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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 the Direction of the President of the United States, from 

the original Manuscripts in tlie Department of State, conformably 

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




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



No. 6 Suffolk Buildings, Congress Street, Boston. 




— Q©^— 


From the Committee of Secret Correspondence to 
Arthur Lee. Philadelphia, December 12th, 1775, 5 

Dumas.' — Important to know the disposition of foreign 
powers. — Necessity of secrecy. 

To Benjamin Franklin. London, February 13th, 

J776, _ _ 5 

To Lieutenant Grovemor Colden. London, Febru- 
ary 13th, 1776, - - - - ■ - - 7 

British preparations for the ensuing campaign. — Plan 
of operations. — Reluctance of troops to serve. — Se- 
cret wishes of the French government. 

To Lieutenant Governor Colden. London, Februa- 
ry 14th, 1776, --.-._ 10 

British forces ; military ; naval. — Character and dispo- 
sition of the troops. — Dr Church. 

To Lieutenant Governor Colden. April 15th, 1776, 12 

Address of the city of London ; answer. — Disposition 
of the English nation. 

To the Committee of Seciet Correspondence. June 
3d, 1776, 14 

Disposition of France favorable. — Spain. — Necessity 
of independency. 

Record of the Committee of Secret Correspond- 
ence. Philadelphia, October 1st, 1776, - - 16 

Message from Mr Lee; his conferences with the French 
Ambassador; offer of arms and ammunition through 
Hortalez. — Proceedings of the Committee in relation 


to the message ; determine to keep it secret, except 
ill case of ill success. 


The Committee of Secret Correspondence to Ar- 
thur Lee. Philadelphia, October 23d, 1776, - IS 

Informing Mr Lee of his appointment as Commission- 
er to the Court of France. 

To Lord Shelbiirne. Paris, December 23d, 1776, 19 
To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Pa- 
ris, January 3d, 1777, - - - _ _ 2o 

Acceptance of his appointment. — Joins Dr Franiilin 
and Mr Deane. — Doubtful politics of the French 

From the Commissioners in Paris to Count de Ver- 
gennes. Paris, January 5th, 1777, - - 21 

Applying for ships 5 arms; promise payment for them. 
— American commerce to France and Spain. 

The Commissioners to M. Gerard. Paris, January 

14th, 1777, - 23 

Relative to the message of the King of France. 

The Commissioners to Count de Vergennes. Paris, 
February 1st, 1777, - - _ . _ 24 

Danger of America ; German troops ; blacks. — Eng- 
lish acquainted with the proceedings of France in 
favor of America. — Dangers of France if England 
subdues the colonies. — Interest of France to assist 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Nantes, 
February 11th, 1777, ----- 27 

Exertions of the British.— Measures to defend the West 
India trade. — Commercial connexions of the Com- 
mittee in Nantes. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Nantes, 
February 14th, 1777, ----- 31 

Agreement with the Farmers-General for tobacco. 

British offer of prisoners to the East India Company. 

From James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, 
February 17th, 1777, ----- 33 

Advises him not to come to Madrid. — Proposes a meet- 
ing between Grimaldi and Mr Lee at Burgos. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Bor- 
deaux, February 18th, 1777, - - - 85 

Plan of the British for the ensuing campaign. To- 

To the Commissioners in Paris. Vitoria, February 
26th, 1777, ------ 3G 

Memorial delivered by Arthur Lee to the Marquis 
de Grimaldi. Burgos, March 5th, 1777, - 38 

Reasons for visiting Madrid. 



To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Bur- 
gos, March 8th, 1777, - - - - - 40 
Promise of supplies from Bilboa, New Orleans and Ha- 

Memorial presented to the Court of Spain. Bur- 
gos, March 8th, 1777, - - - - - 41 

Critical state of affairs. — Importance of American com- 
merce. — Policy of immediate assistance. — Danger of 
Great Britain in case of war in Europe. — Impolicy of 
allowing the reunion of the colonies by conquest or 

Answer to the Memorial by the Marquis de Gri- 
maldi at Vitoria, ------ 44 

Objections of Spain to an immediate declaration. 

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

Acknowledging the favors of Spain. — British oppres- 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Vito- 
ria, March 18th, 1777, 47 

Account of the proceedings as already stated in pre- 
ceding letters. — Supplies furnished by Gardoqui. — 
Situation of Great Britain. 

From B. Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, March 

21st, 1777, ------ 54 

New commission substituting Mr Lee instead of Mr 
Jefferson ; empowering Commissioners to treat witli 
Spain ; particular commission to Dr Franklin for 
that purpose. — America will assist France to con- 
quer the British West Indies, and Spain to conquer 
Portugal.— Loan of £2,000,000.— Sir J. Yorke's me- 
morial. — Proceedings of the States and of Amster- 
dam thereon. 

The Commissioners at Paris to Baron de Schulen- 
burg. Minister to the King of Prussia. Paris, 
April 19th, 1777, 58 

Congress propose to send a Minister to Prussia. 

James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, April 28th, 

1777, 69 

Enclosing money. 

A Minute of the sixteen enclosed Bills, - - 60 

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

1777, 60 

To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, May 8th, 1777, 62 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 

13th, 1777, 62 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, May 

20th, 1777, _-.... 63 

!^ iL- 



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

1777, 64 

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

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

Requests an interview. 

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

Commerce with America. 

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

To Baron de Schulenburg. Berlin, June 10th, 

1777, - - 68 

Insurance to America. — Value of American com- 
merce. — Danger of its reverting into the hands of 
the British. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Berlin, June 

11th, 1777, 70^ 

Cautious policy of Prussia. — No danger to be appre- 
hended from Russia. — German Princes. — Hesse. — 
European powers awaiting events. — Chatham's mo- 
tion for a cessation of hostilities. 

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

1777, _.--.-- 72 

To George Washington. Berlin, June 15th, 1777, 73 

His plan of operations approved. — Prussian army ; 
discipline > arms.— Intention of writing the history 
of the revolution. 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, June 

18th, 1777, 75 

Commercial intercourse. — Difliculties. 

To Baron de Schulenburg. Berlin, June 20th, 1 777, 76 

Reasons for the admission of prizes, made by the Amer- 
icans, into Prussian ports. 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, June 

26th, 1777, 78 

Prizes, made by the Americans, not to be admitted into 
Prussian ports. 

To the Commissioners in Paris. Berlin, June 28th, 

1777, _...-. - 79 

His papers stolen. — Suspects the English Ambassador. 

To the King of Prussia. Berlin, June 29th, 1777, 80 

Commerce with America ; objections answered. — Jus- 
tified by usages and law of nations. 

To the King of Prussia. Berlin, July 1st, 1777, - 85 

Complains of the loss of his papers ; requests an au- 

CONtENtS. ix 

The King of Prussia to Arthur Lee. Potsdam, July 

2d, 1777, - - _ - - - - - 8G 

Mr Lee may communicate with Baron Scluilenburg-. 

To the Commissioners in Paris. Berlin, Julv Gth, 
1777, ' . 80 

Recovery of his papers. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, July 
29th, 1777, ------ 87 

Account of his proceeding's at Berlin. — Odium in Ger- 
many against the princes who let their troops to Eng;- 
land. — Situation of Russia. — British credit low in 
Germany and Holland. — Disposition of European 

To M. Gerard, Secretary to Count de Vergennes. 

Paris, August 1st, 1777, - - - - 91 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee. Phi!- 
•^delphia, August 8th, 1777, - - - - 91 

Paper currency. 

To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, August l?th, 

1777, - - 93 

Commercial aflairs. 

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

1777, 94 

Countde Vergennes to Mr Grand. August 2 1st, 1777, 95 

American Privateers in French ports. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 9th, 1777, ----- 96 

English trade in Frencii ships. — Success of American 
cruisers in European seas. 

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

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

Military Supplies. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Oc- 
tober 6th, 1777, - 98 

Receives a commission to the Court of Spain. — Sup- 
plies from Gardoqui. — Hortalez. 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, Oc- 
tober 8th, 1777, - - - - - - 102 

Commerce with America. 

To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, October 23d, 

1777, 103 

Requests information of British affairs in Russia, Den- 
mark and Germany. 



To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, November 13th, 

1777, - . _ . _ - 104 

William Lee appointed Commissioner to Berlin. 

To Messrs Gardoqui and Sons at Bilboa. Paris, 

November 15th, 1777, - - - - 105 

Supplies consigned to Mr Gerry, for wliom intended ? 
— Authorised to sell the prizes of American cruisers. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, No- 
vember 27th, 1777, - - - - - 106 

Prussia declines opening her ports to American armed 
vessels. — Extract of a letter from the Prussian Min- 
ister ; Great Britain will receive no reinforcements in 
Europe. — Decline of English credit.— Further ex- 
tracts from Prussian Minister's letter ; desirous of 
information relatin^f to America. — King's speech ; 
discontents in England. — Preparations in France, 
Spain, and Holland. — Circular to captains of Amer- 
ican armed vessels relating to violations of neutral- 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Beriln, No- 
vember 28th, 1777, - - - - - 111 

William Lee's mission. 

To Dr Berkenhout. Paris, December 3d, 1 777, - 111 

America expects to receive, not make overtures ; folly 
of British measures. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, De- 
cember 8th, 1777, 1 12 

Extract of a letter from M. Gardoqui ; goods shipped 
to Mr Gerry. — King of Prussia refuses a passage to 
Anglo-German troops. 

The Commissioners in Paris to Count de Vergennes. 

Paris, DeccmJjer 8th, 1777, - - - - 113 

Urging an answer to propositions for a treaty. — Sup- 
ply of three millions from France. 

To Count d'Aranda. Paris, December 9th, 1777, 115 

Enclosing memorial of Commissioners to Vergennes. 

To Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, December 11th, 

1777, 115 

The Commissioners in Paris to Lord North. Passy, 

December I2th, 1777, 116 

Treatment of American prisoners by the British. 

To Lord Shelburne. Paris, December 14th, 

1777, 119 

Enclosing a copy of the preceding.— Clinton's cruel- 




Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, De- 
cember 18th, 1777, ----- 120 

Congratulations on the surrender of Burgoyne. — The 
King's favorable disposition waits only for France. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, De- 
cember 19th, 1777, 121 

Favorable effects of recent intelligence from America. — 
Edmund Jennings. 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, 
December 23d, 1777, - - - - 122 

The King of Prussia refuses a passage to Anglo-Ger- 
man troops. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Jan- 
uary 5th, 1778, 125 

Dispositions of Spain ; of Prussia. — Plans of the British 
Ministry ; alarmed about Canada. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Jan- 
uary 15th, 1778, - - - - - - 125 

Spain promises three million livresin the course of the 
year. — Supplies shipped from Bilboa.— Fall of Brit- 
ish consols. 

Baron de Schulenburg to Arthur Lee. Berlin, Jan- 
uary 16th, 1778, - - - - - - 125 

Requests regular information on American affairs. — 
King of Prussia ready to follow France in acknow- 
ledging independence. — Pui chase of arms in Prus- 

To Messrs Franklin and Deane. Chaillot, January 

30th, 1778, ------ 127 

Objections to the 12th article of the treaty. 

Messrs Franklin and Deane to Arthur Lee. Passy, 
February 1st, 1778, 129 

Have requested that the 11th and 12th articles may be 

Messrs Franklin and Deane to iM. Gerard. Passy, 

February 1st, 1778, 130 

Requesting the omission of the 11th and 12th articles 
of the treaty. 

M. Gerard to the Commissioners. Versailles, Feb- 
ruary 2d, 1778, 130 

The 11th and 12th articles have been approved by the 
King, and cannot be changed without inconven- 
ience. — The sixth article changed. 

To Baron de Schulenburg. February 2d, 1778, 131 

General Howe's situation in America. — Military opera- 
tions in the north. 



To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Feb- 
ruary 10th, 1778, 133 

Enclosing the memorial and letter to Count de Florida 
Blanca. — The war with Portugal concluded. — Pro- 
bability of a declaration of war against England by 
France, Spain, and Portugal. — Gardoqui's remit- 
tances. — Propriety of separating the political and 
commercial agents. — Views of Spain on Pensacola. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Feb- 
ruary 15th, 1778, ----- 134 

Beaumarchais's demands. — Testimonial of Count Lau- 
ragais on this subject. 

To Messrs Franklin and Deane. Chaillot, February 
26th, 1778, - - - - - - 136 

Tlie return of the despatches by Mr Simeon Deane. — 
Complains of the proceedings of the other Commis- 
sioners theicin without his knowledge. — Necessity 
and advantages of a public acknowledgment of the 
Commissioners by France. 

Messrs Franklin and Deane to Arthur Lee. Passy, 

February 27th, 1778, - - - - - 137 

Result of Mr Deane's visit to Versailles, on account of 
the return of the despatches. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Feb- 
ruary 28th, 1778, - - - - - 138 

Temporising conduct of Spain. — Comparison of the 
conduct of England and France towards the Colo- 
nies. — Prospect of a war in Germany. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 19th, 

1778, 140 

Congratulations on Mr Laurens being chosen Presi- 
dent of Congress. — Policy of Spain. — Pensacola. — 
The Commissioners are to be presented to the 
King of France. — The English Ambassador leaves 
France abruptly. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, March 27th, 
1778, 141 

Uncertainty of the measures of Spain. 

To Messrs Franklin and Deane. March 31st, 1778, 142 

Requesting a settlement of the accounts relating to the 
expenditures of the Commissioners. 

James Gardoqui h Co. to Arthur Lee. Bilboa, 

April 1st, 1778, 142 

Invoice of seventyfive Bales of Merchandise shipped 
on board the George, Captain Job Knight, for 
Cape Ann, consigned to Elbridge Gerry, on ac- 
count of Arthur Lee, 143 

Enclosing an invoice of merchandise shipped to El- 
bridge Gerry, on account of Arthur Lee. 




M. Gerard to Arthur Lee. Versailles, April 1st, 

1778, ---._-„ 144 

Requesting letters to Mr Lee's friends in America. 

To M. Gerard. April 1st, half past one o'clock, 

1778, -----_. 144 

Mr Lee lieibre ignorant of M. Gerard's destination. 

M. Gerard to Arthur Lee. Versailles, April 1st, 

177S, --__-_. 145 

M. Gerard's mis.sion not publicly avowed. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, April 2d, 1778, 145 

Surprised to hear of M. Gerard's mission, and Mr 
Deane''s return. — Complains of Dr Franklin's si- 
lence. — Requests explanations. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 

2d, 1778, --.--_. 14S 

Propriety of determining the rank of the United States 
in their intercourse with Euroi)ean powers. — De- 
parture of Mr William Lee to Germany. — Gardo- 
qui's shipments. — Complains of the reserve of his 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 

5th, 1778, ----.._ 150 

Succors from Spain through the Havanna promised. — 
The accounts of the Commissioners never settled. — 
How kept by Mr Deane. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 

8th, 1778, - - - - - - - 151 

Complains of the secrecy observed towards him by his 
colleagues. — Hostile acts of Great Britain and 
France. — Views of France relative to the fisheries. — 
' Probability of a war in Germany. — Russia and the 
Porte. — Importance of securing Holland. — Encloses 
a memorial for Holland. 

Memorial for Holland, - - - - - 153 

Enclosed in the preceding. — Colonial commerce origi- 
nally free ; restricted by England ; navigation act ; 
effect of this monopoly in Holland. — Importance of 
the commerce of the States to Holland. 

To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, April 24th, 

1778, 156 

Agents employed by the English Ministry in France 
and America to excite a mutual jealousy.— Mr 
Hartley at Paris. 

Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, 
April 24th, 1778, 157 

Intrigues of Mr Hartley referred to in the preceding 



To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 
9th, 1778, - - . - - - - - 158 

Situation of affairs in Europe. — Folgcr's affair. — Sums 
drawn by tiie Commissioners. 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee. York, 
May 14th, 1778, - - - - - 159 

Supplies of Hortalez Si Co. — The enemy's cruisers 
liave prevented the making remittances — Commer- 
cial to be put under the direction of a Board. — In- 
tend to make remittances to Hortalez &. Co. and the 
Gardoquis. — Depreciation of the paper currency. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 
23d, 1778, ,-_.-- 162 

Despatches received by Mr Adams. — The orders for 
supplies from Spain renewed. — Sailing of an Eng- 
lish fleet to America. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, June 
1st, 1778, 162 

Confusion of Mr Deane's accounts. — Policy of the 
European powers. — Payment and number of foreign 
Agents — British plan of operations in America. — 
Supplies from Spain.^Necessity of settling the 
boundary between the territories of Spain and the 
United States ; of regulating port duties, &z;c. — 
French naval foice delayed. 

To M.Dumas. Chaillot, June 4th, 1778, - - 168 

Commerce with America. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, June 
9th, 1778, 169 

British naval expedition stopped. — Confusion in Great 
Britain. — Exchange of prisoners agreed to. — Ger- 
man affairs. — Mr Williams's accounts. — Appoint- 
ment of Commercial Ageots. 

To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, June 14th, 

1778, 171 

Explanation of the 12th article of the treaty. 

Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, 

Jime 15th, 1778, 173 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, June 

15th, 1778, 173 

Supplies from ports of France and Spain. — Politics 
of Germany; of the North. — Embarrassments of 
Great Britain. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, July 

1st, 1778, 175 

An engagement between a French and English ship j 
French subjects permitted to fit out privateers. 



To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, July 18th, 

1778, _._..-- 176 

Enclosing the resolutions of Congress relative to the 
negotiation of a loan of two iniliions sterling. — Re- 
quests that application may be made to the King of 
Spain for the san)e. — Sacrifices of the United 
States. — Depreciation of paper money. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, July 

29th, 177S, 178 

Engagement between the English and French fleets. — 
German affairs. — Impracticability of despatching 
cruisers to the East Indian seas. — The 11th and 
12th articles of the treaty to be omitted. 

James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, August 
13th, 1778, - 179 

Cannot obtain the loan required in Spain. 

James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, August 

20th, 1778, - - - - - - 180 

Suggesting the cession of Florida and supply of ship 
timber to Spain, as a means of obtaining the loan. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Au- 
gust 21st, 1778, ------ 181 

Difficulty of obtaining a loan. — M. Holker. 

To James Gardoqui. Paris, August 27th, 1778, 183 

Importance of a loan to the United States. — Peace 
the natural policy of the United States. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Au- 
gust 31st, 1778, 186 

Requesting instructions as to the cession of Florida, 
and the supply of ship timber to Spain, on condi- 
tion of supplies of money. 

To James Gardoqui. Paris, Septemher 1st, 1778, 187 

Mr Lee ready to treat with full powers. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 9th, 1778, - - - - - 187 

Remittances received. — Encloses the accounts of arti- 
cles shipped. 

James Gardoqui to Arthur Lee. Madrid, Septem- 
ber 28th, 1778, - 18^ 

Complains of the capture of Spanish property by an 
American privateer. — Probability of obtaining the 
loan in Spain ; on what terms. 

To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, September 

28th, 1778, - - - - - - 390 

Conversation relating to M. Holker. — The duties. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 30th, 1778, -._-_- ^91 

General reluctance to war. 



To James Gardoqui. Paris, October 6th, 1778, 192 

Necessity of decision on the part of Spain. 

To Count de Vergennes. Paris, October 12th, 

1778, 193 

Indecision of Spain.— Interfereuce of France re- 

Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, 
October 17th, 1778, - - - - - 195 

xVdvising the suspension of his proposed measures at 
the Court of Spain. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Oc- 
tober 19th, 1778, 195 

Aspect of affairs in Holland. — Ports of the two Sicilies 
open to vessels of the United States. — Deceived in 
the fusils from Prussia. 

To Baron de Schulenburg. Chaillot, October 21st, 

1778, 197 

Complains of the fusils received from Prussia. 

Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, 
October 24th, 1778, - - - - - 199 

DEstaing's squadron separated by unfavorable winds. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, No- 
vember 4th, 1778, 199 

Preparations of Great Britain.^^Wilt receive no aid 
from Russia. — English Whale fishery on the coast 
of Brazil. — Instruments for aboiishinf^ the 11th and 
12th articles exchanged. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, No- 
vember 15th, 1778, 201 

Preparations and plans of Great Britain. — The effect 
of a general war. — Prospect of a loan or of supplies 
in Holland. — Capture of Spanish property by Cap- 
tain Cunningiiam. — Arms ordered by Virginia. 

To James Gardoqui. Paris, December 4th, 1778, 204 

Requests the shipment of blankets on the old plan.— 
Desires to know whether American produce and 
prizes may he sold in Spanish-American ports. — 
D'Estaing's fleet. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affiiirs. Paris, De- 
cember 5th, 1778, - - - _ _ 205 

Lord Suffolk's speech. — Plan of the British fo destroy 
everything before them. — France declares the goods 
of the enemy, in neutral ships, lawful prize. — Spain 
admits the sale of French prizes, and the entrance of 
American vessels. — German affairs. 

To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, Decembei* 

17th, 1778, 207 

Proclamation and manifesto of the British Coramis- 


sioners, threatening to destroy the Colonies. — Cru- 
elties of the British in America. 

To the Baron de Schulenburg. Paris, December 

25th, 1778, ------ 210 

The Prussian fusils.— Counter-manifesto of Congress 
to the manifesto of the British Commissioners. 

To Count de Florida Bianca. Paris, December 

27th, 1778, 213 

Enclosing copies of a resolution and manifesto of Con- 
gress in reply to the British manifesto. 

To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, Jan. 3d, 1779, 214 

Proposals of Dr Berkenhout. 

Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, 
January 4th, 1779, ----- 214 

Advice in regard to Dr Berkenhout. 

To Count de Vergennes. Chaillot, Jan. Sth, 1779, 215 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Janu- 
ary Sth, 1779, ------ 216 

English influence in Holland. — Expenses of f^ngland. 
— Military establishment. — Fourteen regiments to 
be sent to America. — Beaumarchais. — Mr Lee's ac- 

Count de Vergennes to Arlhiir Lee. Versailles, 

January 10th, 1779, ----- 220 

Mr Lee's answer to Dr Berkenhout. — English convoys. 

To die Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Jan- 
uary 15th, 1779, - - - - - 221 

Proceedings in Great Britain ; Admiral Keppel's trial; 
general excitement there ; losses at sea ; fniancial 

Dr Price to Arthur Lee. Newington-Green, Janu- 
ary l8th, 1779, - - - - - - 222 

Acknowledges the reception of a letter with the resolu- 
tion of Congress. 

John Adams to Count de Vergennes., Feb- 
ruary 1 1th, 1779, - - - - - 224 

Mr Deane's Address to the people of America. — Mr 
Lee"s services and fidelity. — Character of his two 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
February 13th, 1779, - - - - - 227 

Of Mr Deane's Address. — Promises Mr .Adams an inter- 

Count de Vergennes to Arthur Lee. Versailles, 
February 15th, 1779, 223 

Desiring an interview. — Mr Lee's note, giving an ac- 
count of the interview. 



Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, Febru- 
ary 18lh, 1779, ------ 229 

Transmitting resolutions of Congress. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, Feb. 18th, 1779, 229 

Acknowledging receipt of preceding. 

Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, Febru- 
ary 18th, 1779, - 230 

Requesting Mr Lee to send him public papers belong- 
ing to his department. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Chaillot, Feb. 2lst, 1779, 230 

Declines sending the papers belonging to tlie Commis- 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Feb- 
ruary 25th, 1779, 231 

Mr Deane's representations to Congress ; confusion 
and incompleteness of his accounts. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Nantes, 
March 7th, 1779, 234 

Mr Deane. — Proceedings of Dr Franklin since his 
appointment as Minister. 

Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, March 
13th, 1779, - - - - '- - 236 

Reasons for asking for the papers of (he Commis- 
sioners in Mr Lee's possession. — Offers Mr Lee 
copies of those in his own hands. 

Arthur Lee to Benjamin Franklin. Paris, March 

19th, 1779, .--._. 238 

Relating to public papers in his possession. — Reason.s 
for retaining thera. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 
22(1, 1779, 239 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, April 
26th, 1779, - 240 

Reinforcements of the British force. — Ministry intend 
making great exertions. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, May 
21st, 1779, 241 

Peace between Russia and the Porte. — Probability of 
the peace of Teschin. — Politics of the German pow- 
ers. — Power, credit, and importance of Spain. ^The 
States-General grant convoys. — Discontents in the 
English army and navy.-^Irritation of Scotland. — 
State of Ireland. — Disposition of the King. — Suc- 
cesses of the English privateers. — Successes in India. 
— Prince Ferdinand. — De la Luzerne appointed to 
succeed M. Gerard. — M. deMarbois Secretary of the 
embassy. — Treaty of Teschin. 



To the President of Congress. Paris, May 31st, 

1779, 246 

Requesting his recall. 

To Count d'Aranda. Paris, June 7th, 1779, - 246 

Enclosing- the following. 

To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, June 6th, 1 779, 247 

Enclosing a Memorial to the Court of Spain. 

Memorial to the Court of Spain. Paris, June 6th, 
1779, - 247 

Importance of prizes to the English. — Recommends 
an embargo on Spanish ships, or convoys to protect 

John Adams to Arthur Lee. L'Orient, June 1 0th, 

1779, __---,. 249 

Testimony to Mr Lee's services antl fidelity. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 21st, 
1779, 250 

Rscall of the English and Spanish Ambassadors re- 
spectively. — Propositions in the House of Commons. 

To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, June 27th, 

1779, - 251 

Enclosing a memorial on the operations of the English 
in Georgia. 

Memorial to Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, June 

27th, 1779, _ 252 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to Artliur Lee. Phil- 
adelphia, July l6th, 1779, - - - _ 253 

Destruction of Fairfield. 

Count de Florida Blanca to Arthur Lee. Madrid, 
August 6th, 1779, 254 

Acknowledges the receipt of his letters on English af- 

To the Committee of Foreign Afifairs. Paris, Au- 
gust 10th, 1779, ------ 255 

Junction of the Spanish and French fleets. — Prejiara- 
tions for the invasion of England ; and the blockade 
of Gibraltar. — West India and Baltic fleets safely 
arrived in England. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, August 14th, 1779, 256 

Requesting Dr Franklin to consult Count de Ver- 
gennes as to the propriety of applying to the Court 
of Spain on the subject of an alliance. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Au- 
gust 24th, 1779, 257 

Mediation of Russia between the European bellige- 
rents. — Erabariassments of England. — Combined 
fleet on the English coast. 


To the President of Congress. Paris, September 

10th, 1779, 259 

Complains of the mode of proceeding; in Congress 
relative to himself. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 19th, 1779, 260 

Complains of the treatment by Congress. — Requests 
instructions relative to the boundaries between the 
territories of Spain and the United States. 

Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee. Passy, Septem- 
ber 30tb, 1779, 262 

Unable to supply Mr Lee with money for his support 
in Spain. — Advises his return to America. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Oc- 
tober 13th, 1779, 262 

Admiral Rodney appointed to the command in the 
West Indies. — Meditated invasion of England. 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to Arthur Lee. Phil- 
adelphia, October 1.3th, 1779, . _ _ 264 

Announcing Mr Jay's appointment to Spain. — Enclos- 
ing the resolution of Congress allowing Mr Lee's re- 
turn to America. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Oc- 
tober 21st, 1779, ----- 264 

Disposition of England unfavorable to peace. — Debt of 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, No- 
vember 6th, 1779, 265 

Requests a decision on the accusations against him. — 
Impracticability of a loan in Europe. — Requests a 
fixed allowance. — Plans of the French and British 
cabinets for the ensuing campaign. — Spanish ulti- 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, No- 
vember 30th, 1779, - - - - - 271 

Change in the British Ministry. — Ascendancy of the 
war party. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, De- 
cember 8th, 1779, -' - - - - 273 

King's speech. — Memorial of the English Ambassador 
at the Hague. 

To Count de Florida Blanca. Paris, December 
16th, 1779, ------ 273 

Plan of operations in the south. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, De- 
cember 25th, 1779, ----- 274 

E.xertions of the English for the ensuing campaign. 



To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Janu- 
ary 19th, 1780, 275 

Receives the King's picture on taking leave. 

To John Jay, Minister from the United States of 
America at Madrid. L'Orient, March 17th, 1780, 276 

Necessity of secrecy at the Court of Spain. — Gardoqui. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Octo- 
ber 7th, 1780, 278 

Deposits tlie King's picture with the President. — Re- 
quests a hearing before Congress. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, De- 
cember 7th, 1780, 280 

State of Europe. — League of the neutral powers. — 
Difficulty of obtaining a loan in Europe. — Necessity 
of a Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. — Im- 
portance of Russia. 


instructions to William Lee. Philadelphia, July 1st, 

1777, - - - - - - - 289 

Commissioner to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. — 
Instructed to propose treaties of friendship and com- 
merce with those Courts, and to solicit the acknow- 
ledgment of the independence of the States. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, Oct. 7th, 1777, 291 

Acknowledges the receipt of his instructions. 

To Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress. Pa- 
ris, November 24th, 1777, - - - - 292 

Anglo-German troops. — Supplies from the North. 

To Charles Thomson. Paris, Dec. 18th, 1777, 294 

Prussia forbids the passage of the German troops ; 
desirous of commerce with America. 

To Charles Thomson. Paris, January 2d, 1778, 296 

Emperor discountenances the use of German troops 
by the English. — Commerce through Emden. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, Jan. 22d, 1778, 298 

Imperfection in his commission. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 
28th, 1778, - - - - - - 300 

Threatened rupture between Austria and Prussia. — 
Situation and measures of the British Ministry. — 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 23d, 

1778, - - - - - - - 302 

Acknowledgment of the independence of the United 



States. — France will not join either party in case of 
a German war. 

The Committee of Foreign Affairs to William Lee- 
York, May 14th, 1778, - - - - 304 

Resolution of Congress providing for his pay. — Una- 
nimity and firmness of Congress ; the nation. — Mr 
Lee's powers to be enlarged. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 12th, 1778, 306 

War in Germany. — Retires from Vienna to Francfort. 
— Draft of a treaty between Holland and the United 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Francfort, 
October 15th, 1778, 310 

Plan of a treaty with Holland. — State of German 

Plan of a treaty with Holland, _ _ - - 313 
From the Committee of Foreign Affairs to William 
Lee. Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778, - 334 

Return of the British Commissioners. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Francfort, 
February 25th, 1779, 335 

States-General determine to protect their trade. — 
Prospect of a peace in Germany, under the media- 
tion of France and Russia. — Commerce with Prus- 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 16th, 

1779, 339 

Answer to Mr Deane's charges. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, 
March 25th, 1779, - - - - - 346 

Conferences between Prussia and Austria atTeschin. — 
Danger of England's obtaining recruits from the 
German free corps. — Dr Franklin declines joining 
him in consulting with Count de Vergennes on Ger- 
man aflfairs. — Mr Deane's charges. 

Ralph Izard and Arthur Lee to William Lee. Pa- 
ris, June 22d, 1779, 349 

Propriety of waiting for the decision of Spain, before 
an application to Prussia to acknowledge the inde- 
pendence of the United States ; of changing the 
channel of application. 

James Lovell to William Lee. Philadelphia, July 

17th, 1779, - 350 

Communicating his recall from Vienna and Berlin. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Francfort, 

September 28th, 1779, - - - - 351 

Effect of Dr Franklin's refusal to assist him at the 


iPrench Court. — Rescript of the Spanish Ambassa- 
dor. — Answer of the Priissian Minister to his appli- 
cation for an acknowledgment of the independence 
of the United States. — Mediation of Russia— Com- 
merce with Prussia. — British Ministry disposed to 
acknowledge the independence of America. — Dispo- 
sition of the king. 

To the President of Congress. Brussels, February 
10th, 1781, _-.--- 356 

Britain determines not to send more troops to Amer- 
ica. — Secret proposals of the Ministry to France 
and Spain. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Brussels, 
April 12th, 1781, 357 

Mr Lee's accounts. 

James Lovell to William Lee. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 20th, 1781, 358 

Enclosing the decision of Congress in regard to the 
settlement of his accounts. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Brussels, 

March 31st, 1782, 359 

Change in the British Ministry.- — General disposition 
to peace in Eng-land. — Opposition of the King. — 
Propriety of sending a Minister to the Austrian 


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

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Octo- 
ber 6th, 1777, - 369 

Interest of the Italian powers to diminish the power 
of England. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, De- 
cember 18tli, 1777, 370 

Friendly disposition of the Tuscan Minister in France ; 
advises a delay of Mr Izard's visit to Italy. — Effect 
of the surrender of General Burgoyne. 

Arthur Lee to Ralph Izard. January 23th, 1778, 372 

Requesting his opinion on the twelfth article of the 

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, January 28th, 1778, 372 

Objections to the twelfth article. — Complains of Dr 
Franklin's reserve. 


Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, January 
29th, 1778, - 375 

Circumstances prevent his explaining the motives of 
his conduct. — Advice to Mr Izard. 

To'Benjamin Franklin. Paris, January 30th, 1778, 376 

Recriminations. — Twelfth article. 

The Committee of Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard. 
York, February 5th, 1778, - - - - 378 

Depreciation of the currency. — Importance of a loan. 

To Henry Laurens, President of Congress. Paris, 
February 16th, 1778, ----- 379 

Proceeding's relative to the twelfth article. — Complains 
of the reserve of Dr Franklin and Mr Deane. — 
Preparations for war in France and England. — 
Want of funds. 

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

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, March 29th, 1778, 385 

Reminds him of his promise of an explanation of his 

Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, March 
30th, 1778, 386 

Reasons of his delay in giving his explanations. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, March 31st, 1778, 387 

Requests a speedy explanation. 

To Henry Laurens. Paris, April 1st, 1778, - 388 

Secrecy of Dr Franklin and Mr Deane relative to M. 
Gerard's mission. — Disputes on the Bavarian succes- 
sion. — Mr Deane's unfitness for his place. — Proposes 
a commission for Naples. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, April 4th, 1778, - 390 

On the subject of explanations. 

Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard. Passy, April 
4tb, 1778, 391 

Promises to explain the reasons of his conduct. 

To Henry Laurens. Paris, April 11th, 1778, - 391 

Expresses a wish to be sent to England. — Titles of 
American Ministers in Europe. 

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, April 25th, 1778, 394 

Subject of the explanations. 

John J. Pringle to Ralph Izard. Paris, April 2Gth, 

1778, 395 

Interview with Dr Franklin on the subject of Mr 
Izard's complaints. 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard. 
York, May 14th, 1778, - - - - 399 

Enclosing the resolve of Congress providing for his 



support. — Treaties ratified by Congress. — Future 
treaties to be made on the basis of mutual benefit. — 
Enlargement of his powers. 

To Arthur Lee. Paris, May 18th, 1778, - - 401 

Objections to the fifth article of the treaty. 

Artliur Lee to Ralph Izard. Chaillot, May 23d, 
1778, - 406 

Objections to the fifth article. — Cession of territory to 

To Benjamin Franklin. Paris, June I7th, 1778, 408 

Mr Pringle's interview. — Subject of the explanations 
promised by Dr Franklin. 

To Henry Laurens, President of Congress. Paris, 
June 28th, 1778, 417 

Objections to tlie treaties. — Complains of Dr Frank- 
lin. — German afiairs. 

To Henry Laurens, President of Congress. Paris, 
July 25th, 1778, 422 

Ratification of the treaties received in France. — Ob- 
jections to the eighth article. — IVlr Lee not received 
publicly at Vienna. 

From the Abbe Niccoli to Ralph Izard. Florence, 
July 28th, 1778, - _ . . _ 426 

Advises him not to come to Florence. — State of Tus- 
cany. — Improbability of his obtaining a loan 
there. — Recommends an attempt in Genoa. 

To the Commissioners. Paris, August 25th, 1778, 429 

Relative to obtaining a loan in Genoa.— Barbary 

From the Commissioners to Ralph Izard* Paris, 
August 25th, 1778, _ _ _ _ . 430 

Advise an application to Count de Vergennes on the 
subject of a loan in Genoa. — Intend to present him 
a memorial on the interposition of France with the 
Barbary powers. 

To the Abbe Niccoli. Paris, September 1st, 1778, 431 

Urging a loan. — Trade to Leghorn. 

To Count de Vergennes. Paris, Sept. 2d, 1778, 433 

Requesting Ihe assistance of France in obtaining a 
loan from Genoa. 

To Henry .Laureos, President of Congress. Paris, 
September 12th, 1778, - _ _ _ 434 

Relative to the lllh, 12th, and 5th articles of the 
treaty. — Policy of Spain. — France declines interfer- 
ing in the business of a loan. — The fisheries. — Con- 
fusion of the commercial business of the United 
States in France. 




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

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Jan- 
uary 28th, 1779, 441 

Cannot be publicly received at Florence. — Dr Frank- 
lin refuses to accept his draft.— ^Requests permission 
to return to America. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, March 
4th, 1779, 444 

Requests leave to return. 

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

Communicating liis recall. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Sep- 
tember 29th, 1779, 446 

Relative to the payment for his services. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Au- 
gust 6th, 1780, - 448 

Announces his arrival. — Offers information respecting 
affairs in Europe. 


Instructions to Henry Laurens. In Congress, Octo- 
ber 26th, 1779, 453 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to Henry Laurens. 
Philadelphia, December 1 1th, 1779, - - 454 

Enclosing acts of Congress for drawing on him for 

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

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Charleston, 

February 14th, 1780, 457 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Charleston, 
February 24th, 1780, - - - - - 458 

Proposes to embark for Martinique. — Ships indigo on 
account of the United States. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Vestal — Brit- 
ish frigate, St John's, Newfoundland, September 

14th, 1780, 461 

He and his papers captured. — Ordered to England by 
the Governor. 



To the President of Congress. Tower of London, 

December 20th, 1781, ----- 462 

Cruel treatment in the tower. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 
30th, 1782, - 463 

History of his confinement in the tower. — Declines 
his appointment to treat with Great Britain. — His 
services while in confinement. — Lord Shelburne de- 
clares that he "shall part with America with re- 

To the President of Congress. Nantes, September 

5th, 1782, - 472 

Applies for a passport from England. — Dr Franklin 
offers to supply his expenses. 

Robert R. Livingston to Henry Laurens. Philadel- 
phia, September 17th, 1782, - - - 476 

Announces his appointment as Secretary of Foreign 
Affairs.^Congress declines accepting Mr Laurens' 

Robert R. Livingston to Henry Laurens. Philadel- 
phia, November 8th, 1782, - - - - 477 

Union and firmness of the States. — Military intelli- 
gence. — Death of Colonel Laurens. 

To Lord Cornwallis. Paris, December 9th, 1782, 479 

His exertions to effect the release of Lord Cornwallis. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Paris, De- 
cember 15th, 1782, ----- 480 

Acknowledges the receipt of certain acts of Congress. 
— Repairs to Paris in compliance with the order of 
Congress to assist in the negotiations. — His services 
in England. — Declines receiving any further sums 
of money. — Signing of the preliminary articles be- 
tween Great Britain and the United States com- 
municated to Russia. — Exchange of Lord Cornwal- 
lis. — Requests permission to return. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Afiairs. Paris, De- 
cember 24th, 1782, 484 

Mr Hartley's motion in the House of Commons on a 
reconciliation with America. — Little prospect of a 
general peace. — Notions in England of a reconcilia- 
tion with the colonies. — Attempts to excite jealous- 
ies of France. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Paris, Janu- 
ary 9th, 1783, 487 

Little prospect of a definitive treaty. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, 

March 15th, 1783, ----- 488 

Visits London. — Urges the withdrawing of British 
troops from America previous to any intercourse 



between the countries. — Provisional treaty, if ob- 
tained without the concurrence of France, disgrace- 
ful to the American Ministers. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Lontion, 
April 5th, 1783, 491 

Third bill of the provisional establishment of trade 
with America dropped. — Mr Laurens's supposed 
American bill for regulating commerce with Great 
Britain. — The new Ministry arranged, — Conference 
with Mr Fox. — United States included in the For- 
eign Department. — Mr Hartley appointed to nego- 
tiate a definitive treaty of peace. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, 
April lOtli, 1783, 493 

Leave given to bring in a bill repealing certain bills 
prohibiting an intercourse with the United States. — 
Deputation of merchants urge the opening of a 
communication with America. — Mr Laurens insists 
on the previous withdrawing of the troops. 

Robert R. Livingston to Henry Lanrens. Philadel- 
phia, May 8th, 1783, ----- 495 

Enclosing the resolution of Congress permitting his 
return. — The provisional treaty ratified. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, June 

17th, 1783, -_--.. 496 

Delays of the British negotiator. — Weakness of the 
new Ministry. 

Articles proposed by the American Commissioners 
to ISIr Hartley, ------ 499 

Mr Hartley's proposed Article of Agreement, deliv- 
ered by him to the American Commissioners for 
their Consideration, May 21st, 1783, - - 500 

Observations and Propositions of Mr Hartley, left 
with the American Ministers, May 2 1st, 1783, - 502 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Bath, June 
27th, 1783, 505 

Regrets that the British troeps were not removed pre- 
vious to a free communication between the countries. 
— His accounts. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Bath, July 

17th, 1783, 507 

Recommending the Rev. Mr Wells and Mr Carpen- 
ter. — Mr Deane reported to have been fictive in 
drawing up a treaty of commerce in London. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Bath, July 

17th, 1783, ---._. 508 

Requested by Dr Franklin to return to Paris. — Com- 



To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Ship Wash- 
ington, off Poole, August 2d, 1783, - - 508 

Intends to apply to the Ministers for inforraation, as to 
the reception of an American Minister in London. 

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

His accounts. 

To Uie Ministers of the United States at Paris. 

London, August 9th, 1783, ----- 510 

Conference with Mr Fox. — With the Duke of Port- 
land. — Second conference with Mr Fox. — The meet- 
ing at Philadelphia. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, Au- 
gust 9th, 1783, 515 

His accounts. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. London, 
September 11th, 1783, - - - - 517 

The definitive treaty only a re-confirmation of the 
provisional treaty. — Mr Jennings's accusations. 

To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Dover, Sep- 
tember 16th, 1783, 520 

To Charles Thomson. Bath, March 28th, 1784, 520 

Term for exchanging ratifications extended. — Exten- 
sion of the Intercourse Bill. — Trade of the United 
States with the British West Indies. — Disposition of 
the English towards America. 

David Hartley to Henry Laurens. Golden Square, 
March 26th, 1784, 523 

Proposed term for the exchange of ratifications ex- 

To the President of Congress. London, April 24th, 

1784, 524 

Proclamation for extending the American inter- 
course. — Restrictions on the American trade to the 
West Indies. — Effects of a retaliation. — Opposition 
to a reconciliation with America. — The King opposed 
to the late war ; willing to receive an Ambassador 
from the United States. — Plan for the King's abdi- 
cation, and rescinding the alienation of the Prince 
of Wales's inheritance. — Mischief done by the loyal- 
ists in England. 

To the President of Congress. London, April 
30th, 1784, 527 

Bitterness in England against the United States. — Mr 
Dcane and others oppose the interests of the United 





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

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

When Commissioners to the Court of France were ap- 
pointed, Mr Jefferson, one of ijie number, declined accepting 
the appointment, and Arthur Lee was put in his place, 


October 22d, 1776. He proceeded from London to Paris.; 
where he met the other Commissioners. In the spring t5f 
1777 he went to Spain, by the advice of his colleagues, with 
the design of procuring aid from the Spanish Government for 
the United States, in which he was partially successful. On 
his return to Paris, he made a short tour to Vienna and 
Berlin for similar purposes, and maintained for some 
time a correspondence of a political nature with Baron de 
Schulenburg, one of the Prussian Ministers. Meantime he 
received from Congress the appointment of Commissioner to 
Spain, but he never went out of France while acting under 
this commission. It expired when Mr Jay was made 
Minister Plenipotentiary to that Court. 

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



— @(©^— 


Philadelphia, December 12th, 1775. 


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

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

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

It would be agreeable to Congress to know the disposi- 
tion of foreign poivers towards us, and we hope this object 
will engage your attention. We need not hint that great 
circumspection and impenetrable secrecy are necessary. 
The Congress rely on your zeal and abilities to serve them, 


and will readily compensate you for whatever trouble and 
expense a compliance with their desire may occasion. We 
remit you for the present £200. 

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

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

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

humble servants, 





London, February 13th, 1776. 

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

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

* Ricliard Henry Lee. 



[Enclosed in the foregoing.] 

London, February 13tli, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

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

You will be curious to know what are the ministerial in- 
tentions, and their force for the next campaign. The fol- 
lowing is their army upon paper, — Hessians, 12,000; Bruns- 
wickers, Woolfenbutlers and Waldeckers, 5000 ; six regi- 
ments under Lord Cornwallis, 3000 ; eight more to sail in 
the spring, 4000 ; Highlanders, 2000 ; now in America, 

The sailing and destination of this armament is thus. 
Those under General Lord Cornwallis are now embarked 
at Cork, and wait for sailing orders, their destination, Vir- 
ginia. By the treaty just now signed, the Germans are to 
be ready on the 27th of this month to march to the seacoast 
and embark, but for what part of America is not exactly 
known ; the march by land is near six weeks, so that they 
cannot sail before April. The second embarkation from 
Cork will be about the same time, and it seems probable 
that their destination will be against Canada, under General 
Burgoyne, who is soliciting that command. In the mean- 

* Tlie name of Lieutenant Governor Coklen of New York, to whom 
this and two other letters .ire directed, was doubtless assumed by Mr 
Lee for the purpose of disguise, in case the letters should fall into 
the enemy's hands. Golden was a royalist. 


time, the 29th regiment, with General Carleton's brother, is 
to sail from hence immediately to reinforce Quebec, suppos- 
ing that they can get high enough up the river, as far as the 
Isle of Orleans, to make good their march by land. The 
regiments under Lord Cornvvallis are the 37th, 33d, 
54th, 15th, 28th, 46th. Those for the spring are the 
34th, 53d, 62d, 3d, 9th, 11th, 20th, 24th. Lord Howe 
is appointed to the command at sea, but the commander on 
land is not known ; certain however it is, that there are two 
Lieutenant Generals, and one of them old, that go with the 
Germans, so that it must be one of great reputation and old 
in the service to command over them. It is therefore con- 
jectured Count de Lippe will be the man. He command- 
ed the army in Portugal during the last war. They are 
taking up East Indiamen for the transport service, supposing 
they will be able to beat off the cruisers. A great number 
of artillery and waggon horses are to be sent, and a train of 
large battering cannon is preparing, which it would seem 
can only be intended against Quebec, should it be taken 
by General Montgomery. 

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

Upon the whole, the ministry, if every thing favors them, 
may have about thirty thousand men in America by the latter 
end of June. They will have no horse but two regiments 


of light dragoons, that are now there, and Burgoyne's, 
which is to go. If the Americans have horse well trained 
to the woods, it will harrass such an army infinitely ; and 
if they act upon the defensive, entrench well, harrass them 
continually, cut off their convoys, and if ever they hazard 
an engagement, make their push upon one wing ; it is 
imagined here, that no General on earth can make the 
campaign decisive, and it is hardly possible this country 
can stand another. They have found it impossible to re- 
cruit in England, Ireland, or Scotland, though the leading 
people of the last are to a man violently against America. 
They have therefore been obliged to draft from the other 
regiments to complete those which are going, so that when 
the whole are embarked, there will be scarce 2000 men 
remaining in Ireland, and as many in England, besides the 
foot guards and cavalry. 1 am well assured, that the 
French Government will wink at the exportation of arms 
and ammunition. A General of the first abilities and ex- 
perience would go over, if he could have any assurance 
I'rom the Congress of keeping his rank ; but that being 
very high, he would not submit to have any one but an 
American his superior, and that only in consideration of 
the confidence due to an American in a question so pecu- 
liarly American. 

,Let me have your opinion of all these things. The op- 
position gains ground, and the nation begins to feel ; but 
America must trust to her own arm and Heaven for pro- 
tection. The resolutions of January the 2d* do you in- 
finite honor, and will undoubtedly serve the cause. Your 
conduct, I trust, will be noble, as that is great and good. 
I know your attachment to the country you have adopted. 

• See the Journal of Congress for January 2d, 1776. 
VOL. II. 2 


Prince Ferdinand's recommendation of the General men- 
tioned above is in these words. "As to experience, intel- 
ligence and valor, I do not know whether another can be 
found to equal him." Your letter of the 30th of Novem- 
ber, 1775, cost 195. 6d. postage, there was so much super- 
fluous paper ; would not a packet sent to some of the 
Canary Islands, and committed to proper care, reach us 
safest and sooqest? If there is any friend there to be trust- 
ed, the opportunities from thence hither are frequent- 
Cover mine and address it to John Horsfall, Treasurer, 
Middle Temple. 


London, February 14th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

The enclosed list is the ministerial army upon paper. 
In effect it will amount to about J 5000 Germans and 
18000 British ; their destination I can now give you with 
some certainty ; 4000 Brunswickers and Waldeckers, with 
500 Hessians from Hanan, are now at Stade, a port in 
Hanover, ready for immediate embarkation and destined 
for Canada, to be joined by the twentyninth regiment, and 
1000 drafted from the Foot Guards, under Colonel Mat- 
thews. There is to be another embarkation in the spring 
from Ireland for Canada, and the whole is to be commanded 
by General Burgoyne, and Carleton I believe recalled. 

The second body, being Hessians, are to march this day 
for Stade, and the third on the 14th of next month ; these 
are for Boston. Lord Cornwallis, with six regiments, to 
sail immediately from Cork for Virginia, where General 
Clinton is to take the command. They have certain assu- 


ranees of being joined by the Scotch in Virginia, and those 
on the borders of North Carolina under the command of 
one M'Donald. In the mean time, they have been directed 
to protect themselves under a treaty of neutrality. Besides 
this land force, Lord Howe is to have a fleet of seventytwo 
sail to block up the coast. For this purpose large ships 
are to be stationed at the mouths of the great rivers, and the 
rest are to cruise at some distance from the coast three deep, 
but not in file, so as to render it more difficult to cross 
them. They are to get possession of New York and Hud- 
son's river, so as to cut off all south and north communi- 
cations, and they have some idea of attacking Canada too, 
by Montreal. Halifax is to be their naval magazine. 

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

Great expectations too are entertained from tj-eachery 


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


April 15th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

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

On the 5th of this month, a fleet sailed with 2000 Bruns- 
wick troops and General Burgoyne ; it is therefore under- 

* Sec an account of Dr Church, in Washington's Official Letters, vol. 
i. p. 36. 


Stood that they are gone to succor Quebec. Six regiments, 
about 4000 efiective men, made up with German recruits, 
are now ready for sailing orders at Cork. It is probable 
that they are destined to Quebec. Tlie first divisions of 
the Hessians are not yet arrived, so that it is not likely 
the whole of them will sail till the latter end of May. 
They are, by stipulation, to serve altogether, and therefore 
will go to Boston or Long Island. It is supposed the pro- 
vincials will possess the strong posts on Elizabeth River, 
which, if in the enemy's hands, will give them the com- 
mand of Jersey, Staten Island, he. If the provincials 
always have redoubts in the front and flanks of their army, 
it is the opinion of the ablest in the profession, that they 
will be better than entrenchments or lines, and will foil the 
regulars by breaking their line, or forcing them to sacrifice 
a number of men, which they cannot afford. 

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

The city of London has addressed the throne for an 
avowal of the conditions on which peace is to be restored. 
The answer was in effect unconditional submission. You 
may reckon that in July the troops will be arrived, so as to 



enable General Howe to take the field. Lord Howe, 
though he has accepted the command, is not yet sailed ; 
he goes in the Eagle, of sixtyfour guns. He is a brave 
man, but has a very confused head, and is therefore very 
unfit for an extensive command. As there will not be 
above two line of battle ships, if the Congress could pro- 
cure five line of battle ships from the French and Span- 
iards, they might destroy or drive the whole British fleet 
from their coasts. Adieu. 


June 3d, 1776. 

The desire of the Court of France to assist may be 
depended on ; but they are yet timid and the ministry 
unsettled. Turgot, lately removed, was the most averse 
to a rupture with England ; his removal is of consequence. 
The contention for the lead now is between Count de 
Vergennes and the Duke de Choiseul ; both are friends to 
you and for vigorous measures. The disposition in France 
may for these reasons be relied on. Spain is more reserved, 
* but surely when France moves Spain will co-operate. The 
clear revenue from the farm of tobacco is twentyfour mil- 

* Tlicre are onl}- two fragments of tlie ^original of this letter remain- 
ing, but there is in the office a copy of the whole, endorsed as follows. 

" Copy of A. Lee's letter to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 
dated June 3d, 1776, and taken from the original in the cover of a Dic- 
t ionary, which was delivered to the Secretary of Congress, by Robert 
Morris, on the 4th of September, 1778, and to the Committee of Foreign 
Affairs, 7th December following." 

This copy, as welljas the endorsement, is written in Mr Lovell's hand, 
and attested, JameJ Lovell. 


lions of livres to France. It has been hinted to me, that 
she is likely to tell Great Britain, that if England cannot 
furnish it, she will send for it herself. You may judge^ 
therefore, what an important instrument that is in your 
hands. A Scotch banker. Sir Robert Herries, proposed to 
the Farmers in France to supply them at the home price 
here, that is, with the duty, to which they agreed. He 
then applied to this government for leave to import it upon 
paying the duties, which was refused. 

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

The young gentleman who will deliver this is of great 
worthiness, and deserves much of his country for his fidelity 
and zeal. Six thousand of the Hessian troops sailed last 
month, the remainder is not yet arrived here, so that it may 
be September before they reach you. In the mean time, 
it may be Howe's plan to amuse you with a negotiation, 
which may also furnish an opportunity of feeling some 
pulses among you, as to the efficacy of money and pro- 
raises. Beware of Joseph Reed* of Philadelphia. One 

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


Brooke Watson, who was permitted to travel last year from 
New York to Quebec, gave in a plan to the ministry for 
attacking Canada, and is with the invaders. 

Record of the Committee of Secret Correspondence.^ 

Philadelphia, October 1st, 1776. 

Mr Thomas Story, (who had been sent by the Commit- 
tee of Secret Correspondence, December 13ih, 1775, to 
France, Holland, and England) reported verbally as follows. 
"On my leaving London, Arthur Lee requesited me to 
inform the Committee of Correspondence, that he had sev- 
eral conferences whh the French ambassador, who had 
communicated the same to the French Court ; that, in con- 
sequence thereof, the Duke de Vergennes had sent a gen- 
tleman to Arthur Lee, who informed him, that the French 
Court could not think of entering into a war with England ; 
but that they would assist America, by sending from Hol- 
land this fall two hundred thousand pounds sterling worth 
of arms and ammunition to St Eustatia, Martinique, or 
Cape Francois ; that application was to be made to the 
governors or commandants of those places, by inquiring 
for Monsieur Hortalez, and that, on persons properly autho- 
rised applying, the above articles would be delivered to 

The above intelligence was communicated to the subscri- 
bers this day, being the only two members of the Commit- 
tee of Secret Correspondence now in this city ; and on 
our considering the nature and importance of it, we agree 

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



in opinion, that it is our indispensable duty to keep it a 
secret, even from Congress, for the following reasons. 

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

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

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

Fourthly. We are of opinion, that it is unnecessary to 
inform Congress of this intelligence at present, because Mr 
Morris belongs to all the committees that can properly be 

VOL. II. 3 


employed in receiving and impoidng the expected supplies 
from Martinique, and will influence the necessary measures 
for that purpose ; indeed, we have already authorised Wil- 
liam Bingham to apply at Martinique and St Eustatia 
for what comes there, and remit part hy the armed sloop 
Independence, Captain Young, promising to send others for 
the rest. 

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

But should any unexampled misfortune befall the States 

of America, so as to depress the spirits of Congress, it is 

our opinion, that, on any event of that kind, Mr Morris (if 

Dr Franivlin should be absent) should communicate this 

important m.atter to Congress, otherwise keep it until part 

or the whole supplies arrive, unless other events happen, to 

render the communication of it more proper than it appears 

to be at present. 




Philadelphia, October 23fl, 1776. 

By this conveyance we transmit to Silas Deane, a re- 
solve of the Honorable the Continental Congress of Delegates 
from the thirteen United States of America, whereby you are 
appointed one of their Commissioners for negotiating*a treaty 
of alliance, amity, and commerce with the Court of France, 
and also for negotiating treaties with other nations, agreea- 


bly to certain plans and instructions of Congress, which we 
have transmitted by various conveyances to Mr Deane, 
another of tlic Commissioners. We flatter ourselves, from 
the assurances of your friends here, that you will cheerfully 
undertake this important business, and that our country will 
greatly benefit of those abilities and that attachment, which 
you have already manifested in sundry important services, 
which at a proper period shall be made known to those you 
would wish. 



Fan's, December 2od, 1776. 

My Lord, 

A very (ew hours after my last letter to your Lordship, 
brought me the desire of my country to serve her in a pub- 
lic character. Your Lordship, I hope, thinks too well of 
me to suppose I could hesitate a moment. In fact, almost 
the same minute saw me bid adieu, perhap? forever, to a 
country where iVom choice I had fixed ni}' fortunes, and 
to a people whom I n)ost respected and could have loved. 
But the first object of my life is my country ; the first wisii 
of my heart is public liberty. I must see, therefore, the lib- 
erties of my country established or perish in her last struggle. 

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


and America may yet, with a sort of filial piety, reanimate 
her expiring constitution. 

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

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, January 3d, 1777. 


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

I cannot express how greatly 1 am obliged to that most 
respectable body, for giving me an opportunity of showing 
how much I prefer the service of my country, and of her 
present cause, to every other pursuit and situation in life. 


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

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

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

I hope you will have received some of the supplies long 

before this reaches you ; infinitely short as they are of 

what was promised in quantity, quality, and time, I trust 

they will be of very material service in the operations of 

the next campaign. It is that, to use the words of our arch 

enemy, to which we must look forward, and no exertions 

in preparing for it can be too great, because the events of 

it must be very decisive. 

I have the honor of being, he. 




Paris, January 5th, 1777. 

The Congress, the better to defend their coasts, protect 
their trade, and drive off the enemy, have instructed us to 


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

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

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


themselves reduced to the necessity of ending the war by 
an accommodation. 

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

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






Paris, January Mtli, 1777. 

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

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


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

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




Paris, February 1st, 1777. 

Messrs Franklin, Deane, and Lee, Ministers from the 
Congress of the United States, beg leave to represent to 
his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, that besides the 
general alarming accounts of the success of the English 
against their country, they have just received authentic 
intelligence from England that eight thousand men, chiefly 


Germans, under the command of General Burgoyne, are 
to be sent early in the spring to America, and to be em- 
ployed, with some ships of war, in the invasion of Virginia 
and Maryland. 

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

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

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

That the supplies ot arms and ammunition of war, which 

they have been made to expect from France, having been 

by various means delayed and retarded, are not likely to 

arrive before the commencement of the next campaign, and 

roL. II. 4 


may perhaps be despaired of, especially if those supplies 
are to be carried first to the French islands. 

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

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

We would therefore with all deference submit it to the 
wisdom of his Majesty and his Ministers, whether, if the 
independence of the United States of America, with the 
consequent diminution of British power, and the freedom 
of commerce with them, be an object of importance to all 
Europe, and to France in particular, this is not the proper 
time for efl^ectual exertions in their favor ; and for com- 
mencing that war, which can scarcely be much longer 
avoided, and which will be sanctified by this best of justi- 
fications, that a much injured and innocent people will 
thereby be protected and delivered from cruel oppression, 
and secured in the enjoyment of their just rights ; tiian 


which, nothing can contribute more to the glory of iiis 

Majesty and of this nation. 



iS'antes, February 11th, 1777. 


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

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

That their utmost efforts will be made this campaign is 
infallible, because nothing is more certain, than that the 
present state of Europe forbids every expectation of their 

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


being long unemployed nearer liome. If, therefore, they 
do not succeed this year against us, there is an end of their 
prospects of ravage and revenge. Even at this moment, 
they have put every thing at hazard ; England, Ireland, and 
Hanover being left almost defenceless by their efforts 
against us. I should submit whether it is not fit that it 
should be made known to the army, that the forces to be 
sent this year, both from England and Germany, are new 
raised, and therefore totally undisciplined. Because the 
attacking such troops on their first arrival, would be taking 
them in their weakest state, and they ought not to 
carry with them the terror of disciplined troops, which, in 
fact, they are not, and of which it would encourage their 
opponents to be apprized. 

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

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


off the cutters, and make prize of the armed West India- 

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

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

Bewick U Co. at Cadiz will not pay the proceeds of 
the Sally to Mr Schweighauser, upon a pretence of not 
having any order so to do ; but it seems their real design is 
to keep the money in their hands for what they pretend is 
due to them from Messrs Willing, Morris &i Co. I shall 
endeavor to have them compelled to do justice in this busi- 
ness, and you will determine how far they are to be trusted 
for the future. A large cargo of woollens, linen, cordage, 
and sailcloth, will be despatched from hence in three 
weeks, which 1 hope will reach their destination in time. 

I could have wished that my present destination had 
been specifically ordered by you, with regard to the 
Court, as that would have imported a respect and consider- 
ation for them, which might have greatly facilitated my 
object, which I apprehend will meet with some obstacle in 
the umbrage, that the want of such attention, and the 
apparent preference given where it is perhaps less deserved, 


may possibly occasion. Perhaps that may yet be remedied 
by some such power, if it should seem proper to you.* 

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

Upon examination, I find your commercial connexions 
here greatly deranged. It appears to have been the first 
plan of the Committee to place Mons. Schweighauser as a 
check over Mons. Penet. The established character and 
credit of- the former were to control the confidence re- 
posed in the latter, who, the Committee say, "had not such 
recommendations as they could wish." For this purpose 
the consignments were to be made to Mons. Schweighauser, 
out of which he was to pay Mons. Penet for such goods 
as were shipped on your account, after being inspected and 
approved by the former. This was certainly a wise plan 
and a necessary precaution. In my humble judgment, it 
still continues to be absolutely necessary ; but instead of 
the consignments having been made to Mr Schweighauser, 
they have been chiefly addressed directly to Penet ; in 

* The following extract of a letter from the Commissioners to the 
CoramiUee of Secret Correspondence, will show the origin of Mr Lee's 
journey to Spain. 

Paris, February 6th, 1777.— "Finding that our residence here together 
is nearly as expensive as if we were separate, and having reason to believe 
that one of us might be useful in Madrid, and another in Holland and 
some Courts further northward, we have agreed that Mr Lee go to Spain, 
and either Mr Deane or myself (Dr Franklin) to the Hague. Mr Lee 
sets out tomorrow, having obtained passports, and a letter from the 
Spanish Ambassador here, to the Minister there. The journey to Hol- 
land will not take place so soon. The particular purposes of these 
journies we cannot prudently now explain." 


consequence of this, the latter has not sflbmitted the goods 
sent to the inspection of the former, and Mr Schweighauser 
has reason to complain of his being neglected, after an 
express promise given him of your consignments, without 
his being able to conceive in what he has offended. 
These are facts which I think it my duty to state to you. 
Mons. Montanduine and Mons. Schweighauser are certainly 
the first in rank and reputation here. It is of much more 
consequence, that merchants of this description should be 
your correspondents here, than it is in England, because 
they have an influence with government which those of an 
inferior order have not. Of this order is Mr Gruel, and 
still lower M. Penet ; but the credit and character of the 
former are exceedingly well established. 

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

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Nantes, February 14th, 1777. 

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


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

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


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

I have the honor of being, &;c. 



Madrid, February 17th, 1777. 

My person and house, in the commercial way, are well 
known in the American Colonies, not only on account of 
our long standing correspondence of thirty to forty years, 
but also on that of the true affection with which we have 
endeavored to serve them. I am lately arrived at Madrid 
on some particular affairs, which have occasioned my treat- 
ing with die ministers of State, who have honored me with 
their especial favors and trust, and of course this has led 
me into the bottom of the principal affairs of Europe, 
among which I have talked about your coming from Paris 
to Spain, undoubtedly with the design of treating on the 
subject of the Colonies, as I judge they have already done, 
and continue doing at Paris. But I have heard that in 
such a small place as Madrid it would be absolutely impos- 
sible to remain incog, either by your own or any other 
name, and you would of course be spied by the gentlemen 
here who have a real interest therein, and consequently 
you could not treat with the ministers without hurting the 

VOL. II. 5 


Colonies in the highest degree by your own doings ; and, 
besides, you would set this Court at variance without suc- 
cess. 1 judge you will improve the opportunity which 
offers by chance, and I think is an excellent one, and have 
therefore no objections to hint it to you ; being fully assured 
that it will cause no displeasure here. 

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

I have the honor to subscribe myself, &ic. 



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

[In a letter dated at Burgos, 2Sth February, 1777, Mr 
Lee replied to the above as follows. "I have the honor 
of yours of the 17th, and agreeable to your request will 
wait for you at this place."] 


Boideaux, February 18th, 1777. 


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

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


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

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

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

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

I have die honor of being your obedient servant, 



Vitoiia, February 26th, 1777. 

Dear Sirs, 
1 am thus far safe on my journey, which by the spur of 
six pistoles more I am to finish two days sooner than was at 


first agreed. Therefore, if no accident happens, I shall reach 
my destination the 6th of next month. In the Committee's 
letter of the 23d of October to me, it is said, " we are to 
negotiate with other nations agreeable to certain plans and 
instructions transmitted to Mr Deane." I have none^with 
me, nor do I remember to have seen any, but those which 
relate expressly to France, and that plan has already been 
transmitted where I am going. Nothing is more likely than 
my being asked what I have to propose, particularly relative 
to this meridian. This question was put to us on our first 

visit to .* But the same answer will not serve 

here. I must entreat you, therefore, to favor me with your 
ideas upon this particular. What alteration would you 
think proper in that plan, when applied to this country ? It 
is best to be prepared for every favorable moment that may 
offer. This must plead my pardon for urging as speedy an 
answer as possible. It would grieve me to be put to the 
alternative of letting a favorable opportunity pass unem- 
braced, or of hazarding a measure of so much moment to 
the public, upon my weak judgment and very limited infor- 

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

obedient servant, 


* This blank should probably be filled up with the name of Count 
d'Aranda, the Spanish Ambassador in France. 



Delivered by Jlrihur Lee to the Marquis de Grimaldi. 

Burgos, March 5fh, 1777. 

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

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

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

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

2dly. Mr Lee cannot conceive on what pretence of 
reason, right, or law, the English Ambassador, or his Court, 



can lake exception to his Majesty's receiving a deputy from 
the United States, since the right of a neutral Court so to 
do is clearly established by the unquestioned practice of all 
times, and recognised by the best writers on the laws of 
nations. Neither has the English Ambassador at Paris, or 
his Court, taken any exception to it there. 

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

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



Burgos, March Sth, 1777. 


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

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &;c- 




Presented to the Court of Spain. 

Burgos, March Sth, 1777. 

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

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

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

To judge of this, it will be necessary to consider what 
will be the probable event of the next campaign. As Great 
Britain is resolved to put forth her utmost strength, it is 
roL. 11. 6 


probable that tbe event will be, either the total reduction of 
America, or an accommodation founded upon a mutual 
conviction of each other's strength ; and this accommoda- 
tion must be hastened by America being left destitute of 
any material assistance fiom Europe. 

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

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

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


There is nothing ot" which ihc Court of Great Britain is 
more persuaded, than that the loss of America would be 
^he inevitable consequence of a war in Europe ; nor is 
there n man in the nation that is ignorrajt of it ; hence it is, 
that ths king finds himself obliged, in all his speeches, to 
assure his Parliament of the tranquillity of Europe, that 
they may bo emboldened to support liis war against Amer- 
ica. Hence it is, that they have labored to prevent a rup- 
ture between Spain and Portugal, and have, at length, 
renounced the latter. It is therefore certain, that Great 
Britain would endure any insult, short of an open and out- 
rageous act of hostility, rather than engage in a Eurojjcan 
war during her contest with America. 

During the last war, Arrierica contributed tv.-eU'e thous- 
and seamen, and twenty thousand troops to the assistance 
of Great Britain. Tiiese are now tripled against her. 
The commerce of America, according to the declaration 
of Mr Pitt, who conducted it, carried Great Britain tri- 
umpiiantly through it. The full tide of that commerce is 
now turned against her. From America, all the expe- 
ditions against the islands of Spain and Frimce were then 
supplied. Now these supplies are ready to assist in seizing 
her islands. 

Deprived of all ibfise aids, which ministered to her suc- 
cess and her triumphs during the last war, what could 
prevent her now from experiencing the bitter reverse of her 
former fortune .'' What policy can withhold two Sovereigns, 
whose prosperity is incompatible with her povvcr, to let 
slip such an opportimity of humbling her as n:iay never 
return ? 

If Great Britain should be again uniied io America by 
conquest or conciliation, it would be in vain to menace her 

bu>' " 


with war. America has been felt like Hercules in his 
cradle. Great Britain, knit again to such growing strength, 
would reign the irresistible, though hated arbiter of Europe. 
Tliis then is the moment in whicH Spain and France may 
clip her wings and pinion her forever. One of the most 
respectable bodies in England told their Sovereign some 
two years since, with a kind of prophetic spirit, that 
his Ministers were precipitating his dominions into a situ- 
ation in which their existence would depend upon the 
forbearance of their enemies. That situation is now cer- 
tainly occurred. The rest as certainly remains in the 
arbitration of Spain and France.* 



To the Memorial, hy the Marquis de Grimaldi at Vitoria. 

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

* Although the above Memorial purports to have been presented to Ike 
Court of Spain, it would appear, that it was put into the hands of the 
Marquis <ie Grimaldi while he was at Burgos, and that he returned an 
answer probably without consulting the Court, when he met Mr Lee 
shortly afterwards at Vitoria. 

t This answer seems to have been a verbal one. 



Vitoiia, March 17ll), 1777. 

Mr Lee wishes to slate tt> his Excellency, the Count de 
Florida Blanca, what he has understood from his Excel- 
lency, the Marquis de Grimuldi, to be the intentions of his 
Majesty relative to the United States of America. 

That for very powerful reasons his Majesty cannot at 
this moment enter into an alliance with them, or declare in 
their favor } that nevertheless, they may depend upon his 
Majesty's sincere desire to see their rights and liberties 
established, and of his assisting them as far as may be con- 
sistent with his own situation; that for this purpose the 
house of Gardoqui at Bilboa would send them supplies for 
their army and navy from time to time ; that they would 
find some ammunition and clothing deposited for them at 
New Orleans, the communication with which would be 
much secured and facilitated by their taking possession of 
Pensacola ; that their vessels should be received at the 
Havanna upon the same terms with those of France, and 
that the Ambassador at Paris should have directions imme- 
diately to furnish their Commissioners with credit in Hol- 
land. The Marquis added, that his Majesty would do these 
things out of the graciousness of his royal disposition, with- 
out stipulating any return, and that, if upon inquiry any- 
able veteran officers could be spared from his Irish brig- 
ade, the States should have them. 

These most gracious intentions Mr Lee has communi- 
cated to the Congress of the United States, in terms as 
guarded as possible without mentioning names, so that the 
source of those aids, should the despatches fall into the 


enemy's iiands, can only be conjectured from the matter, 
not determined from the manner in which they are men- 
tioned. And for fm-ther security, the captain has the 
strictest orders to throw the despatches into the sea should 
he be taken. 

Mr Lee is sensible that these intentions are measured 
by the magnanimity of a great and opulent prince, and 
becoming the character of so illustrious a monarch as the 
king of Spain. He is satisfied they will raise the strongest 
sentiments of gratitude and v'eneration in the breasts of those 
whom they regard. At the same time he trusts, that the 
Spanish nation will receive no inconsiderable retribution 
from the freedom of that commerce, the monopoly of which 
contributed so much to strengthen and aggrandize her rival 
and her foe ; nor can anything give more lasting satisfac- 
tion to the royal mind, than the reflection of having employed 
those means which God has put into his hands, in assisting 
an oppressed people to vindicate those rights and liberties, 
which have been violated by twice six years of incessant 
injuries and insulted supplications ; those rights which God 
and nature, together with the convention of their ancestors 
and the constitution of their country, gave to the people of 
the States. Instead of that protection in these rights, which 
was the due return for the sovereignty exercised over them, 
they have seen their defenceless towns wantonly laid in 
ashes, their unfortified country cruelly desolated, their pro- 
perty wasted, their people slain ; the ruthless savage, whose 
inhuman war spares neither age nor sex, instigated against 
them ; the hand of die servant armed against his master by 
])ubiic proclamation, and the very food which the sea, that 
washes their coast, furnishes, forbidden them by a law of 
unparalleled folly and injustice. ProincJc quasi injuriam 
facer e id demum esset imperio uti. Nor was it enough 


that for these purposes the British force was exhausted 
against them, but foreign mercenaries were also bribed to 
complete the butchery of their people, and the devastation 
of their country. And that nothing might be wanting to 
make the practices equivalent to the principles of this wnr, 
the minds of these mercenaries were poisoned with every 
prejudice, that might harden their hearts and sharpen their 
swords against a people, who not only never injured or 
offended them, but who have received with open arms 
and provided habitations for their wandering countrymen. 
These are injuries which the Americans can never forget. 
These are oppressors Vv'hom they can never again endure. 
The force of intolerable and accumulated outrages has com- 
pelled them to appeal to God and to the sword. The king 
of Spain, in assisting them to maintain tliat appeal, assists in 
vindicating the violated rights of humim nature. No cause 
can be more illustrious, no motives more magnanimous.""^ 



Vitoria, March 18tli, 1777. 


I had the honor of writing to you on the Sth from Bur- 
gos, since which I have had another conference at this 
place for greater secrecy and despatch. 

In addition to the supplies, v^hich I informed you were to 
be furnished through the house of Gardoqui by every 

* Attlie bottom of this letter, and of (he Memorial to the Court of Spain, 
Mr Lee signs liimself, ^^Commissioner Plenipotenliary fi om the Congress 
of the Uniled Siaies of America." But this must have been for the 
greater formality, as he iiail not yet receivetl any appointment to Spain 
from Congress, but only went lliere by the ad. ice of the Commissioners 
in Paris. See p. 40, of this volume. 


opportunity, and the powder and clothing which are at 
New Orleans, and will be advanced to your order, I am 
assured of having credit from time to time on Holland, 
and that orders will be given to receive your vessels at the 
Havanna, as those of the most favored nation, the French, 
are received. Th«y have promised to examine whether 
there are any veteran Irish officers fit for your service, and 
if there are to send them. 

I have avoided stipulating any return on our part. 

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

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

In conformity with the above arrangement, I have settled 
with M. Gardoqui, who now is with me, and from whom I 
have received every possible assistance, to despatch a vessel 


with all possible expedition, laden with salt, sail and tent 
cloth, cordage, blankets, and warlike stores, as he can im- 
mediately procure, and an assortment of such drugs as I 
think will be necessary for the three prevailing camp dis- 
eases. Those who furnish these supplies are very desirous 
of an expedition being ordered against Pensacola, in order 
that the possession of that place may render the communi- 
cation between the Southern Colonies and New Orleans, 
from which they would wish to succor you, more sure and 
secret. The captain has my directions to make for Phila- 
delphia, or any port to the southward, and v/ait your orders. 
At Mons. Gardoqui's desire, I have given him a recommen- 
dation to all the American captains, who may sail from Bil- 
boa, whether in public or private service, lo receive such 
stores as he shall send them for your use. 

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

li^i my former letters from Bordeaux and Nantes, I took 
the liberty of remarking upon the deranged state of your 
commerce. 1 find here that you have not sent any vessels to 
Bilboa, though as being the most convenient, it is most fre- 
quented by private vessels. It is a free port, has no custom- 
house, and therefore business is despatched with more 
secrecy and expedition. Rice, indigo, tar, pitch, and tur- 
pentine, bear a good price there, and fish in Lent. By the 
provincial laws of Biscay, tobacco is prohibited, but it may 
be landed at the port of St Sebastian, some fourteen leagues 
distant ; and it sells well in Spain ', but it must be strong 
Virginia tobacco for this market. The house of Gardoqui 
has promised to collect from other places, such things as I 

VOL. II. 7 


have informed them will be proper for your service. As 
Mons. Montandauine and Mons. Schweighauser at Nantes, 
and the Messrs Delaps at Bordeaux, are the best and most 
respectable merchants, so the Gardoquis are at Bilboa. 
Their zeal and activity in our cause were greatly manifested 
in the affair of the privateer ; they are besides in the special 
confidence of the Court, and one of them has been employed 
as interpreter in all our business. 

If touching upon commercial subjects, which are some- 
what out of my province, should be of any use, that will be 
my excuse; if not, I hope the expectation of its being use- 
ful will plead my pardon. I mentioned in my last, that the 
Germans, intended to be sent the latter end of this month 
through Holland, were to consist of seven thousand recruits 
and eight hundred Hessian chasseurs ; but from the best 
accounts 1 can get, they will neither be so forward nor so 
numerous as was intended. To retard them the more, I 
have proposed to the Commissioners at Paris, to remon- 
strate with the States-General against granting them a pas- 
sage, which is to expedite their embarkation, and I have 
written to Holland to have the account of the captivity of 
their countrymen and the refusal to exchange them and 
settle a cartel, destributed among the troops, in German, 
before they embark. 

I have sent copies of General Washington's letter, and 
such an account as I could collect from the newspapers, of 
the success of your arms all over Europe ; since that, I 
find by the enclosed Gazette, that the Court of Great Bri- 
tain have already published their account of it. It is 
lamentable to observe, to what unworthy means of flattering 
the vices of princes the human mind will stoop. The 
Carletons, the Howes, and the Perceys call themselves 


honorable men ; yet, because they know nothing pleases 
the king of England more than the grossest abuse of the 
Americans, they let slip no opportunity of accusing and tra- 
ducing them. That these charges may not fall into the 
hands of future historians uncontradicted, I could wish, since 
it has now become a public accusation by General Howe, 
that General Washington might write him a letter, stating 
the injustice of the charge, and mentioning the instances, 
such as the burying Captain Leslie with the honors of war, 
in which the troops under his command have manifested 
a disposition directly opposite to that of which he has 
accused them ; this would go down to posterity as an au- 
thentic vindication. I am as jealous of the honor of our 
name as desirous of the success of our arms. 

I mentioned in my former letters their plan of sending 
out cutters of twelve and fourteen guns, commanded by 
lieutenants of the navy, to cruise on your coast, chiefly in 
the Gulf, and that the West India ships were to be armed. 
On the other hand we are assured, by both France and 
Spain, that such a disposition of their fleets and forces will 
be made as ought to persuade England, that she cannot 
sustain the war against you as she has planned. Youv 
wisdom will direct you how far to trust to these assurances, 
or their expected consequences, when our stake is so pre- 
cious, that the most ardent and unremitting exertions cannot 
be too great; not that I suspect the sincerity of these 
assurances, but the effects they are to produce ; for I know 
the nature of the king of England to be such, that nothing 
but personal fear, which the quietism of tlie people is not 
likely to produce, will restrain him from the most desperate 
attempts to injure and enslave us ; besides, the state of 
Europe is such as to render it morally certain, that a war 


in Europe will relieve you from these extraordinary exer- 
tions before a year has passed away. The death of the 
king of Portugal is too recent for any certain judgment to 
be formed of its consequences ; probably however it will 
produce an accommodation with Spain, but should it ex- 
tinguish this spark of a war, it will leave Spain more at lib- 
erty to aid us, and awe, if not attack Great Britain. The 
situation of the enemy seems to be this. Great Britain and 
Ireland exhausted, the difficulties of recruiting for the en- 
suing campaign, from Germany, great and notorious, though 
the demand was proportioned to the prosperous state of 
their affairs ; from this quarter therefore they have little 
more to hope ; to Russia alone they may apply if the cloud 
that is rising from Constantinople should blow over, with- 
out which it is impossible they should have any aid from 
thence ; but if this should happen it will be our endeavor, 
and I hope we shall succeed in raising the opposition of 
other European Powers to that measure. I mean to pro- 
pose on my return to Paris, the sounding both of the em- 
peror and the king of Prussia on this subject. The one 
wishes to promote the port of Ostend, the other of Emden, 
and by these we may perhaps work them up to our 

It Is upon this view of things, that I found ray hopes of 
the next campaign being the last struggle of any importance, 
which the enemy can make against us. The distress of 
their finances and the difficulty of raising the supplies are 
great. It is certain, that the Dutch, on whom they so much 
depend, withhold their money as far as they can find Span- 
ish paper to vest it in. The degree of their alarm from 
France and Spain may be seen from their embodying the 
militia; and their expensive preparations by sea; that this 


alarm will not be suffered to subside I believe. Their 
divisions at home are apparent from the suspension of the 
habeas corpus act, which will probably realise their appre- 
hensions of domestic troubles. 

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

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


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

P. S. As well as I can collect from the foreign papers, 
they have passed a bill in England to enable the King to 
commit to any prison such persons as he suspects of favor- 
ing America, and to fix the crime of piracy on all those 
who are taken at sea with your commission. In some for- 
mer resolution, you declared that retaliation should be made 
on those, who were suspected of favoring the measures of 


the British Government in the States; and hitherto the 
American privateers have permitted the subjects of Great 
Britain to depart in peace. Our enemies are determined 
to show how unworthy they are of such lenity, as several 
individuals besides Captain Ross have done. They will 
compel you to make it a war of revenge, not of redress. 
It would not, I think, be difficult to negotiate a loan of 
money for the States of Virginia and South Caroh'na, through 
the Havanna; if you think this would be useful, please 
to give your directions in it by the first opportunity. The 
present disposition to oblige us may not last forever. 

A. L. 


Passy, March 21st, 1777. 

Dear Sir, 

We have received your favors from Vitoria and Burgos. 

The Congress sitting at Baltimore despatched a packet 
to us the 9th of January, containing an account of the suc- 
cess at Trenton, and subsequent events to that date, as far 
as they had come to knowledge. The vessel was oblif'ed 
to run up a little river in Virginia to avoid some men of war, 
and was detained there seventeen days, or we should have 
had these advices sooner. We learn however throu-'-h 
England, where they have news from New York to the 4th 
of February, that in Lord Cornwallis's retreat to New 
Brunswick two regiments of his rear guard were cut to 
pieces ; that General Washington having got round him to 
Newark and Elizabethtown, he had retired to Amboy in his 
way to New York ; that General Howe had called in the 
garrisons of Fort Lee and Fort Constitution, which were 


now possessed by our people ; that on the New York side, 
Forts Washington and Independence were retaken by our 
troops, and that the British forces at Rhode Island were 
recalled for the defence of New York. 

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

We know of no plans or Instructions to Mr Deane but 
those you have with you. By the packet, indeed, we have 
some fresh instructions which relate to your mission, viz. 

For a copy of Dr Franklins Commission from Congress to the. 
Court of Spain, see the Secret Journal of Congress, Vol. U. p. 42, under 
the date of January 2d, 1777. 


that in case" France and Spain will enter into the war, 
the United States will assist ihe former in the conquest of 
the British sugar islands, and the latter in the conquest of 
Portugal, promising the assistance of six frigates manned, 
of not less than twentyfour guns each, and provisions equal to 
2,000,000 dollars ; America desiring only for her share, 
what Britain holds on the continent ; but you shall by the 
first safe opportunity have the instructions at length. 1 
believe we must send a courier. 

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

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

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

We have good advice of our friend at Amsterdam, that 
in the height of British pride on their summer success, and 
just before they heard of any check, the ambassador, Sir 
Joseph Yorke, had been ordered to send a haughty memo- 


rial to the States, importing that notwithstanding their pro- 
mises to restrain their subjects from supplying the rebels, 
it was notorious, that those supplies were openly furnished 
by Hollanders at St Eustatia ; and that the governor of that 
island had returned from his fort the salute of a rebel ship 
of war with an equal number of gims ; that his Majesty 
justly and highly resented these proceedings, and demanded 
that the States should by more severe provisions restrain 
that commerce ; that they should declare their disapproba- 
tion of the insolent behavior of their governor, and punish 
him by an immediate recall ; otherwise his Majesty, who 
knows what appertains to the dignity of his crown, would 
take proper measures to vindicate it ; and he required an 
immediate answer. The Scates coolly returned the memo- 
rial with only this answer, that when the respect due to 
sovereigns was not preserved in a memorial, it ought not to 
be expected in an answer. But the city of Amsterdam 
took fire at the insolence of it, and instructed their deputies 
in the States to demand satisfaction by the British Court's 
disavowal of the memorial, and the reprimand of the ambas- 
sador. The States immediately demanded a number of 
men of war ships to be in readiness. Perhaps since the 
bad news has come, England may be civil enough to make 
up this little difference. 

Mr Deane is still here. You desire our advice about 
your stopping at Burgos. We are of opinion that you 
should comply with the request. While we are asking aid, 
it is necessary to gratify the desires and in some sort com- 
ply with the humors of those we apply to. Our business 
now i^ to carry our point. But I have never yet changed 
the opinion I gave in Congress, that a virgin State should 
preserve the virgin character, and not go about suitoring for 

VOL. II. 8 


alliances, but wait with decent dignity for the applications 
of others. I was overruled ; perhaps for the best. 

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



Paris, April 19th, 1777. 


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

We have taken the earliest opportunity of obeying these 
commands. But considering the great importance of 
establishing a free commerce between the two countries as 
soon as possible, and confident that every objection may be 
obviated, and the wished for intercourse opened and estab- 
lished on the most certain and beneficial grounds to pro- 


mote the interest of both countries, we propose that one of 
us shall wait on your Excellency as soon as conveniently 
may be done, to explain personally the situation of America, 
the nature, extent, and importance of its commerce, and 
the methods by which it may be carried on with Prussia to 
mutual advantage. In the proposed interview, we are con- 
fident the difficulties mentioned by your Excellency may 
be surmounted, and a very considerable part of American 
commerce be turned to Prussia by measures neither dan- 
gerous nor expensive. 

We have the honor to be, &ic. 



Madrid, April 28th, 1777. 

Dear Sir, 

The 24th instant, I had the pleasure to pay my last 

compliments to you, enclosing twenty second bills, amounting 

to 81,000 livres French money, as per duplicates herein to 

serve in case of need ; and being still without your favors, 

I have only to forward you a further sum of 106,500 livres, 

in sixteen bills, as per memorandum at foot hereof, with 

which I beg your doing the needful as usual, and pass the 

same to my credit, advising me of it in due time, by which 

you will oblige him who longs for the pleasure of hearing 

from you, and is with very unfeigned esteem and 

respect, &£c. 



A Minute of the sixteen enclosed Bills, viz. 

Livres 6000 drawn by P. Joyes & Sons, on Tourton h Baur. 

6100 do do 

6150 do do 

6200 do do 

6250 do do 

6300 do do 

6400 do do 

6600 do do 

5900 „ by F.Vrs.Gorvea,onTassin, Father SiSon. 

6000 do do 

6500 do do 

6800 do do 

7000 do do 

7500 do do 

8000 do do 

8800 do do 

106,500 in sixteen second bills, all at 90 days date, with 
which pray procure the first accepted, acknowledging re- 
ceipt as soon as possible. 



Paris, May 8th, 1777. 

Dear Sir, 

I received yours of the 24th ultimo, with its enclosures, 
which 1 have disposed of as the enclosed receipt will show. 
It is taken for granted, that they are for the purposes set- 
tled at Vitoria, and to such the produce of them and of the 
rest will be applied. 

I beg you will express my warmest sense of this assist- 


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

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

I have the honor to be, &,c. 




Paris, May 8tli, 1777. 

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

I must, therefore, entreat you. Sir, to believe, that nothing 
can be more painful to me, than the necessity which delays 
and will delay me for some days longer, and that I will not 
intentionally lose one moment in preparing to testify in per- 
son, with what entire respect and consideration, 
1 have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, May 13th, 1777. 

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

' See above, p. 69, Gardoquj's letter of April 28th. 


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

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

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




Berlin, May 20th, 1777. 


I have been informed by the letter, which you did me the 

honor of writing to me the 8th instant, that in consequence 

of the one sent me the 19th of last month, on the part of 

Messrs Franklin, Deane, and yourself, you were on the 


point of coming here, but for an unforeseen accident, that, 
prevented you. 

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

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

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Viennn, May 27fh, 1777. 

Dear Sirs, 

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

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

J hope you will not forget to sound the two Courts, 


whether they will join Prussia in declaring us independent. 
1 am afraid this latter will not be obtained, unless they are 
in our favor. 

I am, dear Sirs, &;c. 



Vienna, May 28th, 1777. 

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

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



Berlin, June 5tli, 1777. 


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

I take the earliest opportunity to inform you of my arrival, 

' Memorial to the Court of Spain, dated Burgos, March 8th.— See 
above, p. 41. 

TOL. II. 9 


and to request your Excellency to have the goodness tc 

inform me, when I may have the honor of an interview 

with you, on the subject of this letter. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Berlin, June 7tli, 1777. 


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

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


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

At first it will be better to send the vessels to the conti- 
nental commercial agent, since there is one in each of the 
principal ports. The princii)al ports are Newburyport, 
Salem, and Boston in Massachusetts ; New London in 
Connecticut ; Baltimore in Maryland ; York, Hampton, 
and Alexandria, in Virginia ; Charleston, in South Caro- 
lina ; and Savannah, in Georgia. These are the principal 
ports, as you go along the coast from North to South. In 
order to arrive at the ports of Virginia and i^aryland, it is 
necessary to enter Chesapeake Bay, into which all the 
rivers of the two States empty. 1 shall write to our agents 
directing them to give all possible faciliues to your com- 
merce in these ports. I have omitted the ports of Rhode 
Island and Philadelphia, because they are direct objects of 
the war, and they may be in the possession of the enemy. 
It will therefore be better to avoid them in the present state 
of affairs. 

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

I have the honor to be, &ic. 





Berlin, June 9th, 1777. 


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
of writing to me yesterday, and 1 imagine from its con- 
clusion, that on account of the difference of language, you 
did not perhaps take in the true sense some of the expres- 
sions which I used in our conversation. 

T lose no time, therefore, to assure you. Sir, as I did in 
the letter, which I addressed to you at Paris, that your resi- 
dence at Berlin will not he at all disagreeable to the king, 
provided you live here as an individual, and without assum- 
ing a public character. 

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

I have the honor of being, he. 



Berlin, June 10th, 1777. 

By the accounts received a little before I left Paris, the 
premium on insurance to America at Cadiz was twelve and 


a half per cent. At Bordeaux it was forty per cent to and 
from America. A scheme was then forming for the estab- 
lishment of very considerable and responsible companies of 
insurance at Rouen and Nanles. But I am apprehensive 
there will be some difficulty about insuring any but French 

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

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

These, and the thousand other delays and difficulties, to 
which the present cautious system of Europe subjects us, 
give every possible opportunity to Great Britain to recover 
that commerce, which her unwise and unjust conduct has 
obliged us to withdraw from her, and offer to the rest of 
Europe. An open acceptance of that offer would have 
settled the question at once. J may not presume to doubt 
the wisdom of that policy, which prefers the chance of glean- 
ing our fields after they have been spoiled and laid waste' 
by a mercenary and enraged army, to the certainty of reap- 


ing the full harvest of an unravaged country. Undoubtedly 
there are better reasons for it than 1 can devise. This is, 
however, most clear, that if the commerce of America were 
a thing not valuable, or rather noxious to the European 
powers, they could not give Great Britain a fairer opportu- 
nity of cutting it off from them forever, by retrieving the 
monopoly, or of greatly diminishing its sources by destroy- 
ing our cities and laying waste our country with merce- 
nary arms. We are left, like Hercules in his cradle, to 
strangle the serpent that annoys all Europe. 

I beg your Excellency will accept my thanks for the 
satisfactory explanation you were so good as to give me 
yesterday of what 1 confess was not clear to me before. 

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

1 have the honor to be, he. 



Berlin, June 11th, 1777. 


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

The king being absent in the review of his troops, I have 
only had some conversation with his Minister relative to 
their beginning a commerce with you in their own bottoms. 


This I have reason to think will take effect ; but there 
seems to be a system of great caution here, which wiil 
cramp whatever they attempt. 

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

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

A transaction has lately happened in England, which, not- 
withstanding appearances speak otherwise, makes me believe 
that our enemies expect some further and considerable assist- 
ance from Hesse. It is their paying an old rejected claim to 
iheLandgrave of £41,000. I know the British Court too well 
to believe they would do this from any other motive, than 
the expectation of future favors, and to soften the sense of 
shame and loss, which, already sustained by the Landgrave, 


would prevent him from furnishing them further. But 
whether the object is merely to quicken him in supplying 
the stipulated recruits, or to get some of his old regiments, 
I cannot learn. A letter, which I have read, from the 
agent of that Prince at the Court of Great Britain to his 
Minister, upon the very subject of this claim, grounds it 
only on the necessities of England for troops to carry on 
this war, witliout mentioning that he had stipulated anything 
specially on his part in return. You may, however, depend 
upon my endeavors to get the most speedy and accurate 
information on this subject, and to raise every obstacle that 
can come fro'm this and the imperial Court. 

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


P. S. I see by the English papers, that a motion by 
Lord Chatham for an address of the House of Lords to 
the king, to begin an accommodation by a cessation of hos- 
tilities, and an offer of a full redress of grievances, supported 
by Lords Shelburne and Camden, was rejected by 100 to 
2S. This motion was made on the 30th of last month, 
and the chief objection on the ministerial part was, that it 
would stop the career of their success that must soon 
reduce you. 


Berlin, June 15th, 1777. 

Dear Sirs, 
I had the honor of writing to you from Munich and 
Vienna, from the last of which I arrived here the 4th of 


this month. The letters you have received from hence 

will show you how the wind blows here ; I have tried all 

in my power to make it change, hitherto in vain. In ten 

days 1 shall set out on my return. There cannot be a 

state of more perfect quiescence than prevails in this place ; 

what is merely. commercial is planned, but whether it will 

be adopted remains to be determined. 

I have the honor of being, &.c. 



Berlin, June 15th, 1777. 

Dear Sir, 

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

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

The Prussian army, which amounts to 228,000 horse 
VOL. II. 10 


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

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


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

It is my intention, when I have leisure, to write the his- 
tory of this civil contention. The share you have had in it 
will form an interesting and important part. It will be in 
your power to preserve a variety of most material papers 
and anecdotes for such a work. May 1 venture to hope, 
that you will think nie so far worthy of your confidence, and 
fit for such a work, as to preserve them for me ? Dubious 
parts of history can be cleared by such documents only. 

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

With the most ardent wishes for your success, safety, 

and happiness, I am, &c. 




Berlin, June IStli, 1777. 

After having duly examined the propositions, which you 
have been so kind as to address to me, respecting the estab- 
lishment of a direct commerce between his Majesty's States 
and the English Colonies of America, I am of opinion with 


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

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

I have the honor to be, he. 



Berlin, June 20th, 1777. 

1 had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of 
the 1 8th this day. Upon trial, I hope the difficulties will 


not be found so great as your Excellency seemsj,to ima- 

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

If 1 had his Majesty's permission to signify, that our 
cruisers would be received in his ports upon this footing, as 
they are in the south, I can have no doubt but that this 
species of commerce would soon take place ; and most 
assuredly, the advantages of it to those ports, and conse- 
quently to his Majesty's kingdom, would be very consid- 
erable. Without such permission, our cruisers will be 
obliged to send the prizes they make in the northern seas 
to the south, or directly to America, and will have no 
means of commerce or communication with his Majesty's 

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

I have the honor to be, he. 





Berlin, June 26tli, 1777. 


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

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

I have the honor of being, &,c. 




Berlin, June 28tli, 1777. 

Dear Sirs, 

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

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

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


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

I am, with the greatest esteem, &ic. 




Berlin, June 29th, 1777. 


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

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

Your Majesty's dominions are admirably situated for 
commerce. Three large rivers, which run through them, 
must furnish the greatest facilities for it. What then is 
wanting? Merely an object sufficiently distant to form 
sailors, and sufficiently extensive to establish and support 
trade. Such an object is America ; and the unexpected 


events, which have made the trade of that country free, 
afford inducements for it. The monopoly of this trade, 
which, in the opinion of that great and wise man, Mr Pitt, 
supported the power of England, no longer exists, and, 
without a miracle, will never exist again. The nations that 
shall endeavor to obtain a part of it for themselves, by fur- 
nishing to a young and grateful people the means of resist- 
ing their oppressors, will be very successful. But those, 
who wish to await in tranquillity the event of this war, ought, 
not to expect to turn trade from the course, in which custom 
and gratitude, before that time, will have fixed it. The 
present, therefore, is the proper time for those to begin, 
who wish to enjoy for the future the commerce of 

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

Secondly. It is not practicable to have at the same time 
an army so numerous as that of your Majesty, and a respec- 
table fleet, since the latter would require too many men, 
and destroy the country. This reasoning would be sound, 
if population were diminished by commerce. But the con- 
trary is the fact. In place of diminishing, it increases it. 
Thus the most commercial countries are always the most 

VOL. II. 11^ 


populous. Population is always proportioned to the means 
of living. Comtnerce, by increasing these means, increases 
the population. Instead therefore of increasing the con- 
sequences of a numerous army, commerce is their most 
certain remedy. 

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

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

Not more than it is already decided by the fact, nor more 
than is authorised by the laws of nations, founded on the 
just interests and the wants of a State. The fact is, that we 
have the sword in our hand and that we are making war 
openly. Are there more convincing proofs of actual inde- 
pendence ? We are in the possession of the country, the 
articles of commerce are the produce of our labors, and 
belong to us. They are ours by right and in fact, and it 
I)elongs to us alone to dispose of them. Is it necessary 
then, that other nations should wait and suffer the most 
pressing want, while the English are using their utmost 



exertions to ruin us, and to wrest iVom us our properly in 
order to sell it to tiiern ? Or can they not go there, buy the 
commodities of which they are in want, and with which the 
English can no longer furnish them, without violating the 
character of neutral nations ? It is not difficult to say which 
is most agreeable to reason, and consequently to the rights 
of nations. Neutral nations, in carrying on this trade, 
decide as to the fact, and not os to the right. This is the 
distinction which the laws of England make ; since the 
English are allowed to obey the actual, or de facto power, 
although it should not be so by right, or de jure. Besides, 
the English acknowledged the Duke of Braganza as king 
of Portugal, and received his Ambassadors, in the year 1641, 
for this reason, that he had been called to the crown by the 
unanimous consent of the people. Congress is established 
on the same foundation. The assemblies of the States 
choose the membersof Congress, and empower them annu- 
ally ; and these assemblies are chosen by the whole people. 
Can there be a consent more unanimous, or more maturely 
given ? Will your Majesty allow me here to adduce some 
authorities on this subject ? 

Charles, Duke of Sudermania, having been crowned king 
of Sweden at the commencement of the Hih century, sent 
James Vandyck into France, and offered to Henry the Great 
the renewal of the treaties and alliances, which had before 
been made between these two powers. Vandyck showed, 
that the advantages which France would derive from the 
commerce of Sweden would be so considerable, that the 
king listened to the proposals of this Minister, and was, 
desirous to conclude a treaty with him. There was noth- 
ing to prevent him from doing it, except that the action of 
Charles, who had usurped the crown from Sigisraond, his 


nephew, alter the latter had been chosen king of Poland, 
was the more odious, as the pretext of religion was the cause 
of the revolution. It was also taken into consideration in 
France, that the king of Denmark, who was no friend to 
Charles, might form an alliance against him with his 
brother in law the king of England. But notwithstanding 
all this, M. de Villeroy, in writing to Jeannin, April Sth, 
1608, speaks plainly, and says ; "All these reasons and 
considerations would not prevent the king from mai<ing a 
treaty with Charles, if he should find it for his interest, and 
that of his kingdom to do so." — Wickfort, p. 26. The 
example of Henry tie Great is worthy of a prince, who 
has no less claim to this tide. 

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

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

It is true, that these advantages vvill be very much dimin- 


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

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

I rely on your Majesty's goodness to pardon me for 

entering into this long detail, and for suggesting thoughts so 

unworthy of your attention, and so badly expressed in a 

language which I have but cursorily learnt.'^ But I prefer 

writing incorrectly, to communicating to any one what I 

have the honor of offering to the consideration of your 


] have the honor to be. Sire, &ic. 



Berlin,. luly 1st, 1777. 

Having been robbed in your city of Berlin, in a most 
extraordinary manner, I have thus far relied on the common 
police. But as it seemed very probable, that the individual 
who committed this robbery cannot be prosecuted by the 
common police, I am obliged to disturb your Majesty's 
quiet, and to request that an audience may be granted to 

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


me, in order to make my complaint, and to say some things 
thereupon, which it is impossible to commit to paper, or to 
confide to any one but your Majesty. 
I am, Sire, Sic. 




Potsdam, July 2d, 1777. 

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



Berlin, July 6th, 1777. 

I informed you in my last of the 2Sth, of my having been 
robbed of my papers and having retrieved them in a iew 
hours. Whether they were read I cannot ascertain, but I 
think they would never have returned them had they known 
their contents. My journal book, which was among them. 


contains all our transactions in France and Spain. You will 
therefore judge whether it be proper to guard those Courts 
against any complaints from England. As they have re- 
turned the evidence of what they will allege, it nvay vi^ell 
be treated as a forgery. 

1 have just learnt, that the Envoy has despatched his 
Secretary to London, but whether to guard against the 
storm, which he expects his indiscretion will excite froni 
hence, or to give the intelligence he obtained, or both, 1 
know not. I have thought it prudent to wait here some 
days, to see whether the ill humor he has excited will fur- 
nish a favorable opportunity of obtaining something, but I 
shall leave this place next week, unless something from you 
should stop me ; hitherto I have not been favored with a 
single line. I see in the English papers, that cruisers are 
sent to the Baltic, which I am afraid are against Wickes. 
Perhaps you will think it proper to change the name of 
Bonx's ship, to embarrass their complaints to the States, 
should they make any. I enclose you the price of several 
articles we want, and which seem to be cheaper here than 

in France. Adieu. 



Paris, July 29th, 1777. 

I had the honor of informing the Committee of my pro- 
ceedings at Berlin, in a letter from thence dated 1 1th of the 
last month. On my first interview with his Excellency, the 
Baron de Schulenburg, he informed me that upon receiving 
information of ray intending to come to Berlin, he had writ- 
ten to signify the king's resolution not to receive me as a 


public Minister, but that he should be glad to receive any 
information relative to the proposal of carrying on trade 
with us. I urged the example of civil wars both in England 
and Holland, during which public Ministers were received 
from them by neutral powers, without its being deemed as 
an infringement of their neutrality, with many other similar 
instances of great authority. He answered, that his Majesty 
had pledged his honor to the king of Great Britain, not to 
interfere in this dispute ; he therefore wished I would con- 
fine myself entirely to the subject of trade, as he could not 
hear any further propositions. 

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

Whilst I v^as at dinner one day, some person contrived to 
get into my chamber, which was locked, and break open 
my desk, from whence he took all my papers. I soon dis- 
covered the robbery, and alarmed the police. The English 
Envoy, who happened to be on a visit in the hotel when the 
alarm was given, immediately went home, and in a ^ew 
minutes the papers were all returned, apparently unopened. 
The Envoy went to the king next day to excuse himself, 
but was not admitted. It appeared upon exaiDination, that 



his servant had frequently offered a large sum to the ser- 
vants of the house if they would steal my papers ; but as I 
never went out of my room, upon the most trifling occasion, 
without locking them up, they were obliged to have recourse 
to violence. The resentment of every one at so outrageous 
an act was soon lost in contempt of the Envoy's folly, for 
returning what he had incurred so much odium in acquir- 
ing. The Minister of State told me, they could do nothing 
more than to insist upon his recall, which he imagined the 
Envoy, considering the unfavorable light in which this action 
had placed him, would do himself. 

I thought this a favorable opportunity of pressing for aid 
from the King, in artillery, arms, and money, of which I was 
well informed he had a considerable sum in his treasury ; 
but I could obtain nothing but assurances of his desire to 
serve us if it were in his power. Upon taking leave, the 
Baron de Schulenburg delivered me a message from, his Ma- 
jesty, desiring me to assure my constituents that nothing 
would give him more pleasure, than to hear of their success, 
and that he wished whatever good news I received might 
be communicated to him. I did not omit to press his inter- 
position relative to German and Russian auxiliaries. In 
answer to this, the Minister assured me, that we had no rea- 
son to apprehend any thing either from one or the other in 
future. What I have collected from various sources upon 
the subject is this. The German princes who have hired 
their troops, besides having rendered themselves exceed- 
ingly odious, have suffered greatly, and are still suffering, 
by the emigrations of their subjects, for fear of being forced 
into this service, which is excessively unpopular aiid odious 
through all Germany ; under these circumstances, those 
princes are neither nr.ich inclined nor at all aWe to fnn;ish 
VOL. II. !2 


new supplies ; the troops already sent were their utmost 
exertions, and in all probability will be their last. 

The situation of the Empress of Russia is not more 
favorable ; she is under a constant alarm for the internal 
quiet of her kingdom, in which there are every where the 
seeds of great and dangerous discontent. A considerable 
force is required to preserve the acquisitions she has made 
in Poland. The peace with the Porte is an armed truce, 
which threatens to break out into action every moment. 
The first and most sacred principle of the Mahometan reli- 
gion is the union of all Mussulmans ; the dividing the Cri- 
mea from them is for this reason a mortal wound to their 
religious principles, and renders the late peace universally 
odious. Perpetual obstacles are therefore raised to the 
execution of it; and the Turks are openly preparing to 
avenge tlieir late defeats. So circumstanced, it is certain 
the Empress is herself in great need of assistance, instead 
of being in a condition to give it ; which, were she able, it 
is conceived she would never stoop to do as a subsidiary of 
Great Britain in such a contest, and in such company as 
the little German princes. What is further security against 
their future efforts, is the deficiency of funds on the part of 
our enemies. I found their credit in Germany had been at 
no time lower than it is now. We have good intelligence 
from Holland of its falling there apace. In England men 
ruminate every day more deeply on the dark and ruinous 
prospect before them, and most assuredly their credit there 
is already stretched to its utmost. All this may be well con- 
ceived, from the light in which the contest has been always 
viewed. In England it was regarded as unwise; in every 
part of Europe as unwise and unjust. Nothing but the 
most brilliant and immediate success could have prevented 


the consequence ol" these opinions. That has not happened, 
and therefore they now begin to experience the bitter effects 
of their folly and injustice. Every day confirms me more 
and more in the opinion, that our enemies cannot continue 
the war another campaign with any effect, and that the 
acknowledgment of your independency will be a serious 
subject of deliberation among the powers of Europe the 
ensuing winter. 

Yours, &ic. ARTHUR LEE. 


Paris, August 1st, 1777. 


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

I beg. Sir, you will accept personally my respects, and 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Philadelpliia, 'August 8t!i, 1777. 

We have to acknowledge yours of March 18th Ironi 
Vitoria in Spain, and another of May 13di from Paris. 



The first falls particularly under the notice of the Commit- 
tee of Commerce to whom it has been referred. 

You could not, at the time of writing it, have been cer- 
tified of the arrival of some interesting despatches from 
Congress to your colleagues in France on the 10th of that 
month, which might have occasioned a very considerable 
alteration in the politics of the Court of Versailles, which 
would consequently influence those of the Court of Madrid. 
The intelligence contained in your last is a most pleasing 
confirmation of the hopes, which you had given us of pecu- 
niary aid from Spain. Whatever tends to establish the 
value of our paper currency is most highly important to us. 
Congress will immediately go into a consideration of the 
several hints for this purpose given by you and Messrs 
Franklin and Deane. The unpleasing events in the north- 
ern department have so far engaged the attention of all 
public bodies, that it has been impossible for Congress to 
decide upon the subjects mentioned to them by you, early 
enough for us to forward their determinations by the present 

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

We wish you success on the embassy you are now 
engaged in ; and we are pleased that you are so agreeably 


connected with Mr Sayre, whose attachment to the cause 
of liberty and this country has been manifested. 

We are, with much regard, Sir, your friends and hum- 
ble servants, 




/ Paris, August, 13tli, 1777. 


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

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

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

We have received no direct intelligence from America 
for two months. The English Court conceal what they 
receive. This however is certain, that General Howe, una- 
ble to make his way to Philadelphia through the Jerseys, 



has embarked his ti'oops for some other expedition. As 

far, therefore, as we can judge, the campaign is not likely 

to be quite so brilliant as was expected. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Paris, August 18th, 1777. 

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

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

I have the honor to be, &lc. 





August 21st, 1777. 

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

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

It has been with the greatest regret, that some severity 
has been shown in a few instances, although the occasions 
have been many. Moreover, if 1 am written to on the sub- 
ject, and in a suitable manner, I will give an answer ; but as 


to what you say respecting the disposition of your friends, 
I perceive that sentiments of friendship have not made a 
deep impression on them. M. de Chaumont has informed 
us of their intention of selling their privateers here. Should 
they prefer to go away with them, let them explain them- 
selves. 1 will willingly endeavor to obtain immediate per- 
mission for them, on positive condition that they will not 
return again. With regard to Hodge, you well know what 
he promised ; I know not whether such tricks are allowed 
in America, but in France and Europe it is a very serious 
fault to tell the king a falsehood, which he did when he 
affirmed and gave security, that the vessel which sailed from 
Dunkirk was not designed as a privateer. 



Paris, September 9tl), 1777. 


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

The Abbe Raynal, who is just returned from a tour in 
England, tells me that nothing disgusts the English nation 
so much with the continuance of the war, as the seeing 
their ports filled with French ships, to carry on their com- 
merce with other nations. Their merchants are obliged to 
have recourse to this expedient to screen their merchandise. 
I say screen, because they cannot expect, that according 
to the law of nations, it will be a protection when discovered. 
They have been driven to this necessity by the number and 
success of your cruisers in and about the Channel ; which 
has raised insurance so high, that their manufactures are in 
danger of ijeing augmented thereb\' in ih^'w price too n)uc}i 
for the European n^ai'kels. 


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

I have the honor to be. Sec. 



Paris, September 21st, 1777. 

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

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

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, September 25th, 1777. 

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

By this time I expect you have been apprized, or upon 
applying to those who gave you the orders you will be 

VOL. II. 13 


informed, that with regard to what has been remitted, both 
in money and effects, no return is expected, agreeably to 
what you know passed at Vitoria, and of which I informed 
both your Minister and my constituents in the letters, which 
1 had the honor of reading to you at that place. It gives 
me great satisfaction, that every thing is thus arranged and 
settled ; and I am relieved from the embarrassment of ap- 
pearing to have understood so ill what passed, or so greatly 
to have misrepresented it. 

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

I have the honor to be. Sec. 



Paris, October 6th, 1777. 

From Berlin, on the Uth of June, and from this place, 
29th of July, I had the honor of informing you at large of my 
proceedings in Prussia. Not having received an answer 
from that Court, relative to the reception of our privateers 
and their prizes in Prussian ports, 1 have written lately to 
press for one, which I hope will be favorable, as I left so 
friendly a disposition there, that I was desired to communicate 
his Majesty's warmest wishes for our success. I mentioned 


too the improbability of our enemy's receiving assistance 
from Russia for the next campaign, and how much their 
resources were exhausted in Germany. 

By Captain Young I received the commands of Con- 
gress, in their commission for me to the Court of Spain. 
As Dr Franklin had announced his appointment, with an 
assurance of his readiness to repair to Madrid, as soon as 
that Court thought proper to receive him, it seemed unne- 
cessary to apprize them immediately of the new appoint- 
ment. During my absence in Germany, a letter was re- 
ceived from Monsieur Gardoqni at Bilboa, intimating an 
expectation of returns from you, for what was transmitted 
to you through their house. But upon application to his 
Court I am again authorised to assure you, that for the sup- 
plies already sent no return was expected, but in future, that 
remittances of American produce were expected for supplies 
through the house of Gardoqui. It is impracticable to 
bring them to such an explanation, as to know with certainty 
whether they mean this in earnest, or only as a cover, 
should the transaction transpire ; I am inclined to think the 
latter ; however, I wrote to M. Gardoqui in consequence, as 
follows. " We are now to begin on a new footing, and I 
shall take care that my constituents he informed, that for 
all the aids they receive hereafter from your quarter, they 
are to make returns in tobacco, pitch, tar, k,c. to your 
house. I beg to know by your next, whether the same ar- 
rangement is to take place for the future with regard to the 
deposits at the Havanna and New Orleans, or whether noth- 
ing further is to be transmitted through those channels ; that 
if so, the trouble of sending thither and the disappointment 
may be prevented. As the winter campaign is approach- 
ing fast, in which blankets are of the greatest utility, I wish 
you to send as many of them as possible." 



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

* Caron de Beaumarchais. 



Minister has repeatedly assured us, and that in the most 
explicit terms, that no return is expected for these sub- 

I have the honor to be, he. 


* In another part of his correspondence, Mr Lee speaks as follows oa 
this subject. 

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

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

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

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




Berlin, October 8tli, 1777. 


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

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

I have the honor to be, he. 




Paris, October 23d, 1777. 


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

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

In the meantime, I cannot help so far presuming upon 
his Majesty's graciousness, and your Excellency's goodness, 
as to hope that you will enable me to inform my constitu- 
ents, if there is any likelihood of our enemies drawing 
recruits or reinforcements from Germany, Russia, or Den- 
mark for the next campaign. It is to that we must now 
look, the present not promising anything decisive, and the 
malignity of our enemies urging them to continue injuring 
us, though at the hazard of their own ruin. If your 
Excellency, therefore, will have the goodness to inform me 
whether we have anything, and what, to fear from those 


quarters, it will be remembered with the greatest gratitude. 
At the same lime, give me leave to hope, that his Majesty 
will use his influence to prevent the success of their appli- 
cations on this subject. 

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

Two packets have arrived here without their despatches, 

having been obliged to throw them overboard by being 

closely pursued. We are, therefore, without any late 

authentic intelligence ; the immediate communication of any 

such as reaches us your Excellency may rely upon. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, November 13th, 1777. 

Since I had the honor of answering your Excellency's 
favor of the 8th of October, a commission has been received, 
appointing William Lee Commissioner of Congress to the 
Court of Berlin, with powers to negotiate a treaty of amity 
and commerce with the king of Prussia, The great knowl- 
edge of this gentleman in commerce will enable him to 


throw far more light on that object, than I was able to com- 

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

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

The entire discomfiture of General Burgoyne, and the 
northern expedition, as well as the untruth of what was 
circulated about General Howe's success, with the sole 
view of diverting the public attention from the ill success 
of the Canadian armament, is now universally acknowl- 
edged in England. We have received no despatches on 
the subject. But from the place he is in, we are sat- 
isfied General Howe will meet with a manly opposition. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, November 15tii, J 777. 

I have learnt from America, that there was a difficulty on 
the arrival of the supplies sent to America through your 
house, in knowing whether they were for Congress, or for 
Mr Gerry, to whom they were consigned. Possibly you 
explained that to Mr Gerry, and his absence might have 
occasioned the doubt. At all events, you will have the 
VOL. II. 14 


goodness in future to write so clearly as to prevent any mis- 
take of that kind. 

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

I beg you will inform me, by return of post, what interest 
you give lor money put into your hands. They give here 
at the rate of six per cent, on condition that it be not 
drawn out of their hands under one month's notice. If 
your terms are as good, 1 should prefer depositing what I 
have with you. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 



Paris, November 27th, 1777. 

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



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

November 6. "As to the reinforcement of troops, which 
Great Britain will receive from the other powers of Europe 
for the approaching campaign, I can assure you, Sir, that 
your nation has nothing to fear either from Russia or Den- 
mark, and that even Germany will furnish only a few hun- 
dred men, whom the Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave 
of Hesse, and the Margrave of Anspach, in conformity 
with their treaties, are obliged to send annually to recruit 
the troops, whom these princes maintain in America in the 
pay of England. It is with sincere satisfaction that 1 give 
you this consoling intelligence." 

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

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


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

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

I enclose you the king of Great Britain's speech to his 
Parliament, with remarks on it by one who was present. 
My private letters say the Ministry are exceedingly dis- 


pirited. The following is a picture of the public, drawn by 
an able hand and in a high station. " This poor country 
is fallen into a state of lethargy, from which all efforts to 
rouse her are ineffectual. The single loss of Minorca drove 
the people of England almost to madness ; now thirteen 
provinces dismembered from the British empire, scarcely 
excite a murmur except among the few who dare to love 
their country, even at this disgraceful period. The Par- 
liamentary campaign will soon open, but nothing is to be 
expected. Corruption, like a Scotch mist, has' spread over 
and pervades every thing." It is certain that France and 
Spain are arming with uncommon diligence and to a great 
extent. The States of Holland have ordered ten men of 
war as a convoy for their West India trade, and will not 
permit any interruption of it by our enemies. 

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

The privateer, which gave so much offence by taking a 
French ship, La Fortune, with Spanish property on board, 
is called the Civil Usage. Since that the Portsmouth pri- 
vateer from Portsmouth, Captain Hart, has taken an Eng- 
lish merchantman in the mouth of the Garonne. These 
captures have given great offence to the two Courts ; to 
remove which we have promised to warn all American 
captains to desist from such conduct, till the pleasure of 


Congress is known. The following is a copy of the letter 
I have sent to the different ports of Spain for that purpose. 

To all Captains or Commanders of Ships of War, armed 
J^essels and Privateers from the United States of North 


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

There remains nothing for me to add at present, but to 

assure you, that I have neglected no opportunity of writing 

to you, and giving a full account of my proceedings in 

Spain and Prussia. 

1 have the honor to be, &c. 


* This letter was agreed ujion by the Commissioners, and sent by 
them conjointly as a circular "To the Captains or Commanders of all 
ships of war, armed vessels, and privateers from the United States of 
JNorth America." 




P. S. JVovember ^Oth. I have written to Spain for ten 
thousand blankets to be sent lo you immediately, which 
order, as I have also remitted the money, will I hope be 



Berlin, November 28th, 1777. 

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



Paris, December 3d, 1777. 


My last might serve as an answer to yours. We have 

powers to receive, but not to make overtures. J^oild la 

difference. We have as much dignity, and I hope more 

reason on our side. If they, therefore, stay for overtures 

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


from us, I promise you they will not receive them, till their 
faith can move our mountains. I hoped something from 
this negotiation, and therefore more willingly lent myself to 
it ; but I now see too well their abundant pride and folly, to 
think the public will derive any advantage from it. 
They are determined to make us a great people, by continu- 
ing a contest which forces us to frugality, industry, and econo- 
my, and calls forth resources, which, without such necessity, 
would never have been cultivated. I have long thought, 
that if they intended us t!ie benefits their conduct will bring 
us, we should owe diem statues of gold. As you love me, 
do not fail endeavoring to learn to whom I am indebted for 
reporting the difference between Dr Franklin and me, 
which you mention. It concerns me infinitely to know it. 




Paris, December 8th, 1777. 


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

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

"Our worthy friend, Elbridge Gerry, thinking that the 
goods shipped per Captain Hodges to his address were on 
his account, he wrote us that he would place the amount 
thereof to our credit ; but as we have answered him, that 
this remittance, as well as the rest that followed through 



the same channel, were on account of Congress, and of 
consequence out of our power, as he will have seen by the 
sundry letters written to him since, we doubt not that he will 
of consequence conform thereto, and we assure you, that in 
future all possible means will be used to prevent mistakes 
of this kind." 

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

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

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, December 8th, 1777. 

The Commissioners from the Congress of the United 

States of North America, beg leave to represent to your 

Excellency, that it is near a year since they had the honor 

of putting into your hands the propositions of Congress for 

a treaty of amity and commerce with this kingdom, to 

which, with sundry other memorials, requesting the aid 

of ships of war and offering engagements to unite the forces 

of the said States with those of France and Spain, in acting 

VOL. II. 15 


against the dominions of Gi-eat Britain, and to make no 
peace but in conjunction with those Courts, if Great Britain 
should declare war against them ; to all which they have 
received no determinate answer ; and apprehending that a 
continuance of this state of uncertainty with regard to those 
propositions, together with the reports that must soon be 
spread in America of rigorous treatment met with in the 
ports of these kingdoms, may give advantage to our enemy 
in making ill impressions on the minds of our people, who, 
from the secrecy enjoined on us, cannot be informed of the 
friendly and essential aids that have been so generously, but 
privately afforded us; the Commissioners conceive, that, the 
present circumstances considered, the completing of such a 
treaty at this time must have the most happy effect, in rais- 
ing the credit of the United States abroad, and strength- 
ening their resolution at home, as well as discouraging and 
diminishing their internal enemies, and confirming their 
friends who might otherwise waver. And the Commis- 
sioners are further of opinion, that the aid of ships desired 
might at this juncture be employed with great advantage to 
America, which when honored with a conference ihey can 
more particularly explain. They therefore request your 
Excellency most earnestly to resume the consideration of 
those affairs, and appoint them some speedy day of audience 

They pray also, that their grateful acknowledgments 
may be presented to the king, for the additional aid of three 
millions, which he has been graciously pleased to promise 
them ; and that his Majesty may be assured whatever 
engagements they may enter into in behalf of the United 
States, in pursuance of the full powers they are vested 
with, will be executed with the most punctual good faith by 
the Congress, who, believing their interest to be the same, 



and that a sure increase of the commerce, wealth, and 

strength of France and Spain will be one consequence of 

their success in this contest, wish for nothing so much, after 

establishing their own liberty, as a firm and everlasting 

union with those nations. 





Paris, December 9th, 1777. 

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

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

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration 

and respect, he. 



Paris, December 11th, 1777. 

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a detail 
of the operations in the North, in addition to what I sent on 



the 4th. Since that time, I have been honored with yours 
of the 28th of November. 

I have apprized my brother, the Commissioner, of his 
Majesty's pleasure. He desires me to say, that whenever 
the king thinks his coming to Berlin will be of any utility he 
hopes your Excellency will inform him of it. Till that 
time arrives, he would not wish to give trouble, or excite 
suspicions by coming, even in a private character. We 
have heard reports of his Majesty's gracious interposition, 
relative to the march of troops hired against us, which 1 
hope are well founded. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 



Passy, December 12tli, 1777. 

My Lord, 
From motives of duty and an earnest desire of mitigating 
the calamities of war, we proposed near a year since, to the 
king of Great Britain's Ambassador here, an exchange of 
prisoners in Europe. The answer we received must have 
been made known to your Lordship, and the world will 
judge of its decency. It would have been honorable for 
that noble lord, and happy for thousands who iiave since 
suffered unnecessarily, if he had considered that modera- 
tion is a mark of wisdom, and humanity an ornament to the 
highest station. These are the sentiments at least, which 
have governed the Congress and people of the United 
States. They have wished that this war, into which they 
entered with reluctance, might be distinguished by the 
humanity with which it was conducted ; and that compas- 


sion might heal the wounds that were inflicted. The re- 
cords of Congress, my lord, are filled with proofs of tender 
care and attention, not only to the wants, but to the comforts 
and accommodation of their prisoners. 

We have wished in vain to find such instances in the 
acts of the British government, for unhappily all we have 
seen on this subject, is the public declaration of the gover- 
nor and general, who was chosen to commence this war, 
that the American officer and soldier should be treated with 
equal indignity, and all devoted without distinction to the 
most ignominious fate, in terms too low for us to repeat. 
We have never heard of this proceeding having been cen- 
sured by the government from which he derived his au- 
thority. Neither has the invitation to the Indian savages, 
at a public treaty, to drink the blood and feast upon the 
bodies of those, whom you called your subjects, been ever 

It is a universal complaint, that the practices of those in 
authority under you have been conformable to the princi- 
ples of those public acts. Colonel Parker, a gentleman of 
rank, was thrown into a common jail in Boston, covered 
over with wounds, where he perished unpitied for want of 
the common comforts, which his situation and humanity 
required. Colonel Ethan Allen was dragged in chains 
from Canada to England, from England to Ireland, and from 
Ireland to Carolina, and from thence to New York, at a 
time when the officers taken from you in the same expedi- 
tion were treated not only with lenity but with every possible 
indulgence. The barbarous treatment of Mr Lovell in 
Boston has no parallel. Of the prisoners made in Fort 
Washington, two thirds of them perished by the unexampled 
cruelty and rigors of their captivity. Even in England, 


the severities which the American prisoners suffer are, 
according to the testimony of every one we have seen, of 
the most grievous kind. Stripes have been inflicted on 
some to make them commit the deepest of all crimes, that 
of fighting against the liberties of their country. And 
numbers are now groaning in bondage in Africa and India, 
to which they are compelled by menaces of an immediate 
and ignominious death, as contrary to every rule of 
war among civilized nations, as to every dictate of hu- 

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

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

We must beg a speedy answer, that we may transmit 
without delay the determination of your Court to our con- 


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



Paris, December 14th, 1777. 

My Lord, 

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

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

The necessity, which has made us enemies for a time, 
and separated us forever from the same government, has 
not altered the esteem I felt for the good and wise in Eng- 


land. Among those, I hope your Lordship and your friends 
will accept an assurance of my respect and friendship. I 
condole most sincerely with the family at Combwood for 
the misfortune at New York. 

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




Berlin, December 18th, 1777. 


A few days after the departure of my last of the 13th 
inst. in which 1 requested you to give me authentic intelli- 
gence concerning the progress of General Howe, of which 
the English Ambassador had received an account, I learned 
by the letter you did me the honor to WTite on the 4th 
of this month, that these advantages, far from being so con- 
siderable as they were thought to be, are more than bal- 
anced by the surrender of General Burgoyne, and by the 
liberty which the troops under Arnold will have of acting 
where they shall be most wanting, which may very much 
harass General Howe. 

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

The King, who always graciously receives the news you 


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

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



Paris, December 19th,. 1777. 

Our joint despatches will inform you of the forwardness 
in which things are here towards the desired conclusion. 
In three weeks we shall hear from Spain, and all will I hope 
be settled. The late intelligence from America has stag- 
gered and confounded our enemies, as much as it has elated 
and decided our friends. Should they at length resolve to 
continue in rage and despair what they commenced in wick- 
edness and folly, and venture upon a general war, by which 
they must be overwhelmed, their principal efibrts will be 
pointed against us, unless your being in a respectable state 
of preparation should deter them. In that case they will 
probably confine themselves to a piratical coasting war, and 
preying upon our commerce. I have directed all the naval 
stores that are collected at Bilboa to be shipped forthwith, 
the moment the Court of Spain agrees to furnish the money. 
To accelerate this material supply, I proposed to my col- 

VOL. II. 16 


leagues to remit the money from our funds here, but they 
did not think it advisable. 

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




Berlin, December 23d, 1777. 


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

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




Paris, January 5tb, 1778. 


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

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

It would seem, that the Court of Spain will not enter into 
any negotiation, till we have concluded the business here. 
But 1 shall hold myself ready to execute that duty, in obe- 
dience to the commands of Congress, the moment it is 
permitted. I expect every day to hear, that the blankets 
and stockings ordered from Bilboa are shipped. 

I have this moment received the letter, of which I enclose 


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

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

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

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

I beg the favor of having my duty and respects recom- 
mended to Congress, and have the honor to be, &ic. 


* From Baron de Schulenburg. 



Paris, January 15th, 177H. 


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

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

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




"■ Berlin, January 16th, 1778. 

In answer to the letter, which you did me the honor to 
write me the 2Sth of December last, I begin with remark- 
ing, that before this last, I have received two letters from 
you, viz. of the 4th and 11th of the same month; but as 
you say that you have written twice to me since the 4th of 
December, this expression may leave some doubt, whether 
the letter of the 4th is comprehended in these two or not ; in 
the latter case, one of your letters must be lost. With 
respect to myself. Sir, since my letter of the 13th of De- 


ceraber, the receipt of which you acknowledge, I have sent 
you two answers, dated the 18th and 23d of the same 
month, which, as I hope, have reached you. I address 
this, as you desire, to the care of Mr Grand, banker. Rue 
Montmartre, and to be certain in future, that none of our 
letters miscarry, I propose to you. Sir, to number yours as 
I shall do mine, beginning with the present. 

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

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

As to the muskets and other arms of our manufacturing, 
you shall be at liberty. Sir, to purchase or to command 
them ; and the Bankers, Spittgerber, contractors for the 


manufacture of arms, have received orders to deliver such 
as you may demand. I enclose you a memorandum of 
their prices, which are the same as the king pays, and I 
add, that the muskets for the infantry can be delivered at 
a lower price, if you will be content with the solidity of the 
work, without being so exact as to their similarity, as the 
king requires. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Challiot, January 30th, 1778. 


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

What has thus confirmed me in my former sentiments is this. 
At the conclusion of M. Gerard's observations upon what 
we proposed, he said they had no design to lay any duties 
upon their molasses, nor was it compatible with their 
policy. Dr Franklin informed me yesterday, that a sub- 
stitute had been found in America for molasses, procura- 
ble from a substance which is the growth of the country, 
and of infinite plenty. A prohibition on the export of their 


molasses will effect every purpose, which we are providing 
against by restraining the imposition of duties. 

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

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

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


which ought to determine it, and free us from any possible 
imputation of having acted wrong or exceeded our powers. 

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

As this is a matter that admits of no delay, I must beg. 
Gentlemen, an immediate consideration of what I propose j 
and that you will do me the favor of apprizing me of your 
determination as soon as you have made it.* 
I have the honor to be, Etc. 



Passy, February Isl, 1778. 

We have maturely considered your letter of the oOih 
past, and though we cannot see the^mischievous consequen- 
ces of the 12lh article which you apprehend, yet, conceiving 
that unanimity on this occasion is of importance, we have 
written to M. Gerard this morning, that we concur in de- 
siring that article and the preceding to be omitted, agreea- 
ble to his first proposal. 

We have the honor to be, &lc. 


• A particular account of the 11th and 12th articles of the treaty, and 
the manner in which they were proposed and adopted, will be found 
«bove, in Silas Deane's Correspondence, Vol. i. p. 155. 

VOL, n. 17 



Passy, February 1st, 1778. 

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

We have the honor to be, &ic. 





Versailles, February 2d, 1778. 


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

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


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

I have the honor to be, &ic. 


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


February 2d, 1778. 

1 was honored with yours of the 16th of January some 
few days since, and have delayed an answer in hopes that 
despatches from America would have enabled me to give 
your Excellency some acceptable intelligence. But in this 
1 am disappointed, so that we have nothing but the relations 
of the enemy to direct our judgment of the present situa- 
tion of things in and near Philadelphia. There is one 
thing, however, that must strike your Excellency in Gen- 
eral Howe's narration, which is that in attempting to make 
his forward movement, he was constantly attacked instead 
of attacking, and however well he might have defended 
himself, he was obliged to measure back his ground, and 


put Ills army into winter quarters. His tranqiiiliity, or even 
safety there, will depend much upon the mildness of the 
winter, and the equipment of the army of the United States 
for a campaign in that rigorous season. If the winter is 
severe, and General Washington's army tolerably provided, 
it seems to me that General Howe's situation will be far 
from being that of security. 

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

The 4th and the 1 1th were the letters I referred to, and 
I have had the honor of receiving those your Excellency 

1 hope the period for executing his Majesty's most gra- 
cious [jurpose towards us is not remote, as well as that of 
the reduction of the British power within the limits of due 
respect for other powers. 

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

I have the honor to be, he. 




Paris, February lOih, 177S. 


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

From the enclosed accounts you will also see what has 
been sent from the house of Gardoqui, in pursuance of 
orders from the Spanish Court, and what by my order, 
which I am to pay for out of the fund remitted ine from 
Spain of 170,000 livres. This fund would have been 
applied in lime to have had the blankets, Sec. with you for 
the winter's can)paign, but for the following reason. On 
my return from Germany in August, I found that from 
various expensive purchases, not only all our funds from 
our friends here had been exhausted, but we also involved 
in a considerable debt, and not half of your orders fulfilled, 
nor any fund to answer your draughts. It was therefore 
thought prudent to retain that sum, till we were sure of an 
additional supply from hence. The moment this was 
secured, I sent orders for the shipping of blankets and 

* For this Memorial and lliR letter, see p. 41 and p. 4o of the present 


Stockings, which are certainly cheap, and I hope will be of 
use. Upon this mercantile subject, I must beg leave to 
observe, that I have had nothing more to do with the pro- 
ceedings of that kind here, but signing my name to con- 
tracts made by my colleagues, or rather by Mr Deane. 
You will, I presume, be able to judge, by the manner in 
which near five millions of livres have been expended, 
whether it is wise to unite the political and commercial 

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

I beg the favor of having my duty recommended to Con- 
gress, and have the honor to be, &tc. 



Paris, February loth, 1778. 

I have before written to you the reason I had to con- 
ceive, that M. de Beaumarchais' demands of payment for 
the supplies furnished in the Amphitrite, Mercury, and 
Flammand are unjust. The following testimonial from 
Count Lauragals will corroborate what I informed you, 
relative to his having himself proposed the supplies to me 

* Secret Journal, Vol. II. p. 38. ^ 


as a subsidy from the Court. Mr Wilkes knows it more 
accurately, but bis situation prevents bim from giving it 
under bis band. The ministry, as you will see by our joint 
letter, bave often given us to understand that we are not to 
pay for tbem, yet still M. de Beaumarchais, with the per- 
severance of such adventurers, persists in bis demand. He 
alleges some promise or agreement made with Mr Deane. 
I should suppose Mr Deane would have apprized you of 
it, if any such exists. But certainly Doctor Franklin and 
myself are kept so much in the dark about the existence of 
such agreement, as to expose us to much unnecessary 
plague from this M. de Beaumarchais, who I cannot think 
has any right to make the demand in question.^ A copy 
of the following declaration has been given to Count Mau- 
repas, but I bave not heard his sentiments upon it.f 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 


Testimonial of Count Lauragais. 

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

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

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



Chaillot, February 26ih, 177S. 

The return of our despatches by Mr Simeon Deane 
appears to me to be an event, from which great public con- 
sequences may flow, i therefore feel it the more extraor- 
dinary, that you should have taken any steps in it without 
a consultation with me. And this more especially, after I 
have so lately remonstrated against a similar conduct. I 
was silent upon it today, when Dr Franklin mentioned that 
Mr Deane was gone upon this business to Versailles without 
my knowledge, not because 1 did not feel the impropriety 
of it, but because 1 do, and have always wished, to avoid the 
indecency of a personal altercation. 

In my judgment, the failure of our despatches is an event 
which will warrant our desire to be immediately acknow- 
ledged by this Court, and such acknowledgment will have 
a powerful effect in preventing the success of the overtures 
from England, and securing the peace and independency 
of America. The strong impression of the unfavorable 
disposition of this Court towards us, which former proceed- 
ings made on every mind, will reach America by a thousand 
channels. Our contradiction of it being unfortunately frus- 
trated, will possibly commit our countrymen into measures, 
which a knowledge of the true state of things would have 
prevented. A public acknowledgment of us would reach 
America by numberless ways, and give them a decided 
proof of the sincerity and determination of France. Our 
despatches are a private and single channel, and may fail 
or arrive too late. With respect to us, the covert proceed- 
ings of France leaves them too much at liberty to renounce 



US, on any unfortunate event, and is a situation in which I 

think it neither for our honor nor safety to remain. These 

are sentiments which I submit to your better judgment, and 

beg we may have a consultation on the subject as soon as 


I have the honor to be, &c. 



Passy, February 27th, 1778. 

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


VOL. 11. 18 



Paris, February 28th, 1778. 


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

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

The chief reason that induced Spain to temporise sub- 
sists still ; except the war with Portugal, which is happily 
concluded by her accession to the family compact. Our 
general despatches will convey to you the bills, as they are 
now passing in the Parliament of Great Britain, for appoint- 
ing Commissioners to negotiate with their deluded subjects, 
and declaring in what manner they unll be graciously 


pleased to exercise in future their right of taxing us. It 
would not be doing justice to these bills to attempt any 
comment upon them; they speak for themselves, and loudly 
too. But the ministers of England give out, that they have 
despatched half a million of guineas to puve the way to a 
favorable acceptance of their propositions. And I know 
from the best authority here, that they have assured Count 
Maurepas of their being secure of a majority in Congress. 
By such arts do they endeavor to sustain their desperate 
cause. France has done us substantial benefits. Great 
Britain substantial injuries. France offers to guaranty our 
sovereignty, and universal freedom of Commerce. Great 
Britain condescends to accept of our submission and to 
monopolise our commerce. France demands of us to be 
independent; Great Britain, tributary. T do not com- 
prehend how there can be a mind so debased, or 
an understanding so perverted, as to balance between 

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

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

140 . ARTHUR LEE. 

more likely to operate against her in Russia, than against us 
in France. 

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



Paris, March 19tb, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

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

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

It is altogether uncertain when it will be convenient for 
Spain to accede to the alliance ; and I am apprehensive that 
the war, which is likely to break out in Germany, will pre- 
vent the king of Prussia from declaring so soon, and so 
decidedly, as he promised. The Court of Spain will, I 
apprehend, make some difficulties about setding the dividing 
line between their possessions, and those of the United 
States. They wish to have the cession of Pensacola. I 
have written for, and hope to have the instructions of Con- 
gress on this head. If anything should strike you on the 
subject, the communication of it will infinitely oblige me. 

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


The high opinion I have of your abilities, and zeal for the 

public good, will always render your advice a favor to me ; 

and the acquaintance I have had die honor of having with 

you, makes me hope 1 may ask it without offence. I beg 

to be remembered to your son, and have the honor to be, 

with the greatest esteem and respect, dear sir, your most 

obedient servant, 


P. S. Tomorrow we are to be presented to the king of 
France, and the English ambassador quits this Court with- 
out taking leave. War must immediately be the conse- 
quence, as these movements have been determined on, 
from the treaty of amity and commerce, which we have 
concluded with this Court, having been announced in form 
to that of London. The consequence of this, in relieving 
our country from the chief weight of the war, cannot but 
follow, and therefore I congratulate you upon it most sin- 
cerely. In my judgment, a year or two must reduce Great 
Britain to any terms the allies may think proper to demand. 


Chaillot, March 27th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
In consequence of what you mentioned to me relative to 
the German Courts, I consulted the Spanish Ambassador, 
whether it could be determined with any degree of certainty, 
how long it would be before the business I am pledged for 
with his Court would require my presence. His answer 
was, that it was altogether uncertain. In this situation, it 
appeared to me, that under my present engagements I 


could not venture to so great a distance. My brother has, 
therefore, set out on his original plan that was settled at 

Mr Grand has not yet returned me the account com- 
pleted. The moment I receive it, I will wait upon you to 
settle the business of the loan bills. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 



March 31st, 1778. 

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



Bilboa, April 1st, 1778. 

You will see by this invoice, that agreeable to what you 
are pleased to communicate to us in your very esteemed 
favor of the Cth instant, we have reduced our commission 
to 3 per cent. But, dear Sir, besides our being allowed 5 


per cent by all the American friends we have worked for 
in the present troublesome times, several of whom have 
been, and actually are, eye witnesses of our troubla^, as 
those blankets must be collected in the country round about 
Palencia, and the money must be remitted in specie there 
long beforehand for the purpose, we are not only obliged to 
pay the freight thereof and run the risks of it, but also to 
make good to the persons eniployed in their collection, 
their expense and trouble ; the whole out of our com- 
mission, so that at present we reckon that half of it will be 
our profit. 

We are, &;c. 


Invoice of seveniyfive Bales of M.erchandise shipped on 
hoard the George, Captain Job Knight, for Cape Ann, 
consigned to Elhridge Gerry, on Account of Arthur Lee. 

No. i to 75. 75 bales containing 1926 fine 

large Palencia blankets, at 27 riales, 52,002,00 


To 413 vares of wrappers, at 2 riales, 826 

To packing, lighterage, he. 750 1,576,00 

Commission, 3 per cent, 1,607, 1 1 

Riales of V. 55,185,11 

Placed to the debit of Arthur Lee. 

Bilboa, the 28th of March, 1778. 
Errors excepted. 



April 1, 1778. — Number of blankets sent from Bilboa 
for Congress, since January, 1778. 


Total, 8663 



Versailles, April 1st, J778. 
Sir, , 

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

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



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

I had the honor of receiving your favor this moment, 
which is the first intimation I have received of what you 


mention. By six o'clock I will send you the letters you 

desire. I did intend to have spoken to you more upon 

what passed 'between the Spanish Ambassador and myself, 

which gave you uneasiness. But I must repeat, that I only 

related to him what I heard from Mr Deane, as coming 

from you, and what we in consequence of that information 

have written to Congress. Be so good as to accept of my 

best wishes for the happiness and success of your voyage. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Versailles, April 1st, 1778. 

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



Chaillot, April 2d, 1778. 

It was with the utmost surprise, 1 learnt yesterday, that 

M. Gerard was to set out in the evening for America, in a 

public character ; and that Mr Deane was to accompany 

VOL. II. 19 


him, without eitlier you or Mr Deane having condescended 
to answer my letter of the preceding day. 

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

I do not live ten minutes' distance from you. Within 
these few days, as usual, I have seen you frequently ; par- 
ticularly on Monday I was with you at your house for some 
time. I asked you about the sailing of the ships at Nantes, 
expressing my desire to know when we should have an op- 
portunity of Vv'rhing. You said you did not know when 
they sailed. 1 asked if there were no letters, none but 
one from M. Dumas having been shown to me for some 
time. You answered no. I had at a former meeting 
asked you whether it was not proper for us to send an ex- 
press to give intelligence of such consequential events, as 
our being acknowledged here, and the treaty avowed. 
You told me it would be sufficient to write by the ship at 
Nantes, (for it was afterwards you mentioned there were 
two,) OS the news being public would find its way fast 

Upon Mr Amiel, who came to my house from yours, hav- 
ing mentioned on Tuesday, that Mr Deane was to go away 


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

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

I trust, Sir, you will think with me. that I have a right to 
know your reasons for treating me thus. If you have any 
thing to accuse me of, avow it, and I will answer you. If 
you have not, why do you act so inconsistent with your 
duty to the public, and injurious to me ? Is the present 
state of Europe of so little moment to our constituents, 
as not to require our joint consideration and informa- 
tion to them ? Is the character of the Court here, and 
the person sent to hegotiate with our constituents of no 


consequence for them lo be apprized of? Is this the exam- 
ple you in your superior wisdom think proper to set of 
order, decorum, confidence, and justice ? 

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

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, April 2d, 1778. 

The conclusion of the treaties here has ended the pow- 
ers of our commission. Whatever character it may please 
Congress to give to their representatives in future must be 
specified by new powers, and letters of credence to the 
Sovereign, with whom they are to act. The first example 
of this kind will be material, in determining the future rank 
of the United States of America anions; other sovereiern 
nations. Since the treaty of Munster, Venice and the 
United Provinces have had their rank as crowned sover- 
eigns. I presume the United States of America will not 
think a lower rank competent to their dignity, and to the 
importance they must command in the balance of Euro- 
pean power. For I am satisfied, that in a few years that 

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


balance must be in their hands. Whatever orders Congress 
are pleased to give on ibis subject, their Ministers must 
support with firmness and inflexibility, at first, to prevent 
any disagreeable disputes for the future. 

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

I have written to Messrs Gardoquis about their char2;ing 
five per cent commission, which appears to be exorbitant, 
because I remit them the money before they lay it out. 

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

The Messrs Gardoquis have transmitted to me regularly 
the accounts of what they shipped on the public account ; 
copies of which I have in the same manner sent to you. 


This I conceived to be the usual course of business, and 
necessary for the due information of all concerned. For 
this reason it was my wish, that the same might be done with 
regard to the public money expended here. My colleagues 
have not thought proper to concur with me. The Commit- 
tee and Congress will order, if they think it proper, what I 
have not only requested in vain, but to my utter astonish- 
ment, have given very great oftence in requesting. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 



Paris, April 5lh, 1778. 


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

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


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

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


P. S. Being obliged to send this by post, the articles 
must be deferred as beins too voluminous. 


Paris, April 8th, 1778. 


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

Great Britain has not yet thought proper to declare 
war in form against France, but the vessels and sailors of 
each nation are reciprocally seized in their ports, and a 

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


French frigate has lately made prize of an English priva- 
teer. Both are preparing with all possible despatch, and 
both waiting for your decisive declaration with an anxiety 
proportioned to their conviction of that declaration deciding 
the fate of the war. 

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

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

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

* This Memorial was printed and circulated in Holland by the friends 
of the American cause. 


manner, I thought it might be of use to submit the choice 
to you. 

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

It is proper to inform you, that the department of 
Spain, to which it has pleased Congress to destine me, 
is the most expensive of any, because the Court pass 
different parts of the year at four different places, at 
which every public Minister is obliged to reside, and 
consequently to have a house, which augments very 
much his expense. As I wish to avoid all occasion of 
blame, I mention this circumstance that 1 may not appear 
to be extravagant, should my expense increase on going 

You will greatly oblige me by presenting my duty to 

Congress, and believing me to be, with the greatest 

respect, &£c. 



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

Upon this principle the first setders conceived they had 

* Missing. 

roL. II. 20 


a right to exchange and sell the produce of their labor to 
all nations zvithoitt control. This right they actually 
enjoyed unquestioned till the year 1652; then it was that 
the English, in violation of every principle of justice, usurped 
and established a monopoly of the American commerce, 
which they maintained till the rigor of their domination com- 
pelled the Americans to reclaim their ancient unalienable 
rights, by declaring themselves free and independent States. 
In consequence of this, all nations are restored to the par- 
ticipation of that commerce, from which the monopolising 
spirit of the English had unjustly excluded them. 

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

Their success, however, was not sufficient to re-establish 
what had been thus violently wrested from them. In nego- 
tiating the peace that concluded that war, De Witt labored 


with his usual abilities to obtain an abolition of the act, 
but all his efforts were ineffectual. Cromwell, who was not 
his inferior in a.cuteness, maintained the usurpation, and 
under Charles the Second it received the form and sanc- 
tion of an act of Parliament. Thus in despite of ail their 
efforts, this valuable branch of commerce was wrested from 
the Dutch, and monopolised by the English. 

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

Tl>e consequence of her success will be the re-establish- 
ment of commerce upon its ancient, free and general foot- 
ing ; all nations are interested in this success, but none so 
sTiuch as the Dutch. From them, therefore, America in a 
most special manner looks for support. Resentment of an 
ancient injury, the policy of their ancestors, their present 
interest, unite in calling upon them for a spirited avowal 
and support of the independence of America. They will 
not forget the blood, that was spilt in endeavoring to vin- 
dicate their right when it was first invaded. They will 
not forget the insolence and injustice with which Great 


Britain harassed their trade during the late war, by means 
of that very naval strength which she derived from her 
usurped monopoly. They cannot but feel at this moment 
the insult and indignity from the British Court, in presum- 
ing to forbid them that free participation of commerce 
which America offers. 

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

These are the substantial objects of advantage, which 
America holds up to the people of Holland ; and this the 
moment of embracing them. 


Chaillot, April 24th, 1778. 

Since 1 had the honor of seeing your Excellency, I have 
learnt that Mr Hartley in conversing with French people, 


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

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

1 have the honor to be, he. 




Versailles, April 24t]i, 1778. 

I am obliged to you for your atteVition in communicating 
Mr Hartley's insinuations, as well to yourself as to such 


Other persons as he may suppose he can influence in this 
country. I doubt that he finds easier access to you, than 
he will surely find with us ; and I can assure you, that he 
will not find us accessible to the prejudices he may wish to 
inspire us with. 

I conclude, being obliged to attend the Council, request- 
ing you to accept of the assurances of the perfect respect, 
with which I have the honor, &ic. 



Paris, May 9th, 1778. 


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

I have not yet obtained any light on Folger's affairs. 
The enclosed copy of a letter from Count de Vergennes will 
show you the train in which I have put the inquiry. But I 
have reason to apprehend, that persons are concerned, who 
will have address enough to frustrate it. The blank paper 
substituted for the letters taken should be preserved, and 
compared with the paper of all the letters received by the 


same vessel. Some discovery may be pointed out by tbat. 
Mr Deane and Mr Carmichael should be examined, and 
their accounts transmitted here to be compared with those 
of others. 

Spain and the German powers are yet undecided with 
regard to us. 1 do not think our enemies will succeed with 
Holland. We shall endeavor to establish a fund for the 
purposes you desire. 

I have the honor to be, he. 


P. S. By the banker's accounts it appears, that ihe 
following sums were paid from December, 1776, to March, 
177S, to the private disposition of the Commissioners. 


To Dr Franklin, - - - 65,956 3 13 

To Silas Deane, - - - 113,004 12 13 

To Arthur Lee, - - - 6S,S46 2 16 

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


York, May 14th, 1778. 

Your several favors of October 6th, November 27th, and 
December Sth, were delivered to us on the 2d instant, the 
despatches by Mr Deane and those by Captain Young 
arriving on the same day. We had before received your 
short letter of the 1st of June, but are yet without that of 
the 29th of July, in which you had informed us "at large of 
your proceedings in Prussia." Its contents would have 
proved highly agreeable to us in these months, when we 


were quite uninformed of the proceedings and prospects of 
your colleagues at Paris. Impressed with the sense of the 
value of the King of Prussia's " warmest wishes for our 
success," we give assurances of equal wishes in Congress 
for that monarch's prosperity. We have little doubt of 
open testimonies of his Majesty's friendship in consequence 
of the late decision of the king of France. 

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

There will be great impropriety in our making a dif- 
ferent settlement for the supplies received from Spain, from 
that which we make in regard to those received from 
France. We are greatly obliged to the friends, who have 
exerted themselves for our relief, and we wish you to sig- 
nify our gratitude upon every proper opportunity. But 
having promised to make remittances to the house of Hor- 
talez ^ Co. for the prime cost, charges, interest and usual 


mercantile commission upon whatever is yMS% due to that 
house, we must keep the same line with Messrs Gardoqui. 
On the one hand, we would not willingly give disgust by- 
slighting princely generosity, nor on the other submit to 
unnecessary obligations. 

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

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

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

Sir, your affectionate humble servants, 


vol.. II. 21 



Paris, May 23d, 1778. 


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

We mean to apply for the loan desired to the monied men 
of Holland, and in my particular department, 1 shall endea- 
vor to take the favorable opportunity of the arrival of the 
flotilla to urge the same in Spain. 

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

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

The ministry here are also to convey a letter from us, by 

every opportunity, to the same purpose. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, June Ut, 1778. 

The hurry in which the last despatches went away, pre- 
vented me from being so particular about them as I wished. 


Nos. 7, 8 and 9 were omitted, being newspapers, and too 
voluminous for the conveyance. M. Montiiieu's papers 
were sent to show you the demands that are made upon us, 
and the grounds of them. You will see that they are ac- 
counts, which Mr Deane ought to have settled. It is this 
sort bf neglect, and a studied confusion, that have prevented 
Mr Adams and myself, after a tedious examination of the 
papers left with Dr Franklin, from getting any satisfaction as 
to the expenditure of the public money. All that we can 
find is, that millions have been expended, and almost every- 
thing remains to be paid for. Bargains have been made of 
the most extravagant kind with this Mr Monthieu and others. 
For example, the uniforms that are agreed for at thirtyseven 
livres might have been had here for thirtytwo livres each, 
and equally good, which, being five livres in every suit too 
much, comes to a large sum upon thousands. 

Of the 100,000 livres advanced to Mr Hodge, there 
appears no account. I have been told that Cunningham's 
vessel cost but three thousand pounds sterling ; for what 
purpose the overplus was given to Mr Hodge j how the pub- 
lic came to pay for her refitting, and at length the vessel 
and her prize money made over to Mr Ross and Mr Hodge, 
without a farthing being brought to public account, it rests 
with Mr Deane or Mr Hodge to explain. I have enclosed 
you all the receipts found among those papers, the send- 
ing of which has been neglected. Of the triplicates and 
duplicates an original is sent, and copies of tliose that are 
single. You will see that my name is not to the contracts. 
In fact they were concealed from me with the utmost care, 
as was every other means of my knowing how these affairs 
were conducted ; and as both my colleagues concurred in 
this concealment, and in refusing my repeated requests to 


make up accounts and transmit them to Congress, it was 
not in my power to know with accuracy, much less to pre- 
vent, this system of profusion. I was told that Mr Williams, 
to whom I knew the pubFic money was largely intrusted, 
was to furnish his accounts monthly, but they were never 
shown me, and it now appears, that for the expenditure of 
a million of livres he has given no account as yet, nor can 
we learn how far what he has shipped is on the public, how 
far on private account. We are in the same situation with 
regard to Mr Ross. This indulgence to Mr Williams,* and 
favoring M. Chaumont, a particular friend of Dr Franklin, 
is the only reason I can conceive for the latter having coun- 
tenanced and concurred in all this system. You will see a 
specimen of the manner of it in the enclosed copy of a letter 
from Dr Franklin to his nephew, which the latter sent me 
as an authority for his doing what the commercial agent 
conceived to be encroaching on his province. I have done 

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

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

"I am obliged to you for j'our good opinion of my nephew, manifested 
in your intention of nominating him as above, and I beg you to accept 
my thanks, (hough for particular reasons, which you know, I do not wish 
him to accept the employment." 


my utmost to discharge my duty to the public, in preventing 
the progress of this disorder and dissipation in the conduct 
of its affairs. If it should be found that my colleagues have 
done the same, I shall most cordially forgive them the 
offence and injury so repeatedly offered me in the manner 
of it. I do not wish to accuse them, but excuse myself; 
and 1 should have felt as much happiness in preventing, as 
1 have regret in complaining of this abuse.* 

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

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

I am of opinion, with our colleague Mr Adams, that it 
would be better for the public, that the appointment of your 
public ministers were fixed, instead of being left at large, 

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


and their expenses indefinite- From experience I find the 
expense of living in that character cannot well be less than 
three thousand pounds sterling a year, which I believe 
too is as little as is allowed to any public minister above the 
rank of a consul. If left at liberty, I conceive that most per- 
sons will exceed this sum. Neither do I perceive any 
adequate advantage to be expected from having more than 
one person at each Court. When things take a more settled 
form, there will be little need of that check, which is the 
chief utility of it at present. 

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

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

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


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

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

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

The flotilla is not yet in port, which retards the opera- 
tions in Europe. I could have wished that the great object 
of having a superior naval force in America, had not been 
left to the uncertain issue on which it was placed by other 
advice than mine. Had the Brest and Toulon fleets, which 
were equally ready, been ordered to sail at the same time, 
that which met immediately with favorable winds to go on, 
and the other to return, one of them would probably have 
been upon your coast before this time, that is, before the 
English fleet could possibly have sailed to reinforce and 
save Lord Howe ; and as having a .superior force in Ame- 


rica was the great object, together with that of taking the 
Howes by surprise, they should have made as sure of this 
aim as possible. And indeed, had it been executed with 
address, the war would have been ended. 

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

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

With my humble duty to Congress, I have the honor to 

be, he, 



Chaillof, June 4th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
It gave me great pleasure to receive the key to the treas- 
ure you sent us before in Dutch, my unacquaintance with 
which having prevented me from knowing how much I was 
obliged to you, for the improvement made in the little essay I 
had the honor of sending to you. Felix famtumque sit. 
May it open the eyes of your people to their own interests, 


before a universal bankruptcy in England, and a compelled 
frugality in America, have deprived them of the golden 
opportunity of extricating themselves from bad debtors, and 
connecting themselves with good ones. 

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

You are happy in having the esteem and counsel of the 

Grand Facteur, who seems to have equal good sense and 

good intentions. Our enemies seem embarrassed in their 

operations. As far as we can learn, their fleet has not yet 

sailed for America to save the Howes from the fate that 

hangs over them. We have no intelligence on which we 

can rely. 

I have the honor to be, 8ic. 



Paris, June 9tli, 1778. 

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

VOL. II. 22 


We have now certain advice, that this fleet having put into 
Plymouth is there stopped, their remaining fleet being found 
too weak to protect them at home. I enclose you a late 
account of their force and the disposal of it ; and nothing 
seems more certain, than that the naval and land force now 
employed against you will be diminished, not augmented. 
However, 1 have now settled such means of intelligence, 
that you will be apprized if any alteration should happen. 

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

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

War is not commenced in Germany, but is talked of as 
inevitable. The deputy of Congress for Vienna is at his 
destination to feel the disposition of that Court. But I 
understand, that their attention is so engaged with the 
approaching war, that other propositions proceed slowly. 
As the King of Prussia contends against the Empress and 
the House of Austria, in maintenance of the treaty of West- 
phalia, which is the great bulwark of German rights, it is 
therefore necessary, that he should league himself with the 
German Princes, among whom the King of Great Britain, 
as elector of Hanover, bears so much sway, that he could 
not hazard the turning his influence against him by enter- 
ing into an alliance with us. To cultivate and encourage 
the favorable disposition towards us in Holland, we have 


sent them the treaty concluded here, and we shall follow it 
by proposals for a loan, as soon as Dr Franklin (to whom 
the digesting of the plan, and having the proposed bills 
printed, is left) has prepared the business for execution. , 
Mr Williams has at length given in his accounts, from 
which it appears, that upwards of forty thousand suits of 
the soldiers' clothes ordered, and twenty thousand fusils, 
have been sent from Nantes and Bordeaux ; and the 
present exhausted state of our finances will not permit us 
to fulfil them further. The ships of war sent hither are au 
enormous expense to us ; hardly any ol" them less than 
100,000 livres, and things have been hilheilo so managed, 
that their prizes produce us little or nothing. This seems 
to have arisen from the variety of agents employed, the 
confusion of their provinces, and the loose manner in which 
the public accounts have been kept. To remedy this, we 
have to simplify the business of expenditure, by directing 
the whole to be discharged by the two deputy commercial 
agents appointed by my brother, in the interval of his nego- 
tiation in Germany. By this we expect to avoid the infi- 
nite impositions arising from a connexion with a multiplicity 
of merchants, many of whom, supposing us to know no 
better, will endeavor to deceive us. They, as merchants, 
know how to check the others, and are themselves ulti- 
mately responsible to us. 

I have the honor to be, k,c. 



Chaillot, June 14th, 1778. 

It was with great pleasure I heard the explanation, which 
your Excellency did me the honor to give me yesterday 


relative to the 1 2th article of the Commercial Treaty ; 
that it was meant to comprehend only provisions, and not 
the whole of our exports to his Majesty's Islands, and 
that denrees, the word employed, signifies eatables, not 
merchandise. It relieved the apprehensions I had enter- 
tained, that the having set in that article the whole of our 
produce against one of your productions would seem unequal, 
would therefore give uneasiness in Congress, and prevent 
that unanimity in their approbation of the treaty, which the 
wise and liberal principles on which it is planned deserve ; 
and which I most sincerely wished it might receive. 

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

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

I have the honor to be, he. 





Versailles, June loth, 1778. 


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

I see with pleasure, Sir, that you are satisfied with the 
proofs of the Prince de Montbaray's zeal in procuring you 
the articles you requested from him.* You will always 
find us disposed to do everything, that may concern the 
welfare of the United States of America. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 



Paris, .Tunc 15th, 1778. 


I find I was mistaken in saying in my last, of the 9th, 

that twenty thousand fusils had been shipped from Nantes 

and Bordeaux ; upwards of ten thousand remain unshipped, 

at Nantes. Upon the strength of the promised remittance 

* This relates to military articles for the State of Virginia, which Mr 
Lee was authorised to procure. The correspondence concerning this 
subject will be found in the first volume of the Life of Arlhur Lee. 


iVom our friends in Spain, and near one hundred thousand 
remaining in my hands, I have desired the Gardoquis to 
continue shipping blankets and strong shoes from Bilboa j 
twenty thousand livres worth of drugs, and salt to be ship- 
ped by Mr Cathatan of Marseilles ; a thousand suits of sol- 
diers' clothes from Bordeaux, by Mr Bonfield ; and six 
hundred fusils, of the Prussian make, from Berlin, that 
you may judge on arming u corps with them whether they 
are preferable to others. 

My brother writes me from Vienna in a late letter, that 
Colonel Faucit is using the utmost endeavors to raise Ger- 
man recruits; but from the present state of things, I do not 
imagine he can succeed ; and the North, that is Russia and 
Denmark, are not likely to give our enemies any assistance. 
As far as I can judge, their eftbrts against us, except a sort 
of piratical war, are exhausted. The same ministry con- 
tinues. The House of Bourbon is certainly united against 
them. They have the same imbecility of council. Their 
enemies increase in proportion to the diminution of their 
means. The decay of their commerce, the distress of their 
people, the rapacity of their public officers, and the load of 
their debt and taxes, promise soon to bring upon them the 
most deplorable distress, and prevent them from being any 
longer a formidable enemy. 

The flotilla is not yet arrived. The enclosed copies of 

Captain Jones' letters, and one* from the majority of his 

crew, make me apprehend, that the Ranger will share the 

fate of the Revenge. We have done all in our power 

to bring him and his officers into order, but hitherto in 


I have the honor to be, &;c. 


* Both missing. 



Paris, July 1st, 1778. 


1 enclose you some extracts, by which you will see, that 
war is not yet declared, though on all hands it appears to be 
fast approaching. 

The Spanish flotilla is not yet arrived, nor their fleet 
from South America. Since my last, a French frigate of 
twentysix guns was attacked by an English frigate of 
twentyeight, off Brest, and after an obstinate engagement 
the latter made off, and soon after sunk ! This has given 
great spirits to the French marine and nation, and is more 
especially fortunate, as the English were the aggressors. 
Admiral Keppel is before Brest, with twentythree sail of 
the line, where I believe he will not remain long unattacked. 
Permission is given to French subjects to fit out privateers; 
and orders are sent to all the ports to prepare our prizes to 
be sold. From London, the Ministry have offered us an 
exchange of prisoners, which we are taking the necessary 
measures to embrace. 

By some unaccountable neglect the person, to whom Dr 
Franklin committed the printing of the bills resolved on for 
the loan, has not furnished them, so that nothing further is 
yet done in that business. But I hope you will soon have 
news of its further progress, and that some event will hap- 
pen to furnish us with a very favorable moment for its 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Mr Lee presents his respects to his Excellency Count 
d'Aranda, and begs he will have the goodness to forward 
the packet, addressed to Count de Florida Blanca, which he 
has the honor of enclosing him, and which is on business 
of the last importance, by the first opportunity to his Court. 


Paris, July 18tb, 1778. 

I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency the 
enclosed resolutions of Congress,* with my most earnest 
prayer, that they may be laid immediately before the King. 
Nothing but the uncommon exigency of the present war, 
attended widi such peculiar circumstances with regard to 
the United States, would prevail upon them to press so 

"771 Congress, December 3d, 1777. The great quantity of paper 
money, issued to defray the necessary expenses of the war, having at 
length become so considerable as to endanger its credit, and Congress 
apprehending, that the slow operation of taxes may not be adequate to 
the prevention of an evil so pernicious in its consequences, and as expe- 
rience proves, that the method of paying the interest by bills on France 
does not fill the loan office so fast as the urgent calls of war demand, 

"Resolved, That the Commissioners at the Courts of France and 
Spain be directed to exert their utmost endeavors to obtain a loan of 
two millions sterling on the faith of the United States, for a term not less 
than ten years, with permission if practicable to pay the same sooner if 
it shall be agreeable to tliese States, giving twelve months' previous notice 
to the lender, of such intention to return the money. That the Com- 
missioners be instructed to consider the money hereby directed to be bor- 
rowed, as a fund to be applied, unless Congress direct othenvise, solely 
to the purpose of answering such drafts as Congress shall make for the 
purpose of lessening the sum of paper money in circulation. 

"That in order more efiectually to answer the good purposes intended 
by this plan, the Commissioners be also instructed to keep as secret as the 
nature of the thing will admit, whatever loan they shall be able to obtain 
for this purpose on account of the United States." 


much upon his Majesty's goodness. That necessity must 
also plead my pardon for entreating your Excellency to let 
me have as early an answer as possible. As the United 
States have the highest confidence in the friendship of the 
King, they promise themselves that his goodness will afford 
this loan as a relief to their most urgent distresses. With 
regard to the interest for the quantum of that, they refer 
themselves to his Majesty's justice. Five per cent is the 
legal interest with them, but I am authorised to give six, if 
his Majesty should desire it. 

This interest will be most punctually paid ; and they will 
neglect no means of liquidating the principle, if desired, 
sooner than the stipulated time, which will be easily accom- 
plished, when peace or some other employment of the ene- 
my's navy than that of preying upon their trade will permit 
the export of their produce to European markets. 

lour Excellency will perceive, that this loan is appro- 
priated to sinking the paper money, which necessity obliged 
Congress to issue. An infant and unprepared people, com- 
pelled to defend themselves against an old, opulent, power- 
ful, and well appointed nation, were driven to this resource 
of issuing paper. They were to create armies and navies, 
to fortify towns, erect forts, defend rivers, and establish 
governments, besides the immense expense of maintaining 
a war, that pressed them powerfully on all sides. For" 
these purposes they had neither funds established, taxes 
imposed, specie in their country, nor commerce to intro- 
duce it. In this exigency paper money was their only re- 
source, and not having been able hitherto for the same 
reasons to redeem it, the depreciation, which necessarily 
followed, threatens the total destruction of their credit, and 
VOL. 11. 23 

173 ARTHUR LEt. 

consequently their only means of maintaining their inde- 

in this distress their hope is fixed upon his Majesty, and 
I most earnestly beseech your Excellency so to represent 
our situation to the King, as may move his royal benevo- 
lence to furnish the relief, which will raise an everlasting 
tribute of gratitude in the minds of the people of the United 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, youj' 
Excellency's most obedient, &.c. 



Paris, July 29th, 1778. 


I enclose you a duplicate of the news of an engagement 
between the fleets of France and England. The particu- 
lars received since make the loss on board the French fleet 
very inconsiderable, and paint the behavior of the English 
to have been inexpert and dastardly. The repulsing diem 
in the first engagement will probably lead to the defeating 
them in the next, for which purpose the fleet of our allies 
will go out in a few days. 

The Empress and Emperor seem at length sensible of the 
impropriety of their conduct, and in consequence a truce 
for six weeks is agreed on, to give time for negotiation to 
prevent the effusion of blood. 

The quadruplicate of the ratification reached ns on tiie 
3d in safety, as all the rest have done. The answer of 
Congress to the Commissioners was immediately sent to 
the ministers, and will, I am persuaded, give great satis- 



It has been forgotten, 1 believe, to mention both in our 
joint and particular letters, that we have attended to the 
plan proposed by tiie Committee of sending the frigates to 
cruise in the East Indies, and upon considering all things 
it seemed to us impracticable at present. Better order 
must be established in our marine, and the ships' compa- 
nies better sorted, before it will be safe to attempt enterprises 
at such a distance, and which require a certain extent of 
ideas in the Captain, and entire obedience in the crew. 

The authority of Congress for omitting the 11th and 
I2th articles of the Commercial Treaty, which was omitted 
in the other despatches, came safe in the last, and will be 
presented immediately to the minister, who has already 
agreed to have them expunged. 

I enclose you our letter, and Mr Hodge's answer, con- 
cerning the money expended at Dunkirk, together with a 
particular account of what he has received from the public 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Madrid, August l;3tli, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
My last respects went to you under the 23d ult. and 
referring you to my sequels with regard to your desires of 
me in money matters, I must beg leave to inform you, that 
the proposal you have made for borrowing money through 
the hands of a nobleman at your place is received, and that 
your being served therewith would give your friends on 
this side a real pleasure, but I am sorr) to tell you, thai it is 


impossible for the jjfesent. You will please to observe and 
consider upon the innmense charges occasioned within these 
two or three years, and that all is done merely on account 
of your present quarrel, as likewise that such formidable 
preparations have been and will still be of infinite service to 
the Americans ; besides which, it is well known to your- 
self, and more so to your worthy constituents, that great 
succors have been sent forthwith through various channels, 
and that the same is continued to this day, and will be sain 
future as much as possible. 

In short, it is not doubted but you will represent the 
whole to your constituents, looking upon all in its true light, 
and observing that if affairs should be accomnnodated to 
their satisfaction and that of this side, the means of succor- 
ing you would be facilitated. 

I am. Sir, your most obedient humble servant. 



Madrid, August 2(Jth, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
I confirm my last compliments to you under the 13th inst, 
wherein I observed how difficult it would be to borrow the 
two millions sterling here, under the present circumstances, 
more especially while the enormous charges and fitting out 
of vessels are carried on merely to protect your colonies, 
which are besides assisted with effective succors, and will 
be so in future as much as possible. Since my letter, I have 
maturely considered upon the matter, and it has occurred to 
me, that if your government means by it to take up all the 
paper that has been laid out, perhaps the cession of Florida 


to Spain, (in case you could reduce it,) might at the con- 
clusion of peace produce, if not the whole, at least a great 
part of the funds required. 

You will no doubt consider, that I cannot penetrate the 
way of thinking of our Court in this and other entangled 
matters, but judging like a merchant, \ think a negotiation 
of this kind might well take place, (or 1 imagine it would 
be proper for both, that the frontier in question should not 
remain in future in the hands of enemies or suspicious 
powers. There is, besides, a further negotiation which 
might be added to the great benefit of your States and this 
Court, and that is, your providing this kingdom with good 
timber for the Spanish navy at commodious prices. 

I hope. Sir, you will excuse my liberty in pointing out 
these hints, to which I am led by the honest principle of 
friendship, and by the wished for view that the interest of 
both countries may be united upon a sincere and lasting 
footing ; therefore I hope you will weigh the same as you 
may think more convenient, observing that I suppose you 
will not propose it to our Court, before you know how the 
honorable Congress thinks upon both objects. 

I am with unfeigned esteem, he. 



Paris, August 21st, 1778. 

I wrote you on the 28th ult. of my having pressed for 
the loan directed by Congress. I have received an assu- 
rance through the Ambassador, that an answer will be given 
to my memorial as soon as possible. 


I enclose you a memorial for the consideralion of Con- 
gress, as we do not think ourselves authorised to act upon it 
without express orders. Could one he sure, that justice 
would be done to the public, it might be of advantage to 
adopt this scheme, for Congress must not trust to the sac- 
cess of a loan, which, for the following reasons, I appre- 
hend will be found impracticable. 

The war in Germany supervening on that between us 
and ' Great Britain, and the preparations for it by France 
and Spain, have raised and multiplied the demand for 
money, so as to give the holders of it their choice and their 
price. The Empress Queen has engrossed every shilling 
in the Netherlands. England has drawn large suras from 
the Hollanders, who cannot easily quit their former market. 
France is negotiating a loan of one hundred million livres, 
which will exhaust Geneva and Switzerland. The money 
holders regard the lending their money at such a distance, 
as Jacob did the sending Benjamin into Egypt, and it is 
time only will make them endure the thought of such a 

These are the difficulties which the circumstances of 
things oppose to our scheme of a loan, and render the aid 
of some other operation necessary for sinking the supera- 
bundant paper. 

The Minister's answer relative to M. Holker was, that 
he bad no authority from this Court, but on this our joint 
letter I expect will be more full. I have determined to 
write to you once a month or oftener, as opportunity offers, 
and as we do not vt'rite so frequently, I am tempted to men- 
tion things which should properly come from all the Com- 
missioners, as they relate to the joint commission. 

From the necessity of the case we have ventured to 


administer the oath of allegiance to those who desire pass- 
ports of us, but I hope Congress will authorise their Com- 
missioners to do so where it is necessary. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, August 27tl), 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

I received yesterday your favor of the 13th. If I remem- 
ber rightly what made me delay writing to you relative to 
the bills was my desire of informing you, at the same time, 
of their being accepted ; and it was long before J could learn 
that myself, from the manner in which they were drawn. I 
am very sorry it did you any disservice. 

I am neither unmindful of, nor ungrateful for, tiie sup- 
port we have received from your quarter. The inevitable 
necessity, which compelled an application for more, gave 
me great uneasiness. I was sensible the sum desired was 
very considerable. But so are our wants. It is our mis- 
fortune, not our fault, that we are obliged thus to trouble 
and distress our friends. I trust they will consider it in 
that light. There is nothing more precarious and immea- 
sureable than what influences public credit. The sum 
sought would have enabled Congress to call in such a quan- 
tity of the paper emitted, as must establish the credit and 
value of the rest in defiance of all the efforts of our ene- 
mies. And I think that if our friends could lend us even 
as much as would constitute a fund here, on which Con- 
gress might draw, so as to call in at once one or two mil- 
lion dollars, it would greatly raise the value of the rest. 
This would require about eight or ten million livres. 


When it is seen that the redemption is begun, hopes and 
expectations will be raised, and credit grow upon them. 
But emitting more, without redeeming any, makes people 
think that no redemption is intended, and consequently 
produces doubts and discredit. 

It is long ago that I foresaw, and I had the honor of 
stating it at Burgos, the necessity of providing for the sup- 
port of our funds, or rather funds themselves, by the assist- 
ance of our friends in Europe. [ will venture to say, that 
one million sterling, furnished in this manner, would have 
been a more effectual aid than all the preparations that have 
or can be made, unless they go to actual hostilities. Have 
these preparations prevented tweh'c ships of the line from 
being sent on our coasts to augment enormously that naval 
force, which was already sufficient to stop our commerce and 
prevent us from sending our produce to procure funds in 
Europe ? When we argue against facts we deceive our- 
selves. The fact then is, that these preparations, however 
formidable, have had so little effect, that though our ene- 
mies were hardly a match for France alone at sea, they 
ventured, in the face of those preparations, to despatch a 
powerful fleet against us. Some how or other they did 
not believe those preparations were meant against them. 
Have they been deceived in the event ? Has their temer- 
ity been chastised as it deserved ? Has the fleet of Spain 
joined that of France to crush at one blow their divided 
naval power? I do not mean to question the goodness 
of the reasons for this ; i mean only to state the fact. 
1 mean to show too that it is not extraordinary, that we 
should desire other aid than that which, however well in- 
tended, does not effectually operate to the relief intended. 
It is our necessity, not our choice, that speaks. To make 


a diversion in our favor was l)enevolent, to send us clotii- 
ing for troops and naval stores was generous' and friendly, 
but if that diversion has not hindered our commerce from 
being obstructed by powerful fleets, if the utter discredit of 
our money for want of funds prevents soldiers, sailors, and 
others from engaging in our service, and exposes our coun- 
try to the cruel depredations and devastations of an enraged 
enemy, can our friends think hardly of us, if we press them 
for that assistance which only can relieve our distress ? 

There is a passage in your letter, which, as I suppose it 
was not inadvertently inserted, T will give my opinion upon 
fully. It is "that if affairs should be accommodated 
to your and our satisfaction, the means of succoring us 
would be facilitated." There is nothing we wish more 
than such an accommodation, consistent with our engage- 
ments and our future, security. I can assure you, that no 
people are more averse to war than those of the United 
States. Were peace once established upon wise princi- 
ples, leaving us such neighbors as the Spaniards, whose 
fair and unencroaching dispositions would prevent any 
attempts to disturb us, I do not see any reason to suppose 
we should ever be engaged in a foreign war. A war of 
ambition I am sure we shall never have. No people were 
ever more sensible of the value of peace, or more dis- 
posed to enjoy themselves and let others enjoy in tranquillity 
the fruits of their labor. 

We are a young people, and have had fourteen civil gov- 
ernments to settle during the heat and pressure of a violent 
war, accompanied with every possible circumstance, that 
could augment the expense and difficulty usually attending 
a state of warfare. It is in this moment of distress, that 
our real friends will show themselves in enabling us to pre- 
voL, II. 24 


vent those calamities, which, though they cannot subdue, 
will yet injure us infinitely. Our industry, were peace and 
commerce once established, would soon enable us to repay 
them, and they would be sure of a gratitude more lively 
and lasting. 

Be so good as to assure our friends, that I have not omit- 
ted, nor shall I omit the smallest circumstance of their 
friendship and generosity, which has passed through me. 
I hope for a speedy and favorable answer to transmit to my 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, August 31st, 1778. 


It has been hinted to me, that there will be two im- 
portant subjects of negotiation with the Spanish Court, 
upon which I beg to have the orders of Congress. 

1st. Providing the Spanish navy with masts at a stipu- 
lated and as reasonable a price as possible. 

2d. The cession of Florida, should it be conquered, 
to (hem. 

For this they would stipulate, whenever peace is conclu- 
ded, to furnish the funds for redeeming all, or a great part 
of the paper. 

I cannot presume to proceed at all on these propositions 
without express instructions. In the meantime, whatever 
further lights I can obtain shall be communicated imme- 

I have the honor to be, he 




Paris, September 1st, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

I. received your I'avor of tl)e 20th iilt. last night, and will 
trouble you in addition to what I wrote on the 27th. It 
depends on your side to begin a treaty, of which, what you 
mention must be a part. I have already signified my pow- 
ers and iTiy readiness to do my part, without receiving any 
answer. My powers by commissiou are full, and the rati- 
fication confirms them specially. Neither my constituents 
nor myself will be found unwilling to make every reason- 
able return for any aid given us. There are no neighbors 
we could prefer to you. 

By the last accounts from America, the British army 
and fleet, after a bloody batde iu the Jerseys, were blocked 
up in New York by General Washington and Count 
d' Estaing. 

It is not improbable they may be forced to surrender 

before they are released. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. « 



Paris, September 9th, I77S. 

I enclose you copies of the accounts, bills ot lading, &c. 
of the articles, which 1 before informed you I should direct 
to be shipped, and which I pay for out of the funds 
intrusted to me alone. The only error I find in them is 
the charge of five per cent commission, which I shall 
endeavor to have rectified. It will be easy to compare 


the uniforms at 32 livres, with those i'urnished by Mr Mon- 
thieu at 37 livres, according to Mr Deane's contract, and 
which Mr WiJHams reported to us ought to have been 
rejected ; a report, which was concealed from me, as 
well as the contract. 

I have before informed you of my having received remit- 
tances in bills, to the amount of 187,500 livres. As I 
knew it would not be necessary to expend this sum sooner 
than three months, I thought it better to get interest for it 
for that time, than let it lie idle. The enclosed receipt 
will show you, that I have succeeded with the first bill 
that was due, but I doubt if it will be practicable with 
the rest. 

It may be proper to inform you, that I have dis- 
missed my former secretary, Major Thornton, because 
it was verified to me, that he had received from Mr 
Wharton a note of hand for five hundred pounds, pay- 
able on war taking place in such a time. This afforded 
so strong a suspicion, that they who are now his accusers 
had seduced him into this gambling society, and prob- 
ably for the purpose of betraying my secrets in the Span- 
ish negotiation, that I thought it prudent to supply his 
place with another, and have chosen the Rev. Heze- 
kiah Ford, of the State of Virginia, and chaplain to the 
3d and 5th regiments of North Carolina troops, in die 
service of the United States. We have administered to 
him an oath of secrecy and fidelity, which from his 
character I have every reason to believe he will relig- 
iously observe. The present moment is as totally bar- 
ren of news, as times of the most perfect tranquillity. 

I have the honor to be, he. 





Madrid, September 28th, 1778. 


A severe illness, which almost reduced me lo the last, 
iias prevented my giving you punctual answers to your favors 
down to the 1st instant; but embracing the first moments 
of my recovery, I have to say, that I am afraid I did not 
explain my sentiments clearly in my last. The hints given 
you were purely mine, and as a friend who wishes the 
best to both, in order that you might make use of them as 
you thought proper, and of course I cannot say anything 
about your powers and treaties, being things out of my v.-ay, 
with which it would be improper for me to meddle. I 
wish most heartily, that things may be accommodated hap- 
pily for both parties, so I pray consider tins as such, as I 
should be sorry, that hints given you w^ithout either design 
or authority should be thought otherwise, or meet with re- 
sults of consequence. 

In this same light, and as a sincere friend, who wishes 
the best intelligence between your constituents and this 
side, I have now to add, that the capture of the Swed- 
ish ship, the Henrica Sofia, Captain P. Held, loaded 
with Spanish property, and bound from London to Tene- 
rifFe, by Captain Cunningham of the Revenge privateer, 
has occasioned the utmost disgust on this side. T would, 
therefore, recommend to you not only the immediate 
release of said vessel, but likewise to give the strictest 
orders to said Cunningham to pay more regard to the 
territories of this Kingdom, and to the Spanish flag, for 
there has been such complaints about his conduct, that 
I hear orders have been sent to the several ports to pre- 


vent liis entry ; besides which, there are rumors, that he 
is not properly an American privateer, being manned by 
French adventurers, who, with their commander, have 
acted contrary to the law of nations. 

Some of my friends, with whom 1 tried to raise a sum 
for you, desire to know the length of time you want it, 
the interest you will allow, and whether you will pay said 
interest in tobacco, and at what price it will be reckoned in 
Bilboa, with all other particulars that may offer to you ; 
so I wish you to let me know, if agreeable, that I may let 
them see it, observing, that I judge we may raise a part, 
though not the two million of livres, which you desired of 
me ; I would also know whether you will want the money 
in France or Spain. 

I am with sincere esteem, your most obedient humble 



Chaillot, September 28th, 1778. 

I had the honor of your Excellency's letter of the 23d. 
I should not trouble you with an answer, did it not appear 
to me necessary to show, that the blame it imputes to me 
is by no means merited. For that purpose your Excellency 
will permit me to remind you of what is the fact, that I was 
not present when the conversation relative to M. Holker, 
to which your Excellency refers, passed between you and 
my colleagues. I imagine too it arose accidentally, as the 
intention of conversing on that subject was not commu- 
nicated to me. 


With regard to the duties, my knowledge of them arose 
from a transaction of my own as Commissioner for Spain, 
in which my colleagues had no concern. I have always 
heen so sensible of the impropriety of one Commissioner 
acting, or being acted with, for the whole, in what regards 
their deputation here, as scrupulously to avoid setting the 
example. Therefore I entirely agree with your Excel- 
lency, that such a precedent should never be permitted. 

It was not my intention to make any complaint about the 
duties, which were probably imposed for wise purposes, 
but to ofter my opinion to your Excellency of what I con- 
ceived might be beneficial to that union, which my con- 
nexion and myself have always been most zealous in 
advising, and for the permanency of which, it is therefore 
natural that I should be particularly anxious. 
1 have the honor to be, &.c. 



Paris, September 30th, 1778. 

Since I wrote you the 9th of this month, no step has 
been taken either by our enemies or allies of moment 
enough to advise you of ; nor has any material event hap- 
pened in Europe, insomuch that times of the profoundest 
peace could not possibly be more barren. This arises 
from the general reluctance to war, which, though all are 
preparing for, no one seems to desire. The fate of this 
campaign with you will determine whether we shall have 
immediate offers of peace or continuance of war. If their 
fleets and armies maintain their ground, or gain any advan- 


tage, they will continue the war, and wait for something in 

the chapter of accidents, which is the sole resource of the 


I have the honor to be, &lc. 



Paris, October 6th, 1778. 


I have not had the pleasure of any answer from you to 
mine of the 22d of August. 1 am afraid that the total 
silence of your friends about taking an open part with us, 
when all the impediments, which you know were stated, are 
removed, will make bad impressions on the minds of my 
countrymen, and transfer all their gratitude to those who 
have declared in their favor. And this more especially, as 
one of the English Commissioners, Governor Johnstone, 
had pledged his honor publicly to prove, that Spain disap- 
proved of, and endeavored to prevent, the declaration of 
France in our favor. 

If to stop the effusion of human blood, and all the shock- 
ing calamities attending a war like this, be worthy of a pious 
prince ; if to prevent the chances of war from having any 
influence in preventing the dismemberment of the British 
Empire, and the humiliation of their pride be an object 
worthy of a political prince ; if to drive the English imme- 
diately from America, and receive a portion of her inde- 
pendent commerce, be an advantage to the crown and peo- 
ple of Spain, this is the moment for its monarch to decide 
and enforce those events by an immediate declaration of 
our independency, and an union of force, which must be 


The last certain accounts from America announce pre- 
parations for an assault upon Rhode Island, on the 16th of 
August. It was already invested both by sea and land, and 
the enemy had been obliged to burn several of their vessels, 
and among the rest one of twentysix guns. 

The report is, that the Island is taken, for a confirmation 
of which we wait with much anxiety. The loss of it would 
deprive the enemy of their port for wintering their navy, 
and oblige them to abandon New York. 

I hope to receive good tidings from you soon, and have 

the honor to be, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient 




Paris, October 12th, 1778. 


Your Excellency has seen in the separate and secret act, 
signed the 6tli of February, 1778, tljat I am charged with 
full powers to conclude a treaty with Spain. You are 
also acquainted with my having been in Spain, and having 
had conferences with the Marquis de Grimaldi on this 

All the objections, which were then alleged against an 
immediate declaration, are now removed. The consistency 
of our cause is unquestionable. France is ready, and has 
actually declared. Their treasure is safe, and the fleet from 
Buenos Ayres is in their liarbors, yet we do not see the 
least movement on their part towards realising the hopes 
they gave us ; but on the contrary such ostensible mea- 
sures as they have taken must certainly give encouragement 
to our enemies. That Conit has not ttiought proper to 
VOL. II. 2^^) 


take the least notice of the ratification of the separate and 
secret article, which I announced to them. While we are 
therefore bound, they remain at liberty. 

All this, Sir, gives me much uneasiness. I am appre- 
hensive, that Congress will not think this mode of acting very 
satisfactory ; and that the encouragement, that it must hold 
out to the Court of London, will prolong this pernicious 
war, and make it cost us much more blood and treasure 
than is necessary to tie the hands of our common enemy, 
and establish effectually the liberty, sovereignty, and inde- 
pendence, absolute and unlimited, of the United States. 

In these very critical circumstances I must have recourse 
to the King and to your Excellency. Our cause is com- 
mon, and it is my wish to conduct it by your experience, 
your lights, and your counsel, as to the measure T am to 
take, whether it be to act or to wait. This would always 
be my desire ; but 1 consider it now as my duty ; for it 
appears to be the mutual sentiment of your Court and of 
Congress, that the eventual treaty signed at Paris, the 6th 
of February, is now become actual, permanent, and indis- 
soluble. The first article of that treaty says, " That if war 
should break out between France and Great Britain, during 
the continuance of the present war between the United 
States and Great Britain, his Majesty and the United States 
will make it a common cause, and will aid each other 
with their mutual good offices, counsels, and forces, ac- 
cording to the exigency of things, and as becomes good and 
faithful allies." 

It is upon these piinciples, that I think it my duty to 

, endeavor to place upon an equal footing the interests of 

France, and those of the United States; and therefore 

not to commence anything without the concurrence of 


your Court. Upon ihc same principles, 1 flatter niysell 

with obtaining the aid and assistance of your wisdom and 

information, as to the moment of commencing the measures 

to be taken, and the means to be employed, with the Court 

of Spain. 

I am persuaded, and always was so, that Great Britain 

cannot make head for a year against the united counsels 

and force of the House of Bourbon and the United States 

of America. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 




Versailles, OcCober 17tl), 177S. 


1 have received the letter you did me the honor to write 

to me the 12th instant. 1 have examined its contents with 

that attention, which is due to the interest I take in 

every thing that respects the prosperity of the United 

States, and it is my opinion, that you will act prudently in 

suspending the measures you wish to take at the Court of 

Madrid, with the view of ascertaining its principles and 

resolutions with regard to America. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, October 19tb, 1778. 

Our affairs in Holland, both as to the treaty and loan, 
arc in a promising state. The King of Naples and of 


Sicily has declared to us in I'orm, by his Ambassador here, 
that his ports are open to all vessels belonging to the United 
States. As the success ol'our cause gains ground daily in 
the opinion of mankind, 1 imagine this winter will produce 
us some more declared friends among the European 

The enemy appears to have no system about con- 
tinuing the war, or ending it on the terms which Con- 
gress has marked out to them. A litde success in pri- 
vateering, since the commencement of hostilities, has given 
a momentary exhilaration to their depressed spirits; and 
the expectation of a speedy peace, which is artfully circu- 
lated by Ministerial agents, keeps them from entirely 

I find by a specimen, which did not reach me until the 
goods were shipped, that I have been most egregiously 
imposed upon in the fusils sent from Berlin. I mean to 
complain of it to the king of Prussia's Minister, as it was 
the king's contractor that furnished them by his order. 
The impositions, that we daily meet with, are in conse- 
quence of an opinion prevailing among individuals, that 
as we are not acknowledged they may do it with im- 

No movements yet on the part of Spain. I have con- 
sulted Count de Vergennes on the propriety of iny taking 
any measures to bring that Court to a decision ; his advice 
is in these words. " My opinion is, that you will act pru- 
dently to suspend the advances, which you desire to make 
to that Court, with the view of ascertaining its principles 
and resolutions with regard to America." 

Agreeably to this advice, I shall wait the positive orders 
of Congress, unless some change of circumstances should 


make it evidently prudent and necessary lor me to act 
before they arrive. 

I beg my humble duty may be recommended to Con- 
gress, and have the honor to be, he. 



Chaillot, October 21st, 1778. 


Your Excellency had the goodness to write me on the 
16th of January last, in the following words. "As to the 
fusils and other arms of our manufacture, you will have 
liberty to purchase them, and the bankers Splittgerber, who 
have charge of the fabrication of arms, will be instructed to 
deliver to you whatsoever may be demanded on your part. 
I subjoin a note of the prices, which are the same as the 
king pays, and add, that the fusils for the infantry may be 
had at a little lower price, if regard is only had to the 
solidity of the work, without insisting on that exact uniform- 
ity which the king requires." 

In consequence of this, 1 ordered eight hundred fusils for 
infantry, of the best kind, from the Messrs Splittgerber, 
and paid them their own price immediately. My intention 
was to arm a regiment, that the whole army might judge of 
the superiority of the Prussian model. The fusils were 
sent by Hamburgh to Bordeaux, and were shipped from 
thence to America, a case having previously been opened, 
and a fusil taken out and sent to me. By this specimen, 
1 find that the fusils, so far from being of the sort at 
present used in his Prussian Majesty's army, are directly 
the reverse, and of the worst and most ordinary work- 


inanship that can be imagined. 1 do assure your Excel- 
lency, that they are such as our militia would reject, and 
appear to me and others, who are competent judges, to be 
old rejected muskets. The ramrod is not a quarter of an 
inch in diameter, and the lock holes that receive it narrow 
and of the same diameter above and below ; so that the Prus- 
sian manner of cliarging is impracticable with these fusils. 
The observation I made a thousand times over of the fusils, 
which the troops at Berlin used, enables me to assure you, 
that this is a most egregious imposition in being sent as the 
same, and I am sure they would not sell in Europe for six 
livres a piece. 

My merchant at Bordeaux, the Commercial Agent of 
Congress, assures me that he took the fusil, from which I 
form my judgment, with his own hand out of one of the 
cases sent from Messrs Splittgerber, through the house of 
Chapeaurouge at Hamburgh. 

I therefore entreat your Excellency to oblige these men to 
do me justice. I am not so much offended at the imposition, 
for the money it has defrauded me of, as for the disgrace it 
will bring on the manufactures of Prussia, and the disap- 
pointment of the plan I had formed to introduce them into 
the United States. The mildest reparation, which I con- 
ceive can be demanded of the Messrs Splittgerber, is 
that they send immediately to Bordeaux, at their own 
expense, eight hundred fusils, such as are ordered, that is, 
of the present Prussian form, and the best workmanship. 
Those, that they have sent, I will order to be sold in 
America, and the net amount of what they bring shall be 
paid to them. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 





Versailles, October 24th, 1778. 

I have received, with great sensibility, the news which 
you have obtained by the way of Spain. It is a very great 
fatality, that the unlucky gale of wind separated the squad- 
rons just as Count d' Estaing had joined the English. 
He then had a superiority, which he must have lost, if 
the Admirals Byron and Parker have joined Lord Howe. 
We are very impatient to receive some direct accounts 
from our Vice Admiral. We flatter ourselves, that the 
favorable winds will bring some despatches from him. 
I request you, in the meantime. Sir, to communicate 
whatever news you may receive through other channels. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, November 4th, 1778. 


I wrote you on April the 14th, May the 9th, 20th 
and 23d, June the 1st, 9th, 15th, 17th, July 6th, 16th, 
20th, 28th, 29th, August 21st and 31st, September 9th, 
and 30th, October 5th and 19th, none of which have been 
acknowledged or answered. I usually send triplicates of 
my letters and of all the papers enclosed.* 

Whether the British cabinet have yet determined upon 
relinquishing the war in America, I have not been able to 

* Several of these letters aro missing. 


learn. This Is certain, that they have ordered consider- 
able quantities of clothing and provisions to be made ready 
for that quarter, which looks as if they intended their fleet 
and army should winter with you. From their situation at 
present, and that of Europe, it appears improbable that they 
can reinforce, or even recruit their army to any effect. 
Their naval force is so exactly balanced in Europe by that 
of France alone, that they can hardly venture to detach 
any more of their fleet against you. It seems, therefore, 
that jou have before you the utmost force that you are 
likely to contend with. 

It serves the purposes of the enemy to propagate 
reports of aid from Russia, sometimes in ships, some- 
times in troops. As far as there is any certainty in 
political events, you may be assured they will have 
neither. The plan they adopt for Parliament, which 
will meet the 26th, will, I imagine, depend much on tiie 
representations of Lord Howe and Governor Johnstone, 
who are both arrived in England. 

Should their fleet and army winter in America, it 
will be a capital object to intercept their provision fleets. 
For this purpose I shall obtain and transmit to you, from 
time to time, intelligence of their being collected at Cork, 
from which you may judge what time they may be 
expected on the coast. 

The whale fishery, which the enemy have established on 
the coast of Brazil, and which they carry on by men from 
Nantucket, is likely to become very valuable ; and being 
totally unprotected, it might be destroyed at one blow. 

The instruments for abolishing the 11th and 12th articles 
are exchanged, and that matter entirely settled. 
I have the honor to he, &c. 





Paris, November 15th, 1778. 


[ am informed, that it is determined in the Cabinet of 
London not to recall their Commissioners this winter. 
Governor Johnstone .has been very graciously received ; 
Lord Howe not. He conducts himself as one. that is dis- 
coQtented, and has not been at Court. It is given out, that 
Johnstone declares he is possessed of impeachable matter 
against both the Howes. 

I before mentioned, that the enemy was preparing to 
send out provisions and clothing for their troops, as if it was 
intended they should remain in America. It is also certain, 
that they have contracted for twelve thousand tons of ship- 
ping for the beginning of next March. They talk of send- 
ing over either ten thousand .British, or twelve thousand 
Russians, for the next campaign, which I am assured and 
believe they have determined to risk. 

To sustain thi.s, they affirm very confidently, that a triple 
alliance offensive and defensive is concluded between Rus- 
sia, Prussia, and Great Britain. This I believe is at best 
anticipation. That such an alliance will be the subject of 
this winter's negojjation is very probable ; too it 
may succeed, and that Denmark and Sweden may join. 
But the good effects of it in favor of our enemy are very 
problematical. It- will inevitably draw forth Spain, which 
in our part of the question is of much more weight than all 
the rest. And as to the general war, the league that would 
be necessarily formed against the oilu-i-, hoLwei'U the United 
Stales, the Empress, France, and Spain, would be the most 
powerful. 1 do not count upon Portugal, Naples, Tuscany, 
VOL. II. 26 


and Sardinia, which yet, in all human probability, will join 
our confederacy. The temper of Holland is such, that the 
junction of the United Provinces may well be expected, 
if England has not the wisdom to recede from her claims ; 
and if she does, the Hollanders, having gained the points in 
trade which they contend for, will render their neutrality 
perhaps more favorable to iis in matters of supply, than an 
actual confederation. 

These are the plans, that must employ the negotiation of 
all Europe during this winter, which will produce eithei" a 
general pacification or a general war. The latter is what 
our enemy is endeavoring to effect. In doing this, by the 
same fated perversion of understanding, which has happily 
prevailed in all their measures, the)'^ are laboring to secure 
what they wish to subvert, the absolute independency of 
America. For there never was a political event more man- 
ifest and sure, than that a general war must involve in it 
the independence of the United States, as an inevitable 

The obtaining money in Europe is doubtful, though not 
desperate. But this seems very probable, that if the irrita- 
tion and ill humor in Holland is continued by England's 
persisting in the interruption of their trade, they will lend us 
money out of revenge ; and il England retracts, the Dutch 
will send us such plentiful supplies, and take in return our 
produce, as in a great measure to compensate for the 
want of funds. The dispute seems to be in such a state, 
that there is no medium. I am therefore in hopes, that if 
the war should continue, the distress of it will press with 
much more severity upon our enemies than on us. 

I am informed, that a Swedish ship, the Henrica Sofia, 
Captain P. Held, loaded with Spanish properly, bound fronj 


London to Teneiiffe, has been taken by Captain Cunning- 
ham in the Revenge, which being considered in Spain as a 
violence done to them, has given great olience. I have 
assured them, that upon its being made to appear in the 
Admiralty Court in America, that the properly is neutral, it 
will be restored, with such damages as are just. The 
Court of Spain is so much offended at Captain Cunning- 
ham's conduct before this, that they write me orders have 
been sent to ail their ports to prohibit his entrance. From 
the beginning to the end of this business of Cunningham, it 
has been so bad, that Congress only can correct it, by pun- 
ishing those who are concerned. It has cost the public 
more than one hundred thousand livres, and embroiled us 
both with the French and Spanish Courts. 

The State of Virginia having sent for arms and artillery 
necessary for their defence, and son)e advances being abso- 
lutely necessary to obtain the supply, I ventured to advance 
fifty thousand livres out of the public funds in my hands. 
Had not this demand pressed so mucii, I certainly should 
not have done this without the permission of Congress. 
But as it is, and though I expect the reimbursement before 
the articles I have ordered for the public will call for pay- 
ment, yet I think it my duty to communicate this transac- 
tion, and submit it to the censure of Congress. I expect a 
complete cargo is by this time shipped in my department, 
consisting of blankets, shoes, tentcloth, sailcloth, and rig- 
ging for a vessel of five hundred tons. This cargo, widi 
what went before, should contain ten thousand blankets. I 
have ordered twenty thousand more, which, with half of 
the freight, I am obliged to advance for the above cargo, 
will more than employ all the funds in my hands. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



P. S. jYovember \St/i, ms. Every hour's iiUelligence 
confirms the opinion, that the enemy will not obtain any 
Russian auxiliaries. 


Paris, December 4th, 1778 

Dear Sir, 

I wrote you on the 1 0th ult. and have not been lavored 
with anything tVoni you since. Upon a supposition, that 1 
should have funds sufficient in my hands, 1 desired your 
house to collect 20,000 or 30,000 blankets, which I 
intended to pay lor without troubling our friends with you. 
But I find the clothing, shoes and stockings, which I was 
obliged to send from hence, have consumed most part of 
the money remitted to me, so that 1 shall be unable to pay 
for those blankets, let they are an article most essential 
to our army both in winter and summer. I must therefore 
beg you to beseech our Iriends to extend their order to 
them, and have them shipped as fast as they are <;ollected 
by your house, on the old plan. 

In consequence of wliat passed when we were at Bur- 
gos and Vitoria, I wrote that our vessels would be received 
at the Havanna, as those of the most favored nation. It 
is desired to know whether, under this, the produce of the 
States may be carried thither for sale, and prizes sold there 
or in any other of his Catholic Majesty's ports in America. 
I shall be much obliged to you to get me an explanation 
on this head, as we would wish to avoid giving embarrass- 
ment or offence, by extending the liberty further than is 
meant. The ports being open in this manner would be 
certainly beneficial to bodi, but I am no judge how far it 


would be consistent with the policy of your commercial 

Count d'Estaing's fleet was relitted, and ready to sail 
from Boston the 3d of November. His officers and sailors 
have behaved there with the greatest decorum, and ren- 
dered themselves exceedingly agreeable to the inhabitants. 
The fray, of which our enemies make so much, was en- 
tirely accidental, and owing to some privateersmen wanting 
to get biscuit for a cruise. The readiness of our enemies 
to hope, from every little incident, a dissolution of our for- 
eign connexions, serves only to show how much they appre- 
hend from a continuance of them. 

There is no certain intelligence of the enemy's fleet or 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, December 5lh, 1778. 


I had the honor of writing you on the 14th of April, 
May the 9th, 20th, and 23d, June the 1st, 9th, 15th, and 
17th, July the 6th, 16th, 20th, 28th, and 29th, August the 
21st, and 31st, September the 9th and 30th, October the 
5th and 19th, November the 4th, ISth and 20th, with 
various enclosures, among which were triplicates of Mr 
Williams's accounts, and quadruplicates of the state of the 
Swiss militia. 

From Lord Suffolk's speech on die address, it appears, 
that they have adopted a dernier plan for conducting the 
war against you, which, I am informed, is to burn and de- 


stroy every thing they approach. The example of Colonel 
Butler is to be pursued on sU the frontiers accessible to the 
Indians, to whom small bodies of regulars are to be joined. 
The fleet and armies are to lay waste the sea coast and its 
vicinities. Lord Suffolk is the mouth of the king of Great 
Britain, and his advisers, Lords Bute and Mansfield, and 
Mr Wedderburne. What he says may therefore be de- 
pended on as their resolution. 

From the enclosed piece (copies of which have been 
sent from Holland) you will be able to judge of the nature 
and situation of the dispute in Holland. The friends to 
themselves and us are for augmenting their marine, the 
purchased advocates of England, and the dependants of the 
Stadtholder, are for increasing their army. 

To make them and other neutral nations feel the neces- 
sity of supporting the privileges of their flags against the 
Endish, this Court has declared its determination to make 
prize of all goods belonging to the enemy, found in neutral 
ships, as long as the same is permitted to be done by the 
British cruisers, with regard to the effects of France in the 
same situation. This is such a blow to their interests as, 
it is imagined, must rouse the Dutch to vigorous exertions 
ao-ainst Great Britain, in support of their privileges as com- 
mon cruisers. 

The Court of Spain has published its intention of ad- 
mitting the sale of prizes, made by the French, and the 
entrance of all American vessels upon the footing of all other 
neutral nations. 

The Empress of Russia has determined to take part 
with the King of Prussia in the German war, which the 
House of Austria seems resolved to support against their 
united forces. As Hanover, and the other German princes. 


are pledged to assist Prussia, our enemy can hardly expect 
any aid from thence. Though it is therefore impossible to 
conceive how they can maintain the war in their very ex- 
hausted state, and without one effectual ally, yet it is cer- 
tain, that ihey mean to try another campaign. 

I send you some charts of the Continent of America, and 
of the Islands, lately published, and reckoned extremely 
accurate, from which perhaps Congress may think proper 
to have others engraved for the use of the navy. They 
consist of three volumes folio, with a quarto volume of 

We are in daily expectation of the final pleasure of 
Congress, on the several important matters relating to our 

I have the honor to be, &£c. 



Paris, December 17th, 1778. 

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a true 
copy of a proclamation and manifesto lately issued in Ame- 
rica by the British Commissioners. The plan of desola- 
tion and cruelty announced in it has been approved in 
Parliament, by one of his Britannic Majesty's principal 
Secretaries of State, the Earl of Suffolk ; and a majority 
in both Houses of Parliament have given their sanction to 
the manifesto itself by refusing to disclaim it. Upon 
these grounds it may justly be considered the act of the 

* This letter was forwarcled to Count de Florida Blanca, throug^h the 
agency of Count d'Aranda, Spanisli ArabassuJor in France. 


Tlie intentions of Great Britain, derogatory at once o( 
all the sacred rights of humanity, and of the honor of God, 
and of the established laws of civilized nations, are thus 
declared in the inanifesto. " The policy as well as the 
benevolence of Great Britain have thus far checked the 
extremes of ivar, when they tended to distress o people still 
considered as our fellow subjects, and to desolate a country 
shortly to become again a source of mutual advantage. 
But when that country professes the unnatural design, not 
only of estranging herself from us, but of mortgaging her- 
self and her resources to our enemy, the whole contest is 
changed, and the question is how far Great Britain may, by 
every means in her power, destroy or render useless a 
connexion contrived for her ruin, and for the aggrandize- 
ment of France. Under such circumstances, the laws of 
self-preservation must direct the conduct of Great Britain ; 
and if the British Colonies are to become an accession to 
France, will direct her to render that acquisition of as little 
avail as possible to her enemy." 

The pretext here alleged for carrying war to all extrem- 
ities, which the laws of humunity and of nations forbid, and 
of desolating merely for the purpose of desolation, is, that 
the country is to be monopolised by France. That this 
is merely a pretext is manifest from the treaty ilself on 
which they ground it, in which it is declared, that the 
United States are at liberty lo make the same treaty with 
all nations. 

Your Excellency knows loo, how unjust this imputation 
is in our most secret transactions. By one of those strange 
absurdities, into which men blinded by bad passions are 
often betrayed, they denounce this desolation against the 
people at large, wiio they in the same liweaih assert have 


not ratified the treaty. Thus, if we are to credit tlieir own 
assertions, the ground of their rage is pretended, and the 
objects of it innocent. 

It is therefore most clear, that the threatened cruelties 
are not out of policy, but out of revenge. And as nothing 
is more odious than this spirit, nothing more dangerous to 
all that is deemed dear and sacred among men, than an open 
avowal of such a principle, and an exercise of the barbari- 
ties which it suggests, such a conduct ought to arm all na- 
tions against a people, whose proceedings thus proclaim 
them to be hostis humani generis. 

It is not that they can add to the cruelties they have 
already exercised ; desolation and massacre have marked 
their steps wherever they could approach. The sending 
of those captives, whom they pretend now to be their fellow 
subjects, into perpetual slavery in Africa and India ; the 
crowding of their captives into dungeons, where thousands 
perish by disease and famine ; the compelling of others, by 
chains and stripes, to fight against their country and their 
relations ; the burning of defenceless towns ; and the excit- 
ing of the savages, by presents and bribes, to massacre de- 
fenceless frontier families, without distinction of age or sex, 
are extremities of cruelty already practised, and which they 
cannot exceed. But the recovery of what they called 
their rights, and the reduction of those who had renounced 
as they alleged a just supremacy, was then avowedly the 
object of the war. These cruelties were, it was pretended, 
incidental severities, and necessary to tlie attainment of a 
just object. But now destruction alone is the object. It is 
not profit to themselves, but injuries So others, which they 
are pursuing. Desolation for the pleasure of destroying is 
theii- only purpose. They vvill sacrifice to disappointed 
VOL.. II. 27 


vengeance what their injustice lost, and their power cannot 

There cannot be a greater violation of those laws, whicli 
bind civilized nations together, which are the general pro- 
perty, and which distinguish their wars from those of sav- 
ages and barbariajis, than this manifesto. All civilized 
nations are called upon, as well by their own interests as 
those of humanity, to vindicate its violated laws. Your 
Excellency will therefore permit me to hope, that so daring, 
and dangerous a procedure will call forth a declaration from 
the king of Spain, whose pre-eminent character among 
princes for piety, wisdom, and honor, will render him a fit 
avenger of the common cause of mankind. It is not Amer- 
ica only, that is wronged by this savage proclamation, but 
the feelings of humanity, the dictates of religion, the laws 
of God, and of nations. 

Youl- Excellency will also give me leave to request, that 
this representation may be laid before his Majesty, and en- 
forced with such arguments as your Excellency's greater 
knowledge, and the favor you have had the goodness to 
manifest for our just cause may suggest. 

I have the honor to be your Excellency's very humble 




Paris. December 25th. 1778 

I had the honor of receiving your Excellency's favor of 
the 1st. I am extremely sorry for having troubled you 
with a representation, which seems to have given offence, 


instead ol obtaining redress. Neither the character of a 
merchant, nor that of all the merchants of Europe, can 
weigh against the evidence of one's senses. 1 do assure 
your Excellency upon my honor, that the musket, which is 
the specimen of those sent for the best Prussian arms, 
and which have cost niu ti\ e livres a piece more than the 
best arms in France, is one of the worst that I ever beheld. 
1 have seen most of tlie troops in Europe, and I never saw 
such a musket in a soldier's hand. It has this remarkable in 
it, that i't is neither of the old nor the new model ; but seems 
to have been a barrel spoiled in attempting to new model it. 
and this put into a stock of such wood, and of such fashion, 
that nothing can be imagined worse. There is no mark 
upon it of its having been examined. In short, a mis- 
take between the new and the old model is out of the 

But your Excellency will give me leave to observe, that 
if my demand was not explicit, it is a little surprising, that 
the house of Splittberger, in the correspondence that passed 
between them and Mr Grand, before the order was exe- 
cuted, did not ask an explanation, whether the old or the 
new model was meant. They knew, though we did not, 
that there were different kinds of arms of the Prussian 
make, and therefore that a mistake might happen. As to 
myself, I had seen the troops at Berlin, and the arsenal 
furnished with arms of the new model. 1 had conversed 
with sundry ofticers upon the preference due to arms of 
the Prussian make, and never found any one who by that 
term did not understand those of the new model. Not 
knowing, therefore, that there was any possibility of mistake, 
i did not conceive I could be more explicit. Upon the 
whole, instead of the best arms in Europe, which I prom- 


ised, I sent the worst, if the rest arc like the specimen sent 

I hope your Excellency will ))arclon nic for having given 
you the pain of reading one letter on this subject, and I 
should not have added a second, but that there was a sort of 
censure thrown upon nie, which I most assuredly did not 
deserve. I should have thought myself censurable, if I had 
concealed from your Excellency a proceeding on the part 
of those gendemen, which appeared so flagrant to me. 
You thought I was alone to blame, in which I cannot in any 
degree whatsoever concur. 

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a copy 
of a manifesto, which the avowedly savage intentions of 
our enemies have compelled Congress to make. The 
previous resolution will show your Excellency mth what 
reluctance Congress has adopted retaliation. As long 
as it was possible to impute the barbarities committed, to 
the unauthorised malignity of individuals, they entreated 
forbearance. But when a solemn avowal on the part of 
his Britannic Majesty's Commissioners, of their determina- 
tion to exercise the extremes of war, and to desolate for 
the sole purpose of destroying, had deprived them of the 
apology they had too generously made for the actions of 
their enemies, their duty to the people, to humanity, to 
the nations, called from Congress this resolution of retalia- 

This conduct of our enemies will, like all their other 
jollies and persecutions, knit more firmly our confederation. 
The inhuman purpose of massacre. and desolation, upon a 
pretext of our being mortgaged to France, which the very 
treaty to which they allude expressly contradicts, has armed 
every heart and hand against them. It has confirmed the 

nn'LOAiATic L•oRKEsro^Dil:^CK. 213 

wavering, animated the timid, and exasperated the brave. 

The laws of nations are the common property of all civilized 

people. Our liberties, which were the object of the war, 

are secure ; we are now fighting die battles of humanity and 

of nations, against the avowed and bitter enemies of both. 

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

Excellency's, &.c. 



Paris, December 27th, 1778. 

1 have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a 
manifesto from Congress, in answer to that of his Britannic 
Majesty's Commissioners. You, have also enclosed a copy 
of a former resolution of Congress on this subject, from 
which it will appear how earnestly they have shunned this 
shocking extremity. As long as it was possible to impute 
the barbarities committed to the unauthorised intemperance 
of individuals, Congress exhorted the suffering people to 
lenity and forbearance. But when they became acts of 
authority, avowed and ordered, Congress must not only 
stand justified before God and man, but would have been 
culpable in the eyes of both, had they longer withheld the 
order for retaliation. Permit me to hope, that your Excel- 
lency will represent these things to his Majesty, and that 
they will produce an immediate declaration, which is most 
likely to arrest the sanguinary progress of our enemy, and 
compel them to relinquish the devastation of our country 
iov the defence of their own. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Chaillot, Jamiary 3d, 1779. 


1 have the lienor to send to your Excellency the copy 
of a letter, which I received yesterday. It is from the 
same person as the other, which I had the honor of com- 
municating to you through Mr Grand. It is fourteen 
months since the writer has been proposing a rendezvous 
with Mr Franklin and mysell", lor the purpose of arrang- 
ing the conditions of an accommodation. This gentle- 
man, who is named Berkenhout, has since that time been 
sent to America with the British Commissioners. He 
has been imprisoned in Philadelphia on suspicion of the 
object of his mission, and released for want of proofs. He 
has again, as you see, returned to his country, and to his 
endeavors to seduce, by offers of emoluments and titles of 
honor, which we call in our language, honors. 

If your Excellency is of opinion, that it would be of any 
utility to endeavor to obtain proofs of authority for what 
he offers, I will answer him accordingly ; if otherwise, I 
will not return him any answer. This is also the opinion of 
my colleagues. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




Versailles, January 4tli, 1779. 

I did not find annexed to die letter you did me the honor 
of writing to me yesterday, the one from England, which 


you mentioned, and which you say is from Dr Berkenhout, 
who rendered himself suspected at Philadelphia. But 
without seeing this letter, 1 think. Sir, that after what has 
passed between Congress and the English Commissioners, 
it would be unbecoming the dignity of your commission to 
grant a rendezvous to agents, who did not bring the palm of 
sovereign independence in their hands. My opinion would 
be, therefore, that you should answer in plain terms to this 
agent, tliat unless he assures you oi' the most entire acknowl- 
edgment of your independence, and brings you propositions 
conformable to the fidelity, with which your nation and gov- 
ernment glory in fulfilling their engagements, that you can- 
not consent to any interview with him, or with any other 
emissary. You and your colleagues both perceive, that 
these people wish to negotiate with you, not for the pur- 
pose of granting you suitable conditions, but to hold up an 
appearance that there is little agreement between you and 
us, by means of which illusion the purse of the English is 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Chaillot, January 8tli, 1779. 

I have the honor to send to your Excellency the an- 
swer, which I should have written to Dr Berkenhout, had 
I sent one. I have studied the Court of London and 
its agents very much, and for a long lime, and I con- 
ceive, that it is most for our interest to treat them with 
pride, if not with an appearance of contempt. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



P. S. My letters from England announce, that a fleet 
of one hundred and twenty sail, with provisions for the 
English Islands, is to sail from Cork in a short time, 
with an escort of two sail of tlie line and one frigate. 


Paris, January 5th, 1779. 


My despatches of April the 14th, May the 9th, 20th and 
23d, June the 1st, 9th, ]5th and 17th, July the 6th, 16di, 
20th, 26th and 29th, Aug;ist the 21st and 31st, September 
the 9th and 30th, October the 5th and 19th, November the 
4th, 18th and 20th, and December the 5th, remain unan- 

Nothing material has since happened in Europe. The 
late proceedings in Holland discover, that the Englisli party 
have gained ground there. The truth is, that the English 
borrow their money and then bribe them with it j for it is 
so manifestly their interest to join against England, and 
their advantages from the trade of America, being free, are 
clearly so much greater than those of any other nation, that 
unless their rulers were blinded by some powerful appli- 
cation, it is impossible but that they should be active and 
earnest in promoting this revolution. The Court of France 
is acting with firmness and wisdom to restrain tliem by 
powerful motives of interest. 

There does not at present seem any probability of au 
accommodation in Germany. The ordinary of the expense 
our enemy is to incur this year stands thus. 


Exchequer bills to be paid off, . . £2,500,000 

British troops 3,640,000 

Foreign do 713,000 

Navy, 4,589,000 

Militia, 700,000 

To this add transport service and oxtraordina- 

ries, which cannot be less than . 5,000,000 



They purpose having on the British establishment 82,744 

Foreigners, 24,800 

Augmentation to the British by new levies, 14,440 

Militia, including fenrible men, • . . 39,701 

American Tories, .... 6,000 

Irish establishment, 14,685 


Though they will never be able to realise this number, 
or near it, yet the expense will not therefore be diminished. 
With their taxes doubled, and such an enormous increase 
of expense while her commerce is so greatly abridged, it 
may easily be judged how long Great Britain can continue 
so ruinous a contest. Nothing seems more sure, than that 
she will not get even the stipulated number of recruits from 
Germany ; much less has she any chance of an augmen- 

Yet all the advices concur in assuring us, that the Cabinet 
is determined on pushing the war in America, for whicli 
purpose they propose sending the following regiments; 
1st and 2d battalions of Royals ; 3d, lltli, 1 3th, 19th, 25th, 
30tli, .32d, 36th and 09th. The 18th, eOth and 67th from 
vor.. u. 2S 


Ireland. These fourteen regiments may contain from five 
to six thousand men. One of my correspondents, in whom 
1 have much reliance, thinks they will be sent to the West 
Indies, and not to the Continent. In truth, I believe they 
will wait till the operations of Count d'Estaing enable them 
to decide whether they can venture to send them to New 
York, or must necessarily re-enforce the troops in their 
islands in order to preserve tliem. 

1 send you copies of the bill of lading and the invoice 
of supplies shipped from Bilboa, which I hope will arrive 
safe. You also have an account of the money I have been 
intrusted with, and how I have expended it. The vouch- 
ers are the merchants' accounts, which I have regularly 
transmitted as I received them. 

We wrote to M. de Beaumarchais upon our receiving your 

letter, and the agreement with his supposed company, that 

we were ready to setde accounts with him whenever he 

chose. He has made no answer. If your commercial 

agents do not keep an exact account of the marks of what 

they receive on the public account, and count or weigh 

what is delivered, you will want the means as we do, of 

checking the demands made. For example, M. Monthieu 

brings in an account to us for so many uniforms of blue 

cloth and so many pounds of rose copper ; and Mr Williams, 

the agent, gives a receipt for so many bales of uniforms and 

so many casks of copper, without specifying the number, 

weight, or quality, so that we are as little able to judge 

whether what we are to pay for has been received, as if no 

receipt at all was produced. Nor is the receipt of the 

agent on your side of the water in the least more explicit. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



P. S. Circumstances are such, that it is not prudent to 
say much about my particular department, but I think 
Congress will have reason to be satisfied with that quarter. 
January 28th. 

Public Money expended. 
1777, Livres. 

May 25th, Power of Attorney to Dr Frank- 
lin to dispose of the first remit- 
tance, ..... 9 
Remitted to Gardoqui at Bilboa 
(for supplies sent to Congress) 
1777, November 29th, 60,790,; 
May 29th, 1778, 14,599; Sep- 
tember 25th, 24,654; January 
3d, 1779, 19,905, . 119,848 
Feb. 7th, Courier with despatches to Nantes, 120 
20th, A person's expenses to and from 

London, to get intelligence, 1,165 

March 30th, Remitted to the prisoners at Ports- 
mouth by Mr Thornton, 495 
Advanced for the State of Virginia, 35,585 
June, Cost and expenses of 800 fusils, 22,548 
" 10th, Lieutenant Jones of the Providence, 
his expenses for bringing des- 
patches, .... 347 
•'* 23d, Mr Thornton's expenses to Ports- 
mouth, &.C. . . .. 480 
My own expenses, . . 2,232 
Sept. 25th, Mr Bonfield's accounls for su[)plies 

sent, .... 52,501 

Amount carried over, 235,330 


Amount brought over, 235,330 

Banker's commission, . . 1 ,037 

30,000 blankets ordered from Bil- 

boa, .... 210,000 

Charges on them, . . 18,000 

Public Money received. 

1777, May, Ren)ittance from Spain, . 187,500 

1778, Oct. Two do " do . . 187,500 

Interest on the last for three months, 2,000 


Debit, 87,567 

January 1st, 1779. Livres 464,567 

— ^ — 



Versailles, January 10th, 1779. 


I received with the letter, which you did me the honor to 

write me the 8th, a copy of your answer to Dr Berken- 

hout, which is noble and frank. These are not qualities 

the most cherished in England, but it is good that they 

should know there, that your intentions are not different 

from those of your constituents, and that they in vain 

attempt your and their fidelity. Agreeable to our advices 

I'rom England, the gales of wind towards the end of last 

month have much disordered the numerous convoys, that 

were prepared for the two Americas. I am going to 

acquaint M. de Sartine of the one that is about sailing from 


I have the honor to be, Sic. 





Paris, Jaiuiai V IStli, 1779. 


Our enemies are in as much confusion and disorder as 
possible. Admiral Keppel's trial, which is considered as 
an assassination, has revolted all men's minds. Those ot" 
Sir Hugh Palliser and the Howes are soon to follow. 
The demon of discord has lighted among them his most 
destructive torch. They have made some attempts on the 
landed property in Wales, which is likely to raise that prin- 
cipality against them if they persist ; and the king is not 
remarkable for the wisdom of retracting from what he has 
once commenced. It is at present by no means improba- 
ble, that they will have intestine commotions to employ them 
in the course of this year, and their possessions are every 
where so ill provided, that many of them must fall an easy 
prey to our ally. The parting proclamation and manifesto 
of their Commissioners has disgraced them much in Eu- 
rope ; and the counter manifesto of Congress is generally 

A large West India fleet and transport, victuallers of two 
hundred sail, with twentyfive sail of men of war to convoy 
them, were lately dispersed by a terrible storm in the chan- 
nel. A most valuable East Indiaman was sunk to the bot- 
tom by the Russel, a 74 gun ship, which was greatly dama- 
ged. Many of their transports were forced into the har- 
bors of France and captured. The loss, damage, and 
delay, are very considerable, and the more distressing to 
them, as they are with great reason under infinite appre- 
hensions for the fate of their Islands. It is supposed, that 
only five of the men of war are to continue with them quite 
to the West Indies. 


There are many doubts of their being able to raise 
the loan they want, and it certainly will not be procured 
but on most ruinous terms. In short, their distress begins 
to be proportioned to their deserts, and is only exceeded 
by the folly of their councils. 

There is not yet any appearance of a pacification in Ger- 
many ; and the city of Amsterdam is exerting its utmost 
to preserve the States-General in their neutrality. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Newington-Green, January I8th, 1779. 

Dear Sir, 

Your most kind and excellent letter, together with the 
letter conveying the resolution of Congress, has made the 
deepest impression on my mind. I entreat you to accept 
yourself, and to deliver to Doctor Franklin and Mr Adams, 
my best acknowledgments. Though I cannot hesitate 
about the reply addressed to the honorable Commissioners, 
and through them to Congress, which accompanies this 
letter, yet so flattering a testimony of the regard of an 
assembly, which I consider as the most respectable and 
important in the world, cannot but give me the highest 
pleasure, and I shall always reckon it among the first honors 
of my life. 

There is an indolence growing upon me as I grow olderj 
which will probably prevent me forever from undertaking 
any public employment. When I am in my study and 
among my books, and have nothing to encumber me, 1 
am happy ; but so weak are my spirits, that the smallest 
hurry and even the consciousness of having anything to 


do which must be done, will sometimes distress and over- 
power me. What I liave written on the subject of finances 
has been chiefly an amusement, which I have pursued at 
my leisure, with some hope indeed, but very little expecta- 
tion of its being useful. Nothing can be more melancholy 
than to see so many great European States depressed and 
crippled by having debts, which have been the growth of 
ages, and which in the end must ruin them, but which a 
small appropriation, faithfully applied, might have always 
kept within the bounds of safety. This is particularly true 
of this country. Here our debts must soon produce a 
shocking catastrophe. The new world will, I hope, take 
warning, and profit by the follies, corruptions, and miseries 
of the old. 

My pamphlets on the principles of Government and the 
American war, were extorted from me by my judgment 
and my feelings. They have brought upon me n great deal 
of abuse ; but abundant amends have been made me by the 
approbation of many of the best men here and abroad, and 
particularly by that vote of Congress, to which I suppose 
they may have contributed. When you write to any of 
the members of that assembly, be so good as to represent 
me as a zealous friend to liberty, who is anxiously attentive 
10 the great struggle in which they are engaged, and who 
wishes earnestly, for the sake of the world, that British 
America may preserve its liberty, set an example of mode- 
ration and magnanimity, and establish such forms of gov- 
ernment, as may render it an asylum for the virtuous and 
oppressed in other countries. 

Tell Dr Franklin that he is one of the friends in 
whom, while in this country, I always delighted, and for 
whom I must ever retain the erealest esteem and afFec- 


tion. We are now separated from one another, never 
probably to meet again on this side the grave. My con- 
nexions and state of healdi and spirits are sucl), that I must 
stay in this country and wait its fate. I do this with a 
painful concern for the infatuation, that has brought it into 
its present danger, but at the same time, with indifference 
as far as my own personal interest is concerned, and a per- 
fect complacency in the consciousness of having endeavored 
to act the part of a good citizen, and to serve the best of 
all causes. Will you further mention me particularly to 
Mr Adams, and inform him, that T greatly respect his 

Some good iriends of yours and mine are well, but I 
differ from them at present in opinion. 

Under a grateful sense of your friendship, and witii 

regard and wishes of all possible happiness, 

I am, dear Sir, &,c. 



Passy, February 11th, 1779. 


As your Excellency reads English perfectly well, my 
first request is, that you would do me the favor to read this 
without a translation, after which I submit it to your Excel- 
lency to make what use of it yon shall think proper. 

I have hitherto avoided in my single capacity giving your 
Excellency any trouble by letter or conversation ; but the 
present emergency demands that I should ask the favor to 
explain n^y senlimenls, either by letter or in person. If 
you will permit a personal interview, I nm persuaded I can 
make myself iinderslood. If Vdu profer a correspondonce. 


I will lay open my heart in writing, before your Excel- 

It is the address to the people in America under the 
name of Mr Silas Deane, that has occasioned this boldness 
in me. It is to me the most unexpected and unforeseen 
event that has happened. I hope your Excellency will 
not conclude from thence, that I despair of the Common- 
wealth. Far otherwise. I know that the body of the peo- 
ple in the United States stand immovable against Great 
Britain ; and I hope that this address of Mr Deane's 
(although it will occasion much trouble to individuals) will 
produce no final detriment to the common cause ; but on 
the contrary, that it will occasion so thorough an investigation 
of several things as will correct many abuses. 

It is my indispensable duty upon this occasion to inform 
your Excellency, without consulting either of my colleagues, 
that the honorable Arthur Lee was as long ago as 1770 
appointed by the House of Representatives of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay, of which I had then the honor to be a mem- 
ber, their agent at the Court of London in case of the death 
or absence of Dr Franklin. This honorable testimony was 
given to Mr Lee by an assembly in which he liad no natural 
interest, on account of his inflexible attachment to the 
American cause, and of the abilities of which he had given 
many proofs in its defence. From tl)p.t lime to the year 
1774 he held a constant correspondence with several of 
those gentlemen, who stood foremost in the Massachusetts 
Bay against the innovations and illegal encroachments of 
Great Britain. This correspondence I had an opportunity 
of seeing, and I assure your Excellency from my own 
knowledge, that it breathed the most inflexible attachment, 
and the most ardent zeal in the cause of his country. 

YOL. II. 29 


From September 1774 to November 1777, 1 had the honor 
to be in Congress, and the opportunity to see his letters to 
Congress, to their committees, and to several of their 
individual members. Through the whole of both these 
])eriods, he communicated the most constant and certain 
intelligence, which was received from any individual within 
my knowledge, and since I have had the honor to be joined 
with him here, f have ever found in him the same fidel- 
ity and zeal ; and have not a glinuTiering of suspicion, that he 
ever maintained an improper correspondence in England, 
or held any conference or negotiation with any body from 
thence, without communicating it to your Excellency and to 
his colleagues. I am confident, dierefore, that every insin- 
uation and suspicion against him of infidelity to the United 
States, or to their engagements with his Majesty, is false 
and groundless, and will assuredly be proved to be so. 

The two honorable brothers of Mr Lee, who are members 
of Congress, 1 have long and intimately known ; and of my 
own knowledge I can say, tiiat no men have discovered 
more zeal in support of the sovereignty of the United States, 
and in promoting from the beginning a friendship and alli- 
ance with France, and there is nothing of which I am more 
firmly persuaded, than that every insinuation that is thrown 
out to the disadvantage of the two Mr Lees in Congress is 
groundless. It would be too tedious to enter at present into 
a more particular consideration of that address. I shall 
therefore conclude this letter, already too long, by assuring 
your Excellency, that T am, with the most entire consider- 
ation, vour most, &,c. 





Versailles, Februaiy 13th, 1779. 


I have received the letter, which you diJ nie the honor 
of writing to nie the 11th in.slant, and agreeable to your 
desire I have not submitted its contents to the inspection 
of a translator. 1 aln no less concerned than yourself, Sir, 
at the appeal, which Mr Silas Deane has made to the people 
of America. It does not belong to me to qualify this step ; 
your respective sovereigns must judge of the measure, and 
decide the differences which have arisen between their 
Commissioners. The manner in which you have been 
treated here, conjointly and separate!}^, must have convinced 
you, that if we had been informed of your disputes we 
should have paid no regard to them, and tlie personal es- 
teem which we have endeavored to show each of the Com- 
missioners is a proof, that we have not adopted the preju- 
dices with which it seems it has been endeavored to inspire 
America, and the foundation of which is unknown to iis. 

Although this disagreeable disunion is foreign to us, and 
it becomes us by all means to refrain from taking part 
therein, I shall not be the less pleased to sec you, Sir, and 
whatever day you fix will be agreeable to me. I only 
request you to acquaint me beforehand with the time you 
shall choose. 

1 have the honor to be, Sec. 


" W hen Mr Deane s acUress icaclied Paris, Wr Lee ascertained that 
k was intended to be published in the Courier dt I'Europej and he wrote 




Versailles, February 15th, 1779. 

The Count de Vergennes has the honor to present his 
compliments to Mr Lee, and to inform him, that if he will 
take the trouble of coming to Versailles on Wednesday or 
Thursday next, as shall be most convenient to him, he will 
be very glad to converse with him. 

Note by Mr Lee. 

Went next day to Count de Vergennes, showed him my 
books concerning the treaties, and the French and English 
propositions. It was agreed, that 1 should have the passages 
translated for him to lay before the King and Council. He 
said, that Mr Deane's charges were inapt, that it was surpris- 
ing he should bring them into his personal dispute, that he 
had much wished Mr Fran9ois to go as Minister to America. 
Upon my saying, the cause of Mr Deane's recall was his 
having sent over so many officers, he said it was what 

to Count de Vergennes requesting him to order it to he suppressed. The 
following answer was returned. 

Versailles, February 9th, 1779. 

I received the letter, which you did me the honor of writing to me the 
7th instant. I had no knowledge of the writing it mentioned, and yes- 
terday I was about taking measures that it should not be inserted in the 
Courier de I'Europe, just as that paper was sent to me, wherein I found 
the writing in question, so that it was out of my power to second your 
wishes. Do not doubt, Sir, of the regret I experience on account of this 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



he always disapproved of, because he knew that multitudes 
of those who were applying were neither officers nor any 
thing else. 


Passy, p-ebruary I8II1, 1779. 

I have the honor to communicate to you herewith copies 
of resolutions of Congress, of September the 11th and 
14th, and October die 22d. I shall endeavor strictly to 
comply on my part with the commands of Congress con- 
tained in the latter, which are at the same time perfectly 
agreeable to my inclinations. 

1 have the honor to be, he. 



Chaillof, February 18th, 1779. 


I this moment had the honor of receiving yours of this 
date, containing copies of the resolutions of Congress of 
September the Mth and 14th, and October the 22d. I 
shall do myself the honor of paying my compliments to 
you on your appointment tomorrow about 12 o'clock. 

Nothing can be more agreeable to me than your inten- 
tion of cultivating the harmony recommended in the last 
resolve, because I always lamented the interruption of it 
as detrimental to the public, and dishonorable to ourselves. 

1 have the honor to be, &.c. 




Passv, February IStli, 1779. 

I beg j^ou will be pleased to send me by llie bearer all 
the public papers in your hands belonging to this depart- 

I have die honor to be, &,c. 



Cliaillot, February 21st, 1779. 


Your grandson delivered to ine, between 10 and 12 
o'clock on the 19th, your letter dated the ISth, in which 
you desire I "will send, by the bearer all the papers belong- 
ing to this department." 

I have no papers belonging to the department of Minister 
Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles. But if you 
mean. Sir, the papers relating to the transactions of our late 
joint Commission, I am yet to learn, and cannot conceive 
on what reason or authority any one of those who were 
formerly in that commission can alone claim or demand 
possession of all the papers evidencing their transactions, in 
which, if they should appear to have been equally con- 
cerned, they are equally responsible. 

Of these papers Mr Deane, by his own account, took and 
secured such as he chose. The rest, a veiy few excepted, 
you have. Many of these I have never even seen, but 
have been favored with copies. Of the few originals in my 
possession, there are, I know, duplicates of the most part at 
Passy, because it was for that reason only that 1 took 


them. The rest are necessary evidence to answer Mr 
Deane's accusations. 

If it were indeed agreed, that all the papers belonging to 
our late commission should be brought together, numbered, 
docketed, and deposited where the late Commissioners, and 
they only, might have access to them, I would very readily 
contribute the few I have. But on no other terms can I 
part with them, and must therefore desire you to command 
me in some other service. 

Still, however, I am in the judgment of Congress, and 
if upon our mutual representations, should you think it 
worth troubling them with, they should be of a different 
opinion, I shall abide by their decision, and obey their 

I hope your gout is better, and have the honor to 
be, he. 



Paris, February 25th, 1779. 


I received the remarks of Mr Deane, dated the 12th of 
October, 1778, on my letter of the 1st of June, 1778.* 

Mr Deane endeavors to mislead Congress from the real 
point of my information, which is, that from the papers he 
left, no satisfactory account could be obtained of the mil- 
lions that had been expended, to that of the banker's 
accounts, the fairness and validity of which, as far as they 
go, I never questioned. 

The banker's account proves what I said, ihat millions 
have been expended ; but it does not prove what I wanted 

* See Silas Deane's Correspondence. Vol I. p 139. 148 


to be satisfied of, that the value of this expenditure has 
been received by the Agents of Congress in Europe. 
Neither their receipts nor the bills of lading appeared among 
the papers he left at Passy. Upon a scrap of paper Mr 
Deane had left notes, that such and such sums were paid in 
general for such and such purposes. This was a mannerof 
accounting equally mercantile and satisfactory. It was not 
even so explicit as the summary of the banker's account 
he has subjoined to the remarks I am answering. It never 
specified the quantity, and not often the quality, of what the 
sums were paid for. It was not accompanied with ac- 
counts and receipts from the persons, to whom the money 
was said to have been paid ; nor the receipts of our agent, 
to whom the things must be supposed to have been deliv- 
ered. It is manifest why the agent, Mr Williams, did not and 
will not to this moment give receipts, specifying the quan- 
tity and quality of what he received for the public use, be- 
cause such receipts would make him responsible to the 
public for their contents ; which now he is not. 

This then is distinctly the subject of my complaint, that 
Mr Deane, who assumed to himself the management of 
those affairs, left them in such confusion, that neither was 
there any usual or satisfactory evidence of the thing said to 
have been delivered, nor were there any means left of know- 
ing how to settle the accounts that remained unpaid, so as to 
do justice to the public. There were no books of accounts ; 
nothing but a confused mass of motley refuse papers, with- 
out order, reference, or effect. I do not, nor ever did say, 
that IMr Deane has not these regular, responsible accounts 
and vouchers, but I said, and still say, he did not leave 
them with us. Perhaps they are among'those he informs 
the public he had placed in safety ; that is, in fitter hands 
than those of the Commissioners appointed by Congress. 


Mr Deane informs us, that there are but two sides of an 
"account; but he ought to know, that there also ought to be 
to every mercantile account, receipts, invoices, and bills of 
lading. Had he ever taken the pains to procure these 
and left them for our satisfaction, he would have saved 
himself much discredit, and me much trouble ; the public 
would have been secured and satisfied. 

Mr Deane lumps 244,285 livres, as had and expended 
in common by the Commissioners. But this is not the fact. 
I had nothing to do with what the other Commissioners 
received. What I took for my expenses 1 gave separate 
and distinct receipts for. By misstating what I say of my 
expenses, he would induce Congress to suppose, that I had 
half of that sum. This too is not a fact, as my receipts will 
show. When I said, that from my experience I judged a 
public minister could not live on less than three thousand a 
year, I did not mean that I had actually spent that sum ; 
but that, as the expenses of a public Minister must be 
greater than those of a Commissioner, I could judge from 
my experience of the expense of the latter, what would be 
necessary for the former. I had not been a public Minis- 
ter, and therefore could not speak from experience in that, 
or from any other judgment.* 

1 have the honor to be, &c. 


* Mr Lee wrote a very long letter to the President of Congress, dated 
February 10th, vindicating himself against statements of Silas Deane. 
This letter, somewhat altered, was published under the title of " Extracts 
from a Letter written to the President of Congress, by the Honorable Arlltur 
Lee, in Answer to a Libel published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, of the 
5th of December, 1778, by Silas Deane ; in which every Charge or hninu- 
alion against him in that Libel is fully and clearly refuted. Philadel- 
phia, 1780." 

VOL. II. 30 



Nantes, March 7th, 1779. 


I )iad not the honor of receiving yours of the 29th of 
October until the 13th of February. The two pieces it 
enclosed from Mr Deane, I suppose it is expected I should 
answer. And I shall do it probably by the next oppor- 

1 hope it will not be expected of me to continue answer- 
ing the assertions of Mr Deane. If he produces any evi- 
dence to support his assertions, they may be worth atten- 
tion, but it is an endless as well as fruitless and unbecom- 
ing business, to be refuting all that such a man is capable 
of inventing. 

On the 18th of February I received from Dr Frank- 
lin a copy of the resolution of Congress, appointing him 
Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, accom- 
panied with an assurance, that the resolution of Con- 
gress recommending harmony and confidence among the 
Commissioners was agreeable to him.* I returned an 

* III a letter to Mr Lovell, one of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, 
dated June 2d, 1779, Dr Franklin writes as follows. 

"I have never meddled with the dispute between him (Mr Deane) and 
Mr Lee, but the suspicion of having a good will to him has drawn upon 
me a great deal of ill will from his antagonist. The Congress have 
wisely enjoined the Ministers in Europe to agree with one another. I 
had always resolved to have no quarrel, and have, therefore, made it a 
constant rule to answer no angry, affronting, or abusive letters, of wh.ich 
1 have received many and long ones from Mr Lee and Mr Izard, who, 
I understand, and see by the papers, have been writing liberally, or 
rather illiberally, against me, to prevent^ as one of them says here, any 
impressions my writing against them might occasion to their prejudice. 
But I have never before mentioned them in anv of mv letters." 


assurance of my sentiments being the same. The next 
day I received a letter from him dated also the 18th, and 
demanding of me the immediate delivery of all the public 
papers in my possession. I replied, that as the papers be- 
longing to the late Commissioners were, or ought to be, 
vouchers of their joint transactions, they should be equally 
accessible to them all ; but that Mr Deane, by his own 
confession, had taken and secured to himself all that he 
chose, that most of what remained were in his (Dr Frank- 
lin's) possession, and of the very few that were in mine 
most of them were duplicates, and the remainder neces- 
sary for my defence against Mr Deane's accusation. But, 
however, 1 was in the judgment of Congress whether I 
ought to give them up, and should obey their orders. 

I think it proper to inform you, that Dr Franklin, im- 
mediately upon the receipt of the resolution of Con- 
gress appointing him Minister Plenipotentiary, took into 
his sole management what was before under the Com- 
jnissioners, without showing us any authority for so doing, 
or any revocation of our joint commission. To this we 
submitted without the least question, supposing it probable, 
that such was the intention of Congress, and believing that 
any dispute about it would destroy all possibility of har- 
mony, and do more injury to the public than any pos- 
sible good that could be derived from the contest. 

It is supposed that peace is certain in Germany, and 
it has been procured chiefly by the mediation of this 

Our enemies have derived considerable credit Irom 
their late success in the West Indies, and their superior- 
ity there, which gives expectation of much greater. This 
has happened in a favorable moment lor eliecting their 


loan with great facility and success. The consequence will 
be their carrying on the war with new vigor ; and you must 
therefore prepare for another, and perhaps another cam- 
paign. With regard to the rest of Europe, it remains as 
when I wrote you last. 

It is probable, that the establishment of peace in Ger- 
many will produce some movements among them. But, 
at present, it is not possible to say with precision what 
they will be. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Passy, March 13tli, 1779. 

A severe lit of the gout, with too much business at the 
same time necessary to be done, has prevented till now 
my answering yours of the 21st past. 

I did not imagine there would be any difference of senti- 
ment between us concerning the propriety of returning to 
me the papers, which you have at various times taken from 
this house. When several persons joined in the same com- 
mission are to act upon papers, it seems necessary that 
they should be lodged in one place, where all the parties 
may be sure of finding them, and under the care of one 
person, who should be accountable for them ; and if there 
were not some particular reasons to influence another choice, 
I should suppose the first person named in the commis- 
sion might with great propriety take charge of them ; I 
am sure that if you had been that person I should have 
made no objection to it. Mr Adams having a room more 


convenient and more private than mine, and in which he 
lodged, I approved of his having the papers. He has vol- 
untarily returned me all he had without asking, and I thought 
asking was only necessary to obtain the rest I'rom you ; for 
the whole business, which before was transacted by us 
jointly, being now devolved on me, and as there must be 
frequent occasion to look back on letters received, memo- 
rials delivered, and accounts given in, contracts made, Stc. 
he. which, if I cannot have the opportunity of doing, I 
must be frequently at a loss in future transactions, I did 
not imagine 1 should have any difficulty in obtaining them, 
nor had I the least idea that my asking for them would 
occasion any dispute. 

I suppose that the papers Mv Deane mentions to have 
taken and secured were those only, that related to his sepa- 
rate commercial transactions for the public, before his 
appointment with us in the political commission. If he 
took away any of the papers we were jointly concerned in, 
1 conceive he was wrong in doing so, and that his doing 
wrong would not justify the rest of us in following bis exam- 
ple. I can have no desire to deprive you of any paper, 
that may be of use to you in answering Mr Deane's accu- 
sations, having no concern in them, nor interest in support- 
ing them. On the contrary, if any papers remaining in 
my hands caYi be of such use to you, you are welcome to 
have authenticated copies of them (which shall on request 
be made out for you) as well as of any others "evidencing 
our joint transactions," which you may desire. On the 
whole, it seems to me that this matter may be reasonably 
settled by your keeping, if you please, all those originals of 
which there are duplicates at Passy, retaining for a time 
such of tlie rest as you desire to copy, which copies being 


compared by us with the originals, may be authenticated 

by our joint signatures, and returning immediately all the 

others docketed and catalogued as you please, so as that 

you may know what and where they are, and call for a 

copy of any of them you may hereafter have occasion for, 

which shall always be given you. If these propositions 

are agreed to, the affair may soon be settled ; if not, I 

must wait the orders of Congress, and in the mean time 

do as well as I can with their business, which I think must 

often suffer by my want of the knowledge these papers 

might occasionally furnish me with. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Paris, March 19th, 1779. 


I received the letter you did me the honor to write 
me on the 13th, relative to the few papers of our late 
joint commission remaining in my hands; they are con- 
founded among a multitude of other papers. I will exam- 
ine them soon, and if I find any that relate to public 
accounts remaining unpaid (which I do not believe I shall 
find) I will inform you of it, that copies may be taken of 

Y'ou are pleased to say, that Mr Adams gave you the 
papers unasked. Mr Adams gave you the general papers, 
which no way related to him in particular, on your promise 
that you would have them arranged and kept in order. 
Mr Adams was not a calumniated person, uor were the 
papers he delivered to you necessary to justify him and 


prove the wickedness of his accuser. In circumstances 
so totally different I cannot imagine, Sir, that you can 
think we should act the same. Your pressing so earnestly 
to get from me a iew original papers, which you only con- 
jecture may be in some shape or other useful to you, after 
I have informed you that they are absolutely necessary to 
ray vindication from an impeachment, that touches even ray 
life and honor, gives me great uneasiness. Whether you 
are concerned or not in the accusations, it is equally neces- 
sary for me to refute them, and I am sure. Sir, you know 
that originals are better evidence than copies, however 
authenticated. On the contrary, copies are as adequate to 
the purposes you mention as originals, and I am most ready 
to give you copies sealed and authenticated of all, or any of 
the papers in my hands, as you may command. I beg. Sir, 
that you will have the goodness to believe, that when I 
give my reasons for my conduct, I do not mean to enter 
into or occasion a dispute. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, April 22d, 1779. 

^ Gentlemen, 
I enclose you copies* of a note and letter from me to 
the Marquis de la Fayette, to show the terms on which it 
seems to me we are most likely to obtain a loan from either 
France or Spain. If Congress approve of them, I should 
be glad of some instructions in conformity to them ; if they 
are not approved of, I should wish to know it, that I may 
not repeat the proposal. 

* Missing-. 


I cannot learn that England means to send out any con- 
siderable augmentation of their army with you. They have 
lately received despatches relative la the proceedings in 
Georgia, but it does not appear yet whether they will send 
a reinforcement thither from Great Britain, though 1 think 
it probable they will. 

I have not had a line from you since October last. The 

peace is not yet signed in Germany. The news of the 

taking of Pondicherry and other French settlements in 

India, by the English, together with their advantageous 

situation in the West Indies, has raised their funds, their 

credit, and their spirits.* 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Paris, April 26th, 1779. 


Since I had the honor of writing you last, on the 22d of 
April, nothing material has happened. An account of the 
signing of the peace in Germany is expected here daily. 

The reinforcements sent and sending out to the arm.y 
against you, amount to about 8000 in new Scotch levies, and 
British and German recruits. It is the plan of the British 
ministry, as far as I can learn, to make great exertions in 
this campaign, both against the United States and the 

* This letter was accompanied by another, dated April 23d, and 
entitled " A Memorial respecting the Conduct of Mr Williams," which was 
ai'terwards printed under the title of "Observations on certain Commer- 
cial Transactions in France, laid before Congress. By Arthur Lee. 
Philadelphia, 1780." To these observations is prefixed a preface, which 
is not attached to the Memorial first transmitted to Cong-ress. 


French Islands. Their war against you will in all proba- 
bility be in expeditions against different parts. 

This will be delivered to you by Mr Hezekiah Ford, 
who has served me faithfully for eight months as Secre- 
tary. He will give you the best information in his power 
of the state of affairs here. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, May 21st, 1779. 


It is now more than six months since I was honored with 
a line from you. I wrote you last on the 26th of April j 
since that time a solemn treaty of peace has been conclu- 
ded, by the mediation of France, between the Porte and 
the Court of Petersburg. Though this may appear to leave 
Russia at liberty to assist Great Britain, I do not think you 
have anything in reality to apprehend from that quarter. 

It is probable the German powers will soon be at peace, 
though it is not yet signed at Teschin. The effect of this 
will be to furnish Great Britain with a number of German 
troops, such as the free companies which are levied by dif- 
ferent leaders in all German wars, and are dismissed when 
they end. These having once pursued the military life will 
the more readily engage, especially when tempted with good 
pay and promises of plunder. The King of Prussia and 
the Elector of Saxony arc from interest inclined to our 
cause ; but there are so many intermediate considerations, 
which retard an open declaration, that it is not possible to 
say when that will take place. 

The House of Austria is in its politics inclined to England, 
VOL. II, 31 


and the Empress is personally so. The Emperor I think 
has different sentiments, but he is not the Sovereign. The 
Grand Duke, though much our friend, must follow the steps 
of his mother. 

Spain, Portugal, and Naples are in perfect harmony. 
The first is more able to reduce Great Britain to terms of 
peace, by a full acknowledgment of our independency and 
sovereignty, than any power in Europe. Her ministers are 
able, her credit great, her treasury well supplied, her finan- 
ces well administered, her commerce increasing, her fleet 
amounting to fifty sail of the line, and a proportionable 
number of frigates, fit for immediate service. In a word 
she is in a state to begin at a moment's warning a powerful 
war, and continue it for three years without borrowing a sol. 
She has made a noble motion to conclude what is stipulated 
in the treaty of alliance, and v.s I have not received one 
word of answer to my letters to Congress of the 10th of 
February, and 4th of April 1778, it is not easy for me to 
know how to act. I wish always to receive the instructions 
of my constituents, that I may pursue them to the best of 
my ability. 

The States-General have at length resolved to grant 
convoys to their merchant ships, and support their com- 
merce against the pretensions of England. Sweden and 
Denmark have determined the same ; and all these govern- 
ments are augmenting their naval force, so as to support 
these resolutions. I imagine this will, by degrees, let in the 
commerce of America, to which these powers will give 
every protection they can, short of open hostilities, and 
Great Britain will be obliged to wink at it. 

In England the discontents in the army and navy are 
little short of disaffection. The Ministers are pursued with 


unremitting acrimony, and supported by tiie king with pro- 
portionable perseverance. The examination of the sea 
and land officers before the House of Commons, in the 
inquiry now making into the conduct of the Howes, with 
the correspondence between the Ministers and Generals, 
prove very satisfactorily, that both the Ministers and Gene- 
rals exerted their utmost in the war against us ; and that it 
did not fail from their fault, but from the impracticability of 
the attempt. General Grey's decided opinion is, that the 
war can never succeed. Captain Hammond spoke highly 
of the behavior and utility of our row gallies and fire 
flats. The new recruiting scheme in England is very 
unproductive ; they have not yet raised six thousand of 
the fifteen thousand they expected. Their expense is enor- 
mous, and the produce of their taxes, though they are 
increased in number, greatly deficient. Scotland is irritated 
by the countenance given to the Roman Catholics, and their 
highland levies have twice mutinied, so that there is little 
probability of that country, however hostile, supplying any 
more troops. 

Ireland is nearly in the state we were in six years ago. 
The people are supplying themselves with arms, meeting and 
exercising, and the government not venturing to interpose. 
They have entered into a nonimportation agreement, and 
their spirit is In a train towards independency, which noth- 
ing but the most wise and healing measures will stop. 
General Clinton has thrice demanded his recall, and Lord 
Cornwallis will probably command in his place. 

On the contrary, there is not the smallest abatement of 
the hostile intentions against us in the king and his Minis- 
ters. Nor will a change, if the king should be forced to it, 
make any difference, but that probably those intentions 


would be carried into execution with more wisdom. Our 
alliance with France has united all parties, in the resolution 
of prosecuting the war against us to the last extremity. 
Almost the whole of the French commerce, having fallen 
a prey to their privateers, has really enriched the nation and 
rendered the war popular. Their late successes, especially 
in India, have given them credit for this year and resources 
for the next, great and unexpected ; the peace in Germany 
will supply them with men. Lord Shelburne's plan is, 
and he will make a point of it should he come in, to pre- 
vail upon Prince Ferdinand to take the command in 
America ; trusting that his abilities, with the confidence and 
graciousness of his character among the Bridsh, as well as 
the German soldiery, will overcome all difficulties. 

But what they rely upon most is the derangement of 
our finances, the depreciation of our paper, the divisions 
and discontents excited among us by the bad ambition 
of some, the criminal intrigues of others, and the un- 
bounded avarice of many. They flatter themselves, that 
what has happened in all countries and at all times will 
be our fate, that public defaulters will, by the weight of 
their acquisitions, obtain an ascendency which will either 
bring ns to ruin by the prevalence of the evil, or betray 
us to our former domination, in order to keep possess- 
ion with impunity of what they have acquired. If, by 
these instruments, they can loosen the ties, which by 
knitting the people and their leaders together have hith- 
erto rendered them invincible, and withdraw their confi- 
dence from those who originally planned and have ably 
conducted them through this wonderful revolution, they 
hope to effect what they hitherto have attempted in vain, — 
to subjugate those Qtios negue Tydides, nee Larissceus 


Achilles, non anni domuere decern, non millc carina-. As 
far as I can learn, there is no probability of this Court's 
supplying any money. But of this you will be better in- 
formed by your Minister. This letter I expect will go by 
the Chevalier do la Luzerne, who succeeds M. Gerard. 
M. de la Luzerne's family is among the best and most hon- 
orable of this country. He has been Minister to the Court 
of Munich, and is a gentleman of honor and ability, inso- 
much that the Court of Versailles seems to me in nothing 
to have shown its wisdom more, than in sending at this im- 
portant moment a Minister, whose conduct is likely to cor- 
respond with his rank and character, and who will not descend 
to anything that may either dishonor himself or disturb us. 

The secretary to the embassy, M. de Marbois, is also a 
gentleman respectable for his character and abilities. 

The sums of public money, which I have received for 
my expenses (my two journies included) from the bankers 
Sollier and Grand, from the 16th of December 1776, to 
the 20th of April 1779, amounts to 119,018 livres, 17 den. 
17 sols. I observe that Mr Deane, in a summary laid 
before Congress on the 12th of October 1778, lumps a 
sum received by the Commissioners for their expenses, &c. 
from Mr Grand, only to the 30th of April 1778, and states 
it at 244,285 livres, 15, 11. But as I have no concern 
with what Dr Franklin and Mr Deane received, I desire 
that the accounts of the bankers, and not that of Mr Deane, 
may answer for me. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 


P. S. May 22d. The treaty of peace in Germany 
was signed on the 13th. From some intelligence I have 


just received, though not from authority, I am inclined to 
believe we shall soon be satisfied with the conduct of 
Spain. Be pleased to enclose my letters, a Monsieur le 
Marquis de Malsherbe, Ministre d' Etat, Paris. 


Paris, May 31st, 1779. 

I beg the favor of your Excellency to lay my respects 
before Congress, with a repetition of my most earnest re- 
quest to be recalled. 

I should most willingly continue to sacrifice, as I have 
hitherto done, my private interests to the public good ; but 
I am satisfied that the dissensions raised concerning me 
will be continued, by a continuance of my commission, and 
will be of more injury to the public than 1 can be of 
service ; and as the public good was the sole motive of my 
accepting the commission, the same reason now induces me 
to desire most earnestly to resign it. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Paris, June 7th, 1779. 

Mr Lee has the honor to present his respects to his 
Excellency the Ambassador of Spain, and begs him to be 
pleased to transmit the letter accompanying this to his 



Paris, June 6th, 1779. 

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a 
Memorial, which the opportunities I have had of knowing 
the temper and circumstances of Great Britain make me 
presume to submit to your consideration. 

The earnest desire I have of rendering some service to 
Spain, and the common interest that must subsist in the 
success of the war, should it happen, are the nniotives and 
I hope will be the apology for what I offer. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, June 6lb, 1779. 

It is experience that teaches wisdom. The misfortunes 
of our friends carry this good with them, that they are a 
warning to us. 

The present war between France and England has been 
conducted chiefly by the privateers of the latter. They 
have made a prey of almost the whole commerce of 
France. This, while it really enriched England, rendered 
the war popular. It has deeply wounded France in the 
loss of her sailors as well as of her property. 

The cause of this misfortune is manifest. France per- 
mitted her trade to go on as in time of peace, as individuals 
pleased, and without convoy. It was thought better to 
employ their ships of war in cruising for the privateers, 
than in convoying and defending their vessels against them. 


It was not considered, that privateers always go single, that 
they are swift and small, that it is difficult to find a small and 
single ship at sea, and that an East or West India prize is 
worth fifty privateers. The consequences have been propor- 
tioned to the plan, France has captured some little priva- 
teers of England, the English the large and rich East and 
West India ships of the French. This is a misfortune, from 
which I would wish to^warn and guard Spain. 

The English have greater expectations of rich and nu- 
merous prizes in a Spanish than in a French war. If they 
are disappointed in this, such a war would soon become 
unpopular and unmaintainable. Now the means of disap- 
pointing their expectations are, as I conceive, these. To lay 
an embargo on all the merchant vessels of Spain, both in 
Europe and America, at the commencement of hostilities. 
Not to suffer their merchantmen or galleons, which are the 
great objects of English avidity, to go out of their ports but 
with strong convoys. So secured, they could not be cap- 
tured but by a fleet or strong squadron of the enemy. But 
fleets and large squadrons hardly ever make prizes ; nor 
from their nature and circumstances can they do it. Pri- 
vateers, frigates, and single ships of force, are those only 
which cruise with effect against merchantmen. Defended 
from these, the commerce of Spain will go safe and secure, 
the hopes of the enemy will be disappointed, they will sus- 
tain all the burthen of the war without reaping any of its 
expected benefits. 

Such a war must soon become unpopular ; and the wisest 
Ministers in the best of times cannot long sustain an unpop- 
ular war in England, much less can it be sustained in times 
of great and manifest difticulty and distress, and by Minis- 
ters who have not given the most distinguished proofs of 


their wisdom. There is no human event more sure than 
that Spain, if she secures her commerce from the depreda- 
tions of the enemy, must soon reduce Great Britain to 
whatever equitable terms she pleases. Add to this, that if 
while the fleet of France keeps that of England in check in 
the channel and in the bay, the fleet of Spain should com- 
pletely block up the Mediterranean, so as to intercept all 
communication with Gibraltar and Minorca, these strong 
holds must inevitably surrender in a few months. 

I may, therefore, be now permitted to repeat with more 
confidence than ever, that it is in the power of Spain to 
clip the wings of Great Britain, and pinion her for ever. 



L'Oiient, June lOtli, 1779. 

Dear Sir, 

1 have the honor of your letter from Pari§, of the 5th of 
this month, in which you inform me, that by advices from 
America your enemies are determined to impeach your 
attachment to our country and her cause, and in which you 
request my opinion on that point, from the knowledge I 
have had of your conduct, while we acted together in com- 

At the same time, that 1 lament the necessity of giving 
my testimony to a point, that ought to be so well established 
in every part of the world, 1 have great pleasure in declar- 
ing, that from my first knowledge of your fame to this hour, 
I have never entertained one moment's suspicion of your 
attachment to our country and her cause, but on the con- 
trary through the whole course of that period, which I think 
is more than ten years, I have seen frequent proofs of your 
VOL. II. 32 


fidelity and zeal in it, oftentimes at a great expense of labor 
and care at least, and at great hazard ; and particularly- 
through the space of time I had the honor to serve with you 
in commission, I never saw or heard anything which gave 
me the least suspicion of the sincerity, fidelity, or zeal of 
your devotion to the sovereignty of the United States, but 
on the contrary, constant evidence of a warm aifection for 
their honor, dignity, and prosperity. 
I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect, 



Paris, June 21st, 1779. 


I have the honor to inform Congress, that Spain has 
declared against Great Britain, and that their respective 
Ambassadors are recalled. A part of the Spanish fleet has 
joined that of France, which makes it outnumber that of 
England, amounting to thirtythree sail of the line, under 
Admiral Sir Charles Hardy, so that it is not very probable 
the latter will long hold the dominion of the sea. 

Two motions in the House of Commons, one for offering 
us peace, the other for withdrawing all their force from 
America to withstand the House of Bourbon, have been 
negatived since the Spanish declaration was known to the 
Ministry of England. The ministerial arguments were, 
that neither they nor any other Ministry could consent to 
the independence of America, nor to the withdrawing their 
troops, without previous offers on our part. That the num- 
ber of Americans in the King's service was equal to General 
Washington's army, with seven thousand of our sailors volun- 


teers in his service. Lord George Germain said he knew, 
from undoubted intelligence, that Congress was divided into 
parties, and that it was only the fear of the army, that with- 
held a part of Congress from immediately offering terms to 
Great Britain. He added, that as the prohibitory act em- 
powered the Crown to receive bodies, or individuals of 
America into the King's protection, and to grant pardons, 
this was sufficient. The majority of the House received 
this with acclamations of applause. 

Parliament is to be prorogued on the 24th, having voted 
another million for this year's service. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, June 27tb, 1779. 

Your Excellency will permit me to lay before you, a 
statement of the late proceedings of the English in the 
southern parts of the United States of America, which, in 
their consequences, may be as injurious to his Catholic 
Majesty's possessions in that quarter as to those of the 
States. Should the measure proposed to prevent their 
success appear to your Excellency to be advisable, it can- 
not be executed too soon ; because every day gives the 
enemy new strength in their stations, and enables them to 
do additional mischief by destroying whatever they can 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 




Paris, June 27th, 1779. 
The English, having taken possession of Savannah in 
Georgia, are extending themselves in that State so as to 
form a connexion with, and establish an influence over, the 
Indian nations that border all that country. They design 
also to possess themselves of Port Royal in South Carolina, 
and if possible, of Charleston. 

These acquisitions, if they are suffered, with their con- 
tiguous possessions, will give them such a command upon 
that coast and in the Gulf, as well as such means of 
exciting the savages, and seconding their enterprises 
against the neighboring territories of Spain, as may be diffi- 
cult to resist if they are not prevented. 

What renders it impracticable for the Americans to repel 
the enemy, is their superiority at sea, which, at the same 
time that it supports their posts on land, enables thena to 
make diversions in various quarters so as to keep up a 
general alarm, and prevent our force from being united in 
sny one point. With this view, they have very lately 
invaded the State of Virginia, in the Bay of Chesapeake, to 
withhold the aid which that State would send to South 
Carolina and Georgia. 

In this situation it is in his Majesty's power to give very 
effectual assistance to the invaded States, and prevent the 
enemy from making such dangerous establishments and 
such an augmentation of their power. The naval force of 
the English in Georgia and South Carolina will consist of 
a fifty gun ship, the Experiment, lately sailed, and three 
frigates. In the Bay of Chesapeake, there are a sixty- 
four and a fortyfour gun ship, with some armed tenders. 


A small squadron, therefore, of three or four large ships 
and a few frigates, sent from the Havanna, would destroy 
the enemy's ships in Georgia, South Carolina, and Chesa- 
peake Bay, and dehver their troops into the hands of the 

The state of the enemy's fleets in Europe and the West 

Indies, will not permit them to augment their force on the 

coast of America. The squadron, actually sailed under 

Admiral Arbuthnot to New York, consists of four ships of 

'the line and one frigate, viz. the Robust seventylour, the 

Russel seventyfour, the Europe sixtyfour, the Defiance 

sixtyfour, and the Guadaloupe twentyeight. As this 

squadron must support the operations of their main army, 

and protect Halifax, Rhode Island, and New York, it 

is not probable they will detach any additional force 

from thence to the southward, so that their armament there, 

if not withdrawn, must necessarily fall a sacrifice to the 

Spanish squadron.* 



Philadelphia, July 16th, 1779. 

Two days ago several of your letters came to hand, 
the latest being of April 6th ; it is much to be regretted 

* On the 25th of June, Mr Lee wrote to the Count de Florida Blanca, 
as follows. 

" I do not press your Excellency about my coming to Madrid. I know 

your Excellency's wisdom, and the maturity of judgment with which his 

Majesty's councils are conducted. 1 therefore trust, that when such a 

step is thought to be proper, you will have the goodness to signify it 

to me through his Majesty's Minister at this Court.' 

I have the honor, &c. 



that this one in particular did not earlier arrive. The copy 
of its contents was sent immediately to Governor Trum- 
bull, but alas, too late. Fairfield had been destroyed by 
tlie fire of the enemy. We are mistaken, however, if that 
enemy does not shortly find the unprofitableness of this kind 
of warfare towards their main purpose. America must be 
dead indeed to all proper spirit, if such doings will not ren- 
der her both as vigilant and active as in the beginning of the 
contest. It is matter of much conjecture, why you have 
not been able, for some'raonths back, to give us interesting' 
accounts from Spain. All we know is through M. Gerard. 
We have sent so many sets of the journals of Congress, 
that you will doubtless get one. They are chiefly directed 
to Dr Franklin. You will find the parts in which you are 
personally interested to be under the following dates, viz. ; 
April 6, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 28, 30 ; May 3, 22, 24, 25, 
27 ; June 8. 

We shall speedily write again ; in the meantime be 
assured that we are with much regard, 

Your humble servant, 


For the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 

P. S. September 16th. It is probable, that all the 
papers sent by you, up to May 21st, have come safe, either 
in originals, duplicates or triplicates. 



Madrid, August 6th, 1779. 

I duly received the two letters, which you were so 

kind as to write to me, dated the 7th and 25th of June 


last, in which you detail the critical circumstances of 
the affairs of England, and the system which you think 
suitable for the powers at war with her, and on this 
occasion you likewise mention some points relating to 
the present situation of the United Provinces of America. 

I can assure you, Sir, that I read with the greatest 
pleasure your very wise and prudent reflections, of which 
I shall make a suitable use. 

I avail myself of this opportunity to assure you of 

the perfect respect, with which I have the honor to 

be, &IC. 



Paris, August 10th, 1779. 

Not being permitted to know whether there is any cer- 
tain opportunity of writing, I must send you by every prob- 
able way an account of the present situation of affairs, which 
is extremely interesting. 

After a long delay through unfavorable winds, the Span- 
ish and French fleets joined off Cape Finisterre the 26th 
of last month. On the 6th of this, they were off Ushant, 
making for the English channel. A courier that arrived 
yesterday left them in the same position, with the wind 
contrary on the 7th. The combined fleet consists of fifty 
ships of the line, with thirty odd frigates, bombs, and fire 
ships, under the command of the Count d'Orvilliers. The 
Spanish and French ships are mixed together, the former 
twenty and the latter thirty. Don Cardova commands a 
separate fleet of sixteen Spanish ships of the line, which 


attends the grand combined fleet as a corps de reserve. 
Don Ulloa cruises off the Canaries with four of the line, 
and six more block up the Bay of Gibraltar, while a Span- 
ish army invests the town by land. 

Between thirty and forty thousand French troops are 
ready to embark at Havre de Grace and at St Malo to 
invade England, the moment the combined fleet appears 
to protect them. Besides this, large corps of troops are 
assembled at Brest and Dunkirk, and transports preparing 
for them, so that they may be ready to support the others, 
according to the exigency of events and the place where 
they land. 

The West India fleet, and that from the Baltic, got safe 

into the English ports to the amount of three hundred sail, 

the first of this month. This may enable them in a few 

weeks to add ten sail to their grand fleet, which at present 

consists of thiriyfive sail under Sir Charles Hardy, and is 

retiring up the channel. But it is to be hoped, they will 

feel some decisive blow before that augmentation. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, August 14th, 1779. 

A decent time having now elapsed since the Declaration 
of his Catholic Majesty against the King of Great Britain, 
it seems proper to apply to the Spanish Court to know 
whether they are inclined to enter into the alliance, which 
Congress have agreed to. At the same time, it appears to 
me that to ask Count de Vergennes' opinion of such a step, 
before 1 take it, would be an agreeable and useful mark of 


confidence in this Court. But as I think such an applica- 
tion cannot witli propriety be made to his Excellency, by 
any one but you as minister here, I must beg you to take 
the trouble of consulting Count de Vergennes, both upon 
the propriety and manner of my applying upon this sub- 
ject to the Court of Spain ; and that you will have the 
goodness to communicate to me his opinion. I would very 
willingly apply myself, were I not persuaded that it would 
be a trespass against the deference due to your situation, 
and that the observance of this order in our proceedings 
will contribute to the attainment of the public object I 
have in view. 

I have the honor to be, fcc. 



Paris, August 24tli, 1779. 


I had the honor of writing you on the 10th, to inform 
Congress of the junction of the fleets of France and Spain, 
the disposition of the troops and ships of the latter for 
the blockade of Gibraltar, and the security of their com- 
merce, with the preparations here for invading England. 
Since that, adverse winds have continually kept the com- 
bined fleet from entering the chatmel, and of course the 
embarkation for the inva.'^ion waits its approach and pro- 

I am informed and believe, that the Empress of Rus- 
sia has offered her mediation between the belligerent pow- 
ers in Europe. Her partiality for England is certain, and 
it is to be feared, that from a partial mediatrix she may 
VOL. II. 33 


become a powerful ally, and draw with her perhaps Swe- 
den and Denmark, witli whom she is upon good terms, 
and who may not think it their interest to let the naval 
power of the House of Bourbon acquire such an ascen- 
dency, by the destruction of that of Great Britain, as will 
destroy the balance and rivalship in Europe, so as to set 
up an unquestioned sovereign of the seas. 

Our enemies are so much pressed and kept in check 
at present, that I do not see a possibility of their sending 
any further force against you for the next campaign, nor 
a probability of their being able to continue that which 
is already at New York and Rhode Island. But as the 
interposition of other powers is an event always to be kept 
in view, and that interposition will not only render the issue 
of the war uncertain, but place the day of peace far distant, 
I cannot help signifying my most earnest hope, that the 
wisdom of Congress will employ that respite in so arrang- 
ing and reforming the administration of the public finances, 
and strengthening the country both by sea and land, as to 
be able to maintain the sovereignty and independence of 
the United States, in spite of any European combination, 
that may be formed against it. 

The English papers tell us, that the Count d^Estaing 
of ten guns and fourteen swivels, vi'ith despatches from 
Congress, was taken the 14th of July off Cape Finisterre, 
and that the despatches fell into their hands. 

The uncertainty of what will be the final resolution of 
Congress regarding me upon the review of foreign affairs, 
and after all the licentious means, that I perceive have 
been employed to injure my character, has determined me 
to wait their uhimate commands at this place. These will 
either save me from an ineffectual journey to Madrid, or 


fortify me with full instructions and a reassurance of that 
confidence, which it has been the endeavor of my enemies 
to withdraw from me. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 


P. S. August 2dth. The combined fleet was as far 
up the channel as Plymouth on the 18th, and had taken 
the Ardent of sixtyfour guns. This being a proper time 
of the moon for the embarkation of the troops, it is proba- 
bly executing at this moment, and our enemies will soon 
taste of those miseries, which they have so wantonly visited 
upon us. 


Paris, September lOlh, 1779. 


1 have seen in the Journals of Congress, transmitted to 
me by the Committee of Foreign Affairs, that Mr 
Paca, Mr W. H. Drayton, and Mr Carmichael have been 
permitted to lay before you intelligence and information 
concerning me,* and that at a moment in which Congress 
were to decide without hearing me, on what materially con- 
cerned my honor and reputation, both in America and 

I may venture to say, Sir, without fear of contradiction, 
that this is a new mode of judicial proceeding in a country 
contending for liberty and justice ; a mode of which every 
man in or out of Congress would complain if applied to 
himself J and under which it is impossible that any man's 

* Journal of Congress, April 30th and May 3fl, 1779 


character can be safe from the attempts of malice and 

Congress will permit me to request, that they will order 
copies of that intelligence and information to be transmitted 
to me, that I may be able to do myself, though late, the 
justice of answering them. 

I have the honor to be, Sec 



Palis, September 19tl), 1779. 


I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 16tii of 
July, with the Journals of Congress, in which I see with 
sorrow the proceedings with regard to those, who in no 
moment of their hves ever neglected to do the utmost in 
their power for the public good."" 

For myself I trust, that time and raaturer consideration 
wnll alter the opinion of those gentlemen, w^ho appeared 
desirous of fixing upon me a most public mark of suspicion 
and censure, with some little precipitation, they will permit 
me to say, as it was before I had been heard. Among 
those gentlemen there are some, whose education and pro- 
fession should, in a peculiar manner, have taught them, that 
it is laid down as a fundamental maxim of justice, that he 
who gives judgment, the one party being heard and the 
other not, though he should happen to be right in his deci- 
sion, commits an act of injustice. 

I should have expected, that not only Congress but 
every member of it, my accusers excepted, would have 

* Journal of Congress, June 10th, 1779. 


been my advocates, because your records are filled with 
proofs of my early and unremitting endeavors to serve tiie 
public. Congress will bear with me while I express my 
surprise, that the delicacy observed in wording Mr Deane's 
recall was reversed in the proceedings against Mr Izard, 
my brother, and myself; unless it were intended to hold 
us up to the world as persons, who had been proved guilty 
of offences against their country ; which, if it were, may 
God in his infinite mercy forgive. 

1 am fully persuaded, that time and riper information will 
show you, that as nothing could have given a deeper wound 
to the honor and interests of the United States, than har- 
mony among your Commissioners in doing ill, there were 
use and merit in the suspicions and dissensions, that arose 
among them. In any event, they who consider, that suspi- 
cions and dissensions may and have existed among the best of 
rnen, will mix some moderation with the judgment they pass 
upon them. They who know with what long suffering and 
frequent forgiveness I endeavored to prevent them, will not 
impute the blame to me. 

I will trouble Congress no more upon this vexed and 
unworthy business. Sensible as I was of the honor of your 
confidence, I was equally sensible of the sacrifice I made 
of my private affairs to the public service. I received your 
commission therefore not as a favor ; I do not retain it as a 
favor ; I will do my duty while I keep it, and resign it 
when it is your pleasure, without a moment's regret. When 
times less critical will admit of less reserve, it will be my 
duty to prove to my country and to the world, as I have 
done to you, that your confidence in me was not misplaced. 
This I trust I shall be able to do by evidence, that will carry 
conviction to all, and confusion to many. 


Congress will permit me to hope, that long before this, 

they have honored me with full instructions relative to the 

additional articles, and the boundary between the territories 

of Spain and the United States, on which I asked their 

commands as long ago as February and April, 1778. It 

is fortunate, that I have not yet been called upon on that 

subject. But it is impossible to say how long it will be 

delayed ; and no heavier misfortune could befall me, than 

to be left uninstructed in a business of such moment. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Passv, September 30th, 1779. 


[ received but yesterday morning, just as I was going out 
ol" town, the letter you did me the honor of writing to me, 
dated the 26th instant, respecting my supplying you with 
money for your support in Spain. As I cannot furnish that 
expense, and there is not, in my opinion, any likelihood 
at present of your being received at that Court, I think 
your resolution of returning forthwith to America is both 
wise and honest. 

With great respect, I have the honor to be, Stc. 



Paris, October 13tli, 1779. 

I have certain intelligence, that Admiral Rodney is to 
sail immediately from England, with five sail of the line, to 


take the command of the fleet in the West Indies. I am 
well informed, that the plan he proposed was by dividing 
his fleet into three divisions, with some landed forces on 
board of each, to block up and harass continually the whole 
of our coast. It is probable they have adopted his plan 
with him. His abilities and activity are great. Count 
d'Estaing is expected here in the winter with twelve ships, 
which will leave the enemy a decided and dangerous supe- 
riority. Our hope is, that by some mortal blow on New 
York before his departure lie will in a great measure frus- 
trate their intentions. 

The combined fleet is ordered into the British channel, 
and the troops to prepare for the invasion of England. 
Upon the issue of this will depend the continuance of the 

I have not yet received any instructions from Congress 
relative to Spain, nor any answer from that Court relative to 
my reception there. The public funds, which were in my 
hands, being nearly exhausted, and Dr Franklin having pos- 
itively declined supplying my expenses at that Court, I 
must beg Congress to take some immediate order in this 
business, so that it may not remain in the power of anv 
individual to counteract their intentions, and drive gentle- 
men away from Europe, who are so unfortunate as not to 
be in his good graces. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, October 13th, 1779. 

This is officially to convey to you the knowledge of the 
appointment of a Minister Plenipotentiary, in lieu of a Com- 
missioner, at the Court of Spain, and also a Resolve of 
Congress of this day, upon the reading of your letter of the 
31st of May.* 

Mr Jay will prohably be in a short time in Europe, to 
execute his commission. 

1 am, Sir, your most humble servant, 

Fo7- the Committee for Foreign Affairs. 


Paris, October 21st, 1779. 

It may be material for Congress to know, that all 
disposition in the Court of England towards peace seems 
at present to be removed. The appointment of Lord 
Bute's son upon an extraordinary embassy some time 
since, to the Court of Turin, announced a desire in the 
English cabinet to engage mediators ; and the late Ambas- 
sador from Spain to the Court of London had taken 
up his residence here, apparently to embrace the more 
readily the opportunity of negotiating, which that medi- 

"In Congress, October 13</i, 1779. A Inter of llie 31st of May last, 
from A. Lee, was read, whcrciijion, 

'■Resolved, That Mr A. Lee be informed of Mr Jay's appoiiitmeiU to 
the Court of Spain, and that, agreeably to his request, he is at liberty to 
return to America." 


ator might offer. But the embassy of Lord Mount- 
stewart is talked of no more, and Count d'Almadovar 
has within these few days quitted this place entirely, 
and returned to Madrid. 

It is no new alliance, as far as is known, that has inspired 
this confidence and hardiness into the British Ministry. 
Probably they flatter themselves, that as this campaign has 
passed away without their suffering much from the great 
superiority of the combined fleet, and the land armaments 
prepared against them, they will continue to be equallv 
fortunate. I compute, that with the supplies for the next 
campaign their debt must amount fully to 200,000,000. 

The siege of Gibraltar goes on in form, both by sea and 
land, nor does there seem any probabilit\^ of their saving 
that important place. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, Noveinber fit!), 1779. 


The campaign in Europe seems to be concluded, and 
the resolution of the enemy unabated. The siege of 
Gibraltar continues. 

I am yet without any instructions for Spain, or overtures 
from that Court relative to the conclusion of a treaty. I 
am satisfied that the same means have been employed, and 
by the same persons, to injure me there as here. With 
what success, my inquiries have not yet been able to dis- 
cover. By the advice of those, in whose knowledge and 
integrity 1 can most confide, among whom is the late Am- 
VOL. II. 34 


bassador from this Court, now a Minister, I have not 
entered into any vindication of myself to the Spanish 

Disagreeable as it is to me to remain here, after what 
has passed, it is, in my best judgment, more proper than 
going thither without definite instructions, and without new 
credentials to show that the calumnies of my enemies have 
not withdrawn from me the confidence of Congress, which 
by no means appears from my only being not recalled. 1 
must therefore entreat Congress to decide distinctly upon 
the accusations, that have been brought against me, and 
either declare them unjust, or commit the public business 
to a fitter person, and give me leave and leisure to vindi- 
cate my character to my country and to the world. 

Unless a demand on the part of the Spanish Court 
should make it necessary, I will not hazard the public 
interest and my own honor, in undertaking the negotia- 
tion, uninstructed, unvindicated, and unsupported. Is it 
possible that any one gentleman in Congress can help 
feeling the unexampled cruelty of leaving me in such a 
situation 9 

Uncertain as the decisions of all public bodies are, yet 
conscious that there was not any colorable pretence for 
impeaching my conduct, I could not but flatter myself, that 
the last despatches would have brought an explicit censure 
of Congress against the indecent attempts, that have been 
made to injure it. Insomuch that I thought it my duty to 
consult this Court through your Minister here, upon the 
propriety of my moving the Court of Spain on the negoti- 
ation with which I was intrusted, so that I might avoid 
giving offence to that Court by my silence and inactivity, 
and yet receive in time your final instructions, and a 
renewed assurance of your cbnfidence. 


Though I have constantly transmitted to Congress trip- 
licate copies of the invoices and bills of lading, which ac- 
count for the expenditure of the small sum of public 
money that was in my hands, yet as the order of the 6th 
of August is general, I have had triplicate copies made out 
of the whole, which, when there is a proper person to 
authenticate them, will show how the money has been 
expended. With regard to the funds, with which I was 
jointly intrusted with Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, my 
absence in Spain and Germany, with the orders for the 
application of a great part, which my colleagues thought 
proper to give without consulting me, disenables me from 
furnishing any further vouchers than the accounts of the 
banker and of Mr Williams, which I have also transmitted 
to Congress. 

I perceive by the journals, that a Committee is appointed 
for framing a plan of a foreign loan. It is my duty to say, 
that there is not the least probability, in the present situation 
of things, of obtaining any adequate loan in Europe, and 
to beseech Congress not to let the vain expectation of that 
divert their attention from trying every resource at home. 
It is necessary, that the impressions to our discredit, which 
have arisen from the unsuccessful attempts that have been 
already made, should be allowed to wear off, and some fa- 
vorable event occur, such as the enemy being obliged to draw 
off their troops, before it will be possible to succeed in such a 
plan. In the meantime, the repetition of ineffectual attempts 
will only debase your credit more, and especially, if they 
are accompanied with the offer of more than ordinary 
interest, which ever augments the suspicion of the insecu- 
rity of the principal, and that the borrowers are themselves 
conscious of their insufficiency. 


It gives me pain to mention what regards myself so often ; 
but Congress will permit me to repeat, that if it should not 
please them to recall me, il is absolutely necessary that 
some provision should be made lor the support of my 
mission, independent of Dr Franklin. If, in the meantime, 
the State of Virginia should reimburse me what I have 
advanced for them, that will be a fund, and I will immedi- 
ately give Congress advice of it. I must also beg, that 
Congress will fix a sum for my expenses, both that I may 
not exceed what is thought reasonable, nor have my time 
and attention employed in keeping accurate accounts 
of expenses, which I never did do, nor ever shall to my 
own satisfaction, or I believe to that of any one else. So 
that if this is expected, it will expose me to censure, which 
I wish to avoid. 

The Httle time that remains from daily attention to pub- 
lic business, and in collecting and digesting what relates to 
it, I wish to devote to private correspondence and reading. 
I have, therefore, thought it always sufHcient to proportion 
my expenses in general to my situation and means, without 
a minute attention to iheiu in detail. Whatever Congress 
fixes as reasonable will be the rule of my conduct, and 
it will spare both them and myself a great deal of, as I con- 
ceive, unnecessary trouble. 

I cannot learn with any certainty, what probability there 
is of any other powers entering next year into the 
present war. On that subject, your Minister here, as his 
situation gives him the means, will furnish you with earlier 
and surer information than it is possible for me to obtain. 
But the following are nearly tlje plans of the French and Brit- 
ish cabinets for the next campaign. Fourteen ships of seventy- 
four guns, and SOOO troops, are to be sent from hence to the 


West Indies. The twelve expected home with Count 
d'Estaing, being refitted with eight new ones, added to the 
sixteen remaining of those which form the present fleet, 
and fifteen Spanish ships, will make fiftyone sail, which are 
to convoy fifty thousand troops from Brest, where they are 
all to be collected, to whatever part of the coast of England 
is fixed upon for a descent. By this disposition of the 
fleet and army, it is expected that the delay and disappoint- 
ments which render this campaign abortive will be avoided. 
The bulk of the Spanish fleet is to secure the Mediterra- 
nean and press Gibraltar, while the army continues its 
approaches by land. 

The English cabinet are resolved to send all the troops 
they can possibly collect, which they say will amount to 
S or 10,000 against you, and stand upon the defensive 
at home. Their situation, however, is not a little embar- 
rassing. The Irish nation are so generally determined 
upon having a free trade, that the Court was obliged to 
allow it to be inserted in the address of both Houses, that a 
free trade is their right and they must have it. To support 
this, there are, besides the unanimous voice of the people, 
upwards of 15,000 men, in volunteer companies actually in 
arms, without the permission or control of government. 
To delay or refuse the granting of free trade, v.'iil endanger 
a general and most formidable insurrection in that king- 
dom. To grant it, will produce commotions of no less 
magnitude in England, of which they have already had 
some fearful examples in and about Manchester. These 
insurrections, whenever they happen, will be exasperated 
by great and real distress. For the fact is, that if it be re- 
fused to Ireland, that coimtry will be undone, and if it be 
granted, the woollen and other manufactures of England will 


be ruined. In such a situation, it is difficult to imagine a 
medium by which the violences will be prevented, that 
must otherwise call for the troops at home, which they have 
destined for us. 

In Scotland the discontent is such, that a highland regi- 
ment actually seized the castle of Edinburgh, and shut 
the gates against their officers. This mutiny has been 
quelled, but the spirit that produced it is not altered. 

The inactivity of this campaign has left their credit un- 
impaired, and their fleets have generally got in safe from 
all quarters. They will, therefore, find money for the 
next campaign, but it is not probable, that with all their 
efforts they will be able to equip a fleet equal to that which 
will go against them. Without some accident, therefore, 
they must either suffer the French army to land, or hazard 
an unequal combat, which, if they are overcome, will leave 
their coast at the mercy of invaders. To add to their 
counsels, already enfeebled by the death of the only man of 
ability and business among them, Lord Suffolk, they have put 
Lord Stormont, the most insufficient man in the kingdom, 
into his place. Such is the present situation and prospect of 
things in Europe. 

Congress will, I hope, consider, that various events may 
change or delay the plans above stated, and not let it im- 
peach the veracity of the intelligence, that they are not 
executed. Much, for example, will depend upon Count 
d' Estaing's movements and success, which were not fore- 
seen when these plans were formed. His expedition is 
entirely of his own planning, and, therefore, could not be 
taken into consideration here. 

I enclose a copy of the Spanish ultimatum, which by 
mistake was omitted being sent sometime ago. The fol- 


lowing passage in the manifesto, published by the Court of 
Great Britain, in answer to that of France, seems to me 
a proof how little she herself expects from the war 
with us. 

"Two years have not passed since the day the rebels 
declared their criminal resolution of shaking off the yoke of 
the mother country, and this term has been filled with the 
events of a bloody and obstinate war. Success has been 
balanced, but the army of the king, which occupies the 
most important maritime cities, has continued to menace 
the interior provinces. The English flag predominates in 
all the American seas." 

When all they can boast of, as the fruit of two years' 
bloody and obstinate war, in which, though they do not 
choose to say it, all Europe knows they have expended 
forty millions of treasure, and sixty thousand lives, is a bal- 
anced success, and the possession of a few maritime 
towns, from whence they threaten us, it is plain enough, that 
they themselves have not a hope of success. Their war, 
therefore, is a war of desperate vengeance, which nothing 
can justify. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, November 30th, 1779. 

Since my last, of the 6th and 25th, some material changes 
have taken place in the British Ministry. Lord Bathurst 
is made Lord President of the Council ; liord Hillsborough 
Secretary of State ; and Lord Carlisle first Lord of 
Trade. Lord Govver and Lord Wrvmonth are out. 


I communicate this ciaange to you, because it marks the 
entire ascendency of that influence which began this war, 
and which will assuredly continue it to every extremity. 
The two ex-n)inisters are chiefs of the Bedford party, 
which of late has been for peace with us. 

I know they are using every means with Russia and the 
German Princes, to procure troops against you ; but I 
cannot learn that they have succeeded. It is impossible to 
say, what changes in the politics of those powers the very 
unexpected inefficacy of this campaign may produce. One 
thing is sure, that as it confirms their credit, it will supply 
them with money, and enable them to continue the war in a 
manner that appeared impossible six months ago. New 
York and Charleston, if they can compass the possession 
of this latter, are the strong holds from whence they pur- 
pose carrying continual desolation and distress through all 
the States. The driving them from New York is, there- 
fore, an object of the last importance to the welfare of 
our country. 

It is certain that Holland will remain neuter, and under 
that neutrality furnish us supplies, and, I hope, free from 
that unexampled extortion in price, and imposition in qual- 
ity, to which we have been subjected from other quarters. 
I still wait here for instructions, and must repeat to Con- 
gress, that the refusal of Dr Franklin to furnish any money 
for my expenses should I go to Spain, makes it necessarv, 
if I am to serve, that some other means of supplying me 
should be adopted ; and I beg it may be with a sum fixed, 
that future discussions and disputes may be avoided. 

1 have the honor to be, &tc. 




Pari:?, December 8th, 1779. 


1 have the honor of transmitting to you the King of Eng- 
land's speech to his Parliament, and a memorial from his 
Ambassador at the Hague, demanding assistance from the 
United Provinces. It is not probable he will obtain it. 

The speech shows, what I before wrote you was resolved 

in the British Cabinet, a determination to continue the war. 

His total silence about alliances seems as if he had not 

formed any, which 1 believe to be the fact. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 



Paris. Derembor 16th, 1779. 

Your Excellency will have tlie goodness to permit m)- 
recalling to your consideration what I have already had the 
honor of stating to you, relative to the plan of the common 
enemy to establish themselves in Georgia and South Caro- 
lina, in order to carry on more eflectually the war against 
the posse3.sions of Spain in America, and against the 
United States. I have most undoubted intelligence, that 
they are more and more deternnined on pursuing this plan. 
The good intentions of Count d'Estaing to drive them 
from Georgia having unfoi'tunately failed, and the depar- 
ture of the French fleet having left them again a decided 
superiority on our coast, must give them fresh encourage- 
ment to prosecute their enterprise, and will render ihe assist- 
ance of his Catholic Majesiy's squadron at the Havanna 

TOL. II. 35 


absolutely necessary to prevent its succeeding. Suffer me, 
therefore, to entreat most earnestly your Excellency's atten- 
tion to this, if other more near and important objects of 
the war should have hitherto diverted it. 
T have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, December 25lh, 1779. 


I this day had the honor of receiving yours of the 1 3tli of 
October, notifying me, by the Resolve of Congress of the 
same date, of Mr Jay's appointment and my recall. As 
Mr Jay is not yet arrived, I suppose it my duty to wait his 
coming, that I may communicate to him what is in my 
knowledge, that concerns the public in his department. It 
does not appear that it has pleased Congress to give any 
orders about the immediate return of the Confederacy, and 
taking me on board, without which it may be many months 
before I can find a passage in any other manner. Mr Izard 
has been waiting at Amsterdam for two months to get even 
to St Eustatia on his way home. 

The plans of the enemy, of which I advised you in mine 
of the 13th of October and the 6di of November, are 
going into execution with vigor. 

Admiral Rodney has probably sailed by this time. The 
ministry appear to be tottering, but unfortunately for us if 
they do go out they will give place to men by far more 
formidable to us in wisdom, economy, popularity, and con- 
fidence, both foreign and domestic. I feel it, therefore, 
in the strongest manner my duty to conjure Congress to 


prepare for a conipaign which, in all human probability, will 
be urged with the utmost vigor, and to call forth every 
resource at home for the support of the public credit, with- 
out any reliance on foreign assistance. Such assistance is 
too precarious to hazard our cause on, and strong exer- 
tions on our part will give it, should it exist, a surer and 
more speedy effect. Congress may rely upon it, that on 
no terms whatsoever will our independence be acknow- 
ledged at present by Great Britain. 

There are granted, for the service of the ensuing year, 
178,950 men, including 4200 militia, and it is supposed 
that 97000 will be employed in America and the Islands. 
The removal of all restrictions on the export of wool, 
woollens, and glass ware from Ireland to Asia, Africa, and 
America, the United States excepted, it is probable will 
prevent any immediate commotions in that kingdom, and 
it is certain that the British Court have not such appre- 
hensions from that quarter, as to prevent them from pursu- 
ing their operations against you in their utmost extent. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, January 19th, 1780. 


Having signified to ti)e Count de Vergennes the reso- 
lution of Congress, assenting to my return, his Excellency 
proposed my taking leave of the King in form., and upon 
my doing so, that minister presented me his Majesty's 
picture set in diamonds. 

I thought it my duty to decline accepting it, upon which 



his Excellency told me it was a mark of his Majesty's 
esteem, and was never refused. After this it appeared to 
ine improper to persist in the refusal, and T received it with 
a determination to leave it to the disposal of Congress. 
It is sufficient for me, that the giving it is a distinguished 
proof of the untruth of what has been asserted, that this 
Court was disgusted with me and dissatisfied at my con- 
duct. The present itself I shall dispose of according to 
the pleasure of Congress. His Majesty's portrait is graved 
upon my mind by the justice and virtue which constitute 
his character, of which gold and jewels cannot enhance 
the value. 

Permit me from this example to remark, for the sake of the 
ministers, that this law should be explained so as not to 
leave them to the disagreeable alternative of an ungracious 
refusal, or an acceptance that may expose them to censure. 

An expedition with ten thousand of the enemy's best 

troops will take place in about two months from Ireland, 

and though from the profound secrecy observed, I have 

not yet been able to discover its destination with certainty, 

yet I have sufficient reason to think that Boston is the 

object of it. 

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



L'Orient, March 17tli, 1780. 

1 had not the honor of receiving your favor, dated 26th 
of January, till this day, and at this place, from which I am 
to embark as soon as the Alliance is ready. Your letter 


iiad a double seal upon it, the undermost seeming to be a 
head, and the one above being a coat oi arms, but what I 
cannot clearly make out. I mention this, that you may 
judge whether these seals were of your applying. 

Give me leave. Sir, to take this opportunity of expressing 
my concern for the dangers and sufferings, which you and 
your family experienced in your passage, and to congratulate 
you and my country on your safe arrival in Europe. 

1 waited some lime in Paris, after I received notice of 
your appointment, in expectation of your arrival, that I 
might communicate many things to you in a personal inter- 
view, which cannot be committed to paper. It would have 
given me very great pleasure to obtain for you those recom- 
mendations to the confidence of some of the first persons 
at the Court of Madrid, that were promised me, which 
might have been efiected by making you personally acquain- 
ted with those, who were to give them. 

The copies of memoirs, and the letters, which 1 wrote 
to Congress, contained in general what you do me the honor 
of asking. 1 have reason to believe, that you will find a 
favorable disposition where you wish. There is no Court 
in Europe, at which secrecy will so much recommend a 
negotiator, as that to which you are destined. Insomuch, 
that as far as you can keep the capital parts of your nego- 
tiation entirely to your own breast, you will have reason to 
think it prudent. You are to negotiate with a people of 
honor and a Ministry of wisdom. They will propose fairly 
and perform faithfully. You will not be embarrassed by 
intrigue, at least, none of Spanish origin, nor will it be- 
advantageous to employ any. These considerations, to- 
gether with the good sense and great abilifies for which you 
are distinguished, make me hope, Sir, that you will acoom- 


plish with facility the important purposes of your mission ; 
to the advantage of our country and to your own honor. 

The house of Gardoqui has executed what was intrusted 
to them with diligence, and as far as I can judge, with fidel- 
ity. They therefore deserve your confidence. There is 
due to them from the public 12,000 livres, which they 
advanced for the freight of goods sent to Congress ; and 
which, as it was done without my knowledge, I had made 
no provision for, and therefore could not repay it. The 
part of the prize money due to the public for the prizes sent 
into the ports of Spain, by Captain Cunningham, was never 
remitted to me, nor has the account been settled lo my 

Accept my thanks for your care of the letters for me. 
As I shall certainly have quitted Europe before they can 
reach me, I must beg the favor of you to enclose them to 
Mr Lovell with the first despatches, which you send to 

If an entire stranger may be permitted to offer liis hom- 
age to your lady, I beg the favor of you, Sir, to make 
mine acceptable to Mrs Jay. 

I have the honor to be, &-c. 



, Philadelphia, October 7th, 1780. 

I must trouble your Excellency to inform Congress of 
my arrival in this city ; and that I shall obey their com- 
mands, in giving them any information in my power relative 
to tlie conduct of their private afiairs. 


Your Excellency will permit me to deposit with you the 
picture of the King of France, set with diamonds, which the 
Minister of that monarch presented to me, as a mark of his 
Majesty's esteem, upon my taking leave of the Court of 
Versailles. But as it was in consequence of my having 
been a Commissioner of Congress at that Court, I do not 
think it becomes me to retain this present, without the 
express approbation of Congress. 

It is with infinite pain, that I feel myself obliged to men- 
tion to Congress, that the manner of my dismission from the 
service of the United States implies a censure upon my 
conduct abroad, and is injurious to my character. I have 
already laid before Congress the fullest evidence of the un- 
truth and malice of the insinuations made against me. 
And as they all appear at length abandoned by those who 
made them, and the single assertion maintained of my 
having been disesteemed at the French Court, I desire to 
lay before Congress a copy of a letter from Count de Ver- 
gennes in direct contradiction to that assertion ; with two 
letters from my colleague, Mr John Adams, as testimonials 
of my conduct, to which he was witness.* 

Should any doubt remain in Congress, that the insinua- 
tions made against me were groundless and malicious, and 
that I have discharged the public trust reposed In me with 
zeal and fidelity, I must beg of their justice to give me a full 
hearing at their bar, upon the whole of the proceedings, that 
concern my public conduct. 

I have the honor to be, he. 


P. S. I have brought with me the original vouchers, to 
show the manner of the expenditure in public supplies, of 

* For these letters see above, p. 224, 227, and 249. 


the money intrusted to me, particularly for the public use. 
These vouchers I shall lay before Congress as soon as it is 
their pleasure to receive them. 


Philadelphia, December 7ih, 1780. 


I received in due time the letter, which your Excellency 
did me the honor of writing me, on the 26th of October, 
enclosing a resolution of Congress, by which I am directed 
to lay before them all the information in my power, relative 
to their affairs in Europe. 

As a citizen of the United States, I should have imme- 
diately complied with the desire of that respectable body, 
had I not felt myself embarrassed by the dubious light in 
which the manner of my dismission from the public service 
had placed my conduct.* 

The information Congress requires should comprehend 
the conduct, character, views, and dispositions of the 
Courts and Ministers with which these United States are 
connected, and the proceedings of the servants of Congress 
in Europe. It is hardly to be expected, that I should com- 
mit to paper what I know and tliink of the former ; and of 
the latter, the disputes which have been artfully excited 
and fomented, make it a painful task to speak even the truth. 

In my letter of the 21st of May, 1779, 1 have written as 
far as I might of the state of Europe, and the most mate- 

** December Isl. "Resolved, That Mr Lee be informed, that Congress 
approve of his retaining the picture; that he be further informed, in 
answer to his letter, that there is no particular cliarge against iiim before 
Congress properly supported, and that he be assured Jiis recall was 
not intended to fix any kind of censure on liis character or conduct 


rial alterations since, are the declaration of Spain against 
Great Britain, upon a distinct ground, and the league of 
the neutral powers, planned by the Empress of Russia, to 
raaintain and enlarge the rights of neutral ships. But the 
real policy of this plan was to prevent the House of 
Bourbon, as well as Great Britain, from acquiring a do- 
minion of the seas, dangerous to the liberties of the rest of 

The ineffectual attempts, which have been made in 
Europe for obtaining money, and the disposition which 1 
observed on that subject, satisfied me, that however essen- 
tially necessary it may be at this juncture, it will be infi- 
nitely difficult to succeed. The Court of France in 
particular will not, I am of opinion, assist us with any ade- 
quate sum, but from being fully impressed with the indispen- 
sable necessity of it to the maintenance of our independence, 
and that we are by wise and honest systems retrieving the 
public credit, and establishing funds, which may soon relieve 
them from the burthen of supplying us. 

With regard to loans from the public at large in Europe, 
you will permit me, Sir, to repeat what 1 had the honor of 
writing to the Committee of Congress, November 6th, 
1779. "I perceive by the journals, that a committee is ap- 
pointed for framing a plan of a foreign loan. It is my duty 
to say, that there is not the least probability in the present 
situation of things of obtaining any adequate loan in Eu- 
rope, and to beseech Congress not to let the vain expecta- 
tion of that divert their attention from trying every resource 
at home. It is necessary, that the impressions to our dis- 
credit, which have arisen from the unsuccessful attempts, 
that have been already made, should wear off, and some 
favorable event occur, such as the enemy being obliged to 
VOL. II. 36 


draw off their troops, before it will be possible to sbcceed 
in such a plan. In the meantime the repetition of ineffec- 
tual attempts will only debase your credit more, and espe- 
cially if they are accompanied with the offer of more than 
ordinary interest, which ever augments the suspicion of the 
insecurity of the principal, and that the borrowers are them- 
selves conscious of their insufficiency." Since the time 
the above was written, the successes of the enemy against 
us have necessarily increased the improbability of our hav- 
ing credit to found a foreign loan. 

From the experience I have had of your foreign affairs, 
as well as from the example of all other States, the establish- 
ment of a Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who may 
digest them into system, and conduct them with regularity, 
seems absolutely necessary. 

There remains one object of the last importance to the- 
most essential interest of these States, in the final settlement 
of the present contest, that is the Court of Petersburgh. 
The vast power of the Russian Empire, the wisdom and 
extensive views of its Ministers, and the respectability of its 
Empress, give that Court the greatest weight among the 
confederate neutral powers. These certainly hold the bal- 
ance in this war, and most probably will dictate the terms of 
a general pacification. The wisdom of Congress will, 
therefore, perceive, that it is of the greatest consequence, 
that the views and opinions of that Court in this question 
should be known to them, and measures taken to impress 
the Empress and her Council with a favorable opinion of 
our cause. And this more especially, as the Empress has 
been hitherto left entirely to English impressions, and som« 
degree of disrespect shown her in applications to other 
powers. I have the honor to be, fee. 






William Lee was a native of Virginia, but at the com- 
mencement of the revolution he had resided several years 
in London as a merchant. Notwithstanding his foreign 
birth, he acquired so much popularity in London, that he 
was chosen an Alderman, which post he held at the break- 
ing out of the war. 

His high toned whig principles, and his zeal in the Ameri- 
can cause, had made him conspicuous, and pointed him out to 
the Congress as a person suitable to engage in their interests 
abroad. At the beginning of the year 1777, the commer- 
cial concerns of the United States in France, particularly at 
the port of Nantes, became important. For various reasons 
they were not well managed in the hands of the first agent, 
Mr Morris, and the Committee of Secret Correspondence 
appointed Mr William Lee as a joint commercial agent. 
He was informed of this appointment in April by a letter re- 
ceived in London from Mr Deane. Being detained by his 
private affairs, he did not arrive in Paris till June 1 Ith. 
Here he found no commission to act as commercial agent, 
nor any other notice of his appointment, than what had been 
communicated to Mr Deane in a letter from the Committee 
of Congress. 

Not deeming it expedient to act upon this authority alone, 
he remained in Paris till August 2d, when, by the recom- 
mendation of Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, he repaired to 
Nantes. The disagreements between the agents there had 


brought the public business into disorder, which Mr Lee 
was desired to use his influence in correcting. He staid in 
Nantes two months, and then returned to Paris, not yet 
having received any formal commission as commerciai 

Meantime on the 9th of May, .Mr William Lee had been 
elected by Congress a Commissioner to the Courts of Vien- 
na and Berlin. His commission and instructions were 
waiting for him in Paris on his arrival, October 6th. The 
commission was dated July 1st, and gave him "full power 
and authority to communicate and treat with his Imperial 
Majesty the Emperor of Germany, or with such person or 
persons as shall be by him for such purpose authorised, of 
and upon a true and sincere friendship, and a firm, inviola- 
ble, and universal peace for the defence, protection, and 
safety of the navigation and mutual commerce of the subjects 
of his imperial Majesty, and the people of the United 
States." H? had a separate commission to the Court 
of Berlin, worded in the same manner. 

The state of things at that time in Europe was not such, 
as to warrant Mr Lee in rendering himself at either of the 
Courts of Vienna or Berlin. He remained nearly a year 
in Paris, waiting the issue of events. At length he went to 
Frankfort in Germany, where he took up his residence, as 
a point convenient for his operations, till the time should 
arrive for some decided step, with reference to the main 
object of his mission. On the 4th of September, 1778, he 
agreed to a plan of a treaty between the Netherlands and 
the United States. This was done at Aix la Chapelle, 
where he met M. de Neufville, the Dutch agent. But as 
M. de Neufville acted only in his private capacity, this 
treaty was never ratified nor matured. 


> In Marcli, 1779, Mr Lee was in Paris, endeavoring to 
engage the French ministry to aid him in advancing his 
views in Germany. Failing in this purpose, he returned 
again to Frankfort, where he continued to reside during 
tlie remainder of his mission. He was recalled by a reso- 
lution of Congress, dated June 9th, 1779, but not required to 
come to the United States. Towards the end of the year 
he retired to Brussels, where he continued to live with his 
family for some time afterwards. 

It is a little remarkable, that during the whole of Mr Lee's 
public agency in the service of the United States, he was 
still an Alderman of the city of London. He sent his 
resignation to the Common Council, but they declined 
accepting it, on account of the difficulty of finding a suc- 
cessor, whose principles agreed with those of the majority. 



— ■©©©— 


Philadelphia, July 1st, 1777. 

Herewith you will receive Commissions from the Con- 
gress of the United States of North America, authorising 
and appointing you to represent the said Congress as their 
Commissioner at the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. You 
will proceed with all convenient expedition to those Courts; 
visiting that first, which, on consultation with the Commis- 
sioners at the Court of France, shall he judged most proper. 
You will lose no time in announcing in form to those Courts 
the declaration of independence mode in Congress on the 
fourth day of July, 1776. The reasons of this act of inde- 
pendence are so strongly adduced in the declaration itself, 
that further argument is unnecessary. As it is of the 
greatest importance to these States, that Great Britain be 
effectually obstructed in the plan of sending German and 
Russian troops to North America, you will exert all possible 
address and vigor to cultivate the friendship, and procure 
the interference of the Emperor and of Prussia. To this 
VOL. IL 37 


end you will propose treaties of friendship and commerce 
with these powers, upon the same commercial principles as 
were the basis of the first treaties of friendship and com- 
merce proposed to the Courts of France and Spain, by our 
Commissioners, and which were approved in Congress the 
seventeenth day of September, 1776, and not interfering 
with any treaties, which may have been proposed to, or 
concluded with, the Courts abovementioned. For your 
better instruction herein, the Commissioners at the Court of 
Versailles will be desired to furnish you, from Paris, with a 
copy of the treaty originally proposed to Congress, to be 
entered into with France, together with the subsequent 
alterations that have been proposed on either side. 

You are to propose no treaty of commerce to be of lon- 
ger duration, than the term of twelve years from the date of 
its ratification by the Congress of the United States. And 
it must never be forgotten, in these commercial treades, 
that reciprocal and equal advantages to the people of both 
countries be firmly and plainly secured. 

There being reasons to suppose, that his Prussian Maj- 
esty makes commerce an object, you will not fail to place 
before him, in the clearest light, the great advantages, that 
may result from a free trade between the Prussian domin- 
ions and North America. 

You will seize the first favorable moment to solicit, with 
decent firmness and respect, an acknowledgment of the 
independence of these States, and the public recepdon of 
their Commissioner as die representative of sovereign States. 
The measures you may take in the premises, and the oc- 
currences of your negotiation, you will communicate to 
Congress by every opportunity. 

It may not be improper to observe, that these instrnc- 


lions, and all olliers, which you may receive from time 

to time, should be kept as secret as circumstances will 



President of Congress. 


Paris, October 7th, 1777. 
Your . goodness 1 trust will excuse me, for requesting 
llie favor of you to inform the honorable Congress of the 
United States of America, that this moment (on my arrival 
here from Nantes, where I have been discharging the 
public trust reposed in me by the Secret Committee of 
Congress) were put into my hands the instructions, and ap- 
pointment of me as Commissioner at the Courts of Vienna 
and Berlin, but not having had an opportunity of a confer- 
ence on the subject with the Commissioners here, it is not 
in my power at present to enlarge on the business, more 
especially as I am told, that this express is to be immediately 
despatched. I understand another will be sent in ten or 
twelve days, by which opportunity I shall write fully. I 
have only further to entreat, tliat you will assure the hon- 
orable Congress of my steady attachment to that respec- 
table body, and to the rights of America, which I shall 
invariably and on all occasions endeavor to support and 

I am, with the truest respect and esteem, &ic. 




Paris, November 24lh, 1777- 


Be so good as to inform the honorable Congress of the 
United States of America, that I have received the com- 
missions, vs'hereby they have done me tlie honor of appoint- 
ing me their Commissioner and Representative to the 
Courts of Vienna and Berlin. In consequence of their 
instructions, I have applied to their Commissioners at the 
Court of Versailles for a copy of the treaty originally pro- 
posed by Congress, to be entered into with France, together 
with the subsequent alterations that' have been proposed on 
either side, which I presume they will furnish me with, and 
in the meantime I have been taking, and shall continue to 
take, measures to get the best possible information, which 
of these Courts it will be most for the interest of the United 
States, that I should visit first, in order to accomplish the 
most urgent object of Congress, that of preventing Great 
Britain from obtaining more German troops to send to 
America. For this object, ray views shall be extended to 
Russia, as far as the situation of affairs in Europe will 

Colonel Faucet, the British Agent, has been most of the 
year in Germany, and about two months ago, General Hal- 
diman, who was appointed and embarked to go and suc- 
ceed General Carleton as Governor of Quebec, was re- 
called and sent to Germany, as it is supposed to aid Colo- 
nel Faucet in obtaining more German troops. What suc- 
cess they will meet with, I cannot at present speak of with 
certainty, but you may rely on every exertion in my power 
to obstruct their operations, and I have some hopes of sue- 


ceeding so far as to prfevent their obtaining more than to 
make up the number, that the States of Hesse, Brunswick, 
and Anspach, liave formerly contracted to keep in the pay 
and service of Great Britain in America. It would cer- 
tainly add to their difficulty, and embarrass the British 
Ministry, if there were only an appearance of beating up for 
men for the United Slates, in some of the iVoe towns in 
Germany, where all the world by custom is permitted to 
recruit and enlist men. Something of this sort might be 
attempted, sufiicient to give a great alarm and create a 
diversion in your favor at a very little expense, if prudently 

I shall pay strict attention to my instructions, and embrace 
the first favorable opportunity of prevailing upon the Courts 
of Vienna and Berlin to receive the Commissioner of Con- 
gress, as the Representative of a sovereign State, wiiich will 
necessarily carry along with it an acknowledgment of the 
Independence of the Thirteen United States of America ; 
though in this business I apprehend the other powers of 
Europe will wait for France and Spain to lake the lead, as 
they are known every where to be friendly to the American 
States, and to have received hitherto greater advantages 
from the American commerce than any other kingdoms, 
and still have not determined as yet to receive tlie Ameri- 
can Commissioners, as the representatives of a sovereign 
State. I hope I shall be excused for observing, that 
neither my commission nor instructions authorise me to 
conclude any treaty with the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, 
even if I should find those Courts at any time disposed for 
such a measure. Congress will determine whether it may 
be prudent to enlarge those powers, when they consider the 
distance between the two countries, and the time it will 

294 WFLLlAiM LEE. 

lake lo write to Congress, receive their answer, return 
to them the treaty, and then again receive their ratifica- 

Jt occurs to nne, that it will be extremely proper lor me 
to have a cypher, to carry on my correspondence with 
Congress, more especially if any supplies of cordage, arms, 
cannon, or ammunition are purchased in the Northern 
Countries, where it is beyond a doubt they may be had 
infinitely better in quality, and very considerably cheaper, 
than what have been sent already, or may be sent from 
France or Spain ; particularly iron and brass ordnance, 
Ijall, shot, fusils, woollen and linen cloth for soldiers' cloth- 
ing, and tents, sailcloth, and cordage. Ways and means 
may be contrived to ship any of these diings from the 
northern ports, as easily as from the southern ones. If this 
idea is approved by Congress, any cypher you send me 
shall be used when necessary. As there is no particular 
mode pointed out in my instructions, how I am to corres- 
pond with Congress, I have adopted the method of address- 
ing myself to you as their Secretary, it being the usual 
practice in similar cases in Europe, but if I am wrong, I 
shall hope to be better informed by the next despatches 
1 receive. 

I am, &.C. 



Paris, December ISfh, 1777. 

Enclosed is a copy of what I did myself the honor of 
writing to you, by the Independence, Captain Young. Be 
pleased to inform the honorable Congress, that, upon appli- 



cation being made to his Prussian Majesty, he has prevented 
the Hesse and Hanaii recruits, for reinforcing the British 
army in America, from passing through his territories on the 
Rhine, which has kept those troops still in Germany, who 
otherwise would, by this time, have been on their voyage to 
America, and it is now doubtful whether they will ever be 
permitted to go. Our friends at Court here are of opinion, 
that it will be better for me to visit the Court of Vienna first, 
as it may be of use to strengthen and unite all the branches 
of the family compact, in the measures they have deter- 
mined to take here in our favor ; therefore, as soon as the 
ceremony (which is a pretty essential one) of signing and 
sealing has taken place, I shall set out for Vienna, as it is 
thought most advisable to wait till something decisive is 
absolutely concluded with the Court of Versailles, because 
on that must be grounded my operations at Vienna and 

With respect to the latter, trade must be the principal 
object, though the friendship of the king of Prussia will be of 
use to keep Russia quiet, and to prevent Great Britain from 
getting any material aid from that quarter in case of an Eu- 
ropean war, while she is mad enough to continue the war with 
America. Nothing material relative to connnerce can be 
effected in the north till late in the spring, because their ports 
are all frozen up during the winter. His Prussian Majesty 
seems well disposed to our cause, and I trust will give us 
every encouragement in time that we can wish ; but in a 
country where there is very little foreign commerce, it must 
be raised gradually and by experimental conviction of its 
benefits. To me it seems evident, that the com.merce be- 
tween America and the Prussian dominions must be consid- 
erable, because the natural productions of the former will 


come to as good a market in the latter, as almost any parr 
of Europe ; those from the latter are what we have been 
heretofore obliged to get from England. I shall omit no 
safe opportunity of informing Congress of my proceedings, 
and with due consideration and regard, 
I am, Sir. &.c. 



Paris, January 2d, 1778. 


I had the honor of writing to you b}- the Independence, 
Captain Young, a copy of tvhich went since. 

It is with infinite pleasure, that I congratulate Congress 
and America on the favorable change in our affairs in 
Europe, since advice was received of the noble and spirited 
exertions of the northern army and militia, in making Gen- 
eral Burgoyne and his army prisoners. The purport of 
the last and present despatches from the Commissioners at 
the Court of Versailles, will show how pleasing and 
encouraging the prospect before us is in this country at 
the present moment. 

I must beg you to lay before Congress, that though we 
had received repeated assurances from the king of Prussia 
of his good wishes for our success, and indeed had expe- 
rienced his operations in our favor, by his forbidding his 
officers to permit the Hesse and Hanau recruits for the 
British army in America to pass down the Rhine, yet, since 
the late advices, his prime Minister writes more decidedly 
than before, for he says, "I can assure you, Sir, his Maj- 
esty will not be the last power to acknowledge the inde- 
pendence of the Americans, but you must be sensible it is 


not natural for him to begin it ; and that at least France, 
whose political and commercial interests are more immedi- 
ately connected with yours, should set the example." 

From this, 1 conclude, that as soon as France has 
entered into a treaty with you, the king of Prussia will not 
hesitate to do the same. This shows, that my former opin- 
ion was well founded when I observed 10 you, that it was 
probable, most if not all the European powers would fol- 
low the example of France and Spain, in acknowledging 
the independence of America. I have so far been able to 
prevail with the Emperor, by negotiations with his Minister, 
as to get his Imperial Highness to discountenance the prac- 
tice of the German princes hiring their troops to Great 
Britain, for the purposes of the American war. I have 
been waiting some time for the conclusion of certain affairs 
here, on which I presume the Commissioners at this Court 
will write fully. When they are clearly decided, signed, 
and sealed, 1 shall then immediately set out for Vienna, 
where it is thought my first visit will be most proper and 
beneficial, and then 1 shall proceed to Prussia, where I can 
venture to assure Congress, that American merchant 
ships will be now freely admitted for commerce. 

Emden is a convenient port, where many American 
articles will come to a fine market, such as tobacco, furs, 
rice, and indigo, of thai quality which is most like the St 
Domingo kind. The returns in woollens, linens, naval 
stores, arms, and ammunition, will be greatly beneficial to 
America. I shall, by all safe opportunities, regularly 
inform Congress of my proceedings, continuing to address 
my letters to you until I have other directions, having 
not received any instructions on that head as yet. It 
will certainly be of great use to keep me regularly advised, 
VOL. II. 38 


and as early as possible, of all the raaterial occurrences in 
America. I cannot omit to mention it as my opinion, that 
let the events in Europe be what they will, you ought to 
prepare lor another vigorous campaign, in which, if Great 
Britain is foiled, you may assuredly compute on the war 
being at an end. I have the pleasure to inform Congress, 
that from the best intelligence, I learn that Great Britain 
has hitherto been very unsuccessful in her attempts to hire 
fresh German troops for the American war, but the dili- 
gence of the Ministry is greatly increased in endeavoring, 
by every artifice and allurement, to raise men in England, 
Scotland, and among the Roman Catholics in Ireland. 
I am inclined to think, that even there they will find them- 
selves a good deal disappointed ; but a few weeks will show 
their chance of success with certainty. At all events, the 
troops they raise will be raw men, and not able to encoun- 
ter your veterans, aided by a well disciplined and spirited 
militia. The plan of the next campaign is, I believe, as 
yet to be settled ; the earliest information I can get on that 
head, which is to be depended on, shall be immediately 
transmitted to Congress. 

I am, with all due regard, &ic. 



Paris, January 22d, 1778. 

Be so good as to inform Congress, that I have communi- 
cated to them, by several letters addressed to Charles 
Thomson their secretary, my proceedings hitherto, in con- 
sequence of their appointing me their Commissioner at the 


Courts of Vienna and Berlin. I am now to add, that hav- 
ing lately had a conference wiili ilie Inipevial Ambassador 
at this Court, he observed Immediately an imperfection in 
my commission, as it only autliorises me to treat with the 
Emperor of Germany, and not with his mother, who is the 
reigning and sovereign Pritice over all the Austrian domin- 
ions, as well in Germany and Flanders as elsewhere. 

She is extremely jealous of her power and authority, 
not permitting her son to interfere in any manner in the 
government of her dominions. Her title is, " The Most 
Serene and Most Potent Princess Maria Theresa, Queen 
of Hungary and Bohemia, Arch Duchess of Austria, he 
&tc." Tiie Emperor, her son, though heir to her dominions, 
is at present only Commander in Chief of his mother's 
army, and as Emperor is the head of the German empire. 
I therefore beg leave to submit to Congress, whether it may 
not be proper to send another commission to treat with the 
Queen of Hungary, &:c. since, in fact, there are two Courts 
to negotiate with, though they boili reside in the same city, 
viz. with the Emperor, so far as relates to the German em- 
pire, such as obstructing Great Britain froni procuring 
German troops to send to America ; and with his mother, 
for the purposes of commerce with the Austrian domin- 
ions, &-C. &.C. 

• Tiiere is every reason to believe, that our affairs will be 
finally settled here, and the coiripact signed and sealed in 
a few days, after which I shall immediately set off for 
Vienna, since from that quarter we have most to appre- 
hend, as there has been always a particular intimacy be- 
tween that Court and the Court of London, at least for the 
present century, which has not been interrupted but during 
the last war with France. 


Notwithstanding the promising appearance of things at 
present, I cannot forbear giving it as my opinion, that every 
possible exertion should be roade to prepare for a vigor- 
ous campaign next summer. 

I am with sincere esteem, &c. 



Paris, February 28tli, 1778. 

The unexpected return of Mr Simeon Deane gives me 
the opportunity of enclosing you a copy of my last, which 
went by an express from Spain, to which be pleased to 
refer. I should before this have set off for Vienna, but 
the Commissioners at this Court have not yet found time 
to examine the papers relative to the commercial concerns 
of Congress, taken from the private papers of the late Mr 
Thomas Morris, as Mr Deane's card of this date (a copy 
of which is enclosed) will show. As soon as that business 
is finished, I shall immediately set out to execute your com- 
mands in Germany, where, I am sorry to inform you, 
there are now appearances of an approaching rupture be- 
tween the Emperor and King of Prussia, relative to the 
possession of the late Elector of Bavaria's estates. The 
Elector Palatine, who is the rightful heir, has agreed by 
treaty, signed the 12th ult. between him and the Emperor, 
on the division of the Bavarian estates, but the King of 
Prussia is not satisfied, because he has not a share ; he has 
therefore commenced a negotiation with Great Britain, and 
the Princes in Germany, to support his pretensions to some 
parts of Germany, founded on claims of right that go several 


generations back. Great Britain, you may be sure, will 
instigate him to go on, because if war ensues, France will 
probably take pai-t with the emperor, which will render 
their meditated attack on her more likely to succeed ; but 
I still hope peace will be maintained by negotiation in that 

The British ministry are now fairly pushed to the wall ; 
after exerting every effort to procure men for the ensuing 
campaign, both at home and abroad, and finding it imprac- 
ticable any where, so odious are they and their measures, 
they have recourse to acts of Parliament, wliich are so pre- 
sumptuous and treacherous, that it is hardly possible to say 
in which they excel. You will have the two bills by this 
conveyance, which are too plain to be misunderstood by 
any one who knows the Ihu^iers ; tliereiore, I shall only 
observe, that by the first the right of taxing you is explic- 
itly enacted, though susj^ended for the present, which is 
going something further than the declaratory act, for by 
that the right of taxation was only implied. By the second 
bill, the Commissioners are vested with full powers to do 
all possible mischief to you, and no possible good, until it 
is confirmed by Parliament. Under these circumstances I 
do not well see how any treaty can be commenced, nor 
perhaps will it be prudent, in the moment of their weak- 
ness and distress, to agree to a cessation of hostilities by 
land, unless your enemies will remove all their troops to 

The situation of Spain, her millions being yet on the 
sea, and the circumstances in Germany beforementioned, 
I believe induce this Court still to continue the injunctions 
of secrecy relative to the treaties ; but if war is not declared 
before, I do not see how it can be avoided as soon as you 


publish them, which 1 suppose will be done as soon ss they 
come to hand, or at least such parts as will announce 
the fact to the world in such a manner that it cannot be 

The number of French troops tliat are now on the coast, 
in Brittany and Normandy, with the powerful naval prepa- 
rations both in this country and Spain, would effectually 
prevent Great Britain from sending any more troops to 
America this year, even if she could get them. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 


Mr Deano presents his compliments to Mr Lee. As 
tomorrow is fixed by the minister for sending ofi' the des- 
patches, it will be impossible for him to attend the exaini- 
nation of Mr Morris's papers before his brother sets off. 
As 3Ir Deane had the honor of mentioning before, it shall 
be his first business after the despatches are gone. 

Saturday Morning. 


Paris, March 23cl, 1778. 

To the enclosed copy of my last be pleased to refer. I 
have the pleasing satisfaction of congratulating you and my 
country on the independency of the thirteen United States 
of America being now openly acknowledged by the Court 
of France, which must soon put a glorious end to all our 
troubles. About fourteen days ago the French Minister in 
London formally avowed to the British Ministry the treaty, 
which His Most Christian Majesty had made with you, and 



on the 20th inst your Commissioners were, in form, intro- 
duced to the King and his Ministers at Versailles, as the 
representatives of a sovereign State, and on Sunday last they 
were introduced to the Queen and all the royal family. 

The British Ministry, as usual, have blustered a good 
deal, but have not ventured to declare war, that we know 
of. If they do, our business may the sooner and better be 
finished. I set off tomorrow for Germany, where the pros- 
pect of a war between Austria and Prussia seems to thicken, 
although this Court uses all its influence to prevent one, 
and has explicitly declared to both parties^ that she will not 
in any manner aid or assist either side, as she is determined 
to exert all her force in supporting her new alliance with 
the States of America. I have already claimed the King 
of Prussia's promise to acknowledge our independence as 
soon as France has done so ; his answer I shall meet in 
Germany, and as far as one can judge at present, there is a 
greater probability of my being sooner openly received at 
Berlin than at Vienna, but on this head, and at this critical 
moment, it is impossible for any man in the world to form a 
decisive opinion, because the issue will depend on events 
that are yet in the womb of time ; therefore, all that is in 
prudence for me to do is, on the spot to seize the first 
opening that is made on either side in our favor ; and I 
shall take care to give you the earliest intelligence of every 
thing material, that occurs in my department, 
I have the honor to remain, &;c. 




York, May 14ih, 1778 


Your favors of November 24th and December 18tb, 
reached us only the 2d of this month, with the letters of our 
other friends at Paris, from whom we had not received a reg- 
ular packet for eleven months. You will readily conceive 
how much we have wished to hear from you, and how very 
agreeable your information would have been at an earlier 
period. It is evident, that you were yourself in a degree of 
doubt as to the conduct of France, even after the confer- 
ence of our Commissioners in December ; you will, there- 
fore, be naturally led to give us due credit lor the resolute 
manner, in which we proceeded upon the two draughts of 
bills which the British Ministry had hurried over to Amer- 
ica. Be assured we were unacquainted with the spirit of 
the French Court. The decisive part it has taken was 
really unexpected, judging from the accounts we had col- 
lected from travellers. The dates of the papers herewith 
sent will enable you to put this matter in a clear point of 

The turn of affairs in Europe will make it needless for 
us to attempt the finesse of recruiting in Germany, which 
you hint at, and which would have a good effect in case of 
necessity. Mr Arthur Lee's letters make it quite probable, 
that your commission will prove successful at Berlin, and 
there appears the best agreement between the King of 
Prussia and the Emperor. 

The enclosed Resolve of Congress, of the 7th instant, 
will show their intentions with regard to your sujipori, 


which was not properly attended to when your commission 
was made out.* 

Other papers herewith sent will give you a general idea 
of our situation. You may be assured that independence" 
is firmly adopted by the States ; and the imanimity of Con- 
gress is truly emblematic of all America. Nova Scotia 
has long ago expressed its wishes to be adopted by us, and 
now afresh solicits. Canada will be greatly affected by the 
news of our alliance with its former parent State. Iti short, 
Sir, every thing which could be added to our own determi- 
nation of being free and independent, is insured by this 
eclaircissement of the Court of Versailles. Our army is 
growing daily, so that if we are to negotiate with Britain 
we shall do it in a proper posture. There are some reports 
of her drawing away her troops, that she may v/ith a better 
grace enter into parley. But this must be done without 
disguise, or no treaty can be held ; for surely no one can 
suppose, that we shall now give up a point, which wc had 
made a preliminary, before we knew what powerful friend- 
ship was secured to us in Europe. 

The powers which had been given to our Commission- 
ers in France, and our great anxiety to keep perfect faith 

* "May nil, 1778. Resolved, that the Commissioners appointed for 
the Courts of Spain, Tuscany, Vienna and Berlin, sliould live in such 
style and manner, at their respective Courts, as they may find suitable 
and necessary to support the dignity of their public character; keeping" 
an accoimt of their expenses, which shall be reimbursed by the Congress 
of the United States of Ameiicit ; 

"That besides the actual expenses of the Commissioners, a liandsome 
allowance be made to each of them as a compensation for their ser- 
vices ; 

"That the Commissioners of tlie other Coails in Europe be empow- 
ered to draw bills of exchange from time to lime for the amount of 
their expenses upon the Commissioners at the Court of France." 

VOL. II. 39 


in treaties, induced a caution with regard to the powers 
given in after appointments, which is now become unneces- 
sary. Perfect equality being the basis of our present trea- 
ties, without any exclusive privileges to France, there can 
be no chance of discontent from the conclusion of similar 
treaties with other powers of Europe ; therefore, we shall 
doubtless soon forward to you more full powers than were 
sent with your commission. As you seem to think it may 
be advantageous to have a cypher for correspondence, we 
would propose the same which has been mentioned to Dr 
Franklin formerly by Mr Lovell, and this is the rather 
chosen, because it may serve between the doctor and you 
or any number of your friends, taking a different key-word 
for each. 

We are, with great regard, &c. 

R. H. LEE, 

P. S. You are to have a plenipotentiary commission 
with instructions, not limiting the term of the proposed 
treaties of amity and commerce. 


Paris, September 12th, ITTS. 

1 have just arrived here from Germany, and finding the 
bearer of this about to set oft' in a few hours, I cannot omit 
saying a word or two, though it will be impossible to be so 
full as I could wish. 1 wrote to the President of Congress 
from Vienna the 30th of May last,* which was forwarded 
* Missing. 


I'rom liciice, to which be pleased to refer ; since then I have 
received your first and only letter, dated from Yorktown the 
14th of May last, wherein you acknowledge the receipt of 
mine of the 24th November and the 18th of December ; 
but I am surprised at your not receiving also two other 
letters from me, dated the 28th of February and 23d of 
March last, which were sent by Mr Simeon Deane, and 
addressed to the President of Congress. 

Since my last of the 30th of May, when the war broke out 
between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, on consul- 
tation with the French Ambassador at Vienna, it was agreed 
to be most advisable for me to retire to Frankfort, and wait 
there until the several powers in Gerjnany and the rest of 
Europe had taken a decided line in this war, when we 
might be able to direct our operations to the most advan- 
tage for America, since it was evident, that neither the 
Court of Vienna, nor that of Berlin could, in their critical 
situation, take an open part widi us, j'or fear of throwing 
Hanover, with a body of thirty thousand men, into the scale_ 
of (he adversary, especially too as France had declared a 
neutrality, on the urgent application of the House of Aus- 
tria for aid, under the treaties subsisting between them and 
France ; to which however France replies with truth, that 
the case does not exist as specified in the treaty, which 
obliges them to aid the House of Austria. The two mighty 
powers have been in the field opposed to each other ever 
since the beginning of July, when the King of Prussia 
entered Bohemia with his army, but no battle has yet been 
given, or anything material passed on either side. There 
have been perpetual skirmishes between the foraging par- 
ties and advanced posts, which on the whole seem rather 
in favor of the Prussians. In the course of the winter 


or spring, we hope things will take such a turn as to ena- 
ble me to operate to advantage with one or the other of 
the parties, but at present I think you may be assured, that 
such measures have been taken as will effectually prevent 
our enemies from obtaining any further aid from any part 
of Europe, if they should continue the war against us 
another year, which I can hardly expect they will do, for I 
am informed, and have reason to believe my information 
true, that orders have been already sent to their Commis- 
sioners in America to acknowledge our independence, if 
nothing else will answer, in order to commence a treaty 
and make a peace. 

After my arrival at Frankfort, finding an opportunity 
offered to me of negotiating a Treaty of Commerce with 
the United States of Holland and West Friesland, I em- 
braced it, and have proceeded so far as to agree on the 
draught of a treaty, with the regular representative of the 
Pensionary and Burgomasters of the city of Amsterdam, of 
which I have not time to send you a copy by this convey- 
ance, but 1 am sure you would approve of it, as it con- 
tains all the substantially advantageous articles of the 
commercial treaty with France, and some beneficial and 
agreeable additions. 

So far, the business has been conducted on both 
sides witii great secrecy, which is absolutely necessary 
in order to procure final success with the United States 
here, for though the city of Amsterdam and the States of 
Holland pay, it is supposed, about five sixths of the whole 
taxes for the support of the government, which conse- 
quently gives them very powerful weight and influence, yet 
they have no power, by their constitution, of entering into 
such a treaty, without the concurrence of the other United 


Slates, in some of which the Prince of Orange has an over 
due influence, and all the world knows his blood connexions 
with the king of England, as well as that he has the same 
designs against his country, that have been attempted to be 
carried into, execution against us, and which he hopes to 
succeed in b}"" the aid of his cousin of England, with whom 
he is in the strictest intimacy. This renders secrecy of the 
last importance, until the patriots in Holland have secured 
success, before the business Is agitated in the General 
Assembly of the States, where it must come, to have full 

Here I find myself embarrassed, because 1 have no 
power to sign such a treaty, and I know not how to deter- 
mine as yet about communicating it, in the present situa- 
tion of things, to those who have a power to sign it in your 
uarafi, because it is well known that some of the most 
important negotiations and proceedings here, relative to 
your affairs, have sometime past been very speedily com- 
municated in England, and I have not yet been able to 
learn that the old clianncl is stopped. 1 shall, however, 
proceed in the manner, that shall on the maiurest reflec- 
tion appear the best to forward the wishes of Congress, 
and advance the prosperity of our country. 

In a week or ten days I shall return to my station in 
Germany, and watch with careful attention over my charge 
there, and when any thing material occurs you shall be duly 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




Frankfort, October IStli, 1778. 

I have the honor of foi-warding to you herewith a ihu'd 
copy of a plan of a treaty oT amity and commerce, between 
the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands and the 
United States of America, which you will perceive was set- 
tled by M. de Neufville, as the repi'esentative of Mr Van 
Berckel, Counsellor Pensionary of the city of Amsterdam, 
and myself. The Burgomasters of Amsterdam had author- 
ised Mr Van Berckel to treat in this business in their name, 
and the Pensionary regularly authorised M. de Neuf- 
ville, a capital merchant of Amsterdam, to treat with me. 
I forwarded two copies of this plan from Paris last month, 
where I went to communicate what had been done to the 
Commissioners there, as I did not think myself authorised 
to proceed any further alone.* They were fully informed 
by me of the state of politics in Holland, and that a great 
deal of management and secrecy in the present stage of the 
business would be requisite to complete it successfully, 
because the English party having the Prince of Orange at 
its head is very powerful, and might effectually obstruct the 
progress, if the negotiation comes to their knowledge before 
the Pensionary and Burgomasters have made sure of carry- 
ing the point in the Assembly of the States-General. 

The further progress in this business your Commission- 
ers at Paris will no doubt communicate to you. How- 
ever, it appears to me of no inconsiderable importance, 

* For letters from M. Van Berckel and M. Dumas on this subject, see 
the Correspondence of the Commissioners in France. Vol. I. pp. 456, 
457, 476, 480, 488. 


that I have obtained from the Pensionary an engagement, 
that the States-General shall not take any measures that 
may be injurious to the United States of America, provided 
America shall not take any measures injurious to Holland. 
This engagement the Pensionary is alone capable of com- 
plying with, because his single negative is sufficient to pre- 
vent the States-General from entering into any such meas- 
ures, and consequently the States will be prevented from 
giving any aid to Great Britain against our good ally, 

I have so often given you a full account of the situation of 
affairs in this quarter of the world, that I have little to add on 
that subject. Though the king of Prussia was prevented, by 
the critical situation of politics here, from complying with the 
promise he had made of acknowledging our independence 
as soon as France had done so, I thought it proper to write 
to his Minister to know whether our privateers and armed 
vessels would be permitted to enter and refit in the Prus- 
sian ports; to which he replied, that his Majesty's absence 
from Berlin, and his continual application to the great 
object in which he is engaged, prevents him from being able 
at present to make me a favorable reply, but he hopes that 
circumstances will soon enable tliem to make us more ad- 
vantageous proposals than they have already done. 

The campaign is ended for this year, and nothing mate- 
rial has passed. There are some politicians who think the 
winter negotiations will produce peace, and if they do, I 
think the king of Prussia will not then hesitate to enter 
into a treaty with us. As to the Court of Vienna, you 
know my commission only authorised me to treat with the 
Emperor, who has been since the beginning of April with 
his armies in Bohemia ; however, while I was at that Court 


our affairs could not be advanced there, because both the 
Emperor and the King of Prussia stand in the same pre- 
dicament with resjject to Hanover, which has now increased 
its army to near thirty thousand men. The Emperor 
wishes to keep Hanover neuter, and the King is exerting 
all his political abilities to have the Hanoverian army active 
on his side. This winter will, it is generally believed, 
decide the part that Hanover will take if the war continues 
in Germany, in which case the opposite party will soon 
}oin issue with us ; in the meantime, we must have patience, 
as at present neither side can in prudence enter into any 
measures with us, unless France makes a point of it: 

With the advice of the French Ambassador at Vienna 
I shall remain here, as being a central place for Germany, 
until we can see with more precision how to direct our 
future operations. I understood from his Excellency 
Count de Vergennes, when I saw him at Versailles last 
month, that he thought our business by and by would go 
forward at Vienna. As the Court of Versailles can at 
any time influence that of Vienna with respect to us, I 
presume some plan of that sort is now in agitation, of 
which I expect due information from his Excellency the 
Baron de Breteuil at Vienna ; but 1 must remind you, that 
under my present commission, I have no authority to con- 
clude, or even to treat of any thing with this Court. This 
I explained fully to you in my letters last winter, which 
you must have received. 

I am, Gentlemen, with the highest esteem and re- 

o-gyd Sic. 


diplomatic; correspondence. 313 


Plan of a Treaty of Commerce, to be entered into between 
their High Mightinesses the States of the Seven United 
Provinces of Holland, and the Thirteen United States of 
JVorth America. 

The parties being willing to fix in an equitable and per- 
manent manner the rules, which ought to be followed 
relative to the correspondence and commerce, which they 
desire to establish between their respective countries, 
states, subjects, and people, have judged, that the said end 
could not be better attained, than by taking for the basis of 
their agreement the most perfect equality and reciprocity, 
and by carefully avoiding all those burdensome preferences, 
which are usually the sources of debate, embarrassment, 
and discontent ; by leaving, also, each party at liberty to 
make, respecting commerce and navigation, such interior 
regulations as it shall find most convenient to itself, and by 
founding the advantage of commerce solely upon reciprocal 
utility, and the just rules of free intercourse, reserving withal 
to each parly the liberty of admitting at its pleasure other 
nations to a participation of the same advantages. 

On these principles the parties above mentioned have, 
after mature deliberation, agreed to the following articles. 


There shall be firm, inviolable and universal peace and 
sincere friendship between their High Mightinesses, the 
States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland, and the 
United States of North America, \\\m\ the subjects and 
people of the said parties ;. niid between the countries, 
VOL. II. 4U 


islands, cities, and towns situated under the jurisdiction of 
the said United States of Holland, and the said United 
States of America, and the people and inhabitants thereof, 
of every degree, without exception of persons or places. 


The subjects of the United States of Holland shall pay 
no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, 
countries, islands, cities, and towns of the said United 
States of America, or any of them, than the natives and 
inhabitants thereof shall pay, but shall enjoy all the other 
rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exceptions in 
trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one part 
thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, 
from and to any part of the world, which the said natives 
or inhabitants enjoy. 


The subjects, people, and inhabitants of the said United 
States of America, or any of them, shall not pay any other 
duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, 
islands, cities, or towns, subject to their said High Mighti- 
nesses, the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland, 
than the natives and inhabitants of those countries, islands, 
cities, or towns shall pay ; but shall enjoy all the other 
rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exen)ptions in 
trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one part 
thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, and 
10 and from any part of the world, which the said natives or 
inhabitants enjoy. 


The subjects and people of each of the aforesaid confed- 


erales, and the inhabitants of countries, islands, cities, or 
towns belonging to either of the parties, shall have liberty 
freely and securely, without license or passport, general or 
special, by land or by water, or in any other way, to go into 
the kingdoms, countries, provinces, lands, islands, cities, 
villages, towns, walled or unwalled, or fortified ports, do- 
minions, or territories whatsoever, of the other confederate, 
there to enter, and return from thence, to abide there or 
pass through the same, and in the meantime to buy and 
purchase as they please all things necessary for their sub- 
sistence and use, a«d they shall be treated with all mutual 
kindness and favor ; provided, however, that in all matters 
they behave and comport themselves conformably to the 
public laws, statutes, and ordinances of such kingdom, 
country, province, island, city, or town, in which they may 
be and live, and converse with each other friendly and 
peaceably, and keep up reciprocal concord by all manner 
of good understanding. 


The subjects and people of each of the parties, and the 
inhabitants of the countries, islands, cities, or towns, subject 
or belonging to either of them, shall have leave and license 
to come with their ships or vessels, as also with the goods 
and merchandise on board the same, (the trade or importa- 
tion whereof is not prohibited by the laws or ordinances of 
either country) to the lands, countries, cities, ports, places, 
and rivers of either side, to enter into the same, to resort 
thereto, to remain and reside there without any limitation of 
time ; also to hire houses, or to lodge with other people, 
and to buy all kinds of lawful merchandise and goods 
vi^here they think fit, from the first workman or seller, or in 


316 William lee. 

any other manner, wliether in the public market for the sale 
of things, in mart towns, fairs, or wheresoever those goods 
or merchandise are manufactured or sold. They may also 
lay up, and keep in their magazines or warehouses, and 
from thence expose to sale, merchandise or goods brought 
from other ports j neither shall they in any wise be obliged, 
unless willingly and of their own accord, to bring their said 
goods or merchandise to the marts or fairs ; on this condi- 
tion, however, that they shall not sell the same by retail or 
in shops, or anywhere else. But they are not to be loaded 
with any impositions or taxes on account of the said freedom, 
or for any other cause whatsoever, except what are to be 
paid for their ships, vessels, or goods, according to the laws 
and customs received in each country, agreeable to the 
stipulations in this treaty. And, moreover, they shall have 
free leave and permission, without any kind of hinderance 
Or molestation, to remove themselves, also if they shall 
happen to be married, their wives and children, if they have 
any, and their servants, if (hey are willing to go with their 
masters, together with their merchandise, wares, goods, 
and '-effects, either bought or imported, whatsoever or 
whithersoever they shall think fit, out of the bounds of each 
country, by land or by sea, on the rivers and fresh waters, 
notwithstanding any law, privilege, grant, immunity, or cus- 
tom, in any wise importing the contrary. 


In the business of religion, there shall be entire liberty 
allowed to the subjects of each of the confederates, as also 
if they are married, to their wives and children ; neither 
shall they be compelled to go to the churches, or to be 
present at the religious worship in any other place. On 



Uie contrary, they may, without any kind of molestations 
perform their religious exercises after their own way, in 
churches, chapels, or houses, with open doors ; moreover, 
liberty shall be granted to bury the subjects of either party, 
who die in the territories of the other, in convenient and 
decent places to be appointed for that purpose, as occasion 
shall require ; neither shall the dead bodies of those that are 
buried be any ways molested. 


Furtiiermore, it is agreed and concluded as a general 
rule, that all and singular the subject-s of their said High 
Mightinesses, the Seven United Provinces of Holland, and 
of the said United States of America in all countries and 
places subject to their power on either side as to all duties, 
impositions, or customs whatsoever, concerning goods, mer- 
chandise, persons, ships, vessels, freights, seamen, naviga- 
tion, and commerce, shall use and enjoy the same privi- 
leges, liberties, and immunities at least, and have the like 
favor in all things, as well in the courts of justice as in 
all such things as relate either to commerce, or to any other 
right whatever, which any foreign nation the most favored 
has, uses, and enjoys, or may hereafter have, use, and 

ARTICLE viii. 

Their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United 
Provinces of Holland, shall endeavor, by all means in their 
power, to protect and defend all vessels and the effects be- 
longing to the subjects, people, or inhabitants of the said 
United States of America, or any of them, being in their 
ports, liavens, or roads, or on the seas near to their coun- 
tries, islands, cities, or towns, and to recover and cause to 


be restored to the right owners, their agents, or atlorniet, 
all such vessels and effects, which shall be taken within 
their jurisdiction, and their ships of war, or any convoys 
sailing under their authority shall, upon all occasions, take 
under their protection all vessels belonging to the subjects, 
people, or inhabitants of the said United States of America, 
or any of them, or holding the same course, or going the 
same way, and shall defend such vessels as long as they 
hold the same course, or go the same way, against all 
attacks, force, and violence, in the same manner as they 
ought to protect and defend vessels belonging to the sub- 
jects of their said High Mightinesses, the States of the 
Seven United Provinces of Holland. 


In like manner, the said United States of America, and 
their ships of war sailing under their authority, shall protect 
and defend, conformable to the tenor of the preceding arti- 
cle, all the vessels and effects belonging to the subjects of 
the said Seven United Provinces of Holland, and use all 
their endeavors to recover and cause to be restored to their 
right owners, the said vessels and effects, that shall have 
been taken within the jurisdiction of the said United States 
of America, or any of them. 


Their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United 
Provinces of Holland, will employ their good offices and 
interposition with the King or Emperor of Morocco or 
Fez, the Regency of Algiers, Tunis, or Tripoli, or with 
any of them, and also with every other Prince, State, or 
Power on the coast of Barbary in Africa, and the subjects 
of the said King, Emperor, States, and Powers, and each of 


them, in order to provide as fully as possible for the bene- 
fit, conveniency, and safety of the said United States and 
each of them, their subjects, people, and inhabitants, and 
their vessels and effects, against all violence, insuh, attacks, 
or depredations on the part of the said Princes or States oi" 
Barbary, or their subjects. 


It shall be lawful and free for merchants and others, 
being subjects either of the said Seven United Provinces of 
Holland, or of the said United States of America, by will 
or any other disposition made either during the time of 
sickness, or at any other time before, or at the point of 
death, to devise or give away to such person or persons as 
to them shall seem good, their effects, merchandise, money, 
debts, or goods, movable or immovable, which they have, 
or ought to have, ot the time of their death, or at any time 
before, within the countries, islands, cities, towns, or domin- 
ions belonging to either of the said contracting parties ; 
moreover, whether they die, having made their will, or 
intestate, their lawful heirs, executors, or administrators, 
residing in the dominions of either of the contracting parties, 
or coming from any other part, although they be not nat- 
uralised, and without having the effect of this concession 
contested or impeded, under pretext of any rights or pre- 
rogatives of provinces, cities, or private persons, shall freely 
and quietly receive and take possession of all the said 
goods and effects whatsoever, according to the laws of each 
country respectively ; the wills and rights of entering upon 
the inheritances of persons dying intestate must be proved 
according to law, in those places where each person may 
happen to die, as well by the subjects of one as of the other 


contracting party, any law, statute, edict, custom, ordi- 
nance, droit (Paubainey or any other right whatsoever 


The goods and estates of the people and subjects of the 
one contracting party, that shall die in tlie countries, islands, 
lands, cities, or towns of the other, shall be preserved for 
the lawful heirs and successors of the deceased, the right 
of any third person always reserved, and such goods and 
effects, together with the papers, writings, and books 
of accounts of such deceased persons, shall be put into 
au inventory by the Consul or other public Minister of 
such party, whose subject has so died, and put into the 
hands of two or three reputable merchants, that shall 
be named by such Consul or public Minister, to be kept 
for the heirs, executors, administrators, or creditors of 
the deceased, nor shall any judiciary whatever inter- 
meddle therein, until applied to according to the forms 
of law by such heir, executor, administrator, or creditor. 


It shall be lawful and free for the subjects of each 
party to employ such advocates, attornies, notaries, solici- 
tors, or factors, as they shall think fit ; to which end, 
the said advocates and others above mentioned may be 
appointed by the ordinary judges if it be needful, and 
the judges be thereunto required. 


Merchants, masters of ships, owners, mariners, men ol 
all kinds, ships and vessels, and all merchandise and 
goodb! in iieneral, and effects of one of the confederates 


or of the subjects thereof, sliall not on any public or 
private account, by virtue of any general or special edict 
be seized or detained in any of the conntries, lands, islands, 
cities, towns, ports, havens, shores, or dominions whatso- 
ever of the other confederate for public use, for warlike 
expeditions, or for any other cause, and much' less for the 
private use of any one shall they be detained by arrests, 
compelled by violence or under any color thereof, or in any- 
wise molested or injured. Moreover, if shall be unlawful 
for the subjects of either pariy to take anything, or to extort 
it by force from the subjects of the other party, without the 
consent of the person to whom it belongs, and it be paid 
for with ready money ; which, however, is not to be under- 
stood of that detention and seizure, which shall be made by 
the command and authority of justice, and by t!)e ordinary 
methods on account of debt or crimes, in respect whereof, 
tlie proceedings must be by way of law, according to the 
forms of justice. 


II is further agreed and concluded, that it shall be wholly 
free for all merchants, commanders of ships, and other sub- 
jects of their High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven 
United ^Provinces of Holland, in all places subject to the 
dominion and jurisdiction of the said United States of 
America, to manage their own business themselves, or to 
employ whomsoever tliey please to manage it for them ; nor 
shall they be obliged to mnke use of any interpreter or 
broker, nor to pay them any salary or fees unless they 
ciioose to make use of them ; moreovei-, masters of ships 
shall not be obliged, in loading or niiloading their ships, to 
make use of those workmen that may be appointed by 

VOL. II. 41 


public authority for that purpose ; but it shall be entirely 
free for them to load or unload their ships by themselves, 
or to make use of such persons in loading or unloading the 
same as they shall think fit, without paying any fees or 
salary to any other whomsoever ; neither shall they be 
forced to unload any sort of merchandise, either into other 
ships, or to receive them into their own, or to wait for their 
being loaded longer than they please, and all and every the 
subjects, people, and inhabitants of the said United States 
of America, shall reciprocally have and enjoy the same 
privileges and liberties in all places whatsoever, subject to 
the dominion and jurisdiction of their High Mightinesses, 
the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland. 


A dispute arising between any commander of the ships 
on either side and his seamen, in any port of the other 
party, concerning wages due to the said seamen or other 
civil causes, the magistrate of the place shall require no 
more from the person accused, than that he give to the 
accuser a declaration in writing, witnessed by the magis- 
trate, whereby he shall be bound to answer that matter 
before a competent judge in his own country, which being 
done, it shall not be lawful for the seamen to desert the 
ship, or to hinder the commander from prosecuting his 
voyage. It moreover shall be lawful for the merchants on 
both sides, in the places of their abode or elsewhere, to 
keep books of their accounts and affairs in any language or 
manner, and on any paper they shall think fit, and to have 
an intercourse of letters in such language or idiom as they 
shall please, without any search or molestation whatever ; 
but if it should happen to be necessary for them to produce 


iheir books of accounts for deciding any dispute or contro- 
versy, in such case they shall bring into Court the entire 
books or writings, but so as that the judge, or any other 
person may not have liberty to inspect any other articles in 
the said books, than such as shall be necessary to verify 
and authenticate the matter in question, or such as shall be 
necessary to give credit to the said books ; neither shall it 
be lawful under any pretence, to take the said books or 
writings forcibly out of the hands of the owners, or to retain 
them, the case of bankruptcy only -excepted. 


The merchant ships of either of the parties, which shall 
be making into a port of the other party, and concerning 
whose voyage and the species of goods on board her 
there shall be any just grounds of suspicion, shall be 
obliged to exhibit, as well upon the high seas as in the 
ports and havens, not only her passports, but likewise cer- 
tificates expressly showing that her goods are not of the 
number of those, which have been prohibited as contraband. 


If, by exhibiting the abovesaid certificates, mentioning 
the particulars of the things on board, the other party 
should discover there are any of those sorts of goods, 
which are j)rohibited and declared contraband by this 
treaty, and consigned for a port under the obedience of 
iiis enemies, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches 
of such ship, or to open any chest, coffer, pack, cask, or 
any other vessel or package found therein, or to remove 
the smallest panicle of the goods, whether such ship 
belongs to the subjects of their High Mightinesses, the 

324 WlLLIAiM LEE. 

States of the Seven Uiiiied Provinces of Holland, or to (he 
subjects or inhabitants of the said United States of Amer- 
ica, unless the loading be brought on shore in presence of 
the officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an inventory- 
thereof made ; but there shall be no allowance to sell, 
exchange, or alienate the same in any nmnner, until after 
that due and lawful process shall have been had against 
such prohibited goods, and the Court of Admiralty respec- 
tively shall, by a sentence pronounced, have confiscated the 
same ; saving always a^ well the ship itself, as any other 
goods found therein, which by this treaty are to be esteem- 
ed free ; neither may they be detained on pretence of 
their being, as it were, infected by the prohibited goods, 
much less shall they be confiscated as lawful prize ; but if 
not the whole cargo, but only part thereof shall consist of 
prohibited or contraband goods, and the commander of the 
ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the cap- 
tor who has discovered them, in such case, the captor 
having received those goods shall forthwith discharge the 
ship, and not hinder her by any means from freely 
prosecuting the voyage on which she was bound ; but, 
in case the contraband merchandise cannot be all received 
on board the vessel of the captor, then the captor may, 
notwithstanding the ofier of delivering him the contraband 
goods, carry the vessel into the nearest port, agreeable to 
what is above directed. 


On the contrary, it is agreed that whatever shall be 
found to be laden by the subjects, people, or inhabitants of 
either party on any ship belonging to the enemy of the 
other, or to their subjects, the whole, although it be not 


of the sort ol prohibited goods, may be confiscated in the 
same manner as if it belonged to the enemy himself, 
except such goods and merchandise as were put on 
board the ships before the declaration of war, or even 
after such declaration, if it so be that it was done without 
the knowledge of such declaration, so that the goods of 
the subjects and people of either party, whether they be 
of the nature of such as are prohibited or otherwise, 
whicii as aforesaid were put on board any ship belong- 
ing to an enemy before the war, or after the declara- 
tion of the same, without knowledge of it, shall no ways 
be liable to confiscation, but shall well and truly be re- 
stored without delay to the proprietors demanding the 
same ; but so as that if the said nierchandise be contra- 
band, it shall not bd any ways lawful to carry them 
afterwards to any ports belonging to die enemy. The 
two contracting parties, that the terms of six months being 
elapsed after the declaration of war, their respective sub- 
jects, people, and inhabitants, from whatever part of the 
world they come, shall not plead the ignorance men- 
tioned in this article. 


And that more effectual care may be taken for the secu- 
rity of the subjects and people of either party, that they do 
not suffer any injury by the men of war or privateers of the 
other party, all the commanders of the ships of war and the 
armed vessels of the said States, of the Seven United Pro- 
vinces of Holland, and of the said United States of Amer- 
ica, and all their subjects and people shall be forbid doing 
any injury or damage to the other side, and if they act to 
the contrary, they shall be punished, and shall moreover 


be bound to make satisfaction for all matter of damage, 
and the interest thereof by reparation, under the pain and 
obligation of their persons and goods. 


All ships and merchandise of what nature soever, which 
shall be rescued out of the hands of pirates or robbers on 
the high seas, shall be brought into some port of one or the 
other party, and shall be delivered into the custody of the 
officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the 
true proprietor, as soon as due and sufficient proof shall be 
made concerning the property thereof. 


It shall be lawful for the ships oi' war, privateers, or 
armed vessels of either party, freely to carry whithersoever 
they please the ships and goods taken from their ene- 
mies, without being obliged to pay any duty to the officers 
of the Admiralty or any other judges, nor shall such prizes 
be arrested or seized when they come to and enter the 
ports of either party ; nor shall the searchers or other offi- 
cers of those places search the same, or make examination 
concerning the lawfulness of such prizes, but they may 
hoist sail at any time, and depart and carry their prizes to 
the place expressed in their commissions, which the com- 
manders of such ships of war, privateers, or armed vessels 
shall be obliged to show. On the contrary, no shelter nor 
refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall have 
made prize of the subjects, people, or property of eith^ of 
the parties ; but if such shall come in, being forced by stress 
of weather or the danger of the seas, all proper means shall 
be vigorously used that they go out and retire from thence 
as soon as possible. 



If any ships or vessels belonging to either of the parties, 
their subjects or people, shall, within the coasts or domin- 
ions of the other, stick upon the sands, or be wrecked, or 
suffer any other damage, all friendly assistance and relief 
shall be given to the persons shipwrecked, or such as shall 
be in danger thereof; and letters of safe conduct shall like- 
wise be given to them for their free and quiet passage 
from thence, and the return of every one to their own 


In case the subjects or people of either party with their 
shipping, whether public and of war, or private and of mer- 
chants, be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates 
or enemies, or any other urgent necessity for seeking shel- 
ter and harbor, to retreat and enter into any of the rivers, 
creeks, bays, havens, roads, ports, or shores, belonging to 
the other party, they shall be received and treated with all 
humanity and kindness, and enjoy all friendly protection and 
help, and they shall be permitted to refresh and provide 
themselves, at reasonable rates, with victuals and all things 
needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of 
their ships and conveniency of their voyage ; and they shall 
no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the 
said ports or roads, but may remove and depart when and 
whither they please without any let or hinderance. 


For the belter promoting of commerce on both sides, it 
is agreed, that if a war should ever happen to break out 
between the said contracting parties, six months after the 


proclamation of war shall be allowed to the merchants, sub- 
jects, and people on either side, in countries, cities, and 
towns where they may happen to reside, in which time they 
themselves may retire, together with all their families, goods, 
merchandise and effects, and carry them whilhersover they 
shall please, as likewise, at the same time, the selling and 
disposing of their goods, both movable and immovable, 
shall be allowed them freely and without any disturbance, 
and, in the meantime, their goods, effects, vi^ares, and mer- 
chandise, and particularly their persons, shall not be de- 
tained or troubled by arrest or seizure, but rather in the 
meantime, the subjects and people on each side shall have 
and enjoy good and speedy justice, so that during the said 
space of six months they may be able to recover their 
goods and effects, intrusted as well to the public as to pri- 
vate persons ; and if anything be taken from them, or any 
injury be done by either party, or the people, or subjects 
on either side, full satisfaction shall be made for the same 
by the party committing such injury or doing such damage. 


No subjects of their High Mightinesses, the States of the 
Seven United'Provinces of Holland, shall apply for or take 
any commission or letter of marque for arming any ship or 
ships to act as privateers against the said United States of 
America, or any of tliem, or against the subjects, people or 
inhabitants of the said United States, or any of them, from 
any Prince or State with which the said United States of 
America shall happen to be at war ; and if any person of 
either nation shall take such commission or letter of marque, 
he shall be punished as a pirate. 



It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers, not belong- 
ing to the subjects of their Higli Mightinesses, the States of 
the Seven United Provinces of Holland, nor to the citizens 
of the said United States of America, wiiich have commis- 
sions from any other Prince or State in enmity with either of 
the contracting parties, to fit their ships in the ports of either 
the one or the other of the aforesaid parties, to sell what 
they have taken, or in any other manner whatsoever to 
exchange their ships, merchandise, or any other lading ; 
neither shall they be allowed even to purchase victuals, ex- 
cept such as shall be necessary for their going to the next 
port of that Prince or State from which they have com- 


It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects of their 
High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United Provinces 
of Holland, and the citizens, people, and inhabitants of the 
said United States of America, to sail with their ships 
with all manner of liberty and security ; no distinction be- 
ing made who are the proprietors of the merchandise 
laden therein, from any port to the places of those who now 
are or hereafter may or shall be at enmity with the said 
States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland, or the 
said United States of Auierica. it shall be also lawful for 
the subjects and citizens aforesaid, to sail with the ships and 
merchandise aforementioned, and to trade with the same 
liberty and security from the places, ports, and havens of 
those who are enemies of either party, without any oppo- 
sition or disturbaiice whatsoo\'er, not only directly from the 
places of the enemy aforementioned, to neutral places, but 
VOL. n. 42 


also from one place belonging to an enemy, whether they 
be under the jurisdiction of one and the same power, or 
under several. And it is hereby stipulated, that free ships 
shall also give a freedom to goods, and that every thing 
shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which shall be 
found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of either 
of the confederates, although the whole lading, or any part 
thereof should appertain to the enemies of either, contra- 
band goods being always excepted. It Is also agreed in 
like manner, that the same liberty be extended to persons 
who are on board a free ship, with this effect, that although 
they be enemies to both or either party, they are not to be 
taken out of that free ship, unless they are soldiers, and in 
the actual service of the enemies. 


This liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to 
all kinds of merchandise, excepting those only, which are 
distinguished by the name of contraband or prohibited 
goods, and under this name of contraband or prohibited 
goods, shall be comprehended arms, great guns, bombs, 
with their fusils, and other things belonging to them, fire 
balls, gunpowder, match, cannon balls, pikes, swords, lances, 
spears, halberts, mortars, petards, grenades, saltpetre, 
muskets, musket balls, helmets, headpieces, breastplates, 
coats of mail, and the like kinds of arms proper for arming 
soldiers, musket rests, belts, horses, with their furniture, 
and all other warlike instruments whatever. The mer- 
chandise which follows shall not be reckoned among con- 
traband or prohibited goods, that is to say, all sorts of cloth, 
and all other manufactures made of wool, flax, hemp, silk, 
cotton, or any other materials whatever. All kinds of 
wearing apparel, together with the species whereof they are 


used to be made, gold and silver, as well coined as un- 
coined, tin, iron, lead, copper, brass, as also wheat and 
barley, and every oilier kind of corn and pulse, tobacco, 
and likewise all manner of spices, salted and smoked flesh, 
salted fish, cheese and butter, beer, oils, wines, cider, 
sugars, syrup, and all sorts of salt ; and in general, all provi- 
sions which serve to the nourishment of mankind and the 
sustenance of life ; furthermore, all kinds of cotton, hemp, 
flax, tar, pitch, turpentine, ropes, cables, sail, sailcloths, 
anchors, and any parts of anchors ; also ships' masts, planks, 
boards, and beams of what trees soever, and all other 
things proper either for building or repairing ships ; and all 
other goods whatsoever, which have not been worked into 
the form of any instrument or thing prepared for war, by 
land or by sea, shall not be reputed contraband, much less 
such as have been already wrought and made up for any 
other use ; all which shall be wholly reckoned among free 
goods ; as likewise all other merchandise and things, 
which are not comprehended or particularly mentioned in 
the foregoing enumeration of contraband goods, so that they 
may be transported and carried in the freest manner by the 
subjects and citizens of both confederates, even to places 
belonging to an enemy, such towns and places being only 
excepted as are at that time besieged, blocked up, or 


To the end, that all manner of dissension and quarrels 
may be prevented and avoided on both sides, it is agreed, 
that in case either of the parties hereto should be engaged 
in war, the ships and vessels belonging to the subjects or 
citizens of the other ally must be furnished with sea letters, 
or passports, expressing the name, property, or bulk of the 


ship, or vessel, as also the name, place, or habitation of the 
master, or commander of the said ship, or vessel, that it 
may appear thereby, that the ship really and truly belongs 
to the subjects, or citizens of one of the parties, which pass- 
port shall be n)ade out and granted according to the form 
annexed to this treaty. They shall likewise be recalled 
every year, that is if the ship or vessel happens to return 
home within the space of a year. It is likewise agreed, 
that such ships or vessels being laden are to be provided 
not only with passports, as above mentioned, but also with 
certificates containing the several particulars of the cargo, 
the place from whence the ship sailed, and whither she is 
bound, that so it may be known, whether any forbidden or 
contraband goods be on board the same ; which certificates 
shall be made out by the officers of the place whence the 
ship or vessel set sail, in the accustomed form ; and if any 
one shall think it fit or advisable to express in tlie said cer- 
tificates the persons to whom the goods on board belong, 
he may freely do it. 


The ships or vessels of the subjects or citizens of either 
of the parties coming upon any coasts belonging to either of 
the said confederates, but not willing to enter into port, or 
being entered into port, and not willing to unload their car- 
goes or break bulk, shall not be obliged to give an account 
of their lading, unless they should be suspected on some 
manifest tokens of carrying to the enemy of the other ally 
any prohibited goods called contraband, and in case of such 
manifest suspicion, the said subjects and citizens of either 
of the parties shall be obliged to exhibit in the ports, their 
passports and certificates in the manner before specified. 



If the ships or vessels of the said subjects, or people of 
either of the parties, shall be met with sailing along the 
coasts, or on the high seas, by any ship of war, privateer, 
or armed vessel of the other party, the said ships of war, 
privateers, or armed vessels, for tfie avoiding of any disorder, 
shall remain out of cannon shot, and may send their boats 
on board the merchant ship, which they shall so meet with, 
and may enter her, to the number of two or three men only, 
to whom the master or commander of such ship or vessel 
shall exhibit his passport, concerning the property of the ship 
or vessel made out according to tlie form annexed to this 
present treaty, and the ship or vessel, after such passport 
has been shown, shall be free and at liberty to pursue her 
voyage, so as it shall not be lawful to molest or search her 
in any manner, to give her chase or to force her to quit her 
intended course. 


It is also agreed, that all goods when once put on board 
the ships or vessels of either party shall not be subject to 
any further visitation ; but all visitation and search shall be 
made beforehand, and all prohibited goods shall be stopped 
on the spot, before the same be put on board the ships or 
vessels of the respective parties, their subjects or people ; 
nor shall the persons or goods of the subjects or people of 
their said High Mightinesses, the States of the Seven United 
Provinces of Holland, or the said United Stales of America, 
be put under any arrest, or molested by any other kind of 
embargo for that cause ; but only the subject of that power, 
by which the said goods have been or shall be prohibited, 
who shall have presumed to sell or alienate such sort of 


goods, may be duly punished for the offence, according to 
the laws, customs or ordinances of his own country. 


The two contracting parties grant to each other mutu- 
ally the liberty of having, each in the ports of the other, 
consuls, vice consuls, agents and commissioners of their 
own appointing, whose functions shall be regulated by par- 
ticular agreement, whenever either party chooses to make 
such appointment. 

This is a rough plan of a treaty of commerce, which, in 
consequence of the appointment and instructions of the 
Honorable Engelbert Francis Van Berckel, Counsellor 
Pensionary of the city of Amsterdam, to nie John de Neuf- 
ville, citizen of the said city of Amsterdam, I have perused, 
considered, and settled with William Lee, Commissioner of 
Congress, as a proper treaty of commerce to be entered 
into between their High Mightinesses, the States of the 
Seven United Provinces of Holland, and the United States 
of America. 

This done at Aix la Chapelle, the 4th of September, 1778. 

Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778. 

The enclosed resolve it is hoped will be productive of 
singular advantage, so far as relates to yon, who must de- 
pend greatly for American intelligence on your connexions 
in Paris. Congress have been and are exceedingly loaded 


with business, and of iate have met with some singular 
interruptions in the intended general arrangement of their 
foreign affairs, so that they have yet only decided in respect 
to Dr Franklin, their Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court 
of France. 

Our first and most pressing business is the appreciation 
ot our currency. This point accomplished, our enemies 
themselves will acknowledge their hopes of conquering us 
at an end. The British Commissioners, sent on a foolish 
and wicked errand to America, are returning home com- 
pletely disappointed ; and there is reason from appear- 
ances to think, that the land forces of Britain are gradu- 
ally withdrawing from these States. It is probable, that 
the Marquis de la Fayette, by whom this letter goes, will 
obtain in Boston further knowledge than we now have of 
the destination of a fleet lately departed from New York, 
amounting to about one hundred and fifty sail. 

We shall desire Mr Adams to give you all possible infor- 
mation on the arrival of this packet, and shall soon des- 
patch other letters from this port. 

With hearty prayers for your welfare, we are, Sir, your 
affectionate friends, 

R. H. LEE, 


Frankfort, February 25th, 1779. 

I have the honor of enclosing to you with this a fourth 
copy of the plan of a treaty, arranged as you will see be- 
tween M. John de Neufville, on the part of the Pensionary 


and Burgomasters of Amsterdam, and myself on the part 
of the United States of America. This plan, I presume, 
will meet with the approbation of Congress, and if it can be 
carried through in the General Assembly of the Seven 
United States of the Netherlands, America cannot have 
any just grounds of complaint. If any further steps are 
taken by you in this business, it will be necessary to au- 
thorise some person to complete it in your name, who must 
advance it with the States-General as he finds the temper 
of the limes and politics, for it is to be observed, that by 
their constitution, in all cases of treaties, alliances, peace, or 
war, the unanimous consent of all the States is requisite ; 
however, it is with pleasure I infoim you, that in conse- 
quence of the negotiation with Amsterdam, and the corres- 
pondence I have kept up with the parties, that city (by far 
the most important member of their union) has with infinite 
firmness and resolution opposed all the intrigues of Great 
Britain, countenanced as it is said by the Prince of Orange, 
to involve the Republic in a war against France, and con- 
sequently against America. 

The efforts of Amsterdam have at last prevailed on the 
States-General to come to a resolution lately much in ouv 
favor, that is, that they insist upon Great Britain's strictly 
adhering to the treaty of 1674, whereby the Dutch com- 
merce is allowed to be entirely free ; and if Great Britain 
will not accede to this, they will convoy their trade with 
ships of war, and repel force with force. They are ac- 
cordingly making a very respectable addition to their navy, 
the care of which Amsterdam has taken on herself. 

With respect to Germany, our affairs seem to wear a 
more promising aspect, than they have done for some time 
past. Letters of good authority from Vienna, Berlin, and 


Breslaw, the present residence of the King of Prussia, 
speak with confidence of the terms of peace being fully 
settled between the House of Austria and Prussia, under 
the mediation of France and Russia, that of Great Britain 
being equally slighted by both parties. There has been 
about ten thousand men raised in this country, under the title 
of free corps, for the two contending powers, all of whom 
will be dismissed as soon as peace is signed, and will be 
ready to enter into any service that will pay them. It will 
require infinite address, industry, and management to pre- 
vent Great Britain from gaining advantage from this cir- 
cumstance, which will no doubt be attempted by their 
agent. General Faucet, who is now in this country, endeav- 
oring to buy more human flesh to sacrifice to the demon 
of tyranny in America. To this object I shall apply at 
present my principal attention, at the same time keeping a 
watchful eye upon the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, to take 
advantage of the first favorable opening for us that appears 
at either. 

I think it most probable, that one or both of those Courts 
will begin a negotiation with us, in a very little space of 
time after the peace between them is finally settled ; how- 
ever, for the present the King of Prussia has formally en- 
gaged, by a letter from his Minister, who writes in the 
King's name, the 17th instant, "that tlie merchants of 
North America, who should come with their merchant 
vessels into the ports of his Majesty to trade there, in 
merchandise that is not prohibited, should have full liberty, 
and should be received in all respects, as the merchants of 
other countries." This looks to me, as if they wished the 
trade to be commenced between America and the Prussian 
dominions, but the European merchants, and especially 

VOL. IL 43 


those who are not accustomed to a foreign commerce, 
which is almost universally the case with the merchants in 
the Prussian dominions, are cautious, and do not care to 
venture hastily in a trade, which they do not understand. 
A vessel or two from America, arriving in the port of 
Emden, would convince the Prussian merchants more of 
the practicability of this commerce, than a volume of the 
most demonstrative reasoning, that ever was vi^ritten. You 
will judge then of the propriety of encouraging the Amer- 
ican merchants to undertake a trial of this commerce. 

This will be delivered to you by Samuel W. Stockton of 
New Jersey, who has been with me some months, in the 
capacity of Secretary to the Commission, at the Courts of 
Vienna and Berlin, for which purpose he left London in 
May last, where he had been some years pursuing the study 
of the law. He now returns to his country, because we do 
not see clearly how the expense of a Secretary is to be 
supported, since the American Commissioners at the Court 
of Versailles have lately demurred at paying my draft on 
them for my expenses, conformably to the resolve of Con- 
gress, and though they have allowed me some money, I 
am given to understand, that it is the last I am to expect 
from them ; therefore, if you should agree in opinion with 
most others on the propriety of keeping up the Commissions 
in Germany, it will be quite necessary to establish some 
sure funds to support the expense. Mr Stockton has re- 
ceived from me 3732 livres for his expenses, and I am 
obliged to refer him to Congress for such further considera- 
tion as they may judge he deserves, not having it in my 
power to make him that compensation for his services to 
the public, which 1 think him entitled to. However, justice 
calls upon me to say, that he merits consideration and 


esteem for his zea! and readiness to serve his country, 
whenever it was in his power, and therefore I am sure 
Congress will render him ample retribution. 

To Mr Stockton I refer you for further information rela- 
tive to the general state of political affairs in this quarter of 
the world, and expecting shortly another opportunity, I 
shall write again, when 1 hope to be able to give you very 
pleasing accounts of the progress of my negotiations in this 
country. I have not received any letter or intelligence 
from you of a later date than May last, therefore I have 
no reply to make. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 



Paris, March 16th, 1779. 

1 have just had communicated to me the copies of two 
letters from Mr Silas Deane, addressed to Mr President 
Laurens, dated Philadelphia, October the 12tli, 1778, and 
a separate paper relative to the 11th and 12th articles in 
the Treaty of Commerce between His Most Christian Ma- 
jesty and the United States of America ;* in which letters, 
so far as respects me personally, he has asserted nearly the 
same groundless charges as in his letter to the public, which 
has been already so fully replied to, and proved to be 
utterly repugnant to truth. Had Mr Deane made these 
very extraordinary assertions only once, he might have had 
some shadow of excuse, though it is a very bad one, by 
pleading a weak memory ; but a deliberate repetition of 

* See these letters and paper in Mr Deane's Correspondence, Vol. I, 
pp. 129, 139, 148, 155, of this work. 


them, after an interval ol time amply sufficient for recollec- 
tion, shows a heart and designs of such a complexion as all 
good men should avoid and guard against. Mr Deane con- 
cludes with the following assertions, by way of summary 
of all that he had before advanced. 

1st. "That Mr William Lee never had a commission for 
the commercial agency." What Mr Deane may style a 
commission I do not know, but he knew by a letter to him- 
self from Mr John Ross, in July, 1777, of which he knows 
I have a copy, that I had as sufficient authority to act in 
the commercial agency as Mr Thomas Morris, and that I 
did act in that department accordingly. But if Mr Deane 
knew I was not a commercial agent, how can he palliate so 
bold and daring an imposition on His Most Christian Ma- 
jesty and his Ministers, as to represent me m that character 
to them, which he did do in the letter signed by him to 
his Excellency Count de Vergennes in February, 177S, 
requesting that the late Mr Thomas Morris's papers might 
be put into my possession, as then being the sole commer- 
cial agent of Congress. But, indeed, we ought not to be 
surprised at any imposition whatever on the part of Mr 
Deane, since he imposed himself on the King of France, 
his Ministers, and the whole world, as a Commissioner of 
Congress, on the 20th of March, J 778, when he confesses 
that on the 4th of that month he received a resolution of 
Congress, recalling him to America. I also refer for his 
conviction to the letters and proceedings of the Secret 

2dly. Mr Deane says, "Mr Lee's caution was such, that 
he never even answered my letters to him in February or 
March, informing him that Mr Robert Morris had written 
to me, that he was appointed j nor did I hear anything 


from him of his intentions until he arrived at Paris the sum- 
mer following, where also he acted with the greatest caution 
while he waited the return of his brother from Berlin." 
One cannot here omit observing the studied latitude of his 
expressions. Mr Deane talks of his letter in February or 
March, and that I came to Paris in the summer following. 
Will Mr Deane say how many letters he wrote ? I never 
saw or heard of but one. Will he please to say whether 
that one letter was dated the 1st of February, or the 31st 
of March ? For the difference of two whole months makes 
a very material alteration in the consequence he means to 
draw from the assertion. I will answer, that his only letter 
is dated the 30th of March, though he acknowledges his 
having received a notification from Mr Robert Morris in 
February of my appointment, and at the same time was 
desired to give me information of it immediately. It has 
been also proved by Mr Deane's letter to Mr Williams, on 
the same day, viz. March 30th, that he was plotdng a con- 
tention and rivalship in this department, before it was pos- 
sible for him to know my determination on the subject. 
Again, will Mr Deane specify what time in the summer I 
arrived in Paris ? Because here it is left to be understood, 
either the first day of June, or the last day of August, 
which is a still greater difference than the former expression. 
I will assert what I can prove, that I arrived in Paris the 
11th of June, and that besides receiving a letter from me 
himself in the month of May, he was personally told by my 
brother, Arthur Lee, by my desire, in the beginning of May, 
that I would come over as soon as possible to execute my 
appointment, and so far from waiting in Paris for my 
brother's return from Berlin, I waited, by the express 
advice of Dr Franklin and Mr Deane, until the 31st of July, 


1777, as their letter to me of that date will show, which was 
nine days after my brother's return from Berlin to Paris. 

The manner in which Mr Deane sent me the letter, 
informing me of my appointment, joined with what is now- 
manifest, a formed design in him and Dr Franklin to make 
Mr Williams (nephew of the latter, and who now appears 
connected with the former in private mercantile business) 
commercial agent,* in opposition to the Secret Committee's 
appointment, renders it evident that he expected either the 
interception of that letter or my answer would have sub- 
jected me to imprisonment and secured their plan. It is 
this disappointment that makes Mr Deane so outrageous 
against me, for not having committed so great an act of 
imprudence, situated as I was, as to be writing to him by 
the post upon such a subject. That this scheme of Mr 
Deane might be more effectual, notice of my appointment 
was circulated upon the Royal Exchange of London, before 
I received Mr Deane's letter ; and not long after, it was pub- 
lished in the newspapers in authentic letters written from 
Paris. Now, as Mr Deane acknowledges that he received 
a letter announcing my appointment, it must have been by 
him, that others were enabled to write and publish it to all 
the world, while my life, liberty, and property were at 
stake. It is hardly in charity to believe, that these were 
not the intended victims of Mr Deane's conduct. 

3dly. Mr Deane says, "So far was he (meaning me) 
from ever executing, or publicly attempting to execute that 
agency, until after the news of General Burgoyne's defeat 
had arrived in France, that he did nothing that ever I heard 

* For a correction of an error liere, in regard to the imputed designs 
of Dr Franklin respecting his nephew, see the note on p. 164, of the 
present volume. 


of, which could have prevented his returning to the exercise 
of his Aldermanship in London." 

If anything could astonish me, that comes from Mr 
Deane, surely here is abundant matter for astonishment. 
He had just before, from under his own hand, on the very 
same paper, acknowledged my having attempted to exer- 
cise that appointment, in the joint letter from Mr Thomas 
Morris and myself as commercial agents to himself and Dr 
Franklin, in August, 1777, which he calls severe, but which I 
aver is a very civil one, and that it does not contain a single 
harsh or offensive expression. He acknowledges, also, the 
conference I had with all the Commissioners in France in 
October, on the subject of the commercial business, when 
Mr Izard was present. He knew, also, that I had received 
a cargo publicly at Nantes, belonging to Congress, by the 
Abigail, Captain Jenne, which vessel was loaded again by 
me, and despatched back for America in three weeks, 
while other American vessels, of no greater size or import- 
ance, were detained at Nantes from two to three months. 
He knew, also, or ought to have known, that I had written 
a letter addressed to all the Commissioners, Dr Franklin, 
Mr Deane, and Mr Arthur Lee, on the 1 0th of November, 
1777, which was delivered to Dr Franklin as eldest Com- 
missioner the same day, wherein I requested a copy of 
the treaties, that had been proposed to the Courts of France 
and Spain, agreeably to my instructions from Congress, 
that I might not, as a Commissioner of Congress, propose 
anything repugnant thereto to the Courts of Vienna and 
Berlin. After these things, and a continued series of ope- 
rations in the public service, (all of which Mr Deane was 
acquainted with) from the time I was permitted to act by 
himself and Dr Franklin, until the 4th of December, when 


the news of General Burgoyne's defeat arrived at Paris, 
with what face could Mr Deane make such an assertion as 
he has done ? Most of these things also being of public 
notoriety, and capable of being proved by a multitude of 
witnesses, can any one suppose Mr Deane so totally igno- 
rant of the laws of England, as to imagine he could think I 
might return "to the exercise of my Aldermanship in Lon- 
don," without being a madman desirous of hanging myself? 

This gendeman attempts to excuse himself and Dr 
Franklin, for not answering the joint letter of Mr Morris 
and myself to them, by laying the blame on Mr Arthur 
Lee, not a syllable of which was mentioned at the con- 
ference I had in October, 1777, at Passy with the Com- 
missioners, when Mr Izard was present, and which Mr 
Lee has answered himself; but he omits to say why my 
several letters from Nantes, as commercial agent on public 
business to the Commissioners, were not answered, and of 
which 1 not only complained at the conference but since. 
In order to invalidate what Mr Izard has written, he totally 
mistakes the purport of the letter, in which Mr Izard com- 
plains of Dr Franklin's and Mr Deane's refusing to write. 
This letter, as desired by me, was a general one to all cap- 
tains and others, informing them that I was a Commercial 
Agent of the Secret Committee of Congress, and that in con- 
sequence, they ought to follow my directions and orders in all 
matters relative to the commercial business of the Committee. 

So far from my proposing the suspension of Mr Morris, 
I never thought that the Commissioners had the least 
shadow of authority to do it. It is certain, that Mr Dearie 
not only proposed the suspension of Mr Morris at this 
conference, but at several other times. As a con- 
firmation of this assertion, I beg leave to give the following 


extract of Mr Deane's letter to me, dated, "Passy, De- 
cember 18th, 1777. My advice before your appointment 
(as was well known) was to supersede Mr Morris, and 
appoint another until the pleasure of Congress should be 
known ; I was always of the same opinion after your ap- 
pointment, that you ought to conduct the business alone ; 
these are well known to have been my uniform senti- 

Mr Deane labors much to throw an odium on me, as 
wishing to monopolise to myself the places both of honor 
and profit. Probably, from the weakness of his memory 
he forgot, that in the commencement of his address to the 
public, he states, that before September, 1776, he "had 
the honor to be the Commercial and Political Agent of 
America in Europe." He also forgets, that the first cause 
of any difference between us was his usurping the exer- 
cise of the Commercial Agency, to which Mr Morris and 
myself were appointed by the Secret Committee, while he 
was not only one of the Commissioners to the Court of 
Versailles particularly, but generally authorised to treat 
with every power in Europe ; the influence and patron- 
age of which very expensive commission, he was perpetu- 
ally endeavoring to retain entirely to himself. He also 
seems to be ignorant of what I suppose is known to most 
people in Philadelphia, that his "venerable friend," as he 
calls him, Dr Franklin, is at this moment not only sole Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Versailles, but also in 
fact sole superintending Commercial Agent in all Europe. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 


VOL. II. 44 



Paris, March 25th, 1779. 


Be pleased to refer to the foregoing copy of my letter 
to you of the 25th ult. by Mr Stockton, which may not get 
to hand as soon as this. 

On the 10th instant an armistice was published between 
the Emperor and King of Prussia, and the same day the 
conferences were opened at Teschin in Austrian Silesia, to 
consolidate and reduce into form the treaty of peace between 
the two contending powers, the important articles of which 
have been already agreed upon by both parties. The 
operations of war have consequently ceased, but perhaps the 
final signature of the peace may not take place for some 

The principal objects of my coming here, were to 
engage this Court to aid and assist me in adopting the most 
speedy and efficacious measures to prevent our joint 
enemies from reaping considerable advantage from the 
peace in Germany, by engaging a vast number of the free 
corps that have been raised for this war, to the number of 
fifteen or twenty thousand men, that will all be disbanded 
as soon as the peace is signed, and to aid me in endeavor- 
ing to get the German powers to acknowledge the inde- 
pendence of America, which would certainly have a de- 
cided influence on Great Britain, and induce her King and 
Ministers to make peace with us on the footing of inde- 

As it is the regular and usual mode in Europe for one 
nation to treat with another on public business, through the 
medium of their public ministers, I applied to Dr Franklin 



Oil my arrival here, as the American Minister at this Court, 
to go with me to his Excellency Count de Vergennes to 
consult with him on these points. The doctor declined 
doing so, saying he was so little acquainted with Ger- 
man affairs, that he could not meddle with them. I told 
him that it was not his knowledge or idea of the Ger- 
man politics, that was to be communicated to the Min- 
ister, but mine, on which the Minister would form his 
own judgment with respect to the propriety of my propo- 
sitions, but unless they were made to him in the regular 
mode by the Minister of Congress at this Court, it could 
not be expected that he would pay much attention to what 
came from me, as an individual unauthorised by Congress 
to treat with him on great political subjects. The doctor 
still refused either to go with me, or to write by me on the 
subject to Count do Vergennes. I shall, however, do 
every thing that is in my power to accomplish these desir- 
able ends, and from the present appearance of things, it 
appears to me most probable I shall succeed in one, if not 
both the objects in view, if I can obtain the aid and concur- 
rence of the Ministry here. 

These are certainly objects of high importance, espe- 
cially with respect to the troops, as the British Ministry have 
now several officers in pay in Germany waiting to engage 
them. Our enemies it seems are determined to prosecute 
the war against us, at least for this year ; their plan must 
be begun before this gets to hand, and therefore opened to 
you, which renders it unnecessary for me to mention any 
thing on that subject. 

With this, is a letter to President Jay, covering my reply 
to the allegations of Mr Silas Deane against me, in his letter 
to Congress of the 1 2th of October, to be laid before Con- 


gress, which I flatter myself will, in the mind of every im- 
partial person, be not only a full vindication of my conduct, 
but also prove how little credit is due to any assertions of 
Mr Deane. As to myself personally, I am perfectly at 
ease with respect to the weak and wicked attempts of Mr 
Deane to injure me, for I am shielded with the invincible 
armor of innocence ; but the injury his daring publication* 
has done to the common cause of America in Europe is 
not easily to be delineated, and I can assure you with truth, 
that our enemies are more elated at it, than they would 
have been with a capital victory. The reason for their 
exultation is too evident to require mentioning. Besides, 
it has created a diffidence in the minds of the Europeans, 
which will embarrass extremely every attempt at public 
negotiations, since few Ministers will treat with a people, 
who permit every thing that passes to be wantonly pub- 
lished to the world with impunity. I trust, however, the 
wisdom of Congress will not let its attention be drawn 
off from the great and principal object of providing 
effectually for defeating the open and secret efforts of 
our enemies against us, and finally to force them to an 
honorable peace ; which I am convinced they will not 
accede to until they are driven off the continent. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 


* His Address fo the American People, published in the Pennsylvania 
Gazette, of December 5fh, 1778. 




Paris, June 22d, 1779. 


We had the honor of receiving your favoi- of the , 

in which you ask our advice relative to an application to 
the King of Prussia to comply with his promise, made 
through his Minister, Baron de Schulenburg, "that he 
would acknowledge the independence of the United States 
as soon as France had done so," and whether it would be 
proper to change the channel of application from Baron de 
Schulenburg to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

It is with great pleasure, that we contribute whatever is 
in our power to assist your judgment in what so materially 
concerns the public good. 

We are of opinion, that in the present state of expec- 
tancy from Spain, it will be prudent to wait till her example 
also has given encouragement to the Court of Berlin, and 
contributed to counteract the motives from Russia, which 
withhold that Court from pursuing its interest and inclina- 
tion in openly espousing our cause. That when it may be 
proper to move the question, the promises should be 
touched with delicacy, by stating, that the good will to- 
wards us, which the King had formerly declared, having 
been suspended in its operation by the war in Germany, 
you hope that their objection being now removed, he will 
not delay to give the world a decided proof of his senti- 
ments, in the acknowledgment of the independency of the 
United States of America, which cannot fail by the weight 
of such an example to stop the further wanton effusion of 

As the King of Prussia is in fact his own Minister, 


we should imagine, that it might have a bad effect to 
change from Baron de Schulenburg, whom he seems to 
have appointed to U-ansact this particular business. But 
in this, a knowledge of the actual situation of that Court 
must decide, and of that we are not informed. 

^Ve wish you every success in this important negotiation, 
and are, with the greatest esteem, dear Sir, yours, &ic. 



Philadelphia, July 17th, 1779. 

The Committee of Congress for Foreign Affairs are 
officially instructed to inform you, that on the 8th of June 
last past, it was resolved to recall you from the Courts of 
Vienna and Berlin, to which you had been appointed. 
But you are also to be informed, that it is the sense of 
Congress, that you need not repair to America. 

You may see the proceedings at length, respecting this 
business, in their Journals, printed authoritatively by David 
C. Clay pole, and being in the hands of Dr Franklin or Mr 
Arthur Lee at Paris. 

We are, Sir, with sincere regard, &ic. 

For the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 




Francfort, September 28th, 1779. 


I have not had the honor of receiving any answer to the 
various letters I have written to you since my coming to 
this country, nor any letter from you since May, 1778, ex- 
cept a short one of the 28th of October last, which, added to 
my never receiving intelligence, information, or assistance 
of any kind from your Minister at the Court of Versailles, 
has rendered tny situation extremely embarrassing ; and, 
therefore, if ray success has not been so complete as could 
have been wished, I shall hope for the indulgence of Con- 
gress, especially when it is considered, that the general sys- 
tem of affairs in Europe, for eighteen months past, has 
been so very critical as to puzzle the deepest and most 
refined politicians. 

Not being able to prevail on your Minister at the Court 
of Versailles (as I mentioned to you in March last) to aid 
me, in getting the French Ministry to exert themselves in 
endeavoring to obtain a declaration of American indepen- 
dence by all the northern powers of Europe, that were 
interested in the Congress held at Teschin in Silesia last 
spring, I was consequently disappointed in the full hopes 
I entertained of obtaining so desirable a point, which there 
was the greatest prospect of succeeding in, if the Court of 
Versailles had made a point of it ; at least I am assured, 
that the King of Prussia would not have had any objection, 
and from the very great influence he has in the Cabinet of 
Petersburg, there is little doubt but that he could easily 
have prevailed with the Empress of Russia to have given 
her consent. Had this point been gained, oiu- enemies 


would have been deprived of every ray of hope of obtain- 
ing any assistance to continue the war against us, for the 
great object of their European politics has been, and is still, 
to draw the Empress of Russia into their quarrel. 

We had not in this country got sufficiently quieted, after 
the signing of the peace of Teschin, on the 10th of May 
last, to make it prudent for me to take any public steps 
under the commissions I have from Congress, before the 
negotiations for peace under the mediation of Spain were 
drawn to a conclusion, but as the rescript delivered in June 
by the Spanish Ambassador to Lord Weymouth, in Lon- 
don, said not one word in our favor, but rather seemed to 
look on the Thirteen United States of America as being 
still colonies, or provinces, belonging to Great Britain, it 
became absolutely necessary for me to wait until this 
enigma could be cleared up, and till I could get sure infor- 
mation of the real designs of Spain, and the measures she 
intended to pursue. 

As soon as I had got this information, I made a 
formal requisition to the Prussian Minister, hoping that, as 
the late war in Germany had prevented his Majesty's 
former declarations in our favor from being carried into 
effect, and as that obstruction was now removed, his 
Majesty would not delay to acknowledge the independence 
of the Thirteen United States of America, which might be 
the means of putting a stop to the further wanton effusion 
of human blood. To this requisition I received the follow- 
ing answer from the Minister. "With respect to the decla- 
ration, which you again desire of the King, in favor of the 
independence of the Americans,! have frequently explained, 
that his Majesty having, by the position of his dominions 
and those of his neighbors, very different interests from 


those powers that are properly railed maritime ones, he 
had no right to expect a direct influence in maritime 
affairs, and that he could not in wise policy take any 
measures in those affairs, because they would always be 
unfruitful, as they could not be supported by a warlike 
marine. The support of the maritime powers will 
make the balance incline in your favor more effectually, 
than all the declarations in the world, and Spain, by joining 
with France to make war on England, renders you the 
most essential services, without having acknowledged your 
independence. The King, in making the declaration now 
which you desire, would only embroil himself with Eng- 
land, without rendering the smallest service to your coun- 
try. These are the reasons, which induce the King to 
confine himself at present to the facilities, which his Maj- 
esty has offered at different times with respect to com- 
merce, in assuring you, which 1 do again, that merchant 
vessels of America, lliat ciioose !o enter into the ports of 
the King, to sell their goods and to buy ours, shall be 
received in a hiendly manner, and treated on an equality 
with the merchants of any other country." 

It has long been one object of my policy to engage the 
King of Prussia to act In our faror as a mediator for peace, 
whereby, if his mediation was agreed to, he might render u? 
much more effectual service than by sending an army of fifty 
thousand men into Hanover, which step he could not take 
without arming the Emperor and the whole German empire 
against him. I have good reason to believe, that the King 
is much disposed to act in the quality of a mediatoi', but he 
is too wise to offer his services without being previously as- 
sured, that they would be accepted by both sides ; however, 
we may expect very essential benefits from his influence 
VOL. II. 45 


with the Court of St Petersburg, who, it is said with confi- 
dence, has offered its mediation, and that it is accepted by 
the parties. I am informed, tltat the first proposition to be 
made to England by the mediating powers, as the com- 
mencement of the negotiation, is that America shall be 
treated as independent.* There is a strong inclination in 
Prussia to enter into the American commerce, and there is 
now a scheme in aghation under the direction of the Minister 
to make the trial, which, if the commencement is success- 
ful, will be carried on upon a very large scale, and will 
more effectually engage the King in our interests than any 
thing else. For this purpose, 1 think it would be of most 
essential service if two or three American vessels were to 
enter into the port of Emden, which is a good harbor, 
lying between Hamburgh and Amsterdam, and as easily got 
into as any of the ports of Holland. , 

1 have continued my correspondence at Vienna, but 
having no powers to treat with the Empress Queen, who is 
still sole sovereign over all the dominions of the House of 
Austria, and the Emperor being much disgusted with some 
proceedings during the late war, and more so with its con- 
clusion, is become of course much more disposed in favor 
of our enemies than he was, and consequently less inclined 
to serve us ; therefore, little advantage can be expected 
from that quarter at present. Our friends in Holland 
increase every day, and I am still in regular correspondence 
with those who regulated with me the form of the treaty of 
commerce, copies of which have been sent you by various 

* This was not true iu regard to the " mediating powers," but it was 
the invariable reply of France to all the propositions made by other pow- 
ers for a mediation between her and England, that the independence of 
the United States must be assumed as a previously established point. 


conveyances, and even now if the Stadtholder were to 
refuse to receive an American deputy, I have no doubt of 
his meeting a cordial reception from the city of Amster- 
dam, whose weight and decisive influence in their associ- 
ation you must be fully informed of. 

Letters of good authority from England say, that the 
British Ministry would willingly agree to give up the inde- 
pendence of America to obtain peace, but it is feared that 
the obstinacy and folly of their master will prevent them 
from executing their plan ; however, I am still firmly of 
opinion, that the best security and success of America will 
depend on her own efforts, her wise, steady, and uniform 
conduct. As the obtaining afresh supply of troops from 
this country has been a favorite point with our enemies, I 
have paid continual attention to that object, and have the 
pleasure to inform you, that at present there is not any 
prospect of their obtaining fresh troops from this part of the 
world, as they have hitherto been defeated in all their 
various negotiations for that purpose ; but as this campaign 
has passed away without any blow being struck in Europe, 
all the English fleets from the difierent parts of the 
world arrived safe without the least molestation, and the 
King's hands are so much strengthened by the exertions of 
all parties in England to repel the invasion, which they have 
been threatened with all the year, that I think it is most 
probable the war will continue another year at least, for 
which, I suppose, proper provision will be made in 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 




Bi-usspIsj Febrimiy lOtli, 17SL 


Be pleased to inform Congress, that I have received in- 
formation, vi^hich I think is to be depended on, that the Brit- 
ish cabinet has lately determined not to send any more 
troops for this campaign to North America. I therefore 
submit to the wisdom of Congress the propriety of making 
every possible vigorous effort this year to expel the British 
troops from the continent, for there may be reason to ap- 
prehend if this is not done, and Great Britain can by any 
means extricate herself from the irresistible northern storm 
she has raised against her, by the mad and foolish attack she 
has made on the Dutch, that her whole force will be em- 
ployed next year against America, especially if she does 
not meet with some signal losses there this campaign. 

The secret proposals for peace, which Great Britain is 
now making at Versailles and Madrid, are altogether insid- 
ious, and only intended to impede the active operations of 
France and Spain this year, whereby they hope, by getting 
the start, that they may obtain some decisive advantages in 
the East and West Indies, for which countries their expedi- 
tions are all now on the wing. The King of Prussia has been 
our steady friend, though wisely so, and has been of much 
service to us : therefore, from motives of gratitude as well 
as of justice and sound policy he ought not to be much 
longer neglected, for it is most certain that his wisdom 
directs greatly the present system of Europe. 
I have the honor to be, he 




Brussels, April 12th, 1781 


Not having received any answers to various letters I 
have written to you, covering my account as Commissioner 
to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, I take the liberty of 
again enclosing in this a copy of that account, No 4, but 
having understood that Congress had adopted another 
mode in settling Mr Izard's account, I have stated another 
account, No. 2, conformable to that mode as I understand 
it, which is also enclosed, leaving it with your justice and 
discretion to determine which of them to lay before Con- 

It is impossible to avoid observing, that the prevailing 
sentiments in America, and the situation of public affairs, 
which occasioned the resolution of Congress of the 20th ol' 
September, 1776, were very different from those, which 
dictated the resolution of August 6th, 1779.f Indeed, one 
difference is pretty remarkable, for at the first period, the 
office of a commissioner was so far from being esteemed a 
profitable and honorable appointment, that on the contrary 
it was refused, as the journals of Congress will show ; but 
at the latter period there was such a change in the situation 

* Both missing. 

t "August 6th, 1779, Resolved, that an allowance of 11,428 livres 
tournois per anuuni be made to the several Commissioners of the United 
States in Europe lor their services, besides their reasonable expenses 
respectively ; 

"That the salary, as well as the expenses, be computed from the lime 
of their leaving their places of abode to enter on the duties of their 
offices, to be continued three months after notice of their recall, to 
enable them to repair to their families respoctively." 


of the affairs of America, tiiat similar appointments were 
sought after with great eagerness and much solicitude. It 
surely cannot be thought unreasonable, that this should be 
considered in rewarding those, who accepted of the appoint- 
ments at the different periods, as well as the situations and 
stations in life that were quitted, and die personal losses 
that were sustained by entering into the public service. As 
to myself, I can solemnly aver, that my pecuniary loss from 
engaging in the service of my country exceeded the sum 
of £6000 sterling. This I do not mention as a peculiar 
merit, because 1 have no doubt there are others who have 
voluntarily msde as great, if not much greater sacrifices in 
so good a cause ; but as my family now^ feel not only that 
loss, but the want of that portion of my private fortune, 
which 1 was necessarily obliged to expend in the public 
service, I have reason to hope that the settlement of my 
account will be speedily determined, and I must further 
hope and request, that the payment of whatever sum Con- 
gress shall please to allow me may be ordered to me in 

1 have only to solicit. Gentlemen, your kind intercession 
that d)is business may be brought to as quick a decision as 
possible, in which you will confer a singular obligation on 
him, who has the honor to be, with the highest esteem, 
respect, and consideration, Gentlemen, your most obedient 

and obliged humble servant, 



Philadelphia, SepU-niber 2Cth. 1781. 

The decision of Congress respecting your letter of April 
12ih, which came to hand only the 4th of this month, is 


herewith transmitted. The period of payment will per- 
haps be more distant than you wish ; but I am at liberty to 
assure you from the Superintendent of our Finances, that 
it is his intention to take the earliest possible opportunity to 
close this business.* 

With much regard, I am, &c. 

For the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 


lirussels, Marcli 31s», 1782. 


Although 1 have not the honor of a personal acquaint- 
ance with you, yet I trust that this letter being on subjects 
which concern the interests of our country in general, I 
shall not stand in need of any apology for writing it. 

You will be informed, probably, both by the newspapers 
and private letters, before this gets to your hands, of the 
late revolution in the British Ministry ; the old set having 
given place to a new Ministry, composed of the Rocking- 
ham, Shelburne, and Grafton parties. This change has 
been forced on the king, very much against his inclination, 
and that of his secret advisers, Lords Bute and Mansfield, 

" "September 121k, 1781. Tiie committee fo whom was referred a 
letter of the 12th of April last from Mr William Lee, report, 

"That upon principles admitted by Congress in the settlement of 
an account similar to that transmitted by Mr Lee, there appears to be 
due to him a balance of 42,189 livres tournois ; whereupon, 

"Ordered, Tliat the account be referred to the Superintendent of 
Finance, to take order for payment of the balance, with interest, at the 
rate of six per cent per annum from this day, as soon as the state of 
the public finances will admit." 


by the general exertion ol' almost the whole body of the 
people of England, both in and out of the House of Com- 
mons, who ardently wish for a peace, especially with Amer- 
ica, and it appears that independence will not now be any 
great impediment, though they will endeavor to barter, as a 
consideration for acknowledging it for a beneticial treaty 
of commerce, the Newfoundland fishery and some other 

It seems evidently to be the general wish of the nation, 
that a peace with America should be immediately made 
almost on any terms, and on that principle it is that they 
have forced the present Ministry into place ; but as I am 
not quite clear that the principles of Lord Shelburne, or 
those of his friend, Mr Dunning, are in any manner friendly 
to America, and the king's inveteracy continuing as great 
as ever, it is not possible to say how far the negotiations for 
peace may be traversed and impeded by secret manoeuvres 
and intrigues ; therefore in my opinion it will be wise in 
America to be well on her guard, and take her present 
measures, as if the war was yet to continue some years. 
] have not yet heard of his departure, but the 22d instant 
was fixed for General Carleton to leave Portsmouth in the 
Ceres, of thirtytwo guns, for New ITork, to take upon him 
the command in chief in America. The late British Min- 
istry died as they lived, for one of their last official acts 
was to give the traitor Arnold, by patent, one thousand 
pounds sterling pension per annum for his and his wife's 

It has been mentioned to me by a gentleman in the gov- 
ernment here, that the Emperor is disposed to enter into a 
commercial treaty with America, and afterwards that a 
Minister or resident from Congress should reside at the 


Court here, this being the principal commercial country 
belonging to his Majesty. Though this communication 
was not official, yet it appears as if it had been made to 
me from their knowing, that I was formerly a Commissioner 
of Congress at the Court of Vienna ; therefore I think it my 
duty to inform Congress of the circumstance through you. 
that they may take such measures in it as they think proper. 
I will not presume to advise on ihe propriety or impro- 
priety of appointing a Minister to treat with his Imperial 
Majesty, because (Congress must be sufficiently informed, 
that tiie capital manuHictures of this country in woollen, 
linen and cotton, and coarse iiats, and the iron and steel 
manufactures at Leige, will be of great utility at all times in 
America ; and the consumption of tobacco, indigo, rice, 
furs, skins, and salt fish is not only very considerable in 
this country, but in the adjacent inland ones, that always 
draw their supplies ihrongh the ports here. I will only 
venture to say, in my opinion, (ifteen thousand livres tour- 
nois per annum would be a suificient api)ointment for an 
American minister to reside at this Court, for his salary and 
es{3enses together. Should such a minister he nppointed. 
his commission should run thus ; "To negotiate, agree upon, 
conclude, and sign a treaty of, Sic. he. he. between his Im- 
perial and Apostolic Majesty Joseph the Second, Etnperor 
of Germany, King of the Romans, of Hungary, Bohemia, 
&ic. &ic. See. and the Congress of the United States of 
America, and afterwards to reside as Minister from the 
said Congress at the Couit of Brussels, in the Austrian 
Netherlands, to transact such affairs as may be given to 
iiim in charge." I mention this because there was^a capi- 
tal mistake in the original commission sent me to treat with 
VOL. II. 46 


the Court of Vienna, which I took the liberty of pointing 
out at the time. 

You will find enclosed with this a copy of the London 
Gazette, and sentence of the Court Martial on Captain 
Dundass of the Boneta, which prove pretty explicitly a 
breach of the articles of capitulation at Yorktown by Lord 
Cornwallis and Captain Symonds. I do not know that 
the situation of affairs will render it necessary to take notice 
of this breach on the part of the enemy, but it appears to 
rae proper that Congress should be informed of the fact. 

With the highest consideration and respect, I have the 

honor to be, &c. 







Ralph Izard was a native of South Carolina. He 
was residing in Paris with his ianiily, when appointed 
by Congress a Commissioner to the Court of Tuscany. 
He had lived much in England and other parts of Europe. 
His Commission was dated July 1st, 1777. The state 
of European politics became such, that he did not visit the 
Court to which he was destined ; nor did he leave Paris 
during the whole period of his agency. Congress recalled 
him on the 8th of June, 1779, and he returned in a few 
months afterwards to America. By correspondence he 
attempted to procure a loan in Italy, but without effect. It 
does not appear, that his services were in any way suc- 




Philadelphia, July 1st, 1777. 


Herewith you will receive a Commission from the Con- 
gress of the United States of North America, authorising 
and appointing you to represent the said Congress, as their 
Commissioner at the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. 
You will proceed with all convenient expedition to the 
Court of the Grand Duke, and will lose no time in an- 
nouncing in form the declaration of Independence made in 
Congress, the fourth day of July, 1776. The reasons of 
this act of independence are so strongly adduced in the 
declaration itself, that further argument is unnecessary. 

As it is of the greatest importance to these States, that 
Great Britain be effectually obstructed in the plan of send- 
ing German and Russian troops to Nordi America, you will 
exert all possible address to prevail with the Grand Duke to 
use his influence with the Emperor and the Courts of 
France and Spain to this end. 


You will propose a treaty of friendship and commerce 
with the said Grand Duke, upon the same commercial 
principles as were the basis of the first treaties of friendship 
and commerce proposed to the Courts of France and 
Spain, by our Commissioners, and which were approved in 
Congress, the seventeenth day of September, 1776, and 
not interfering with any treaties, which may have been 
proposed to' or concluded with the Courts abovemen- 
lioned. For your better instruction herein, the Commis- 
sioners at the Court of Versailles will be desired to furnisii 
you, from Paris, with a copy of the treaty originally pro- 
posed by Congress to be entered into with France, together 
with the subsequent alterations, that have been proposed on 
either side. 

You are to propose no treaty of commerce to be of lon- 
ger duration, than the term of twelve years from the date of 
its ratification by die Congress of the United States. And 
it intfst never be forgotten in these commercial treaties, 
that reciprocal and equal advantages to the j)eople of both 
countries be firmly and plainly secui'ed. 

There being reason to suppose, that his Royal Highness 
makes commerce an object of his attention, you will not fail 
to place before him, in the clearest light, the great advan- 
tages; that may result from a free trade between Tuscany 
and North America. 

You will seize the first favorable jnoment to solicit, with 
firmness and respect, an acknowledgment of the indepen- 
dence of these States, and the public reception of their 
Commissioner as the representative of a sovereign State. 

The measures you may take in the premises, and the 
occuirences of your negotiation, you will communicate lu 
Congress, by every opportunity. 

DIPLOMATIC corrkspondkncf: 369 

It may not be improper to observe, tliat these Instruc- 
tions, and all others, which you may receive from time to 
time, should be kept as secret as circumstances will admit. 

President of Congress. 


Paris, 6th. 1777. 


1 had the honor of receiving by the Independence, Cap- 
tain Voung, a commission and instructions Jrom Congress, 
the objects of which I shall use my utmost endeavors to 

The powers of Euroj)e seem to be waiting for the deter- 
mination of the Court of Versailles, respecting ilie acknow- 
ledgment of the independence of America. As soon as 
she sets the example, it will 1 believe be followed by 
all those whose interest makes them wish for the diminu- 
tion of the poWer of England. In this description may be 
comprehended every State, that can be of any service to 
us. It is very much the interest of most of the powers of 
Italy, that the strength of the British navy should be less- 
ened ; some of their ports, particularly those of Naples, 
and Civita Veccbia, have been frequently insulted, and all 
of them are liable to be so, by a nation not remarkable for 
its moderation. I think, therefore, that they must be dis- 
posed to afford assistance to the States of America pri- 
vately, either by subsidy or loan. Congress will be pleased 
to honor me with their instructions on this point ; and, in 
the mean time, I shall endeavor to ]jrociue every informa- 
tion on the subject in my power. Should the proposition 
roL. II. 47 



be approved of, they will furnish me with proper powers. 

If I should be so fortunate as to succeed in procuring 

money, I shouk < be glad to know how it should be disposed 

of, whether in the purchase of such articles as are wanted, 

or remitted ir. specie. 

I hope to be frequently favored with the proceedings of 

Congress, and with the state of affairs in America, which 

■will be of importance to me, and cannot fail of giving weight 

to the appointment they have honored me with. 

1 hfive the honor to be, &ic. 


P. S. The Committee will be pleased to direct their 
despatches to me, to the care of Dr Franklin, or whatever 
Commissioner mav be resident at the Court of France. 


Paris, December 18th, 1777. 

Since my letter of the 6th of October, I have cultivated 
an intimacy with the Tuscan Minister, resident at this 
Court. He is a man of honor, of considerable abilities, 
and extremely friendly to our country. 1 proposed to him, 
that I should immediately set out for Italy, and desired his 
opinion and advice. He dissuaded me from executing my 
intentions for the present, assured me of the good disposi- 
tion of the Grand Duke towards us, and promised me to 
use his utmost endeavors to promote our interest with him. 
He thought, that my presence at this time might produce 
some embarrassment at his Court, which would not long be 
the case. He is since gone to Florence, and I am con- 
vinced, that no services that he can render the States will 
be withheld. 


This gentleman is a great favorite, and I am well as- 
sured is more in the confidence of the Grand Duke than 
any of his Ministers. I flatter myself, therefore, that I 
have acted according to the wishes of Congress, in con- 
forming to his advice. I have repeatedly pressed him on 
the subject of the German troops, recommended to me by 
Congress, and he has done every thing I could wish him 
to do. I have the satisfaction to learn, that the King of 
Prussia has refused to let a body of Germans, intended for 
America, pass through his dominions, and it is said, that 
he was induced to take this step at the desire of the Em- 
peror. I expect letters very soon from Florence, which 
will regulate my conduct. Every thing in my power has 
been done to execute tlie trust, that has been reposed in 
me by Congress ; and it wiil make me extremely happy, 
whenever an opportunity offers of rendering any service to 
rny country. 

The irresolute and indecisive state of the politics at the 
Court of France, iias for some lime kept all Europe in 
suspense. The late success df our arms against General 
Burgoyne has given a fortunate tm-n to our affairs in this 
liingdom, and the conduct of the French Ministry has con- 
lirmed me in nn opinion I have long had, that the estab- 
lishment of our liberties must depend upon our own exer- 
tions. One successful battle will gain us more friends, and 
do our business more eflectuaiiy, than all the skill of the 
ablest negotiators. 1 repeat ray request, that 1 may be 
furnished from time lo time with the proceedings and reso- 
lutions of Congress, and likewise with the state of affairs iu 
America, which will be highly useful to me. 
I am, &tc. 




January 28th, 1778. 

You may if you please mention to the other Commis- 
sioners, that I have asked your opinion of the proposition of 
setting all our exports to the French Islands, against the 
molasses imported from them, in a perpetual exemption 
h'om duties. If your arguments should convince them, I 
am still ready to co-operate in preventing the article from 
taking effect, and think there is yet time. But a day may 
render it irrecoverable. 

I am, &,c. 



Paris, .lamiiiry 28th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

Mr Lee has a.sked my opinion on an article, which he 
infornis me has been under the consideration of the Com- 
missioners, viz, whether an exemption from duty on molas- 
ses is an equivalent for a total exemption from duty of all 
the exports of North America to the French West India 
Islands ? 

In answer to this question I am clearly of opinion, that it 
is not, and if that article should be agreed to by the Com- 
missioners, without an absolute necessity, I cannot help 
thinking it will be a sacrifice of the general interests oi 
America to those provinces which import molasses. I shall 
not be suspected of partiality, or of being actuated by any 
motives but those of the public good, when it is known that 
South Carolina, the province in which all my property lies, 
imports a considerable quantity of -molasses for distilladon. 


Should the article in question be agreed to, ilie French 
might lay what duly they pleased upon their European ex- 
ports, and even upon their sugar, coffee, and other produc- 
tions ol" their Islands, without our having any check upon 
them] whatever. For if, in consequence of any such duty 
imposed by them, a duty were to be laid by America on 
any of her exports to France, the French vessels would 
have nothing to do, but to clear out for the West Indies, 
and sail directly for Europe, or touch first at one of their 
Islands. This will certainly at least open a door for smug- 
gling, and may occasion a discontinuance of that friendship 
and harmony, which ought to subsist between tlie countries. 
This article seems the more extraordinary to me, as I do 
not think there is the least probability of any duty being ever 
laid by the French upon molasses, as the distilling it into 
rum would materially interfere with their brandy, and there- 
fore a duty would endanger a diminution of the consump- 
tion of it. 

I am very sensible, that the decision of tliis business is 
committed entirely to the Commissioners at this Court. 
At the same time I cannot help thinking it rny duty, not 
only as a gentleman of considerable property in America, 
but likewise as one whom Congress has thought proper to 
honor with a commission similiar to your own, though at 
another Court, to endeavor to prevent the execution of an 
article, that 1 think injurious to the interests of my country. 
I prefer this application to you singly as a friend, to one 
addressed to all the Commissioners, and I hope the latter 
will be unnecessary. 

It is very painful for me to write to you in the language 
of complaint, but I feel myself hurt, and it is proper that 
I should tell you of it. It does not appear to me to be 


possible, that any inconvenience could have arisen, if yotj 
had mentioned to me the proposition of an exemption of 
all duties on our exports, as a compensation for tlie exemp- 
tion of the duty on molasses alone. When I had the 
pleasure of seeing you last at my house, I spoke to you in 
general about the treaty, and particularly about the article of 
molasses, and expressed my fears, that the French Ministry 
would not consent to have sucii a restraint put upon their 
power, as was contained in tlje article of the original treaty. 
I asked you whether you were under any injunctions of 
secrecy, which prevented you from satisfying nie. You 
replied, that certainly secrecy was necessary to be ob- 
served, but that as I was myself a Commissioner, you 
thought that you might without any impropriety talk with 
me on the subject, and informed me that the objection, 
whicli I apprehended, had been made, and that the article 
was to be given up. Not a word was mentioned about an 
equivalent. As you thought at that time, that my being a 
Commissioner entitled you to speak to me on the subject, 
1 cannot conceive what impropriety there could possibly 
have been in your doing it, when so material an alteration 
was under consideration. 

The instructions sent to me by Congress eame through 
your hands, and it will be hardly necessary (o remind you, 
that though the conclusion (jf the treaty with this Court is 
intrusted to you, and the other gentlemen joined with you 
in the Commission, I am directed by the same authority 
under which you act to apply lo you for a copy, not only of 
the original treaty, but likewise of "every subsequent al- 
teration, that has been proposed on either side." It appear"? 
therefore to me, that as soon as the alteration was proposed 
it ought to have been communicated to me. Had you 


made such communication, I should have thought it my 
duty to have called your attention to the principles of the 
treaty, and should have requested you to consider whether 
you were not going to act in direct violation of them. My 
reason for thinking so is, that I am instructed to "propose to 
the Court of Tuscany a treaty on the same commercial 
principles as are the basis of the treaty, which you are di- 
rected to propose to the Cgurt of France." What this 
basis, and these principles are, is clearly explained to me in 
the following instructions. "It must never be forgotten In 
these commercial treaties, that reciprocal and equal advan- 
tages to the people of both countries be firmly and plainly 
secured." This matter gives me a great deal of uneasi- 
ness, and I am extremely anxious to know, if there be yet 
a possibility of stopping the execution of the article. You 
will therefore excuse my requesting, that you will favor me 
with an answer to this letter as soon as possible.* 

I have the honor to be, with great regard, dear Sir, your 
most obedient humble servant, 



Pnssy, January 29th, 1778 

Dear Sir, 
I received yours late last evening. Present circum- 
stances, which I will explain to you when 1 have the honor 
of seeing you, prevent my giving it a full answer now. 
The reasons you offer had before been all under consider- 

* See the history of the llth and 12th articles of the treaty, in Mr 
Deane's letter of ihe 12th of October, 1778, Vol. J. p. 166 j also in 
Arthur Lee's letterg, Vol. II. p. 127. 


ation. But I must submit to remain some days under the 
opinion you appear to have formed, not only of my poor 
understanding in the general interests of America, but of 
my defects in sincerity, politeness, and attention to your 
instructions. These offences, I flatter myself, admit of fait 
excuses, or rather will be found not to have existed. You 
mention, that you feel yourself hurt. Permit me to ofter 
you a maxim, which has through life been of use to me^ 
and may be so to you, in preventing such imaginary hurts. 
It is, "always to tuppose one's friends may he right, till one 
finds them wrong, rather than to suppose them tvrong, till 
one finds them right." You have heard and imagined all 
that can be said or supposed on one side of the question, 
but not on the other. 

I am, nevertheless, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, your 
most obedient and humble servant, 



Paris, .January 30th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
I was yesterday favored with your letter, containing a 
maxim, which though a very old one, I am bound to thank 
you for, and can assure you, that so far from disapproving 
it, it has been one of the constant rules of my life. If 
you will be pleased to recollect the most extraordinary in- 
attention, to say the least of it, with which 1 have been 
treated during the six months I have been in Paris, you 
will I hope think I have profited by it. You will be 
pleased likewise to recollect, that after having borne this 
for a considerable time, I complained to you of it. Forced 


as I was into this complaint, it was, however, not made 
without studying how it should be done in a manner least 
likely to give you offence. I should have been extremely 
glad, if you had attended to the maxim yourself yesterday. 
Had you done so, I should not have been supposed to have 
formed an opinion, that you had a poor understanding in 
the general interests of America, or that you were insin- 
cere. My letter had no such meaning, neither can any 
such construction be fairly put upon it. 

I shall give you another proof of my attention to your 
maxim, by not being offended at your assertion, "that I 
have heard and imagined all that can be said or supposed 
on one side of the question, but not on the other." You 
may depend upon it, you have adopted an erroneous 
opinion, and what that is I will inform you when you favor 
me with the explanation promised in your letter. You will 
do me the justice to remember, that it has been my con- 
stant endeavor to accommodate the diflisrences, that I found 
prevailing to a very great degree upon my arrival here. I 
shall be extremely sorry, and think it a misfortune, if I 
should be drawn into any with a gentlenian of whom I have 
so high an opinion as I have of you, and for whom I feel 
so strong a disposition to continue an esteem and friend- 
ship. This I hope will not be expected to be done at too 
great an expense ; by my being silent when 1 think it my 
duty to speak. 

I cannot conclude without again requesting, that you 
would reconsider the article, which was the subject of my 
last letter. If it is determined, that it shall stand in its 
present form, can there be any inconvenience in its not 
being finally concluded, till it has undergone tlie considera- 
voL. n. 48 



lion of Congress ? If this proposition is inadmissible, I 
sincerely wish, that the treaty may be for a term of years 
only, which is very customary in treaties of commerce, 
that if the mischiefs, which I apprehend, should not prove 
imaginary, they may have some limitation, and not be en- 
tailed on us for ever. 

I have the honor to be, with great regard, &;c. 



York, February 5th, 1778. 

Your letter from Paris, of October 6th, last year, being 
read in Congress, afforded much satisfaction, as it signified 
your acceptance of the commission, which had been sent 
by Captain Young, and also held up a prospect of your ob- 
taining a loan of money in Italy. Our apprehensions of 
danger to our liberties are reduced to the one circumstance 
of the depreciation of our currency, from the quantity 
which we have been obliged to issue. The different 
States are sinking their own emissions, and going largely 
into taxation for continental purposes ; but it will require 
more time than we wish, before the good policy of taxation 
can have full effect upon the currency ; therefore Congress 
have given, in regard to you, the same instructions as to the 
gentlemen at the Courts of France and Spain, and we 
doubt not of your best exertions. 

We wish you success in the business of the enclosed 
resolves, as well as in every other undertaking for the good 
of the public, or for your own personal felicity. We must 
leave you very much from time to time to receive intelli- 


gence of our affairs from the other Commissioners, to 
whom we shall have a more ready channel of conveyance, 
than to you. 

We are, with much regard, &;c. 



Paris, February 16th, 177S. 

Dear Sir, 

I mentioned in my last letter what good effects the 
successes of the American arms had produced here. 
Nothing could have happened more seasonably. Our 
affairs were in a very unpromising state, and had our mili- 
tary operations failed, our Commissioners would not have 
found themselves more acceptable here than at St James's. 
This, however, affords a very satisfactory reflection to 
every American who loves his country ; which is, that 
she owes her liberty and happiness to her own virtuous 

The Commissioners will by this opportunity send to 
Congress the treaty of commerce, which was signed here 
a few days ago. This treaty has not been much altered 
from the one agreed upon by Congress, in September, 
1776, and transmitted to the Commissioners to be proposed 
to the Com-t of France. The principal alteration is that 
respecting molasses. The 12th article in the original 
treaty requires, that "no duty shall be imposed on the ex- 
portation of molasses from any of the Islands of The Most 
Christian King, in the West Indies, to any of the United 
States." When this proposition was made to ihe French 


Ministry, it was objected, that this would be laying the king 
under a disagreeable restraint, and would be in fact making 
him not master in his own dominions ; but that the States 
might be perfectly easy on that point, as it was inconsistent 
with the policy of France ever to lay a duty on molasses. 
One of the Commissioners still discovered a great inclina- 
tion to have the article inserted in the treaty, and the Min- 
istry believing from this circumstance, that Congress had 
made a point of it, thought it a good opportunity to secure 
an exemption of all duty upon tobacco exported to every 
part of the French dominions, and proposed it as an equiv- 
alent. The Commissioners objected to any particular 
article being selected, lest it might be complained of as a 
partiality, and offered to exempt from duty not only to- 
bacco but every other production of the United States, 
that should be exported to the West Indies, provided 
molasses should be exempted from duty. This was so 
advantageous a proposal, that it was immediately accepted 
by them. 

While this matter was depending, it appeared to me, that 
a very disadvantageous bargain was about to be made on 
our part, and I did every thing in my power to prevent it. 
Mr Lee, and his brother, who is Commissioner for the 
Court of Vienna, agreed with me perfectly in opinion. 
The execution of the treaty being left entirely to the Com- 
missioners at this Court, neither Mr William Lee nor I had 
any vote in the business. Dr Franklin and Mr Deane con- 
tinuing determined to have the molasses exempted from 
duty, the article was agreed to, and now forms part of the 
treaty. I understand, however, that if Congress objects to 
it, there is a verbal promise on the part of France, that it 
shall be expunged. 


xMr Lee has received a commission for the Court of 
Madrid ; and the successes of America haj^e once more 
put the French Ministry into good humor, so that our affairs 
will I hope now go well. My gout, which has been very 
severe, is a great deal better, and as soon as the weather 
grows a litde milder, I intend setting out for Italy. 

Ships have been despatched to America, whhout the 
least notice given to me, that I might get my letters ready ; 
intelligence received from Congress, whatever the nature of 
it, has never been communicated to me but by report, and 
when the important news of General Burgoyne's surrender 
was received, Dr Franklin and Mr Deane did not think 
proper to give me any information about it, though I was 
confined to my bed. It did not seem decent, that such an 
event should be communicated to me from any other 
quarter. These circumstances you will allow to be not 
very agreeable. I was determined, however, not to quar- 
rel ; it seemed to me better to bear with them, than to risk 
an addition to those animosities, which I have already 
mentioned, and which I am convinced have been very pre- 
judicial to our public affairs. That there might, however, 
be no excuse for the continuance of such conduct, I wrote 
a note to Dr Franklin, appointed an interview, and with 
studied moderation, mentioned such parts of his conduct as 
I disapproved of. He acknowledged everything, apolo- 
gized for everything, and promised, that in future 1 should 
have no reason to complain. He has not thought proper 
to be so good as his word, and his proceedings since have 
been more exceptionable than before. As far as he and 
Mr Deane have had it in their power, they have concealed 
from Mr William Lee and me every proceeding respecting 
the treaty of commerce, which has for some time been 



negotiating, and I heartily wish they had carried it through 
without ray having occasion to interfere. I thought it my 
duty so to do, and have sent you my letter to Dr Franklin 
on the subject, with his trifling answer, and my reply.* 
This is all that has passed between us on the business, and 
the only satisfaction that I have in the matter is, that 
the French Minister has, in consequence of this cor- 
respondence, given the verbal promise already men- 

Should Congress be informed by either of the Commis- 
sioners, that there would have been danger of the miscar- 
riage of the treaty if this article had not been inserted, you 
may depend upon it, that is not true. The Ministry were 
very willing to have the article respecting the molasses left 
out, and likewise that, which has been agreed to by the 
Commissioners as an equivalent. The instructions from 
Congress, which accompanied the treaty, did not authorise 
them to offer any equivalent. Congress seemed not to be 
much interested in the fate of the article, and the Com- 
missioners, instead of being empowered to offer such a 
sacrifice in favor of the New England Provinces, were ex- 
pressly enjoined to give up the article, if any objection was 
made to it, taking it for granted, 1 suppose, that it never 
could enter into the heart of a Frenchman to lay a duty on 
a commodity, that without the American market would be 
totally useless to them. These are the words of their in- 
structions. "The twelfth and thirteenth articles are to be 
waved, if you find that the treaty will be interrupted by 
fnsisting on them." How these gentlemen could take it 
upon them to act so directly in opposition to this instruc- 

* See the three precedlug letters. 


tion, 1 cannot conceive. It is true, they were both born 
in New England, but it is not to be supposed, that they 
could be so forgetful of their duty to the public, as to suffer 
themselves to be biassed by any such motives. 

I understand they mean to exert themselves in support of 
what they have done, and that they expect their arguments 
will prevail upon Congress to approve of the article. For 
my part I am convinced, that the article is injurious to 
America, and, therefore, I have not only given myself but 
you a great deal of trouble about it, and bespeak your at- 
tention to it, and hope, that if you agree with me in opinion, 
you will not only oppose it yourself, but likewise make all 
the interest you can to get it expunged. 

If you are acquainted with Mr Duer, I should be glad 
that you would communicate the contents of this letter to 
him, as I shall not be able to write to him by this 
opportunity. Every thing seems to bear the strongest ap- 
pearance of war in this country, and every Frenchman 
seems to be desirous of it. England on her part is mak- 
ing great preparations, and in all likelihood there will be a 
very bloody contest, as the two nations are exasperated 
against each other to a great degree. England entered 
foolishly into this business at first, and she does not yet 
seem perfectly convinced of her error, as she is going to 
plunge deeper into misfortune, without men, money, or 
allies. Russia and Portugal are the only connexions that 
she has. One of these powers is in such a state as rather 
to require than afford assistance, and the other will have 
enough upon her hands from the Turks. Holland has 
manifested very unfriendly dispositions towards her, and the 
King of Prussia has given the mdst explicit and unequiv- 


ocal assurance, that he will be the second power in Europe 
to acknowledge the independence of America. 

The death of the Elector of Bavaria was a circum- 
stance, that occasioned some alarm here, as it was feared 
that France might be forced into a continental war, in sup- 
port of the succession of the Elector Palatine. This, how- 
ever, in some degree has passed over, and I hope the 
German Princes will be left to settle their differences by 

In one of my letters I informed you, that Congress had 
neglected to furnish Mr William Lee and me with funds 
to support us in the characters they had done us the honor 
of investing us with. We were informed, that the Com- 
missioners at this Court were possessed of a very large 
sum of money belonging to Congress, and therefore ap- 
plied to them for a letter of credit on their banker, to the 
amount of two thousand louis d'ors, each of us, on the 
public account, which they gave us. 

You will see how improper it will be for me to depend 
upon these gentlemen for information respecting the pro- 
ceedings of Congress, and the slate of affairs in America. 
You will I hope take care, that they be regularly transmit- 
ted to me, as it will be of great importance to me not to be 

I am, dear Sir, with great regard, &ic. 




Passy, March 27th, 1778. 
The bearer says he is a native of Charleston, South Car- 
olina, and he wants a pass to go into Italy. I do not well 
understand the account he gives of himself. He seems to 
be lost and to want advice. I beg leave to refer him to 
you, who will soon be able to discover whether his account 
is true. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, March 29th, 1778. 


I have seen the person you referred to me, and who is 
desirous of my recommending him to you for a passport to 
go into Italy. He says that he was born in South Carolina, 
but has been so long out of it, that he neither knows any- 
body there, nor does anybody know him. He left London 
with an intention of going to Italy, and came to Paris to see 
the world, before he settled with a merchant, to whom he 
is engaged as a clerk, at a place he hears is called Livorno. 
As this account did not appear very satisfactory, I desired 
him to excuse my troubling you with any recommendations, 
until he put it in my power to do it with propriety. 

You will give me leave to remind you, that I had the 
honor of addressing you on the 30th of January, in reply to 
yours of the 29th, and requested the favor of you to recon- 
sider the article in the treaty then negotiating, respecting 
VOL. II. 49 


the exports of North America, which had given me much 
uneasiness, and in which I think myself greatly interested. 
From your letter of the 29th I had reason to hope, that in 
a few days you intended to give me an explanation on cer- 
tain points, wherein I thought myself injured, and to show 
me that I was mistaken. In vain have I expected this sat- 
isfaction. I am very desirous of receiving it, and when the 
dates referred to are considered, I hope I shall not be thought 
too importtmate, in requesting that it may be soon. At the 
same time, you will be so good as to inform me, why no 
answer has been given to my letter to you, and the other 
Commissioners at this Court, of the 5th of this month, and 
whether I am to expect any. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Passy, March 30tli, 1778. 


From the account you give me of the man who pretends 
to be of Carolina, as well as from my own observation of 
his behavior, I entertain no good opinion of hjm, and shall 
not give him the pass he desires. 

Much and very important business has hitherto pre- 
vented my giving you the satisfaction you desired, but 
you may depend upon my endeavoring to give it to you 
as soon as possible. An answer was written to your 
letter of the 5th of this month, and signed by us all, 
which I thought had been sent to you till Mr Lee informed 
me that having communicated to you the contents, you 
told him it would not be satisfactory, and desired it might 


be reconsidered, and he had accordingly stopped it for that 
purpose. We have not since had an opportunity of recon- 
sidering it, and as the end is now answered by the com- 
munication of the treat}', perhaps it is not necessary. 

I condole with you sincerely on the great loss sustained 
in Charleston by the fire in January last, said to have 
destroyed six hundred houses, valued with the goods at a 
million sterling. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, ftJarcli olst, 1778. 

1 received yesterday the treaty of alliance, and the alter- 
ations that have been made in the treaty of commerce pro- 
posed by Congress, from the hands of your grandson, and 
likewise a letter from you, which informs me that much and 
very important business has hitherto prevented your giving 
me the satisfaction respecting your conduct which I de- 
sired, but that I might depend on your endeavoring to give 
it to me as soon as possible. While you were engaged in 
settling the treaty, I avoided giving you any additional 
trouble, especially as I am persuaded that the satisfactory 
explanation you have promised will require no uncommon 
exertion of your abilities. I cohceive you have acted 
unjustifiably ; you think that I am mistaken, and I shall be 
heartily rejoiced to find myself so. You will excuse my 
requesting that the explanation I have desired may be given 

I have die honor to be, &c 




Paris, April 1st, 1778. 

1 am but this moment informed by report, that Mr 
Gerard, who is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary from this 
Court to Congress, is immediately going to set out for 
America. It would have been improper that this should 
have been publicly known, as the Court of England might 
have endeavored to intercept him. Dr Franklin and Mr 
Deane were, however, acquainted with it, and as usual con- 
cealed it from Mr Lee and myself.* I shall make no com- 
ment on this behavior. If it does not upon the bare recital 
of it strike you as unjustifiable, and disrespectful to Con- 
gress, in not acquainting us whenever they knew of proper 
opportunities to write, nothing that can be said will make 
you think so. 

I congratulate you most heartily on the presentation of 
the three Commissioners at this Court, as representatives of 
a sovereign and independent State. This happened on the 
20th of March. I should immediately after have left this 
city for Italy. My inclinations lead me most strongly to 
do it, but I am sorry to inform you that a little longer delay 
is become absolutely necessary. I am assured from Flor- 
ence, of the favorable dispositions of the Grand Duke 
towards us, and I had no doubt but immediately after the 
acknowledgment of our independence here, the example 
would have been followed in Tuscany. 

Most unfortunately the death of the Elector of Bavaria 
has thrown all Germany into convulsions. The claims of 
the House of Austria to part of that Electorate, and the 

* They were not permitted by the French Court to make it known. 


coldness lately shown by France towards the Emperor on 
that account, are likely to dispose the latter towards Eng- 
land in the approaching war. I say likely, for nothing s 
certainly known yet respecting these matters. My letters, 
however, from Florence give me reason to fear, that my 
reception there in a public character will depend upon the 
proceedings of the Court of Vienna. I have acted hitherto 
without paying the least regard to my own inclinations, in 
perfect conformity to what I have thought the wishes of 
Congress, and I shall continue to act in the same manner 
to the best of my judgment. It will make me very happy 
to be assured of the approbation of Congress. 

Mr Deane, I understand, accompanies Mr Gerard, and 
has received a present from the French Ministry. This is 
a thing of course ; he may, however, make use of it with 
Congress as a reason why he should return. I shall avoid 
entering into particulars respecting this gentleman, and shall 
only in general give you my opinion of him, which is, that 
if the whole world had been searched, 1 thipk it would 
have been impossible to have found one on every account 
more unfit for the office into which he has, by the storm 
and convulsions of the times, been shaken.* I am under 
the fullest persuasion, that the Court of France might long 
ago have been induced to stand forth in our favor, if Amer- 
ica had had proper representatives at this Court. I must 
repeat what I have done in some former letters, that what- 
ever good dispositions were shown by Mr Lee, they were 
always opposed and overruled by the two eldest Com-, 

If Congress are desirous of having a representative in 

* Tn reply to this letter, see Mr Deane's letter to the President of Con- 
gress, dated October 12th, 1778, Vol. I. p. 129. 


Italy, it may be proper to send a commission for the Court 

of Naples. It would be agreeable to me to have such a 

commission, so that I might be either there or in Tuscany, 

as occasion might require. This I only mention to you in 

case of such a thing being thought of. I wish not to solicit 

any thing for myself, neithei* do I desire my friends to 

trouble themselves much about me. Whenever they think 

of me without any application on my part, I look upon 

myself as the more obliged to them. 

I am, dear sir, &;c. 



Paris, April 4th, 1778. 

It is with reluctance, that I find myself compelled to be 
again troublesome to you. Your conduct has given me 
great uneasiness. I have repeatedly complained to you, 
and you have several times verbally and by letter promised 
me an explanation of it. It is of great importance that I 
should have this satisfaction, and that it should be no longer 
delayed ; you will therefore be so good as to write me by 
the gentleman, who is the bearer of this, when I may expect 
you to comply with your promise. I must also request 
that you will give me in writing the reasons, which at Chail- 
!ot you told me induced you to think, that Congress did 
not intend I should have the alterations proposed in the 
treaty of commerce communicated to me. This you 
assured me, at the time, should be done within a day or 
two, and though several weeks have elapsed, I have heard 
nothing from you on the subject. I mention this matter to 


you now, because I believe my conversation with you has 
been misrepresented. If this has been done by mistake, I 
am desirous of having it corrected. 
I am, Sir, &ic. 



Passy, April 4tli, 1778. 

If I continue well, and nothing extraordinary iiappens to 
prevent it, you shall have the letter you so earnestly desire 
some time next week. 

I am, Sir, &c. 



Paris, April 11th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

I send copies of my letters whenever I hear of an op- 
portunity, in hopes of some of them getting safe to your 

Mr Adams arrived in Paris two days ago, and it is no 
small disappointment to me, that he has brought me no 
letters from you. I was at first afraid that my despatches 
by the Benjamin, which Mr Folger had the charge of, had 
been stolen, as well as Mr Lee's, but am very glad to find, 
by a letter from Mr Lovell to Dr Franklin, that all my 
letters got safe. What a very extraordinary piece of vil- 
lany this must have been. I have the strongest suspicion 
who the person is that was at the bottom of it, but will not take 
upon me to mention his name. I most sincerely hope, who- 


ever he is, that he may be discovered and brought to light. 
It is much to be feared, that this will prove a difficult mat- 
ter, as the person, who could be capable of it, must be sen- 
sible how dangerous it must be for him to be discovered, 
and, therefore, without doubt, the utmost cunning and pre- 
caution have been employed to conceal himself. 

I think myself much obliged to my friends in Congress, 
who have assigned me the department of Tuscany ; I pre- 
fer it to any of the Courts except France or England. 
The former, it is probable, will be filled by one of the 
present Commissioners. Should England in two or three 
years acknowledge the sovereignty and independence of 
the Slates, it would be very agreeable to me if Congress 
thought me worthy of being their representative at that 
Court. I flatter myself with the hopes of having your 
approbation ; at the same time, I must repeat what I have 
mentioned in a former letter, that I would wish to be as 
little troublesome to ray friends as possible. 

It is particularly distressing to me, as I am living at the 
public expense, to be obliged so often to inform you, that it 
still continues improper for me to go to Florence. I have 
consulted this Court on the subject, and they are of opinion, 
that I should wait here until a more favorable opportunity 
offers. In following this advice, I think that I am acting 
according to the wishes of Congress, and you may depend 
upon it, that 1 shall upon all occasions continue to do so to 
the best of my judgment. I have not written lately to the 
Committee of Foreign Affairs. As I have written to you by 
every opportunity, I thought it unnecessary, and I should 
be obliged to you if you would give that reason to them. 
I have never had any instructions on this point from Con- 
gress, and whenever you receive anything from me, which 


you think necessary to be laid before those gentlemen, I 
should be obliged to you if you would be so good as to 
communicate it to them. You will be so good as to let me 
have your opinion on this point, whether it will be necessary 
for me to write to the Committee, or if it will be suflicient 
for me to write to you only. 

The Commissioners at this Court have not yet been re- 
ceived into the Corps Dijdomaiique, because they have 
not had proper letters of credence from Congress. When 
those letters are sent to them, you will be so good as to let 
them be sent to me and also to Mr William Lee. The 
title of Commissioner is not at present used, as formerly, at 
the Courts of Europe. I will venture to give you my 
opinion privately on this subject, which is, that the repre- 
sentatives from the States of America at the Courts of 
France and Spain should be Ambassadors, and at the 
others Ministers Plenipotentiary. The last title is in 
general use ; the persons possessed of it take rank below 
envoys, and therefore I would prefer it because it will 
probably prevent all disputes. I mention this solely to 
yourself, and you will either make use of it or not, as you 
think proper. 

Mr William Lee has a commission not only to the Em- 
peror, but likewise one to the King of Prussia. This is 
a very unlucky circumstance, as those two princes are, in 
all probability, on the point of going to war with each 
other. Mr Lee is gone into Germany, without being fully 
determined which Court he should present himself at first. 
I am inclined to think, that it will be that of Berlin. Con- 
gress, in the commission which was sent out for the Court 
of Vienna, forgot to mention the Empress Queen. This 
was a great mistake, as she is during her life the sovereign 

Y9L. II. 50 


of all the hereditary dominions of her family, and the Em- 
peror is only head of the German Empire. I do not know 
whether Mr Lee has mentioned this in his letters to Con- 
gress, but it is of considerable importance, and should be 
attended to whenever a new commission is sent out. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 


P. S. The seal, that I shall make use of in all my 
letters to you, will either be my coat of arms, which is on 
this ; or a rattlesnake with this motto, " dont tread on 


Paris, April 25th, 1778. 


It is with the utmost astonishment, that I find myself so 
often obliged to remind you of your engagement to me. 
You have repeatedly given me the strongest assurances, 
that you would justify your conduct to me in writing, but 
you have not kept your word. Dr Bancroft and your 
grandson have both told me, that this justification has long 
ago been begun, and you have several times been em- 
ployed about it. 

The cautious manner in which you concealed the de- 
parture of M. Gerard, the French Plenipotentiary, and Mr 
Deane, from those who have complaints against you, mani- 
fest on your part no inclination to discontinue the causes of 
them. The losses of the public despatches to Congress, 
by accident at sea, by the capture of the enemy, and by 
the villany or negligence of those to whose care they have 
been intrusted, ought to have deterred you from concealing 


SO safe an opportunity from those, whose duty requires 
them to write. It might have been very proper, that the 
port from whicli they were to sail should have been con- 
cealed, as well as the manner of their going, but it appears 
to me to have been your indispensable duty to inform those 
gentlemen, who have the honor of holding commissions 
from Congress, whenever you know of a safe opportunity 
of writing to America. 

It niay not be necessary to discuss this point with you, 
as it will probably be laid before Congress, and they 
will form a proper judgment, both of the fact and your 
motives. My business with you at present respects your 
conduct previous to the departure of M. Gerard and Mr 
Deane, and I wish that neither your attention nor mine 
may be drawn from it. Mr Lloyd has informed me, that 
you told him there would be an opportunity of writing 
soon to America. I must request, that you will no 
longer attempt to amuse me with promises and excuses, 
but that you will give me the explanation, which you 
have so often bound yourself to give, that it may be laid, 
by that opportunity, if necessary, before the representa- 
tives of my country, or that you will let me know in 
writing, that you will not give it me. 
I am, Sir, he. 



Paris, April 26th, 1778. 

In compliance with your request I waited on Dr Frank- 
lin and delivered to him your letter ; he had scarcely read it 


when he said, "Mr Izard has \vTitten me a very angry let- 
ter ; please to tell him, that he has only made use of gen- 
eral assertions of my having done wrong, which I cannot 
otherwise answer than by denying. If I have given him 
any causes of offence, he should let me know what they 
are." To this I replied, "that you had been kind enough 
to form so good an opinion of me, as to admit me into a 
share of your confidence, therefore I could take upon me 
to say, that you were persuaded you had clearly stated, in 
the several letters he had received from you, circumstances 
affording sufficient grounds of offence." He said, "he 
should be glad to know what those circumstances were." 
I answered in the first place, "that conceiving it your duty 
as a member of the States, having a considerable fortune 
there, and intrusted with a commission from Congress, to 
communicate as occasion offered all the intelligence you 
could, you found this communication greatly obstructed by 
a concealment on the part of Dr Franklin of proper oppor- 
tunities, when it was quite unnecessary, or when the end 
of secrecy might be answered, though you had been intrust- 
ed with the knowledge of them." Upon which Dr Frank- 
lin told me, "that you had only complained of this in the 
present letter, and as to the particular opportunity you men- 
tioned by Monsieur Gerard, or Mr Deane, he had not him- 
self looked upon it as a good or proper one, and had not 
himself made use of it to write." 

As another ground of complaint I observed, "that while 
the commercial treaty was on the carpet, you considered 
one article as highly unreasonable and inexpedient, and 
therefore expressly objected to it ; you had in a letter fully 
specified the reasons upon which your disapprobation was 
founded, and had sent this letter to Dr Franklin, in hopes 


of his removing your scruples, and setting you right if you 
were wrong, or letting your reasons and objections, if they 
were just, produce some good effect before the conclusion 
of the treaty, but you had never been favored with any 
answer on the subject, though you had repeatedly requested 
it." Dr Franklin alleged, "that he would have given a 
full and satisfactory answer, but he had been prevented by 
business and various avocations, that he was still willing to give 
one, but could not conceive why you should be so impatient. 
Suppose he could not give it for a month hence, what great 
inconvenience would it occasion ?" I observed, "that the 
sooner you had it, you might be the better prepared to guard 
against any misrepresentation." Dr Franklin assured me, 
that he had not been, nor would he ever be, guilty of any 
misrepresentation ; so far from it, that he had not even 
written anything concerning the matter. I told him, per- 
haps you might choose to lay it before Congress, and his 
answer might enable you to do it more fully and satisfacto- 
rily. Dr Franklin said you should have an answer, but 
you must be patient, for he really was very much engaged 
by other business, and interrupted by people continually 
coming in upon him, though some upon frivolous errands, 
as was the case with the two Frenchmen, just gone away, 
who came only to ask him to buy cloth. 

I suggested as a third ground of complaint, that you had 
been directed by the Congress to propose to the Court of 
Tuscany a commercial treaty similar to the one concluded 
with this Court, which you therefore required as necessary 
for your regulation, in pursuance of the instructions of Con- 
gress, who directed you should have, not only the original 
treaty, but also the alterations which might be proposed ; 
both were nevertheless withheld from you by Dr Franklin 


without the least regard to your applications. Dr Franklin 
replied, "did he go into Tuscany ? Has not the treaty been 
sent to him ?" I said, you had good reasons for staying ; 
that the treaty was kept from you till the other day, when 
perhaps it was necessary for you to have had it as early as 
possible, even previous to your departure, to give it the 
maturer consideration, and because there might be expla- 
nations you would like, to have made here, or observations 
might occur to you, which you might think it advisable to 
communicate to Congress, to have their further instructions 
as soon as you could. 

I do not recollect, that Dr Franklin made any direct 
reply to this. He observed, that he was clear he had not 
given you any just cause of offence, or reasonable grounds of 
complaint, that he was studious to avoid contention ; he 
acknowledged that he owed you an answer, but though he 
was in your debt he hoped you would be a merciful cred- 
itor ; he would say, as the debtor in the Scripture, "have 
patience and I will pay thee all ;" that you certainly ought 
to give him time, as you had urged so much matter as 
would require a pamphlet in answer. I told him, that I 
was sure it was far from your disposition to court quarrels, 
that if the reasons he gave in his answer to you were just 
and satisfactory, you would undoubtedly allow them their 
full weight ; that satisfaction you were desirous of having, 
and were anxious to have the affair ended. He said he 
should endeavor to do it as soon as possible ; in the mean 
time, he hoped to have no more such angry letters from 
you ; his answer he promised should be a cool one, and 
that people who wrote such angry letters should keep them, 
till they sufficiently reflected on the contents, before they 
sent them. 

Diplomatic correspondence. 399 

The above is nearly, to tlie best of my recollection, the 
substance, if not for the most part the words, of the conver- 
sation, which passed between Dr Franklin and myself, upon 
delivering him your letter today. 

1 have the honor to be, &tc. 



York, May 14th, 177S. 


Your favor of December the 18th came to hand the 2d 
of this month, with the despatches of our Commissioners 
at the Court of Versailles, from whom we had received 
nothing regularly for about a whole year. 

The decisive part, which His Most Christian Majesty has 
at length taken in our cause, must greatly influence other 
crowned heads in Europe, not immediately allied to 
Britain, to desire a portion in our friendship and commerce, 
and must prepare the way for your welcome reception 
at the Court of Tuscany. We are pleased to find, 
that you have formed a connexion with one, who promises 
to be so friendly to your Commission as your correspon- 
dent, the favorite Minister of the Grand Duke, and we 
think you could not have done better than in following his 
past advice. 

The enclosed resolve of Congress of the 7th Inst will re- 
move any doubts about your support, which may have arisen 
in your mind from an omission on our part, which did not 
occur to us until we received a hint of it from the gentle- 
men at Paris, in their letter of February the I6ih. 

Other papers herewith sent will convey to you a gen- 


eral idea of our affairs, and we hope you will be particu- 
larly industrious to expose those attempts of our enemies, 
which are calculated to lead Europe to think we are not 
thoroughly fixed in our plan of independence. You may 
observe, that we proceeded on the draughts only of two in- 
tended bills, which had been sent to America by the British 
MinistiT. We should not have done this, but from a con- 
viction of insidious intentions founded upon former attempts 
to hurt our character abroad. We were so well satisfied 
of the spirit of these States to persevere in a noble cause, 
that we should have waited for the bills themselves, if we 
had not been anxiously attentive to the good opinion of 
Europe and the rest of the world. We were altogether 
strangers to the happy state of our affairs in France, acci- 
dent and knavery having suppressed the despatches of our 
friends, as our former letters will prove, if any attempts 
shall be made to attribute our late determined conduct to a 
knowledge of our new alliance. Congress unanimously 
ratified the treaties on the 4th, and the people have showed 
their satisfaction, wherever the knowledge of the proceed- 
ing has leached. The army also, which is daily increasing 
in strcngdi, has expressed its joy, and is now prepared 
eidier for honorable peace, or a continuation of the just 

We shall endeavor to procure an enlargement of your 
powers, and shall immediately forward them to you. There 
can be no danger of any clashing of future treaties with 
those now made, provided the plain principles of mutual ^ 
benefit, without any exclusive privileges, are made the 
basis. We send you the first volume of the Journals of 
Congress, another will be out in a few days, and shall be 


forwarded also. We recommend to you llio frequent 
communication of your proceedings, and we wish you every 
felicity, being;, Sir, your aflbctionato Inniiblo servants, 

H. H. I.KI<:, 

P. S. You arc to liavu Plenipotentiary Commissions, 
with instructions not limiting the terms of the proposed 
treaties of amity and commerce. 


Pari*, May 18th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

The fifth article of the treaty of alliance has given me 
a great deal of uneasiness, as it seems to have been in- 
tended to exclude the [Jnited States of Anierica from pos- 
sessing themselves of the two Floridas. The article is as 
follows. "If the United States should think fii to attempt 
the reduction of the British power nMnaiuiiig in the 7wrth' 
cm parts of America, or the Islands of Bcrnnidas, those 
countries or islands, in case of success, .shall he confeder- 
ated with or dependant upon tiip snid tinted States." I 
had the honor of stating my apprelmiisions to you and the 
other Commissloncis at Passy, on the 3(1 instant. 

Dr Franklin did not iliinlc liicy weie well founded, nor 
that any such construction could possibly be put upon the 
article. North Am(!rica, he .«;aid, strictly sp(>aking, com- 
prised all parts of the Continent north of ilio Equator, and 
the Floridas being in die latiitido of thirty degrees north, 
wonlil be comprehended wiiiiin the meaning of the words 
vol,. 11. 51 » 



"northern parts of America." I thought it would be best 
to put it out of all doubt by getting that explanation of the 
words under the hands of the French Ministry, especially 
as they would at least admit of dispute, and might in future 
produce disagreeable consequences. Dr Franklin said, that 
Congress had given some instructions respecting the ces- 
sion of part of Florida to Spain, and objected to making any 
application on the subject to the French Ministry, as it 
might be taken ill, and added, if ray apprehensions were 
ever so just, it was too late for any remedy in France, but 
that the Commissioner for the Court of Madrid might guard 
against any bad consequences in the treaty, which he had 
to conclude with that Court. 

The resolution of Congress of the 30th of December, 
1776, to which Dr Franklin alluded, extends only to the 
town and harbor of Pensacola, and circumstances are much 
changed in America since that resolution was made. It 
declares, "that if His Catholic Majesty will join with the 
United States, in a war against Great Britain, they will as- 
sist in reducing to the possession of Spain, the town and har- 
bor of Pensacola." Had Spain complied with the request, 
had she stood forth our friend in the day of distress, the 
offer made by Congress might with propriety have been 
claimed. She did not declare war against Great Britain, 
and I do not know, that she has done anything yet to entitle 
her to any great share of our regard. It appeared to me, 
that if the French Ministry understood the words, as ex- 
plained by Dr Franklin, iliey could not take it ill, that such 
an explanation should be required of them, but if they in- 
tended to have them understood as I feared they did, this 
was the proper place to have the doubts cleared up. If 
the words were meant to exclude tlie United States of 


America from the acquisition of the Floridas, it must have 
been intended for the benefit of Spain, and therefore the 
less likely was it to obtain any satisfaction from that 

North America, strictly speaking, according to Dr 
Franklin, comprises all parts of the Continent north of the 
Equator. By the same rule it may be said to extend to 
the ninetieth degree of latitude. Considered in this point of 
view, no parts to the southward of fortyfive degrees can 
with propriety be called the northern parts of America. 
But the article seems to have no relation to so extensive 
a signification, and expresses the intentions of the framers 
of it very clearly. "i/~ the United States should think fit 
to attempt the reduction of,^^ not the northern parts of 
America, but "the British power remaining in the northern 
parts of America." This power, without taking notice of 
an inconsiderable settlement on the Mosquito shore, or of 
Hudson's Bay, may be said to have extended from the 
most southern point of Florida to t!ie most northern part 
of Canada, and I am of opinion, that the United States of 
America will not be satisfied if any attempts are made to 
circumscribe their possessions within narrower limits. 

The 9th article of the original treaty approved of by Con- 
gress in September, 1776, and transmitted by them to the 
Commissioners at this Court, not only confirms me in this 
opinion, but throws great light upon the intentions of the 
French Ministry. It is as follows ; "The Most Christian 
King shall never invade, nor under any pretence attempt to 
possess himself of Labrador, New Britain, Nova Scotia, 
Acadia, Florida, nor any of the countries, cities, or towns 
on the Continent of North America ; nor of any of the 
Islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St Johns, Anti- 


costl, nor any other island lying near to the said Continent 
in the seas, or in any gulf, bay, or river, it being 
the true intent and meaning of this treaty, that the 
said United States shall have the sole, exclusive, undivided, 
and perpetual possession of all the countries, cities, and 
towns on said continent, and of all islands near to it, which 
now are, or lately were under the jurisdiction of, or subject 
to the King or Crown of Great Britain, whenever they 
shall be united or confederated with the said United States." 
These words admit of no mistake, no hidden meaninp; is 
concealed under them, nor could there be any possibility of 
contentions respecting the countries therein described, had 
they been inserted in the treaty. 

With all due deference to Dr Franklin, I cannot help 
declaring, that I am firmly persuaded that the Court of 
France would not have substituted the 5th article in the 
place of the above, if they had not had some designs contrary 
to the intentions of Congress, so clearly expressed in their 
9th article. His Most Christian Majesty, in the 1 1th 
article of the Treaty of Alliance, does not guaranty gener- 
ally to the United States their possessions, and the ad- 
ditions or conquests that their confederation tnay obtain 
during the war, from any of the dominions now, or hereto- 
fore possessed by Great Britain in North America, but 
stipulates that the guaranty shall only be conformable to the 
5th and 6th articles. The latter of these contains nothing 
but a renunciation on the part of France of the Islands of 
the Bermudas, and of the whole continent of North Amer- 
ica. As France does not pretend to any claim upon the 
Floridas, this renunciation can in no respect affect those 
Provinces. Spain, who was at the peace in 1763 obliged 
to cede them to Great Britain, may be desirous of resuni- 


ing them, and the 5th article in the Treaty of Alliance 
seems to lay the foundation of such a claim. Should that 
event ever take place, if, would prove extremely prejudicial 
to the interests of the United States in general, but particu- 
larly to those of the South. Spain would by that means 
have a direct communication with the Indians on our fron- 
tiers, and have it in her power to disturb our settlements 
whenever she pleased. 

Lieutenant Governor Moultrie, in his letter from Augus- 
tine, of the 4th of October, 1775, to General Grant, which 
was intercepted and published by Congress, among other 
reasons why General Gage should protect Florida, gives 
the following ; "Consider, says he, that this is the best and 
only immediate communication between Great Britain and 
our red brothers," the Indians. What a horrid use our 
enemies have made of this communication, you are well 
acquainted with. Florida was never of any advantage to 
Spain when in her possession, nor is it probable it ever 
would be, were it so again ; but it will be of the greatest 
importance to the States of America, on account of secu- 
rity, which in all negotiations has been thought a~ sufficient 
reason for a claim, though no right existed, which is not 
the case in the present instance. In the 11th article, 
France guaranties to the United States, "their possessions 
and the additions or conquests, that their confederation may 
obtain during the war from any of the dominions now, or 
heretofore possessed by Great Britain in North America, 
conformable to the 5th and 6th articles." In the 6th ar- 
ticle, I observe, that "The Most Christian King renounces 
forever the possession of the Islands of Bermudas, as well 
as of any part of the continent of North America." Noth- 
ing is said about Newfoundland, St Johns, Cape Breton, 


and the other islands on our coasts. Were they under- 
stood to be included in the renunciation and guarantee? 
Congress, in their original treaty, did not choose to trust to 
any future constructions, but mentioned each of these 
islands particularly by name. Whatever power may be in 
possession of them will in a great measure command the 

This is a matter of great consequence, but, however just 
my apprehensions may be on this point also, I fear it is now 
too late to receive any satisfactory explanation respecting it 
at this Court, and we must again turn eyes towards you 
for relief. If the Court of Madrid could be prevailed upon 
to guaranty the Floridas, and these islands also to the 
United States, you would render an essential service to 
your country. I have upon many occasions experienced, 
that whenever her welfare has stood in need of your exer- 
tions, you have been ready to afford them, and, therefore, 
I cannot doubt but you will also do it in the business, which 
I have just laid before you. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Chaillot, May 23d, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
1 have received your favor of the 18th, and remember 
well the conversation you mention. The 5th article stood 
originally thus. "Si les Etats Unis jugent a propos de 
tenter la conquete de la Canada, de la Nouvelle Ecosse, 
de Terrenueve, de St Jean, et des Bermudes, ces con- 
quetes en cas de succes appartiendront aux dits Etats 


Unis." Even this did not appear to me adequate to the 
intentions of Congress ; 1 therefore proposed that it should 
be as extensive and explicit, as was marked out to us in the 
9th article of the plan proposed by Congress. My col- 
leagues did not agree with me, and I remember perfectly 
Dr Franklin's answer was, that Congress had receded from 
those claims since, by the concessions directed to be made 
to Spain. I submitted mine to the opinion of ray col- 

I have already asked the commands of Congress, re- 
lative to conceding anything to Spain agreeably to the 
instruction of the 30th of December, 1776, which you 
mention, and you may be assured that I will never sub- 
scribe the cession of one inch of what Congress has claimed 
in the 9th article of their plan, without their express orders. 
I shall make no observations respecting the degree of grati- 
tude to which Spain may be entitled, but the leaving of 
articles so loose as to occasion disputes, or making cessions 
which may plant a thorn in the side of any of the United 
States, is not the manner 1 should choose of showing it. 
How the 5th article came changed so much from what it 
was at first I never could learn. In my own justification I 
must observe, that from the conduct of one of my col- 
leagues, and the intrigues of the other, I was furnished with 
a kind of half information, and secretly counteracted, so as 
to render it very difficult for me to be of any utility what- 
ever in this negotiation. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




Paris, June 17th, 1778. 


Mr Pringle, who was the bearer of my last letter, has 
given me an account of his conversation with you on the 
subject of it. It would have been much more satisfactory 
to me, if, instead of speaking to him about the contents of 
it, you had done me the honor of writing an answer to it. 
Words which pass in conversation are sometimes forgot- 
ten and sometimes misunderstood. Misrepresentations are 
sometimes the consequence, which though produced by 
mistake, to a mind affected by ill treatment, of which nei- 
ther the occasion can be learned nor the progress stopped, 
may pass from effects proceeding from other causes. I 
enclose you a copy of Mr Pringle's letter. You will be so 
good as to correct any mistakes that may be found in it. 
Some there probably are ; I do not, for instance, think it 
likely you could have said that you did not know what I 
complained of, at the same time that my complaints appear 
so numerous, that it would require a pamphlet to answer 
them. It is impossible that both these assertions can be 
true ; and though I cannot agree with you in either, I shall 
not dispute about them, but refer you to the several letters 
which I have written since the receipt of your favor of the 
29th of January. 

I have requested to be informed of your reasons for 
withholding from me all communications respecting the 
treaty of commerce during the negotiation, contrary to an 
express instruction of Congress. You have constantly, in 
spite of every endeavor on my part to get your reasons in 
writing, wrapped yourself up with caution, and notwith- 


Standing the repeated breach of your engagement with me, 
have not been asliamed to make promises of the same 
kind and break them again, to amuse me till Mr Deane 
had an opportunity of going privately away. I shall not 
examine your inducements for so carefully avoiding to 
commit yourself to paper on this subject, but only observe 
that this determination compels me to mention the reasons 
given by Dr Bancroft and your grandson, which it would 
have been more agreeable to me to have had under your 
own hand. Tho5;e gentlemen have informed me, that some 
proposals which Mr Lee had made to you and Mr Deane, 
respecting his brother and me, made you apprehensive, that 
it was intended to have us admitted into all consultations, 
and that every question should be carried by a plurality of 
voices ; that this had determined your conduct with res- 
pect to communications to me ; but that if you had been 
ever so well inclined to communicate anything relative to 
the treaty, you lay under such strong injunctions of secrecy 
from the French Ministry, that it was out of your power to 
do it. 

With respect to the first of these reasons I shall observe, 
that if Mr Lee ever made any such proposal, it was entirely 
unknown to me. I have spoken to him on the subject, 
and he declares that he never said anything that could in 
the least justify such an apprehension. There does not 
indeed seem the least probability that such a proposal could 
have been made. The unfortunate dispute in which he 
was engaged with you and Mr Deane, and the decided 
majority of which you were possessed, would have made 
such an attempt on his part too weak for a man of com- 
mon understanding. With regard to the injunctions of 
secrecy, which the French Ministry are said to have laid 

TOL. II. 52 


you under, I answer, that you had no right to lay yourself 
under any such injunctions. Before you can avail your- 
self of that excuse, you should show that you had reminded 
the French Ministry of there being at that time in Paris 
two other Commissioners of Congress, to whom your duty 
required you to communicate not only a copy of the treaty 
originally proposed by Congress, but also whatever subse- 
quent alterations might be proposed on either side. Had 
this been done, and had they expressed a desire that those 
Commissioners also should be unacquainted with the trans- 
action, rather than the smallest obstruction should have 
been thrown in the way of the negotiation, I should have 
been contented to have had it kept from me as long as you 
thought proper. 

Having examined these reasons, and I hope at least 
shown the probability of their being only pretended ones, 
I shall proceed to state what appears to me to be the 
true cause of your conduct, and as it will be necessary 
to trouble you with a dull narrative, you will 1 hope 
excuse it on account of the importance of it. I re- 
ceived a letter in October last from Mr William Lee, one 
of the joint commercial agents for conducting the affairs of 
the Congress in this kingdom, desiring my attendance at 
your house at Passy, and informing me, that he had some- 
thing of importance to lay before the Commissioners. I 
accordingly attended, and heard an account of some very 
extraordinary abuses and embarrassments in the commer- 
cial department, owing to the misconduct of Mr Thomas 
Morris, late one of the joint commercial agents, and to the 
claim which certain persons made to the management of 
the affairs of the Congress at Nantes. Mr Lee complained 
of great obstructions, which he had met with from these 

- -'-^' 


circumstances, that so far from receiving any assistance 
from the Commissioners, they seemed to have encouraged 
the persons who opposed him in the discharge of his duty, 
and that he had repeatedly written to tlie Commissioners 
for their support, without ever having been able to obtain 
the favor of an answer. He expressed his desire of return- 
ing to Nantes, and using his endeavors to prevent the 
repetition of such abuses as had been stated, and did not 
doubt but with die support of the Commissioners he should 
be able to render this material service to the public. The 
support which he required was a letter from the Commis- 
sioners, addressed to all such captains of ships as were in 
the service of the United States, informing them, that he was 
an agent properly authorised by Congress to manage their 
commercial concerns in this country, and that it would be 
proper for them to follow his instructions. This request, 
which appeared to me extremely reasonable, was to my 
astonishment rejected both by you and Mr Deane. 

This appeared the more extraordinary to me, as you 
both acknowledged, that you were perfectly convinced of 
the truth of what Mr Lee had stated to you, and said you 
had laid these abuses before Congress, and complained in 
the strongest terms against Mr Thomas Morris, whose mis- 
conduct had occasioned some of them ; that Congress had 
given you a tacit reproof, by taking no notice of the com- 
plaints you had made, and that Mr Robert Morris, a mem- 
ber of the committee for foreign affairs, had given you a 
rap over the hmckles for having made them. I begged 
you to consider that the silence of Congress, which you 
had construed into a reproof, might have been occasioned 
by the multiplicity of business they had to transact, or 
they might have attended to it, and their letter on the 


subject have miscarried. This you said could not have 
been the case, as the complaints to Congress against Mr 
Morris made but part of your letter ; there were several 
other matters contained in it, which were all answered, and 
as the complaint against Mr JMorris was the only part 
unnoticed, you considered it as a reproof to you for having 
written to Congress about it. You had attempted once to 
correct the abuses, which every body knew were practising 
at Nantes to a very scandalous degree. Mr Robert Mor- 
ris had misrepresented your good intentions, and had insin- 
uated in his letter to Mr Deane of June 29th, that your 
complaints against his brother were made from interested 
motives, and that you wished him removed to make way 
for your nephew. As your conduct had in one instance, 
relative to the abuses at Nantes, been thus misrepresented, 
you were determined it should in no other, by adhering 
to your resolution of not meddling with them. 

Your reasons did not appear at all satisfactory to me, and 
I took the liberty of telling you so, which gave you very great 
offence. I was extremely sorry for it, but did not at that 
time, nor have I upon the most mature deliberation since 
been able to conceive how it could have been avoided con- 
sistent with my duty. I requested you to consider how 
unreasonable it was, to allow your resentment against the 
Committee for a supposed tacit reproof, and against Mr 
Robert Morris for what you called a rap over the knuckles, 
to operate to the prejudice, perhaps to the destruction of 
the commercial concerns of your country. Your answer 
was direct and positive ; "If these consequences should 
happen, Mr Robert Morris and the Committee must be 
answerable for tiiem, but you were determined not to med- 
dle with the matter." In this determination Mr Deane co- 


operated, and we parted without Mr Lee's having been 
able to obtain any satisfaction on the subjects of his com- 
plaints, except a promise on your part to countermand an 
order you had given relative to the sale of one of the prizes 
at Nantes. This promise, however, I understand was not 
fulfilled. I most solemnly protest, that I believe this inter- 
view to have been the cause of your excluding me from all 

Perhaps it may be said, that you were not required by 
Congress to make those communications. This may be 
considered in the nature of those injuries against which no 
positive law can be produced, but which are, notwithstand- 
ing, known to be injuries by all the world. Had the direc- 
tions of Congress, however, in these points, been as ex- 
plicit as words could make them, I doubt not but you would 
have found the means of evading them, as you have in 
others, if it suited your purpose, and have drawn arguments 
for your justification from every source. I shall trouble 
you with my reasons for thinking so. I requested of you 
at Chaillot, to let me know why you had disregarded the 
instructions of Congress 'respecting the treaty ; you ex- 
pressed your doubts whether Congress intended to have 
anything communicated to me, except the treaty after it was 
concluded. I referred you to the words of the instruction 
itself, which I had quoted to you in my letter, and asked 
you if you thought it possible, that the gentlemen who 
had written them could have been so ignorant, as not 
to know the distinction between a proposition and a con- 
clusion. Other doubts arose. If I had been at Florence, 
the department which was assigned me by Congress, it 
might have been inconvenient to have followed the strict 
letter of the instructions, by sending every alteration of the 


treaty, that might have been proposed on either side, on 
account of the danger of their being intercepted. 

In this I agreed with you perfectly, and told you that if 
1 had been at Florence, you would have had an excuse 
which at that time was of service to you. I am sorry to be 
obliged to refer to words spoken in conversation ; I have 
wished to avoid it, but you have put it out of my power. 
Had you written down what I have just related, which you 
promised me to do, it might have been of service to you in 
one instance. You would have recollected having already 
given it as your opinion, that if I had been at Florence, it 
would have been improper to have sent me the alterations 
proposed in the treaty, and would probably not have 
mentioned to Mr Pringle a reason in your justification 
totally the reverse of this. As you have, however, done 
it, it will be necessary to remind you that my not having 
gone to Florence has been entirely owing to reasons 
given me by the Tuscan Minister at this Court, which 
1 have informed Congress of. These reasons were also 
communicated to you and the other Commissioners, and 
you thought they ought to be complied with. 

You observed to Mr Pringle, that I had written you 
an angry letter. When you reflect upon your proceed- 
ings towards me, that ought not to surprise you. Hav- 
ing considered myself injured by you, I make a com- 
plaint to you in writing ; you deny that it is well founded, 
and promise me an explanation of your conduct. Relying 
upon your word, I suffer myself to be amused from time 
to time by promises and excuses, till Mr Deane, who 
has supported you in all your measures, sails for America. 
Would it not have been fair and honorable to have given 
me your reasons in justification of your conduct before that 


gentleman's departure, that T might have had an opportu- 
nity either of being convinced by them or of refuting them, 
and that his verbal representations in America might not be 
made without having anything from me to oppose them. 

I am very gravely told, that as a proof of your not hav- 
ing thought it a good opportunity, you had not yourself 
written by Mr Deane. Is there a man of common sense 
in the world, who will not see, that as Mr Deane is a party 
concerned in the contest, which has unhappily subsisted 
between us, and of course will be interested in your justi- 
fication, there was no absolute necessity for your writing, 
but that the very reverse was the case with me ? Having 
thus blown up a flame about me, you are unreasonable 
enough to be surprised at my being warmed by it. Does 
not this resemble the conduct of the tyrant Kouli Khan, 
who, having cut the tendons of a man's legs with his sword, 
would afterwards have compelled him to dance ? I must 
be very plain in telling you, that I envy not the feelings of 
that man, be his reputation ever so highly exalted, who can 
with coldness either offSv or receive an injury. 

I have been told by a gentleman, that the French Min- 
istry had desired that Mr Arthur Lee and myself, expressly 
mentioned by name, might have certain matters concealed 
from us. 1 cannot take a step in this business without 
having some insinuation to encounter. My informant was 
not so explicit as I wished him to be. He did not ac- 
quaint me with the points intended to be concealed, 
whether they related to the treaties or to the departure of 
Mr Deane. I must beg the favor of you, therefore, to let 
me know if you were desired by the French Ministry to 
conceal either or both the matters from me by name, or 
whether, as I believe to be the case, you had no such in- 


junctions at all. There is reason to believe, that the insin- 
uation is injurious both to the French Ministry and to us. 
I have never, by any part of iny proceedings, subjected 
myself to be refused admittance into their presence.' I 
have never been compelled to have recourse to any person 
to soothe and deprecate their resentment, excited by 
transactions, which they thought obliged them to make use 
of expressions highly reflecting on the honor of my country^ 
at the very time when perhaps the interests and even the 
safety of America might have been affected by that resent- 
ment. Will you undertake to make the same declaration ? 
If you do, it shall appear, that I do not deal in insinuations ; 
and if the Ministry were inclined to show any marks of 
their dissatisfaction, the world will judge who were the 
persons most likely to experience them. 

If after having been made acquainted with the instruc- 
tions of Congress relative to the treaty, the Ministry de- 
sired to have the proposed alterations concealed from me, 
and there was any danger of an obstruction to your nego- 
tiation if the directions of Congress were insisted on, I 
shall endeavor to learn what could have induced them to 
such a conduct. The mischievous tendency of some 
parts of the treaty might have been pointed out, had 
they been communicated to me before it was too late, 
and a troublesome and ineffectual application to the 
Court of Spain for relief might have been rendered 

I am. Sir, Sic. 




Paris, June 28th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

The treaties are expected to arrive soon in France, as 
Congress received them by the Sensible, a French frigate, 
in the month of April. In some of my letters I informed 
you of my sentiments on one or two of the articles in the 
treaty of commerce, and of the ineffectual steps, which I 
took in consequence of them. Whether Congress has been 
made acquainted with these sentiments, or whether they 
approve of them, T know not, as I have not received a letter 
from you, from the Committee, nor from any member of 
Congress, since my arrival in France. The treaties were 
not communicated to me till the 30th of March, when they 
were half the way over to America, and of course too late 
for any alterations to be made until they had undergone the 
inspection of Congress. 

From the dispositions of the principal parties concerned 
in the negotiation, and from the manner in which my ap- 
plication respecting the eleventh and twelfth articles of the 
treaty of commerce was received, there is very little reason 
to think, that any objections, however justly founded, would 
have made any impression. I have, however, done every 
thing in my power, and 1 shall be very happy if any good 
effects should be produced by my endeavors. It has been 
my constant wish to avoid contentions of every kind ; it has 
been particularly my desire to avoid them with Dr Franklin 
from every consideration. His abilities are great, and his 
reputation high. Removed as he is at so considerable a 
distance from the observation of his constituents, if he is not 
VOL. II. 53 


guided by principles of virtue and honor, those abilities and 
that reputation may produce the most mischievous effects. 
• I send you by this opportunity some papers, which I desire 
may be communicated to my countrymen from South 
Carolina, who are members of Congress, and if it is your 
opinion, that they or any part of them should be laid before 
Congress, you will be so good as to do it. If, on the 
contrary, you think the situation of affairs will make it im- 
proper to trouble Congress with them, you will withhold 
them. It is my wish, however, that you may approve of 
their being communicated to Congress. Whatever may be 
your determination, I shall think I have acted right in com- 
municating them to you. You will find from them with 
what caution the treaties were concealed from me, while 
they were negotiating, and even after they were signed. 
When Dr Franklin thought Mr Deane had been gone long 
enough to get to America, before any observations could be 
written on the contents of them, they were sent to me. 
The article respecting molasses, in the treaty of commerce, 
may be productive of considerable mischief. 

I can, however, account lor that transaction from natural 
causes. Two of the gentlemen engaged in it were born in 
New England. That part of America is possessed of very 
few articles of export, and the great use which is made 
there of molasses makes it a very desirable object, that it 
should be perpetually exempted from duty. The articles 
in the treaty of alliance, which I have complained of, are 
infinitely more mischievous, and when 1 attempt to account 
for the conduct of the gentlemen, who have concluded 
them, and at the same time set aside the clear and une- 
quivocal article on the same subject, transmitted to them 
by Congress, 1 am utterly incapable of doing it without 


suspecting the most dishonorable practices, which I cannot 
think they have been guilty of. 

It appears the more unaccountable, when the instruc- 
tions, which were transmitted by the Congress to the Com- 
missioners at the time the original treaty was sent, are ex- 
amined. Congress judged, that some alterations might be 
found necessary, and explained their intentions in the fol- 
lowing manner. "It is the wish of Congress, that the 
treaty should be concluded, and you are hereby instructed 
to use every means in your power for concluding it, accord- 
ing to the plan you have received. If you shall find that 
to be impracticable, you are hereby authorised to relax the 
demands of the United States, and to enlarge their offers, 
according to the folloioing directions^ In these instruc- 
tions, such articles as it was thought would admit of altera- 
tion are pointed out. But the ninth article is not among 
the number. It seems indeed essential to the safety of the 
United States, that the countries and islands therein ex- 
pressly mentioned, should be in their possession. There is 
a most uncommon degree of effrontery in Dr Franklin's 
declaring, that the fifth article of the treaty of alliance could 
not possibly admit of such a construction, as I apprehended 
might be put upon it. 1 have not the least doubt but it 
was intended to leave an opening for negotiating Florida 
into the possession of Spain, if the successes of the 
House of Bourbon against England should put it in the 
power of the former to dictate the terms at the conclusion 
of a general peace. It is more than probable likewise, 
that what I have hinted at in my letter to Mr Lee, respect- 
ing Newfoundland, and the other Islands on our coasts, 
and die fishery, may in future be productive of a great 


deal of trouble, if proper explanations are not obtained in 

If anything was necessary to make the effrontery, which 
I have just taken notice of, complete, it was Dr Franklin's 
observation, that if my apprehensions were ever so just, it 
was now too late for any remedy here. His tricks and 
chicanery put it out of my power to make any objections 
before the treaties were signed and sent to America, and 
then he gives that as a reason, why no remedy should be 
attempted against the evil, which is pointed out. In my 
conscience, I believe him to be an improper person to be 
trusted with the management of the affairs of America in 
this kingdom. If he were sent to the Court of Vienna he 
could not have an opportunity of doing any harm. No 
affront could be taken at this exchange, as that Court is in 
general looked upon to be the first in Europe, and it is 
improper for the same person to have a commission both 
for Vienna and Berlin. 

The English newspapers have given us the proceedings 
of Congress on the 22d of April, respecting the conciliatory 
bills. I am very anxious to know what reception the 
Commissioners have met with, and the extent of their 
powers. It is much to be lamented, that they have not 
been enabled by Parliamentary authority to acknowledge 
the independence. The Ministry are fully convinced 
themselves, that nothing else will do, and yet they continue 
to act under the same dreadful infatuation, which has al- 
ready produced so many calamities to their country, and 
refuse to adopt any measures, however salutary, till it is too 
late. I most ardently wish for peace, provided it can be 

" Succeeding events proved all these suspicions and speculations to 
have been erroneous. 


obtained upon terms, which Congress may think proper to 
be accepted. 

Mr William Lee has been some weeks at Vienna. He 
writes me, that the French Ambassador advises him "to 
wait there with patience, till the prospect of things open a 
little more than they do at present." I have informed you 
in several of my letters, that my reception in Tuscany 
depends entirely upon the proceedings of the Court of 
Vienna. The Emperor and the King of Prussia are each 
at the head of a powerful army in Silesia, and within a few 
miles of one another. A negotiation has been for several 
weeks constantly carrying on with respect to the succession 
of Bavaria, and it is astonishing, that nothing is yet con- 
cluded. Each of those princes has two hundred and fifty 
thousand regular troops, and more are continually raising. 
The Emperor has, besides, the Hungarian nobility and 
their dependants, who may upon occasion be called upon to 
serve. They are supposed to form a body of about three 
hundred thousand men, and may be looked upon as 

The King of Prussia, although negotiating with the Em- 
peror, is not idle in other matters. He is using his utmost 
endeavors to excite the northern powers to join him against 
the House of Austria, and if he succeeds in bringing about 
an accommodation between the Russians and the Turks, 
the Czarina will certainly afford him very powerful assist- 
ance. Whether either the Emperor or the King of Prussia 
will be connected with England does not yet appear. 
Neither of them seems inclined to offend her at present. 
The troubles in Germany have certainly produced this 
effect on the King of Prussia, for he made the clearest 
declaration before the death of the Elector of Bavaria, that 


he would be the second power in Europe to acknowledge 

the independence of America. 

I am, dear Sir, he. 



Paris, July 25th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

The treaties were received by the Spy on the 9th in- 
stant. I am glad to find that the 11th and 12th articles of 
the treaty of commerce appeared to Congress in the same 
light that they did to me. The Committee of Foreign 
Affairs, in their letters to the Commissioners here, of May 
14th and 15th, made nearly the same observations that 
I did to Dr Franklin, in my letter to him on that subject. 

I have not however the satisfaction of knowing whether 
the part I have acted has been approved of, or even whether 
any of my letters got to your hands, as I have not been 
favored with a line from you since your arrival in Congress. 
I shall not complain, but follow Dr Franklin's maxim in his 
letter of January 29th, which is, "to suppose our friends 
right, till one finds them wrong, rather than to suppose them 
wrong, till one finds them right." It is possible that my 
letters to you, and yours to me, may have been lost or stolen. 
The tricks that were played with Mr Lee's letters, and the 
public despatches, that were sent by Folger, will justify any 
suspicion. I shall take it for granted, that if you have writ- 
ten, your letters have miscarried, or if you have not written, 
that you were prevented by business of greater importance. 
It is however very unfortunate, and you cannot but be sen- 
sible how mortifying it must be to me, who have been 
engaged in distress and trouble, in consequence of my 


doing my duty lo the public, not to find attention and sup- 
port from a quarter, where 1 had every reason to expect it. 

I had just written thus far when Mr Adams sent me your 
letter of May 19th, which was enclosed to him ; and I thank 
you heartily for the very friendly expressions contained in it. 
You mention, that you intended to write me more fully by 
the same opportunity ; but as that letter is not come to hand, 
I suppose it was too late for the conveyance. I am very 
anxious to see it, and hope to find by it that my proceedings 
have met with your approbation. The ratification of the 
treaties by Congress has put the ministry and the whole 
nation into as good spirits, as our countrymen were put by 
them. Except the parts which I have mentioned to you, 
they seem to be very fair and equitable, and 1 really believe 
that if a certain gentleman had thought less of his infallibil- 
ity, they might have been made unexceptionable. The 
ministry made no objection to the alteration respecting the 
molasses, and I most sincerely wish, that Congress in their 
hurry had not passed over the other articles, which I am 
convinced will occur to them, when perhaps it may not be 
so easy to get them altered as at present. 

The war in Germany is already begun. The King of 
Prussia, finding that his negotiations proved fruidess, has 
marched his forces into Bohemia, and that unhappy coun- 
try, the constant seal of misery, will in all probability expe- 
rience more calamities than ever. The wisdom of the 
Congress, and the valor of our countrymen, will I hope 
soon remove the war from our continent, and I pray to God 
that the blessings of peace may be at no great distance. 

I cannot help expressing to you my astonishment, upon 
reading the account given of the interview between the 
Commissioners here and M. Gerard, on the 16th of Decern- 


ber, printed in the Yorktown Gazette of May 4th. The 
part I allude to is the following. The French Plenipoteiv- 
tiary, speaking of the King, says, "he should moreover 
not so much as insist, that, if he engaged in the war with 
England on our account, we should not make a separate 
peace for ourselves, whenever good and advantageous terms 
were offered to us." This account I understand was given 
to Congress by the Commissioners, and therefore it must 
be presumed to be true. How then can it be reconciled 
with the 8th article of the treaty of alliance ? Suppose 
England should offer to acknowledge the liberty, sove- 
reignty, and independence of America, upon condition that 
she should make a separate peace. The question is, can 
we in honor do it ^ Monsieur Gerard, Royal Syndic of 
Strasbourg, and Secretary of his Majesty's Council of State, 
informed the Commissioners on the iGth of December, by 
order of the King, that the only condition his Majesty should 
require and rely on would be this, "that we, in no peace to 
be made with England, should give up our independence, 
and return to the obedience of that government." The 
8th article of the treaty of alliance declares directly the con- 
trary, although the second says expressly, Le but essentiel 
et direct de la presente alliance defensive, eM de maintenir 
efficacement la liberie, la somerainete, ei V independence des 
Etats Unis' I most ardently wish for peace ; at the same 
time the preservation of our national honor must be attend- 
ed to. The virtue and wisdom of the representatives of 
our country in Congress will be shown, if this question 
should ever be agitated. 

You will find by my letter to the Committee of this day's 
date, that the situation of affairs has not allowed me yet to go 
into Italy. My own inclinations, if they alone had been 


consulted, would have carried me there long ago. Mr 
William Lee was right in going to Vienna. That Court 
acts from its own opinion without control, and might possi- 
bly have been prevailed on to receive him publicly. The 
event has not proved answerable to our wishes. The con- 
duct of the Empress Queen has certainly been occasioned 
by a resentment against the Court of France, for not con- 
tributing, contrary to their own interest, to the aggrandise- 
ment of the House of Austria. A resentment so ill founded 
and unreasonable may perhaps not continue long ; in the 
mean time, however, it is exceedingly provoking to me, as 
I am living at the public expense, without having it in my 
power to fulfil the objects of my commission. Perhaps, 
indeed, my having been in Paris may not prove altogether 
useless ; and I hope the papers I have transmitted to you 
may not be thought unworthy the attention of Congress. 
After having had the facts stated to them relative to the 
situation of affairs in Europe, they will judge what instruc- 
tions are proper to be sent to me. If they are positive, 
at all events they shall be followed ; if discretionary, [ shall 
act to the best of my judgment. 

You are so good as to assure me in your letter of the 
19th of May, that you will upon all occasions have at heart 
my honor and interest, and that you will by every opportu- 
nity keep me acquainted with the state of affairs. I feel 
very sensibly these friendly assurances, and promise you 
that amidst the troubles and vexations in which I have been 
engaged, I derive considerable comfort and satisfaction 
from them. You say nothing of your son. I heartily 
rejoice at his promotion. He must have informed you, that 
he was very desirous of going into the Prussian army. I 
dissuaded him from it, and advised him, if he was deter- 
voL. II. 54 


mined upon becoming a soldier, to take Marshal Saxe and 
the Chevalier Poland's Commentaries upon Polybius into 
his hands, and go to America, where an ample field would 
be open to him. I am happy to find, that he has had no 
cause to repent of having followed my advice. 

My wife offers you her compliments, and joins me in 
desiring that they may be presented to him. We have 
heard nothing very lately from his family in England ; by 
the last accounts Mrs Laurens was well, and the child very 
much improved. 

I am, dear Sir, &tc. 




Florence, July 28th, 1778. 


Although M. Favi, who knows my attachment for you, 
regularly informs me concerning you, yet I was very much 
pleased with receiving a letter directly from yourself, dated 
the 11th instant, and to find thereby that the gout had left 
you at last, and that your little family were well. I beg 
you to embrace them for me. 

I have often wished for you all at Florence, during my 
stay here, and to partake with you the delights that are to 
be enjoyed beneath a fine sky, and under the protection of 
good laws. 1 have tortured myself to find some means to 
induce you to come here ; my conscience and honor have 
always dictated the counsels I have given you, so contrary 
to my inclinations, but most conformable to your situation 
and the circumstances you are placed in. I wish very 


much that the order you have received to effect a loan in 
Italy might furnish you with a plausible reason to make me 
a visit, but I see so many difficulties in this design, that I 
dare not flatter myself with hopes. You will permit me to 
mention those, which present themselves on the part of Tus- 
cany. Tuscany, which has been deprived for upwards of 
two centuries of an active commerce, is but just emerging 
out of the languishing and exhausted state into which she 
was plunged. There has indeed been for some years a 
large quantity of cash in circulation, but although my coun- 
trymen are convinced of the solvency of the United States, 
of their honesty in keeping their woi'd, and that they con- 
sider their independence as established, they will not how- 
ever lend their money, because they can employ it in a 
much more lucrative manner under their own eyes. To 
give you an evident proof of it, I send you the extract of an 
edict of bis Royal Highness. You will find the induce- 
ments to be infinitely superior to anything the United States 
can offer. 

I propose also to send you shortly an abridgment of the 
immunities, privileges, and liberties granted for fourteen 
years past by the Grand Duke to his subjects. You will 
see in it his system of administration, and you will judge 
whether, in a State favored as ours is, it can be reasonably 
expected to amass money to put it out to interest. I will 
moreover give you a proof of what has happened under his 
administration, and of which I am an eye witness. Culti- 
vation of land has increased double, and landed property, 
if there is any for sale, is purchased at double the price it 
sold for before. The Grand Duke, who has reimbursed 
almost the half of the State debts, which he found at his 
accession, has the consolation to see the manner in which 
this money has been employed. 


I confine myself, Sir, to one single point, to show you 
the little probability there is of accomplishing your object in 
Tuscany, leaving it to you to judge whether in the present 
circumstances government would not be blamed, should it 
permit a loan to be opened here for the United States. I 
know not whether they would permit such a thing for the 

This is enough respecting Tuscany. As to the other 
States of Italy, I see none in a condition to comply with your 
views excepting the Republic of Genoa. In this State, be- 
ing strictly connected with France, you may not meet with 
the same difficulties on the part of the government, and as 
the Genoese have almost all their property in ready money, 
and are accustomed to lend to every body, I am per- 
suaded you may find it with them, especially if the Minis- 
try of France interposes favorably. I imagine that they 
will demand large interest, with security, perhaps, and guar- 
antied by the King of France. You will do well, before 
you open this negotiation, directly to speak about it to the 
Count de Vergennes ; and he should speak to the Marquis 
Spinola, the Genoese Envoy. If you have not this recourse, 
I know not how you can fulfil the commission of Congress, 
because all Europe being in a convulsed state, money 
becomes scarce and dear. You know that the Empress 
Queen has opened a loan in her States of Brabant j per- 
haps, should the troubles not cease, she will open one like- 
wise in Milan. Thus, my friend, you have my opinion ; 
I am sorry that I cannot furnish you with some better hints, 
and more conformable to your wishes and mine. I say 
nothing respecting myself, and I know not yet what the 
Grand Duke will do with me ; whenever he shall deter- 
mine, you shall not be among the last who are informed of 


it. Communicate always good news of your country to 
me, and be assured of tiie perfect and sincere attachment 
with which I have the honor to be, Sir, &,c. 



Paris, August 26th, 1778. 


In a letter, which I have lately received from Florence, 
and which I have had the honor of laying before you, it 
is recommended that an endeavor should be made to in- 
terest the Ministry in favor of any loan, that may be 
attempted in Genoa for the United States, as it is probable 
the Genoese may require the security of the Court of 
France for the payment of such sums, as they may have it 
in their power to lend. The Ministry must be convinced 
of the ability of America, in a few years after the establish- 
ment of peace, to discharge any pecuniary engagements 
she may at present have occasion to enter into, and the 
connexion, which subsists between the two countries, will, 
I hope, induce them to afford us every assistance in their 
power. I shall be glad to know whether you think I ought 
to. apply to Count de Vergennes on the subject, or that the 
application should be made first by you ; in either case, I 
shall be ready to co-operate with you, or act in any manner 
that shall appear most likely to produce the desired effect. 

Captain Woodford, who has lately arrived in this city 
from Leghorn, informs me that there are some merchants 
there inclined to enter into the American trade. He is to 
command a vessel from that port, and is apprehensive of 
meeting some of the cruisers belonging to the States of 


Africa. This danger will probably deter many Americans 
from entering into the Mediterranean trade, and if possible 
it should be removed. The King of France, in the 8th 
article of the Treaty of Commerce, has engaged to em- 
ploy his good offices and interposition with the Emperor of 
Morocco, and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and 
Tripoli, and every other power on the coast of Barbary, in 
order to provide as fully as possible for the convenience 
and safety of the inhabitants of the United States, and their 
vessels and effects against all violence, insult, attacks, or 
depredations, on the part of the said Princes and States of 
Barbary, and their subjects. 

You will be so good as to inform me, whether any steps 
have been taken by the Court of France, for the security 
of the inhabitants of the United States, in consequence of 
the above article. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 



■ Passy, August 25th, 1778. 

We have the honor of your letter of this date, and shall 
give the earliest attention to its contents. 

We apprehend there would be no impropriety at all in 
your application to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, 
concerning the subject of a loan in Genoa, and we wish 
that you would apply. As we wish however to do every- 
thing in our power to procure you success, we shall do 
ourselves the honor to propose the subject to his Excel- 
lency the first time we see him, which will probably be 


tomorrow, when we shall make an application to him also 
upon the other subject of your letter, the interposition of His 
Majesty with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the Re- 
gencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and every other power 
on the coast of Barbary. 

We have the honor to be, &:c. 


P. S. August 2'7th. Since writing the foregoing, we 
have spoken of the Genoese loan to Count de Vergennes, 
who gave us no encouragement to hope that France would 
engage for us in that affair. The other matter will be the 
subject of a proposed written memorial. 


Paris, September 1st, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 
Your favor of the 28th of July affords no very flat- 
tering prospects to us from Tuscany. My expectations 
and hopes from that quarter were high, and I confess 
that I am disappointed. All Europe appears to me* to 
be interested in the success of our cause, and Italy will 
certainly receive no inconsiderable share of the benefits 
resulting from the establishment of the independence of the 
United States ; it is, therefore, not a litde to be wondered 
at, that she should refuse to stir a finger towards the 
accomplishment of that event. I am well aware, that the 
revenues of the Grand Duke are not equal to those of the 
King of France ; something, however, is certainly in his 
power ; and we are taught by Scripture to set a proper 


value on a single mite, when it is proportioned to the 
ability of the donor. 

The Grand Duke, you say, has discharged almost half 
the debt with which he found the State encumbered at his 
accession. This is a proof of the wisdom and good gov- 
ernment of his Royal Highness, and shows how well 
founded the opinion is, which the world has entertained of 
that excellent Prince. It shows also, that his State is in a 
very flourishing condition. I have been lately informed, 
that his Royal Highness intends shortly to discharge 
another part of his debt, to the amount of three millions 
of French livres. If this payment could be postponed, 
and the money lent to the United States, it would be 
of considerable service to them. You will excuse me for 
pressing this subject with earnestness, as 1 have the great- 
est desire to execute the business, which the Congress have 
done me the honor of putting into my hands. 

Captain Woodford has lately arrivetl here from Leghorn j 
he informs me that some merchants at that port are deter- 
mined to enter into the American trade, and that he is to 
command a vessel from thence bound to Virginia, which he 
thinks will be ready to sail in the course of a few weeks. 
He is a man of a very good character, and I hope he will 
succeed, which will probably induce many others to follow 
his example. He has charged himself with the delivery of 
this letter, and I do not doubt but that you will give him 
any advice or assistance in your power to facilitate the 
execution of his plan. 

My wife and family join in offering you their compli- 
ments, and I am, dear Sir, &tc. 





Paris, September 2d, 1778. 

I am directed by the Congress to endeavor to procure 
a loan of money in Italy, and have in consequence done 
everything in my pouer to obtain proper information on 
the subject. My correspondent in Tuscany gives me no 
hopes of procuring any there, as that country is just begin- 
ning to emerge from a state of languor, under which it has 
suffered for two centuries. 

No other part of Italy seems to afford a more agreeable 
prospect except Genoa, and I am told, that even there, 
the security of the Court of France will probably be 
expected, for any sum which the inhabitants of that Re- 
public may have it in their power to lend to the United 
States. The value of the paper currency of America 
has sunk, on account of the great sums which it has 
been absolutely necessary to issue in the prosecution of 
the war against Great Britain. If the loan can be ob- 
tained, the Congress will be enobled to reduce the 
quantity in circulation, and at the same time raise and 
establish the credit of the remainder. This will be of 
such important service to our country, that I am in- 
duced to hope your Excellency will be so goocl as to 
afford us your assistance in it, and speak to the Mar- 
quis Spinola, the Envoy from Genoa, on the subject. I 
shall be extremely happy to have it in my power to in- 
form the Congress, that by your Excellency's assist- 
ance, I have been enabled to execute the trust which 
they have committed to me. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

VOL. II. 55 



Paris, September l2»h, 1778, 

Dear Sir, 

My last letter to you was dated the 25th of July, and yours 
of the 19th of May still continues the only one I have been 
favored with from you. My letter of the 28th of June 
was accompanied by several papers, which appeared to me 
proper that you and every other friend of our country 
should be acquainted with. Five sets of them were sent 
to you, and it will be very unlucky if one of them does not 
get safe to your hands. 

The molasses business would certainly have proved the 
source of continual disputes if it had not been altered, but 
the mischief, which might have been expected from that, is 
beyond comparison less than what is pointed out in my 
letter to Mr Lee of the 18th of May. My apprehensions 
on this subject were communicated to the Commissioners 
at this Court, but I am sorry to say that they made no im- 
pression upon them. Mr Lee alone seemed to think it 
possible I might be right ; the other two gentlemen were 
perfectly satisfied. Dr Franklin's usual consciousness of 
infallibility was apparent, and Mr Adams insinuated, that 
the busbess of the treaties was put entirely into the hands 
of the Commissioners at this Court, and nobody else had 
any right to give their opinions about them ; that he 
understood that 1 had objected to the 11th and 12th articles 
of the Treaty of Commerce respecting molasses, but he 
believed 1 should find myself greatly mistaken in that mat- 
ter ; that he did not doubt but those articles would be ex- 
tremely popular in Congress, and that they would be very 
angry when they were informed that I had objected to 


them. I answered, that I was sensible the conclusion 
of the treaties was committed solely to the gentlemen he 
mentioned, but that the principles in which I had been 
educated militated against the other part of his opinion ; 
that I had thought it my duty to oppose the proceedings of 
the King and Parliament of Great Britain when they were 
injurious to my country, that the same motives had occa- 
sioned my opposition to the articles in question ; that I had 
submitted my objections to the treaty to the President, and 
hoped he would make them known to Congress ; that if 
they thought I had acted wrong, I should of course be in- 
formed of it by him ; that I should in that case look upon 
myself to be no longer fit to be employed, when my opin- 
ion differed so totally from that of my employers, and 
should request the favor of the President to procure the 
leave of Congress for me to return into my own country. 
I have had the satisfaction, howei'er, of finding that Mr 
Adams, as well as his countrymen, Dr Franklin and Mr 
Deane, have been mistaken in their expectation, that Con- 
gress would be inattentive to the interests of nine States of 
America to gratify the eaters and distillers of molasses. 
I am yet to learn whether the arguments made use of in 
the abovementioned letter of the 18th of JMay have had 
any weight with you, and the other gentlemen to whom 
I desired you to submit them, but I am very sorry to in- 
form you that my apprehensions were too well founded. 
The letters, which Mr Lee has lately received from Spain, 
leave not the least room to doubt what the expectations of 
that Court are respecting the Floridas. For my own 
part, no such additional proof was necessary after having 
compared the 5th article of the Treaty of Alliance with 
the 9th article of the original treaty, transmiUed by Con- 


Tlie conduct of Spain has been full of ambiguity ; she 
has been arming with all possible diligence, and at the 
same time sent an Ambassador to London, who has 
hitherto made use of no other language but that of peace 
and mediation. England, who seems to have lost her 
common sense at the same time that she parted with her 
humanity, does not appear to suspect that the delays of 
Spain may possibly be intended only to make her blow 
more certain and effectual. Some politicians believe, that 
the delays of Spain have been occasioned by her being 
averse to the independence of America. Nothing can be 
more absurd than such an opinion. Spain can have noth- 
ing to apprehend from us alone, equal to what she had 
reason to fear from the united strength of Great Britain 
and America. When the present war is ended, I hope 
the blessings of peace will be long enjoyed. Should Spain 
be suffered to get possession of the Floridas, perpetual 
causes of quarrel may be expected, and therefore I hope 
the wisdom of Congress will guard against this evil. 

When my apprehensions on this subject were communi- 
cated to the Commissioners at this Court, a proper expla- 
nation I believe might have been obtained from the Minis- 
try under their hands, as the ratification of the treaties 
was not arrived, and it is certain they were very much 
alarmed about them, and expected they would have under- 
gone a much severer scrutiny than they did. The 
limits, which Congress have prescribed in the 9th article 
of their original treaty, are such as I am convinced we 
ought to have, and I hope that nothing will happen to 
make it necessary that they should be altered. Mr 
Lee will, I suppose, inform Congress of the contents of 
his letters from Spain on this subject. It appears of so 


much consequence to the Southern States, that I think they 
should be consulted separately on the subject of ceding 
the Floridas to Spain, before the question is brought be- 
fore Congress. 

In my letter to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, of 
the 25th of July, I enclosed them two letters, which I had 
written to the Abbe Niccoli at Florence, on the subject of 
money. I now send you his answer, by which you will 
find that there is no very flattering prospect of obtaining 
any there. I send you likewise enclosed several other 
papers, which will show you that I have done everything 
in my power to fulfil the wishes of Congress ; nothing has 
been left unattempted to promote the success of what I 
have had constantly at heart. I have had an interview 
with Count de Vergennes, Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affiiirs, and endeavored to prevail upon him to ofi'er the se- 
curity of the Court of France for any money, which might 
be borrowed in Italy for the use of the United States. He 
refused affording any assistance in the matter. I then 
wrote him the enclosed letter of the 2d of September, 
without promising myself much hopes of success from it. 
The King of Prussia during the last war received a sub- 
sidy from Great Britain, of between seven and eight hun- 
dred tliousand pounds sterling. The object to be obtained 
was certainly much less considerable, than what France has 
already got by the dismemberment of so great a part of 
the dominions of her natural enemy, and yet the States of 
America, her allies, whose exertions have procured so 
desirable an event for her, have no subsidy, and even her 
assistance in effecting a loan is refused. France has 
certainly great demands for money herself; she might, how- 
ever, have been more liberal than she has been, and I am of 


opinion she would have been so, had things been properly 
conducted by those who ought to have thought less of 
themselves and more of the public. 

I have in this, and some of my former letters, given you 
my opinion on such parts of the treaties as appeared likely 
to prove injurious to us. The Southern States are most 
affected by the articles, which have been already taken 
notice of. The 9th and 10th articles of the Treaty of Com- 
merce contain matter which will, if I am not much mis- 
taken, prove the subject of great uneasiness to the States 
of New England. The gentleman, whose presumption 
and self sufficiency I have already complained of, may in 
this instance, I believe, be acquitted of having any design. 
Whatever there may be improper in these articles can 
be only attributed to the want of information, and to their 
not being acquainted with the subject. 

When the peace of Paris in 1763 was concluded, I was 
in London, and heard the subject of the fishery much 
discussed; the French pretended that by the 13th article 
of the treaty of Utrecht, they had an exclusive right to fish 
on all that part of the island of Newfoundland, which ex- 
tends from Cape Bonavista to Point Riche. The English 
Ministry would not admit of any such explanation of the 
article, and accordingly the French have enjoyed no such 
exclusive right since. The words "indefinite and exclu- 
sive right" are not to be found either in the treaties of 
Utrecht or of Paris, yet they were inserted in the 10th 
article of our treaty of commerce, and that it may seem as 
if no innovation was intended, that right is claimed as hav- 
ing been designed by the treaty of Utrecht, and the whole 
is to be conformable (not to the words,) but to the true 
sense of the treaties of Utrecht and Paris. I do not think 


that the States of New England would be very well con- ' 
tented, if they should find themselves excluded from the 
right of fishing on any part of the coast of Newfound- 
land. I have endeavored to get all the information I could 
on this matter, and am confirmed in my opinion that it is 

The discussion of this business will probably not be 
entered upon till the conclusion of peace, and that event 1 
fear is not very near at hand. It is however of import- 
ance, that those persons who are likely to be affected by 
this matter should be acquainted with, what I have written 
to you about it, that they may consider it and be prepared. 

The commercial business of America in this kingdom 
continues still in confusion. You were fully informed on 
this point sometime ago, and I recommended Mr Lloyd 
strongly as a proper person to set these matters right. I 
believe him to be a very capable merchant, and I have the 
highest opinion of his integrity and attachment to the cause 
of America. These are qualities at all times to be valued, 
but in the present situation of our affairs, at the distance 
the commercial agent is placed from the seat of inquiry, 
the difficulty there is of preventing the plunder of the pub- 
lic money, and the detecting of it after it is done, are 
additional motives with me for wishing to see the commer- 
cial business of our country in his hands. He is going to 
America, and I expect that he will see you at Congress. 
Dr Franklin is still endeavoring to place his nephew in that 
office.* Whether he is a proper person I shall not take upon 
me to decide. ]\Ir Lee thinks he is not, and I suppose 
will offer his reasons to Congress. 

* For the correction of an error here, respecting Dr Franklin's designs 
in regard to his nephew, see the present volume, p. 164, note. 

440 ' ' RALPH IZARD. 

I have lamented exceedingly that the situation of affairs 
has not permitted my going into Italy. Perhaps my hav- 
ing been here, and the observations that I have sent you 
respecting the treaties, may not prove useless ; should my 
countrymen think so, it will give me great satisfaction. 

I am, dear Sir, &z;c. 


P. S. I have communicated my sentiments to Mr Lee 
and Mr Adams respecting the fishery, and I hope they will 
write on the subject to their friends. It will, however, I 
think, be very proper for you to speak to the New Eng- 
land delegates about it, that they may have time to con- 
sider it, and consult their constituents. 


Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778. 


It is unnecessary to say anything to you about the par- 
ticular foundation of the enclosed Resolve. We hope you 
will experience good consequences from it, in a point very 
interesting to you while in Tuscany. There, you certainly 
must depend greatly on our correspondents in France for 
American intelligence, which will be much more frequently 
sent from hence to them than to you. We shall enjoin it 
upon them to furnish you, and particularly upon Mr Adams, 
while he remains at Paris. 

Mr A. Lee will communicate to you the purport of some 
papers, which are sent to him, and in which you are jointly 
concerned. It was not possible for us at this time to send 
you extracts from them. 


You will be pleased at knowing that the British Com- 
missioners are convinced of the folly of their errand to 
America, and are returning home. It is probable that the 
British army will follow them soon, or at least go to the 
West Indies. Of this, however, the Marquis de la Fayette, 
the bearer, may gain fuller information before he sails from 
Boston. Though a pressing load of other business has 
till this time prevented Congress from taking up the whole 
consideration of their foreign affairs, yet that must be the 
speedy consequence of their appointment of Dr Franklin 
Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of France. All the 
papers of this Committee are on their table, and we shall 
despatch packets upon any material decision. 

In the mean time we wish you every success, and are 
with much regard, Sir, your friends and humble servants, 



Paris, January 28th, 1779. 


I have had the honor of informing Congress, that the 
political state of Europe has prevented the Grand Duke 
of Tuscany from receiving me in the character of their 
representative, and as I thought it would be injurious to 
them if I had resided at his Court in any other character, 
I have remained in France, ready to embrace the first 
opportunity of obeying the orders of Congress, if any 
change of circumstances should put it in my power to do 

In consequence of a rosolution of Congress, "that the 
VOL. u. 56 


Commissioners at the other Courts in Europe be empow- 
ered to draw bills of exchange from time to time, for the 
amount of their expenses, upon the Commissioners at the 
Court of France," I drew a bill of exchange on the 12th 
instant for five hundred louis d'ors, on the Commissioners 
at this Court, and I waited on them at Passy with it tny- 
self for acceptance. I presented it to Dr Franklin, as eld- 
est, who refused to accept it. He said the two thousand 
louis d'ors, which I had already had, were so extravagant a 
sum, that he was sure I could not have spent it, and if I 
had, he saw no reason why Congress should support my 
family. Congress will be pleased to recollect, that my 
commission is dated the 1st of July, 1777, and that I 
received it the September following. Dr Franklin added, 
that the resolution of the 7th of May, 1778, to which I 
referred him, directed that the Commissioners at the other 
Courts of Europe should draw bills for the amount of their 
expenses, but as I was not at Florence, he was deter- 
mined not to consent that any more money should be paid 
me, and I might protest the bill if I pleased. 1 desired that 
he would favor me with his reasons in writing, which he 
promised to do ; but though I wrote to him eight days 
after about it, and received a repetition of his promise 
under his hand, he has not to this day paid the least 
regard to it. Congress will judge, when they consider the 
differences, which have for some time past unhappily sub- 
sisted between us, by what motives Dr Franklin has been 
actuated in the conduct, which I have just stated, and will, 
I hope, take such measures as will for the future prevent 
any such unjustifiable proceedings. 

As the Commissioners at the other Courts of Europe 
are directed to draw bills of exchange for their support, on 


ihe Representatives of Congress at the Court of France, 
the situation of the former will be very deplorable, if the 
latter are allowed the liberty of disobeying those orders of 
Congress, whatever may be the pretence for such disobe- 
dience. At the time of Dr Franklin's refusal to accept my 
bills for five hundred louis d'ors, there were in the hands 
of the public banker between two and three hundred 
thousand livres. Dr Franklin is not empowered to judge 
of the propriety of my going into Italy, or staying in 
France. I consulted him however about it, and it was his 
opinion, that the situation of affairs did not admit of my 
going to Florence. After Dr Franklin had refused to ac- 
cept the bill, 1 presented it to Mr Lee and Mr Adams, 
who accepted it immediately. It is with reluctance that I 
lay this matter before Congress, but it is my duty to do it, 
as it is an evil that requires an immediate remedy. Our 
disagreements are much to be lamented by every friend to 
our country ; I can, with the most perfect truth declare, 
that I have done every thing in my power to prevent them, 
but I have found it impossible. I have a most grateful 
sense of the goodness of Congress to me, in appointing me 
one of their Representatives in Europe ; it has been my 
constant wish to prove myself worthy of the confidence 
with which they have honored me, and I consider it as my 
greatest misfortune, that I have not had it in my power to 
render them any service. 

As there does not appear to be any prospect of my 
being received in my public character at Florence, nor 
any other means of my being of service, I am desirous of 
returning to America. I should take the first opportunity 
of doing so, but do not think myself at liberty to leave 
Europe without the permission of Congress ; you will very 


much oblige me if you will be so good as to obtain that 
permission for me, and send me copies of it by several 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, March 4th, 1779. 


I had the honor of writing to you on the 28th of Janu- 
ary, and have since received your letter of the 28th of Oc- 
tober, informing me of the appointment of Dr Franklin to 
be Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of France, and 
enclosing a resolution of Congress of the 22d of the same 
month. The respect, which I owe to the Representatives 
of my country in Congress, would make me follow any 
advice which 1 might receive from them. I am most per- 
fectly convinced, that the cultivation of harmony and good 
understanding between the Ministers, Commissioners, and 
Representatives of Congress, is necessary for the honor and 
interest of the United States, and I have acted to the ut- 
most of my power in conformity to that opinion. 

Congress will be enabled to judge how far their other 
servants have done so, from the papers which have already 
been, and will be, laid before them. I beg leave to repeat 
again the high sense I have of the honor that Congress 
did me, in appointing me one of their Representatives in 
Europe, and to request that you will be so good as to ob- 
tain their leave for me to return to America, as I see no 
prospect of my having it in my power to render them any 
service in this part of the world. I should embrace the 
opportunity of going imder the convoy of the Alliance 


frigate, but do not think myself at liberty to leave Europe 

without the permission of Congress. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, July 17th, 1779. 


Your letter of March 4th was read in Congress three 
days ago, being then only first received by the Committee 
of Foreign Affairs. We should have been very happy to 
have received it before the 8th of June,* as it would, un- 
doubtedly, have founded a resolve of Congress more agree- 
able to us to communicate officially, than that to which we 
must now refer you in their journals, printed authoritatively 
by David C. Claypole, and which are in the hands of 
Doctor Franklin, or Doctor Arthur Lee, at Paris. 

We have till now omitted to forward to you that resolve 
for your recall from the Court of Tuscany, as we daily ex- 
pected a settlement of a definite recompense for your ser- 
vices to these United States. But the modes of doing 
business in such an assembly as Congress will not warrant 
our detaining, until such settlement, some important papers 
committed to us to be sent to the Court of France. 
I am, with sincere regard, he. 

For the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 

* In Congress, June 8th, 1779. "According to the order of the day, 
Congress proceeded to the consideration of the report of the Com- 
mittee of thirteen on Foreign Affairs ; and on the question, shall Rlr 
Izard be recalled .' — resolved in the afiSrmative. 

"A motion was then made, that Mr Izard be informed, that it is 
the sense of Congress that he need not return to America ; — resolved 
in the affirmative." 



Paris, September 29th, 1779. 


I have lately been favored with your letter of the 17th of 
July, referring me to a resolution of Congress of the 8th 
of June, by which I find that they have been pleased to 
recall me. It has long been my wish to resign a com- 
mission, which did not put it in my power to be of any 
service to America ; and, therefore, if Congress had had 
the goodness to have expressed their resolution in such a 
manner as not to have conveyed a censure, which my con- 
science tells me I have not deserved, it would have given 
me a great deal of pleasure. 

You say that if my letter, of the 4th of March, had 
been received before the 8th of June, it would have 
founded a resolve of Congress more agreeable to you to 
communicate than the one referred to. I have received, 
likewise, the resolution of Congress of the 6th of August, 
respecting the allowance to be made to the Commissioners. 
Upon my applying to Dr Franklin to know if he had 
received any directions from Congress to pay me any 
money, and whether he thought himself authorised by that 
resolution to do it, he answered me, that he had re- 
ceived no orders about it. "On the other hand, (said he) 
there is a part of it which directs, that every Commis- 
sioner, who has been intrusted with public money, shall 
transmit without delay his accounts and vouchers to the 
Board of Treasury in order for settlement. Till such 
settlement is made, I conceive it cannot be known what, 
or whether anything, is due to you." I was in hopes, 
that after what I had already written to Congress on 


this subject, it would have been unnecessary to trouble 
them any more about it. Their resolution of the 7th 
of May, 1778, directs, "that the Commissioners appointed 
for the Courts of Spain, Tuscany, Vienna, and Berlin, 
should live in such style and manner at their respective 
Courts, as they may find suitable and necessary to support 
the dignity of their public character, keeping an account 
of their expenses, which shall be reimbursed by the Con- 
gress of the United States of America." I have repeat- 
edly informed Congress of my reasons for not going into 
Italy. Had those reasons not been satisfactory, they 
would doubtless have signified their pleasure to me on the 
subject, which should have been the rule of my conduct. 
1 do not conceive that the resolution of the 6th of 
August, which directs that those who have been in- 
trusted with public money shall transmit their accounts 
and vouchers to the Board of Treasury to be settled, can 
have any reference to me. I have received two thousand 
five hundred louis d'ors of the public money, exclusive of 
the clothes and education of my children. This latter cir- 
cumstance I should not have mentioned, had not Dr Frank- 
lin told me, that he saw no reason why Congress should 
maintain my family. I cannot believe, that Congress in- 
tended any such distinction when they sent me a commis- 
sion, nor when they entered into the resolution of the 7th 
of May, 1778 ; neither can I think, that, by calling for the 
accounts and vouchers of those who have been intrusted 
with public money, their intention is to enter into an exami- 
nation of my butcher's, baker's, or apothecary's bills. I hope 
they will be satisfied with being informed, that my expen- 
ses during the two years, that I have had the honor of being in 
their service, have amounted to sixteen hundred louis d'ors a 


year. The resolution of the 6th of August set forth, that 
the reasonable expenses of the Commissioners shall be paid. 
It is impossible for me to tell what ideas may be affixed to 
those words ; but I am sure, that whatever Congress may 
think reasonable will be perfectly satisfactory to me, let 
the sum be what it will. All I desire is, that I may not be 
subjected to be ill treated by a man, who is become my 
enemy, because I have done my duty to the public. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 



Philadelphia, August 6th, 1780. 


In several letters, which I wrote to Congress from Paris, 

I acquainted them with my reasons for not going into Italy. 

It will give me great pleasure to be informed, that those 

reasons and my conduct have been approved of by the 

Representatives of my country. Permit me. Sir, to 

request, that you will be pleased to inform Congress of my 

arrival in this city, and that I shall be ready, whenever it 

is their pleasure, to give them any information in my power 

respecting their affairs in Europe. 

. I have the honor to be, he. 


.HA " . ^ 1 1 g w^Maww^ 





VOL. n. 57 

Henry Laurens was a native of Charleston, South Car- 
olina, and born in the year 1724. He was among the 
foremost in embracing the cause of the Revolution, which 
he maintained to the end with extraordinary integrity, zeal, 
and firmness. As President of the first provincial Con- 
gress of Carolina, which assembled in 1775, he showed a 
determined spirit, that never forsook him afterwards, even 
in times of severe trial and suffering. He was a prominent 
member of the Continental Congress, and chosen President 
of that body on the resignation of Hancock. In the year 
1779, the finances of the United States became so low, 
that it was found necessary to use every eflbrt to procure 
foreign loans, and Mr Laurens was appointed a Commis- 
sioner to negotiate a loan in Holland. On the first of 
November following, there was joined to this commission 
another, which authorised him to negotiate a treaty of 
amity and commerce with the United Provinces. 

Various reasons prevented his leaving the country, till 
the last of August, 1780. Meantime the Commission for 
a loan had been assigned to John Adams, and Mr Laurens 
was exclusively charged with the negotiation of a treaty. 
A few days after he sailed, the vessel was taken by a Brit- 
ish man of war, and carried into St John's, Newfoundland. 
From this place Mr Laurens wrote to Congress, but he 
was immediately sent to England, where he was closely im- 


prisoned in the Tower for nearly fifteen months. He was 
at length released, in exchange for Lord Cornwallis. His 
papers were thrown overboard when the vessel was taken, 
but they did not sink before they were secured by the ene- 
my. Being forwarded to London, their contents became 
the chief cause of a war between England and Holland. 
Mter his release from the Tower, Mr Laurens went 
over to Holland, where he met Mr Adams, and proposed to 
engage in the business of his mission, but did not find by Mr 
Adams's instructions, that he was authorised to proceed in 
such a measure. In reply to his request for a recall, Con- 
gress informed him, that his services were still needed in 
Europe, and directed him to join Messrs. Franklin, Adams, 
and Jay at Paris, to assist in the negotiations for a general 
peace. This duty he performed, as far as the precarious 
state of his health would admit. Between the signing of the 
preliminary and definitive articles he spent much time in 
London, and rendered essential service by the intelligence 
he communicated to the British Ministry, and leading men 
of the government party, respecting the feelings of the 
people in the United States, particularly in regard to matters 
of trade, and a commercial treaty, which were then agitated 
in the British councils. He had several interviews on 
American affairs with Mr Fox, to whom he expressed his 
mind freely, as he had formerly done to Lord Shelburne. 

Mr Laurens returned to the United States in the sum- 
mer of 1784, and retired to his native State. No solici- 
tations could induce him afterwards to accept any public 
office. He died on the Sth of December, 1792, at the age 
of sixtyHine. 





In Congress, October 26th, 1779. 

Congress took into consideration the report of the Com- 
mittee on Instructions to the person appointed to negotiate 
a loan in Holland ; whereupon 

Resolved, That he be instructed to borrow a sum not 
exceeding ten millions of dollars, at the lowest rate possible, 
not exceeding six per cent per annum. 

Resolved, That he be empowered to employ, on the 
best terms in his power, some proper mercantile or bank- 
ing house in the city of Amsterdam, or elsewhere, in the 
United Provinces of the Low Countries, to assist in the pro- 
curing of loans, to receive and pay the money borrowed, to 
keep the accounts, and to pay the interest. 

That he be also empowered to pledge the faith of the 
United States, by executing such securities or obligations 
for the payment of the money, as he may think proper ; 


and also that the interest shall not be reduced, nor the prin- 
cipal paid, during the term for which the same shall have 
been borrowed, without the consent of the lenders or their 

That he be directed to give notice to Congress of any 
Joan made by him, or under his authority, and to direct the 
house by him employed to accept and pay the bills of 
exchange, which may be drawn under the authority of 

Philadelphia, December 11th, 1779. 

By the enclosed resolves of Congress, you will find that 
we are become more dependent upon your vigorous exer- 
tions for the amelioration of our currency, than you per- 
haps expected when you left Philadelphia.! We think it 
of so much importance, that you should be early apprized 
of the measure determined upon respecting bills of ex- 

* For an account of the appointment of Henry Laurens to "negotiate 
a foreign loan," and also as a "Commissioner to negotiate a treatj of 
amity and commerce with the United Provinces of the Low Countries," 
see the Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. II. pp. 283, 285, 290, 314, 320. 

t l7i Congress, JVovember 23d, m9. Committee reported, "that bills 
of exchange be drawn on John Jay to the amount of £100,000 ster- 
ling, and on Henry Laurens to the amount of £100,000 sterling, payable 
at six months' sight, and that the same be sold at the current rate of 

JVovember 29th. "Congress took into consideration the report of the 
Committee appointed to report the manner in which the resolution of 
the 23d instant, relative to the drawing bills of exchange on Mr Jay and 
Mr Laurens, shall be carried into execution ; whereupon 

"Resolved, That the bills be prepared under the direction of the Board 


change, that we do not choose to omit this good opportu- 
nity of conveying them, though unattended with a full 
explanation of the reasons which urge Congress to draw, 
more especially as you are so well enlightened by your late 
presence in that assembly. 

We are, with every wish for your prosperity, &ic. 


Charleston, January 24th, 1780. 

On the 11th instant I had the honor of receiving your 
commands of the 1 1th ultimo, accompanied by two Acts 
of Congress, one of the 23d of November, 1779, for draw- 
ing bills of exchange "on Mr John Jay for one hundred 
thousand pounds sterling, and on Mr Henry Laurens for a 
like sum," and for appointing a Committee to report, &;c. 
the other of the 29th of November, for carrying the first 

of Treasury, and with such checks as they may devise to prevent coun- 
terfeits, and be signed by the Treasurer of Loans. 

"That so many of the bills as the Treasury Board shall, from time to 
time think proper to issue, be put into the hands of the Continental Loan 
OflScer in the State of Pennsylvania, or of any other State ; and that 
the Board of Treasury direct the lowest rate of exchange at which 
the same may be sold. 

"That the Board of Treasury may, at their discretion, suspend the 
sale of such bills, reporting to Congress their reasons for so doing, 
that they may receive directions thereon. 

"That the Committee of Foreign Affairs be, and they are hereby 
directed to write to Mr Jay and Mr Lam ens, informing them of the 


Act into effect by modes therein specified. Neither of 
these Acts intimates where the intended drafts are to be 
paid, nor where Congress expects me to be at the presen- 
tation of the bills, which are to be assigned for my accept- 
ance, nor directs me to funds for discharging them ; nor do 
the contents of your said favor of the 11th of December 
elucidate these ambiguities. 

Probably, however, it might have been expected, that 
although I am to cross the Atlantic single, and the bills in 
quadruplicate, and although I am not yet honored with the 
Act of Congress appointing me to negotiate a loan in Eu- 
rope, which should have been lodged in my hands as the 
corner stone for my proceeding, nor with means for pro- 
curing or paying for a passage thither, nor with other neces- 
sary and promised acts and letters from Congress, I am to 
meet one bill of each set in some part of the United Neth- 

Taking for granted, tlierefore, that the bills are not to be 
presented to me in any part of America, I shall embark for 
Europe by the first opportunity, and, if it please God, that I 
arrive in safety, I shall proceed to Paris and Amsterdam with 
all possible despatch, when I shall expect to receive further 
and more explicit commands from Congress for enabling 
me to make those vigorous exertions, on which you are 
pleased to say the credit of our paper currency, oi' which 

drafts that will be made upon them, and explaming fully the reasons 
that urge Congress to draw, directing them to keep up a mutual cor- 
respondence, and afford each other every assistance in procuring money 
to pay the bills. 

"That 1-8 per cent on monies received in payment for the said bills 
shall be allowed to the persons intrusted with the sale thereof. 

"That no bill be drawn for a less sum than the amount of £50 ster- 


is the same thing, the credit of these United States depends. 
Had I been apprized in proper time, that this quick step in 
accommodation bills had been in embryo, I should not 
have had resolution to face them. Should there now be 
any failure, it will not be the result of delinquency in any 
respect on my part. 

I entreat you. Gentlemen, to inform Congress that I 
have engaged for a passage to France on board the French 
frigate Chimere, commanded by the Chevalier Durumain, 
who, at the special request of this State, is gone on a short 
cruise on the coast, in company with three of the Conti- 
nental frigates, with a prospect of intercepting some of 
the enemy's transport ships and troops from New York, 
intended for Georgia. Immediately after the Chimere 
arrives at the bar of Charleston, whither she is to return 
for necessary stores for her voyage, I shall embark. If 
any accident shall prevent her return, I will embrace the 
very next earliest opportunity of proceeding, either direct 
for Europe, or by way of the West Indies, without regard 
to my own private interest or indulgence. No vessel has 
sailed from this port for Europe, since my arrival here. 

I have the honor to be, he. 1 



Charleston, February 14th, 1780. 


My last address went forward, under the 31st ult. by Mr 

Renshaw, one of the corps of escorts. The 10th instant, 

General Lincoln was on the point of ordering the Ranger 

frigate to conduct me to France. Governor Rutledge had 

VOL. II. 58 


given his consent, and I believe there would have been no 
opposition in Council, but on the 11th we received authen- 
tic intelligence of the arrival of the enemy's troops from 
New York, at and near Tybee, and the next day of their 
having landed a large detachment on John's Island, within 
sixteen miles of this capital. We heard yesterday, that 
another detachment had landed, and repossessed Beaufort, 
and we know that two ships of the line, two frigates, and 
several armed vessels, are cruising near the bar of this har- 
bor. Thus environed an attack upon Charleston, very 
illy prepared for defence, may be every hour expected. 

In these circumstances, were I to study my own private 
interests and desires, I should remain here, and stand or 
fall with my country. Whatever her fate may be, exceed- 
ingly heavy losses to me will be the consequence of my 
absence at this critical conjuncture, but the Governor and 
other judicious friends urge me to use every endeavor for 
obtaining a passage through some other channel. Duty 
dictates the same measure. I shall therefore proceed to 
North Carolina, where are four vessels belonging to this 
port, and embark immediately on board of one of them. 
In the mean time, I shall omit no opportunity of acquainting 
you with my circumstances. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Charleston, February 24th, 1780. 

I had the honor of intimating on the 14th instant, by a 
public messenger, my purpose of seeking a passage to 


Europe from North Carolina, but upon inquiry into the 
circumstances of the four vessels alluded to, I judged it 
best to embark at this port. General Lincoln has hired a 
swift sailing brigantine, the Adriana, Josiah Hill master, to 
conduct me to Martinique, and the government has relaxed 
the embargo on the vessel, and such cargo as she will be 
laden with, which will be no more than sufficient to ballast 
her. By agreement, this vessel should have sailed on the 
20th instant, but bad weather and distracted times have 
been impediments. She will be ready for sea tomorrow. 
Nothing that I foresee will then detain her, unless the 
wind shall be unfavorable. 

The General has contracted to insure the value of the 
vessel, with the condition of shipping such quantity of 
goods on Continental account, as I should judge proper, 
freight free ; but I must pay for the use of the cabin, this 
being the perquisite of the master ; and although it is small 
and very inconvenient, I suppose it will cost me forty or 
fifty guineas. I cannot yet bring Captain Hill to be explicit 
in his demand, but it shall be ascertained before I embark. 
Considering that the circuitous voyages, which I must 
make, will be attended with great expense ; that Congress 
would have furnished me with means for defraying my 
expenses had it been in their power ; that they had in con- 
templation when I left Philadelphia to raise a fund abroad, 
by the exportation of indigo ; that I had an opportunity of 
shipping that and other articles free from freight, and at 
very moderate prices, compared with those of the staples 
of other States, I presumed that it would be pleasing to 
Congress that 1 should make such an export, on account 
of the United States, as will appear in the enclosed invoice 
and bill of lading. The indigo alone will probably yield 


upwards of £3200 sterling, at some market in Europe. 
The whole shall be faithfully accounted for, and I trust 
that Congress will enter into a resolution for indemnifying 
me, and order the amount of the invoice to be placed to 
my credit. If it please God to conduct me in safety, a 
part of the money arising from the sale of the goods may 
be very acceptable to Mr Jay, or other gentlemen in the 
service of these States abroad. 

The vessel in which I am to embark is esteemed so 
good in this town, as to induce underwriters, notwithstand- 
ing she is to sail in the face of British men of war, to 
insure on her at 25 per cent ; coming into this port she 
was pursued by those very men of war and their tender, 
but escaped them ; she is now clean, and barely in ballast 
for sailing, and will go out in an evening. My long delay 
is a subject of grief to me, but Congress will be pleased to 
recollect, that I made my coming to Charleston, in order 
to present myself at the tribunal of my country, the sine 
qua non of my acceptance of a new mission. The first 
opportunity that offered for Europe was the Chimere, Com- 
modore Durumain. I have already informed you of the 
causes of my disappointment. 1 had not thought it possi- 
ble, that the Commodore would have induced a junction of 
two Continental frigates with his little squadron of three 
ships, under an excellent plan for a ten days' cruise, 
unless he had been fully determined to perform his part 
in the execution. A contrary proceeding exposed those 
frigates to imminent danger, which they narrowly escaped. 
What has happened since the Commodore's departure, 
respecting my intended embarkation. Congress have been 
informed of. • 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Vestal — British Frig^ate, 
St. John's, Newfoundland, September 14th, 1780. 


1 had the honor of writing to the Board of Admi- 
ralty, from on board the Mercury packet, the 23d ult.* 
by Captain Young, at parting with the Saratoga. On the 
3d instant, the Vestal came in view, and after a pursuit of 
some five or six hours, Captain George Keppel took pos- 
session of the' packet. Mr Young, Captain Pickles, and 
myself, were conducted on board this ship, and yester- 
day we arrived here. 

Certain papers, among which were all those delivered 
to me by Mr Lovell, and the board of Admiralty, fell 
into Captain Keppel's hands. These papers had been 
enclosed in a bag, accompanied by a considerable weight 
of iron shot, and thrown overboard, but the weight proved 
insufficient for the purpose intended. Admiral Edwards, 
Governor of this Island, and commander of the stationed 

* This letter is missing, nor does rt appear from the Correspondence 
at what time, or from what place Mr Laurens sailed. On the 20th of 
June, 1780, it was resolved in Congress, that, as circumstances had pre- 
vented liis departure, the commission to negotiate a loan in the United 
Provinces and the Low Countries, should be transferred to John Adams. 
And on the 7th of July, it was resolved, "That the commission, which 
was agreed to on the first day of November, 1779, for the honorable 
Henry Laurens, as a Commissioner to negotiate a treaty of amity and 
commerce with the States-General of the United Provinces of the Low 
Countries, be delivered to him ; and that the consideration of the in- 
structions relative to the negotiation of the treaty be for the present 
deferred ; and that Mr Laurens, on his arrival in Holland, inform 
himself of the state of affairs in that country, and advise Congress par- 
ticularly thereof, that they may be able to decide with more certainty 
upon the terms on which such treaty ought to be settled. " 


squadron, has ordered me to England in the sloop of war 
Fairy, under the command of Captain Keppel. Mr 
Young and Captain Pickles will probably go in the 
same vessel. 

1 should be wanting in justice, and indeed deficient in 
common gratitude, were I to omit an acknowledgment of 
Captain Keppel's kindness to myself, and to everybody 
captured in the Mercury. Captain Pickles' conduct, 
while he had the command of that vessel, was perfectly 
satisfactory to me. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Tower of London, December 20th, 1781. 

Almost fifteen months have I been closely confined, and 
inhumanly treated, and even now have not a prospect of 
relief. The treaty for exchange is abortive. There has 
been languor, and there is neglect somewhere. If I merit 
your attention, you will no longer delay the only speedy 
and efficacious means for my deliverance. Enter this if 
you please, and what it may produce, on your Secret 
Journal, and pardon the omission of ceremony. 
I am, full of love and respect for you, 


P. S. A friend will trace the direction in ink. 



Aiusterdaui, May 30th, 1782. 

From the 6th of October, 1780, to November, 1781, 1 
remained a close prisoner in the Tower of London, without 
hearing of any steps taken for my release, or for my sup- 
port or consolation in that distressed state, either by Con- 
gress or by any of their servants.* In the latter month I 

* The following letter merits insertion in this place. It was written to 
Count de Vergennes by the Marchioness de Lafayette, wife of the Mar- 
quis de Lafayette, immediately after she heard the news of the capture 
of Mr Laurens. It is translated from the original, which I found among 
the American papers in the Archives of Foreign Affairs in Paris. It 
should be premised, that, after the Marquis de Lafayette was wounded 
at the battle of Brandywine, Mr Laurens, then at Philadelphia, took 
him in his carriage to Bethlehem, and provided for him a safe and com- 
fortable retreat, where he remained till his wound was healed. This 
letter to the Count de Vergennes, is equally a proof of the gratitude and 
tenderness of its fair author. 

"Paris, October ISth, 1780. 
"Pardon, I pray you, Sir, my importunity, and permit me to address 
you with the confidence with which your kindnesses to M. de Lafayette 
have inspired me, and to speak to you of an affair, which interests me 
deeply. The capture and detention of Mr Laurens in England has sensi- 
bly afflicted me. He is the intimate friend of M. do Lafayette, and took 
care of him during the time of his wound in a manner truly touching. 
His misfortune seems to me overwhelming, and when we consider the 
high station he has held in America, it is probable that it may become 
still more so. I know not if any means can be found to prevent it, or 
even to soften the actual rigors of his captivity ; but I am persuaded, Sir, 
if there are any such, that they will be known to you. Should it be pos- 
sible, let me entreat you earnestly to put them in use. 

"Permit me also to speak to you of an idea which has occurred to 
me, and which is not perhaps entirely unworthy of consideration. M. 
de Lafayette has friends, that are on intimate terms with Mr Fitzpatrick, 
who is himself well known. Among the ladies of my acquaintance are 


learned that Mr Edmund Burke had, some very little time 
before, applied to Dr Franklin to effect an exchange be- 
tween Lieutenant General Burgoyne and myself, that the 
Doctor had replied that he had in his possession a resolution 
of Congress for that purpose, a copy of which he then trans- 
mitted to Mr Burke ; and about the same time, » letter from 
Dr Franklin to Mr Hodgson, or to Mr Vaughan, I forget 
which, was put into my hands in the Tower. In this letter, 
the Doctor expressed some satisfaction in having heard from 
"high authority," that I was well satisfied with the treat- 
ment I had received in my imprisonment, (the contrary was 
notorious to the whole world) and he directed the pittance 
of one hundred pounds to be paid to me, if I should stand 
in need. To the first part I desired it might be answered, 
that the Doctor had been most egregiously misinformed, 
and imposed upon by the "high authority," and that the 
second was to me, after thirteen months imprisonment, 
like a drop of water from the very tip of Lazarus' little 
finger. But I heard no more from Dr Franklin on these 
subjects, or any other, while I was in confinement, nor 
till four months after my enlargement, and I have re- 
ceived no money from him at any time. 

some, who are the confidential friends of Lady Stormont. May not 
something be done through these parties in favor of Mr Laurens? And 
what must be said to them ? I beg you a thousand times to pardon my 
importunities, and give me in this affair your kind interest and counsels. 
You will perhaps think me very ridiculous, and very unreasonable, but 
the hope, however ill founded, of rendering some good service to the 
unfortunate friend of M. de Lafayette, has prompted me to run this 
risk, and make this experiment upon your indulgence, which, at least, I 
must desire you to accord to me. This will add yet more to the lively 
and sincere acknowledgment, with which I have the honor to be, 
Sir, your very liumble, and very obedient servant, 



On the 20th of December last, being still a close pris- 
oner, 1 penciled a few lines to Congress, informing them 
of the ill usage 1 had suffered rn the Tower ; that the pro- 
posed treaty for exchange had proved abortive, slightly 
intimating there had been a neglect of me somewhere, and 
entreating that the only efficacious measure might be 
adopted for ray release. I penciled seven copies of this 
letter, passed the whole into the hands of a friend in Lon- 
don, and desired he would forward them to Holland, and 
France, in moiety, for distribution on board eight vessels 
bound to America. From this precaution, I trust one has 
gained the place of address. 

Within a day or two after the British Ministry had de- 
termined against accepting Lieutenant General Burgoyne 
in exchange for me, an inquiry was made of me, from 
them as I believed, whether Doctor Franklin had power to 
exchange Lord Cornwallis for me, to which I could give 
no positive answer, and there the subject dropped. On 
the 31st of December, being, as 1 had long been, in an 
extreme ill state of health, unable to rise from my bed, I 
was carried out of the Tower to the presence of the Lord 
Chief Justice of England, and admitted to bail, "to appear 
at the Court of King's Bench, on the first day of Easter 
term, and not to depart thence without leave of the Court." 
This measure it seems had been preconcerted, and deter- 
mined upon without my solicitation or knowledge, but I 
refused to enter into that, or any other obligation, until I 
had previously made the following declaration to Mr 
Chamberlain, Solicitor of the Treasury, (who had been sent 
by the Secretaries of State to notify me in the Tower of 
their intention to enlarge me upon bail) in the audience of 
several officers of the Court, the Governor and Deputy 
VOL. n. o9 


Governor of the Tower, and other persons who attended 
upon the occasion, at Sergeant's Inn. "In order to prevent, 
or to save trouble, as I do not know the nature of the obli- 
gation to be required of me, I think it necessary to pre- 
mise, that I will do no act that shall involve me in an ac- 
knowledgment of subjection to this realm, and that I 
save and reserve to myself all the rights and claims of a 
citizen of the united, free, and independent States of 
North America."* This solemn second abjuration of the 
King, in one of his own Courts, was going as far as de- 
cency would permit, and I was at that moment in so very 
low and languishing a state, that I could express myself no 
further. None but God knows what I suffered, and I ex- 
pected nothing less than to be remanded immediately to 
the Tower. The Solicitor concluded by saying, that 
some violence had been done to the laws for my relief. 

About ten or twelve days before the first day of Easter 
term, being still in a very bad stale of heaUh, I obtained 
permission to leave England, in order to hold a conference 
with Mr Adams, having a warrant from under the hand of 
Lord Shelburne to leave England, and for putting off the 
day first assigned for my appearance at the Court of the 
King's Bench. Mr Adams met me at Haerlem, (within 
twelve miles of Amsterdam) and, in a conversation of a 
very few minutes, confirmed me in opinions, which I had 
firmly and uniformly delivered to the British Ministry, that 
the United States of America would not enter upon any 
treaty with Great Britain, but in terms of the treaty of 
alliance between France and America. On the 23d of 

* 1 have been often assured, that this declaration had a very great 
effect upon the minds of tlie people in England in favor of Ameri- 
can independence. — Mote by Mr Laurens. 


April I returned to London, and repeated the next day to 
Lord Shelburne, what I had formerly assured his Lord- 
ship on that head, in which his Lordship had supposed, or 
perhaps only hoped, that I had been mistaken for want of 
better information. I left his Lordship apparently disap- 
pointed and chagrined. 

On the 25th, I peremptorily declared my intention to 
surrender myself to the Court of King's Bench, the Court 
being then sitting, to discharge my bail, and submit my 
person to the will and disposition of the Court. This hav- 
ing been signified to Lord Shelburne, his Lordship sent to 
me by the hands of Mr Oswald, one of my bail, an ample 
discharge on the 27th. Reflecting that there had been 
frequent attempts, while 1 was in the Tower, to discharge 
me under a pardon, even privately, and to be effected by 
some contrivance without my own concurrence and know- 
ledge, 1 questioned Mr Oswald before I would accept the 
discharge, whether it proceeded in any degree from a grant 
of pardon, to which he answered in the negative upon his 
honor. Lord Shelburne having, before I had been to visit 
Mr Adams, proposed to grant me a full and unconditional 
discharge, I had replied to his Lordship, that I dared not 
accept of it myself as a gift, that Congress would make a 
just and adequate return for my enlargement, that having 
once offered a British Lieutenant General in exchange for 
me, 1 was under no doubt they would give for my ransom 
an officer of the same rank. And I have reason to believe 
that after my refusal to accept the gift, his Lordship under- 
stood and expected that such a return would be made, 
although from the nature of my commitment, it was pre- 
tended he could not formally enter into a stipulation. 
Therefore, immediately alter receiving the discharge on the 


27th, I wrote to Dr Franklin, and solicited his concur- 
rence for discharging Lieutenant General Lord Cornwal- 
lis. Hitherto I have not received the Doctor's answer. 
Should he concur in my opinion, and join in the necessary 
act for that purpose, I trust we shall receive the approba- 
tion of Congress. 

On the 10th instant I received from Doctor Franklin a 
formal notification of my appointment in the commission 
for treating with Great Britain, and also a copy of the said 
commission. I left London on the 11th, and arrived at 
Ostend on the 15th, from whence I informed Doctor 
Franklin, that I declined the honor of that office,* but that 
I should proceed to the Hague, and inquire of Mr Adams 
whether I could be serviceable in the business originally 
charged upon me by Congress, in which, if there was an 
opening, I would engage with diligence and fidelity. Upon 
my arrival at the Hague, I related to Mr Adams the pur- 
pose of my journey, adding, that I was ready to enter upon 
my duty, provided I was included in his commission, 
observing that my own had been destroyed at the time of 
my capture. Mr Adams at first intimated a hearty desire 
to accept ths offer of my service, and said, "We will look 
into the commission." At our second meeting, without 

* I might assign various reasons, all valid, for this determination. 
The following single consideration, I trust, will be satisfactory to Con- 
gress. Five persons are nominated in the commission, not conjunctly, 
but severally and respectively, fully empowered. Whence it evidently 
appears, that Congress had not ia view or expectation that the whole 
would act ; therefore, as there are three of those persons besides my- 
self, and all of superior abilities upon the spot, were I to thrust myself 
in, merely to make a fourth figure, I should feel guilty of a species of 
peculation by putting the public to unnecessary expense, without any 
well grounded hope of rendering public service. — JVote by Mr Laurens. 


speaking of the commission, he informed me that he 
had already taken the necessaiy measures in the business, 
by employing proper mercantile houses to borrow money 
on account of our United States. From the tenor of these 
answers it remains to me uncertain, whether I am included 
in the subsequent commission or not, but from his forbear- 
ing further to invite it, I conclude he thinks my attention is 
not requisite, and that it could only be productive of unne- 
cessary expense to the public, which I neither wish nor 
would encourage. I shall, therefore, after havingjpaid an 
indispensable debt of friendship and humanity, by visiting 
my distressed relations in the South of France, from whom 
I have been separated upwards of seventeen years, and 
after having recovered by a change of climate and respite 
from fatigue a better state of health, return to America, 
and present, if required, a much more minute account of 
my conduct, to Congress. x\nd I flatter myself with hopes 
of convincing them, that notwithstanding the rigorous close 
confinement which I suffered in the tower, I made many 
opportunities even there, of rendering essential service to 
the interests of my country, without permitting ray ardor 
to be in the least degree checked by considerations of 

Permit me humbly to say it was I, though in close con- 
finement, who first urged the propriety and utility of pass- 
ing an act of Parliament for exchanging American prison- 
ers. After my enlargement I further urged that business 
to its completion, visited those prisoners at a considera- 
ble expense to myself, administered to some of them relief 
from my own impoverished pocket, and obtained much 
greater for them from other persons. I first proposed to 
Lord Shelburne, and obtained his Lordship's promise to 


send those prisoners in cartel ships to America, and 1 had 
the good fortune to prevail on his Lordship to surmount the 
difficulty of doing this without the formality of pardons. I 
had declared that not the meanest of all the American 
prisoners at Portsmouth or Plymouth should accept par- 
don, and in my zeal for the honor of my country I pre- 
sumed to add, "If they are discharged under that condition, 
not a British prisoner in America shall be enlarged without 
a pardon." I delivered my sentiments freely on the bill, 
which had been so very long in agitation for empowering the 
King to liiake a truce or peace with America, and declared 
it would not only prove inadequate, but offensive. The 
bill was frequently brought to me by members of Parlia- 
ment, to receive hints for amendment. The only amend- 
ment, which I could propose, v^'as annihilation, and I left it 
under various scratches and scars, in a languishing condi- 
tion. My advice was, "If you mean to do the business of 
peace, it is vain to continue nibbling ; do it fully and grace- 
fully by an act to authorise the King to recognise or to 
acknowledge the independence of America ; the fears 
which you affect to labor under, that America will become 
dependent upon any other power, will thereby be effectu- 
ally removed." I was told, a new bill, which would be 
tantamount to ray ideas, would be introduced into Parlia- 
ment ; but since I left England, intimations to me from 
private friends speak of their continuing to hack at the old. 
I think, however, the temper of the present House of Com- 
mons will not give it passage without very great reform. 
This will probably be known before my letter enters upon 
its voyage.* 

* I have replied to my friend, who wrote to me on this subject, as fol- 
lows ; "As to the peace bill, let them shape it as they please, Wisdom is 


I shall conclude this head with the words of a friend, 
received since my arrival on this side of the water. '■^They 
(meaning the British ministry) think your absence good 
company.''^ I believe this may be applicable to that part 
of the Ministry, who still hear with reluctance the doctrine 
of the total independence of America ; a doctrine which I 
asserted in the Tower of London, and out of it, and always 
in the presence of their Lordships, as freely and as strenu- 
ously as ever I had done in Philadelphia, and to which I 
am assured I have made many converts amongst people of 
the first importance in England, and perhaps it would be 
no exaggeration instead of many, to say thousands. Even 
Lord Shelburne, in the last conversation I had the honor 
of holding with his Lordship, discovered his determination, 
if not to be reconciled, to submit to it. "I shall part with 
x\merica, Mr Laurens, with great regret, because I think a 
total separation will not be for her good." As far as I am 
able to judge, the people of England, and I have lately 
been very much among them, are sincerely disposed to 
peace with America, and to accede to her absolute inde- 
pendence ; and I have some grounds for hoping, that the 
day is not far distant when those, who have it more imme- 
diately in their power to breathe peace or war, will per- 
ceive it to be for the interest of their country to enter 
heartily into the same disposition. The terms and condi- 
tions they know, and they now know the terms and condi- 
tions must be complied with. 

Mr Moses Young, whom 1 had engaged at my first ap- 
pointment by Congress to attend me as a Secretary and 
assistant, has made a claim for five hundred and sixtyseven 

justified of her children ; if they will act foolishly, be the consequences 
to themselves. I have said and done all that became me." — Kote hy Mr 


pounds, fourteen shillings and two pence, sterling, as due to 
him for salary to the 15th of February, 1782, when he en- 
tered the public service under Dr Franklin. I shall recom- 
mend the payment of the said sum to the Doctor. Mr 
Young's loss of time, loss of effects, and suffering in im- 
prisonment, as well as his zeal and attachment in the cause 
of America, will be considered by Congress, and I hope, 
when he shall make a proper representation of his case, a 
further sum will be granted to him. While I remain in 
Europe, the honor and interests of the United States shall 
be always in my view, and though in a private character, I 
do not despair of being serviceable to my country. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 


P. S. May 5lst. The success of the British fleet in 
the West Indies may, and probably will, inflate the heart 
of his Britannic Majesty, and turn it from an immediate 
disposition to peace. 

— ■♦ — 


Nantes, September 5th, 1782. 

I had the honor of writing to Congress from Amster- 
dam on the 30th of May, by Captain Bacon. Copies of 
that address were sent by the vessels of Captain Briggs 
and Captain Smedly, and a third committed to the care of 
Mr Moses Young, to be despatched by a cutter from Os- 
tend. At that time, I was in a deplorable state of health, 
and am now (after the practice of every proper means 
of abstemious regimen, bathing, medicine, and bleeding,) 
but beginning to recruit, still extremely weak and feeble. 


Notwithstanding such ill health, I hastened in. the month of 
July from the south of France, even at the hazard of my 
life, to this port with a view of emharking for America. 
While I was employed seeking for a proper vessel, Mons. 
Labouchere suggested the imminent danger of a second 
capture, and the train of evil consequences, adding, that I 
was entitled to a safe conduct from England to one of the 
Ujiited States, in return for the exchange of Lord Corn- 
wallis at his own door, and for that purpose, recommended 
a demand upon the Court of London. 

The propriety of this gentleman's reasoning was appar- 
ent, the danger of capture was marked in every newspa- 
per, by accounts of the havoc on both sides the Atlantic, 
by British cruisers upon American vessels. I consulted 
other persons, who unanimously concurred in Mons. La- 
bouchere's opinion and advice. Wlierefore, I requested 
certain friends in London to make the necessary applica- 
tion on my behalf, for permission to re-enter Great Britain 
to embark at Falmouth for New York, and for a passport 
to proceed thence to Philadelphia, not in terms of prayer 
from me, but by a representation of right to be submitted 
for consideration. This day I have received letters from 
London, importing that an application had been made, that 
Lord Cornwallis in particular had interested himself in the 
measure, and that a proper passport would soon be trans- 
mitted to me. 

Doctor Franklin writes to me under the 19th of August, 
"though we are very sensible if you could get well to 
America, you might be of great service to the public, yet 
we think the hazard is too great, as it might be winter 
before you could come upon the coast, and perhaps at this 
juncture you might be equally useful in England ; on these 
VOL. II. 60 


considerations, we agreed to advise your return thither." 
This advice I intend to pursue, and as I ardently wish 
to be in America, and present myself to Congress, I shall, 
if my health will permit, embark in the November packet; 
or otherwise defer the voyage to March or April, per- 
suaded that neither my passing through England, nor even 
a few months necessary, perhaps unavoidable, residence in 
that kingdom, can possibly work any detriment to my 
country ; I am therefore confident of the approbation of 

Since my discharge from restraint in England, Doctor 
Franklin has very cordially pressed me to take from him 
a supply of money for my expenses,* but from my knowl- 

* In his letter of May 30th, (see above, p. 464) Mr Laurens insinu- 
ates, that Dr Franklin had neglected him while he was in the Tower. 
The following letter and extract, written by Dr Franklin, will show 
that this suspicion was groundless. 

"to sir grey cooper, baronet, secretary to the treasury op 
great britain. 

Passy, November 7th, 1780. 

"I understand that Mr Laurens, an American gentleman, for whom I 
have a great esteem, is a prisoner in the Tower, and that his health 
suffers by the closeness and rigor of his confinement. As I do not 
think that your affairs receive any advantage from the harshness of this 
proceeding, I take the freedom of requesting your kind interposition, 
to obtain for him such a degree of air and liberty, on his parole, or 
otherwise, as may be necessary for his healtli and comfort. The for- 
tune of war, which is daily changing, may possibly put it in my power to 
do the like good office for some friend of yours, which I shall perform 
with much pleasure, not only for the sake of humanity, but in respect to 
tlie ashes of our former friendship. 

"With great regard, I have the honor to be, Sic. 


On the 14th of May, 1781, he writes to the President of Congress. — 
"Agreeable to the vote of Congress, I have requested the assistance of 


edge of the slate of our public finances, I have refused to 
lessen them, since from the fragments of my own funds, 
1 shall be able to support myself in a frugal style while 1 
am unfortunately detained on this side of the water. 

I dare not presume, in ray present private character, to 
give an opinion on the present state and prospect of our 
public affairs, but I entreat Congress to be assured, that 
my endeavors, even in this contracted sphere, have been 
exerted on proper occasions, and I hope with some good 
effect, for promoting the honor and interest of the United 
States. I have enjoyed a happy correspondence with 
men of liberal sentiments in England, as well as with the 
American Ministers at Paris and at the Hague. As it is 
possible I may be detained in Europe through the ensuing 
winter, should Congress have any commands for me, 
letters ' via Nantes or Bordeaux, directed to the care of 
Madame Babut Labouchere at this port, will obtain the 
quickest conveyance by way of Holland, to the care of Mr 
Adams. Under cover with this will be forwarded, at the 
request of Mr Adams, a copy of Mr Fitzherbert's full- 
power to treat for peace. 

With the highest respect and regard, I have the honor 

to be, &z;c. 


this (the French) Court, for obtaining the release of Mr President Lau- 
rens. It does not yet appear that the thing is practicable. What the 
present situation is of that unfortunate gentleman, may be gathered 
from the enclosed letters." 

The letters here alluded to are, one from Sir Grey Cooper, dated 
November 29th, 1780; and another from Charles Vernon, Lieutenant" 
Governor of the Tower of London, dated November 27th. They may 
be found in Dr Franklin's Correspondence under these dates. 



Philadelphia, September 17th, 1782. 


Having learned by your letter to Congress, of your en- 
largement from your long and severe confinement, it 
becomes my duty to inform you, that Congress were 
pleased to appoint me their Secretary to the United States 
for their Department of Foreign Affairs, and to direct that 
all communications with them from their Ministers should 
be through me. In this view, Sir, I have the honor to 
open this correspondence, forwarding the annexed resolu- 
tions by the first of them, marked No. 1. You will learn 
that they are unwilling to deprive themselves of your as- 
sistance in the great business of negodations for a general 
peace.j which, though languid at present, cannot fail to be 
quickened by the first turn of fortune in favor of the allied 
powers, since the King and Ministry of England are 
evidently trusting to the weak hope, that some brilliant 
stroke will turn the popular tide in favor of the prose- 
cution of the war. Should she, as she probably will, be 
disappointed in this, she will be compelled to fly to peace 
for refuge against impending ruin. The second resolution 
needs no comment. We have no intelligence here, but 
what I have written to some of the gendemen in commis- 
sion with you, or what may be found in the papers I do 
myself the honor to transmit to you. 

I sent Doctor Franklin bills for two quarters' salary, 
drawn under your first commission. I shall, in future, in 
stating your account, consider you as acting under your 
second. As our Ministers are expressly prohibited by 
resolutions, transmitted by this conveyance, from making 


any disposition of money in Europe, it becomes necessary 
that they should have agents here to state their accounts, 
and vest the amount of their salaries in bills and remit 
them. I have taken this task upon me hitherto, and you 
will find by the bills dravpn in your favor since January, 
that your advantage in this mode, from the low price of 
bills, will enable you without loss to pay an agent here. 
You will be so obliging as to transmit to me your receipt, 
and a state of your demands against the public, that I 
may get them discharged for you. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, November 8th, 1782. 

Your letter of the 5th of September, directed to the 
President of Congress, was received and referred in 
course to this office. If my letter of the 17th of Septem- 
ber last, containing their resolution not to accept your 
resignation has reached you, I hope you will acquiesce 
in their determination, and see the propriety of remain- 
ing in France till their further order. In this expectation 
I have drawn for your last quarter's salary. The bills 
will be sent you, with a state of your account, by Mr 
Lewis Morris. A duplicate of my last letter, with the 
resolution above referred to, will accompany this. 

1 send Mr Franklin such resolutions as refer to gen- 
eral objects, which may be of use to you in conducting 
your negotiations, presuming that he will communicate 
freely with you. There will be no necessity while you 


are together of multiplying them with respect to our affairs 
here ; they have undergone no change. The number of 
resolutions passed by Congress and the different States, 
(copies of which have been transmitted to our Ministers) 
serve to show the fixed and unalterable determination of 
the rulers and the people on this side of the water, to 
adhere inviolably to their engagements. This will, I hope, 
open the eyes of the British, and show them the vanity of 
expecting to dissolve a confederacy, which is founded in 
mutual interest and honor. 

With respect to intelligence, we have little of impor- 
tance. The army is gone into winter quarters. The 
fleet, under the command of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, still 
remains at Boston. Fourteen sail of the line and eight 
frigates left New York the 26th ultimo. We have yet no 
account of the evacuation of Charleston, though we have 
long expected it. I cannot turn my eyes to that quarter, 
without offering you -my sincerest condolence on the un- 
timely death of the gallant Colonel Laurens. It is not 
easy for those who knew his value to offer consolation. 
When time shall have turned the keen edge of your afflic- 
tions, you may find some mitigation of it in the cause and 
manner of his death, in the services he has rendered his 
country, and in the honor which he reflects on all who 
were connected with him. 

I am, Sir, with respect and esteem, he. 




Paris, December 9th, 1782. 

My Lord, 

Often, since the 31st of May last, your Lordship must 
have charged me with want of decency and good manners, 
for a seeming delinquency to an address of that date, 
which your Lordship intended to honor me with. The 
bare apprehension has added to my unhappiness, not- 
withstanding my feelings of assurance that your Lord- 
ship will acquit me upon the instant of being informed, 
that only a few minutes have passed since Mr Oswald 
called upon me with the letter, and an apology for 
having mislaid and detained it so long. 

Believe me, my Lord, though I was at a distance 
from Passy, I was not unmindful of accomplishing your 
Lordship's release from parole, in exchange for my dis- 
charge. My feelings on that occasion were always alive. 
I was never satisfied with my own enlargement, till 1 had 
written pressingly to Doctor Franklin, and had finally de- 
livered my opinion upon an appeal from the Doctor, inti- 
mating that he would do "what I should think best." 
Without a moment's hesitation, I signified my ideas, both 
of the expediency and necessity of satisfying the well 
grounded expectations of the British Ministry. Your 
Lordship will find that the release followed, or that it was 
the consequence of previous applications on iny part, and 
of Mr Oswald's assurance that an exchange was expected, 
that he himself had treated with me while I was a prisoner 
in the Tower of London for that purpose, by desire of 
the Administration, a fact, to which many others might be 
added, confronting an assertion respecting this affair, in a 


late letter from the British Commissioners at New York 
to General Washington. The assertion in that letter did 
great violence to candor, but as 1 am sure your Lordship 
could not possibly have been privy to the ground of that 
transaction, 1 forbear to enlarge upon the subject. Nor 
do I mean to touch the veracity of the Commissioners, who 
no doubt wrote as they had been instructed. Even the in- 
struction, I charitably hope, was rather the effect of inad- 
vertency than of premeditated detour. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, December 15th, 1782. 


I have had the honor of receiving at several limes, your 
official despatch No 1, of September 17th, its duplicate, 
and the undermentioned acts of Congress. 

Of the I4th of September. Public monies committed 
to the disposal of the Superintendent of Finance. 

17?!^ of September. Enjoining the attendance of the 
Ministers Plenipotentiary for treating with Great Britain.* 

"In Congress, September \lth, 1782. — Resolved, That the honorable 
Henry Laurens be informed, in answer to his letter of the 30th of 
May, 1782, that the reasons which induced the United States in Con- 
gress assembled, to appoint him to be one of their Ministers Pleni- 
potentiary for negotiating a peace still existing, his services in the 
execution of that trust cannot be dispensed with. 

"Resolved, That the honorable John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, 
John Jay, and Henry Laurens, be respectively informed, that it is 
the pleasure and express direction of Congress, that they punctually 
attend and assist in the negotiations for peace ; and that each of 
them be instructed, upon receiving information of the time and place 


Sd of October. On the communication from the Minis • 
ter of France. 

nth. Enjoining American Ministers to transmit intelli- 

An extract of a letter from Sir Guy Carleton, of the 
1 2th of September. 

To which several acts, I shall observe the utmost re- 
spect and obedience. 

Upon receipt of that of the 17th of September, without 
questioning the right of Congress to compel the service of 
a citizen of America, who had neither solicited nor ac- 
cepted a commission, I proceeded with all the despatch 
which a very infirm state of health would admit of, and by 
travelling night and day, arrived here not only time enough 
to sign the preliminary articles, but in time to offer sug- 
gestions which my colleagues were pleased to accept 
and adopt as necessary. 

1 had considered my residence in England, not only as 
proper for recovering my health, but also as essential to 
the service of the United States. I embraced various op- 
porluniues of informing the people in general of the 
ground and nature of the dispute between the two coun- 
tries, of which they had been amazingly ignorant, of 
contradicting false reports respecting America, and of 
convincing some of the most intelligent, as well as some 
of the most adverse to the doctrine, that a full acknowl- 
edgment of our independence was consistent with, and 
vvoidd eventually contribute to promote, the true interest 

appointed for opening- the negotiations, immediately to give notice 
thereof to the rest, that may be in Europe, in order that each may 
have a seasonable opportunity to take part in the trust reposPd by 
the said commission, and earnestly enjoined by this act." 
VOL. II. 61 


of Great Britaiti, and I have some ground for believing 
that my labors in some degree facilitated the great busi- 
ness, which has been just completed, a formal acknowl- 
edgment from the King, and a full renunciation of all 
claim upon the United States ; and I humbly think, if I 
were in England at this moment, I might be of more real 
service to my country, than I can possibly perform in my 
present situation. 

1 thank you, Sir, for the newspapers. The melan- 
choly intelligence, which they contained for me, must 
have reached me by some means. Your mode of con- 
veying it was delicate and obliging. I have received 
value for the bills, which had been sent to Dr Frank- 
lin on my account, more particularly acknowledged in 
my letter of yesterday to Mr L. R. Morris. My thanks 
are also due for your trouble in stating my account. A 
charge for commission shall be most cheerfully admitted, 
but it is impracticable to comply with your recommenda- 
tion by sending a statement of my demand, because I am 
ignorant of the vote of Congress for my salary, under both 
the old and new commission ; nor is it needful, as I mean 
not to take up a further sum while I am in Europe. In- 
deed, if the late remittance had not been made, I should 
have persevered in paying my expenses from my own 
funds. I too well know the distresses of Congress, arising 
from a want of money, and therefore most earnestly wish 
to avoid adding to them. Enclosed you will find a loose 
receipt for the 20,000 livres, but h is not in my power to 
be special in the discharge. 

Casting my eye this moment over the joint letter of the 
American Ministers, I perceive Congress are not there in- 
formed of a letter we have despatched to Mr Dana, at the 


Court of St Petersburg, recommending to him to announce 
at that Court, and to foreign Ministers resident there, the 
signing of the preliminary articles between Great Britain 
and the United States ; a copy of which, the separate article 
excepted, has been transmitted to him for that purpose. 
I could not refrain from giving this intimation, lest it should 
have escaped us all. This is not to be doubted, that re- 
cognitions by applications for commercial, and perhaps 
other treaties, will speedily follow from almost all the courts 
of Europe. There is already an instance in one of the 
principal trading kingdoms in the Baltic. 

Shall I request the favor of you, Sir, with this to lay 
before Congress the enclosed copy of a letter, which I had 
occasion to write to the Earl of Cornwallis, on the third 
instant. It may tend to throw light upon the transaction 
in exchanging that officer, which I perceive has been very 
unfairly represented by the British Commissioners at New 
York. When Congress are informed of the precarious state 
of my health, and shall be pleased to reflect upon the long 
sufferings I have endured, that I have devoted almost the 
whole of my time, for eight years past, to the service of my 
country, detached from, and regardless of my domestic 
interests ; and when they consider the very severe stroke 
lately fallen upon me, by the death of my eldest son, and 
the dispersion of the survivors in my family, for whom it is 
necessary I should endeavor to reprovide a home ; I am con- 
fident my present determination to return to Bath, the only 
place in which I can hope to recover a part of my broken 
constitution, as soon as I can b^ spared from present duty, 
and from thence to America in March or April next, will 
not give offence. I shall indeed be much better pleased to 
receive in the mean time, and therefore novv earnestly solicit, 


a formal permission, than to hazard their displeasure by an 
act, which, however necessary and unavoidable, may possi- 
bly be construed into an abandonment of their service, or 
even a slight of their orders. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, December 24th, 1782. 


Permit me to refer to what I had the honor of writing by 
the present conveyance on the 15th instant. 

Mr David Hartley, on the 19th, moved in the British 
House of Commons, 

"That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, 
stating that his faithful Commons think it their indispensable 
duty, not only to return their grateful thanks to his Majesty 
for having adopted the sense of his Parliament and people, 
in having pointed all his views and measures, as well in 
Europe as in North America, to an entire and cordial 
reconciliation with those Colonies, but likewise to express 
to his Majesty that, whatever may be the result of the 
general negotiation for peace now depending, our concilia- 
tory sentiments towards America remain unaltered, as pre- 
sented in their humble address to his Majesty on that sub- 
ject in the last session of Parliament, and therefore that 
this House will consider as enemies to his Majesty and this 
country, all those who slrall endeavor to frustrate such 
beneficent dispositions of his Majesty, by advising or by 
any means attempting the further prosecution of the war 
on the continent of America." 


The motion was seconded by Colonel Hartley. Mr 
Secretary Townshend objected, by calling for the Jour- 
nals, and ordering the Resolutions of February and March 
last to be read, which he alleged were to the same effect 
as the motion, and were still in full force. 

Some debate ensued, and upon a division, the ayes for 
the motion were 13, and the nays 51. Perhaps it would 
have been better if the motion had never been forced to a 
vote, than being forced, to be lost. What were the recent 
inroads up the Santa Cumbahee, and other rivers in South 
Carolina? What is the retaining a garrison in Charles- 
ton and another in New York, but offensive war ? 

In my own mind, I have no doubt but that the Court of 
London would carry on an offensive or any other war, or 
make partial peace, or pursue any means and measures, 
which might best gratify its desires, and its apparent in- 

My letters from London of a late date speak the follow- 
ing language. 

"We are of opinion, that a general peace is still far dis- 
tant, and are not so eager for it ; if the preliminary articles 
between this kingdom and America shall terminate hostili- 
ties between us two, let us shake hands, and be reconciled 
with our American brethren, and the nation in general will 
prefer a war to a dishonorable peace with France.^' Who 
is to interpret? 

I am directed to give intelligence, not advice and opin- 
ions, but I trust Congress will not be offended with the few 
sentiments, which I shall presume modestly to urge. 

The people of England still retain the idea of "our colo- 
nies,^' and of ^'reconciliation.'^ Government gives all possi- 
ble encouragement to their humor j it has been their inces- 


sant endeavor to detach us from our ally, and it is given 
out in London, that they have out-mancEuvred the Court 
of France. God forbid that any future act or future 
supineness, on the part of the United States of America, 
should give the smallest degree of countenance to so dis- 
honorable an insinuation. Every engine has been, every 
degree of craft under the mask of returning affection will 
be practised, for creating jealousies between the States and 
their good and great ally. The United States of America 
are too wise to be duped, too honorable to commit any act, 
be their distresses what they may, that shall sully their 
good faith. Through their ally^s assistance and their own 
virtuous perseverance, they attained to those preliminaries ; 
they will virtuously persevere until they shall have per- 
formed every tittle of their engagements with that ally, 
against whom, I must declare for my own part, I see no 
cause for entertaining more particular jealousy than ought 
to be kept upon guard against every negotiating Court in 
the world, nor half so much as should at this moment be 
upon the watch against every motion arising from our new 
half friends. I had occasion to write to the same Mr David 
Hartley, that I should suspect every superfluous and every 
deficient word coming from that quarter. Nevertheless, 
1 earnestly wish, and shall continue my utmost endeavors, 
for obtaining an honorable well founded peace with Great 
Britain. But I will not consent to receiving her wooden 
horses, nor will I listen to her whispers, or imbibe preju- 
dices against a Court, which has been a friend to my coun- 
try in need. Congress will be pleased to pardon this free- 
dom, and accept the zeal of their faithful and most obe- 
dient servant, 




Paris, January 9th, 1783. 

I had the honor of addressing you on the 15th and 24th 
ultimo, by Captain Barney, in the ship Washington. Du- 
plicates by way ol Nantes. Shall I request you. Sir, with 
my humble respects, to inform Congress that my health 
has ever since been declining ; that I am at this moment 
reduced to a deplorable state, scarcely able to walk across 
my chamber ; that I should nevertheless have continued 
here at all hazards, had I not been strongly advised to visit 
Bath, the only place where I can hope to recover part of a 
constitution, broken down by sufferings and in the service 
of my country, and at the same time assured from proper 
authority, that there is too great a probability of an interval, 
before a definitive treaty will be seriously talked of, for 
performing my intended journey. Should the contrary 
happen, the earliest notice from hence, as well as from 
London, will be forwarded to me, and if possible I shall 
return without delay. This interval strikes no alarm to 
me. I had, upon my first arrival here, intimated my 
apprehensions to all my colleagues. 

Wherever I am, the honor and interest of the United 
States shall be my great and greatest concern. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




London, March 15th, 1783. 

My last is dated Paris, 9th of January. Tiie original 
and three copies were, for conveyance, divided between 
Nantes and L'Orient. Five weeks' use of the waters at 
Bath had so far recovered my heahh, as to induce me to 
come to London about eighteen days ago, in order to avail 
myself of opportunities for urging a definitive treaty be- 
tween Great Britain and the United States, as well as the 
necessity for removing the British troops from New York. 
I have signified my opinion to the proper persons, that, until 
the latter is effected, America will not deem herself at 
peace. Wise and good men feel the impression, acknowl- 
edge the propriety of my observations, and while there was 
a government by a ministry, that point was attended to. 
But for some days past, the great struggle has been, who 
should be the persons to form a new administration. In 
the mean time, the momentous business in which we are 
concerned lies dormant, nor do I know where to apply for 
putting it in motion. The House of Commons had indeed 
introduced a bill for a "Provisional establishment, and 
regulation of trade and intercourse between the subjects of 
Great Britain and those of the United States of North 
America." A printed copy was put into my hands, and 
my opinion asked by many members of that House. I 
objected generally to opening trade merely by act of Par- 
liament, and especially to certain parts of the bill, but above 
all to an intercourse, until the citizens of New York shall 
be left in quiet and complete possession of their whole 
country, and all hostile troops withdrawn from the United 


States. That bill I am informed is auniliilated and another 
projected. A copy of the new bill I am to receive tomor- 
row. I persevere in the same language ; be the bill 
what it may, however suitable to the services of Great 
Britain, or speciously conducive to the mutual interests of 
Great Britain and America, I think there cannot be, I hope 
there will not be permitted on our part, any intercourse 
until the troops are effectually removed. 

Why is not the definitive treaty concluded, and the 
important ^^Theri''' established, or why are not measures 
adopted for withdrawing the troops ? Are the troops to be 
continued there in terrorem, to force a trade, or to compel 
us to measures respecting the people called loyalists ? 
The late First Lord of the Treasury has not failed to boast 
of his success, in obtaining the provisional treaty without the 
participation or the concurrence of the Court of France, 
nor to talk of the happy effects which he hoped to derive 
from so great an advantage. I have endeavored to coun- 
teract bis Lordship's virtuous designs, by observing that, 
admitting the fact, whicii I did not admit, the consequence 
might be disgraceful, possibly fatal, to the American minis- 
ters, but could work np.injury to the United States. This 
appears at present to have the effect I wished for. Had 
his Lordship, who 1 believe is very angry with us, continued 
in office, I know not what evils might have attended us. 
To his influence I ascribe the delay of the definitive treaty, 
and consequently of the remoi'al of the troops. 

I am not backward, upon every proper occasion, to sig- 
nify my apprehensions to active members of Parliament, 
and to every man in government, with whom I converse upon 
these subjects. You will perceive. Sir, that I find some 
employment here ; were I in France, I should be totally 
VOL. II. 62 


idle. I shall remain in London about a fortnight longer. 
If at the end of that tinje, there shall be no better prospect 
of a definitive treaty, I shall immediately take measures for 
embarkation to America. 

r am now to acknowledge the honor of your favor of the 
Sth of November, No. 2, and to thank you for the remit- 
tance of £16,666. 13s. through your attention by Mr L. R. 

I thank you, Sir, most sincerely for your kind condo- 
lence. I have not yet had resolution enough to inquire into 
the "cause and manner," nor dare I indulge myself in 
speaking of a subject, which too much occupies my 
thoughts and distresses my mind, in all the moments of 

This will be delivered by Mr John Deas, a young gen- 
tleman, native of South Carolina, educated in Britain, who 
means to become a citizen in his own country. I have 
every ground for hoping he will be a valuable member of 
the community ; hence I have encouraged him to expect a 
cordial and hospitable reception. I should observe in Mr 
Deas' favor, that he has been long endeavoring to return to 
America ; he once embarked at Ostend, and suffered ship- 
wreck on the coast of England, to his great loss and dis- 

I have the honor to be, he. 




London, April 5th, 1783. 


With this you will receive the triplicate of a letter, which 
I had the honor of writing on the 15th of March. I beg 
leave to refer to its contents. A third bill, called "an 
amendment for a provisional establishment, and regulation 
of trade, &c." had been brought into the House of Com- 
mons. My opinion was again solicited by different mem- 
bers, which, as usual, I thought it prudent to withhold ; but 
being pressed, I at length framed a supposed American 
bill, for regulating commerce with Great Britain, and sug- 
gested that it had been received by a courier. This I held 
up as a mirror to some of the most active men in that 
House. From that time, the 22d of March, their own bill, 
which was to have been finished on the 23d, has slept with 
very little interruption, and Is now, to all appearance, dead. 
I do not ascribe its demise to a sight of the supposed bill, a 
copy of which you will receive enclosed, although the gen- 
tlemen acknowledged themselves affected by it. 

A new ministry is at length arranged, the Duke of Port- 
land at the head, Mr Fox and Lord North, the latter of 
whom is universally charged with being the author of the 
late cruel war, Secretaries of State. The Duke of Rich- 
mond, who it is said detests the coalition, has resigned. It 
becomes not me to interfere with or censure an arrange- 
ment of servants in this kingdom. I am attentive to the 
honor and interests of the United States. 

I have had a conference with Mr Fox, who has the 
Foreign Department, in which is included the United 
States as an Independent Power. It was stipulated, that 


nothing I should say as a matter of opinion or belief on my 
part, should either commit or pledge me. I judged it 
necessary to establish this foundation. Mr Fox was de- 
sirous of knowing, whether the American Ministers were 
authorised and disposed to open an intercourse and com- 
merce upon terms of reciprocity without delay. I replied, 
I believed they were, although a late publication by a sus- 
pected hand, of the revocation of Mr Adams's commission, 
left me not so clear on that point, adding, that I could soon 
be informed from Paris. At the same time, I urged as ne- 
cessary previous, or accompanying steps, the conclusion of 
a definitive treaty, and the withdrawing of all the British 
troops from the United States. In answer to supposed diffi- 
culties in obtaining transport ships, I proposed the removal 
of the troops to Long Island or Staten Island, adding, that 
some powers might in a similar case insist upon hostages 
for their peaceable behavior and final removal. I thought 
it absolutely necessary, that the State of New York should 
be put in immediate possession of the city and port. Mr 
Fox, as the Duke of Portland had done before him, dis- 
covered a disposition to proceed to business with us with lib- 
erality and effect, and I place all proper confidence in their 
assurances. jUpon the whole, Mr Fox asked if he might 
report, that I believed there was a disposition and powers 
on the part of the American Ministers to open an inter- 
course and commerce upon terms of reciprocity without 
delay ? I assented, as my belief and opinion, under the 
reservations above mentioned. [ shall proceed immedi- 
ately to Paris, as my colleagues are desirous of my 
presence. David Hartley is, or it is said will be, 
appointed to join us in finishing our negotiations of a per- 
fect peace. While I regret the loss of Mr Oswald on this 


occasion, the nomination of another honest man affords me 
great satisfaction. From France, or before I commence 
my journey, I shall transmit what may be further ne- 

I have the honor to be, Sec. 


P. S. I take the liberty of enclosing letters for L. R. 
Morris, for the delegates from the State of South Caro- 
lina, and one for his Excellency General Washington. 


London, April 10th, 1783. 

I beg leave to refer you to the enclosed duplicate of my 
last, of the 5th instant. The "bill for a provisional es- 
tablishment and regulation of trade," Stc. seems to be 
dead indeed. Mr Fox yesterday moved for reading the 
titles of the act, commonly called the prohibitory act, and 
the act for granting Letters of Marque, which being read, 
he moved for leave to bring in a bill for repealing so much 
of said acts, as prohibit trade and intercourse with the 
United States of America, which was ordered accordingly. 
My anxiety to see the final turn of this business has de- 
tained me in London three or four days longer than I had 
intended. I shall call upon Mr Fox presently, and if 
anything new occurs it shall be noticed in a postscript. 
Immediately after sealing this packet, I shall begin ray 
journey to Paris. Mr Hartley tells me he will follow 
upon the 15th instant. I shall enclose a copy of the 
amendment, called the third bill, for the information of 


Congress. Mr Darby, the gentleman who will be so good 
as to deliver this, has promised me also to deliver a packet 
of the latest newspapers. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 


P. S. I have conversed with Mr Fox, from whom the 
body of merchants by deputation had just retired. Their 
errand, as I learned, was on the business of opening the 
communication between Great Britain and the United 
States. There is a general and pressing eagerness to that 
point. I repeated the propriety and necessity of with- 
drawing the troops, and of restoring to New York their 
city and port. Mr Fox in return gave the strongest as- 
surances, that this should be done with the utmost des- 
patch, and promised to send to the Ministers at Paris a 
copy of the orders to be given for that purpose ; he further 
informed me, that he intended to introduce into the new 
bill the clause on page 4, in the bill No. 2, here en- 
closed, to which I made only a general reply, that when 
their plan was completed the American Ministers at Paris 
would give it due consideration, and that on our part 
every facility would also be given to reasonable propo- 
sitions, consistent with our instructions. That in the 
present moment, I could not speak in positive terms to 

particular points. 

H. L. 

P. S. April 16th. Just arrived at Paris. Mr Hart- 
ley is expected the 19lh. From the latest words with 
that gentleman, which happened subsequently to closing 
the above, I entertain apprehensions that his principal 
errand will be to open a trade between the two countries, 


with assurances that the troops shall be removed "as 
speedily as possible," and to take up the definitive treatj 
at more leisure. T afforded him no encouragement to 
hope for success in the former point singly. 


Philadelphia, May 8th, 1783. 


Congress have been pleased, in compliance with youi' 
request, to pass the enclosed resolution, giving you 
permission to return to America. I sincerely wish that 
your native air may confirm your health, which I hope 
has by this time amended by your residence at Bath, 
where I presume you have been, though I have had no 
advice of it. The provisional treaty has been very well 
received here, and has been ratified. The ratifications 
are sent to you and our other Ministers at Paris. 

I presume you have by this time made some progress 
in, if not entirely concluded the definhive treaty, in which 
I dare say you have taken care to fix the day which is to 
deliver us from our troublesome guests, who cause great 
uneasiness to the unhappy people they keep out of their 
possessions. At present, we are quite at a loss to deter- 
mine when this will be. We have returned them their 
prisoners, who amount to about six thousand effective men, 
so that you see we are not disposed to discover any dis- 
trust of the sincerity of our new friends, with whom we at 
present communicate on the former footing. 

As I am uncertain whether this letter will reach you be- 
fore you sail for America, I do not choose to enlarge or 


enter into any of those particulars relative to your late ne- 
gotiations, on which however I have some inquiries to 
make, which I could wish to have answered by you. I 
wish you before you leave France to settle with Doctor 
Franklin, and to receive from him the amount of the bills 
remitted on your account, so that I may close my ac- 

I am, Sir, 



London, June Hth, 1783. 

My last address is dated London, 10th of April, for- 
warded by the hands of Mr Darby, copy of the same with 
a postscript on the 16th, conveyed from Paris by Doctor 
Franklin. Permit me to refer to the several contents, and 
also to a despatch of the 6th of that month by Mr Hodge. 
Duplicate by Mr Darby, triplicate from Paris. 

In order to meet the question of Mr Secretary Fox, 
"Whether the American Ministers were authorised and 
disposed to open an intercourse and commerce upon terms 
of reciprocity without delay," the Ministers of the United 
States, on the 29th of April, proposed to Mr Hartley the 
enclosed articles, marked A, which they were ready to 
confirm. Mr Hartley signified his approbation, but could 
not agree without consulting his Court. Indeed he had 
omitted to take with him. his commission and full powers. 
A messenger was despatched to London, and upwards of 
three weeks were wasted in waiting for a return ; the arti- 
cles were not acceptable. 


On the 21st of May, Mr Hartley on his part laid before 
us the enclosed article, marked B, and left it for our con- 
sideration. We judged it necessary, without intimating our 
own sentiments, to demand from him in writing, whether 
he was authorised to confirm his proposition ? To save 
writing, Mr HarUey returned a verbal answer in the nega- 
tive, and again despatched a messenger. In a word, it 
appeared that his full powers, which he had then received, 
authorised him to do nothing. I had in vain waited for the 
result of the second consultation to the 7th instant, when, 
at the request of my colleagues, founded upon a suggestion 
of my own, I proceeded to this city on special business, 
for easing if practicable the weight of public bills lately 
drawn upon Mr Grand, which probably the gentlemen at 
Paris will more fully explain. 

I can say nothing yet of my hopes of success. My 
apprehensions of danger, in conunitting the United States 
in the present moment of uncertainty, deters me from act- 
ing as I might have done, had our treaties been concluded, 
or had I a prospect of their being soon brought to good 
effect. Those assurances, which I had the honor of com- 
municating in my former letters, seem to have undergone a 
wonderful refinement. Reciprocity appears now to mean 
enjoyment on one side, and restrictions on the other. This 
change may have been wrought by the sudden and unex- 
pected arrival of divers ships and cargoes from different 
ports in the United States. The British Minister at Paris 
cordially assured me that he was of this opinion. 

In a conference vvitJi Mv Secretary Fox on the 14tli 
instant, he informed me, that positive orders for the removal 
of the British troops from New York were actually des- 
patched, that he had transmitted an answer to Mr Hart- 
roL. II. 63 


ley's last consultation, and at the same time intimated upon 
a question from me, that in his opinion I might have time 
enough for taking some days' benefit of Bath, which my 
enfeebled limbs call loudly for. Hence I infer, that the 
last instructions to Mr Hartley are either calculated for 
gaining further time, or are such as the American Ministers 
cannot accede to ; and I conclude that my absence from 
Paris, whether I make any attempts in the particular busi- 
ness of my journey hither or not, will prove no inconven- 
ience to my colleagues. I intend therefore to go to Bath 
in two or three days, and while I am endeavoring to 
recover my heahh, the interests of my country shall be 
my principal study ; at the same time I flatter myself with 
hopes of receiving from Congress the formal permission 
which I have solicited, to return to America. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 


P. S. Besides die papers A and B, you will find 
enclosed a copy of an Order in Council of the 14th of May, 
1783, and Mr Hardey's qbservations on his propositions of 
the 21st of May. 

P. S. ISth. I have just received an intimation of the 
tottering state of the present Ministry from their own quar- 
ter. Should the late premier recover the reins, which were 
plucked out of his hands, 1 apprehend everything in his 
power will be attempted to embarrass our proceeding. 



Atticles proposed by the American Commissioners to Mr 


It is agreed, that as soon as his Britannic Majesty shall 
have withdrawn all his armies, garrisons, and fleets from the 
United States of America, and from every port, post, place, 
and harbor, within the same, as stipulated by the seventh 
article of the Provisional Treaty of the 30th of November, 
] 782, then, and from thenceforth, for and during the term 
of years, all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports, and places, 

belonging to the United States, or any of them, shall be 
open and free to the merchants, and other subjects of the 
crown of Great Britain and their trading vessels, who shall 
be receiv^ed, treated, and protected like the merchants and 
trading vessels of the States in which they may be, and be 
liable to no other charges or duties. 

And reciprocally, all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports, and 
places, under the dominion of his Britannic Majesty, shall 
thenceforth be open and free to the trading vessels of the 
said United States, and of eacli and every of them, who 
shall be received, treated, and protected like the merchants 
and trading vessels of Great Britain, and be liable to no 
other charges and duties, saving always to the chartered 
trading companies of Great Britain, such exclusive use and 
trade of their respective ports and establishments, as nei- 
ther the other subjects of Great Britain nor any of the 
most favored nations participate in. 


It is agreed, that such persons as may be in confinement 
in the United States of America, for or by reason of the 


part which they may have taken in the late war, shall be 
set at liberty immediately on the evacuation of the said 
States, by the troops and fleets of his Britannic Majesty. 

And it is likewise agreed, that all such persons who may 
be in confinement, in any parts under the dominion of his 
Britannic IMajesty, for, or by reason of the part which they 
may have taken in the late war, shall, at the same time, be 
also immediately set at liberty. 


The prisoners made respectively by the arms of his 
Britannic Majesty and those of the United States of Amer- 
ica, both by land and sea, shall be immediately set at lib- 
erty without ransom, on paying the debts they may have 
contracted during their captivity. And eacli contracting 
party shall respectively reimburse the sums, which shall 
have been advanced for the subsistence and maintenance 
of their prisoners by the sovereign of the country where 
they shall have been detained, according to the receipts 
and attested accounts, and other authentic titles which 
shall be produced on each side. 


Mr Hartley's proposed Article of Agreement, delivered by 
him to the American Commissioners for their Considera- 
tion, May 21 St, 17S3. 

Whereas it is highly necessary that an intercourse of 
trade and commerce should be opened between the people 
and territories belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, and 
the people and territories of the United States of America. 
And, whereas, it is highly expedient that the intercourse 


between Great Britain and the said United States, should 
be established on the most enlarged principles of reciprocal 
benefit to both countries ; but from the distance between 
Great Britain and America, it must be a considerable time 
before any convention or treaty for establishing and regulat- 
ing the trade and intercourse between Great Britain and 
the said United States of America, upon a permanent foun- 
dation can be concluded ; now for the purpose of making 
a temporary regulation of the commerce and intercourse 
between Great Britain and the United States of America, 

It is agreed, that all the citizens of the United States of 
America shall be permitted to import into, and export 
from, any part of his Britannic Majesty's dominions in 
American ships, any goods, wares and merchandise, which 
have been so imported, or exported, by the inhabitants of 
the British American Colonies, before the commencement 
of the war, upon payment of the same duties and charges, 
as the like sort of goods or merchandise are now, or may 
be subject and liable to, if imported by British subjects in 
British ships, from any British island or plantation in Ame- 
rica, and that all the subjects of his Britannic Majesty shall 
be permitted to import and export from any part of the 
territories of the United States of America, in British ships, 
any goods, wares and merchandise, which might have been 
so imported, or exported by the subjects of his Britannic 
Majesty before the commencement of the war, upon pay- 
ment of the same duties and charges, as the like sort of 
goods, wares and merchandise are now, or may be subject 
and liable to, if imported in American ships by any of the 
citizens of the United States of America. 

This agreement to continue in force until 
Provided always, that nothing contained in this agree- 


ment shall at any time hereafter be argued on either side, 
in support of any future demand or claim. 

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

A proposition having been offered by the American 
ministers for the consideration of his Britannic Majesty's 
ministers, and of the British nation, for an entire and recip- 
rocal freedom of intercourse and commerce between Great 
Britain and the American United States, in the following 
words, viz. 

"That all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports and places, belong- 
ing to the United States or any of them, shall be open and 
free to the merchants and other subjects of the Crown of 
Great Britain and their trading vessels, who shall be re- 
ceived, treated and protected like the merchants and trad- 
ing vessels of the State in which they may be, and may be 
liable to no other charges or duties. 

"And reciprocally, that all rivers, harbors, lakes, ports 
and places, under the dominion of his Britannic Majesty, 
shall be open and free to the merchants and trading vessels 
of the said United States, and of each and every of them, 
who shall be received, treated, and protected like the mer- 
chants and trading vessels of Great Britain, and to be liable 
to no other charges and duties, saving always to the char- 
tered trading companies of Great Britain, such exclusive 
use and trade of their respective ports and establishments, 
as neither the other subjects of Great Britain, or any of the 
most favored nations participate in." 

It is to be observed, that this proposition implies a more 
ample participation of British commerce, than the American 


States possessed even under their former connexion of 
dependence upon Great Britain, so as to amount to an 
entire abolition of the British act of navigation, in respect to 
the thirteen United States of America, and although pro- 
ceeding on their part from the most conciliatory and liberal 
principles of amity and reciprocity, nevertheless it comes 
from them, as newly established States, and who, in conse- 
quence of their former condition of dependence, have never 
yet had any established system of national commercial laws, 
or of commercial connexions by treaties with other nations, 
free and unembarrassed of many weighty considerations, 
which require the most scrupulous attention and investiga- 
tion on the part of Great Britain, whose ancient system of 
national and commercial policy is thus suddenly called 
upon to take a new principle for its foundation, and whose 
commercial engagements with other ancient States may be 
most materially affected diereby. For the purpose, there- 
fore, of giving sufficient time for the consideration and dis- 
cussion of so important a proposition, respecting the present 
established system of the commercial laws and policy of 
Great Britain, and their subsisting commercial engagements 
with foreign powers, it is proposed that a temporary inter- 
course of commerce shall be established between Great 
Britain and the American States, previously to the conclu- 
sion of any final and perpetual compact. In this interven- 
ing period, as the strict line and measure of reciprocity, 
from various circumstances, cannot be absolutely and com- 
pletely adhered to, it may be agreed that the commerce 
between the two countries shall revive, as nearly as can be, 
upon the same footing and terms as formerly subsisted be- 
tween them, provided always, that no concession on either 
side, in the proposed temporary convention, shall be argued 


hereafter in support of any future demand or claim. In 
the mean time, the proposition above stated may be trans- 
mitted to London, requesting (with his Majesty's consent) 
that it may be laid before Parliament for their considera- 

It is proposed therefore, that the unmanufactured pro- 
duce of the United States should be admitted into Great 
Britain without any other duties, (those imposed during the 
war excepted) than those to which tbey were formerly lia- 
ble. And it is expected in return, that the produce and 
manufactures of Great Britain should be admitted into die 
United States in like manner. If there should appear any 
want of reciprocity in this proposal, upon the grounds of 
asking admission for British manufactures into America, 
while no such indulgence is given to American manufac- 
tures in Great Britain, the answer is obvious, that the 
admission of British manufactures into America is an 
object of great importance, and equally productive of ad- 
vantage to both countries, while, on the other hand, the in- 
troduction of American manufactures into Great Britain can 
be of no service to either, and may be productive of innu- 
merable frauds, by enabling persons, so disposed, to pass 
foreign European goods, either prohibited or liable to great 
duties by the British laws, for American manufactures. 

With regard to the West Indies, there is no objection to 
the most free intercourse between them and the United 
States. The only restriction proposed to be laid upon that 
intercourse, is prohibiting American ships carrying to those 
Colonies any other merchandise, than the produce of their 
own country. The same observation may be made upon 
this restriction as upon the former. It is not meant to 
affect the interests of the United States, but it is highly 


necessary, lest foreign ships should make use of the Ame- 
rican flag, to carry on a trade with the British West India 

It is also proposed upon the same principle to restrain 
the ships, that may trade to Great Britain from America, 
from bringing foreign merchandise into Great Britain. The 
necessity of this restriction is likewise evident, unless 
Great Britain meant to give up the whole navigation act. 
There is no necessity for any similar restrictions on the 
part of the American States, those States not having as yet 
any acts of navigation. 


Bath, .Tune 27(li, 1783. 


1 beg leave to refer you to the contents of a letter, 
which I had the honor of writing from London the 17th 
instant, by the hands of Mr .John Vaughan, and a copy by 
Mr Thomas Stoughton. Two days ago, I had the pleas- 
ure of receiving yom- letter of the Sih of May, together 
with an act of Congress of the 1st of April, giving leave 
for my return to America, agreeably to my request, for 
which I make the most sincere acknowledgments. 

I am happy to find the provisional treaty had received 
the plaudit and ratification of Congress, and should have 
been ready to have given the best answers in my power to 
the inquiries which you allude to, had you been pleased 
to extend them. I know not whether any steps have 
been taken toward a definitive or other treaty since 
tlie 7th instant, when I left Paris, having received no let- 
voL. II. 64 


ters from my colleagues, but they no doubt will keep you 
regularly informed. 

You will have seen, Sir, in several of my former letters, 
which must have reached you before this day, that no ex- 
ertions of mine were wanting, for delivering you from 
those troublesome guests of whom you complain. I fore- 
saw the great uneasiness, which their long continuance at 
New York would create. I regret exceedingly, that so 
free a communication as "on the former footing" pre- 
ceded the accomplishment of that great and necessary 
work. I had entertained ideas, that my country would 
have treated it with more solemnity. 

I have no account to settle with Dr Franklin, having 
received no money but from Mr Grand, viz. twenty thous- 
and livres, and sixteen thousand six hundred and sixty- 
six livres, thirteen sols, which I believe are all the remit- 
tances you have made to me, and which I have already 
formally acknowledged. The latter sum, indeed, I have 
not actually received, but it stands to my credit with Mr 
Grand, and I soon shall have occasion to draw for it. I 
am at present in a poor state of health, but I hope Bath 
and sea bathing will be of service to me. The summer 
season being so far advanced, I shall prepare for embarka- 
tion early in October. No opportunity of serving my 
country in the mean time shall be slighted or neglected. 

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




Bath, July 17th, 1783. 

My present address will be accompanied by a copy of 
my last of the 27th of June, to which I beg leave to refer. 
The enclosed proclamation of the 2d of July, in the Lon- 
don Gazette of the 12th, seems- to complete a commer- 
cial treaty witli America on the part of Great Britain, 
"until further order." I am informed Mr David Hartley 
is soon expected from Parrs, without having made any 
treaty with the American Ministers. I speak from report, 
but have received no advices from my colleagues. 

This will be delivered to you by Thomas Carpenter, 
who is going with three other persons, under the auspices 
of Rev. Mr Wells of Broomsgrove, to offer themselves as 
settlers and citizens in the United States. Mr Wells and 
his concerns are strongly recommended to me by Dr 
Price, and by the Rev. Mr Wrenn, of Portsmouth. Upon 
this ground, permit me to crave your countenance and 
protection in favor of Mr Carpenter and his associates. I 
was informed yesterday, and though by pretty good au- 
thority I speak only as from report, that Mr Silas Deane, 
who has been in London about four months, has been an 
active hand in chalking out a treaty of commerce for us. 
I shall know more of tliis when I get to London, some ten 
days hence. I have not yet fully recovered my heahh, 
but am nevertheless taking measures for embarking early 
in October. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Bath, July 17th, 1783. 

A few hours after I had despatched an address to you 
of the present date, by the hands of Mr Carpenter, who, 
I hope, will also be the bearer of this, I received a letter 
from Doctor Franklin, in which he writes, "I want you 
here on many accounts, and should be glad of your assist- 
ance in considering and answering our public letters ; 
there are matters in them, of which I cannot conveniently 
give you an account at present." Although I had flat- 
tered myself with the hope of being free, and however so 
long a journey at the present season may further impair 
my health, and the delay derange my measures for em- 
barkation, 1 must not refuse to obey such a call. I shall 
begin my journey tomorrow morning, and, barring acci- 
dents, be at Paris in seven days, or sooner. 

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



Washington, off Poole, August 2d, 1783. 

In pursuance of the determination signified in the pre- 
ceding copy of my last, of the 17th ult, I proceeded to 
Paris, and arrived there on the 23d. The despatches 
being finished for captain Barney, by advice of Dr Frank- 
lin and Mr Jay, I embarked in the Washington, and am 
presently going on shore at Poole, from whence I shall 
immediately proceed to London, and apply to the Minis- 


lers at that Court for learning their resolutions, respecting 
the long pending treaties, and particularly for information, 
whether a Minister from the United States will be properly 
received there. Had the wind been unfavorable, I should 
have detained Captain Barney for conveyance of such 
answers as I may receive, but I have recommended to 
him to profit by the present easterly gale, without losing a 
moment. I am from sea sickness unable to add more, 
except that T shall advise by the earliest opportunities, 
and that, 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



London, August 9th, 1783. 

On the 4th instant, Ihad the honor of receiving your 
very obliging letter of April the 18th, accompanied by "a 
state of Mr Laurens's account with the United States," &tc. 
and a bill on Mr Grand for its apparent balance 7083 
livres, 7s. which is said to be for three months' salary from 
the 1st of January, to the 31st of March 1783. For for- 
mer quarter's salary, about 16,666 livres, 13s. had been 
remitted to me, wherefore I presume there is an error in 
the present article. I have not learned of any altera- 
tion made by Congress in the Ministers' salaries, except 
in the mode of calculating the exchange of dollars. If 
there is an error you will cause it to be rectified. Be 
pleased. Sir, to accept this as an acknowledgment of the 
receipt of the said bill for seven thousand and eighty- 
three livres and seven sols, and also of my best thanks 


for your goodness in forwarding the remittance. Be- 
sides the above mentioned error, the account is partial, 
confined probably to the administration of Mr Robert R. 
Livingston, or of Mr R. Morris, and an adjustment of the 
whole therefore must be deferred to a future day. I would 
also remark another omission, the commission for agency, 
due either to Mr Livingston or yourself, which may be de- 
ducted from a future bill, and will be admitted on my part 
with alacrity and thankfulness for your trouble. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, 



London, August Sth, 1783. 


Availing myself of your consent and recommendation, I 
embarked at Lettavre, on board the Washington, and sailed 
from thence the 1st instant. On the 2d, 9 o'clock A. M. 
we were within six leagues of Poole, in Dorsetshire. The 
wind being very favorable, I quitted the ship, went on 
board a small hoy bound to Poole, and urged Captain Bar- 
ney to proceed on his voyage, leaving my excellent post 
carriage to take its fate on the ship's deck, in preference to 
the risk of delaying him a single hour. Had the wind 
been westerly, I might have detained him a kw days, for 
despatching to Congress the result of my application to the 
Ministers of this Court. I judge from the state of the 
wind since I parted with Captain Barney, that he was clear 
of the channel Sunday night the 3d, and that he is now 
150 or 200 leagues advanced on his voyage. 

I arrived in London late in the night of the 3d, and on 


the 5lh had a conference with Mr Fox, which I committed 
to writing as soon as it had ended. I shall give it in a. 
short dialogue, as the best way, not pretending to accu- 
racy in every word, but fully preserving the sense and 

Mr Fox. I suppose, INIr L. you wish to forward the 
ratification of the provisional articles. 

L. I could wish that was done, Sir, but it is not the 
particular business I have in charge. 

F. I understood from Mr Hartley's letter, which you 
sent me, that it was, but he does not speak positively. 

L. No, Sir, the only business I have in charge, is to 
inquire, whether a Minister from the United States of 
America would be properly received at this Court. 

jP. Most undoubtedly. Sir ; I could wish that there was 
one here at present ; I think we have lost much time from 
a want of a Minister from your side. 

L. Then, Sir, will you be so good as to ask his Ma- 
jesty, and inform me ? 

F. 1 will take the King's pleasure tomorrow, and you 
shall hear from me ; I suppose there is already a condi- 
tional appointment of some person now in Europe. 

L. Not that I know of, though I do not know the con- 
trary, but I have an excellent opportunity of writing to 
Congress, and I have no doubt an appointment will be 
made immediately. 

F. That is unlucky ; there must be two crossings of 
the ocean then ; if a Minister of Congress had been here, 
we might have done our business in half the time we have 
already spent, but I shall certainly inform you tomorrow ; 
this is the very time a Minister from your people is most 


L. Though I have nothing particularly in charge except 
the business already mentioned, I regret the delay of both 
the commercial and definitive treaty. We had flattered 
ourselves with hopes in March and April, that both wou.ld 
have been finished in a few days. 

F. Why, as to a definitive treaty, I cannot see any 
necessity for one, or not immediately. The provisional 
articles are to be inserted, and to constitute a treaty ; a 
ratification of those, I apprehend, will answer all the pur- 
poses of a definitive treaty ; they may be made definitive. 
The case with respect to France and Spain differs widely ; 
several articles in our preliminaries with them refer to a 
definitive treaty. 

L. I agree with you. Sir, that the provisional articles, 
mutually ratified, may, by the consent of the parties, be 
made definitive j but there may be additional articles sug- 
gested and agreed to for mutual benefit. 

F. That is true ; but I do not see any at present ; I 
very much regret the want of a Minister from America. 

L. Permit me. Sir, to ask you, is it intended by the 
proclamation of the 2d of July, to exclude American ships 
from the West India trade, between the United States and 
the British islands ? 

F. Yes, certainly, it was so intended, in order that we 
might have something to treat for, and this will be a sub- 
ject for a commercial treaty. 

On the 6th, I waited upon his Grace, the Duke of Port- 
land. His Grace was equally clear and positive as Mr 
Fox had declared himself, that a Minister from the United 
States of America would be well received at this Court, 
and also regretted that an appointment had not earlier 
taken place. I touched upon the commercial and defini- 



live treaty, referred to assurances in March and April, 
intimated my apprehensions of pernicious effects, which 
might arise from excluding American ships from a free- 
dom between the United States and the British West 
India Islands, adding what I had learnt from Doctor 
Franlcjln of the commerce intended by the Court of 
France, between our America and the French Islands. 
I can only say, the Duke seemed to wish that everything 
had been settled to mutual satisfaction, and hoped that 
everything would soon be settled. 

Yesterday, by the desire of Mr Fox, I called upon him 
again ; he said he had not seen the King, but that he had 
transmitted an accoimt to his Majesty of my application ; 
that we might be perfecdy satisfied, however, that a Minis- 
ter from Congress would be well received ; that the ap- 
pointment of one was much wished ,for here ; that he must 
take blame to himself in some degree for the long delay of 
a commercial regulation, but that business would now soon 
be finished ; he had no objection himself to opening the 
West India trade to the Americans, but there were many 
parties to please, and you know, added Mr Fox, the people 
of this country very well. Yes, Sir, I know something of 
them, and I find not only the West India planters, but 
some of the most judicious merchants, anxious for opening 
the trade. I have been told by some of them, that they 
should be ruined without it. I believe all diis, said Mr 
Fox, but there are other people of a different opinion. As 
to the definitive treaty, there may be, as you observed, 
new articles necessary for mutual advantage, and we may 
either add such to the provisional articles and make the 
whole definitive, or make a new treaty ; but I understand 
it is expected this should be done under the eye of, or in 
VOL. II. 65 


concert with the Court of France, whicli for my own part 
I do not like, and cannot consent to. I replied, in my 
opinion a new treaty definitive would be best, as well for 
incorporating additional articles, as for clearing away some 
of the rubbish in the provisional, which contained, if not 
nonsense, more than a little ambiguity ; that though I did 
not see the necessity for it now, yet I had been told it was 
expected our definitive treaty should be finished in com- 
munication with the French Court, but as I had formerly 
observed, I had received no charge on this head, and spoke 
only the sentiments of Mr Laurens to Mr Fox, and not to 
a Minister of Great Britain. 

I have detailed facts as fully and freely as memory ha§ 
enabled me. I leave them with you under this one 
remark, that we are cooler in the dog days than we were 
at the vernal equinox. The philosophy of Versailles and 
Passy may account for, and guard against the effect of 
extreme changes. 1 have found my presence here at this 
juncture of some use in explaining, or attempting to ex- 
plain, the late mutiny at Philadelphia. The enemies of 
this country, and of the United States had exulted, the 
friends of both had too much abandoned themselves to 
dread, that the soldiery had assumed the reins of govern- 
ment, and that all the States of America were rushing into 
anarchy. Captain Carberry and Lieutenant Sullivan, 
those rash young officers who led on the mutineers to the 
State House, arrived a few days ago. The former has been 
with me, expressing deep concern for his conduct, desi- 
rous of returning, with an assurance of personal safety, and 
wanting money for supporting daily expenses, alleging 
that the United States are indebted to him at least "twelve 
hundred pounds currency exclusive of land." 1 have 


I'ecommended to him to return immediately, and demean 
himself to the laws of his country, and submit to the mag- 
nanimity of Congress. He expresses a dread of under- 
going a trial. Could I afford it, and were to advance 
money for his living in London, should I not incur censure 
at home ? I beg you will communicate such particulars of 
that disturbance and the event of it, as you may have 
learned, and your opinion for my conduct respecting these 

Mr Barclay will tell you of a display of the American 
standard under a triumphant British pendant at a very 
capital inland fair. Trifling as the insult may appear, it 
discovers a little leaven at the centre. 

I have the honor to be, foe. 



London, August 9tli, 1783. 

The annexed is a duplicate of a few lines, which I had 
the honor of addressing you on the 2d instant, by Captain 
Barney, in the ship Washington, and enclosed with this 
you will find an exact copy of my letter of the present date, 
written to the Ministers of the United States at Paris, 
which will show in brief, what I have been doing since ray 
return to London, and afford some information to Con- 
gress for their government in the appointment of a Min- 
ister at this Court. To both which I beg leave to refer. 

I have received a letter of the ISth of April from Mr 
L. R. Morris, enclosing what is called a state of my ac- 
count with the United States, and a bill on Mr Grand for 


its balance, 7083 livres, 7s. which, as far as it goes, appears 
to be right, though I have not yet had time for minute ex- 
amination. I am much obliged for the remittance, but the 
account must rest to a future day for final setdement. I 
had formerly intimated my ignorance of the stipend Con- 
gress had determined to allow me, and having no informa- 
tion on that head it is not in my power to correct or con- 
firm this, or to frame a new account. It may appear that 
my services were as valuable in the Tower of London, 
and after my release, antecedently to an appointment in 
the commission for peace, as they could possibly have been 
in any other station, notwithstanding the former might not 
have been quite so pleasant a sphere to myself; but I am 
in the judgment of Congress, and shall perfectly acquiesce 
in their will. 

I shall go tomorrow to Bath, in hopes of confirming my 
lately recovered health, and shall be preparing for em- 
barkation in October. I am in treaty for one of the 
cabins of the packets at Falmouth, and know but one cir- 
cumstance that can detain me. My brother, who has 
resided upwards of six years in the south of France, had 
been many months past in a most deplorable state, every 
day expected to be his last, yet he lives. The prospect 
of leaving a widowed sister and my youngest daughter, 
who is with them, at such a distance without a protector is 
exceedingly distressing to me. Should my brother's un- 
happy condition be extended a month or two, I may be 
compelled to defer my voyage to the next spring ; in such 
case, I shall hold myself discharged from the service of 
Congress, 1 mean so far only as respects salary. I shall 
miss no opportunity of serving my country while I am in 
Europe. No doubt Congress will admit a reasonable 


time for my return, and provide for the expense of my 
passage. Letters under cover to Richard Oswald will 
find me here, or overtake me. 

I am, with the highest esteem, Uc. 


P. S. Reviewing the above mentioned "state of ac- 
count," I perceive only 7083 livres, 7s. have been carried 
to my credit, for three months from the 1st of January 
to the 30th of March, 1783, and only that sum remitted, 
which I presume is an error. 


London, September 11th, 1783. 

Permit me to refer to copies of my letter to yourself, 
and to the American Ministers at Paris, both of the 9th ult. 
which will accompany this. I was on the point of agree- 
ing for the cabin of the packet, alluded to in my last letter, 
when I received a letter from my sister Laurens in the 
south of France, informing me that my brother, who has 
been long in a declining state, feeling himself approaching 
fast to dissolution, earnestly wished to see me before I 
should leave Europe. I cannot refuse to comply with the 
request of a dying friend, and besides this, humanity and 
gratitude forbid my leaving a widowed sister, who has been 
the foster mother of my daughters, at such a distance from 
her home, and unacquainted with the language of the coun- 
try, without a friend and protector. I intend, therefore, 
to proceed immediately, trusting in the goodness of Con- 
gress for an exemption from censure in this singular case. 
When it is considered how exceedingly detrimental to my 


own interest the delay will be, it must appear that I submit 
to it from necessity. The journey, going and coming, 
will probably take up two, perhaps three months, allowing 
a reasonable time for detention at Vigan ; hence I have no 
prospect of embarking before the next Spring. I should 
have been already advanced on my journey, but I wait the 
arrival of Mr Jay and Mr Hardey, who are daily expected 
from Paris. 

Yesterday I received from Dr Franklin a copy of 
a letter written the 31st of August to Congress, which 
shows that the definitive treaty amounts to nothing more 
than a re-confirmation of the Provisional Articles, which I 
much regret. As it is possible this may arrive before the 
advices from France, I think it proper to enclose the copy 

A Mr Edmund Jennings has been long hovering over, 
and as often as he could find opportunity, penetrating into 
American councils on this side of the water, and there is 
good reason for believing, notwithstanding all his preten- 
sions to friendship, that his chief business has been to 
create dissensions, and also that he has been the principal 
contriver and manager of anonymous letters, calculated for 
that purpose. As I had detected Mr Jennings in some 
very improper conduct of this sort, and therefore refused 
him my countenance any longer, he, knowing no medium 
between familiarity and enmity, pricked by his own con- 
science, and enraged by my silence, took an opportunity 
in my absence of printing about forty pages of misrepre- 
sentation and falsehood, which he circulated in a private 
way, with a view, I suppose, of injuring me, and I am in- 
formed he has sent a large quantity of his paper to 
America, under the patronage, as I have reason to believe, 


of Dr Bancroft. Congress, and my fellow citizens in 
general, are too wise to condemn before they hear ; there- 
fore, I have taken the liberty to send you for their informa- 
tion, forty two copies of "a true state of the case," packed 
in a box put under the care of Captain Josiah, the bearer 
of this. I write this "state of the case" in very great haste, 
and might have said much more to Mr Jennings's disgrace, 
but there is enough to show, that he is not worthy of 
public trust, and that he is a dangerous confidant to a 
Minister of State. 

Readers of Mr Jennings's paper, from the profusion of 
his charges against me of animosity, enmity, uncalmness of 
temper, he. he. would suppose there had been much al- 
tercation between us, either by letter or verbally. On the 
contrary, I have neither corresponded with, or seen him 
but twice passing in the streets, since the sixth of January 
last, and nothing is more evident than my carefully avoid- 
ing to relate to those whom he alludes to as his particular 
friends, the discovery of his folly in asserting a lie upon 
his honor, unless he means to include Mr Adams as one 
of them; a sense of duty to my country, and a sincere 
regard for Mr Adams, led me to attempt to open his eyes, 
and I judged it equally necessary to inform Dr Franklin 
and Mr Jay. But I shall trouble you no longer on this 
subject. Congress will be possessed of the two papers, 
and I shall submit to their judgment. I do not esteem it a 
trifling affair, to remove a wicked and mischievous favorite 
from his influence in our councils. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 


P. S. You will receive with this two of the latest 
Gazettes, and divers other newspapers to this day inclu- 



Dover, September 16th, 1785. 


In my way to France, I found here the sloop Olive 
Branch, on the point of sailing to Philadelphia. By her I 
trouble you with the preceding copy of my last address of 
the 1 1th instant, and also a couple of newspapers. Mr 
George Taylor goes in this vessel, recommended by that 
very worthy man, Granville Sharpe, than whom the United 
States have not a warmer friend in Europe. Shall I there- 
fore request you, Sir, to countenance this young gentleman, 
and assist him in his virtuous pursuits ? I think he can have 
no other in view, going from Mr Sharpe. 

Mr Hartley was with me yesterday morning, and said 
he had hopes "things would do yet," alluding to the Com- 
mercial Treaty. 1 am sure he means well, but I put "all 
proper confidence" in everything they say. "Things 
will indeed do yet," provided we take care of ourselves. 

With the highest regard and respect, I have the honor 
to be, &;c. 



Bath, March 28fl), 1784. 

Doctor Franklin lately conveyed to me a copy of your 
letter of the 5th of January last, directed to the Ministers of 
the United States for treating with Great Britain. It 
found me at this place in a very ill state of health. Ill as 
I was, I should have repaired immediately to Whitehall, 


had not Mr David Hartley, who still retains his commis- 
sion, happened to have been present, and just going to 
London. I requested him to propose to Lord Carmaer- 
then, a convention for extending the stipulated term for 
exchanging ratifications of our definitive treaty of the 3d of 
September, and for that purpose I would without delay 
repair to London, for executing it on the part of the United 
States, if necessary ; to add that if the formality might be 
dispensed with, without prejudice to eidier of the contract- 
ing parties, I desired the assent of the minister should be 
signified to me in writing. This morning brought me a 
letter from Mr Hartley, a copy of which will accompany 
this. I flatter myself, that the contents will afford the same 
satisfaction to Congress, as I feel upon the occasion. 

Previous to die late dissolution of Parliament, a bill was 
passed, extending what is called the Intercourse Bill to 
the 20th of June, upon which probably will be grounded a 
new proclamation, for regulating the commerce between 
this kingdom and the United States. I have requested 
Major Jackson, who will do me the honor to lake charge 
of this letter, to watch the London Gazette, and should a 
proclamation appear while he is in London, to enclose one 
of those papers to you, for the information of Congress. 
The West India merchants, and owners of estates in the 
British Islands, held several meetings and consultations, 
while I was in London, on the commerce in which they 
are particularly interested. I was frequently applied to, 
and delivered such sentiments as appeared to me to be 
necessary, particularly that I was firmly persuaded the 
United States separately, or in Congress, would retaliate 
every restriction, by which means we should have a treaty 
of commerce by acts of Parliament on one part, and acts 

VOL. TI. 66 


of Assembly or of Congress on the other, and bring the 
great question to a test, which country would sustain the 
most damage or inconveniency by partial or total prohibi- 

I have just received a letter from a very eminent mer- 
chant in London, in which he writes, ~ 

"I could have wished to have given better accounts of the 
administration, touching the American Intercourse Bill, but 
there are strong remains of the old leaven among us, and 
the same disposition of monopolising the trade and naviga- 
tion of the world to ourselves." 

That there is a continuance of the old leaven, on this 
side, may be concluded from the following sentiments of a 
gentleman, who writes as a professed friend to America, in 
opposition to Lord Sheffield. 

"There is not yet that stock of good temper in either 
people, that could be wished." 

"The English are yet sore from their disappointment, 
and though they have lost a part of their dominions, they 
have not lost the recollections of having been masters, and 
expect something like the usual deference to be paid to 
them." Hence I am not surprised at anything published 
by an inveterate enemy, whose design seems to be to de- 
clare commercial war in the first instance, possibly for 
introducing his "chain of stout frigates from Halifax to 

I went from hence the middle of January, determined 
to prepare for embarkation, and to be at sea about the 20th 
instant, but was taken very ill upon the road, and have 
continued ever since incapable of business. After being 
confined seven weeks in London, I returned to Bath, in 
hopes of receiving benefit again from the waters, but if I 



were perfectly in health, a recent circumstance w6uld 
retard my progress. My brother lately died in the South 
of France, and I am constrained to wait the arrival of his 
widow. The affairs of two distressed families demand my 
attention, and as neither expense, nor as I apprehend other 
detriment, to the public will be sustained by my absence, 
the delay of a month or six weeks longer I trust will not 
give offence. Be pleased, Sir, to lay this before Congress, 
with assurances of my utmost respect, and continued at- 
tention to the interests of the United States. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Golden Square, March 26th, 1784. 

Dear Sir, 

It is with great satisfaction, that 1 am able to inform 
you, that it is not thought necessary on the part of Great 
Britain, to enter into any formal convention for the pro- 
longation of the term, in which the ratifications of the 
definitive treaty were to be exchanged, as the delay in 
America appears to have arisen merely in consequence of 
the inclemency of the season. I took care to express on 
your part, the motives of candor and attention to this 
country, which were the ground of your offer, and it gives 
me pleasure to assure you, that they were received wldi 
equal candor and attention on the part of the British 
Ministers. My compliments and best wishes always at- 
tend yourself and family. 

I am, dear Sir, with great respect and esteem, your 

most obedient, humble servant, 




London, April 24th, 1784. 


I had the honor of addressing Congress, under directions 
to Mr Secretary Thompson, the 28th ultimo, by Major 
Jackson, and a copy by the packet from Fahnouth, and 
the Sth instant by the same packet, copy by Sir James Jay, 
to which I beg leave to refer. Mr Hartley went ofF for 
Paris the 17th, preferring that spot to this for the exchange 
of ratifications. I am told there is a pretty handsome sti- 
pend annexed to each journey. 

The London Gazette of the 17th instant, a copy of 
which will be enclosed with this, contains a proclamation 
of the 16th, for extending the American intercourse to the 
20th of June next, in terms, almost verbatim, a repetition of 
the antecedent. The friends of administration say, that the 
present Ministers are afraid of attempting enlargements 
before the meeting of the new Parliament. At present, 
from the best information I can collect, their utmost view 
is to a restricted trade in small vessels, of sixty or eighty 
tons, of American property, between die United States and 
the British West Indies. The tonnage on their part to be 

I have the pleasure of conversing often with men the most 
judicious and experienced in commercial aiFairs ; all agree 
with me, that precise retaliation would produce good effects; 
possibly retaliation may be the very wish of our impla- 
cable enemies ; certainly there is a majority still in council 
mumbling the Thistle, — of which wise men think they have 
already had enough. What new maggot has bitten them } 
"See," say they, and reason upon the falsehood, "there is 


already a secession of four States ; only nine could be 
collected for ratifying the treaty ; New York we know 
is unrepresented, Connecticut is also unrepresented, (then 
presume upon two other States) they are all in con- 
fusion, weary of their independence, and will soon return 
to Great Britain upon her own terms." I allude to no 
person eastward of Charing Cross. I cannot impute such 
conduct to ignorance ; they will not be convinced, although 
they have Moses and the Prophets ; in ray mind, it proves 
a determination in that majority, not to return to America 
with any degree of cordiality or generosity to urge a com- 
mercial, hoping in time to provoke a more hostile war, and 
to improve upon what they call the errors of the last. I 
am assured, that the last commander in chief of the 
British troops in America is a principal adviser. Mr 
Brooke Watson is added. To bring the King and people in 
general to consent to war with the United States will be 
a work, however, requiring no small exertion of skill. 
"His Majesty was dragged into the late war, as reluc- 
tantly as ever a bull was dragged to a baiting. I have 
seen the Queen shed floods of tears in the cruel pro- 
gress, and have heard her Majesty say, I do not inter- 
fere in politics, but I think the Americans are an injured 
people. The King has often expressed to me his regret 
at the shedding of so much blood, but, said his Majesty, 
what can I do ? They drew me in little by little ; I 
have been deceived, I have had more truth from you, 
W. than from all of them together. The King has been, 
and is willing to send to, and receive from the United 
States Ambassadors, (this part is undoubtedly a fact) and 
wishes for a liberal intercourse and commerce with them. 
Those men, who were called the King's friends, for pro- 


moting the war, from the old Rubicon Peer, to the one 
always supposed to have been the invisible counsellor, 
(naming them specially) are now his enemies, because he 
has acknowledged the independence of the States. Had 
a late violent measure succeeded, and that party gained 
the power aimed at, a voluntary abdication was determined 
upon, arrangements were absolutely made for that pur- 
pose. I can live, said the King, in an humbler state and 
be happy. The heir apparent would have mounted the 
throne, a question on the right of alienaiiug the Prince of 
Wales^s inheritance would have been brought forward, a 
war as soon as possible commenced for recovery, mistakes 
and errors of the last to be avoided." J might add 
&.C. &,c. but that must rest to a future day. 

I think it my duty. Sir, to communicate these memora- 
ble circumstances to Congress. If the intelligence merits 
attention, they will make proper application, but for the 
sake of our friend who delivered it to me, from no second 
hand report, upon whose honor and veracity all America 
would place the highest confidence, who could have no 
motive to a studied unprofitable falsehood, I humbly re- 
quest it may not become suddenly a subject of out door 

Two of my friends, characters highly esteemed in the 
United States, have been with me at several times within 
these three days past ; whether they are in the secret of 
the above written history I know not, but rather believe 
the contrary, each confirmed that part relative to an in- 
tended breach, trusting, however, in the resistance of the 
people. If I trust at all, it is in their imbecility. The 
people may, by "exertions of skill," be taught to believe, 
that going to war will mend their fortunes and recover 


national glory ; let us contrast some of the late addresses 
of thanks with the later elections, and we thall see the in- 
consistency of conduct in the "first city in Europe," and 
many other instances will appear. It may be asked how 
they can support a war under such a load of debt ? It is 
averred by competent judges, that ragged and deranged 
as the finances of this country are, they are infinitely better 
than those of the neighboring maritime powers. A deter- 
mination may be founded upon the comparative essay of 
resources ; but I am under no apprehension from all they 
can do, provided timely, wise precautions are taken on 
our part. If all the people called loyalists were scat- 
tered in America, they would not do so much mischief 
as they do here ; we could manage them best at home. 
I have employed a person to look out for a proper ship 
for my passage to America, hoping to embark in the 
course of next month. 

With great respect and regard, I have the honor to 

be &tc. 



London, April 30tb, 1784. 

Under cover of this will be found a copy of my last 
despatch, dated the 24th. I have only to add, that the 
more I converse with intelligent men, the more I am con- 
firmed in believing, that there is a core of bitterness and 
pride against the United States in this kingdom, which 
cannot easily be dissipated, and which will break out 
whenever the parties have, or shall fancy they have, power. 
It is true, indeed, "Englishmen cannot lose the recollec- 


lion of having been masters, and expect something like the 
usual deference to be paid to them, they are yet sore from 
their disappointment." (Quoted in a former letter to Mr 
Thompson.) I have asked when were Englishmen mas- 
ters of their brethren in America ? When were the Ameri- 
cans subject to Englishmen? We were once fellow 
subjects under one King, now separated forever; wil- 
ling, nevertheless, in peace to be friends, ready at the 
same time to resent injuries of whatever kind or degree. 
I do not presume to touch your navigation laws, but I 
maintain the right of the United States to follow good 
examples ; to speak of retaliating any restrictions in com- 
merce, is held to be the height of arrogance. It is 
assured me, that Mr Deane is an^ active counsellor against 
us, and Mr Galloway, no doubt all the old Governors, Mr 
Smith of New York, and others have their influence. 
Mr Smith, I am informed, has reported very extraordi- 
nary things, which I shall not repeat without further con- 

I have the honor to be, with perfect esteem and re- 
spect, he. 




University of Toronto 

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