
Majesty's grant. 

We beg leave to lay another subject before your Excel- 
lency. There are, wc are informed, on board the Fox 
and the Lively, as there are in almost every ship in Admi- 
ral Keppel's and Lord Howe's fleets, numbers of American 
seamen, who abhor the service into wiiich, by one of the 
most extravagant flights of tyranny and cruelty that ever was 
heard of among men, they have been forced and compelled 


to fight against tlicir country and their friends. These sea- 
men we siiould he glad to deliver from tiie prisons in this 
kingdom, and from a misery and captivity infinitely more 
detestahle on board of Britisij men of wai. We, therefore, 
beg leave to propose to yonr Excellency, thai an inquiry he 
made, and a list taken of the natives of America among die 
crews of the Fox and Lively, and the men delivered to us. 
Tiiis would be attended with many happy consequences. 
It would relieve many of our countrymen from present con- 
finement, and the most dismal prospects, and would furnish 
our vessels with a number of excellent sailors. It may be 
proper to inform your Excellency, that before this war 
began, one timd part of the seamen, belonging to the then 
whole British empire, belonged to America. If we were 
able to command the services of ail the sailors, it would be 
of great importance to the common cause ; it would take 
away one third of the whole ; those empioyed in the 
American service would bo able to light another third 
remaining to Great Britain, and consequently would leave 
to France no more llr.m one third of the seamen, belonging 
to the British empire before the war, for France to contend 
with. But alas, this is not the case. \'arious causes, loo 
many to be here explained, have concurred to prevent this. 
But we are very desirous of alluring back to their country 
as many as possible of those wc have lost, and the plan we 
have now proposed to your Excellency appears to be one 
probable means of doing it. We .shall suggest others herf- 
after, as opportunity occurs. 

October Xoth, 1778. Since the foregoing; was written, 

we have received letters from Robert Harrison, John 

Len)on, Edward Driver, 'and John Nicols, prisoners in 

Denant Castle, representing that they were taken by English 

vol.. I. 60 


frigates, in American privateers, forced into the service on 
board the Fox, and now taken by the French, and praying 
that we would intercede for their liberty, that they may 
return, if possible, to their country. 
We have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, Octol)er 12ih, 1778. 


Congress having foreign affairs now under consideration, 
I shall not write to you on that subject, more especially as it 
is quite uncertain how the present papers will be conveyed. 
Nor shall J pretend to unravel to you the designs of the 
enemy. They are very inscrutable. The printers know 
as much as I do about them ; therefore I send a few of the 
last prints of Dunlap, which, with the Boston papers, must 
decide you in opinion. 

Your affectionate friend, &ic. 



Passy, Octoher 13th, 1778. 

We have the honor of enclosing to you a copy of M. de 
Sartine's answer to our application in support of your de- 
mand of your baggage, taken on board the Nile. We have, 
agreeably to your Inst letter, written again to M. de Sartine 


requesting liiin to btop the sale of the things, till yuu can 

make your objections to their being lawful prize. 

We have the honor to be, &:c. 



JOHN ada:\is. 


Passy, October 13tl), 1778. 

We had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of 
the 7th instant, to which we shall take the liberty of answer- 
ing fully by another opportunity. As you mention that the 
prize was condemned on the 20th, Mr Izard is apprehen- 
sive, that the goods in question may be sold before the 
ordinary course of law can prevent it. He therefore desires 
us to request your Excellency to prevent that if possible. 
And we accordingly beg the favor of your Excellency to 
do so. We hope there is no impropriety in this ; and that 
if there should be, you will impute it to our want of infor- 
mation on the manner of such proceedings here. 
We have the honor to be. kc. 


JOHN ada:\is. 


Passy, October loth, 177S. 

We have received a letter from Robert Harrison of the 
7th of Octoijer, and another from John Lemon, Etiward 


Driver, and John Nicols of tlie i2th, all prisoners in Denant 
Caslle, all proiessing to be Americans^ who have first been 
compelled into (he service of their enemies, and then taken 
prisoners by the French. 

lou are not known to us, but your account of yourselves, 
considering the general conduct of the English of late, is 
not improbable. We cannot but feel a concern for all 
prisoners in such a situation, of whom, to the lasting dis- 
honor of the British government and nation, there are too 
many on board almost every man of war in their service. 

We have written to his Excellency the Minister of the 
Marine of this kingdom upon tlie subject, and sincerely 
hope thai something may be done for your relief, and that 
of all other prisoners in yoiu- situation. 

But great care must be taken that neither we, nor more 
especially the government of this kingdom, be imposed upon 
by attempts to set at liberty English, Irish, Scotch, or other 
sailors, disaffected to the American cause, or unprincipled 
in it. We, therefore, desire you to send us a list and a 
short account of all the sailors, prisoners with you, who 
were born in America, or have been in her service, and 
are willing to subscribe the declaration, and take the oath 
ol allegiance to the United States of America, and to live 
and die by her cause. We have the honor to be, &c. 



Passv, October Ifiil), 177S. 

We have received yours of the 2d instant, v.ith the 
declaration signed by M. Van Berckelj and his explanatory 


letter to you, which gave us nuich pleasure, as they show 
ihe good disposition of thai rospectable body, the Burgo- 
masters of Amsterdam, towards the United States of Amer- 
ica, and their willingness, as far as may depend on them, 
10 promote between the republic of the United Low Coun- 
tries in Europe, and the said States, "A treaty of perpet- 
ual amity, containing reciprocal advantages with respect to 
commerce between the subjects of the two nations." As 
that body must be belter acquainted liian we, with the 
method of doing public business in their country, and 
appear to be of the opinion, that some previous steps can 
be taken by them, which may facilitate and expedite so 
good a work, when circumstances shall permit its coming 
under the consideration of their High Mightinesses, we rely 
on their judgment, and bereby request they would take 
those steps, as explained in M. Van Berckel's letter. 

And tliey may be assured, that such a treaty as is 
described would, at this time, meet with no obstacles on the 
part of the United States of America, who have great 
esteem and respect for your nation ; and that nothing will 
be wanting on our part to accomplish the end j)roposed. 
We would only remark, that the mentioning it ii^ the decla- 
ration as a tiling necessary to precede the conclusion of 
such a treatv, " that the American Independence should 
he acknowledged by the English,^' is not understood by 
us, who conceive there is no more occasion for such an 
acknowledgment before a treaty with Holland, than there 
was before our treaty with France. And we apprehend, 
that if that ffcknowledgment were really necessary, or 
waited for, England might endeavor to make an advantage 
of it in the future treaty of pacification, to obtain for it some 
privileges in commerce, perhaps, exclusive of Holland. 


We wish, therefore, that idea to be laid aside, and that no 
further mention may be made to us of England in this 

We are, Sir, your most obedient humble servants, 




Marly, October 19th, 1778. 


T have received the two letters, with wliich you have 
honored me on the subject of the claims of Mr Izard to 
goods captured in the Nile. 1 observed to you, in my let- 
ter of the 17th inst. that the government could only inter- 
fere when the laws were insufficient ; and that its interpo- 
sition would be misplaced, when they were plain and pre- 
cise. You must feel all the justice of this principle better 
than any person whatever, and I do not doubt that cases 
may occur in which you may yourselves appeal to it. 

The cgpture of the Nile, and of her cargo, has been 
declared good. To order a particular restitution, and 
deprive the captors of property, which they have acquired 
provisionally at least, would be an interference of the gov- 
ernmiCnt with the laws, and would introduce a dangerous 
precedent in the proceedings established by his Majesty 
relative to prizes. The more firmly you are convinced that 
the claims of Mr Izard arc conformable tcf the treaty, the 
more ready you should be to believe, that they will be 
favorably received, and the expenses of a suit are incon- 
siderable. It is true, that they migiit have been avoided, 


if yU Izard's property had been shown before the first sen- 
tence, becansc then it would only have been necessary to 
prove the property, which seems to me indisputable ; but in 
the present state of things I am sorry that it is inipossible 
for him to avoid the necessary forms, to which his Majesty 
has subjected his allies, as well as his own subjects. 
I have the honor to be, 8cc. 



I'assv, Octobrr •22ii, 1118. 

We have just now the honor of a letter from ]M. de Sar- 
tine, dated the lOtii, which we suppose is his Excellency's 
idtimatum concerning your effects taken in the Nile, and 
we therefore take the earliest opportunity to enclose you 
a copy of it, that you may be able to take your measures 
in consequence of it, in which we suppose there is no 
lime to be lost. 

We have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, 
yours, &:c. 




Marly, October 'Jtith, 1778. 


I have reptied only to the first part of your letter of the 

12th inst. ; the second also contains important matter. It 

would, doubtless, be desirable to restore to their country 

the American seonien, who have been retained bv the force 


of habit or by compulsion in the English service, and to 
gain the double advantage of increasing the strength of the 
Americans, while we destroy that of the enemy. But the 
means appear to me as difficult as to yourselves, and in 
the present state of things, we cannot flatter ourselves that 
we shall succeed in the attempt. 

You request, at the least, that the citizens of the United 
States, taken since the commencement of hostilities in the 
English service, should be surrendered to you. This 
general demand requires a serious attention, and 1 shall lay 
it before his Majesty. With respect to the four prisoners, 
whose liberation you more particularly request, it is with 
great pleasure, that I transmit orders to Denant, to. place 
them at your disposal. 

1 have the honor to be, &c. 




Hague, October 27lh, 177S. 

I received your favor of the 16th last Saturday. It is 
precisely what I should have desired. The Grand Pen- 
tionary is highly pleased with it. I went the same day to 
read it to onr friend, and gave him a copy attested by my 
signature. It gave him much pleasure, and he has repeat- 
edly assured me that it would be extremely agreeable to 
the Burgomasters of the city, whom he was eager to inform 
how you would answer to the measure he. had engaged 
them to adopt, in procuring from them authority to make 
the declaration* and write me the letter, of which you have 
copies, and the duplicates of which are lodged in the city- 

" See Van Berckd's Declaration, above, p. 457, dated Sept. 23d. 


house. He urged me to assure you, that the mention of 
Ensiland was not introduced witli the design of making any 
thing depend on the pleasure of that power, but merely to 
show the situation of the city, which, for the present, can 
only wish that the English may be prevented from making 
any further opposition to our mutual connexion. In fine, 
he is now prepared to act on his return, at a convenient 

The memorial of the merchants has been presented to 
iheir High Mightinesses. Herewith I transmit that pre- 
sented to the Prince last Saturday. Our friend remitted it 
to nie the same day, and 1 have thought it deserving of a 
translation for your inspection. He inquired anxiously for 
good news from America, and I replied, that the situation 
of America was by no means critical, and that I was less 
anxious about it than about this republic. 

M. de Welderen has sent the reply of Lord Suffolk to 
the representations of their High Mightinesses. " Tiie 
Court of London," he says, " is willing to restore all the 
vessels seized, with costs and charges, and to pav for the 
naval stores which it shall retain ; but its ambassador will 
submit to their High Mightinesses a proposition to alter the 
treaties on this point, and to consent to declare these articles 
contraband in future." 

Fortunately, unanimity is necessary to grant this consent, 
and Amsterdam will not allow even the entering upon such 
a negotiation. Suffolk adds, as a proof of his king's mod- 
eration, " that he has not yet called for the aid which tlie 
republic is obliged by treaties to furnish him ;" as if the re- 
public had guarantied to England the monopoly of America. 
This is extraordinary. Three of us here believe, that this 

VOL. I. f)\ 


letter was not written in England, and has only returned 

The Secretary of their High Mightinesses is very much 
piqued, on account of the freedom with which the Com- 
mittee of merchants addressed him, who, by reason of his 
equivocal answer, accused him of being in the English 
interest, like the majority of the chief men here. It is said, 
that it is truth only which is offensive. 

I have finished the translation of the opinion of the city 
of Amsterdam, inserted in the Acts of the Republic, Sep- 
ember 8th. I am preparing copies of it for you, Gentle- 
men, and for Congress. When yours is finished, I shall 
forward it with the request, that you will have tv/o copies 
of it made by a skilful and exact French copyist, and send 
them to Congress as duplicates and triplicates of that, which 
I shall transmit to it from this place ; for on the one hand, I 
consider this paper important and useful to the United 
States, both for the precise and authentic information which 
it affords relative to the present condition, political, military, 
&c. of this republic, and as an example of the evils it has 
drawn upon itself for the last century, by interfering too much 
with the imaginary balance of power, and with the wars of 
the European States, thus imposing upon itself the burden 
of a standing army, which has swallowed up its navy and 
subjected it to an imperious rival, he he. ; and on the 
other hand, this long paper occupies my lime, which is val- 
uable to me, and fatigues my hand, which unfortunately is 
not steady. My translation has been approved by our 
friend. It would be well to have it translated into English 
also, and if you had a translator who understood Dutch, 1 
could transmit you tlie original. 

I am, Gentlemen, Sic. DUMAS. 


Pus.v, Uclobcr l>ytli, 177H. 


Lpon maturely considering the letter and declaration, 
which we have had the honor ol receiving Ironi you, we are 
of opinion, that tiiere are some propositions relative to that 
business, which can only be properly discussed in a personal 
interview. We therefore wish that you, or a person author- 
ised by you, would meet one of us at Aix la Chapelle, or 
any other place, which you may judge more convenient, 
for conducting this business with the inost perfect secrecy. 

Should this proposal meet with your approbation, you 
will have the goodness to apprise us of the time and place 
you think proper for the interview. It may be proper, that 
we should inquire for one anotiier, whenever we meet, 
under fictitious names ; the fixing upon which we also wish 
to leave to you. 

We shall be glad of an answer as soon as is convenient to 
you ; and have the honor to be, widi great respect, Sir, 
your most obedient, and most humble servants, 



Passv, October 29th, 177S. 

We have the honor to inform your Excellency, that we 
are ready to execute and exchange the declarations, con- 
cerning the omission of the 11th and 12th articles of the 


treaty of commerce, and to request your Excellency to 

appoint a clay to wait on your Excellency for that purpose. 

We have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &lc. 




Versailles, October- 30tli, 1778. 

1 have received the reply, with which you honored rne, 
regarding the arrangements to be made with the Barbary 
powers, for the protection of the American flag in the Med- 
iterranean. Before the king can make any efforts to for- 
ward your views in this respect, I think it proper, that you 
should be provided with full powers from Congress, and 
diat you should be not only authorised to propose the 
presents, which you may be expected to bestow, but also 
supplied with the necessary funds to satisfy these expecta- 
tions. When all these preliminaries shall be complied with, 
you may rest assured, Gendemen, that the king will hasten 
to forward, as far as he is able, the wishes and views of 
Congress. I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Passy, October 30tli, 1778. 

We have been honored with your letter of the 26th of 
October, and we thank your Excellency for the prompt 


and generous nianiiei" in uliicli you have given liberty to 
four ol our conntrynieii, who were among the prisoners at 
Denant. Such examples of benevolence cannot fail to make 
a lasting impression on the American mind. 

Since the receipt of your Excellency's letter, wc have 
received another from the American prisoners at Brest, by 
which it appears, that there are ten of them, from four of 
whom only we had received letters when we wrote before, 
the other six having written to us, but' their letters miscar- 
ried. We enclose a copy of this last letter, and have the 
honor to request a similar indulgence to all the ten. 

By a letter we received last night from L'Orient, wc have 
the pleasure to learn, that three vessels bound to the coast 
of Brazil have been taken by his Majesty's frigates, or by 
French cruisers, and sent into that port. It is very proba- 
ble that the three masters of these vessels and every one of 
their sailors are Americans. 

We are happy in this opportunity of communicating to your 
Excellency some intelligence, which we have been at some 
pains to collect, and have good reason to believe exactly true. 
The English last year carried on a very valuable whale fish- 
ery on the coasts of Brazil, off the River Plate in South 
America, in the latitude 35 south, from thence to 40, just on 
the edge of soundings, off and on, about the longitude GO from 
London. They have this year about seventeen vessels in 
the fishery, which have all sailed in the months of ScjHem- 
ber and October. All the officers and almost all the men 
belonging to those seventeen vessels are Americans, from 
Nantucket and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, excepting 
two or three from Rhode Island, and perhaps one from 
Long Island. The names of the Captains are Aaron 
Sheffield of Newport ; Goldsmith and Richard Holmes 


I'rom Long Island ; John Cliadwick, Francis May, Reuben 
May, John Meader, Jonathan Meader, Elisha Ciark, Ben- 
jamin Clark, William Ray, Paul Pease, Reuben Fitch, 
Zebedee Coflin, and another Coffin, all of Nantucket ; 
John Lock, Cape Cod ; Delano, Nantucket ; Andrew 
Swain, Nantucket; William Ray, Nantucket. Four or five 
of these vessels go to Greenland ; the fi.eet sails to Greenland 
the last of February or beginning of March. 

There was published last year in the English newspa- 
pers, and the same imposture has been repeated this year, a 
letter from tlie Lords of the Admiralty to Dennis de Berdt, 
in Coleman street, informing him that a convoy should be 
appointed to the Brazil fleet. But this, we have certain 
information, was a forgery, calculated merely to deceive 
American privateers, and that no convoy was appointed or 
did go with that fleet, either last year or this. 

For the captivity of a fishery so entirely defenceless, (for 
j)ot one of the vessels has any arms) a single frigate or 
privateer of twentyfour or even twenty guns would be quite 
sufficient. The beginning of December would be the best 
time to proceed from hence, because they would then find 
the whale vessels nearly loaded. The cargoes of these 
vessels, consisting of bone and oil, will be very valuable, 
and at least 450 of the best kind of seamen would be taken 
out of the hands of the English, and might be gained into 
the American service to act against the enemy. Most of 
the officers and men wish well to their country, and would 
gladly be in its service if they could be delivered from that 
they are engaged in. But whenever the English men of 
war or privateers have taken an American vessel, they have 
given to the whalemen among their crews their choice, 
either to go on board a man of war and fight against their 


countr}', or to go into the wliale fishery. So many have 
chosen the latter, as to make up most of ilie crews of seven- 
teen vessels. 

We thought it proper to communicate this intelligence to 
your Excellency, that it* you found it compatible with his 
Majesty's service to order a frigate from hence, or from 
the West Indies, to take from the English at once so 
profitable a branch of commerce, and so valuable a nursery 
of seamen, you may have an opportunity of doing it ; if not, 
no inconvenience will ensue. 

We have the honor to be, &:c. 


[Mr Lee did not sign, but objected to the acknowledg- 
ment of giving up the American subjects, captured in 
the enemy's vessels, as being a favor.] 



Versailles, October 31st, 1778. 

You request that a day be fixed for the interchange of 
declarations relative to the omission of the eleventh and 
twelfth articles of the treaty of commerce. If next Mon- 
day, November 2d, is convenient to you, I should be glad 
to have the honor to receive you, and I flatter myself you 
will do me the honor to dine with me on that day. 
I have the honor to be, &:,c. 





Hague, November 4tli, 1778. 


The gentlemen from Amsterdam have returned with 
more strict instructions from their constituents. They will 
be followed, perhaps, by a third memorial, more forcible 
than the preceding. If the same evasions continue to be 
practised, Amsterdam will display other resources, which 
have not yet been communicated to me. The subject of 
the convoy will be discussed next week. Sir J. Yorke 
presented a memorial the day before yesterday, more mod- 
erate in its tone, but equally insidious in reality, on behalf of 
his Court. 1. It demands the appointment of Commission- 
ers, with whom he may consult to settle the intent of the trea- 
ties relative to the articles, which it is desired to prohibit. 
2. It declares that his Court is desirous, that the republic 
would not grant the convoys in question, as it cannot con- 
sent to allow the above mentioned articles to pass. He 
will find formidable adversaries from Amsterdam, who are 
firmly resolved on an absolute negative on these two points. 
A certain great personage, and the Grand Pentionary, arc 
already prepossessed on the subject. The irritation against 
the English .gains also in some of the nobility. 

The project, with which you are acquainted, is prepared 
with some changes and additions on the basis already 
known to you. It is in the hands of the Burgomasters, who 
will examine the whole ; after which a copy will be deliv- 
ered to me, that I may also transmit one to you, to be ex- 
amined by you in the same manner, and that your observa- 
tions thereon may be communicated to them through me. 


1 have been assured on bcliall of tlie Burj^oiiiaslcrs, that 
it is not tiieir intention to leave our future connexions de- 
pendent on Great Britain ; on the contrary, it is their wisii, 
that in course of time, their High jMightinesses may adopt 
a better system of measures, than is at present possible ; 
this circumstance they have thought ought not to be con- 
cealed from you any more than their present situation, 
their wishes, and their expectation that you will be ready 
to concur in the steps, which it shall be in their power to 
take towards realising them. 

On the whole, Gentlemen, I cannot give you a more clear 
idea of the whole matter, than the following ; we corres- 
pond with a minority, which has this advantage over that of 
England, that if this republic will not declare itself our 
friend, it cannot be our enemy, on account of the unanimity 
required by the constitution ; this circumstance alone is of 
high importance, and ought to persuade us to assist and 
confirm that minority. 

Every time 1 see our friend, he begs me not to fail to 
comm.unicate to him immediately any good news I may 
receive from America. He makes too good a use of such 
information to allow any delay on my part. 

The two letters, for which I am indebted to .Mr A. Lee, 
have been inserted in the Leyden Gazette. The Courier 
of the Lower Rl)ine contains a fine eulogy on Mr Joseph 
Reed, member of Congress ; it is deserving of your notice. 
T wish I could send you the paper, but 1 have only one 
copv, which I am about to forward to Congress. 
I am, &:r. 





Passy, November 15tl), 1778. 


We have the honor of your Excellency's letter of the 
6th of this month, but as the memoir of the French sur- 
geon, vvliich your Excellency proposed to transmit to us, 
was by some accident omitted to be enclosed in your letter, 
we are ignorant of his case, and consequently unable to 
inform yoi-r Excellency whether it is in our power to afford 
])im any relief. If your Excellency will have the good- 
ness to send us the memoir, we will answer ^^our lelter with- 
out delay. 

hi the meantime we may acquaint your Excellency, 
that the United States have not adopted any precautions 
for sending succors to their subjects imprisoned in England. 
We have ventured, without orders or permission from the 
United States, to lend small sums of money to persons 
who have escaped from irons and dungeons in Great 
Britain, to bear their expenses to Nantes, L'Orient and 
Bordeaux. But we have sent no succor to them while in 
England, except a small sum of money, put into the hands 
of Mr Hardey, to be disposed of by him lor die relief of 
such as should most want it. 

We shall consider every Frenchman, taken by the Eng- 
lish on board of American vessels, in the same light as if 
he was an American by birth, and entided to the same 
a.ssistance from us as Americans are in the same situation. 

We have the honor to be, &ic. &r. 




P;i»»y. November 7«h, I77S. 


We have the honor to enclose a copy of the dechnation 
concerning the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty of com- 
merce, which we have received from iiis Excellency the 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in exchange for a 
similar one signed by us, in pursuance of the instructions of 

We have also the honor to enclose copies of a corres- 
pondence with his Excellency M. do Sartinc, the Secre- 
tary of State for the Marine, concerning cases of recap- 
tures, that Congress may, if they judge proper, taice some 
resolution on this head ; it seems to be equitable, that the 
same rule should be observed by both nations. 

We also enclose copies of a correspondence on the sub- 
ject of negotiation with the Barbary States. We do not 
find ourselves authorised to treat with those powers, as they 
are not in Europe, and indeed we are not furnished with 
funds for making them presents. 

We have had the iionor of n copy fioni the Auditor 
General, enclosing the form of bills of exchange to be drawn 
upon us, for the interest due upon loan ofiicc certif)cates, 
and acquainting us that this interest will amount to two mil- 
lions and a half of livres annually. When it was proposed 
to pay the interest here, we had no idea of so much being 
borrowed. We shall pay the most punctual obedience to 
these and all oilier orders of Congress, as long as our funds 
shall last. But we arc obliged to inform Congress, that 
expenses on prisoners I)eing great, and being drawn upon 
by the order of Congress from various quarters, and 


receiving no funds iVom Ameiica, we sufter the utmost 
anxiety, lest we should be obliged to protest bills. We 
have exerted ourselves to the utmost of our power to pro- 
cure money, but hitherlo with little success. And we beg 
that some supplies may be sent us as soon as possible. We 
are very sorry that we are not able to send to Congress 
those supplies of arms, ammunition, and clothing, which 
they have ordered ; but it is absolutely impossible, for the 
want of funds, and M. Beaumarchais has not yet informed 
us, whether he will execute the agreement made for him 
with you or not. 

We have the pleasuie to inform Congress, that Mr Mat- 
thew Ridley of Maryland has made a present to the 
Unitsd States of a valuable manuscript upon naval affairs, 
which he has left with us. We shall take the first oppor- 
tunity of a frigate to send it to Congress. 

We enclose J.o Congress copies of a correspondence 
between the Ambassador of the king of the two Sicilies 
and us, which, as his Majesty is the eldest son of the king 
of Spain, is considered as an event indicative of the good 
will of a greater power, although this is respectable. 

It is of great importance to penetrate the councils of an 
enemy, in order to be prepared beforehand against his 
designs ; we shall therefore be happy to advise Congress 
of the intentions of Great Britain as far as we conjecture. 

We have every reason to believe, that the hostility of the 
disposition of the British Court has no other bounds but 
those of their power. Their threats, however, of large 
reinforcements and of Russian auxiliaries, are without foun- 
dation. The interest of the king of Prussia, and of the 
Empress Queen (who both choose at present to pursue 
decent terms with Great Britain) to prevent a close alliance 


between Eiighuid ami Uussia, we apprehenc!, will prevent 
it. In short, we see no probability of England's forming 
any alliance against America in ail Europe ; or indeed 
against France ; whereas, on the other side, from the aston- 
ishing preparations of Spain, tlu) family compact, and other 
circumstances, and from the insolent tyranny of the Eng- 
lish over liie Dutch, and their consequent resentment, 
which has shown itself in formidable remonstrances as well 
as advances towards a treaty with us, there is reason to 
believe, that if Great Britain perseveres in the war, both of 
these powers will at length be involved in it. 

We had the honor to write to Congress on the :20th of 
July and the 17ih of September, of which we have sent 
duplicates and triplicates, and to which we beg leave to 
refer. By this opportunity we shall send the newspapers, 
which contain all the public intelligence. 

We enclose a number of notes of hand, which have been 
taken from our unhappy countrymen, who have escaped 
from England, to whom we have lent money, as they liad 
no other way of subsistence. 

W^e have the honor to be, &,c. 




Hag^ue, .November lOlli, 1778. 

]My last of the 4th was despatched the 6ih. Tomorrow 
will be an important day, and will have serious consequen- 


C(?s if Amsterdam yields. You are already acquainted with 
the opinion, which will be pronounced by the Admiralty. 
The committee appointed to confer with the Admiralty on 
this point have made a report as follows. 

1st. Tbe conference desired by Sir J. Yorke, concern- 
ing the meanini^ of the treaties relative to naval stores, shall 
be refused. 2diy. The restitution of the vessels seized shall 
be strongly insisted on. The Admiralty shall make certain 
arrangements with the merchants of the country during these 
difficulties, that is, in plain English, shall suspend the con- 
voys, in so far as relates to the abovementioned materials. 
This addition spoils all the rest. 

Y'our friend appeared to me rather embarrassed. He has 
sent for the most prudential persons on change to ask their 
advice concerning this addition, which he considers arrant 
folly. Another person, very much displeased with this addi- 
tion, says, that if Amsterdam persists firmly in demanding 
the strict observance of the treaties, and a perfect neutrality, 
she can counteract this manoeuvre. Otherwise the servile 
subniission of the nation to the lash of the English, will 
expose it to that of the French also, who wi'l deprive it of 
the privileges it has heretofore enjoyed in their coun- 
try, and will seize its vessels, after the example of the 

Y'ou may therefore expect in my next to hear of a vigor- 
ous and successful opposition on tlie part of the city, or of 
a dreadful blow to the commerce and navigation of this 
country. It may then be said, quidquid delirnnt Britanni, 
pleduntiir Belgae. It will be their own fault. 

All this v^ill probably he delayed somewhat; for our 
friend has told me, that the Provincial Assembly will t\oi 
rise this week. As I cannot sec him today, because he 


dines out, I have sent l)im a letter, of which a copy is 


1 am, Geniltnion, &:f. 




Versailles, November Vlth, 177S. 


M. de Fleury has represented to me, tiiat his only son 
embarked for America in 1778, where he served the United 
States in the army of General Washington, with sufficient 
distinction to be raised to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, 
but having been made prisoner, and conducted to fort St 
Augustine, he has not yet been able to procure his 
exchange, and is in the most deplorable condition. The 
distinction which this young officer obtained in the service 
of the United States speaks in his favor, and I am per- 
suaded, Gentlemen, that you will attend to the request of 
M. de Fleury. I should be obliged to you, if you would 
include him in the first exchange of prisoners. 

I have the honor to be, ik.c. 



Passv, November 12lli, 177S. 


Last night we had a letter from Nantes, a ropy of which 
we have the honor to enclose to your Excellency. 

Tiie subject of it appears to us of great importance to the 
United States, as well as to the individuals, Frenchmen and 
Americans, who are interested in I'l;* vessels destined to 


America ; also to u considerable number of gentlemen and 
others, who are going passengers in this fleet, and ultimately 
to the common cause. 

It gives us great pleasiu'e to find so large a number of 
vessels coing out upon this occasion. Their cargoes are 
much wanted to enable our countrymen to sustain the war. 
We therefore most cheerfully join with the subscribers to 
the letter, who have also petitioned your Excellency, in 
requesting a large convoy to protect those ships quite home 
to America. 

Upon this occasion we cannot refrain irom submitting to 
your Excellency our opinion, that the more of the king's 
ships are sent to America, the more certainly France main- 
tains a superiority of naval power in the American seas, the 
more likely it will be that she will have the advantage in 
the conduct of the war. Because the French having the 
ports and the country, the provisions, the materials, and the 
artificers of America open to them, and the English being 
obliged to derive all these things from Europe, the former 
have a vast advantage over the latter, in the conduct of the 
war in that quarter of the world ; not to mention that the 
French ships being newer and in better condition than the 
English, are better able to sustain the American seas. 

Your Excellency will excuse our suggesting one reflec- 
tion, that whatever vessels of war are sent to America, they 
should be plentifully furnished with marine woollen cloths, 
especially blankets and gloves, or mittens, without which it 
is extremely difficult for the men to do tlieir duty in the 
cold season upon that coast. 
We are, he. k.r.. 





Hague, November l.'Jlh, 1778. 


The situation of affairs iiere is becoming extremely crit- 
ical. The resolution mentioned in my letter of the lOth, to 
deny convoy for naval stores, has not yet been formally 
adopted. It has been decided to determine this point next 
Wednesday, by the majority of voices. The members 
from Amsterdam have protested against this, as contrary to 
ihe constitution, which requires in such cases unanimity, 
and have entered their protest in the books. They were, 
however, abandoned by all the other cities. M. Van 
Berckel sustained the attacks of the wiiola assembly with 
firmness ; one might say, that he had to encounter the 
whole province, and consequently the whole republic except 
his own city. If the council upholds the regency, and the 
merchants continue to oppose this measure, as in all proba- 
bility they will, diey must succeed in their righteous cause. 
If the council, contrary to all appearances, should yield, 
M. Van Berckel declares, that he will never return, but will 
leave room for any one who wishes it to occupy his place. 

The French ambassador, on iiis side, declared several 
days ago to the principal officers of government, and 
through them to the Pentionaries of the cities, that the king 
expects that the republic will cause the Dutch Hag to be 
respected, and will protect efficiently and promptly her 
commerce, in conformity witii the treaties of 1674, &,c. 
between this country and England, on the faith of which 
reposes the confidence in this flag ; and if the republic does 
not answer to such reasonable expectations, and undertakes 
VOL. I. 63 


to modify any part of those treaties to the prejudice of com- 
merce, the king is immovably fixed in his determination, to 
deprive the nation of those advantages, which his Majesty, 
out of pure kindness and without any obligation by treaty, 
has hitherto permitted it to enjoy in the ports of France. 

I have communicated this today to die friends of 
Amsterdam, to be made known on change. 

I shall set out in an hour for a place where my presence 

is considered necessary. In the meanwhile, 

I am, &c. 




Versailles, November 14tli, 1778. 


I have submitted to the king the reasons, which might 
determine his Majesty to set at liberty citizens of the United 
States, prisoners in France. But he has wisely decided, 
that this favor ought to be granted only to those, who have 
been taken from American vessels, and compelled to serve 
against their country ; it will, therefore, be necessary for 
you. Gentlemen, to cause a list to be made, certified by 
yourselves, which you will have the goodness to forward to 
me, that only the good and faithful subjects of the United 
States may enjoy the benefit of his Majesty's favor. 

1 jiave the honoi; to be, he. 





Hague, November '20lli, 177S. 


1 returned here last Wednesday morning, and in the al- 
ternoon was informed by our friend, that the despotic act, 
which I announced to you in my last of the 13lh of Novem- 
ber, was passed in the Assembly of the Province, after a 
session of three hours ; and that the preamble with the ad- 
dition, of which I gave you an account in my letter of the 
10th, was adopted by a majority. The city of Amsterdam 
has in consequence entered a protest against this resolution, 
declaring it null, as having been adopted contrary to the 
forms required by the constitution of the State, which pre- 
scribes unanimity in such cases. The injurious consequen- 
ces which may result to the city are also exposed. 

Sir J. Yorkc despatched a messenger with all haste to 
England, with the news of the triumph of his party. His 
Court will not fail to boast of this success in Parliament and 
in the journals ; it appears to have been desired for this 
purpose. No mention will be made of the protest, which 
in reality converts this success into smoke, which will soon 
be dissipated ; for the members from the great city declare, 
that if the protest is not printed with the resolution, they 
will have it printed in the city, so that at least this nation 
shall not be deceived. It is easy to foresee two important 
consequences resulting from this measure ; one, the blow 
predicted in my letter of the 10th ; tlie other, the close of 
a famous banking establishment, without which the others 
cannot stand. 

I might enter more into details ; but besides that i lia\e 


not time, I am afraid to trust them to paper. I will only 
add, that tomorrow morning, the members from the great 
city will depart, and with them all the glory of Belgium. 
The others are ashamed of their own work, dare not boast 
of it, and hang down their heads. It has even been at- 
tempted to circulate the report, that the famous resolution 
was adopted unanimously, and in conformity with the wishes 
of the great city. 

You cannot imagine. Gentlemen, how eager are your ene- 
mies in the present situation of affairs, to propagate reports 
of dissensions and divisions between the Americans and 
French, and among the Americans themselves ; their 
object is to animate their own party, and discourage their 
opponents. We may despise them and laugh at them -, but 
your best friends are afflicted, that we receive no news 
from America by the way of France. I pray God that 
we may soon have some, and of the most favorable char- 

{ am, Gentlemen, &c. 



Fassy, Januaiy 1st, 1779. 


Some late proceedings of the enemy have induced us (o 
submit a few observations to your Flxcellency's superior 
light and judgment. 

His Britannic IMajesty's Commis-sioners, in their mani- 
festo of the 3d of October, have denounced " a change in 
the whole nature and future conduct of the war," they have 
declared, "that the policy as well as die benevolence of 
Great Britain has thus far checked tlie extremes of war," 

DirLO.MATic corrkspunukncl:. 501 

when tliey teiitled " to distress the people and desolate the 
conntry ;" that the wliole contest is changed ; that the laws 
of selt-preservatron must now direct the conduct of Great 
Britain ; that these laws will direct her to render the United 
States of as little avail as possible to France, if they are to 
become an accession to her, and by every means in her 
power to destroy the new connexion contrived for her ruin. 
Motions have been made and supported by the wisest men 
in both Houses of Parliament, to address the king to disavow 
these clauses, but these motions have been rejected by ma- 
jorities in both Houses, so that the manifesto stands avowed 
by the three branches of the Legislature. 

Ministers of State made in Parliament a question con- 
cerning the meaning of this manifesto ; but no man who 
reads it, and knows the history of their past conduct in this 
war, can doubt ils import. There is to be a " change in 
the nature and conduct of the war." A change for the 
worse must be horrible indeed ! They have already burned 
the beautiful towns of Charlcstown, Falmouth, Norfolk, 
Kingston, Bedford, Egg Harbour, and German Flatts, be- 
sides innumerable single buildings and smaller clusters of 
houses, wherever their armies have marched. It is true, 
they left Boston and Philadelphia unhurt, but in all proba- 
bility it was merely the dread of a superior army, that in 
these cases restrained their hands, not to mention that 
burning these towns would have been the ruin of the few 
secret friends they have still left, of whom there are more 
in those towns dian in all America besides. They have 
not indeed murdered upon the spot every woman and child 
that fell in their way, nor have they in all cases refused 
quarters to the soldiers, that at all times have fallen into 
their power, though they have in many. They have also 


done their utmost in seducing negroes and Indians to com- 
mit inhuman barbarities upon the inhabitants, sparing 
neither age, sex, nor character. Although they have not in all 
cases refused quarter to soldiers and sailors, they have done 
what is worse than refusing quarters, they have thrust their 
prisoners into such dungeons, loaded them with such irons, 
and exposed them to such lingering torments of cold, hun- 
ger, and disease, as have destroyed greater numbers than 
they could have had an opportunity of murdering, if they had 
made it a rule to give no quarter. Many others they havo 
compelled by force to serve and fight on board their ships, 
against fathers, brothers, friends and countrymen ; a des- 
tiny to every sensible mind more terrible than death itself. 
It is therefore difficult to comprehend what they mean 
by a change in the conduct of the war, yet there seems to 
be no room to doubt, that they mean to threaten something 
more cruel, greater extremes of war, measures that shall 
distress the people and lay waste the country more than any 
thing they have yet done. "The object of the war is now 
entirely changed." Heretofore their massacres and con- 
flagrations were to divide us and reclaim us to Great 
Britain. Now, despairing of that end, and perceiving that 
we shall be faithful to our treaties, their principle is by des- 
troying us to make us useless to France. This principle 
ought to be held in abhorrence, not only by all christians, 
but by all civilized nations. If it is once admitted, that pow- 
ers at war have a right to do whatever will weaken or 
terrify an enemy, it is not possible to foresee where it will 
end. It would be possible to burn the great cities of Eu- 
rope. The savages, who torture their prisoners, do it to 
make themselves terrible ; in fine, all the horrors of the 
barbarous ages may be introduced and justified. 


The cruelties of our enemies have heretofore more tlian 
once exasperated the minds of tlie people so much ns to 
excite apprehensions, that they would proceed to retalia- 
tion, which, if once commenced, might be carried to 
extremities ; to prevent which, the Congress issued an 
address exhorting to forbearance and a furdier trial by 
examples of generosity and lenity, to recall their enemies 
to the practice of humanity amidst the calamities of war. 
In consequence of which, neither the Congress, nor any 
of the States apart, have ever exercised or authorised the 
exercise of the rigb.t of retaliation. But now, that Com- 
missioners vested with the authority of the nation have 
avowed such principles, and published such threats, the 
Congre^? have, bv a resolution of the 30ih of October, 
solemnly and unanimously declared that they will retaliate. 
Whatever may be the pretences of the enemy, it is the 
manifest drift of their policy to disgust the people of Amer- 
ica with their new alliance, by attempting to convince them 
that instead of shielding them from distress, it has accumu- 
lated additional calamities upon them. 

Nothing, certainly, can more become a great and amia- 
ble character than to disappoint their purpose, stop the pro- 
gress of their cruelties, and vindicate the rights of humanity 
which are so much injured by this manifesto. We there- 
fore beg leave to suggest to your Excellency's considera- 
tion, whether it would not be advisable for his Majesty to 
interfere, by some declaration to the Court of London and 
to the world, bearing the royal testimony against this bar- 
barous mode of war, and giving assurances, that he will 
join the United States in retaliation, if Great Britain by 
putting her threats in execution should make it necessary. 
There is another measure, however, more effectual to con- 


trol their designs, and to bring the war to a speedy conclu- 
sion ; that of sending a powerful fleet, sufficient to secure 
a naval superiority over them in the American seas. Such 
a naval force, acting in concert with the armies of the 
United States, would, in all human probability, take and 
destroy the wliole British power in that part of the world. 
It would put their wealth and West Indian commerce into 
the j)ower of France, and reduce them to the necessity of 
suing for peace. Upon their present naval superiority in 
those seas depend not only the dominion and rich com- 
merce of their islands, but the supply of their fleets and 
armies with provisions and every necessary. They have 
nearly four hundred transports constantly employed in the 
service of their fleet and army in America, passipg from 
New York and Rhode Island to England, Ireland, Nova 
Scotia, and their West India Islands, and if any one link in 
this chain was struck oft', if their supplies from any one of 
these places should be interrupted, their forces could not 
' subsist. Great numbers of these vessels would necessarily 
fall into the hands of the French fleet, and go as prizes to 
a sure market in the United States. Great numbers of 
seamen too would become prisoners, a loss that England 
cannot repair. It is conceived, that it would be impossi- 
ble for Great Britain to send a very great fleet after the 
French into those seas. Their men of war, now in Eu- 
rope, are too old, too rotten, too ill manned, and their 
masts and yards are of too bad materials to endure such 
a navigation. The impossibility of their obtaining provi- 
sions, artists and materials in that country, which would be 
easy to the French, makes it still clearer that they cannot 
send a great additional force, and the fear of Spain's 
interfering, with her powerful navy, would restrain them. 


Whereas France has nothing to fear in Europe from them, 
as the number and excellence of their armies are an 
ample security against the feeble land forces of Great 

Tiiis naval siiperiorit\ would open such commerce 
between the L'nited States and the French West India 
islands, as would enable our people to supply themselves 
witli the European and West India articles they want, to 
send abroad the produce of the country, and by giving fresh 
spirit and vigor to trade, would employ the paper currency, 
the want of which employ has been one cause of its depre- 
ciation. The maintenance of such a fleet in America, 
would circulate so many bills of exchange as would like- 
wise, in a great measure, relieve them from that dangerous 
evil. And these- bills would all return to France for her 
manufactures, thereby cementing the connexion and ex- 
tending the trade between the two countries. Such a 
naval superiority would contribute very much to extinguish 
the hopes of the remaining number of persons who secretly 
wish, from sinister motives, to become again subjected to 
Great Britain, and would enable the people of the several 
States to give such consistency and stability to their infant 
governments, as would contribute greatly to their internal 
repose, as well as to the vigor of their future operations 
against the common enemy. The late speedy supply and 
reparation of his Majesty's fleet at Boston will show the 
advantages, which this country must enjoy in carrying on 
a naval war, on a coast friendly to her and hostile to her 
enemy. And these advantages will in future be more sen- 
sible, because the appearance of the fleet before was unex- 
nected, and the harvest in that part of the coiuitry had 
VOL. I. 64 


been unfavorable. It is obvious to all Europe, that nothing 
less is at stake than the dominion of the sea, at least the 
superiority of naval power, and we cannot expect Great 
Britain will ever give it up, without some decisive effort 
on the part of France. With such an exertion as that 
of sending a superior fleet to America, we see nothing in 
the course of human affairs, that can possibly prevent 
France from obtaining such a naval superiority without 
delay. Without it the war may languish for years, to the 
infinite distress of our country, to the exhausting both of 
France and England, and the question left to be decided 
by another war. 

We are more earnest in representing these things to your 
Excellency, as all our correspondence from England, for 
some time, has uniformly represented that the intention of 
the Cabinet is conformable to the spirit of the manifesto, 
that all parties grow more and more out of temper with the 
Americans ; that it has become fashionable with the minor- 
ity as well as the majority and administration, to reproach 
us both in and out of Parliament; that all parties join in 
speaking of us in the bitterest terms, and in heartily wish- 
ing our destruction ; that great clamors are raised about 
our alliance with France, as an unnatural combination to 
ruin them ; that the cry is for a speedy and powerful rein- 
forcement of their army, and for the activity of their fleet 
in making descents on the sea coast, while murdering and 
desolating parties are let loose upon the frontiers of the 
Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, 
and New England, and, that very early in the year, they 
will carry all these projects into execution. This whole 
system may, as we conceive, be defeated and the power 
of Great Britain now in America totally subdued (and if 


their power is subdued ihcre, it is reduced every where,) 

by the measure we liave the honor to j)ropose. 

We submit the whole merely as our opinion lo your 

Excellency's superior wisdom, and have the honor lo 

be, &ic. 






Pussy, January '2d, 1779. 

We had the honor ot" receiving your Excellency's letter 
of the 22d, and are much obliged to you for the interest you 
take in what concerns the unhappy prisoners, who may 
escape from England. We have not been inattentive to 
that subject. There are persons who supply them at Bor- 
deaux, Brest, L'Orient, Nantes, and Dunkirk. A gentle- 
man at Calais has voluntarily done this service, for which 
we have directed him to draw on us for his disbursements ; 
and we shall as readily discharge what may have been 
disbursed by your commissaries, when we have their 

As there is very little probability of prisoners coming to 
other ports, we will not give your Excellency the trouble 
you are so good as to oiler to take. 

The regulation your Excellency proposes, relative to the 
prisoners we may take from the enemy and bring into the 
ports of France, is entirely agreeable lo us ; and we shall 
direct our agents accordingly, who will readily deliver such 
prisoners to the persons your Excellency may appoint to 
receive them, having already requested us to procure writ- 


ten orders from you, without which your commissaries were 

unwilling to take charge of them. 
We have the honor to be, &ic. 




Versaiilei, January I3th, 1779. 


I have received your letter of the 2d instant. I know 
that you direct your agents, in different ports of the king- 
dom, to supply American prisoners escaped or returning 
from England with whatever may be necessary on their 
arrival ; but you appear not to have given these orders in 
the ports of Normandy, and I am informed, that some 
prisoners, who need assistance, have appeared in those 
ports. It seems to me necessary, that you should take such 
measures as you may judge proper on this subject. I will 
transmit to you an account of the expenses, which have 
been incurred up to the last of December. 

I have given orders in all the ports for the reception of 
English prisoners, brought in by citizens of the United 
States, for their detention in the prisons destined for that 
purpose, and for their usual supply of rations ; a particular 
account of this expenditure will be kept. You may, there- 
fore, direct your agents in all the ports to deliver such 
prisoners, on their arrival, to the Commissaries-General, and 
1 have the honor to be, &;c. 




Fassv, January loth, 177y. 

The letter which you did us the honor to write us on the 
15th of December we iiave received. As we have heard 
nothing further of the Congress in Germany, which you 
inform us was talked of, we presume that no such measure 
will take place. 

However, whether there be a Congress or not, we cannot 
comply with the terms of the gentleman you mention, nor 
advise him to take any steps in the business. 

We have also the honor of your letter of the 9th of 
December, informing us of your draft upon us for twenty- 
four thousand livres, at one month's date, payable to ]Mr 
Grand. The bill of exchange itself has also been pre- 
sented to us and accepted. 

We have the honor to be, Sec. 

B. FRAx\KLlN, 


Passy, January liGth, 1779. 


We had yesterday the honor of your letter of the J 1st of 
this n)onth. 

You desire to know what port, or ports, Is or are made 
free, pursuant to the treaty ? We believe that none has as 
yet been determined on; at present all the ports of France 
are open to American vessels of all denominations, and we 
are at present rather doubtful whether it would be politic 


in us to apply to have any distinction made. If the appoint- 
ment of free ports would relieve us from the payment of 
duties, import or export, we should apply immediately. 
But as we apprehend this advantage would not be the con- 
sequence, the limits of the free ports would be prescribed, 
and the same duties must be paid upon removing goods, 
within or without those limits, as are now paid upon the 
imports and exports. Goods, however, might be brought 
into such free ports from abroad, and then landed and stand 
for a time, and then exported without paying duties; but 
whether this would be any great advantage to our trade, 
you are better judges than we. We shall be glad of your 
advice upon this head, and if you think of any advantages 
of considerable moment, that would arise, we shall be 
always ready to apply for such an appointment. 

We are sorry it is not in our power to give you any 
acceptable information respecting the 8th article of the 
treaty, relating to the Barbary corsairs. All we can say 
is, that we have applied to the Ministry upon this head some 
months ago, and received satisfactory expressions of the 
disposition of this government to do every thing, which is 
stipulated in that article of the treaty. But some things 
remain to be determined by Congress, to whom we hav^e 
written upon the subject, and we must necessarily wait their 

There are two inquiries to be made, viz. which of all 
the nations, who now trade with France, is the most favored, 
and what duties are paid by that nation ? These duties, 
and these only, we suppose we are to pay, and as soon 
as circumstances will permit, (two of us having been for a 
fortnight very ill, and one of us continuing so) we shall apply 
to the Ministry for an eclaircissement upon this head, which 


we will endeavor to coiiiiminicate to you as soon as we shall 
obtain it. 

We have received an answer to our last application lor a 
convoy, from their Excellencies Count de Vergennes and 
M. de Sartine ; but the answers convinced us, that M. de 
Sartine was under some misinformation, or misunderstand- 
ing relative to the business, which obliged us to write again. 
As soon as we shall be honored with an answer, we will 
communicate the result of it to you. 

Meantime we have the honor to be, with great respect, 
Gentlemen, your most obedient humble servants, 


JOHN ada:\is. 


Passy. February 9th, 1779. 

It is now six months since Captain ]M'Neil, of the Mifflin 
privateer from America, has been embarrassed with a process 
on account of a French ship, which he retook from the En- 
glish, after she had been three days in their possession. The 
laws of France are clear with regard to the validity of this 
prize, and our Captains have orders, contained in their 
commissions, to submit their prizes to the laws of the coun- 
try into which they carry them, and they ought undoubt- 
edly to regulate their own conduct by those laws, without 
any regard to the laws of America relating to this matter, 
which may be different in every one of the United States, 
and, therefore, too uncertain to be made the rule for judge- 
ment in the courts here. But the persons reclaiming this 


prize insist, among other reasons, that their cause should 
be judged by the laws of Captain M'Neil's country, because 
more fav^orable for them. 

We believe that no Americans in France will ever think 
of claiming here any advantage by virtue of the laws of 
their own country, and it seems not just to put those laws 
in force against them in France, when it may be done to 
their detriment. The vexation of these kinds of processes, 
and the slowness and length of these expensive proceedings 
before, a decision can be obtained, discourage our armed 
vessels, and have tended to inipress them with an opinion 
that their operations against the English cannot be carried 
on to advantage in the European seas. We, therefore, 
request your Excellency to join your solicitations to those 
we have had the honor to make to M. de Sartine, that these 
processes may be more speedily determined, and that the 
Americans in France may be treated, in those respects, on 
the same footing with the subjects of his Majesty ; of which 
we shall be glad to give information to the Congress, that 
so some popular prejudices occasioned by these affairs 
may be effectually removed, and the American armed ships 
be' encouraged to return and cruise again upon the coasts 
of England. 

We have the honor to be, with the greatest consider- 
ation and respect, &;c. &ic. 





Passy, February 10th, 1779. 

Captain Jones has represented to us his desire and inten- 
tion of returning to the Countess of Selkirk some plate, 
which his people took from her house. 

We apprehend that Congress would not disapprove of 
this measure, as far as it should depend upon them, and we 
therefore consent on the part of the United States, that this 
plate should be returned. This consent is to be understood 
to extend no further than to the share, to which the United 
States may be supposed to have a claim. The claim of 
the officers and men, Captain Jones must be responsible to 
them for. This plate in the whole is represented to be 
worth about one hundred guineas. 
We are, Sir, &:c. 



Passy. February 10th, 177&. 

As your separation from the Ranger, and the appoint- 
ment of Lieutenant Simpson to the command of her, will b© 
liable to misinterpretations and misrepresentations by per- 
sons, who are unacquainted with the real cause of those 
tacts, we hereby certify, that your leaving the Ranger was 
by our consent, at the express request of his Excellency 
Monsieur de Sartine, who informed us, that he had occa- 
sion to employ you in some public service j that Lieutenant 
Simpson was appointed to the command of the Ranger with 
VOL. I. 65 


your consent, after having consented to release him from an 
arrest, under which you had put him. 

That your leaving the Ranger, in our opinion, ought not, 
and cannot, be any injury to your rank or character in the 
service of the United States ; and that your commission in 
their navy continues in full force. 

We have the honor to be, he, 


j;nd of the first volume. 



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