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Full text of "The writings of Benjamin Franklin;"

THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

VOLUME VII 



303 



THE WRITINGS 

v-7 



OF 



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 



COLLECTED AND EDITED 
WITH A LIFE AND INTRODUCTION / 

BY 

ALBERT HENRY SMYTH 



VOLUME VII 
1777-1779 




THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

LONDON : MACMILLAN & CO., LTD. 
1906 

All rights restrvtd 



COPYRIGHT, 1906, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published May, 1906. 



\ 



Norfooott 

J. 8. Gushing & Co. Berwick & 8mith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



CONTENTS 

VOLUME VII 

NO. PAGE 

815. Comparison of Great Britain and the United States in 

regard to the Basis of Credit in the Two Countries. 
1777 . . ... I 

8 1 6. To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. January 4, 

1777 9 

817. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. January 12, 1777 10 

8 1 8. To Juliana Ritchie. January 19, 1777 . . . .11 

819. To John Hancock. January 20, 1777 . . . .12 

820. To Thomas Morris. January 26, 1777 .... 13 

821. To M. Montaudouin. January 26, 1777 . . . .13 

822. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. January 26, 1777 . . . -15 

823. Instructions to Captain Samuel Nicholson. January 26, 1777 16 

824. To Joseph Priestley. January 27, 1777 . . . . 18 

825. Resolutions of the Commissioners in Paris. February 

2, 1777 - 19 

826. To Jonathan Williams. February 5, 1777 . . . .21 

827. To Lord George Germain. February 7, 1777 ... 22 

828. To Mrs. Thompson [at Lille] . February 8, 1777 . . 23 

829. The Sale of the Hessians. From the Count de Schaumbergh 

to the Baron Hohendorf, Commanding the Hessian 
Troops in America. February 18, 1777 ... 27 

830. To Richard Peters. March 6, 1777 30 

831. To Arthur Lee. March 21, 1777 31 

832. Model of a Letter of Recommendation. April 2, 1777 . 36 

833. To Lord Stormont. April 2, 1777 36 

834. To M. Lith. April 6, 1777 38 

835. To Conde d' Aranda. April 7, 1777 40 

836. To C. Rybot. April 9, 1777 41 

837. To Richard Bache. April 14, 1777 43 

838. To the Bishop of Tricomia. April 22, 1777 . . .43 

839. To Viscount de Pcnte* de Lima. April 26, 1777 . . -45 

T 



vi CONTENTS 

NO. PAGE 

840. To Jan Ingenhousz. April 26, 1777 47 

841. Jan Ingenhousz to Benjamin Franklin. June 28, 1777 . 52 

842. To Thomas Gushing. May i, 1777 . . . -54 

843. To Samuel Cooper. May i, 1777 55 

844. To John Winthrop. May i, 1777 . 57 

845. To George Washington. June 13, 1777 .... 58 

846. To George Washington. June 13, 1777 . . . . 59 

847. To Captain Henry Johnson. July 22, 1777 . . .60 

848. Bernardin de Saint Pierre to Benjamin Franklin. August 

I9> 1 777 6o 

849. To George Washington. August, 1777 61 

850. To George Washington. September 4, 1777 ... 63 

851. To Richard Peters. September 12, 1777 .... 64 

852. To ? October 4, 1777 64 

853. To James Lovell. October 7, 1777 65 

854. To the Marquis de Condorcet. October 12, 1777 . . 67 

855. To David Hartley. October 14, 1777 . . . .68 

856. To Captains Thomas Thompson and Elisha Hinman. No- 

vember 25, 1777 73 

857. To Major Thornton. December n, 1777 .... 75 

858. To Sir Grey Cooper. December n, 1777 .... 76 

859. To James Lovell. December 21, 1777 .... 77 

860. To Jonathan Williams. December 22, 1777 ... 78 

861. To the Honble Council of the Massachusetts State. Decem- 

ber 29, 1777 . . . 79 

862. To a Friend. 1777?. . . . . . . . 80 

863. A Dialogue between Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Saxony 

and America. ?I777 82 

864. A Catechism relating to the English National Debt. 1777 . 86 

865. To Jan Ingenhousz. ?I777 88 

866. To Ralph Izard. January 29, 1778 .. . . -97 

867. To James Hutton. February i, 1778 . V. . . 98 

868. To David Hartley. February 12, 1778 . . . . 101 

869. To Conrad Alexandre Ge'rard de Rayneval. February 22, 

1778 . . .";' 104 

870. To Arthur Lee. February 23, 1778 105 

871. To Conrad Alexandre Ge'rard de Rayneval. February 24, 

1778 106 

872. To Conrad Alexandre Ge'rard de Rayneval. February 25, 

1778 * 107 



CONTENTS vii 

NO. PACK 

873. To David Hartley. February 26, 1778 . . . .107 

874. To Thomas Gushing. February 27, 1778 . . . .no 

875. To Mrs. Catherine Greene. February 28, 1778 . . .112 

876. To Jonathan Williams. February (?), 1778 . . .113 

877. To Samuel Adams. March 2, 1778 114 

878. To William Lee. March 2, 1778 115 

879. To William Lee. March 6, 1778 116 

880. A True History of the Difference between the Colonies and 

the Author of the Stamp Act. March 12, 1778 . .118 

881. To Arthur Lee. March 17, 1778 121 

882. To James Hutton. March 24, 1778 122 

883. To Ralph Izard. March 30, 1778 123 

884. To William Pulteney. March 30, 1778 . . . .124 

885. To Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bache. March 31, 1778 . . 126 

886. To Henry Laurens. March 31, 1778 127 

887. To Henry Laurens. March 31, 1778 128 

888. To Conrad Alexandra Ge'rard de Rayneval. April i, 1778 . 128 

889. To Arthur Lee. April I, 1778 129 

890. From Arthur Lee to Benjamin Franklin. April 2, 1778 . 130 

891. To Arthur Lee. April 3, 1778 132 

892. To Arthur Lee. April 4, 1778 132 

893. To Arthur Lee. April 6, 1778 137 

894. To Charles W. F. Dumas. April 10, 1778 . . . . 138 

895. To the Grand Pensionary of Holland. April 10, 1778 . 141 

896. To Edward Bancroft. April 1 6, 1778 . . . .141 

897. From David Hartley to Benjamin Franklin, and Dr. Frank- 

lin's Answer. April 23, 1778 142 

898. To Comte de Vergennes. April 24, 1778 .... 143 

899. From Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin. April 

25, 1778 146 

900. To John Ross. April 26, 1778 146 

901. From Benjamin Vaughan to Benjamin Franklin. April 28, 

1778 149 

902. To Arthur Lee. May 17, 1778 154 

903. To David Hartley. May 25, 1778 155 

904. To John Paul Jones. May 27, 1778 156 

905. To John Paul Jones. June I, 1778 157 

906. To John Paul Jones. June 10, 1778 158 

907. To Georgelin Du Cosquer. June u, 1778 . . .160 

908. To David Hartley. June 1 6, 1778 161 



viii CONTENTS 

NO. PAGK 

909. To James Hutton. June 23, 1778 162 

910. To Captain Sainneville. June 23, 1778 . . . .163 

911. To A. Borel. June 24, 1778 . . 163 

912. Proposed Letter to Lord North concerning Prisoners. June, 

1778 l6 4 

913. To Charles de Weissenstein. July 1,1778. . . .166 

914. To Ferdinand Grand. July 3, 1778 173 

915. To David Hartley. July 13, 1778 174 

916. To James Lovell. July 22, 1778 174 

917. To Chevalier de Champigny. July 24, 1778 . . .181 

918. To Comte de Vergennes. July 25, 1778 . . . .184 

919. To William Lee. August 13, 1778 184 

920. To M. de Sartine. August 18, 1778 185 

921. To David Hartley. September 3, 1778 . . . .186 

922. To John Paul Jones. September 6, 1778 .... 187 

923. To David Hartley. September 14, 1778 . . . .188 

924. To Charles W. F. Dumas. September 22, 1778 . . .189 

925. To Ferdinand Grand. October 14, 1778 .... 190 

926. To Comte de Vergennes. October 20, 1778 . . .192 

927. To David Hartley. October 20, 1778 . . . 192 

928. To Comte de Vergennes. October 22, 1778 . . . 194 

929. To David Hartley. October 26, 1778 . . . .194 

930. To Ferdinand Grand. November 3, 1778 . . . .198 

931. To John Ross. November 5, 1778 199 

932. To M. Baron. November 20, 1778 201 

933. To Job Prince. November 20, 1778 201 

934. To M. Baron. November 21, 1778 202 

935. To William Temple Franklin. November 26, 1778 . . 203 

936. To David Hartley. November 29, 1778 . . . . 203 

937. To Abb de la Roche. December 7, 1778 . . . . 204 

938. A Madame Helve'tius. ? 1778 . . . ... 204 

939. The Ephemera. ? 1778 . . . . . . . 206 

940. Aurora Borealis. ? 1778 . . . . . . 209 

941. To Arthur Lee. January 3, 1779 ... . . 215 

942. To Ralph Izard. January 4, 1779 2J 6 

943. To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. January 15, 1779 . 218 

944. To David Hartley. January 25, 1779 . . . .219 

945. To Mrs. Margaret Stevenson. January 25, 1779 . . 220 

946. To Messrs. Lloyd and others. January 26, 1779 . . 223 

947. From David Hartley to Benjamin Franklin. January 23, 1779 225 



CONTENTS be 

NO. 'ACE 

948. To David Hartley. February 3, 1779 . . . .226 

949. To Jonathan Williams. February 13, 1779 . . . 229 

950. To Comte de Vergennes. February 14, 1779 . . .231 

951. To Charles W. F. Dumas. February 19, 1779 -231 

952. To David Hartley. February 22, 1779 . . . .232 

953. To David Hartley. February 22, 1779 .... 234 

954. To Comte de Vergennes. February 25, 1779 . . . 234 

955. To Comte de Vergennes. February 25, 1779 . . . 238 

956. To Patrick Henry. February 26, 1779 .... 238 

957. To Jean de Neufville. February 28, 1779 .... 240 

958. To Comte de Vergennes. March 9, 1779 241 

959. Passport for Captain Cook. March 10, 1779 . . .242 

960. To MM. Hills, Parkes, Adams, Degge, Buckley, Elwood, 

and Warren, Officers on board the Alliance. March 11, 
1779 . . 243 

961. To Arthur Lee. March 13, 1779 2 45 

962. To Arthur Lee. March 13, 1779 246 

963. From John Paul Jones to Benjamin Franklin. March 6, 

1779 . . . 248 

964. To John Paul Jones. March 14, 1779 .... 253 

965. To Richard Oliver. March 14, 1779 2 55 

966. Passport for Richard Oliver. March 14, 1779 . . . 255 

967. To Jonathan Williams. March 1 6, 1779 .... 256 

968. To Joshua Johnson. March 17, 1779 . . . .258 

969. To M. Montaudouin. March 17, 1779 .... 260 

970. To William McCreery. March 1 8, 1779 .... 261 

971. To Charles W. F. Dumas. March 1 8, 1779 . . .262 

972. To Jonathan Williams. March 19, 1779 -263 

973. To Daniel-Marc-Antoine Chardon. March 19, 1779 . . 265 

974. To Madam Con way. March 25, 1779 .... 266 

975. To David Hartley. March 21, 1779 267 

976. To the Marquis de Lafayette. March 22, 1779 . . . 269 

977. To Arthur Lee. March 27, 1779 271 

978. To Arthur Lee. March 27, 1779 273 

979. To Stephen Sayre. March 31, 1779 274 

980. To William Lee. April 2, 1779 276 

981. To John Adams. April 3, 1779 277 

982. To Arthur Lee. April 3, 1779 278 

983. To Joshua Johnson. April 8, 1779 279 

984. To John Adams. April 8, 1779 280 



x CONTENTS 

NO. PACK 

985. To Captain Peter Landais. April 8, 1779 . . .281 

986. To Jonathan Williams. April 8, 1779 . . . .281 

987. To Messrs. Wharton, Ridley, Johnson, Mease, Ross, Nes- 

bit, Cummings, Gridley, and Schweighauser, American 

Merchants, now at Nantes. April 8, 1779 . . . 283 

988. Passport for a Moravian Vessel. April n, 1779 . . 285 

989. From Jean-Paul Marat to Benjamin Franklin. April 12, 

1779 286 

990. To M. de Sartine. April 18, 1779 287 

991. To John Adams. April 21, 1779 287 

992. To John Quincy Adams. April 21, 1779 .... 288 

993. To Josiah Quincy. April 22, 1779 289 

994. From Samuel Cooper to Benjamin Franklin. January 4, 

1779 ... .... 291 

995. To Samuel Cooper. April 22, 1779 2 9 2 

996. To John Adams. April 24, 1779 2 95 

997. To John Paul Jones. April 27, 1779 .... 296 

998. To Arthur Lee. May 3, 1779 3 

999. To Thomas Viny. May 4, 1779 301 

1000. To Mrs. Patience Wright. May 4, 1779 .... 302 

1001. To John Lloyd. May 4, 1779 304 

1002. From David Hartley to Benjamin Franklin. April 22, 1779 305 

1003. To David Hartley. May 4, 1779 39 

1004. To M. de Sartine. May 8, 1779 312 

1005. To M. de Chaumont. May 10, 1779 .... 313 

1006. To John Adams. May 10, 1779 314 

1007. To Major-General John Beckwith. May 17, 1779 . .315 

1008. To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. May 26, 1779 . 317 

1009. To Sir Edward Newenham. May 27, 1779 . . .331 

1010. To Comte de Verge nnes (?) June I, 1779 . . . 332 
ion. To Horatio Gates. June 2, 1779 333 

1012. To James Lovell. June 2, 1779 334 

1013. To Charles Carroll of Carrollton. June 2, 1779 337 

1014. To the Marine Committee of Congress. June 2, 1779 33^ 

1015. To John Jay. June 2, 1779 341 

1016. To Richard Bache. June 2, 1779 343 

1017. To Richard Bache. June 2, 1779 344 

1018. To Mrs. Sarah Bache. June 3, 1779 .... 346 

1019. To Francis Hopkinson. June 4, 1779 .... 350 

1020. To William Greene. June 4, 1779 35 x 



CONTENTS xi 

NO. FACE 

1021. To the Council of Massachusetts Bay. June 4, 1779 . 353 

1022. To John Adams. June 5, 1779 . . . 354 

1023. To Messrs. J. Rocquette, A. Elsevier, and Brothers Roc- 

quette. June 13, 1779 . . . . . 356 

1024. The Morals of Chess. June, 1779 357 

1025. To Alexander Gillon. July 5, 1779 362 

1026. To Jonathan Williams. July 8, 1779 . . . . 363 

1027. To John Paul Jones. July 8, 1779 364 

1028. To Barbeu Dubourg. August 13, 1779 . . . .365 

1029. To the Marquis de Lafayette. August 19, 1779 . . 366 

1030. To Benjamin Franklin Bache. August 19, 1779 . . 368 

1031. To Mr. Cramer. August 19, 1779 369 

1032. To the Marquis de Lafayette. August 24, 1779 37 

1033. From the Marquis de Lafayette to Benjamin Franklin. 

August 29, 1779 .... ... 371 

1034. To Charles Epp. August 27, 1779 371 

1035. To J hn D - Schweighauser. September 17, 1779 . . 372 

1036. To Pierre Jean Georges Cabanis. September 19, 1779 375 

1037. To Pierre Jean Georges Cabanis. September ? 1779 . 376 

1038. To Comte de Vergennes. September 26, 1779 . . . 376 

1039. To Jonathan Nesbitt. September 29, 1779 . . . 377 

1040. To James Lovell. September 30, 1779 .... 378 

1041. To Arthur Lee. September 30, 1779 .... 379 

1042. To the Marquis de Lafayette. October i, 1779 3^ 

1043. To Edward Bridgen. October 2, 1779 . . . .381 

1044. To John Jay. October 4, 1779 3 82 

1045. To Mrs. Elizabeth Partridge. October 11, 1779 . . 393 

1046. To John Paul Jones. October 15, 1779 . . . .395 

1047. To Captain Peter Landais. October 15, 1779 . . . 397 

1048. To the Commissioners of the Navy for the Eastern Depart- 

ment. October 17, 1779 398 

1049. To James Lovell. October 17, 1779 .... 400 

1050. To Jonathan Loring Austin. October 20, 1779 . . 403 

1051. To M. Stadel. October 20, 1779 404 

1052. To the Commercial Committee of Congress. October 21, 

1779 - 405 

1053. To a Friend in America. October 25, 1779 . . . 406 

1054. To Samuel Cooper. October 27, 1779 .... 407 

1055. To Jean Holker. October 28, 1779 409 

1056. To Messrs. Fizeaux and Grand. October 28, 1779 49 



xii 



CONTENTS 



1057. To Benjamin Vaughan. November 9, 1779 

1058. The Whistle. November 10, 1779 

1059. From Mile. Le Veillard to Benjamin Franklin. November 

18, 1779 

1060. To Giambatista Beccaria. November 19, 1779 . 

1061. To Captain Conyngham. November 22, 1779 . 

1062. To John Paul Jones. December 6, 1779 .... 

1063. To Andres Peder, Count Bernstorff. December 22, 1779 . 

1064. To Joshua Johnson. December 29, 1779 . 



410 
414 

417 
417 
418 
419 

420 
424 



TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS 

A. p. S American Philosophical Society. 

B. M British Museum. 

B. N Bibliotheque Nationale. 

D. S. W Department of State, Washington. 

H Harvard University. 

L. C Library of Congress. 

L. L. Lenox Library. 

Lans Lansdowne House. 

M.H.S Massachusetts Historical Society. 

P. C Private Collection. 

P. H. S Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

P. R. O Public Record Office. 

P. R. O. A. W. I Public Record Office : America and 

West Indies. 
P. A. E. E. U Paris Departement des Affaires 

Etrangeres, Etats-Unis. 

U. of P University of Pennsylvania. 

Y Yale University. 

B Bigelow. 

F Benjamin Franklin. 

S Sparks. 

V Benjamin Vaughan. 

W. T. F W. T. Franklin. 

Franklin's Mss. exist in several forms. He made a rough draft of 
every letter that he wrote ; he then made a clean copy to send away, and 
often retained a letter-press copy. To indicate the state of the docu- 
ment, the following abbreviations are used: d. = draft, trans. = transcript, 
1. p. = letter-press copy. 



815. COMPARISON 

OF GREAT BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES 



IN REGARD TO 



THE BASIS OF CREDIT IN THE TWO COUNTRIES 1 (L.C.) 

IN the Affair of Borrowing Money, a Man's Credit depends 
on some, or all, of the following Particulars. 

1. His known Conduct with regard to former Loans, in 
the Punctuality with which he discharg'd them. 

2. His Industry in his Business. 

3. His frugality in his Expences. 

4. The Solidity of his Funds, his Estate being good, and 
free of prior Debts, whence his undoubted Ability of paying. 

5. His well-founded Prospects of greater future Ability, 
by the Improvement of his Estate in Value, and by Aids 
from others. 

6. His known Prudence in Managing his general Affairs, 
and the Advantage they will probably receive from the present 
Loan he desires. 

1 This paper was written in 1777 and was intended to increase the jealousy 
the Dutch and other moneyed people in Europe began to entertain of the 
English funds, and thereby to facilitate the loan of ,2,000,000 sterling in 
compliance with the resolution of Congress, December 23, 1776. It was 
translated into several languages, and was widely circulated. It is here 
printed from the draft in L. C. Another autograph transcript exists in 
The University of Pennsylvania. A gentleman in Prague, Mr. Fritz Done- 
bauer, has two Ms. copies of it, one in English, the other a translation by In- 
genhousz into French ; the latter evidently intended for Maria Theresa. ED. 
VOL. VII B I 



2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

7. His known Virtue and honest Character, manifested 
by his voluntary Discharge of Debts, which he could not 
otherwise have been oblig'd to pay. The same Circumstances, 
that give a private Man credit, ought to have, and will have, 
their Weight with Lenders of Money to publick Bodies or to 
Nations. If then we consider and compare Britain and Amer- 
ica in those several Lights, upon the Question, "To 'which 
is it safest to lend Money?" we shall find, 

1. With regard to former Loans, that America borrowed 
Ten Millions Sterling during the last War, for the Mainte- 
nance of her Army of 25,000 Men and other Charges, had faith- 
fully discharged and paid that Debt, and all her other Debts, 
in 1772. Whereas Britain, during those ten years of Peace 
and profitable Commerce, had made little or no Reduction 
of her Debt ; but on the contrary from time to time diminished 
the Hopes of her Creditors by a wanton Diversion and Mis- 
application of the Sinking Fund which had been destin'd 
for the Discharging of it. 

2. With Regard to Industry in Business; Every Man in 
America is employed; the greatest Number in cultivating 
their own Lands, the rest in Handicrafts, Navigation, and 
Commerce. An idle man there is a rarity; Idleness and 
Inutility is a character of Disgrace. In England the Quan- 
tity of that Character is immense ; Fashion has spread it far 
and wide. Hence the Embarassment of private Fortunes, 
and the daily Bankruptcies, arising from the universal fond- 
ness for Appearance and expensive Pleasures; and hence, 
in some Degree, the Mismanagement of their publick Busi- 
ness : For Habits of Business, and Ability in it, are acquired 
only by Practice; and, where universal Dissipation and the 
perpetual Pursuit of Amusement are the Mode, the Youths 



1777] GREAT BRITAIN' AND UNITED STATES 3 

who are educated in it can rarely afterwards acquire that pa- 
tient Attention and close Application to Affairs, which are so 
necessary to a statesman charged with the Care of national 
Welfare. Hence their frequent Errors in Policy, and hence 
the Weariness at Publick Councils, and the Backwardness 
in going to them, the constant Unwillingness to engage in any 
Measure that requires Thought and Consideration, and the 
readiness for postponing every new Proposition; which 
postponing is therefore the only Part of Business that they 
come to be expert in, an Expertness produced necessarily 
by so much daily Practice. Whereas, in America, men bred 
to close Employment in their private Affairs attend with 
habitual Ease to those of the publick when engag'd in them, 
and nothing fails through Negligence. 

3. With regard to Frugality in Expences; the Manner of 
Living in America is in general more simple and less Expen- 
sive than in England. Plain Tables, plain Clothing, plain 
Furniture in Houses, few Carriages of Pleasure. In Amer- 
ica an expensive Appearance hurts Credit, and is therefore 
avoided ; in England it is often put on with a View of gaming 
Credit, and continued to Ruin. In publick Affairs, the Dif- 
ference is still greater. In England Salaries of Officers and 
Emoluments of office are Enormous. The King has a Million 
Sterling per Annum, and yet cannot maintain his Family 
free of Debt; Secretaries of State, Lords of the Treasury, 
Admiralty, &c., have vast Appointments; an Auditor of the 
Exchequer has sixpence in the Pound, or a Fortieth Part, 
of all the public Money expended by the Nation, so that, 
when a War costs 40,000,000 there is a Million for him : 
an Inspector of the Mint, in the last new Coinage, received 



4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

as his Fees 65,000 Sterling a Year; to which Rewards no 
Service these Gentlemen can render the Public is by any 
means equivalent. This is all paid by the People, who are 
oppressed by the Taxes so occasioned, and thereby rendered 
less able to contribute to the Payment of necessary national 
Debts. In America, Salaries, where indispensable, are 
extreamly low ; but much of publick Business is done gratis. 
The Honour of serving the Publick ably and faithfully is 
deemed sufficient. Public Spirit really exists there, and has 
great Effects. In England it is universally deemed a NonEn- 
tity, and whoever pretends to it is laugh'd at as a fool, or sus- 
pected as a Knave. The Committees of Congress, which 
form the Board of War, the Board of Treasury, the Naval 
Board, the Committee for Accounts, the Board of Foreign 
Transactions for procuring Arms, Ammunition, Clothing 
etc., all attend the Business of their respective Functions 
without any Salary or Emolument whatever, tho' they 
spend in it much more of their Time, than any Lord of 
Treasury or Admiralty in England can afford from his 
Amusements. A late British Minister computed, that the 
whole Expence of the Americans in their civil Govern- 
ment, of 3,000,000 People, amounted to but 70,000 sterling 
per Annum, and drew from thence a Conclusion, that they 
ought to be taxed, 'till their Expence equalled in proportion 
to what it cost Britain to govern Eight Millions. He had no 
idea of a contrary Conclusion, that, if 3,000,000 may be well 
governed for 70,000, Eight Millions may be as well governed 
for 3 times that Sum, and therefore the Expence of his own 
Government should be diminished. In that corrupted 
Nation, no Man is ashamed of being concerned in lucrative 
Government Jobs, in which the public money is Egregiously 



1777] GREAT BRITAIN AND UNITED STATES 5 

misapplied and squandered, the Treasury pillaged, and more 
numerous and heavier Taxes are called for, to the great Op- 
pression of the People. While the Prospect of a greater 
Number of these Jobbs to be occasioned by a War is an In- 
ducement with many to cry out for War on all Occasions, 
and to oppose every Proposition of Peace. Hence the con- 
stant Increase of the national Debt; and the absolute Im- 
probability of its ever being discharged. 

4. With regard to the Solidity of Funds; the whole thirteen 
States of America are engag'd for the Payment of every Debt 
contracted by the Congress, and the Debt to be contracted by 
the present War is the only Debt they will have to pay ; all, 
or nearly all, the former Debts of particular Colonies being 
already discharged. Whereas England will have to pay, 
not only the enormous Debt this War must occasion, but all 
their vast preceding Debt, or the Interest of it; and, while 
America is enriching itself by Prizes made upon the British 
Commerce, more than it ever did by any Commerce of its 
own, under the Restraints of a British Monopoly, Britain is 
growing poorer by the loss of that Monopoly, the diminution 
of its revenues, and of course less able to discharge the 
present indiscreet Encrease of its Expences. 

5. With regard to Prospects of greater future Ability, Britain 
has none such. Her islands are circumscrib'd by the Ocean. 
Excepting a few Parks or Forests, she has no new Land to 
cultivate, and cannot therefore extend her Improvements. 
Her Numbers of People, too, instead of increasing from 
increas'd Subsistence, are continually diminishing from grow- 
ing Luxury, and the greater Difficulty of maintaining Fami- 
lies, which of course discourages early Marriages. Thus she 
will have fewer People to assist in paying her Debts, and that 



6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

diminished Number will be poorer. America, on the con- 
trary, has, besides her Lands already cultivated, a vast 
Territory yet to improve; The Lands cultivated continually 
increase in Value with the Encrease of People ; and the peo- 
ple, who double themselves by a natural Propagation in 25 
Years, will double yet faster by the Accession of Strangers, 
as long as Lands are to be had for new Families ; so that every 
20 Years there will be a double Number of Inhabitants 
oblig'd to discharge publick Debts; and those Inhabitants, 
being more opulent, may pay their Shares with greater Ease. 
6. With Regard to Prudence in General Affairs, and the 
Advantages they expect from the Loan desired. The Ameri- 
cans are Cultivators of Land ; those engaged in Fishery and 
Commerce are a small Number, compared with the Body of 
the People. They have ever conducted their several Gov- 
ernments with Wisdom, avoiding Wars and vain, expensive 
Projects, delighting only in their peaceable Occupations, 
which must, considering the Extent of their yet uncultivated 
Territory, find them Employment still for Ages. Whereas 
England, ever unquiet, ambitious, avaricious, imprudent, 
and quarrelsome, is half her Time engag'd in some War, 
or other, always at an expence infinitely greater than the 
advantages proposed if it could be obtained. Thus the War 
against Spain in 1739, for a Claim of Debt of about 95,000, 
(scarce a Groat for the nation), and spent 40,000,000 Ster- 
ling in the War, and 50,000 Men ; and made Peace without 
obtaining satisfaction. Indeed, there is scarce a Nation in 
Europe, against which she has not made War on some frivo- 
lous Pretext or other, and by this means has imprudently 
accumulated a Debt, that has brought her on the Verge of 
bankrupcy. But the most indiscrete of all her Wars is the 



1777] GREAT BRITAIN AND UNITED STATES ^ 

present against America, with whom she might for ages have 
preserved her profitable connection by only a just and equitable 
Conduct. She is now acting like a mad Shop-keeper, who 
should attempt, by beating those that pass his Door, to make 
them come in and be his Customers. America cannot sub- 
mit to such Treatment, without being first ruined, and, being 
ruined, her Custom will be worth nothing. England, to 
bring this to pass, is increasing her Debt, and ruining herself 
effectually. America, on the other Hand, aims only at estab- 
lishing her Liberty, and that Freedom of Commerce which 
will be advantageous to all Europe ; while the Abolishing of 
the Monopoly which she has hitherto laboured under, will 
be an Advantage sufficiently ample to repay the Debt, she 
may contract to accomplish it. 

7. With regard to character in the honest payment o] debts, 
the Punctuality of America in Discharge of Public Debts is 
shown under the first head: The general character of the 
People in that respect appears from their faithful Payment of 
private Debts to England, since the Commencement of the 
War. There were not indeed wanting some half politicians 
who proposed stopping that Payment, until Peace should be 
restored, alledging, that in the usual Course of Commerce, 
and of the Credit given, there was always a Debt existing 
equal to the Trade of 18 months; that, the Trade amounting 
to 5 Millions Sterling per Annum, the Debt must be Seven 
Millions and a Half ; That this Sum paid to the British Mer- 
chants would operate to prevent the Distress, intended to be 
brought on Britain by our stoppage of Commerce with her: 
For the Merchants, receiving this Money, and no Orders 
with it for further Supplies, would either lay it out in the 
Funds, or in employing Manufacturers to accumulate Goods 



8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

for a future hungry Market in America upon an expected 
Accommodation, by which Means the Funds would be kept 
up and the Manufacturers prevented from Murmuring. 
But it was alledged, that Injuries from Ministers should not be 
reveng'd on Merchants who were our Friends ; that the Credit 
was in consequence of private Contracts made in confidence 
of good Faith ; that these ought to be held sacred and faith- 
fully comply'd with; for that, whatever publick Utility 
might be supposed to arise from a Breach of private Faith, 
it was unjust, and would in the End be found unwise, Honesty 
being in truth the best Policy. On this Principle the Proposi- 
tion was universally rejected: And tho' the English prose- 
cuted the War with unexampled Barbarity, burning our de- 
fenceless Towns in the midst of Winter, and arming Savages 
against us, the Debt was punctually paid, and the Merchants 
of London have testify'd to the Parliament, and will testify 
to all the World, that from their Experience in dealing with us 
they had, before the War, no Apprehensions of our Unfairness, 
and that, since the War, they have been convinced that their 
good Opinion of us was well founded. England, on the con- 
trary, an old, corrupt, extravagant and profligate Nation, 
sees herself deep in Debt, which she is in no condition to pay, 
and yet is madly and dishonestly running deeper, despairing 
ever to satisfy her Creditors and having no prospect of dis- 
charging her Debts but by a publick Bankrupcy. 

On the whole it appears, that, from the general Industry, 
Frugality, Ability, Prudence, and Virtue of America, she is 
a much safer Debtor than Britain: To say nothing of the 
Satisfaction generous Minds must have in reflecting, that by 
Loans to America they are opposing Tyranny, and aiding the 
Cause of Liberty, which is the Cause of all Mankind. 



1777] COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE 9 



816. TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRE- 
SPONDENCE 1 (D. s. w.) 

Paris, January 4, 1777. 

GENTLEMEN, 

I arrived here about two weeks since, where I found Mr. 
Deane. Mr. Lee has since joined us from London. We 
have had an audience of the minister, Count de Vergennes, 
and were respectfully received. We left for his consideration 
a sketch of the proposed treaty. 2 We are to wait upon him 
to-morrow with a strong memorial, requesting the aids men- 
tioned in our instructions. By his advice, we have had an 
interview with the Spanish ambassador, Count d'Aranda, 8 
who seems well disposed towards us, and will forward copies 
of our memorials to his court, which will act, he says, in per- 
fect concert with this. 

Their fleets are said to be in fine order, manned and fit for 
sea. The cry of this nation is for us, but the court, it is 
thought, views an approaching war with reluctance. The 
press continues in England. As soon as we can receive a 
positive answer from these courts, we shall despatch an ex- 
press with it. I am, gentlemen, &c. fi FRANKLIN. 

1 The Committee of Secret Correspondence was appointed by Congress 
to correspond with the friends of the colonies in Great Britain and elsewhere. 
The first members chosen (November 29, 1775) were Harrison, Franklin, 
Johnson, Dickinson, and Jay. At the time of the writing of this letter the 
members were B. Harrison, R. H. Lee, J. Witherspoon, and W. Hooper. ED. 

2 See this sketch in the " Secret Journals of Congress," Vol. II, p. 7. ED. 

8 Don Pedro Pablo Abarca y Bolea, Conde d'Aranda (1718-1799), Span- 
ish ambassador in France (1773-1784). He sympathized cordially with the 
French people and enjoyed their favor and esteem. He played an important 
part in the conclusion of the treaty of Paris, and in the following year received 
at Madrid the title of " conseiller d'Etat." ED. 



io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

817. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (P. c.) 

Paris, Jan. 12, 1777. 
MY DEAR, DEAR POLLY, 

Figure to yourself an old Man, with grey Hair Appearing 
under a Martin Fur Cap, among the Powder'd Heads of 
Paris. It is this odd Figure that salutes you, with handfuls 
of Blessings on you and your dear little ones. 

On my Arrival here, Mile. Biheron 2 gave me great Pleas- 
ure in the Perusal of a Letter from you to her. It acquainted 
me that you and yours were well in August last. I have 
with me here my young Grandson, Benja. Franklin Bache, 
a special good Boy. I give him a little French Language 
and Address, and then send him over to pay his Respects to 
Miss Hewson. My Love to all that love you, particularly to 
dear Polly. I am ever, my dear Friend, your affectionate 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Temple, 8 who attends me here, presents his Respects. 
I must contrive to get you to America. I want all my Friends 
out of that wicked Country. I have just seen in the Papers 
7 Paragraphs about me, of which 6 were Lies. 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 

2 Mademoiselle Biheron (1730? -1815), a Parisian artist who made ex- 
traordinarily accurate anatomical reproductions in wax. She studied human 
anatomy with enthusiasm, dissecting the corpses of soldiers. Her excellent 
imitations of the human form in wax were exhibited in Paris on Wednesdays 
(admission three livres). The collection finally became the property of 
Catherine II. She was a friend of Dr. Dubourg, and in that way Franklin 
became acquainted with her. ED. 

8 William Temple Franklin. ED. 



1777] 



TO JULIANA RITCHIE 



II 



818. TO JULIANA RITCHIE 1 (A. P. s.) 

Paris, Jan. 19, 1777. 

MADAM, I am much oblig'd to you for your kind Attention 
to my Welfare in the Information you give me. I have no 
doubt of its being well founded. But as it is impossible to dis- 
cover in every case the Falsity of pretended Friends who would 
know our Affairs ; and more so to prevent being watch'd by 
Spies, when interested People may think proper to place them 
for that Purpose ; I have long observed one Rule which pre- 
vents any Inconvenience from such Practices. It is simply 
this, to be concerned in no Affairs that I should blush to have 
made publick, and to do nothing but what Spies may see & 
welcome. When a Man's Actions are just & honourable, 
the more they are known, the more his Reputation is increased 
& established. If I was sure therefore that my Valet de Place 
was a Spy, as probably he is, I think I should not discharge 
him for that, if in other Respects I lik'd him. The various 
Conjectures you mention concerning my Business here must 
have their Course. They amuse those that make them, & 
some of those that hear them ; they do me no harm, and there- 
fore it is not necessary that I should take the least Pains to 
rectify them. I am glad to learn that you are in a Situation 
that is agreable to you, and that Mr. Ritchie was lately well. 

1 Wife of William Ritchie, a merchant of Philadelphia. She had lived for 
some years in England, but from 1775 to the time of writing this letter she 
resided at Cambray with five young ladies of fortune (" daughters to my par- 
ticular friends in England"), who were all under her care. Her letter to 
Franklin, dated January 1 2, 1777 (A. P. S.), warned him that he was surrounded 
by spies. ED. 



12 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN- FRANKLIN [1777 

My daughter and her Children were so when I left them, but 
I have lost my dear Mrs. Franklin now two Years since. I 
have the Honour to be, very respectfully, Madam, 

Your most obedient humble Serv* 

B. F. 



819. TO JOHN HANCOCK 1 (D. s. w.) 

Paris, January 20, 1777. 

DEAR SIR, 

The bearer, Captain Balm, 2 is strongly recommended to 
me as a very able officer of horse, and capable of being ex- 
tremely useful to us, in forming a body of men for that ser- 
vice. As he has otherwise an excellent character, I take the 
liberty of recommending him to my friends as a stranger of 
merit, worthy of their civilities, and to the Congress as an 
officer, who, if employed, may greatly serve a cause, which 
he has sincerely at heart. With great respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 John Hancock was at this time President of Congress. This letter was 
printed by Jared Sparks, " The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American 
Revolution," Boston, 1829. ED. 

2 Martin de la Balme was brevetted as lieutenant-colonel of cavalry (May 
26, 1777), was made inspector of cavalry (July 18, 1777), and resigned Octo- 
ber 12, 1777. He was formerly subadjutant of the gendarmerie (light- 
horse). He applied to M. Lenoir for a passport to go to Philadelphia, and 
showed to him this letter and similar ones to other members of Congress. 
Lenoir referred the request to Count de Vergennes, who replied (January 29, 
1777) : "The Government not being able to acknowledge those who wish to 
go and try their fortune in that part of America, absolutely cannot do what 
would prove undeniably that it was aware of their projects. I can only thank 
you, Sir, for having refused M. la Balme's request, and I beg you to be good 
enough to persevere in your refusal in the case of any other request of the 
same kind." ED. 



1777] 



TO M. MONTAUDOUIN 



SIR, 



820. TO THOMAS MORRIS 1 (D. s. w.) 

Paris, January 26, 1777. 



We have expected some Remittances from you to our credit, 
in consequence of the Sales which have been made at Nantes. 
You must be sensible how very unbecoming it is of the Situa- 
tion we are in, to be dependent on the credit of others. We 
therefore desire that you will remit with all possible Expe- 
dition the Sum allotted by the Congress for our expenses. 
[B. FRANKLIN, for the Commissioners] 



821. TO M. MONTAUDOUIN 2 (L. c.) 

Paris, Jan* 26*, 1777. 

SIR : We are very much obliged to you for the informa- 
tion contained in yours of the 2ist. 

Mr. Williams' good sense will prevent him from being 

1 Thomas Morris was United States commercial agent at Nantes. He was 
a brother of Robert Morris, and was appointed through his influence. His 
career and his life were soon ended by his surrender to intemperance, but not 
before he was the cause, by reason of his conduct and his negligence, of much 
trouble and distress to Franklin and the other commissioners. George Lupton 
wrote to William Eden that he " has turned out the greatest drunkard the 
world ever produced" (August 20, 1777). 

The letter in L. C. is an auto, draft by Lee, with a note " to Mr. T. Morris " 
by Franklin. ED. 

2 The Montaudouin Brothers were a firm of Nantes merchants, who were 
associated with Jonathan Williams and John D. Schweighauser in the sale of 
prizes. M. Montaudouin (the elder) was a gentleman of culture, acquainted 
with men of science, and gifted with some facility in the making of verse. 
He was a cousin german of Mme. Duboccage, the poetess whom Voltaire 



14 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

materially embarrassed by any manoeuvre employed to make 
him counteract our instructions. 

We cannot so entirely comprehend this obligation we have 
to the mayor and alderman of your city, as to know in what 
terms to return it. As it is probable one of our number will 
soon be in Nantes, 1 he will be able to thank him in person. 
In the meantime we beg the favour of you, sir, to make them 
our acknowledgments in such manner as you may think 
becoming. We have the honour to be, with very great es- 
teem, sir, Your most obedient servants. 

[THE COMMISSIONERS] 

crowned with laurel. In the letter (December 21, 1776) to which this one is 
a reply, Montaudouin invited Franklin to dinner at Nantes, expressed very 
fully the sentiment that Franklin inspired in France, and included these verses 
of his own making : 

"PORTRAIT DE M. LE DOCTEUR BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

" Ce sage nous a fait connoitre 
Les effets merveilleux d'un feu subtil et prompt 
Venant de la nature, et son ame peut-Stre. 

Plus d'un laurier couvre son front 

II a fait a Philadelphie 

Un temple & la philosophic, 

Un thr6ne pour la liberte, 

De 1'Europe bient6t bannie ; 

Dans les deux mondes respect6 

II est par son heureux genie 

Ses moeurs douces, sa bonhomie, 

Son ton et sa simplicity 

Surtout pour sa philanthropic, 

L'honneur de I'am6rique, et de 1'humanite." (A. P. S.) 

ED. 

1 Arthur Lee arrived in Nantes, February n, 1777. He wrote to Franklin 
(February 13)," I have thanked the Mayor, who is a very honest man." ED. 



1777] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 15 

822. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Paris, Jan. 26, 1777. 

DEAR POLLEY, 

I wrote a few Lines to you by Dr. B[ancroft], and have since 
seen your Letter to Jona. by which I have the great Pleasure 
of learning, that you and yours were well on the i?th. 

What has become of my and your dear Dolly ? 2 Have you 
parted? for you mention nothing of her. I know your 
Friendship continues; but perhaps she is with one of her 
Brothers. How do they all do? 

I have not yet receiv'd a Line from my dear old Friend, your 
Mother. Pray tell me where she is, and how it is with her. 
Jonathan, who is now at Nantes, told me that she had a Lodg- 
ing in Northumberland Court. I doubt her being com- 
fortably accommodated there. Is Miss Barwell a little more 
at rest, or as busy as ever? Is she well? And how fares 
it with our good Friends of the Henckel Family ? 

But, principally, I want to know how it is with you. I hear 
you have not quite settled yet with those people. I hope, 
however, that you have a sufficient Income, and live at your 
Ease, and that your Money is safe out of the Funds. Does 
my Godson remember any thing of his Doctor Papa? 3 I sup- 
pose not. Kiss the dear little Fellow for me ; [not ?] forgetting 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 

2 Dorothea Blount. ED. 

8 An allusion to a letter from Mrs. Hewson (September 3, 1776), in which 
she told Franklin, " We drank your health to-day ; the person who first pro- 
posed the toast was my son William who took up his glass of wine and water 
(for he is still very sober) & said ' My Doctor Papa's health 1 ' He came 
up to me this moment whispering, ' Give my love to Dr. Papa.' " ED. 



16 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

the others. I long to see them and you. What became of the 
Lottery Ticket I left with your good Mother, which was 
to produce the Diamond Earings for you? Did you get 
them? If not, Fortune has wrong'd you, for you ought 
to have had them. I am, my dear Friend, ever yours with 

sincere Esteem and Affection, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. 27 11 ; Jan 7 . They tell me, that, in writing to a Lady 
from Paris, one should always say something about the Fash- 
ions. Temple observes them more than I do. He took 
Notice, that at the Ball in Nantes, there were no Heads less 
than 5 and a few were 7 Lengths of the Face, above the Top 
of the Forehead. You know that those who have practised 
Drawing, as he has, attend more to Proportions, than People 
in common do. Yesterday we din'd at the Duke de Roche- 
foucault's, where there were three Dutchesses and a countess, 
and no Head higher than a Face and a half. So, it seems, 
the farther from Court, the more extravagant the Mode. 



823. INSTRUCTIONS TO CAPTAIN SAMUEL 

NICHOLSON (L. c.) 

Paris, January 26, 1777. 

SIR : You are directed to proceed to Boulogne, and there 
purchase, on as good terms as possible, a cutter suitable for 
the purpose of being sent to America. The purchase being 
made, despatch the vessel to Havre de Grace to the care of 
Mons. Limozin, and agree in the bargain to have her de- 
livered at said port, at the risk and expense of the original 






1777] TO CAPTAIN SAMUEL NICHOLSON' 17 

owner, at which stipulate to make the payment. Should 
you miss of one at Boulogne, proceed to Calais and pursue 
the same directions. If you fail there, pass to Dover, or Deal, 
and employ a person there to make the purchase as for Mr. 
Limozin of Nantes, at whose house the payment shall be 
made. Your skill in maritime affairs will enable you to 
judge of the vessel proper for our purpose, in which we wish 
you to embark yourself for Havre and on your arrival put 
the vessel into the care of Mr. Limozin, to be filled with every 
thing necessary for her to proceed the designed voyage, at 
the same time directing Mr. Limozin to call her and speak 
of her as his own, after which you will instantly set off 
for this place, to inform us of your proceedings. Meantime 
you are, on purchasing, to write, first post, not to us but 
to Mr. Le Grand, Banq : rue Mons Mart, vis-a-vis S* Joseph, 
a Paris, only saying in a few words that you have made a 
purchase, and shall draw on him soon for the money favour 
of Mr. Limozin, or words to that purpose. This letter will 
be shown us, and we shall regulate our proceedings accord- 
ingly. 

Should you be obliged on purchasing, to pay at Dover or 
Deal, Mons. Le Grand's letter will give a sufficient credit for 
that purpose and at Calais or Boulogne you will address 
yourself, on the score of advice and assistance in money 
matters, to the persons to whom you will have letters directed, 
but on no other account, and avoid hinting your proceedings 
or views to any one. But should Capt. Hynsen arrive from 
London and you, let him go in the vessel you purchase 

to Havre and there wait our further orders. Should he ar- 
rive and no vessel be purchased, in such case procure him a 
passage to Havre and direct him to apply to Mr. Limozin 

VOL. VII C 



i8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

for our directions. In the whole, we have to wish you to 
make the utmost despatch and to conduct with the utmost 
secrecy and the economy consistent with hastening as fast 

as possible the object in view. 

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN] 



824. TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (L. c.) 

Paris, Jan. 27, 1777. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your very kind Letter of Feb y last, 1 some time 
in September. Major Carleton, 2 who was so kind as to for- 
ward it to me, had not an Opportunity of doing it sooner. 
I rejoice to hear of your continual Progress in those useful 
Discoveries; I find that you have set all the Philosophers 
of Europe at Work upon Fix'd Air; and it is with great 
Pleasure I observe how high you stand in their Opinion; 
for I enjoy my Friends' fame as my own. 

The Hint you gave me jocularly, that you did not quite 
despair of the Philosopher's Stone, draws from me a Request, 
that, when you have found it, you will take care to lose it 
again; for I believe in my conscience, that Mankind are 
wicked enough to continue slaughtering one another as long 
as they can find Money to pay the Butchers. But, of all 
the Wars in my time, this on the part of England appears to 
me the wickedest; having no Cause but Malice against 
Liberty, and the Jealousy of Commerce. And I think the 

1 Priestley's letter was dated February 13, 1776, and was printed by Sparks, 
Vol. VIII, p. 171 ; and in The Pennsylvania Magazine, Vol. 27, p. 169. ED. 

2 Brother of Guy Carleton, first Lord Dorchester, governor of Quebec. ED. 



1777] RESOLUTIONS OF THE COMMISSIONERS 19 

Crime seems likely to meet with its proper Punishment ; a 
total loss of her own Liberty, and the Destruction of her own 
Commerce. 

I suppose you would like to know something of the state 
of Affairs in America. In all Probability we shall be much 
stronger the next campaign than we were in the last ; better 
arm'd, better disciplin'd, and with more Ammunition. 
When I was at the camp before Boston, 1 the Army had not 
5 Rounds of Powder a Man. This was kept a Secret even 
from our People. The World wonder'd that we so seldom 
fir'd a Cannon ; we could not afford it ; but we now make 
Powder in Plenty. 

To me it seems, as it has always done, that this War 
must end in our favour, and in the Ruin of Britain, if she 
does not speedily put an end to it. An English Gentleman 
here the other day, in Company with some French, remarked, 
that it was folly in France not to make War immediately; 
And in England, reply 'd one of them, not to make Peace. 

Do not believe the reports you hear of our internal Divi- 
sions. We are, I believe, as much united as any People 
ever were, and as firmly. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



825. RESOLUTIONS OF THE COMMISSIONERS 
IN PARIS (U.OFP.) 

Paris, FebT 21 1777. 

IT is considered that in the present situation of things at 
the Courts of France and Spain, we find no probability of 

1 In October, 1775. 



20 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

obtaining any effectual aid, alliance or declaration of war 
against Great Britain, without the following stipulation; 
therefore 

We the Commissioners plenepotentiary from the Congress 
of the United States of America, are unanimously of Opinion, 
that if France or Spain should conclude a Treaty of Amity 
and Commerce with our States, and enter into a war with 
Great Britain in consequence of that, or of open aid given to 
our States ; it will be right and proper for us, or in absence 
of the others, for any one of us, to stipulate and agree that 
the United States, shall not separately conclude a Peace, 
nor aid Great Britain against France or Spain, nor inter- 
mit their best exertions against Great Britain during the con- 
tinuance of such War. Provided always that France & 
Spain, do on their part enter into a similar stipulation, with 
our States. B. FRANKLIN 

SILAS DEANE 
ARTHUR LEE 

Paris, Feb y 5* 1777. 

It is farther considered, that in the present peril of the 
liberties of our Country, it is our duty to hazard every thing 
in their support & defence. 

Therefore Resolvd unanimously 

That if it should be necessary, for the attainment of any 
thing, in our best judgment, material to the defence & sup- 
port of the public cause ; that we should pledge our persons, 
or hazard the censure of the Congress by exceeding our In- 
structions we will, for such purpose most chearfully risque 
our personal liberty or life. B. FRANKLIN 

SILAS DEANE 
ARTHUR LEE 



1777] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 21 

826. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (p. c.) 

Paris, Feb. 5, 1777. 

DEAR COUSIN 

I receiv'd several Letters from you last Night which I put 
into Mr. Dean's Hands who answers them. I forwarded 
yours to London for Mr. Blount some time since. Since you 
are likely to stay at Nantes for some time longer I enclose 
some Letters receiv'd here for you. I think Connection with 
Mr. S. 3 might be advantageous to you both in the way of 
Business. Besides he is rich and has handsome Daughters. 
I know not whether you can get one of them. I only know 
you may deserve her. 8 

Mr. Lee in his way to the South of France will call at 
Nantes. He sets out to-morrow or next Day and will take 
our Dispatches for America. 

I am ever, your affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Louis A. Biddle. ED. 

2 John D. Schweighauser, a Nantes merchant, was United States agent 
for the sale of prizes in Brittany, and United States commercial agent at 
Nantes. ED. 

8 Jonathan Williams married, September 12, 1779, Mariamne Alexander, 
daughter of William Alexander, of Edinburgh, a connection of Lord Stirling. 
Williams was a son of Grace Williams (nte Harris) and a grandnephew of 
Franklin. He Was born in Boston, May 26, 1750. President Adams 
appointed him (February 16, 1801) a major in the Second Regiment of 
Artillerists and Engineers. He assumed command (December 15, 1801) of 
the embryo military school, which preceded the Military Academy of West 
Point, of which he was the first superintendent. ED. 



22 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

827. TO LORD GEORGE GERMAIN 1 (L. c.) 

Paris, Feb y 7 th , 1777. 

WHEREAS the snow Dickenson with her cargoe, which was 
the property of the Congress of the United States of America, 
was by an act of Piracy in some of her crew carried into the 
port of Bristol in England, and there as we are informed, 
was converted to the use of the government of Great Britain, 
and the perpetrators of so base and dishonest an action, the 
mate, etc., were rewarded instead of being punished for their 
wickedness, and whereas another vessel with her Cargoe 
of Tobacco, being also the property of the United States, 
or of some inhabitants of the same, was lately carried into 
the port of Liverpool, in England, by a similar act of treachery 
in her crew ; and a third has in the same manner been car- 
ried into Halifax; 

We therefore being commissioners plenipotentiary from 
the Congress of the United States of America do, in their name 
and by their authority, demand from the court of Great Britain, 
a restitution of those vessels and their cargoes, or the full 
value of them ; together with the delivery of the pirates into 
our hands, to be sent where they may be tried and punish'd 
as their crimes deserve. 

We feel it our duty to humanity to warn the court of Great 

1 Viscount Sackville (1716-1785), known from 1720 to 1770 as Lord 
George Sackville, and from 1770 to 1782 as Lord George Germain, was 
appointed by Lord North in 1775 a lor( * commissioner of trade and planta- 
tions, and likewise Secretary of State for the colonies. Franklin addressed 
him as "one of the principal Secretaries of State to the King of Great 
Britain." This letter is endorsed (L. C), " not sent." ED. 



1777] TO MRS. THOMPSON [AT LILLE^ 23 

Britain of the consequences of protecting such offenders 
and of encouraging such actions as are in violation of all 
moral obligations and therefore subversive of the firmest 
foundation of the laws of nations. 

It is hop'd that the Government of Great Britain will not 
add to the unjust principles of this war, such practices as 
would disgrace the meanest state in Europe; and which 
must forever stain the character of the British nation. We are 
sensible that nothing can be more abhorrent from the senti- 
ments and feelings of the Congress of the United States, 
than the authorizing so base a kind of war as a retaliation 
of these practices will produce. We are, therefore more 
earnest in pressing the court of Great Britain to prevent by 
the act of justice which is demanded, the retaliation, to which 
necessity, in repugnance to principles, will otherwise compel. 

B. FRANKLIN 
SILAS DEANE 
ARTHUR LEE. 



828. TO MRS. THOMPSON [AT LILLE] (L. c.) 

Paris, February 8, 1777 

You are too early, Hussy, (as well as too saucy,) in calling 
me Rebel; you should wait for the Event, which will deter- 
mine whether it is a Rebellion or only a Revolution. Here the 
Ladies are more civil ; they call us les Insurgens, a Character 
that usually pleases them: And methinks all other Women 
who smart, or have smarted, under the Tyranny of a bad Hus- 
band, ought to be fixed in Revolution Principles, and act 
accordingly. 



24 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

In my way to Canada last Spring, I saw dear Mrs. Barrow 
at New York. Mr. Barrow had been from her two or three 
Months to keep Gov. Tryon and other Tories Company on 
board the Asia, one of the King's Ships which lay in the Har- 
bour; and in all that time [that] naughty Man had not 
ventured once on shore to see her. Our Troops were then 
pouring into the Town, and she was packing up to leave it, 
fearing, as she had a large House, they would incommode 
her by quartering Officers in it. As she appeared in great 
Perplexity, scarce knowing where to go, I persuaded her to 
stay; and I went to the general Officers then commanding 
there, and recommended her to their Protection ; which they 
promised and perform'd. On my Return from Canada, 
(where I was a Piece of a Governor and I think a very good 
one for a Fortnight, and might have been so till this time if 
your wicked Army, Enemies to all good Government, had not 
come and driven me out,) I found her still in quiet Possession 
of her House. I inquired how our People had behav'd to 
her. She spoke in high terms of the respectful Attention 
they had paid her, and the Quiet and Security they had 
procur'd her. I said I was glad of it ; and that, if they had 
us'd her ill, I would have turn'd Tory. Then says she, with 
that pleasing Gayety so natural to her, / wish they had. For 
you must know she is a Toryess as well as you, and can as 
flippantly call Rebel. I drank Tea with her; we talk'd 
affectionately of you and our other friends the Wilkeses, of 
whom she had received no late Intelligence. What became 
of her since, I have not heard. The Street she then lived in 
was some months after chiefly burnt down ; but, as the Town 
was then, and ever since has been, in Possession of the King's 
Troops, I have had no Opportunity of knowing whether she 



1777] 



TO MRS. THOMPSON \_AT LILLE} 



suffered any Loss in the Conflagration. I hope she did not, 
as, if she did, I should wish I had not persuaded her to stay 
there. 

I am glad to leam from you, that that unhappy, tho' 

deserving Family, the W s, are getting into some Business, 

that may afford them Subsistence. I pray, that God will 
bless them, and that they may see happier Days. Mr. 

Cheap's and Dr. H 's good fortunes please me. Pray 

learn, if you have not already learnt, like me, to be pleased 
with other People's Pleasures, and happy with their Happi- 
nesses, when none occur of your own ; and then perhaps you 
will not so soon be weary of the Place you chance to be in, 
and so fond of Rambling to get rid of your Ennui. I fancy 
you have hit upon the right Reason of your being Weary of St. 
Omer's, viz. that you are out of Temper, which is the effect 
of full Living and Idleness. A Month in Bridewell, beating 
Hemp, upon Bread and Water, would give you Health and 
Spirits, and subsequent Cheerfulness and Contentment with 
every other Situation. I prescribe that Regimen for you, 
my dear, in pure good will, without a Fee. And let me tell 
you, if you do not get into Temper, neither Brussels nor 
Lisle will suit you. I know nothing of the Price of Living 
in either of those Places ; but I am sure a single Woman, as 
you are, might with (Economy upon two hundred Pounds 
a year maintain herself comfortably anywhere, and me into 
the Bargain. Do not invite me in earnest, however, to come 
and live with you; for, being posted here, I ought not to 
comply, and I am not sure I should be able to refuse. 

Present my Respects to Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Heathcot ; 
for, tho 1 1 have not the Honour of knowing them, yet, as you 
say they are friends to the American Cause, I am sure they 



26 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

must be Women of good Understanding. I know you wish 
you could see me; but, as you can't, I will describe myself 
to you. Figure me in your mind as jolly as formerly, and as 
strong and hearty, only a few years older; very plainly 
dress'd, wearing my thin gray strait hair, that peeps out under 
my only Coiffure, a fine Fur Cap, which comes down my 
Forehead almost to my Spectacles. Think how this must 
appear among the Powder'd Heads of Paris ! I wish every 
gentleman and Lady in France would only be so obliging as 
to follow my Fashion, comb their own Heads as I do mine, 
dismiss their Friseurs, and pay me half the Money they paid 
to them. You see, the gentry might well afford this, and I 
could then enlist those Friseurs, who are at least 100,000, 
and with the Money I would maintain them, make a Visit 
with them to England, and dress the Heads of your Ministers 
and Privy Counsellors; which I conceive to be at present 
un peu de'range'es. Adieu, Madcap ; and believe me ever, 
your affectionate Friend and humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Don't be proud of this long Letter. A fit of the 
Gout, which has confined me five Days, and made me re- 
fuse to see Company, has given me a little time to trifle; 
otherwise it would have been very short, Visitors and Busi- 
ness would have interrupted ; and perhaps, with Mrs. Barrow, 
you wish they had. 



1777] THE SALE OF THE HESSIANS 27 



829. THE SALE OF THE HESSIANS 

FROM THE COUNT DE SCHAUMBERGH TO THE BARON HOHEN- 
DORF, COMMANDING THE HESSIAN TROOPS IN AMERICA. 1 

Rome, February 18, 1777. 

MONSIEUR LE BARON: On my return from Naples, 
I received at Rome your letter of the 27th December of last 
year. I have learned with unspeakable pleasure the courage 
our troops exhibited at Trenton, and you cannot imagine 
my joy on being told that of the 1,950 Hessians engaged in 
the fight, but 345 escaped. There were just 1,605 men 
killed, and I cannot sufficiently commend your prudence in 
sending an exact list of the dead to my minister in London. 
This precaution was the more necessary, as the report sent 
to the English ministry does not give but 1,455 dead. This 
would make 483,450 florins instead of 643,500 which I am 
entitled to demand under our convention. You will compre- 
hend the prejudice which such an error would work in my 
finances, and I do not doubt you will take the necessary pains 
to prove that Lord North's list is false and yours correct. 

The court of London objects that there were a hundred 
wounded who ought not to be included in the list, nor paid 
for as dead ; but I trust you will not overlook my instructions 

1 For the authorship of this literary burlesque, see Tyler, " Literary His- 
tory of the American Revolution," Vol. II, pp. 367-380; and Rosengarten, 
" American History from German Archives," 1904, pp. 26-28. It appears 
in the " Correspondance, Secrete et inedite" (see Vol. I, p. 60), but with no 
allusion to Franklin. The time and place of its first publication are still 
unknown, but it is almost certainly from Franklin's pen. ED. 



28 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

to you on quitting Cassel, and that you will not have tried 
by human succor to recall the life of the unfortunates whose 
days could not be lengthened but by the loss of a leg or an 
arm. That would be making them a pernicious present, 
and I am sure they would rather die than live in a condition 
no longer fit for my service. I do not mean by this that you 
should assassinate them; we should be humane, my dear 
Baron, but you may insinuate to the surgeons with entire 
propriety that a crippled man is a reproach to their pro- 
fession, and that there is no wiser course than to let every 
one of them die when he ceases to be fit to fight. 

I am about to send to you some new recruits. Don't 
economize them. Remember glory before all things. Glory 
is true wealth. There is nothing degrades the soldier like 
the love of money. He must care only for honour and reputa- 
tion, but this reputation must be acquired in the midst of 
dangers. A battle gained without costing the conqueror 
any blood is an inglorious success, while the conquered cover 
themselves with glory by perishing with their arms in their 
hands. Do you remember that of the 300 Lacedaemonians 
who defended the defile of Thermopylae, not one returned ? 
How happy should I be could I say the same of my brave 
Hessians ! 

It is true that their king, Leonidas, perished with them: 
but things have changed, and it is no longer the custom for 
princes of the empire to go and fight in America for a cause 
with which they have no concern. And besides, to whom 
should they pay the thirty guineas per man if I did not stay 
in Europe to receive them? Then, it is necessary also that 
I be ready to send recruits to replace the men you lose. For 
this purpose I must return to Hesse. It is true, grown men 



1777] 



THE SALE OF THE HESSIANS 



29 



are becoming scarce there, but I will send you boys. Be- 
sides, the scarcer the commodity the higher the price. I am 
assured that the women and little girls have begun to till 
our lands, and they get on not badly. You did right to send 
back to Europe that Dr. Crumerus who was so successful 
in curing dysentery. Don't bother with a man who is subject 
to looseness of the bowels. That disease makes bad soldiers. 
One coward will do more mischief in an engagement than 
ten brave men will do good. Better that they burst in their 
barracks than fly in a battle, and tarnish the glory of our 
arms. Besides, you know that they pay me as killed for 
all who die from disease, and I don't get a farthing for run- 
aways. My trip to Italy, which has cost me enormously, 
makes it desirable that there should be a great mortality 
among them. You will therefore promise promotion to all 
who expose themselves; you will exhort them to seek glory 
in the midst of dangers; you will say to Major Maundorff 
that I am not at all content with his saving the 345 men who 
escaped the massacre of Trenton. Through the whole cam- 
paign he has not had ten men killed in consequence of his 
orders. Finally, let it be your principal object to prolong 
the war and avoid a decisive engagement on either side, 
for I have made arrangements for a grand Italian opera, and 
I do not wish to be obliged to give it up. Meantime I pray 
God, my dear Baron de Hohendorf, to have you in his holy 
and gracious keeping. 



30 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

830. TO RICHARD PETERS 1 (p. R. o.) 

March 6, 1777. 

DEAR SIR: The Bearer, Mr. Garanger, Captain of 
Bombardiers, had, as he informs me, engaged to go to Amer- 
ica with M. de Coudray, an officer of great Distinction in the 
Artillery, who is engaged in our Service, and sailed some time 
since. M. Garanger not being then ready was left behind. 
He is well recommended to me by M. Brisson, 2 a Gentleman 
of Science here, and has other Certificates of his Abilities 
to shew; besides that, the Judgment of M. de Coudray, in 
chusing to engage him, is of itself more than a sufficient 
Recommendation. I know nothing of the Contract between 
them, and must for that refer to M. de Coudray himself, 
who I hope is by this time safely arrived. I only beg leave 
to introduce him to you, to recommend him to your Civilities 
and Countenance, as a Gentleman who is zealous for our 
Cause and desirous to serve it, and to request you will present 
him to the Board of War. I Congratulate you on the Check 
given to the Enemy in New Jersey, and wishing continued 
Success to our Arms, and to you, and Mrs. Peters Health, 
and Happiness, I have the honour to be, Dear Sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Richard Peters (1744-1828), an eminent jurist of Philadelphia, was 
elected by Congress (June 13, 1776) secretary of the Continental board of 
war, and later was also a commissioner of war. ED. 

2 Mathurin- Jacques Brisson (1723-1806), naturalist and physicist; suc- 
cessor to Abbe Nollet in the chair of physics at the College of Navarre. His 
" Histoire de 1'Electricite " was translated by Dr. Priestley. Captain Garanger 
had seen twenty-one years' service in the artillery. His brother was a lieu- 
tenant in the same service. Franklin's acquaintance with them began Janu- 
ary 24, 1777. ED. 



1777] 



TO ARTHUR LEE 



831. TO ARTHUR LEE 1 



(L. c.) 



Passy, March 21, 1777. 

DEAR SIR, 

We have received your Favours from Vitoria and from 
Burgos. The Congress, sitting at Baltimore, dispatched a 
Packet to us the Qth of January, containing Accounts of the 
Success at Trenton, and subsequent Events to that Date, as 
far as they had come to knowledge. The Vessel was obliged 
to run up a little River in Virginia to avoid some Men-of- 
War, and was detained there 17 Days, or we should have 
had these Advices sooner. We learn however thro* England, 
where they have News from N. York to the 4th of February, 
that in Lord Cornwallis's retreat to Brunswick two Regi- 
ments of his Rear Guard were cut to pieces; that G. Wash- 
ington having got round him to Newark and Eliz. Town, he 

1 In a letter from the Commissioners to the Committee of Secret Cor- 
respondence, dated at Paris, February 6th, they write as follows : " Finding 
that our residence here together is nearly as expensive as if 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 Dr. Franklin to the Hague. 
Mr. Lee sets out to-morrow, having obtained passports, and a letter from the 
Spanish ambassador here to the minister there. The journey to Holland will 
not take place so soon. The particular purposes of these journeys we cannot 
prudently now explain." 

Mr. Lee was not permitted by the Spanish court to proceed any farther 
than Burgos. He was there met by the Marquis de Grimaldi, one of the 
ministers, and succeeded in obtaining from the Spanish government a small 
amount of money for purchasing military supplies, which were subsequently 
shipped to the United States from Bilboa. William Alexander wrote to 
Franklin (May 24, 1777), "I see you have made my old friend Lee a min- 
ister at Madrid, I think he has very much the manners of a Spaniard when 
he is not angry." ED. 



32 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

had retired to Amboy in his Way to New York; that Gen. 
Howe had called in the Garrisons of Fort Lee and Fort Con- 
stitution, which were now possessed by our People ; that, on 
the York side, Forts Washington and Independence were 
retaken by our Troops, and that the British Forces at Rhode 
Island were recalled for the Defence of New York. 

The Committee in their Letters mention the Intention of 
Congress to send Ministers to the Courts of Vienna, Tuscany, 
Holland, and Prussia. They also send us a fresh Commission, 
containing your Name instead of Mr. Jefferson's, with this 
additional Clause, "and also to enter into, and agree upon a 
Treaty with His Most Christian Majesty, or such other Per- 
son or Persons as shall be by him authorized for that purpose, 
for assistance in carrying on the present War between Gr. Br. 
and these United States." The same Clause is in a particular 
Commission they have sent me, to treat with the Court of 
Spam, similar to our Common Commission to the Court of 
France ; l 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 2 for 
whom you have my Letter, (a Circumstance of little Impor- 
tance,) and I am really unable thro' Age to bear the Fatigue 
and Incommodities 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 

1 On the ist of January, 1777, Congress resolved : ' That Benjamin Frank- 
lin be directed to proceed to the court of Spain, and there transact, in behalf 
of the United States, such business as shall be intrusted to him by Congress, 
agreeably to the instructions, that may be given to him, and transmitted by 
the Committee of Secret Correspondence." See his Commission in the 
Secret Journal of Congress, Vol. II, p. 42. ED. 

2 Don Gabriel de Bourbon. ED. 



1777] TO ARTHUR LEE 33 

receive a particular Commission from Congress, which will 
no doubt be sent as soon as the Circumstances are 
known. 

We know of no Plans or Instructions transmitted to Mr. 
Deane but those you have with you. By this Packet, indeed, 
we have some fresh Instructions, which relate to your mission, 
viz. that, in case France and Spain will enter into the War, 
the United States will assist the former in the Conquest of 
the British Sugar Islands, and the latter in the Conquest of 
Portugal, promising the Assistance of 6 Fregates mann'd, of 
not less than 24 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 Oppor- 
tunity have the Instructions at length. I believe we must 
send a Courier. 

We are ordered to borrow if we can, ^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 6 Ships of War. It is a 
Pleasure to find the things ordered, which we were doing 
without Orders. 

We are also to acquaint the several Courts with the Deter- 
mination of America to maintain at all Events our Indepen- 
dance. You will see, by the Date of the Resolution relating to 
Portugal, as well as by the above, that the Congress were stout 
in the midst of their Difficulties. It would be well to sound the 
Court of Spain on the Subject of permitting our arm'd Ships 
to bring Prizes into her Ports, and there dispose of them. 
If it can not be done openly, in what manner we can be accom- 
modated with the Use of their Ports, or under what Restric- 

VOL. VII D 



34 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

tions? This Government has of late been a little nice on 
that head; and the Orders to L'Orient have occasioned 
Captain Wickes some Trouble. 

We have good Advice from our Friend of Amster dm , that, 
in the Height of British Pride on their Summer Success, and 
just before they heard of any Check, the ambassador, Sir 
Joseph York, 1 had been ordered to present a haughty Memo- 
rial to the States, importing that, notwithstanding their 
Promises to restrain their Subjects from supplying the Rebels, 
it was notorious, that those Supplies were openly furnish'd 
by Hollanders at St. Eustatia ; and that the Governor of that 
Island had returned, from his Fort, the Salute of a Rebel Ship 
o] War with an equal Number of Guns; that the King justly 
and highly resented these Proceedings, and demanded that 
the States should by more severe Provisions restrain that 
Commerce; that they should declare their disapprobation 
of the insolent Behaviour of their Governor, and punish 
him by an immediate Recall; otherwise his Majesty, who 
knew what appertained to the Dignity of his Crown, would 
take proper Measures to vindicate it: And he required an 
immediate answer. The States coolly returned the Memorial, 
with only this Observation, that, when the Respect due to 
Sovereigns was not preserved in a Memorial, an Answer to it 
ought not to be expected. But the City of Amsterdam took 
fire at the Insolence of it, and have instructed their Deputies 
in the States to demand Satisfaction by the British Court's 
Disavowal of the Memorial, and a Reprimand of the Ambas- 
sador. The States immediately demanded a Number of 
Men-of-War ships to be put in Commission. Perhaps since 

1 Sir Joseph Yorke, Baron Dover (1724-1792), was British minister at the 
Hague from 1751 to 1780. ED. 



1777] TO ARTHUR LEE 35 

the bad News is come, England may be civil enough to make 
up this little Difference. 1 

Mr. Deane is still here. You desire our Advice about your 
stopping at Burgos. We agree in Opinion, that you should 
comply with the Request. While we are asking Aids, it is 
necessary to gratify the desires, and in some Sort comply 
with the Humours, of those we apply to. Our business now 
is to carry our Point. But I have never yet changed the Opin- 
ion I gave in Congress, that a Virgin State should preserve 
the Virgin Character, and not go about suitoring for Alliances, 
but wait with decent Dignity for the Applications of others. 
I was overrul'd; perhaps for the best. 

With the greatest Esteem, I am ever, dear Sir, your most 
obedient humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN 

1 Benjamin Sowden wrote to Franklin from Rotterdam, June 7, 1777 
(A. P. S.) : " It was at my Desire that Mr. Arrenberg [publisher of Gazetteer 
Frartfais de Leide'} sent you in his last, a French piece entitled Avis aux 
Hessois [Mirabeau ED.] which was much approved, and has had a sur- 
prising run in this country. It is generally supposed to be the production of 
a French gentleman in the Hague, where in reality it was printed, and not at 
Clevcs as is asserted on the title-page. He added of his own accord, Sir 
Joseph Yorke's menacing, or rather bullying, Memorial to the States, which 
gave them such offense that had it not been Proved he received it ready 
drawn up from England, they were determined to have informed him that he 
might leave this country as soon as he pleased. It is generally said and 
believed here, to have been composed by the King himself, and indeed the 
indeterminate expression presque a la Portee du Canon shows it to be the 
production of a Person unskilled in that precision with which things of this 
nature ought always to be penned." EJD. 



36 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 



832. MODEL OF A LETTER OF RECOMMENDA- 
TION (L. c.) 
Paris, April 2, 1777. 

SIR: The bearer of this, who is going to America, 
presses me to give him a Letter of Recommendation, tho' I 
know nothing of him, not even his Name. This may seem 
extraordinary, but I assure you it is not uncommon here. 
Sometimes, indeed one unknown Person brings another 
equally unknown, to recommend him; and sometimes they 
recommend one another ! As to this Gentleman, I must refer 
you to himself for his Character and Merits, with which he is 
certainly better acquainted than I can possibly be. I recom- 
mend him however to those Civilities, which every Stranger, 
of whom one knows no Harm, has a Right to ; and I request 
you will do him all the good Offices, and show him all the 
Favour that, on further Acquaintance, you shall find him to 
deserve. I have the Honour to be, etc. [B. F.] 



833. TO LORD STORMONT 1 (p. c.) 



MY LORD Paris A P ril 2 > 

We did ourselves the Honour of writing some time since to 

, your Lordship on the Subject of Exchanging Prisoners. 

1 From the private collection of Mr. D. McN. Stauffer. A copy of this letter 
was immediately sent by Lord Stormont to Lord Weymouth, with the 
following note (P. R. O.) : 

" Thursday morning, April 3* 1777 
" MY LORD, 

" I send your Lordship a Copy of a very Extraordinary, and Insolent Letter, 
that has just been left at my House, by a Person who called himself an 



1777] TO LORD STORMONT 37 

You did not condescend to give us any Answer, and therefore 
we expect none to this. We however take the Liberty of 
sending you Copies of certain Depositions which we shall 
transmit to Congress whereby it will be known to your Court 
that the United States are not unacquainted with the barba- 
rous Treatment their People receive when they have the Mis- 
fortune of being your Prisoners here in Europe. And that if 
your Conduct towards us is not altered it is not unlikely that 
severe Reprisals may be thought justifiable from the Ne- 
cessity of putting some Check to such abominable Practices. 
For the sake of Humanity it is to be wish'd that Men would 
endeavour to alleviate as much as possible the unavoidable 
Misseries attending a State of War. It has been said that 
among the civilized Nations of Europe the ancient Horrors 
of that State are much diminished. But the Compelling 
Men by Chains, Stripes & Famine to fight against their 
Friends and Relations, is a new Mode of Barbarity which 
your Nation alone has the Honour of inventing. And the 
sending American Prisoners of War to Africa and Asia remote 
from all Probability of Exchange and where they can scarce 
hope ever to hear from their Families even if the Unwhole- 
someness of the Climate does not put a speedy End to their 
Lives, is a manner of treating Captives that you can justify 

English Gentleman ; I thought it by no means Proper to appear to have 
received, and kept such a Letter, and therefore, My Lord, instantly sent it 
Back, by a Savoyard, seemingly unopened, under Cover to M? Cannichal 
who I discovered to be the Person that had brought the Letter, I added the 
following short unsigned Note. ' The Kings Ambassador receives no Letters 
from Rebels but when they come to implore His Majestys Mercy.' 
" I am with the greatest Truth and Respect, etc. 

" STORMONT." 

An auto, draft of Franklin's letter is in L. G indorsed by Franklin, 
"return'd with Insult." ED. 



38 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

by no Precedent or Custom except that of the black Savages 
of Guinea. 

We are Your Lordships most obed* Humble Servants 

BENj n FRANKLIN. 

SILAS DEANE. 



834. TO M. LITH (L.C.) 

Passy near Paris April 6, 1777. 
SIR, 

I have just been honoured with a Letter from you, dated the 
26th past, in which you express yourself as astonished, and 
appear to be angry, that you have no Answer to a Letter you 
wrote me of the nth of December, which you are sure was 
delivered to me. 

In exculpation of myself, I assure you that I never received 
any Letter from you of that date. And indeed, being then 
but 4 days landed at Nantes, I think you could scarce have 
heard so soon of my being in Europe. 

But I received one from you of the 8th of January, which I 
own I did not answer. It may displease you, if I give you 
the Reason; but, as it may be of use to you in your future 
Correspondences, I will hazard that for a Gentleman to whom 
I feel myself oblig'd, as an American, on ace* of his good Will 
to our Cause. 

Whoever writes to a Stranger should observe 3 Points. 
i. That what he proposes be practicable. 2. His Propositions 
should be made in explicit Terms, so as to be easily under- 
stood. 3. What he desires should be in itself reasonable. 
Hereby he will give a favourable Impression of his Under- 
standing, and create a Desire of further Acquaintance. Now 



1777] TO M. LITH 39 

it happened that you were negligent in all these Points; 
for, first, you desired to have Means procur'd for you of tak- 
ing a Voyage to America "avec surett" ; which is not possible, 
as the Dangers of the Sea subsist always, and at present there 
is the additional Danger of being taken by the English. Then 
you desire that this may be u sans trop grandes Dtpenses" 
which is not intelligible enough to be answer'd, because, not 
knowing your Ability of bearing Expences, one cannot judge 
what may be trop grandes. Lastly, you desire Letters of 
Address to the Congress and to General Washington ; which 
it is not reasonable to ask of one who knows no more of you, 
than that your Name is Lith, and that you live at Bayreuth. 

In your last you also express yourself in vague Terms, 
when you desire to be inform'd whether you may expect 
"d'ttre refu, d'une manikre cowvenable" in our Troops. 
As it is impossible to know what your Ideas are of the manikre 
convenable, how can one answer this ? And then you demand, 
whether I will support you by my Authority in giving you 
Letters of Recommendation. I doubt not your being a Man 
of Merit ; and, knowing it yourself, you may forget that it is 
not known to everybody ; but reflect a Moment, Sir, and you 
will be convinced, that, if I were to practise giving Letters 
of Recommendation to Persons of whose Character I knew 
no more than I do of yours, my Recommendations would soon 
be of no Authority at all. 

I thank you, however, for your kind Desire of being Ser- 
viceable to my Countrymen; and I wish in return, that I 
could be of Service to you in the scheme you have formed 
of going to America. But Numbers of experienced Officers 
here have offer* d to go over and join our Army, and I could 
give them no Encouragement, because I have no Orders 



40 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

for that purpose, and I know it extremely difficult to place 
them when they come there. I cannot but think, therefore, 
that it is best for you not to make so long, so expensive, and so 
hazardous a Voyage, but to take the Advice of your Friends, 
and "stay in Franconia" I have the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



835. TO CONDE D'ARANDA 1 (i.e.) 

Passy, April 7, 1777. 

SIR, 

I left in your Excellency's Hands, to be communicated, if 
you please, to your Court, a Duplicate of the Commission 
from Congress, appointing me to go to Spain as their Minister 
Plenipotentiary. But, as I understand that the Receiving 
such a Minister is not at present thought convenient, and I am 
sure the Congress would have nothing done that might in- 
commode in the least a Court they so much respect, I shall 
therefore postpone that Journey till Circumstances may make 
it more suitable. In the mean time, I beg leave to lay before 
his Catholic Majesty, through the Hands of your Excel! 7 , 
the Propositions contained in a Resolution of Congress, dated 
Dec. 30, 1776, viz. 

"That, if His Catholic Majesty will join with the United 
States in a War against Great Britain, they will assist in re- 
ducing to the Possession of Spain the Town and Harbour of 
Pensacola; provided the Inhabitants of the United States 
shall have the free Navigation of the Mississippi, and the Use 
of the Harbour of Pensacola ; and will, (provided it shall be 
true, that his Portuguese Majesty has insultingly expelled the 

1 Spanish ambassador to the court of France. See page 191. ED. 



1777] TO C. RYBOT 41 

Vessels of these States from his Ports, or has confiscated any 
such Vessels,) declare War against the said King, if that 
Measure shall be agreable to, and supported by, the Courts 
of France and Spain." 

It is understood, that the strictest union subsists between 
those two courts ; and, in case Spain and France should think 
fit to attempt the Conquest of the English Sugar Islands, 
the Congress have further proposed to furnish Provisions to 
the Amount of two Millions of Dollars, and to join their 
Fleet, with 6 frigates of not less than twenty-four guns each, 
manned and fitted for service ; and to render any other Assist- 
ance which may be in their Power, as becomes good Allies ; 
without desiring for themselves the possession of any of the 
said Islands. 

These propositions are subject to Discussion, and to re- 
ceive such Modification as may be found proper. With 
great respect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



836. TO C. RYBOT (L.C.) 

Passy, April 9, 1777. 

SIR: I believe it is very unusual for one Man to pay 
another's Debts without being desired so to do by the Debtor 
or knowing that he acknowledges the Sum demanded to be 
due. Mr. Hood is as much a Stranger to me as he is to you. 
You have lent him 3 Guineas ; I have lent him 30, supposing 
him an honest Man. By the account you give me of his Treat- 
ment of you, and which I do not doubt, he appears to be 
otherwise ; and from the Falshoods he told you and wrote to 



42 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

you, there is reason to question the Truth of what he has said 
of his Estate and Ability to pay. These are certainly no 
Inducements to me to advance more on his Account. The 
Letters he brought for me were of small Consequence, and the 
Packets contain'd only Newspapers. The benefit therefrom 
which you suppose I received by your helping him on to Paris, 
is vastly less than the Damage I shall suffer by his coming 
thither, if I am not paid; and I imagine that if a Man in- 
trusted with carrying Letters to you should obtain a Credit 
by showing them, you would hardly think yourself obliged 
to pay his Debts. In the Memorandum you left with me you 
have not given your Address in London. Send me that, if 
you please. 

I shall take the same Care and Pains to recover your Money 
as my own, and when recovered shall faithfully remit it to 
you. This seems to me all that you can fairly desire of, sir, 

your most obedient humble Servant 1 

B. FRANKLIN 

1 This letter was an answer to one of the previous day from Mr. Rybot to 
the following effect : " I did not imagine you would have hesitated to pay me 
the trifling sum I disbursed for Mr. Wood, as had I not assisted him he must 
(as himself declared) have staid at Calais till you had, w ch besides the expence 
might have been detrimental to your concerns by y e delay ; 'tis true I have no 
immediate call upon you, but as a man of known integrity, I am persuaded 
you would not have me to be a sufferer by an act, from w 011 you reaped the 
benefit" (A. P. S.). ED. 



1777] TO THE BISHOP OF TRICOMIA 43 

837. TO RICHARD BACHE 1 

Passy near Paris, April 14, 1777. 

DEAR SON : The bearer, Mr. Guez, 2 being well recom- 
mended to me as a skilful surgeon, and otherwise of good 
character for his morals and prudence, I recommend him to 
your civilities and advice, which as a stranger he may have 
occasion for ; and as he has not sufficient to pay his passage 
here, and will not be able to provide such a sum immediately 
there I desire you to advance it for him out of my money left 
in your hands, and take his bond for repayment in a year. I 
request likewise that you will endeavor to introduce him to 
some employment either in the army or navy ; or if those are 
full, into some town or place where one of his profession may 
be wanted. Ben and Temple continue well, with your affec- 
tionate father, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

838. TO THE BISHOP OF TRICOMIA 8 (L. c.) 

Passy, April 22 1777. 

REV D SIR : Mr. Mercley, whom your Reverence men- 
tions as having made Promises to Monsieur, your Brother, 

1 Printed from John Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Frank- 
lin," Vol. VI, p. 89. ED. 

2 M. Guez was a young Swiss, son of a famous surgeon at Montpellicr and 
Lausanne. This letter to Bache was written upon the very day that M. Guez 
called upon Franklin with a letter of recommendation from Court de Gebelin, 
who had at that moment completed the fourth volume of " Monde primi- 
tif." ED. 

* Tricomia is an extinct see in the Holy Land, near Jerusalem. ED. 



44 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

was employ 'd as a Merchant to purchase some military Stores 
for the Congress, but I know of no Authority that he had to 
engage Officers of the Marine, or to make any Promises to 
such in our Behalf. I have not myself (as I have already 
had the Honour of telling your Reverence) the least Author- 
ity from the Congress to make Promises to Officers to en- 
courage their going to America ; and since my Arrival in France 
I have constantly dissuaded all who have applied to me, 
from undertaking the Voyage, as I know how difficult it 
would be for them to find Employment, a few Engineers and 
Officers of the Artillery excepted, who are gone. Neverthe- 
less if your Brother continues resolv'd to go thither at his own 
Expence and the Risque of finding or not finding Employ- 
ment, which I cannot advise him to do, I will give him 
Letters of Introduction to Gentlemen there, recommending 
him to their Civilities ; but I must at the same time caution 
him against having any Reliance on those Letters as a means 
of procuring him a Command in our Armies, since I am by 
no means sure they will have any such Effect. I will, if you 
please, give him a Letter to Gen. Washington; but then I 
should have the State of his services to enclose ; and if accom- 
panied with Recommendations from some General Officers 
of Note, it will be so much the better. 

My Door is never shut to your Reverence when I am at 
home, as I am almost every Evening. With great Respect 
I have the Honour to be, your Reverence's most obedient and 
most humble Serv 1 , B. F. 



1777] 



TO VISCOUNT DE PONTE DE LIMA 



45 



839. TO VISCOUNT DE PONTE DE LIMA l (L. c.) 

Paris, April 26. 1777 

SIR : The Congress of the United States of America have 
seen a Paper purporting to be an Edict of his Portuguese 
Majesty, dated at the Palace of Ajudo the 4th of July, 1776, 
in which the said States are treated with Contumely, their 
Ships however distressed, forbidden to enter any Port in 
his Dominions, and his Subjects everywhere forbidden to 
afford them the least Shelter or Relief. But as this Instru- 
ment has not been communicated to the Congress with any 
Circumstance of Authenticity, and appears only in Gazettes 
which frequently contain fictitious Pieces not to be rely'd on ; 
as a long Friendship and Commerce has subsisted between the 
Portuguese and the Inhabitants of North America, whereby 
Portugal has been supplied with the most necessary Com- 
modities in Exchange for her Superfluities, and not the least 
Injury has ever been committed or even offered by America 
to that Kingdom, the United States can scarcely bring them- 
selves to believe that the said Edict is genuine, and that Portu- 
gal, which, but little more than a Century since, was with 
respect to its former government in a Situation similar to 
theirs, should be the first to reproach them with it as a Crime 
that rendered them unworthy of the common Rights of Hu- 

1 Minister for the affairs of the kingdom of Portugal. Another draft of this 
document in L. C. is indorsed by Franklin, "Rough of the Memorial to 
Portugal sent by M. Castrioto." Mr. Bigelow printed both drafts (Vol. VI, 
pp. 91 and 93). As they are substantially the same, I have printed only the 
memorial as sent. Another copy in the hand of Temple Franklin, with an 
interlineation by Franklin, is in the Auckland Mss. at King's College, Cam- 
bridge. ED. 



46 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

manity, and should be the only Power in Europe that has 
rejected their Commerce and assumed to judge of their Cause, 
and condemn them without Authority, Hearing or Enquiry. 
We, therefore, being Ministers of the Congress of the said 
United States, have been charged by them to represent to his 
most faithful Majesty their sincere desire to live in Peace with 
all Mankind, and particularly with his Nation ; that if he has 
been by their Enemies surpris'd into the issuing such an Edict, 
he would be pleased in his Wisdom to reconsider and revoke it ; 
and that he would henceforth permit the Continuance of the 
said Friendly and Commercial Intercourse between his Peo- 
ple and theirs, which has ever been so advantageous to both. 
This Representation we now take the Liberty of making to 
your Court through the Medium of your Excellency; and 
whatever might have been its Reception if it had been made 
before the late Change, we do not now allow ourselves to 
doubt of its having in due time a favourable Answer, being 
persuaded from the equitable Character of the present Gov- 
ernment that the Measure in question cannot be approved of, 
and such unworthy Treatment continued towards an inoffen- 
sive and Friendly People. 

With great Respect, we have the Honour to be your Ex- 
cellency's most obedient and most humble Servants, 

B. FRANKLIN, 
SILAS DEANE 
ARTHUR LEE 

Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the 
United States of North America. 



I777 ] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 47 

840. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 1 (L. c.) 

[Paris, April 26, 1777.] 

I LONG laboured in England, with great zeal and sin- 
cerity, to prevent the breach that has happened, and which is 
now so wide, that no endeavours of mine can possibly heal it. 
You know the treatment I met with from that imprudent 

1 This letter has been variously treated by Franklin's editors. It has been 
published as two different letters, and it has been conjectured that it was 
addressed to Dr. Joseph Priestley. The date assigned to it by Mr. Bigelow 
and repeated in the " List of the Benjamin Franklin Papers " (L. C.) is 1778. 

An examination of the Ingenhousz letters in A. P. S. has shown that the 
letter was addressed to Dr. Ingenhousz, and that it was written April 26, 
1777. 

Ingenhousz wrote to Franklin November 15, 1776, lamenting the scene 
"of horror and bloodshed" of which America was the theatre. "What 
dismal scene of confusion, anarchy and bloodshed exhibits this once happy 
climate which did seem to be destined by the Author of Nature for the abode 
of tranquillity, the asilum for those who are persecuted for religious principles, 
and the only seat of undisturbed human felicity." From Franklin he declared 
he had learned to regard Great Britain and the colonies as one country, 
" having one common seat of government, which you thought should better 
remain where it always was, than to be transferred within the colonies. You 
told me more than once, that no more distinction should be made between a 
man residing in England and one residing in North America, than between 
the inhabitants of London and Sheffield Knowing from your own mouth 
this to be your principle, I found myself often obliged to defend your conduct 
before the most Respectable Persons, who were very willing to adscribe (sic) 
in a great measure to you this unhappy contest and all the bloodshed of which 
it has been already and may be still the cause will this dreadful storm at 
last subside and end in a calm, as human affairs commonly do ? Or will it end 
in a total subversion of things ? Will all the industrious labour of your ances- 
tors employed in changing those wildernesses in the happyest abode for civil- 
ized men, at once been rendered useless, and their so newly erected cities 
converted again into inhabited deserts. I shudder at the very thoughts of 
such horrid catastrophes, of which no example has ever happened upon the 
surface of the earth." ED. 



48 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

court; but I keep a separate account of private injuries, 
which I may forgive ; and I do not think it right to mix them 
with public affairs. Indeed, there is no occasion for their 
aid to whet my resentment against a nation, that has burnt 
our defenceless towns in the midst of winter, has excited the 
savages to assassinate our innocent farmers, with their wives 
and children, and our slaves to murder their masters ! 

It would therefore be deceiving you, if I suffered you to re- 
main in the supposition you have taken up, that I am come to 
Europe to make peace. I am in fact ordered hither by the 
Congress for a very different purpose; viz. to procure those 
aids from European powers, for enabling us to defend our 
freedom and independence, which it is certainly their interest 
to grant; as by that means the great and rapidly growing 
trade of America will be open to them all, and not a monop- 
oly to Great Britain, as heretofore ; a monopoly, that, if she 
is suffered again to possess, will be such an increase of her 
strength by sea, and if she can reduce us again to submission, 
she will have thereby so great an addition to her strength by 
land, as will, together, make her the most formidable power 
the world has yet seen ; and, from her natural pride and inso- 
lence in prosperity, of all others the most intolerable. 

You desire to know my Opinion of what will probably be 
the End of this War; and whether our new Establishments 
will not be thereby reduced again to Deserts. I do not, for 
my part, apprehend much danger of so great an Evil 
to us. I think we shall be able, with a little Help, to 
defend ourselves, our Possessions, and our Liberties so long 
that England will be ruined by persisting in the wicked at- 
tempt to destroy them. I must nevertheless regret that Ruin, 
and wish that her Injustice and Tyranny had not deserv'd 



I777 ] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 49 

it. And I sometimes flatter myself, that, old as I am, I may 
possibly live to see my Country settled in Peace and Pros- 
perity, when Britain shall make no more a formidable Figure 
among the Powers of Europe. 

You put me in mind of an Apology for my Conduct, which 
has been expected from me in Answer to the Abuses thrown 
upon me before the Privy Council. 1 It was partly written, 
but the Affairs of publick Importance I have ever since been 
engag'd in prevented my finishing it. The Injuries, too, that 
my Country has suffer'd, have absorbed private Resentments, 
and made it appear trifling for an Individual to trouble the 
World with his particular justification, when all his Com- 
patriots were stigmatized by the King and Parliament as 
being, in every respect, the worst of Mankind/ I am oblig'd 
to you, however, for the friendly Part you have always taken 
in the Defence of my Character; and it is indeed no small 
Argument in my favour that those who have known me most 
and longest still love me and trust me with their most impor- 
tant Interests, of which my Election into the Congress by the 
Unanimous Voice of the Assembly, or Parliament of Penn- 
sylvania, the day after my arrival from England, and my 
present Mission hither by the Congress itself, are Instances 
incontestable. 

I thank you for the Account you give me of M. Volta's 
Experiment. You judge rightly in supposing, that I have not 
much time at present to consider philosophical Matters;* 

1 " You promised me to send me a copy of your Apology ; but I have 
heard nothing about it since." Ingenhousz to Franklin, November 15 
1776. ED. 

1 " If I could expect that in the middel of the horrors of a civil war you 
reserved some hours to philosophical pursuites, I should entertain you with 
some experiments upon air and other matters, which I made some time ago 

VOL. VII B 



50 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1777 

but, as far as I understand it from your Description, it is only 
another form of the Leyden Phial, and explicable by the same 
Principles. I must, however, own myself puzzled by one part 
of your Account, viz. "and thus the electric Force once ex- 
cited may be kept alive years together," which is perhaps 
only a Mistake. I have known it indeed to be continued 
many Months in a Phial hermetically sealed, and suppose 
it may be so preserved for Ages; but, though one may, by 
repeatedly touching the Knob of a charg'd Bottle with a small 
insulated Plate, like the upper one of the Electrophore, draw 
an incredible number of Sparks successively, that is, one after 
every touch, and those for a while not apparently different in 
magnitude, yet at length they will become small, and the 
Charge be finally exhausted. But I am in the wrong to give 
my Opinion till I have seen the Experiment. 

I like much your Pasteboard Machine, 1 and think it 
may, in some respects, be preferable to the very large Glass 
ones constructed here. The Due de Chaulnes 2 has one, said, 

some of which I hear are to be publish'd in the philosophical trans 

The new Electrical Machine called by the discoverer, one Mr. Volta, an 
Italian gentleman, Electrophorus perpetuus affords much matter of specula- 
tion. Some electricians thinking that the phenomena of this machine do not 
consist with your principles, have attempted to establish new ones ; but I 
think them in the wrong. As the present troubles may possibly have pre- 
vented you getting some knowledge of this discovery, I think it my duty to 
give you a slight idea of its nature." [Here follows a description of the Vol- 
taic battery.] Ingenhousz to Franklin, November 15, 1776. ED. 

1 The " pasteboard machine " was thus referred to by Ingenhousz in his 
letter. " Some years ago I contrived a very strong electrical machine ; it 
consisted of a disk of pasteboard four feet in diameter thoroughly dryed, then 
impregnated and covered with linseed oil varnish and whirled round ver- 
tically, and rubbed by hair skins in the way my flat machines are rubbed." 
ED. 

2 Marie- Joseph d' Albert d'Ailly, due de Chaulnes (1741-1793), aban- 
doned a military career to devote himself to science. He followed with enthu- 



1777] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 51 

if I remember right, to be 5 feet in diameter. I saw it tried, 
but it happened not to be in order. 

You inquire what is become of my Son, the Governor of 
New Jersey. As He adhered to the Party of the King, his 
People took him Prisoner, and sent him under a Guard into 
Connecticut, where he continues; but is allow'd a District 
of some Miles to ride about, upon his Parole of Honour not 
to quit that Country. I have with me here his Son, a Youth 
of about 17, whom I brought with me partly to finish his 
Education, having a great Affection for him, and partly to have 
his Assistance as a Secretary, in which Capacity he is very 
serviceable to me. I have also here with me my worthy 
Nephew, Mr. Williams, whom you ask after. The ingen- 
ious Mr. Canton, our other fellow-traveller, I suppose you 
know is now no more. 1 

As to the present State of our Affairs, w* you desire to 
be inform'd of, the English have long boasted much in their 
Gazettes of their Successes against us ; but our latest Advices 
are that they have been repuls'd in their intended Invasion of 
Pennsylvania, and driven back thro' New Jersey to New 
York, with considerable Loss in three Engagements, so that 
the Campaign will probably end pretty much as it began, 
leaving them only in possession of the Islands which their 
naval Strength secures to them; and we shall in the next 
Campaign be much better provided with Arms and Ammuni- 

siasm Franklin's investigations in electricity. F. presented to A. P. S. (June 
20, 1788) a large drawing upon which he had written "Due de Chaulnes's 
Improvement of Dr. Franklin's electrical Kite." ED. 

1 " I should be very glad to know at the same time how your Nephew 
does, our fellow-traveller with Mr. Canton, and what is become of your son 
the governor of New Jersey." Ingenhousz to Franklin, November 15^ 
1776. ED. 



52 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

tion for their entertainment; when our Force is to consist 
of 84 Battalions. 

God bless you, my dear Friend, and believe me ever yours 
most affectionately, B. F. 



841. JAN INGENHOUSZ TO BENJAMIN 

FRANKLIN (A. P. s.) 

Tissingen in Suabia 

this 28 juin 1777 
DEAR FRIEND 

It seems all your letters miscarry in a certain Way. Your last favour of 
the 26 of April came only to my hands a few days ago after having passed 
thro Vienna and a great part of the German Empire. I am still at Tissingen 
in Suabia upon the estate of the Prince de la Tour et Tassis, whose two sons 
I have successfully inoculated. I intend to set out from here to morrow for 
Manheim were I will stay a few days; from there I will follow the Rhin to 
Cologne, and from there to Holland and be at Amsterdam about the 2o th of 
July, towards the first of August I intend to set out for London, introduce 
a young Physician to the Medical faculty and to set out directly for Paris in 
purpose to find you there towards the middel of August. If you should have 
any commission to be fulfilled in London send only your letter to Amsterdam 
at my name putting upon the direction these words Paste restante. If what 
you would let Sir John or others know you could not communicate to me, you 
want only to enclose a letter to them, which will faithfully be delivered by me, 
tho I know commissions by words are Safer in the present circumstances, as 
they could search my pockets and find letters which they could suspect. But 
in this you will know better than I what precautions you ow to observe 
for not to hurt your friends. If I had not some private business to perform 
in Holland I would set out directly to Paris for to enjoye once more in this 
world the greatest satisfaction of seing the most respectful of all my friends. 
I was the more pleased to hear from yourself, that you will remain some 
months longer in France, and that I have the most flattering hope of finding 
you there in health and happiness. 

Tho both your letters are far from fostering my wishes for to see peace 
restored between America and Great Brittain, I cant lay my hope aside as 
yet. The horrors of a civil war will at last make an impression in the mind 
of the leaders on both side. The noble and generous resistance of the Brave 
Americans will make England yield to their just pretensions of enjoying the 
same liberties and privileges with the mother country. If I had not the 



1777] INGENHOUSZ TO FRANKLIN 53 

honour of knowing you, more than I do Mr Hcnkock, to be a prudent wise 
and moderate man, incapable of that enthusiastic phrensy, which overpowers 
rather than directs the exertion of our judgement, I should not be so decisive 
in my expectation. But I am happy to find even in your own lettres the 
greatest foundation of my hopes, because just all those injuries, brought upon 
America by England, of which you complain, as burning your defenceless 
cities in the winter, exciting Savages &c. are much posterior to the open 
resistance of America. These wounds are consequences of every warr and 
are allways buried in oblivion after the quarrel is settlet. However unwar- 
rantable (and I am convinced they are) and imprudent may be the pro- 
ceedings of the present ministry towards her Colonies, I can not think that 
both these respectable nations deserve such horrid disasters as have been 
allready the consequence of a dispute, which could be settled and can still 
be, if violence of the mind do not overpower the rational faculties of parties 
concerned. I am fully persuaded that you act accordingly to your best judg- 
ment for the good and dignity of your country, and that no privat resentment 
has any share in your proceedings. But I have not been able to persuade 
fully some very respectable persons, that you keep the ungenerous treatment, 
you recived so undeservedly from the ministry, quite upon a separate account 
from public affaires. My respectfull attachment to you make me wish, that 
your immortal name will go over to the latest posterity unsullied with the 
least suspicion of blame, but in the contrary crowned with the glory of having 
during the whole course of your live deserved highly from whole Mankind as 
one of the greatest philosophers, and having finish' d such a glorious carriere 
by settling your own country in peace and prosperity in reuniting the ties, so 
unhappily broken, between the two most respectable nations of the World, 
and blending them in one, the happyest for their laws and liberties and the 
most powerfull, which ever existed in the world. I could wish to have even 
the least share in bringing about such an honourable and happy reunion. 

Somebody told me the Emperour is come to your own house. I know 
he wish'd to have a discours with you, and should be sorry some menage- 
ments for England had prevented him to instruct him self in the company of a 
philosopher. . . . 

What ever may be the consequences of your unhappy warr, it will only 
excite in my mind a pity for both nations and perhaps for whole Mankind, if 
the flames of such a destructive warr should fly over to the rest of the world. 
I will be steadfast in conserving for you all the veneration I had before, and 
the most dutiful sense of gratitude I owe to you for your civilities and friend- 
ship towards me. 

Give my best compliments to Mr Williams and your worthy nephew Franklin. 

I am very respectfully Your most humble and 

dear friend obedient servant and 

affectionate friend 

INGENHOUSZ 



54 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

(D. S. W.) 

842. TO THOMAS GUSHING 1 (L. c.) 

Paris, May I, 1777. 

SIR, 

I thank you for your kind Congratulations on my Arrival 
here, and shall be happy in finding that our Negotiations on 
this side the Water are of effectual Service to our Country. 

The general News here is, that all Europe is arming and 
preparing for War, as if it were soon expected. Many of the 
Powers, however, have their Reasons for endeavouring to 
postpone it, at least a few Months longer. 

Our Enemies will not be able to send against us all the 
Strength they intended ; they can procure but few Germans ; 
and their Recruiting and Impressing at home goes on but 
heavily. They threaten, however, and give out, that Lord 
Howe is to bombard Boston this summer, and Burgoyne, 
with the Troops from Canada, to destroy Providence, and lay 
waste Connecticut; while Howe marches against Phila- 
delphia. They will do us undoubtedly as much Mischief 
as they can ; but the Virtue and Bravery of our Countrymen 
will, with the Blessing of God, prevent part of what they in- 
tend, and nobly bear the rest. This Campaign is entered upon 
with a Mixture of Rage and Despair, as their whole Scheme 
of reducing us depends upon its Success; the wisest of the 
Nation being clear, that, if this fails, Administration will not 
be able to support another. 

[We just now hear from Port L' Orient that a Privateer 

1 A draft of this letter is in L. C.; a trans, is in D. S. W. The part 
enclosed within brackets is stricken out of the draft in L. C, and was not 
included in the letter as sent. ED. 



1777] TO SAMUEL COOPER 55 

from Boston, the brig Rising States, Capt. Thomson, 1 has 
sent in a Prize there, laden with Fruit and Wine from Lisbon 
to London, being the third she has taken. And Mr. Green- 
wood, a Painter, formerly of Boston, who was here a few 
Days since, and returned to London, writes from Dover 
that he saw landed there eight Captains and their Mates, 
out of a Dutch homeward-bound Ship, which had been put 
on board her in the Channel by an American Privateer, who 
had taken their several Ships and burnt two of them. We 
do not know the Privateer's Name.] 

With great respect, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



843. TO SAMUEL COOPER (L. c.) 

Paris, May I, 1777. 

I THANK you for your kind Congratulations on my safe 
Arrival here, and for your good Wishes. I am, as you sup- 
posed, treated with great Civility and Respect by all Orders 
of People; but it gives me still greater Satisfaction to find, 
that our being here is of some Use to our Country. On that 
head I cannot be more explicit at present. 

I rejoice with you in the happy Change of Affairs in America 
last Winter. I hope the same Train of Success will continue 

1 Probably Captain Thomas Thompson, a choleric commander whose criti- 
cism of politics and politicians at home and abroad lends sharpness and 
humour to Franklin's correspondence. He arrived in October, 1777, at Port 
Louis, without despatches and explained that he was tired of waiting upon a 
dilatory Congress : " We have obtained leave after various pretences, not con- 
sistent with the Honour of the U. S. nor the respect due to a Man of War 
belonging to a free and independent Empire but small Folks must sing 
small and for the sake of convenience must abate their dignity." ED. 



56 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

thro' the Summer. Our Enemies are disappointed in the 
Number of additional Troops they purposed to send over. 
What they have been able to muster will not probably recruit 
their Army to the State it was in the beginning of last Cam- 
paign; and ours I hope will be equally numerous, better 
arm'd, and better clothed, than they have been heretofore. 

All Europe is on our Side of the Question, as far as Ap- 
plause and good Wishes can carry them. Those who live 
under arbitrary Power do nevertheless approve of Liberty,, 
and wish for it; they almost despair of recovering it in Eu- 
rope; they read the Translations of our separate Colony 
Constitutions with Rapture; and there are such Numbers 
everywhere, who talk of Removing to America, with their 
Families and Fortunes, as soon as Peace and our Independ- 
ence shall be established, that 'tis generally believed we shall 
have a prodigious Addition of Strength, Wealth, and Arts, 
from the Emigrations of Europe; and 'tis thought, that, to- 
lessen or prevent such Emigrations, the Tyrannies established 
there must relax, and allow more Liberty to their People. 
Hence 'tis a Common Observation here, that our Cause is 
the Cause of all Mankind t and that we are fighting for their 
Liberty in defending our own. 'Tis a glorious task assign'd 
us by Providence ; which has, I trust, given us Spirit and Vir- 
tue equal to it, and will at last crown it with Success. I am 
ever, my dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. F[RANKLIN]. 



1777] TO JOHN WINTHROP 57 

844. TO JOHN WINTHROP (i.e.) 

Paris, May I, 1777. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of February 28, 1 which gave 
me great Pleasure. I forwarded your Letter to Dr. Price, 
who was well lately ; but his Friends, on his ace 1 , were under 
some Apprehensions from the Violence of Government, in 
consequence of his late excellent Publications in favour of 
Liberty. I wish all the Friends of Liberty and of Man 
would quit that Sink of Corruption, and leave it to its Fate. 

The People of this Country are almost unanimously in our 
favour. The Government has its reasons for postponing a 
War, but is making daily the most diligent Preparations 
wherein Spain goes hand in hand. In the mean time, Amer- 
ica has the whole Harvest of Prizes made upon the British 
Commerce ; a kind of Monopoly that has its Advantages, as, 
by affording greater Encouragement to Cruisers, it increases 
the Number of our Seamen, and thereby augments our naval 
Power. 

The Conduct of those Princes of Germany, who have sold 
the Blood of their People, has subjected them to the Contempt 
and Odium of all Europe. The Prince of Anspach, whose 
Recruits mutinied and refus'd to march, was obliged to dis- 
arm and fetter them, and drive them to the seaside by the help 
of his Guards ; himself attending in Person. In his Return 
he was publicly hooted by Mobs thro* every Town he passed 
in Holland, with all sorts of reproachful Epithets. The 

1 The letter dated February 28 is in A. P. S. and is printed in Ilale's 
" Franklin in France," Vol. I, p. 106. ED. 



58 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

King of Prussia's Humour of obliging those Princes to pay 
him the same Toll per Head for the Men they drive thro' 
his Dominions, as used to be paid him for their Cattle, be- 
cause they were sold as such, is generally spoken of with 
Approbation, as containing a just reproof of those Tyrants. 
I send you enclosed one of the many Satires that have appeared 
on this occasion. 1 

With best Wishes of Prosperity to yourself and to my 
dear Country, where I hope to spend my last Years, and lay 
my Bones, I am ever, dear Sir, your affectionate Friend, 

and humble Servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

845. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 2 

Paris, June 13, 1777. 
SIR, 

The bearer, M. le Comte Kotkouski, a Polish officer, is 
recommended to me by several Persons of worth here, as a 
man of experience in military affairs, and of tried bravery. 
He has lost his family and estate in Poland, by fighting there 
in the cause of liberty, and wishes, by engaging in the same 
cause, to find a new country and new friends in America. 
Count Pulaski, who was a general of the confederates in Po- 
land, and who is gone to join you, is esteemed one of the great- 
est officers in Europe. He can give you the character of this 
M. Kotkouski, who served under him as lieutenant-colonel. 5 

1 Perhaps a reference to the satirical jeu # esprit on p. 27. ED. 

2 Printed by Jared Sparks, " The Diplomatic Correspondence of the Amer- 
ican Revolution," Boston, 1829, Vol. Ill, p. 12. -Eo. 

* Count Kothkowski embarked on a Dutch vessel for Boston, with this 
letter of recommendation. He was taken prisoner and carried to Portsmouth, 
where he suffered much, and in December appealed to Franklin for help.- ED. 



1777] 



TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 



59 



It is with regret that I give letters of introduction to foreign 
officers, fearing that you may be troubled with more than you 
can provide for, or employ to their and your own satisfaction. 
When particular cases seem to have a claim to such letters, 
1 hope you will excuse my taking the liberty. I give no ex- 
pectations to those who apply for them ; I promise nothing ; 
I acquaint them, that their being placed when they arrive 
is a great uncertainty, and that, the voyage being long, ex- 
pensive, and hazardous, I counsel them not to undertake it. 
This honest gentleman's zeal is not to be discouraged by such 
means; he determines to go and serve as a volunteer, if he 
cannot be employed immediately as an officer ; but I wish and 
hope, that your Excellency may find a better situation for 
him, and that he will be a useful officer. He has the advan- 
tage of understanding English, and will soon speak it intel- 
ligibly. He also speaks German, and some other European 
languages, and the Latin. With the truest esteem and re- 
spect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



846. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 



SIR, 



Paris, June 13, 1777. 



The person, who will have the honour of delivering this to 
your Excellency, is Monsieur le Baron de Frey, who is well 
recommended to me as an officer of experience and merit, 
with a request that I would give him a letter of introduction. 
I have acquainted him, that you are rather overstocked with 

1 Printed by Jared Sparks, The Diplomatic Correspondence of the Amer- 
ican Revolution," Boston, 1829, Vol. Ill, p. 13. ED. 



60 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

officers, and that his obtaining employment in your army 
is an uncertainty ; but his zeal for the American cause is too 
great for any discouragements I can lay before him, and he 
goes over at his own expense, to take his chance, which is a 
mark of attachment that merits our regard. He will show 
your Excellency the commissions and proofs of his military 
service hitherto, and I beg leave to recommend him to your 
notice. With the sincerest esteem and respect, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



847. TO CAPTAIN HENRY JOHNSON 1 

(P. R. O. A. W. I.) 

Passy, July 22, 1777. 
SIR 

The Bearer M. Le Chevr. de Kninon, who is desirous 
of going to America, is well recommended to me as a Per- 
son of Character and Merit. If he takes his Passage with 
you, I make no doubt that you will treat him with all the 
Civilities due to a Gentleman, in which you will very much 
oblige, Sir, etc., B. FRANKLIN. 



848. BERNARDIN DE SAINT PIERRE TO 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 2 (A. P. s.) 

MONSIEUR, 

Un de mes freres cadets vient d'entrer au service de votre republique et 
j'ai cru cette occasion favorable en vous demandant le service de lui faire 

1 Captain Johnson commanded the American brig privateer Lexington. 
She was captured off Ushant on the iQth of September, 1777, by Lieu- 
tenant iBarely of his Majesty's cutter Alert. Twelve original papers were 
found on board, and are now in P. R. O. A. W. I. ED. 

2 This letter in A. P. S. is endorsed : " This is an autograph of the cele- 



1777] 



TO GEORGE WASHINGTON" 



61 



passer une lettre (dont je vous prie de prendre lecture) de me procurer 1'honneur 
de vous connattre personnellement. II y a longtems, Monsieur, que je vous 
connoissais comme grand phisicien, comme grand orateur, et ce qui passe tous 
les talents parce qu'il exige toutes les vertus comme grand patriote. J'aurois 
pu aisement dans les relations que vous donnent vous travaux trouver ici des 
personnes de votre connaissance et de la mienne, mais j'aime les sciences et je 
frequente peu les scavans car il me semble qu'il y a des choses a acquerir plus 
estimables que les lumieres. 

Si dans quelques uns de vos moments de loisir, vous vouliez bien m'en 
indiquer un pour une entrevue je tacherai de vous interesser en faveur d'un 
frere qui est alle partager la gloire de votre cause et qui me paroit penetre" 
pour vous des mSmes sentimens que moi. 

Agreez, Monsieur, les sentiments d'estime et de respect avec lesquels j'ai 

Thonneur d'fitre, 

Votre tres humble et tres 

obeissant serviteur 

DE SAINT-PIERRE 
ancien Cap 1 }? ingenieur du roy. 
A Th6tel de Bourbon rue de 
la Magdelaine S 4 Honore. 



849. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 1 (D. s. w.) 

[August] 1777. 

SIR: The Marquis de Lafayette, a young nobleman of 
great expectations and exceedingly beloved here, is by this 
time probably with you. By some misapprehension in his 
contract with the merchants of Bordeaux he was prevented 
from using the produce of the cargo he carried over, and so 

brated J. H. Bernardin de St. Pierre, author of ' Etudes de la Nature,' ' Paul 
et Virginie,' etc. The brother here mentioned was Dutailly de St. Pierre. 
He entered into the service of the Americans and after a variety of adven- 
tures some of which were of a disgraceful character he was sent a prisoner to 
France and locked up in the Bastille. Through the interference of Dr. Frank- 
lin he was restored to liberty. Soon after he lost his reason, and ended his 
days in a mad house." See Aime Martin, " Memoir sur la vie et les Ouvrages 
de J. H. Bernardin de Saint Pierre," Paris, 1826, p. 273. ED. 
1 The rough draft of this letter in D. S. W. is without date. ED. 



62 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

was left without a supply of money. His friends here 
have sent him over about 500 sterling; and have pro- 
posed sending him more; but on reflection, knowing the 
extreme generosity of his disposition, and fearing that some 
of his necessitous and artful countrymen may impose on 
his goodness, they wish to put his money into the hands of 
some discreet friend, who may supply him from time to 
time, and by that means knowing his expenses, may take 
occasion to advise him, if necessary, with a friendly affec- 
tion, and secure him from too much imposition. They 
accordingly have desired us to name such a person to them. 
We have not been able to think of one so capable, and so 
suitable from the influence of situation, to perform that 
kind office, as General Washington, under whose eye the 
gentleman will probably be. We beg therefore in his be- 
half, what his friends out of respect would not take the 
liberty of asking, that your Excellency would be pleased 
to furnish him with what money he may want in modera- 
tion, and take his drafts payable to us for the sums paid 
him, which we shall receive here and apply to the public 
service. We also join* with his family in their earnest re- 
quest that you would favour him with your counsels, which 
you may be assured will be an act of benevolence grate- 
fully remembered and acknowledged, by a number of very 
worthy persons here who interest themselves extremely 
in the welfare of that amiable young nobleman. 

With the greatest respect we have the honour to be, sir, 

Your Excellency's, etc. 



1777] TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 63 

850. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON (L. c.) 
Passy Near Paris, September 4, 1777. 

SIR : The Gentleman who will have the Honour of wait- 
ing upon you with this Letter is the Baron de Steuben, 1 
lately a Lieutenant-General in the king of Prussia's Service, 
whom he attended in all his Campaigns, being his Aide- 
de-Camp, Quartermaster General, etc. He goes to Amer- 
ica with a true Zeal for our Cause, and a View of engaging 
in it and rendring it all the Service in his Power. He is 
recommended to us by two of the best Judges of military 
Merit in this Country, M. de Vergennes and M. de St. Ger- 
main, who have long been personally acquainted with him, 
and interest themselves in promoting his Voyage, from a 
full Persuasion that the Knowledge and Experience he has 
acquired by 20 Years 7 Study and Practice in the Prussian 
School may be of great Use in our Armies. I therefore can- 
not but wish that our Service may be made agreable to him. 
I have the honour to be, etc. 

B. F. 

1 Frederick William Augustus Henry Ferdinand von Steuben (Baron 
Steuben) was born in Magdeburg, Prussia, in 1730, and died in Steubenville, 
New York, in 1794. After a brilliant military career in Prussia, having served 
through the Seven Years' War, he entered the American army in September, 
1777. Among the Franklin papers in A. P. S. are several pathetic letters of 
inquiry concerning Steuben written by his aged father in Germany. At the 
close of 1779 nothing had been heard of him since he left Prussia. His 
father, aged eighty-one, and his mother, aged seventy-three, hoped that Franklin 
would not refuse the petition of two aged persons. ED. 



64 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN- FRANKLIN [1777 

851. TO RICHARD PETERS 1 

Passy, September 12, 1777 

SIR, 

The bearer, M. Ge*rard, is recommended to me by M. 
Dubourg, 3 a gentleman of distinction here, and a hearty 
friend to our cause. I enclose his letter, that you may see 
the favourable manner in which he speaks of M. Gerard. 
I thereupon take the liberty of recommending the young 
gentleman to your civilities and advice, as he will be quite 
a stranger there, and to request that you would put him in 
the way of serving as a volunteer in our armies. I am, 
Sir, B. FRANKLIN. 



852. TO ? (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 4, 1777. 

SIR, 

I am much obliged by your communication of the letter 
from England. I am of your opinion, that it is not proper 
for publication here. Our friend's expressions concerning 
Mr. Wilson, will be thought too angry to be made use of by 
one philosopher when speaking of another, and on a phil- 
osophical question. He seems as much heated about this 

1 Printed by Jared Sparks, " The Diplomatic Correspondence of the 
American Revolution," Boston, 1829, Vol. Ill, p. 15. ED. 

2 In a letter dated September 8, 1777. See "The Revolutionary Diplo- 
matic Correspondence of the United States," Wharton, Vol. II, p. 391. ED. 

8 For the controversy in England respecting pointed and blunt lightning 
conductors, see Vol. I, pp. 106-108. See also the report on Lightning Con- 
ductors for the Powder Magazines at Purfleet, August 21, 1772. ED. 



1777] TO JAMES LOVELL 65 

one point, as the Jansenists and Molinists were about the 
five. As to my writing any thing on the subject, which 
you seem to desire, I think it not necessary, especially as I 
have nothing to add to what I have already said upon it in 
a paper read to the committee, who ordered the conductors 
at Purfleet ; which paper is printed in the last French edition 
of my writings. 

I have never entered into any controversy in defence of 
my philosophical opinions ; I leave them to take their chance 
in the world. If they are right, truth and experience will 
support them; if wrong, they ought to be refuted and re- 
jected. Disputes are apt to sour one's temper, and disturb 
one's quiet. I have no private interest in the reception of 
my inventions by the world, having never made, nor pro- 
posed to make, the least profit by any of them. The King's 
changing his pointed conductors for blunt ones is, therefore, 
a matter of small importance to me. If I had a wish about 
it, it would be that he had rejected them altogether as inef- 
fectual. For it is only since he thought himself and family 
safe from the thunder of Heaven, that he dared to use his 
own thunder in destroying his innocent subjects. I am, 
Sir, yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



853. TO JAMES LOVELL 1 (M. H. s.) 

Passy, Near Paris, Oct. 7, 1777 

DEAR SIR 
I received your Favour (without date) communicating a 

1 James Lovell (1737-1814) was a member of the Continental Congress 
from Massachusetts (1776-1782). He was a member of the Committee of 
Foreign Affairs, and diligently corresponded with the American commis- 
sioners and ministers in Europe. ED. 

VOL. VII F 



66 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN* FRANKLIN [1777 

method of secret writing, for which I am obliged to you. 
I have since receiv'd yours of July 4. 

I was very sensible before I left America of the inconven- 
iencies attending the Employment of Foreign officers, and 
therefore immediately on my Arrival here I gave all the 
Discouragement in my Power to their going over ; but Num- 
bers had been previously engag'd by M r Deane who could 
not refuse the Applications made to him. I was concern' d 
in sending the four Engineers, and in making the contract 
with them: but before they went, I had reason to dislike 
one of them, and to wish the agreement had not been made, 
for I foresaw the Discontent that Man was capable of pro- 
ducing among his companions, and I fancy that if instead 
of America they had gone to Heaven it would have been 
the same thing. You can have no conception of the Arts 
and Interest made use of to recommend and engage us to 
recommend very indifferent Persons. The importunity 
is boundless. The Numbers we refuse incredible: which 
if you knew you would applaud us for, and on that Account 
excuse the few we have been prevail'd on to introduce to 
you. But, as somebody says, 

" Poets lose half the Praise they would have got 
Were it but known what they discretely blot." 

I wish we had an absolute order to give no Letter of Recom- 
mendation or even Introduction of the future to any foreign 
officer whatever. 

As to the Instruction passed in Congress respecting French 
Officers who do not understand English we never made it 
known here, from the same apprehension that you express: 
all that understood a little English would have thought 



1777] 



TO THE MARQUIS DE CONDORCET 



themselves intitled to a Commission, and the rest would 
have undertaken to learn it in the passage. 
With great esteem, I am 
Sir, 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 
P. S. B. FRANKLIN 

I enclose some Papers given me by the Baron Steuben, a 
Prussian officer who has gone over. Perhaps there may 
[be] useful Hints in them. 



854. TO THE MARQUIS DE CONDORCET 1 

(p. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 12. 1777 

DEAR SIR 

I send you enclosed the Letter you desire. But as I am 
apprehensive that the young Gentleman may have flattered 
himself with Expectations that are never likely to be an- 
swered in that Country, I wish he would consider it well 
before he undertakes such a Voyage. If he will take the 
Trouble of calling on me, perhaps I may afford him some 
useful Lights on the Subject. 

I have not yet seen in the Vol. of 1773 what you mention. 
I am glad to hear that Mad e la Duchesse d'Enville and 
the amiable Family are well. With the greatest Esteem 
and Respect, Je suis 

Mon cher et illustre Confrere 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 

1 From the original in the possession of Hon. Samuel W. Penny- 
packer. ED. 



68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

P. S. I have read with the highest Pleasure your excellent 
Eloge de M. FHopital. I knew you before as a great Mathe- 
matician: I now consider you as one of the first among 
the Politicians of Europe. 



855. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 14, 1777. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received duly your letter of May 2, 1777, including a 
copy of one you had sent me the year before, which never 
came to hand, and which it seems has been the case with 
some I wrote to you from America. Filled tho' our letters 
have always been with sentiments of good will to both coun- 
tries, and earnest desires of preventing their ruin and pro- 
moting their mutual felicity, I have been apprehensive, 
that, if it were known that a correspondence subsisted be- 
tween us, it might be attended with inconvenience to you. 
I have therefore been backward in writing, not caring to 
trust the post, and not well knowing whom else to trust 
with my letters. But being now assured of a safe convey- 

1 This letter miscarried, and exists only in a copy in D. S. W. David 
Hartley (1732-1813) was the son of David Hartley, the philosopher, after 
whom Coleridge named his eldest child. He was a B.A. of Corpus Christi, 
Oxford, and a fellow of Merton College. He represented Hull in Parliament, 
1774 to 1780 and from 1782 to 1784. His intimate friendship with Franklin 
and his attachment to Lord Rockingham caused him to be elected to act as 
plenipotentiary in Paris, where he helped to draw up the treaty of peace 
between Great Britain and the United States. He eagerly sought to splinter 
the broken joint between Great Britain and the colonies, and deplored the 
folly and madness of the American war. Five large volumes of letters and 
other documents relating to the peace are now in the possession of Mrs. L. Z. 
Leiter, of Washington. ED. 



1777] TO DAVID HARTLEY 69 

ance, I venture to write to you, especially as I think the 
subject such an one as you may receive a letter upon with- 
out censure. 

Happy should I have been, if the honest warnings I gave, 
of the fatal separation of interests, as well as of affections, 
that must attend the measures commenced while I was in 
England, had been attended to, and the horrid mischief of 
this abominable war been thereby prevented. I should 
still be happy in any successful endeavours for restoring 
peace, consistent with the liberties, the safety, and honour 
of America. As to our submitting to the government of 
Great Britain, it is vain to think of it. She has given us, 
by her numberless barbarities in the prosecution of the 
war, and in the treatment of prisoners, by her malice in 
bribing slaves to murder their masters, and savages to 
massacre the families of farmers, with her baseness in re- 
warding the unfaithfulness of servants, and debauching 
the virtue of honest seamen, intrusted with our property, 
so deep an impression of her depravity, that we never again 
can trust her in the management of our affairs and inter- 
ests. It is now impossible to persuade our people, as I long 
endeavoured, that the war was merely ministerial, and that 
the nation bore still a good will to us. The infinite number 
of addresses printed in your gazettes, all approving this 
conduct of your government towards us, and encouraging 
our destruction by every possible means, the great majority 
in Parliament constantly manifesting the same sentiments, 
and the popular public rejoicings on occasion of any news 
of the slaughter of an innocent and virtuous people, fighting 
only in defence of their just rights ; these, together with the 
recommendations of the same measures by even your cele- 



70 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

brated moralists and divines, in their writings and sermons, 
that are cited approved and applauded in your great national 
assemblies ; all join in convincing us, that you are no longer 
the magnanimous and enlightened nation, we once esteemed 
you, and that you are unfit and unworthy to govern us, as 
not being able to govern your own passions. 

But, as I have said, I should be nevertheless happy in 
seeing peace restored. For tho', if my friends and the 
friends of liberty and virtue, who still remain in England, 
could be drawn out of it, a continuance of this war to the 
ruin of the rest would give me less concern, I cannot, as that 
removal is impossible, but wish for peace for their sakes, 
as well as for the sake of humanity, and preventing further 
carnage. 

This wish of mine, ineffective as it may be, induces me to 
mention to you, that, between nations long exasperated 
against each other in war, some act of generosity and kind- 
ness towards prisoners on one side has softened resentment, 
and abated animosity on the other, so as to bring on an ac- 
commodation. You in England, if you wish for peace, 
have at present the opportunity of trying this means, with 
regard to the prisoners now in your goals. They com- 
plain of very severe treatment. They are far from their 
friends and families, and winter is coming on, in which they 
must suffer extremely, if continued in their present situation ; 
fed scantily on bad provisions, without warm lodging, 
clothes, or fire, and not suffered to invite or receive visits 
from their friends, or even from the humane and charitable 
of their enemies. 

I can assure you, from my own certain knowledge, that 
your people, prisoners in America, have been treated with 



I 7 77] TO DAVID HARTLEY 71 

great kindness ; they have been served with the same rations 
of wholesome provisions with our own troops, comfortable 
lodgings have been provided for them, and they have been 
allowed large bounds of villages in a healthy air, to walk 
and amuse themselves with on their parole. Where you 
have thought fit to employ contractors to supply your people, 
these contractors have been protected and aided in their 
operations. Some considerable act of kindness towards 
our people would take off the reproach of inhumanity in 
that respect from the nation, and leave it where it ought 
with more certainty to lay, on the conductors of your war 
in America. This I hint to you, out of some remaining 
good will to a nation I once sincerely loved. But, as things 
are, and in my present temper of mind, not being over fond 
of receiving obligations, I shall content myself with pro- 
posing, that your government would allow us to send or 
employ a commissary to take some care of those unfortu- 
nate people. Perhaps on your representations this might 
speedily be obtained in England, though it was refused most 
inhumanly at New York. 

If you could have leisure to visit the goals in which they 
are confined, and should be desirous of knowing the truth 
relative to the treatment they receive, I wish you would 
take the trouble of distributing among the most necessitous 
according to their wants, two or three hundred pounds, 
for which your drafts on me here shall be punctually hon- 
our'd. You could then be able to speak with some cer- 
tainty to the point in Parliament, and this might be attended 
with good effect. 

If you cannot obtain for us permission to send a com- 
missary, possibly you may find a trusty, humane, discreet 



72 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

person at Plymouth, and another at Portsmouth, who 
would undertake to communicate what relief we may be 
able to afford those unhappy, brave men, martyrs to the 
cause of liberty. [Your King will not reward you for tak- 
ing this trouble, but God will.] I shall not mention the 
good will of America ; you have what is better, the applause 
of your own good conscience. Our captains have set at 
liberty above 200 of your people, made prisoners by our 
armed vessels and brought into France, besides a great 
number dismissed at sea on your coasts, to whom vessels 
were given to carry them in: But you have not returned 
us a man in exchange. If we had sold your people to the 
Moors at Sallee, as you have many of ours to the African 
and East India Companies, could you have complained? 

In revising what I have written, I found too much warmth 
in it, and was about to strike out some parts. Yet I let 
them go, as they will afford you this one reflection; "If a 
man naturally cool, and rendered still cooler by old age, is 
so warmed by our treatment of his country, how much 
must those people in general be exasperated against us? 
And why are we making inveterate enemies by our barbar- 
ity, not only of the present inhabitants of a great country, 
but of their infinitely more numerous posterity; who will 
in future ages detest the name of Englishman, as much as 
the children in Holland now do those of Alva and Span- 
iard.' 11 This will certainly happen, unless your conduct is 
speedily changed, and the national resentment falls where 
it ought to [fall] heavily, on your ministry, [or perhaps 
rather on the King, whose will they only execute]. 

With the greatest esteem and affection, and best wishes 
for your prosperity, I have the honour to be, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1777] TO CAPTAINS THOMPSON AND H IN MAN 73 



856. TO CAPTAINS THOMAS THOMPSON AND 
ELISHA HINMAN (L. c.) 

Paris, 25 th Novem r , 1777. 

SIR : We advise you on your return to L'Orient to put 
your Ship in readiness for Sea, 1 Capt. Hinman will do 
the same, and after you have obtained the best intelligence 
to be had of the British Merchant Ships and Commerce to 
pursue the Course which you judge best for interrupting 
and making prizes on our Enemies ships and property. 
As it is by no means safe to return into the Ports of France, 
you will calculate your Stores, so as to have a sufficiency 
for your cruise, which we cannot indeed be particular in 
the Direction of. It has been suggested that one or more 
of the India Ships returning may be intercepted, that 
part of the West India homeward-bound Ships may be ex- 
pected about this Time, as well as Transports returning from 
New York and elsewhere in America, and that by cruising 
in the proper Latitudes you may meet with them. That 
the British Factories and Commerce on the African Coast 
at this time lie without any Force sufficient to protect them, 
and that by running along that Coast you may greatly 
annoy and distress the Enemy in that Quarter, and after- 
wards go for the West Indies. 

As you and Captain Hinman have already considered 

1 The Raleigh^ a frigate of thirty-two guns. Captain Hinman's ship, Alfred, 
carried twenty guns. They arrived at L'Orient November the 7th with 
two of the Jamaica fleet taken by them in the English Channel. They 
sailed from L'Orient December 29 at 3 P.M.- ED. 



74 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

these several plans for a Cruise, we leave with you to deter- 
mine which to prefer, and the manner in prosecuting either, 
or any other that may appear more likely to answer the 
design of your commission. We are happy in observing 
the harmony and confidence which subsists between you 
and Captain Hinman, and hope the same prevails between 
your Officers and Men, which we are certain you will cul- 
tivate through the whole of your Expedition, in which we 
recommend to you, to avoid giving any offence to the Flaggs 
of Neutral powers, and to shew them proper marks of Re- 
spect and Friendship. As you may meet with Vessels of 
the Enemy so near the Coast of Europe, that you may be 
under the Necessity of sending them into some Port of 
France, we advise you to agree with Messrs. Goularde, etc., 
on the method of conduct in such cases, previous to your 
departure, and give orders to the Officers to whom you 
give the Command of such Prizes, accordingly thereto. 
Whenever you judge it prudent to dismiss Prisoners, sub- 
jects of his Brittannic Majesty, we advise you to take from 
them in writing an acknowledgment of their having been 
your Prisoners, their Quality, Place of Residence, and that 
they are dismissed by you in confidence that an equal Num- 
ber of the Subjects of the Thirteen United States of the 
same Rank, that now are, or may hereafter be Prisoners to 
his said Brittannic Majesty will be set at Liberty. You 
are also to deliver a Copy of such writing to the Prisoners, 
enjoining them to deliver the same on their arrival in Brit- 
tarn to the Lords of the British Admiralty, and by the first 
Opportunity inclose a Duplicate to the Committee or Board 
of Marine in Boston, and another to us, with an acc't of 
your proceedings. We shall deliver Capt n Hinman a Copy 



1777] TO MAJOR THORNTON 75 

of this Letter, who will proceed in Concert with you in the 

Cruise. 

With best wishes [incomplete]. 



857. TO MAJOR THORNTON (L. c.) 

[Dec. ii, 1777] 

You will receive herewith a Letter to Lord North and 
another to Sir Grey Cooper, Secretary of the Treasury, to 
which you are to endeavour to obtain Answers. 

As the Purport is to obtain Permission to visit and ex- 
amine into the Situation of our People in their Goals, and 
administer to their Relief, we hope a Request so consonant 
to Humanity will not be refused. But if you cannot obtain 
such Permission, yet (if not absolutely forbidden) we desire 
you would endeavour to see the Prisoners, take an ace 1 of 
their Names, the Rank or Quality they serv'd in, the State 
they belonged to, in what Vessel and by whom they were 
taken, and such other particulars as may tend to give us 
perfect Information of their Circumstances. 

But before you leave London to visit the Prisoners, wait 
on Mr. Hartley (for whom also you have a Letter which 
you will deliver as soon as you arrive) and desire his Advice 
or Orders; and if he should be so kind as to give you any 
relating to the Premises, you are to follow the same punc- 
tually in the future Proceedings. 

You will receive herewith Fifty Guineas for Traveling 
Expenses, of which you will render an Acct. 

We wish you a good Journey, being, sir, your most humble 
servants. 



76 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

858. TO SIR GREY COOPER 1 (L. c.) 

Paris, Dec. u, 1777. 

DEAR SIR : Receiving frequent Accounts by American 
Prisoners who have escaped from your Goals, of the miser- 
able Situation and hard Treatment of their Countrymen 
at Portsmouth and Plymouth, we haveprevaiFd with a Gentle- 
man, Major Thornton (to us much a Stranger, but who ap- 
pears a Man of Humanity), to visit the Prisons there, and 
give from us some Relief to those unfortunate Men. I hope 
that thro' your Interest he may obtain a Permission for that 
purpose. I would have wish'd that some voluntary Act of 
Compassion on the Part of your Government towards those 
in your Power had appeared in abating the Rigours of their 
Confinement, and relieving their pressing Necessities, as 
such Generosity towards Enemies has naturally an Effect in 
softening and abating Animosity in their Compatriots and 
disposing to Reconciliation. This, if I had any Influence 
with your Ministers I should recommend as prudent, being 
what would at least secure a Continuance of that kind Usage 
your People when our Prisoners have always experienced 
with us. Mr. Thornton is charged with a Letter to Lord 
North, which I request you would procure him an Oppor- 
tunity of delivering, and endeavour to obtain an Answer; 
perhaps it may not be thought proper to give any ; But I am 
sure it will not be an insolent one like that from Lord Stor- 
mont to a similar Application. The Remembrance of ancient 

1 Sir Grey Cooper was one of the secretaries of the treasury from 1765 to 
1782, under the successive governments of Chatham, Grafton, and North. 
He was member of Parliament for Saltash (1774-1784). ED. 



1 777 ] TO JAMES LOVELL 77 

Friendship encourages me to Request this. If 'tis too much, 
you can prevent a Repitition of it by making no Reply. 
With my affectionate Respects to Lady Cooper, 1 and love to 
my former young Friends, I am ever, dear Sir, your most 

obedient, humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



859. TO JAMES LOVELL (L. c.) 

Paris, Dec. 21, 1777. 

SIR, 

I see in a Vote of Congress shown me by Captain Franval, 
that Mr. Dean is disown'd in some of his Agreements with 
Officers. I, who am upon the Spot, and know the infinite 
Difficulty of resisting the powerful Solicitations here of great 
Men, who if disoblig'd might have it in their Power to ob- 
struct the Supplies he was then obtaining, do not wonder, 
that, being then a Stranger to the People, and unacquainted 
with the Language, he was at first prevailed on to make some 
such Agreements, when all were recommended, as they 
always are, as officiers experiments, braves comme leurs epies, 
pleins de Courage, de Talents, et de Zele pour notre Cause, 
&c. &c., in short, mere Cesars, each of whom would have 
been an invaluable Acquisition to America. You can have 
no Conception how we are still besieged and worried on this 
head, our Time cut to pieces by personal Applications, besides 
those contained in dozens of Letters, by every Post, which are 
so generally refused, that scarce one in a hundred obtains 
from us a simple Recommendation to Civilities. 

1 This was the second Lady Cooper, nee Elizabeth Kennedy, of Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne. She was the mother of two sons and two daughters, who were 
the " former young Friends " mentioned in the letter. ED. 



78 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

I hope, therefore, that favourable Allowance will be made 
to my worthy Colleague on account of his Situation at the 
time, as he has long since corrected that Mistake, and daily 
approves himself to my certain Knowledge an able, faithful, 
active, and extremely useful Servant of the publick; a Testi- 
mony I think it my Duty to take this Occasion of giving to his 
Merit, unask'd, as, considering my great Age, I may probably 
not live to give it personally in Congress, and I perceive he 
has Enemies. 

You will see the general News in the Papers. In particu- 
lar I can only say at present, that our Affairs go well here; 
and that I am with much respect, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



860. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 

Passy, December 22, 1777 

DEAR NEPHEW : You need be under no concern as to 
your orders being only from Mr. Deane. As you have always 
acted uprightly and ably for the public service, you would be 
justified if you had no orders at all, but as he generally con- 
sulted with me and had my approbation in the orders he gave, 
and I know they were for the best and aimed at the public 
good, I thereby certify you that I approve and join in these 
you have received from him, and desire you to proceed in 

the execution of the same. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Printed by John Bigclow, "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," 
Vol. X, p. 343. ED. 



1777] TO THE COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS 79 



861. TO THE HON ble COUNCIL OF THE MASSA- 
CHUSETTS STATE (U.OFP.) 

Paris, Dec. 29, i?77 

HONOURABLE GENTLEMEN, 

We are much obliged by your Favour of the 2gth October, 
which brought us the first Intelligence of the Defeat and 
Surrender of Burgoyne's Army, which gave great Joy not 
only to us but to this whole friendly Nation. In return we 
can only tell you at present, that our Affairs here wear the 
most promising Appearance, and that we have little Doubt 
of seeing soon the Liberties & Independence of America 
established on the most solid Foundations which human 
Affairs are capable of. 

This will be delivered to you by the Captain of a French 
Man of War, which for greater Security we have obtained to 
carry our Dispatches. As he may need some Supplies, we 
desire you would furnish him with what Money he may 
want to the Amount of 15000 Livres, and for your Reimburse- 
ment draw on us, or on the Congress as shall be most con- 
venient to you. Your Drafts on us will meet with due Honour. 

We are with great Esteem & Respect 
Honourable Gentlemen 

Your most obedient humble Servants. 



8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

862. TO A FRIEND (L. c.) 

Passy, [177??] 

You know, my dear Friend, that I am not capable of re- 
fusing you any Thing in my Power, which would be a real 
Kindness to you, or any Friend of yours: but when I am 
certain that what you request would be directly the contrary, 
I ought to refuse it. I know that Officers going to America 
for Employment will probably be disappointed; that our 
Armies are full ; that there are a Number of Expectants un- 
employed, and starving for want of Subsistence; that my 
Recommendation will not make Vacancies, nor can it fill 
them, to the Prejudice of those who have a better Claim; 
that some of those officers I have been Prevailed on to recom- 
mend have, by their Conduct, given no favourable Impression 
of my Judgment in military Merit ; and then the Voyage is 
long, the Passage very expensive, and the Hazard of being 
taken and imprisoned by the English very considerable. If, 
after all, no Place can be found affording a livelihood for the 
Gentleman in question, he will perhaps be distressed in a 
strange Country, and ready to blaspheme his Friends, who, 
by their Solicitations, procured for him so unhappy a Situa- 
tion. 

Permit me to mention to you, that, in my Opinion, the 
natural complaisance of this Country often carries People too 
far in the Article of Recommendations. You give them with 
too much Facility to Persons of whose real Characters you 
know nothing, and sometimes at the request of others of whom 
you know as little. Frequently, if a man has no useful 



1777] TO A FRIEND 81 

Talents, is good for nothing and burdensome to his Relations, 
or is indiscreet, profligate, and extravagant, they are glad to 
get rid of him by sending him to the other End of the World ; 
and for that purpose scruple not to recommend him to those 
they wish should recommend him to others, as "un bon sujet, 
plein de merite" &c. &c. In consequence of my crediting 
such Recommendations, my own are out of Credit, and I 
cannot advise anybody to have the least Dependence on them. 
If, after knowing this, you persist in desiring my Recom- 
mendation for this Person, who is known neither to me nor 
to you, I will give it, tho', as I said before, I ought to refuse it. 

These Applications are my perpetual Torment. People 
will believe, notwithstanding my continually repeated Decla- 
rations to the Contrary, that I am sent hither to engage 
Officers. In Truth, I never had any such Orders. It was 
never so much as intimated to me, that it would be agreable 
to my constituents. I have even received for what I have 
done of the kind, not indeed an absolute Rebuke, but some 
pretty strong hints of Disapprobation. Not a day passes in 
which I have not a Number of soliciting Visits, besides 
Letters. If I could gratify them all, or any of them, it would 
be a Pleasure. I might, indeed, give them the Recommenda- 
tion and the Promises they desire, and thereby please them 
for the present; but, when the certain Disappointment of 
the Expectations with which they will so obstinately flatter 
themselves shall arrive, they must curse me for complying 
with their mad Requests, and not undeceiving them; and 
will become so many Enemies to our Cause and Country. 

You can have no Conception how I am harassed. All my 
Friends are sought out and teiz'd to teaze me. Great Officers 
of all Ranks, in all Departments; Ladies, great and small, 

VOL. VII G 



82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

besides professed Sollicitors, worry me from Morning to Night. 
The Noise of every coach now that enters my Court terrifies 
me. I am afraid to accept an Invitation to dine abroad, 
being almost sure of meeting with some Officer or Officer's 
Friend, who, as soon as I am put in good Humour by a Glass 
or two of Champaign, begins his Attack upon me. Luckily 
I do not often in my sleep dream myself in these vexatious 
Situations, or I should be afraid of what are now my only 
Hours of Comfort. If, therefore, you have the least remain- 
ing Kindness for me, if you would not help to drive me out 
of France, for God's sake, my dear friend, let this your 23 d 
Application be your last. Yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



863. A DIALOGUE 

BETWEEN 

BRITAIN, FRANCE, SPAIN, HOLLAND, SAXONY 

AND AMERICA 1 (* c.) 

(A. P. s.) 

"Britain. SISTER of Spain, I have a Favour to ask of you. 
My Subjects in America are disobedient, and I am about to 
chastize them; I beg you will not furnish them with any 
Arms or Ammunition. 

Spain. Have you forgotten, then, that when my Subjects 
in the Low Countries rebelled against me, you not only fur- 

1 Written soon after Franklin's arrival in France. The exact date is 
unknown, but it appears to be the paper referred to by Reinier Arrenberg, 
publisher of Gazetteer Francois de Leidt, in a letter to Franklin May 24, 
1777 (A. P. S.). 



1777] DIALOGUE BETWEEN BRITAIN, FRANCE, ETC. 83 

nish'd them with military Stores, but join'd them with an 
Army and a Fleet ? I wonder how you can have the Impu- 
dence to ask such a Favour of me, or the Folly to expect it ! 

Britain. You, my dear Sister of France, will surely not 
refuse me this Favour. 

France. Did you not assist my Rebel Hugenots with a 
Fleet and an Army at Rochelle? And have you not lately 
aided privately and sneakingly my Rebel Subjects in Corsica? 
And do you not at this Instant keep their Chief, pensioned, 
and ready to head a fresh Revolt there, whenever you can 
find or make an Opportunity? Dear Sister, you must be a 
little silly! 

Britain. Honest Holland! You see it is remembered 
that I was once your Friend; you will therefore be mine 
on this Occasion. I know, indeed, you are accustom'd to 
smuggle with these Rebels of mine. I will wink at that; 
sell 'em as much Tea as you please, to enervate the Rascals, 
since they will not take it of me ; but for God's sake don't 
supply them with any Arms ! 

Holland. 'T is true you assisted me against Philip, my 
Tyrant of Spain, but have I not assisted you against one of 
your Tyrants ; l and enabled you to expell him ? Surely 
that Accompt, as we Merchants say, is ballanced, and I am 
nothing in your Debt. I have indeed some Complaints 
against you, for endeavouring to starve me by your Navi- 
gation Acts; but, being peaceably dispos'd, I do not quarrel 
with you for that. I shall only go on quietly with my own 
Business. Trade is my Profession : 't is all I have to subsist 
on. And, let me tell you, I shall make no scruple (on the 
prospect of a good Market for that Commodity) even to send 

1 James 2d. F. 



84 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

my ships to Hell and supply the Devil with Brimstone. For 
you must know, I can insure in London against the Burning 
of my Sails. 1 

America to Britain. Why, you old bloodthirsty Bully! 
You who have been everywhere vaunting your own Prowess, 
and defaming the Americans as poltroons ! You who have 
boasted of being able to march over all their Bellies with a 
single Regiment ! You who by Fraud have possessed your- 
self of their strongest Fortress, and all the arms they had 
stored up in it ! You who have a disciplin'd Army in their 
Country, intrenched to the Teeth, and provided with every 
thing ! Do you run about begging all Europe not to supply 
those poor People with a little Powder and Shot? Do you 
mean, then, to fall upon them naked and unarmed, and 
butcher them in cold Blood? Is this your Courage? Is 
this your Magnanimity? 

Britain. Oh ! you wicked Whig Presbyterian 
Serpent ! Have you the Impudence to appear before me 
after all your Disobedience? Surrender immediately all 
your Liberties and Properties into my Hands, or I will cut 
you to Pieces. Was it for this that I planted your country 
at so great an Expence ? That I protected you in your In- 
fancy, and defended you against all your Enemies? 

America. I shall not surrender my Liberty and Property, 
but with my Life. It is not true, that my Country was planted 

1 Lord Stormont reported to the Earl of Rochford (October 31, 1775) a 
conversation with Comte de Vergennes : " He answered that no Power on 
Earth ever did or could prevent an illicit trade, which the prospect of great 
gain would lead men to attempt at every hazard, and then quoted the famous 
answer of that Dutch merchant who said that if a lucrative Trade could be 
carried on with Hell he would send his ships thither au Risque de bruler lerir 
Voiles." En. 



1777] DIALOGUE BETWEEN BRITAIN, FRANCE, ETC. 85 

at your expence. Your own Records refute that Falshood 
to your Face. Nor did you ever afford me a Man or a Shilling 
to defend me against the Indians, the only Enemies I had 
upon my own Account. But, when you have quarrell'd 
with all Europe, and drawn me with you into all your Broils, 
then you value yourself upon protecting me from the Enemies 
you have made for me. I have no natural Cause of Difference 
with Spain, France, or Holland, and yet by turns I have 
join'd with you in Wars against them all. You would not 
suffer me to make or keep a separate Peace with any of them, 
tho' I might easily have done it to great Advantage. Does 
your protecting me in those Wars give you a Right to fleece 
me ? If so, as I fought for you, as well as you for me, it gives 
me a proportionable Right to fleece you. What think you 
of an American Law to make a Monopoly of you and your 
Commerce, as you have done by your Laws of me and mine ? 
Content yourself with that Monopoly if you are Wise, and 
learn Justice if you would be respected ! 

Britain. You impudent b h ! Am not I your Mother 

Country? Is that not a sufficient Title to your Respect 
and Obedience? 

Saxony. Mother country / Hah, hah, he ! What Respect 
have you the front to claim as a Mother Country ? You know 
that / am your Mother Country, and yet you pay me none. 
Nay, it is but the other day, that you hired Ruffians 1 to rob 
me on the Highway, 3 and burn my House ! 8 For shame ! 
Hide your Face and hold your Tongue. If you continue this 
Conduct, you will make yourself the Contempt of Europe ! 

1 Prussians. F. 

2 They enter'd and rais'd Contributions in Saxony. F. 

8 And they burnt the fine Suburbs of Dresden, the Capital of Saxony. F. 



86 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

Britain. O Lord ! Where are my friends ? 

France, Spain, Holland, and Saxony, all together. Friends ! 
Believe us, you have none, nor ever will have any, 'till you 
mend your Manners. How can we, who are your Neighbours, 
have any regard for you, or expect any Equity from you, 
should your Power increase, when we see how basely and un- 
justly you have us'd both your own Mother and your own 
Children ? 



864. A CATECHISM 
RELATING TO THE ENGLISH NATIONAL DEBT 

Question i. SUPPOSING this debt to be only one hundred 
and ninety-five millions of pounds sterling at present, al- 
though it is much more, 1 and that was all to be counted in 
shillings, that a man could count at the rate of one hundred 
shillings per minute, for twelve hours each day, till he has 
counted the whole, how long would he take in doing it ? 

Answer. One hundred forty-eight years, one hundred 
nine days, and twenty-two hours. 

Q. 2. The whole of this sum being three thousand nine 
hundred millions of shillings, and the coinage standard 
being sixty-two in the Troy pound, what is the whole weight 
of this sum ? 

A. Sixty-one millions, seven hundred fifty- two thousand, 
four hundred and seventy-six Troy pounds. 

1 At present (1777) it is said to be at least two hundred and thirty 
millions. F. 



1777] CATECHISM ON ENGLISH NATIONAL DEBT 87 

Q. 3. How many ships would carry this weight, suppose 
one hundred tons each? 

A. Three hundred and fourteen ships. 

Q. 4. How many carts would carry this weight, suppose a 
ton in each? 

A. Thirty-one thousand, four hundred and fifty-two carts. 

Q. 5. The breadth of a shilling being one inch, if all these 
shillings were laid in a straight line, close to one another's 
edges, how long would that line be that would contain them ? 

A. Sixty-one thousand, five hundred fifty-two miles; 
which is nine thousand, five hundred seventy-two miles more 
than twice round the whole circumference of the earth. 

Q. 6. Suppose the interest of this debt to be three and a 
half per cent per annum, what does the whole annual interest 
amount to? 

A. Six millions, seven hundred and seventy thousand 
pounds. 

Q. 7. How doth government raise this interest annually? 

A. By taxing those who lent the principal, and others. 

Q. 8. When will government be able to pay the principal ? 

A. When there is more money in England's treasury than 
there is in all Europe. 

Q. 9. And when will that be? 

A. Never. 



88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 



865. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ (L. c.) 

An Attempt to explain the Effects oj Lightning on the Vane 
of the Steeple oj a Church in Cremona, August, 1777. 

1. WHEN the subtil Fluid, which we call Fire or Heat, 
enters a solid Body, it separates the Particles of which that 
Body consists farther from each other, and thus dilates the 
Body, increasing its Dimensions. 

2. A greater Proportion of Fire introduced separates the 
Parts so far from each other, that the solid Body becomes a 
Fluid, being melted. 

3. A still greater Quantity of Heat separates the Parts 
so far, that they lose their mutual Attraction, and acquire 
a mutual Repulsion, whence they fly from each other, either 
gradually or suddenly, with great Force, as the separating 
Power is introduced gradually or suddenly. 

4. Thus Ice becomes Water, and Water Vapour, which 
Vapour is said to expand 14,000 times the Space it occupied 
in the Form of Water, and with an explosive Force in certain 
Circumstances capable of producing great and violent 
Effects. 

5. Thus Metals expand, melt, and explode; the two first 
effected by the gradual Application of the separating Power, 
and all three, in its sudden application, by artificial Elec- 
tricity or Lightning. 

6. That fluid in passing thro* a Metal Rod or Wire is 
generally supposed to occupy the whole dimension of the Rod. 
If the Rod is smaller in some Places than in others, the 
Quantity of Fluid, which is not sufficient to make any Change 






1777] 



TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 



89 






in the larger or thicker Part, may be sufficient to expand, 
melt, or explode the smaller, the Quantity of Fluid passing 
being the same, and the Quantity of Matter 
less that is acted upon. 

7. Thus the Links of a Brass Chain, with a 
certain Quantity of Electricity passing thro* 
them, have been melted in the small Parts 
that form their Contact, while the rest have 
not been affected. 

8. Thus a piece of TinFoil cut in this Form, 
inclos'd in a Pack of Cards, and having the 
Charge of a large Bottle sent thro' it, has been 
found unchang'd in the broadest Part, be- 
tween a and 6, melted only in spots between c 
and d y and the Part between d and e reduced 
to smoke by explosion. 

9. The Tinfoil melted in spots between b 
and c, and that whole Space not being melted, 
seems to indicate that the Foil in the melted 
Parts had been thinner than the rest, on which 
thin Parts the passing Fluid had therefore a 
greater Effect. 

10. Some Metals melt more easily than oth- 
ers; Tin more easily than Copper, Copper 
than Iron. It is supposed (perhaps not yet 
prov'd), that those which melt with the least of 

the separating Power, whether that be common Fire or the 
electric Fluid, do also explode with less of that Power. 

11. The Explosions of Metal, like those of Gunpowder, 
act in all Directions. Thus the Explosion of Gold Leaf 
between Plates of Glass, breaking the Glass to Pieces, will 



90 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

throw those Pieces into all Parts of the Room; and the ex- 
plosion of Iron, or even of Water, between the Joints of 
Stone in a Steeple, will scatter the Stones in all Directions 
round the Neighbourhood. But the Directions given to 
those Stones by the Explosion, is to be considered as different 
from the Direction of the Lightning, which happen'd to occa- 
sion those Explosions of the Matter it met with in its passage 
between the Clouds and the Earth. 

12. When Bodies positively electriz'd approach Sharp 
Pointed Rods or thin Plates of Metal, these are more easily 
rendered negative by the repulsive Force of the Electric 
Fluid in those positively electriz'd Bodies, which chases away 
the natural Quantity contain' d in those mince Rods or Plates, 
tho' it would not have Force enough to chase the same out 
of larger Masses. Hence such Points, Rods, and Plates, 
being in a negative State, draw to themselves more strongly 
and in greater Quantities the Electric Fluid offered them, 
than such Masses can do which remain nearly in their natural 
State. And thus a pointed Rod receives not only at its 
Point, tho' more visibly here, but at all Parts of its length 
that are expos'd. Hence a Needle held between the Finger 
and Thumb, and presented to a charg'd Prime Conductor, 
will draw off the Charge more expeditiously if held near the 
Eye, and the rest of its Length is expos'd to the Elec 1 Atmos- 
phere, than if all but J an Inch of the Point is conceal'd 
and cover'd. 

13. Lightning so differs from solid Projectiles, and from 
common Fluids projected with Violence, that, tho' its Course 
is rapid, it is most easily turned to follow the Direction of 
good Conductors. And it is doubted whether any Experi- 
ments in Electricity have yet decisively proved, that the electric 



1777] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 91 

Fluid in its violent Passage thro' the Air where a Battery 
is discharg'd has what we call a Momentum, which would 
make it continue its Course in a right Line, tho' a Conductor 
offer'd near that Course to give it a different or even contrary 
Direction ; or that it has a Force capable of pushing forward 
or overthrowing the Objects it strikes against, even though 
it sometimes pierces them. Does not this seem to indicate, 
that the Perforation is not made by the Force of a Projectile 
passing thro', but rather by the Explosion or the Dilatation, in 
passing, of a subtil Line of Fluid? 

14. Such an Explosion or Dilatation of a Line of Fluid, 
passing thro' a Card, would raise Burrs round the Hole, 
sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, and some- 
times on both, according to the Disposition of the Parts of the 
Paper near the Surfaces, without any regard to the Direction 
of the Fluid. 

15. Great Thanks are due to the ingenious Philosopher, 
who examined the Vane at Cremona, and who took the 
Pains to describe so exactly the Effects of the Lightning upon 
it, and to communicate that Description. The fact is ex- 
treamly curious. It is well worth considering. He invites 
to that Consideration. He has fairly given his own Opinion. 
He will with Candour receive that of others, tho' it may 
happen to differ from his own. By calmly discussing rather 
than by warmly disputing, the truth is most easily obtained. 
I shall give my Opinion freely, as it is asked, hoping it may 
prove the true one; and promising myself, if otherwise, the 
Honour at least of acknowledging frankly my Error, and of 
being thankful to him who kindly shows it to me. 

1 6. By the account given of this Stroke of Lightning upon 
the Steeple of Cremona, it appears that the Rod of Iron or 



92 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

Spindle, on which the Vane turned, was of about two Inches 
Circumference, terminating in a Cross above the Vane, and 
its lower End fix'd in a Marble Pedestal. 

17. That the Plate of the Vane was Copper, 8 or 9 Inches 
wide, and near twice as long. That it was about one Line 
thick near the Spindle, and growing thinner insensibly tow- 
ards the other End, where its thickness did not exceed 
three quarters of a Line, the Weight 20^ ounces. 

1 8. That the Copper had been tinned over. 

19. That the Marble Pedestal was split by the Stroke into 
many Pieces, and scattered over the Roof, Garden, and 
Court of a neighbouring Building. One Piece was thrown 
to the Distance of 40 Feet. The Spindle was broken and 
displaced, and the Vane thrown on the Roof of the parsonage 
House, 20 feet from the Steeple. 

20. That the Vane was perforated in 18 Places, the Holes 
of irregular Forms, and the Metal which had filled them 
push'd outwards, in some of them on one side of the Vane, 
in others on the other. The Copper show'd Marks of having 
been partly melted, and in some places Tin and Copper 
melted and mingled together. There were Marks of Smoke 
in several Places. 

21. The Ragged Parts bent outwards round each Hole, 
being brought back to their original flat Position, were not, 
tho' evidently a little thinned and dilated, sufficient to fill the 
Place. 

22. From the Effects described (19), it is clear that the 
Quantity of Lightning which fell on this Steeple at Cremona 
was very great. 

23. The Vane being a thin Plate of Copper, its Edges and 






1777] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 93 

Corners may be considered as a Series of Points, and, being 
therefore sooner render' d negative by the repulsive Force of 
an approaching positive Cloud than the blunt and thick Iron 
Cross (12), was probably first struck, and thence became the 
Conductor of that great Quantity. 

24. The Plate of which the Vane was formed, being 
thicker near the Spindle, and diminishing in Thickness 
gradually to the other End (17), was probably not of Copper 
plated by passing between Rollers, for they would have left 
it of equal Thickness; but of Metal plated by the Hammer. 
The Surface too of rolled Copper is even and plain ; that of 
hammered is generally uneven, with Hollows occasioned 
by the Impressions of the Hammer. 

25. In those concave Impressions the Metal is thinner 
than it is around them, and probably thinnest near the centre 
of each Impression. 

26. The Lightning, which in passing thro' the Vane was 
not sufficient to melt its thicker Parts, might be sufficient to 
melt the thinner (6, 7, 8, 9), and to soften those that were in 
a middle State. 

27. The part of the Tin (18), which covered the thinner 
Parts, being more easily melted and exploded than Copper 
(10), might possibly be exploded when the Copper was but 
melted. The Smoke appearing in several Places (20) is a 
Proof of Explosion. 

28. There might probably be more Tin in the concave 
Impressions of the Hammer on one Side of the Plate, than of 
the Convex Part of those Impressions on the other. Hence 
stronger Explosions on the Concave side. 

29. The nature of those Explosions is to act violently 
in all directions ; and in this case, being near the Plate, they 



94 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

would act against it on one side, while they acted against the 
Air on the other. 

30. These thin Parts of the Plate being at the same in- 
stant partly in fusion, and partly so softned as to be near it, 
the softned Parts were push'd outwards, a Hole made, and 
some of the melted Parts blown away; hence there was not 
left Metal enough to re-fill the Vacancy by bending back the 
ragged Parts to their Places. 

31. The concave Impressions of the hammer, being in- 
differently made on both sides of the Plate, it is natural, 
from 28, 29, 30, that the Pushing outwards of the softned 
Metal by Explosions, should be on both sides of the Plate 
in a proportion nearly equal. 

32. That the Force of a simple electric Explosion is very 
great, appears from the Geneva Experiment, wherein a 
Spark between two Wires, under Oil in a drinking- Glass, 
breaks the Glass, Body, Stem, and Foot, all to Shivers. 

33. The electric Explosion of Metal acts with still more 
Force. A Strip of Leaf -Gold no broader than a Straw, ex- 
ploded between two Pieces of thick looking- Glass, will 
break the Glass to Pieces, tho' confin'd by the Screws of a 
strong Press. And between two Pieces of Marble press'd 
together by a Weight of 20 Pounds, will lift that Weight. 
Much less Force is necessary to move the melted and softned 
Parts of a thin Plate of Copper. 

34. This Explication of the Appearances on the Vane is 
drawn from what we already know of Electricity and the 
Effects of Lightning. The learned Author of the Account 
gives a different but very ingenious one, which he draws 
from the Appearances themselves. The Matter push'd out 
of the Holes is found, that of some on one side of the Plate, 



I 7 77] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 95 

and of others on the other. Hence he supposes them to be 
occasion'd (if I understand him rightly) by Streams or 
Threads of Electric Matter of different and contrary kinds, 
rushing violently towards each other, and meeting with the 
Vane, so accidentally placed, as to be found precisely in the 
Place of their Meeting, where it was pierc'd by all of them, 
they all striking on both its Sides at the same instant. This 
however is so extraordinary an Accident, as to be in the 
Author's own opinion almost miraculous; "Passeranno" 
(says he) "forse piu secoli prima que ritorni tralle infinite 
combinazioni un caso simile a quello della banderuola che 
ora abbiamo per mano. Forza e que si esaurisca una non 
piu udita miniera di f ulmini sopra una grande citta, pressoque 
seminata di campanili e di banderuole, il che e rarissimo; e 
pu6 ancora piu volte ci6 succedere, senza che s' incontri 
giammai un altra banderuola tanto opportunatamente situata 
tra i limiti della fulminea explosione." 

35. But, tho' the Author's Explication of these Appear- 
ances of the Vane does not satisfy me, I am not so confident 
of my own as to propose its being accepted without Confirma- 
tion by Experiment. Those who have strong electric Bat- 
teries may try it thus ; form a little Vane of Paper, and spot 
it on both sides by attaching small Pieces of Leaf -Gold or 
Tinfoil, not exactly opposite to each other; then send the 
whole Force of the Battery thro' the Vane, entring at one End 
of it and going out at the other. If the Metal explodes, I 
imagine it will be found to make Holes in the Paper, forcing 
the torn Parts out on the Side opposite to the Metal. A 
more expensive but perhaps more satisfactory Experiment 
would be, to make a new Vane as exactly as possible like that 
in question, in all the Particulars of its Description, and place 



96 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1777 

it on a tall Mast fix'd on some Hill subject to Strokes of 
Lightning, with a better Conductor to the Earth than the 
Wood of the Mast; if this should be struck in the Course 
of a few Years, and the same Effects appear upon it, it would 
be still more miraculous to suppose it happened by Accident 
to be exactly situated where those crossing threads of different 
Electricities were afterwards to meet. 

36. The Perforation of Glass Bottles when overcharged 
is, I imagine, a different case, and not explicable by either 
of these Hypotheses. I cannot well suppose the Breach to 
be occasion'd by the Passage of Electricity thro' it; since 
a single Bottle, tho' so broken in the Discharge, always is 
found to send round in its usual Course the Quantity with 
which it was charged. Then the Breach never happens but 
at the Instant of the circuitous Discharge, either by the dis- 
charging Rod, or in overleaping the Borders of the Glass. 
Thus, I have been present when a Battery of twenty Glasses 
was discharg'd by the discharging Rod, and produced the 
same Effect in its Circuit as if the bottles had none of them 
been pierced ; and yet, on examining them, we found no less 
than twelve of them in that Situation. Now, all the Bottles 
of the Battery being united by a Communication of all the 
Outsides together, and of all the Insides together, if one of 
them had been pierc'd by a forc'd Passage of the different 
kinds of Electricity to meet each other, before the Discharge 
by the discharging Rod, it would not only have prevented 
the Passage of the Electricity by the common Circuit, but it 
would have sav'd all the rest of its Fellows, by conducting 
the whole thro' its own Breach. And it is not easy to conceive 
that 12 Bottles in 20 should be so equally strong as to support 
the whole Strength of their Charge, till the Circuit of their 



i7?8] TO RALPH IZARD 97 

Discharge was opened, and then be so equally weak as to 
break all together when the Weight of that Charge was taken 
off from them by opening the Circuit. At some other time 
I will give you my Opinion of this Effect, if you desire it. 

I have taken the Ace 1 of this Stroke of Lightning from an 
Italian Piece, intitled Analisi d' un nuovo Fenomeno del 
Fulmine, the dedication of which is subscribed Carlo Bar- 
letti, delle Scuole Pie, who I suppose is the Author. As I 
do not perfectly understand that Language, I may possibly 
in some things have mistaken that Philosopher's Meaning. 
I therefore desire, my dear Friend, that you would not per- 
mit this to be published, till you have compar'd and con- 
sidered it with that original Piece, and communicated to me 
your Remarks and Corrections. Nor would I in any Case 
have it appear with my Name, as perhaps it may occasion 
Disputes, and I have no time to attend to them. 



866. TO RALPH IZARD 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Jan. 29, 1778 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours late last Evening. Present Circumstances 
which I will explain to you when I have the Hon r of seeing 
you, prevent my giving it a full Answer now. The Reasons 

1 Ralph Izard (1742-1804), a South Carolinian, was appointed by Congress 
United States Commissioner to the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He 
did not go to Florence, but remained in Paris during the whole period of his 
appointment. He was there while the treaty of alliance was in the progress 
of negotiation, and he considered himself improperly overlooked in not being 
consulted as to certain parts of the treaty by the other commissioners. He 
wrote a complaining letter on the subject to Dr. Franklin, to which the above 
is an answer. His letter is in D. S. W., and is printed in the " Diplomatic 
Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. II, p. 372. ED. 

VOL. VII H 



98 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

you offer had before been all under Consideration; but I 
must submit to remain some days under the Opinion you 
appear to have form'd not only of my poor Understanding 
in the general Interests of America, but of my Defects in 
Sincerity, Politeness & Attention to your Instructions. 
These offences I flatter myself will admit of fair Excuses [or 
rather will be found not to have existed]. 1 You mention, 
that you feel yourself hurt. Permit me to offer you a Maxim, 
which has thro' Life been of Use to me & may be so to you 
in preventing such imaginary Hurts. It is, always to sup- 
pose one's Friends may be right till one finds them wrong; 
rather than to suppose them wrong till one finds them right. 
You have heard and imagined all that can be said or suppos'd 
on one side of the Question, but not on the other. I am 
nevertheless, with sincere Esteem, dear Sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



867. TO JAMES HUTTON 2 (L. c.) 

(P. A. E. E. U.) 
Passy, February I, 1778. 

MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, 

You desired, that if I had no Propositions to make, I would 
at least give my Advice. I think it is Ariosto who says, that 

1 Thus in Sparks ; the passage in brackets is not found in the draft in 
A. P. S. ED. 

2 James Hutton (1715-1795) was the son of the Rev. John Hutton, a 
nonjuring clergyman. He was a bookseller, having a shop at the Bible and 
Sun, west of Temple Bar. He corresponded with Count Zinzendorf, and 
became an active leader in the Moravian Church. He was greatly interested 
in the missionary labors of the church, and was one of the founders of the 
Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel. See " Memoir " by Daniel Ben- 
ham. W. T. Franklin said of him: "He was a faithful brother of the 



1778] TO JAMES HUTTON 99 

all things lost on Earth are to be found in the Moon ; on which 
somebody remarked, that there must be a great deal of good 
Advice in the Moon. If so, there is a good deal of mine, 
formerly given and lost in this Business. I will, however, 
at your Request give a little more, but without the least Ex- 
pectation that it will be followed; for none but God can at 
the same time give good Counsel, and Wisdom to make use of 
it. 

You have lost by this mad War, and the Barbarity with 
which it has been carried on, not only the Government and 
Commerce of America, and the public Revenues and private 
Wealth arising from that Commerce, but what is more, you 
have lost the Esteem, Respect, Friendship, and Affection 
of all that great and growing People, who consider you at 
present, and whose Posterity will consider you, as the worst 
and wickedest Nation upon Earth. A Peace you may un- 
doubtedly obtain by dropping all your Pretensions to govern 
us; and, by your superior skill in huckstering negotiation, 
you may possibly make such an apparently advantageous 
Treaty as shall be applauded in your Parliament; but, if 
you do not, with the Peace, recover the Affections of that 
People, it will not be a lasting nor a profitable one, nor will it 

Moravian fraternity fifty-five years ; the latter part of his life was spent 
literally in going about doing good, and his charities were confined to no sect. 
He married a lady of the Moravian nation and religion, but had no children, 
and was a widower some years before his death. Mr. Hutton possessed strong 
sense, with quick feelings and apprehensions, which the illumination of his 
countenance evinced even at seventy, though his difficulty of hearing was 
such, that he could only converse by the assistance of an ear-trumpet. He 
was highly esteemed by their present Majesties, and well known to many of 
the nobility and men of letters ; nor was he refused admittance to the highest 
ranks, even at Buckingham- House, though his ardent benevolence inclined 
him greatly to neglect his own dress, that he might the better feed the 
hungry and cover the naked." ED. 



ioo THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

afford you any part of that Strength, which you once had by 
your Union with them, and might (if you had been wise 
enough to take Advice) have still retained. 

To recover their Respect and Affection, you must tread 
back the Steps you have taken. Instead of honouring and 
rewarding the American Advisers and Promoters of this War, 
you should disgrace them ; with all those who have inflamed 
the Nation against America by their malicious Writings; 
and all the Ministers and Generals who have prosecuted 
the War with such Inhumanity. This would show a national 
change of Disposition, or a Disapprobation of what had 
passed. 

In proposing terms, you should not only grant such as the 
Necessity of your Affairs may evidently oblige you to grant, 
but such additional ones as may show your Generosity, and 
thereby demonstrate your good Will. For instance, perhaps 
you might, by your Treaty, retain all Canada, Nova Scotia 
and the Floridas. But if you would have a real friendly 
as well as able Ally in America, and avoid all occasions of 
future Discord, which will otherwise be continually arising 
on your American Frontiers, you should throw in those 
Countries. And you may call it, if you please, an Indemni- 
fication for the needless and cruel burning of their Towns, 
which Indemnification will otherwise be some time or other 
demanded. 

I know your People can not see the Utility of such Measures, 
and will never follow them, and even call it Insolence and 
Impudence in me to mention them. I have, however, com- 
plied with your Desire, and am, as ever, your affectionate 
friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1778] 



TO DAVID HARTLEY 



101 



Passy Feb. 12, 1778. 



DEAR OLD FRIEND. I wrote the above some time 
before I receiv'd yours, acquainting me with your speedy 
and safe Return, which gave me Pleasure. I doubted after 
I had written it, whether it would be well to send it : For as 
your proud Nation despises us exceedingly, and demands 
and expects absolute and humble Submission, all Talk of 
Treaty must appear Impudence, and tend to provoke rather 
than conciliate. As you still press me by your last to say 
something, I conclude to send what I had written, for I 
think the Advice is good, tho' it must be useless ; and I cannot, 
as some amongst you desire, make Propositions, having none 
committed to me to make ; but we can treat, if any are made 
to us ; which, however, we do not expect. I abominate with 
you all Murder, and I may add, that the Slaughter of Men in 
an unjust Cause is nothing less than Murder; I therefore 
never think of your present Ministers and their Abettors, 
but with the Image, strongly painted in my View, of their 
Hands, red, wet, and dropping with the Blood of my Country- 
men, Friends, and Relations. No Peace can be sign'd by 
those hands. Peace and Friendship will, nevertheless, sub- 
sist for ever between Mr. Hutton and his affectionate, B. F. 



868. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 12, 1778. 

DEAR SIR, 

A thousand Thanks for your so readily engaging in the 
Means of relieving our poor Captives, and the pains you have 
taken, and the Advances you have made, for that purpose. 



102 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

I received your kind Letter of the 3d Instant, and send you 
enclosed a Bill for ioo. I much approve of Mr. Wren's 
prudent, as well as benevolent Conduct in the Disposition 
of the Money; and wish him to continue doing what shall 
appear to him and to you to be right, which I am persuaded 
will appear the same to me and my Colleagues here. I beg 
you will present him, when you write, my respectful Acknowl- 
edgments. 

Your "earnest Caution and Request, that nothing may 
ever persuade America to throw themselves into the Arms 
of France, for that Times may mend ; and that an American 
must always be a Stranger in France, but that Great Britain 
may for Ages to come be their home," marks the goodness 
of your Heart, your Regard for us, and Love of your Coun- 
try. But when your Nation is hiring all the Cut-Throats 
it can collect of all Countries and Colours, to destroy us, it 
is hard to persuade us not to ask or accept of Aid from any 
Power, that may be prevailed with to grant it ; and this from 
the hope that tho' you now thirst for our Blood, and pursue 
us with Fire and Sword, you may in some future time treat 
us kindly. This is too much Patience to be expected of us ; 
indeed, I think it is not in human nature. 

The Americans are received and treated here in France 
with a Cordiality, a Respect, and Affection they never experi- 
enc'd in England when they most deserved it ; and which is 
now (after all the Pains taken to exasperate the English 
against them, and render them odious as well as contemptible,) 
less to be expected there than ever. And I cannot see why 
we may not upon an Alliance, hope for a Continuance of it, 
at least of as much as the Swiss enjoy, with whom France 
has maintained a faithful Friendship for 200 Years past, 



1778] TO DAVID HARTLEY 103 

and whose People appear to live here in as much Esteem as 
the Natives. America has been forc'd and driven into the 
Arms of France. She was a dutiful and virtuous Daughter. 
A cruel Mother-in-Law turn'd her out of Doors, defam'd 
her, and sought her Life. All the World knows her Inno- 
cence, and takes her part ; and her Friends hope soon to see 
her honourably married. They can never persuade her 
Return and Submission to so barbarous an Enemy. In her 
future Prosperity, if she forgets and forgives, 'tis all that can 
reasonably be expected of her. I believe she will make as 
good and useful a Wife as she did a Daughter, that her Hus- 
band will love and honour her, and that the Family from which 
she was so wickedly expelled, will long regret the Loss of 
her. 

I know not whether a Peace with us is desired in England ; 
I rather think it is not at present, unless on the old impossible 
Terms of Submission and receiving Pardon. Whenever you 
shall be disposed to make Peace upon equal and reasonable 
Terms, you will find little Difficulty, if you get first an honest 
Ministry. The present have all along acted so deceitfully 
and treacherously as well as inhumanly towards the Ameri- 
cans, that I imagine, the absolute want of all Confidence in 
them, will make a Treaty at present, between them and the 
Congress impracticable. 

The Subscription for the Prisoners will have excellent 
Effects in favour of Englishmen and of England. The 
Scotch Subscription for raising Troops to destroy us, tho' 
amounting to much greater Sums, will not do their Nation 
half so much good. If you have an Opportunity, I wish you 
would Express our respectful Acknowledgments and Thanks 
to your Committee and Contributors, whose Benefactions 



104 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

will make our Poor People as comfortable as their Situation 
can permit. Adieu, my dear Friend. Accept my Thanks 
for the excellent Papers you enclosed to me. Your Endeav- 
ours for Peace, tho' unsuccessful, will always be a Comfort 
to you, and in time, when this mad War shall be universally 
execrated, will be a solid Addition to your Reputation. I 

am ever, with the highest Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. An old Friend of mine, Mr. Hutton, a Chief of the 
Moravians, who is often at the Queen's Palace, and is some- 
times spoken to by the King, was over here lately. He pre- 
tended to no Commission, but urged me much to propose 
some Terms of Peace, which I avoided. He has wrote to me 
since his return, pressing the same thing, and expressing with 
some Confidence that we might have every thing short of 
absolute Independence, &c. Inclosed I send my Answers 
open, that you may read them, and, if you please, copy, 
before you deliver or forward them. They will serve to 
shew you more fully my Sentiments, tho' they serve no 

other purpose. 

B. F. 



869. TO CONRAD ALEXANDRE GERARD DE 
RAYNEVAL (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, Sunday 5. P. M. 

Feb. 22. 1778. 
SIR 

The News you have received from England cannot be 
true. No Treaty would be entered into with Howe by Wash- 
ington, when the Congress was at hand: And Howe could 
have no Proposition to make but such as were authoris'd 



1778] TO ARTHUR LEE 105 

by the Act of Parliament, and had been long since rejected, 
(viz.) Pardon upon Submission. 

Enclos'd we send you a Letter this moment received from 
Mr. Hartley 1 a Member of Parliament, which confirms our 
Opinion that no such Transaction is going on in America, 
as it announces Propositions made by the Minister Feb. 17. 
to impower by an Act Commissioners to treat with America. 
Mr. Franklin will transcribe and send you to-morrow the 
whole of his correspondence with that Gentleman. In 
short we esteem the Story of a Treaty in America, to be 
merely an Artifice of the Stock Jobbers to keep up the Funds. 
We have the Honour to be 

Sir 

Your most obedient 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 
SILAS DEANE. 



870. TO ARTHUR LEE (L. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 23, 1778. 

SIR, 

The enclosed, which you sent me, contained a Letter from 
Mr. Hartley, in which he acquaints me, that on the i7th 
Lord North had made his Propositions towards a Concilia- 
tion with America, and ask'd leave to bring in two Bills, one 
to renounce all Claim of Taxation, the other to empower 
Commissioners to treat with any Persons or Bodies of Men 
in America on a Peace; which was unanimously agreed to. 

1 David Hartley to Franklin, February 18, 1778. Gerard was at this time 
first secretary to the foreign office. ED. 



106 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

He tells me Lord N. had expressed to him the strongest Desire 
of Accommodation, and even wish'd him to come over to 
Paris and talk with us, etc. I should send you the Letter, 
which marks strongly the Consternation they are in; but, 
M. Gerard having written a Note acquainting Mr. D. that 
they had News from England that a Treaty was on foot be- 
tween Washington and Howe, and desiring to know if we 
had any Intelligence of it, I wrote the enclosed in answer, 
and sent Mr. Hartley's letter to him, to show that the Ministers 
in England had no such News. Mr. Hartley refers me to 
Mr. Thornton for the Titles of the two Bills. I return Mr. 
Thornton's Letters. I am, very respectfully, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



871. TO CONRAD ALEXANDRE GERARD DE 
RAYNEVAL (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, Feb. 24. 1778. 

SIR: Understanding that Reports have been spread at 
Versailles, of Treaties on foot in America between the Con- 
gress and the English Commissioners; or here between us 
and the English Ministry; I send you an American News- 
paper 1 of Dec 1 19, by which you will see, in the Passages 
marked with a Pen, in what manner such Reports, and those 
who occasion them, are treated there. I send you also the 
only Correspondence I have had, which has any Relation to 
the same Subject here; that you may judge of the Credit 
due to such Reports. 

I have the Honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 The Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, Boston, December, 
19, 1777' ED. 



I77 8] TO DAVID HARTLEY 107 



872. TO CONRAD ALEXANDRE GERARD DE 
RAYNEVAL l (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, Feb. 25. 1778. 

SIR: I received last night the enclosed Letter from a 
Member of Parliament, 2 and the two frivolous Bills which the 
Ministry in their present Consternation have thought fit to 
propose, with a View to support their publick Credit a little 
longer at home, and to amuse and divide, if possible our 
People in America. You will see that they have dispatch'd 
a Frigate with the News, but I hope yours from Bordeaux 
will arrive first. I wish to have the original Letters again 
when you have perus'd them. I have the honour to be, 

with great Respect, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



873. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 26, 1778. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the i8th and 2oth of this Month, with 
Lord North's proposed Bills. The more I see of the Ideas 
and Projects of your Ministry, and their little Arts and 
Schemes of amusing and dividing us, the more I admire the 
prudent, manly, and magnanimous Propositions contained 
in your intended Motion for an Address to the King. What 
Reliance can we have on an Act expressing itself to be only 

1 This letter is endorsed: "Wharton to Lee, 24 February, 1778, London 
Evening Post, 1 8 January, 1778." ED. 

2 David Hartley. ED. 



io8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

a Declaration of the Intention of Parliament concerning the 
Exercise of the Right of imposing Taxes in America, when, 
in the Bill itself, as well as in the Title, a Right is supposed 
and claimed, which never existed; and a present Intention 
only is declared not to use it, which may be changed by 
another Act next Session, with a Preamble, that this Inten- 
tion being found inexpedient, it is thought proper to repeal 
this Act, and resume the Exercise of the Right in its full 
Extent? If any solid permanent Benefit was intended by 
this, why is it confm'd to the Colonies of North America, 
and not extended to the loyal ones in the Sugar Islands? 
But it is now needless to criticise, as all Acts that suppose 
your future Government of the Colonies can be no longer 
significant. 

In the Act for appointing Commissioners, instead of full 
Powers to agree upon Terms of Peace and Friendship, with 
a Promise of ratifying such Treaty as they shall make in 
pursuance of those Powers, it is declared that their Agree- 
ments shall have no force nor Effect, nor be carried into Exe- 
cution till approved of by Parliament, so that every thing of 
Importance will be uncertain. But they are allowed to pro- 
claim a Cessation of Arms, and revoke their Proclamation, 
as soon as in confidence of it, our Militia have been allowed 
to go home: They may suspend the Operation of Acts, 
prohibiting Trade; and take off the Suspension when our 
Merchants, in consequence of it have been induced to send 
their Ships to Sea ; in short, they may do every thing that 
can have a Tendency to divide and distract us, but nothing 
that can afford us Security. Indeed, Sir, your Ministers 
do not yet know us. We may not be quite so cunning as 
they; but we have really more Sense as well as more Courage 






1778] TO DAVID HARTLEY 109 

than they have ever been willing to give us Credit for: And 
I am persuaded that these Acts will rather obstruct Peace 
than promote it, and that they will not in America answer 
the mischievous and malevolent Ends for which they were 
intended. In England they may indeed amuse the Public 
Creditors, give Hopes and Expectations, that shall be of 
some present use, and continue the Mismanagers a little 
longer in their Places. Voild tout! 

In return for your repeated Advice to us, not to conclude 
any Treaty with the House of Bourbon, permit me to give 
(through you) a little Advice to the Whigs in England. Let 
nothing induce them to join with the Tories, in supporting 
and continuing this wicked War against the Whigs of America, 
whose Assistance they may hereafter want to secure their 
own Liberties, or whose Country they may be glad to retire 
to for the Enjoyment of them. 

If Peace by a Treaty with America, upon equal Terms 
were really desired, your Commissioners need not go there 
for it; supposing that as they are impower'd by the Bill "to 
treat with such Person or Persons, as in their Wisdom and 
Discretion they shall think meet," they should happen to 
conceive, that the Commissioners at Paris might be included 
in that Description. I am ever, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Seriously, on further thoughts, I am of opinion, 
that, if wise and honest men, such as Sir George Saville, the 
Bishop of St. Asaph, and yourself, were to come over here 
immediately with powers to treat, you might not only obtain 
peace with America, but prevent a war with France. 



I io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

874. TO THOMAS GUSHING 1 (B. M.) 
Passy near Paris, Feb r y 27 th , 1778. 

SIR, 

I received your favour by Mr. Austin, with your most 
agreable Congratulations on the Success of the American 
Arms in the Northern Department. 2 In Return, give me leave 
to congratulate you on the Success of our Negotiations here, 
in the completion of the two Treaties with his Most Christian 
Majesty ; the one of Amity and Commerce, on the Plan of 
that Projected in Congress, with some good additions; the 
Other of Alliance for Mutual Defence, in which the Most 
Christian King agrees to make a Common Cause with the 
United States, if England attempts to Obstruct the Com- 
merce of his Subjects with them; and guarantees to the 
United States their Liberties, Sovereignty, and Independance, 
absolute and unlimited, with the Possessions they now have, 
or may have, at the Conclusion of the War; and the States 
in return guarantees to him his Possessions in the West 
Indies. The great Principle in both Treaties is a perfect 
Equality and reciprocity ; no Advantages being demanded 
by France, or Privileges in Commerce, which the States may 
not grant to any and every other Nation. 

In short, the King has treated with us Generously and 
Magnanimously; taking no advantage of our present Diffi- 

1 The original letter is in the Haldimand Manuscripts, in the British 
Museum. ED. 

a Surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga. 

Jonathan Loring Austin (1748-1826), son of Benjamin Austin, of Boston, 
was the express messenger to convey to the commissioners the news of Bur- 
goyne's surrender. He carried a letter of introduction from Thomas Gushing 
(dated October 30, 1777). ED. 






I7?8] TO THOMAS CUSHING m 

culties, to exact Terms which we wou'd not willingly grant, 
when establish'd in Prosperity and Power. I may add that 
he has acted wisely, in wishing the Friendship contracted 
by these Treaties may be durable, which probably it might 
not be, if a contrary Conduct had been observed. 

Several of our American Ships, with Stores for the Con- 
gress, are now about sailing, under the Protection of a French 
Squadron. England is in great Consternation, and the 
Minister, on the iyth Instant, confessing in a long Speech that 
all his Measures had been wrong, and that Peace was neces- 
sary, proposed two Bills for Quieting America; but they 
are full of Artifice and Deceit, and will, I am confident, be 
treated accordingly by our Country. 

I think you must have much satisfaction in so valuable 
a son, whom I wish safe back to you, and am with great 
esteem, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. The treaties were signed by the plenipotentiaries 
on both sides, February 6th, but are still for some reason 
kept secret, though soon to be published. It is understood 
that Spain will soon accede to the same. The treaties are 
forwarded to Congress by this conveyance. 



112 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

875. TO MRS, CATHERINE GREENE 1 (p. c.) 

Paris, Feb. 28, 1778. 

MY DEAR OLD FRIEND 

Don't be off ended at the Word old; I don't mean to call you 
an old Woman; it relates only to the Age of our Friendship; 
which on my part has always been a sincerely affectionate one, 
and I flatter myself the same on yours. 

I received your kind Letter from Boston of Oct. 28. which 
gave me great Pleasure, as it inform 'd me of the Welfare of 
you and your Family. I continue hearty, as do my two 
Grandsons, who present their Respects to you & Mr. Greene, 
being pleas'd with your Remembrance of them. We are 
all glad to hear of Ray, for we all love him. I have been 
often much concem'd for my Friends at Warwick, hearing 
that the Enemy was so near them. I hope your Troubles will 
not be of much longer Duration: For tho' the Wickedness 
of the English Court, & its Malice against us is as great as 
ever, its Horns are shortened ; its Strength diminishes daily ; 
and we have formed an Alliance here, & shall form others, 
that will help to keep the Bull quiet and make him orderly. 
I chat, you see as usual, any how, with you, who are kind 
enough never to criticise Improprieties in my Compositions 
or anything else. I see by yours that my Sisters grand- 
daughter is married. I wish the young Folks joy and Last- 
ing Happiness. I pity my poor old Sister, to be so harassed 
& driven about by the enemy. For I feel a little myself the 
Inconvenience of being driven about by my friends. I live 

1 From The Rhode Island Mercury, April 11, 1896. The original is in the 
possession of Mrs. E. J. Roelker. ED. 






I7?8] TO JONATHAN- WILLIAMS 113 

here in great Respect, and dine every day with great folks ; 
but I still long for home & for Repose ; and should be happy 
to eat Indian Pudding in your Company & under your 
hospitable Roof. Remember me kindly to the Remainder 
of the Wards, and to all that wish me well. Assure Mr. 
Greene of my sincere esteem & Respect, and believe me ever, 

My dear Friend 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN 
My Respects to Dr. Babcock" 

& Family when you 
see any of them 



876. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (P. c.) 

February (?), 1778. 

DEAR JONA K 

Mr. Chaumont will acquaint you that he has this Day 
obtained an Order for the Payment of the Value of the 2 
Prizes to the Owners in America of the Privateers. I con- 
gratulate you upon it. Mr. Lee talks of nominating you 
and Mr. Lloyd jointly to supply the Place of Mr. Morris 
and himself in doing the Business of the Congress. I ques- 
tion whether there be Flesh enough upon the Bone for two 
to pick. I doubt its being worth your while to accept of 
it. I did not thank him for mentioning you because I do 
not wish to be much oblig'd to him and less to be a little 
oblig'd. You must judge for yourself, and will do as you 
shall think fit. He has brought up all Mr. Morris's Papers 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Louis A. Biddle. ED. 

VOL. VII I 



114 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

and wants to put them into our Hands. I am doubtful of 
meddling with them. 

Great Complaints are made at Court of the Delay of our 
Ships so long after asking and obtaining Convoy. Does 
any Part of this Fault lie at your Door? I believe not. But 
pray enable me to justify you. It is said that Lyon waited 
long for a Package of Hats. What and whose Hats are they ? 
Or is it not true. 

I have just written to your Father that you are well. 
I am ever, your Affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN. 



877. TO SAMUEL ADAMS (L. L.) 

Passy, near Paris, March 2, 1778 

DEAR SIR, 

By this Conveyance the Treaties we have concluded here 
go over to Congress. I flatter myself they will meet with 
Approbation. If there sh? be any Particulars which the Con- 
gress would wish to be chang'd or added, there is at present 
an exceeding good Disposition in this Court to oblige; and 
no Proposition tolerably reasonable will meet with Difficulty. 
But the way will be to ratify these treaties, and then propose 
separate additional or explanatory Articles. 

I send you enclos'd some notes just received from a Mem- 
ber of P. in which you will see something of the present 
Court Views : But we have fuller advices on one par- 
ticular, viz. That their great Hope is to divide, by means of 
their Commissioners. They say they have certain Advice 
that they have a large Party in the Congress, almost a 
Majority, who are for returning to the Dependency. In the 



1778] TO WILLIAM LEE 115 

enclosed Copy of a Letter to M 7 * Hartley you will see my Sen- 
timents of their two Bills, as well as in our general Letter. 
I have but little time. D r Cooper will show you what I 
have written to him. America at present stands in the 
highest Light of Esteem & Respect thro'out Europe. A 
Return to Dependence on England would sink her into eternal 
Contempt. I am with true Esteem & Respect 

Dear Sir, Your most obedient 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 

You may observe in the Letter to M 1 * Hartley, a Hint that 
the Commissioners might come to Paris & treat with us. 
We have indeed no express Power to treat with England 
particularly: But one of the - Resolutions of Congress gives 
us a general Power to treat of Peace, Amity & Commerce 
with an European Nation. 



878. TO WILLIAM LEE 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy Mar. 2. 1778 

SIR 

The Accidents that several times prevented our Meeting 
for the purpose of complying with your Request in receiving 
for you M r Morris's Papers having allowed me more time to 
consider that matter, I am of Opinion, that if instead of bring* 
them to Paris, you had thought it proper when at Nantes to 
separate those that related to the Affairs or House of Willing 
& Morris, from those which related to the Business of the 

1 William Lee (1737-1795), brother of Arthur Lee, sheriff of Middlesex 
(1773), and commercial agent for the United States at Nantes (1777). ED. 



ii6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

Committee, delivering the first to M r Ross, and the others 
to such Person or Persons as you might have appointed to 
act in your Place for the Committee, no Inconvenience would 
have attended that Disposition. At present I do not see the 
Necessity, nor the Utility of my being concerned in opening 
the Trunk that contains those Papers; I apprehend that I 
have nothing to do with that Operation, and I am unwilling 
to be concerned in it. If you chuse on your Departure for 
Germany, to leave the Trunk entire, seaPd as it is in my 
hands, on a Receipt to redeliver it in the same state to you or 
your Order, I have no Objection to receiving and taking 
what care I can of it. Otherwise I must decline meddling 
with it. I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 

B.F. 



879. TO WILLIAM LEE (A. p. s.) 

Passy, March 6. 1778 

Sm, 

I return the Keys by the Person that brings them from 
you. I had rather your Brother should keep them while he 
stays in France. 

Your Proposition about appointing Agents in the Ports 
shall be laid before the Commissioners when they meet. 
In the meantime, I can only say, that as to my Nephew Mr. 
Williams, tho' I have from long Knowledge & Experience 
of him, a high Opinion of his Abilities, Activity, & Integrity, 
I will have no hand in his Appointment or in Approving of 
it ; not being desirous of his being any Way concern J d in that 



1778] TO WILLIAM LEE 117 

Business. And the other Gentlemen I know so little of, that 
I can have no Objection to them; but I do not see that I 
have any thing to do with their Appointment. 

In looking over yours of the 2d Instant, I observe an Expres- 
sion which I do not like tho' it appears in the Shape of a 
Compliment, It is in these Words, I am always willing to 
submit my Judgment to yours and will therefore deliver the 
Trunk. This implies that I had advis'd the Delivery of the 
Trunk to me, which you comply 'd with contrary to your 
own Judgment. In Truth I did not nor do advise any thing 
about it. I only said in Answer to yours, expressing that your 
Journey to Germany was delay'd by its remaining in your 
Hands, that if you chose to leave it with me entire & seaPd 
I had no Objection to receiving it deliverable in the same 
state to you or your Order. 

I am oblig'd to you for your good Opinion of my Nephew 
manifested in your Intention of nominating him as above; 
and I beg you to accept my Thanks, tho' for particular 
Reasons which you know, I do not wish him to accept the 
Employment. 

I have the honour to be with great Respect, Sir, 

Your most obed* hum 1 Serv* 

B. F. 



n8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 



880. A TRUE HISTORY OF THE DIFFERENCE 
BETWEEN THE COLONIES AND THE 
AUTHOR OF THE STAMP ACT. 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 12, 1778. 

DEAR SIR: In the pamphlets you were so kind as to 
lend me there is one important fact misstated, apparently 
from the writer's not having been furnished with good in- 
formation. It is the transaction between Mr. Grenville and 
the colonies, wherein he understands that Mr. Grenville 
demanded of them a specific sum, that they refused to grant 
anything, and that it was on their refusal only that he made 
the motion for the Stamp Act. No one of the particulars 
was true. The fact was this: 

Some time in the winter of 1763-4 Mr. Grenville called 
together the agents of the several colonies, and told them 
that he purposed to draw a revenue from America; and to 
that end his intention was to levy a stamp duty on the col- 
onies by act of Parliament in the ensuing session, of which 
he thought it fit that they should be immediately acquainted, 
that they might have time to consider ; and if any other duty 
equally productive would be more agreeable to them, they 
might let him know it. The agents were therefore directed 
to write this to their respective Assemblies, and communi- 
cate to him the answers they should receive; the agents 
wrote accordingly. 

1 Francis Wharton, upon what authority I know not, cites David Hartley 
as the person to whom this communication was addressed. See " The Revo- 
lutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States," Vol. II, p. 513. 
ED. 



1778] THE COLONIES AND THE STAMP ACT 119 

I was a member in the Assembly of Pennsylvania when 
this notification came to hand. The observations there 
made upon it were, that the ancient, established, and regular 
method of drawing aid from the colonies was this : The occa- 
sion was always first considered by their sovereign in his Privy 
Council, by whose sage advice he directed his Secretary of State 
to write circular-letters to the several governors, who were 
directed to lay them before their Assemblies. In those 
letters the occasion was explained to their satisfaction, with 
gracious expressions of his Majesty's confidence in their 
known duty and affection, on which he relied that they would 
grant such sums as should be suitable to their abilities, 
loyalty, and zeal for his service ; that the colonies had always 
granted liberally on such requisitions, and so liberally dur- 
ing the late war, that the king, sensible they had granted 
much more than their proportion, had recommended it to 
Parliament five years successively to make them some com- 
pensation, and the Parliament accordingly returned them 
200,000 a year, to be divided among them ; that the proposi- 
tion of taxing them in Parliament, was therefore both cruel 
and unjust; that, by the constitution of the colonies, their 
business was with the king in matters of aid; they had 
nothing to do with any financier, nor he with them ; nor were 
the agents the proper channels through which requisitions 
should be made ; it was therefore improper for them to enter 
into any stipulation, or make any proposition to Mr. Grenville 
about laying taxes on their constituents by Parliament, which 
had really no right at all to tax them, especially as the notice 
he had sent them did not appear to be by the king's order, 
and perhaps was without his knowledge, as the king, when he 
would obtain anything from them, always accompanied his 



120 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

requisition with good words, but this gentleman, instead of 
a decent demand, sent them a menace, that they should 
certainly be taxed, and only left them the choice of the man- 
ner. But all this notwithstanding, they were so far from 
refusing to grant money that they resolved to the following 
purpose: "That they always had, so they always should 
think it their duty to grant aid to the crown, according to their 
abilities, whenever required of them in the usual constitu- 
tional manner." I went soon after to England, and took with 
me an authentic copy of this resolution, which I presented to 
Mr. Grenville before he brought in the Stamp Act. I as- 
serted in the House of Commons (Mr. Grenville being present) 
that I had done so, and he did not deny it. Other colonies 
made similar resolutions, and had Mr. Grenville, instead 
of that act, applied to the king in council for such requisi- 
tional letters to be circulated by the Secretary of State, I am 
sure he would have obtained more money from the colonies 
by their voluntary grants than he himself expected from the 
stamps. But he chose compulsion rather than persuasion, 
and would not receive from their good-will what he thought 
he could obtain without it. And thus the golden bridge 
which the ingenious author thinks the Americans unwisely 
and unbecomingly refused to hold out to the minister and 
Parliament, was actually held out to them, but they refused 
to walk over it. 

This is the true history of that transaction; and as it is 
probable there may be another edition of that excellent 
pamphlet, I wish this may be communicated to the candid 
author, who, I doubt not, will correct that error. 

I am ever, with sincere esteem, dear sir, your most obedient, 
humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1778] TO ARTHUR LEE 121 

881. TO ARTHUR LEE (A. p. s.) 

Passy, March 17. 1778 

DEAR SIR, 

One of the Messrs. Beaumann's of Bordeaux some time 
since told me they intended to send a Packet every Month 
to America, on their own account, they having great Con- 
cerns there. He offer'd, indeed, to carry our Dispatches; 
but as at this Distance we could not know the Captains, 
nor the Degree of Confidence that might be plac'd in them, 
and having other Conveyances, I have not yet seen Occa- 
sion to make use of that Offer. These are the Packets I 
mention'd to the Gentleman, as likely to afford him the 
Convenience of a Passage; and he understood more than I 
said to him, when he imagin'd there was a Packet to sail 
soon with our Dispatches. I knew of no such thing pro- 
posed ; and certainly if it had been proposed by me or with 
my Knowledge, I should have acquainted you with it. 

A Gentleman lately arrived from Boston, has presented 
for Acceptance Bills drawn on us by Mr. Hancock, as the 
President of the Congress, for about 180,000 Livres. I 
have also receiv'd a Letter, mentioning that other Bills are 
drawn on us by Mr. Laurens, the present President, of 
which an Account is promised in a future Letter, this not 
giving the Amount, but only directing us to accept them 
when they appear. The 180,000 Livres is an old Debt 
contracted by our Army in Canada, and not for Interest of 
Money. What the others are I know not; and I cannot 
conceive what Encouragement the Congress could have 
had from any of us, to draw on us for any thing but that 



122 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

Interest. I suppose their Difficulties have compelled them 
to it. I see we shall be distress' d here by these Proceedings : 
and I want to consult with you about the means of paying 
the Bills. If you will name an Hour when you shall be at 
leisure to-day, I will call upon you. I have the Honour to 

be, with great Respect, Sir, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



882. TO JAMES HUTTON 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, March 24, 1778. 

MY dear old Friend was in the right, not "to call in ques- 
tion the Sincerity of my Words, where I say, Feb. i2th, 
we can treaty if any Propositions are made to us." They 
were true then, and are so still, if Britain has not declared 
War with France; for in that case we shall undoubtedly 
think ourselves obliged to continue the War as long as she 
does. But methinks you should have taken us at our Word, 
and have sent immediately your Propositions in order to 
prevent such a War, if you did not choose it. Still I con- 
ceive it will be well to do it, if you have not already rashly 
begun the War. Assure yourself, that nobody more sin- 
cerely wishes perpetual Peace among Men than I do; but 
there is a prior Wish, that they would be equitable and 
just, otherwise such Peace is not possible, and indeed wicked 
Men have no right to expect it. I grieve for the Death 
of good Mrs. Falconer. Is there any children ? Adieu. I 

am ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 In answer to a letter from Hutton to Franklin, March 4, 1778 (L. C). 
ED. 



1778] TO RALPH IZARD 123 

883. TO RALPH IZARD (A.P.S.) 

Passy, March 30, 1778 

SIR, 

From the Account you give me of the Man * who pre- 
tends to be of Carolina, as well as from my own Observa- 
tion of his Behaviour, I entertain no good Opinion of him, 
and shall not give him the Pass he desires. 

Much and very important Business has hitherto prevented 
my giving you the Satisfaction you desired, but you may 
depend upon my endeavouring to give it you as soon as 
possible. 2 An answer was written to your Letter of the 
5th of this Month, and sign'd by us all, w oh I thought had 
been sent to you, till Mr. Lee inform'd me, that having com- 
municated to you the Contents, you told him it would not 
be satisfactory, and desir'd it might be reconsidered, and 
he had accordingly stopt it for that purpose: We have not 
since had an Opportunity of reconsidering it; and as the 
End of it is now answered by the Communication of the 
Treaties, perhaps it is not necessary. 

I condole with you sincerely on the great Loss sustained 
in Charlestown by the Fire in January last, said to have 
destroyed 600 Houses, valued with the Goods at a Million 

Sterling. I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 A merchant's clerk at Uvorno, who said that he was born in South 
Carolina, but had been so long out of it, " that he neither knows anybody 
there, nor does anybody know him." ED. 

2 The same grievance is here alluded to, as in the letter of January 29th. 
Mr. Izard thought himself slighted by the commissioners in regard to the 
treaty, and particularly by Dr. Franklin, and requested an explanation. ED. 



124 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 
884. TO WILLIAM PULTENEY 1 (L.C.) 

Passy, March 30, '78. 

SIR, 

When I first had the honour of conversing with you on 
the subject of Peace, I mentioned it as my Opinion, that 
every Proposition, which implied our voluntarily agreeing to 
return to a Dependance on Britain, was now become im- 
possible ; that a Peace on equal Terms undoubtedly might 
be made; and that, tho' we had no particular Powers to 
treat of Peace with England, we had general Powers to 
make Treaties of Peace, Amity, and Commerce, with any 
State in Europe, by which I thought we might be authorized 
to treat with Britain; who, if sincerely disposed to Peace, 
might save time and much Bloodshed by treating with us 
directly. 

I also gave it as my Opinion, that, in the Treaty to be 
made, Britain should endeavour, by the Fairness and Gen- 
erosity of the Terms she offer'd, to recover the Esteem, 
Confidence, and Affection of America, without which the 
Peace could not be so beneficial, as it was not likely to be 
lasting ; in this I had the Pleasure to find you of my Opinion. 

But I see, by the Propositions you have communicated 
to me, that the Ministers cannot yet divest themselves of 
the Idea, that the Power of Parliament over us is constitu- 
tionally absolute and unlimited; and that the Limitations 

1 From a draft in L. C. in hand of W. T. Franklin. William Pulteney was 
a member of Parliament who had come to Paris as a secret agent from the 
ministry to consult Franklin respecting the terms of a reconciliation with 
America. He assumed while in Paris the name of Williams. ED. 



1778] 



TO WILLIAM PULTENEY 



125 



they may be willing now to put to it by Treaty are so many 
Favours, or so many Benefits, for which we are to make 
Compensation. 

As our Opinions in America are totally different, a Treaty 
on the Terms proposed appears to me utterly impracticable, 
either here or there. Here we certainly cannot make it, 
having not the smallest Authority to make even the Declara- 
tion specified in the proposed Letter, without which, if I 
understood you right, treating with us cannot be commenc'd. 

I sincerely wish as much for Peace as you do, and I have 
enough remaining of Good Will for England to wish it for 
her Sake as well as for our own, and for the Sake of Human- 
ity. In the present state of things, the proper means of 
obtaining it, in my Opinion, are, to acknowledge the Inde- 
pendence of the United States, and then enter at once into 
a Treaty with us for a Suspension of Arms, with the usual 
Provisions relating to Distances; and another for estab- 
lishing Peace, Friendship, and Commerce, such as France 
has made. This might prevent a War between you and 
that Kingdom, which, in the present Circumstances and 
Temper of the two Nations, an Accident may bring on every 
Day, tho' contrary to the Interest and without the previous 
Intention of either. Such a Treaty we might probably 
now make, with the Approbation of our Friends ; but, if you 
go to War with them on account of their Friendship for us, 
we are bound by Ties, stronger than can be formed by any 
Treaty, to fight against you with them, as long as the War 
against them shall continue. 

May God at last grant that Wisdom to your national 
Councils, which he seems long to have deny'd them, and 
which only sincere, just, and humane Intentions can merit 



126 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

or expect. With great personal Esteem, I have the Honour 
to be, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



885. TO MR. AND MRS. RICHARD BACHE (L.L.) 

Passy, March 31, 1778 

DEAR SON & DAUGHTER, 

His Excellency, M r Gerard who does me the Honour to 
take Charge of this Letter, goes Minister from this Court 
to the Congress. He is a friend to your Country and to 
your Father, which gives him a double Claim to your Civil- 
ities, and to every Kindness in your Power to show him. 
It is so long since I have heard from you, and there have 
been such Burnings & Devastations made by the Enemy, 
that I know not whether even if Philadelphia is recovered, 
you have a House left to entertain him in. But I know you 
will do all the little in your Power to serve and oblige a Per- 
son who has and deserves your Father's highest Esteem and 
Affection 

Benny continues well, and minds his Learning. Temple 
presents his Duty. I hope soon to hear from you, and that 
you and yours are all as well and as hearty as 

Your affectionate Father 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1778] 



TO HENRY LAURENS 



127 



886. TO HENRY LAURENS 1 



(L.C.) 



Passy, near Paris, March 31 1778. 

SIR : Mons. Ge*rard, who does me the Honour to be the 
Bearer of this Letter, is the same Plenipotentiary with whom 
we compleated the Treaties that have secured to America 
the Friendship and Support of this powerful Monarchy. In 
the whole Conduct of that Affair, he manifested a Candor, 
Uprightness, and Equity of Disposition, as well as an Affec- 
tion for our Cause and Country, that impress'd us with the 
highest Esteem for him; and I congratulate you on his 
being Minister from this Court to the Congress, as the 
King's Appointment of a Person who is considered as our 
Friend, to fill so important a Station, is an additional Mark 
of his Majesty's Good Will to us, and presages, in my Opin- 
ion, an Exercise of the Good Understanding so happily 
begun between the two Countries; which no one can be 
more desirous or more capable of promoting. 

I beg leave, therefore to recommend him warmly not only 
to all the Civilities and Respects that are due to his publick 
Character, but to those tender Regards and affectionate 
grateful Attentions that Friendship claims and which are 
so proper to cultivate and strengthen it. I have the Honour 
to be, with the greatest respect, sir, yours, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 An auto, draft. Laurens was President of Congress. 



128 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 
887. TO HENRY LAURENS (L. c.) 

Passy, near Paris, March 31, 1778. 
SIR, 

My colleague, Mr. Deane, being recalPd by Congress, 
and no Reasons given that have yet appear' d here, it is ap- 
prehended to be the Effect of some Misrepresentations from 
an Enemy or two at Paris and at Nantes. I have no doubt, 
that he will be able clearly to justify himself; but, having 
lived intimately with him now fifteen months, the greatest 
part of the time in the same House, and been a constant 
Witness of his public Conduct, I cannot omit giving this 
Testimony, tho' unask'd, in his Behalf, that I esteem him a 
faithful, active, and able Minister, who, to my knowledge, 
has done in various ways great and important Service to 
his Country, whose Interests I wish may always, by every 
one in her employ, be as much and as effectually promoted. 1 
With my dutiful Respects to the Congress, I have the Hon- 
our to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



888. TO CONRAD ALEXANDRE GERARD DE 
RAYNEVAL (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, April i, 1778. 

ONCE more, dear Sir, Adieu. Mr. Deane set out last 
Night. He will show you the Propositions. They would 
probably have been accepted, if they had been made two 

1 See further correspondence concerning the quarrel between Deane and 
Lee, in letters to Laurens. 



1778] 



TO ARTHUR LEE 



129 



Years ago. I have answered that they have come too late: 
And that every Kind of Acknowledgment of the Govern- 
ment of Great Britain, how small soever, is now become 
impracticable. I thank you for the Information of Mr. 
de Sartine's Courier. My best wishes attend you. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



889. TO ARTHUR LEE 



(A. P. s.) 



SIR, 



Passy, April i. 1778. 



There is a Stile in some of your Letters, I observe it par- 
ticularly in the last, whereby superior Merit is assumed to 
yourself in point of Care and Attention to Business, and 
Blame is insinuated on your Colleagues without making 
yourself accountable by a direct Charge, of Negligence or 
Unfaithfulness, which has the Appearance of being as art- 
ful as it is unkind. In the present Case I think the Insin- 
uation groundless. 

I do not know that either Mr. Deane or myself ever show'd 
an Unwillingness to settle the Public Accounts. The 
Banker's Book always contained the whole. You could 
at any time as easily have obtain' d the Account from them 
as either of us. And you had abundantly more Leisure. 
If on examining it, you had wanted Explanation of any 
Article, you might have call'd for it and had it. You never 
did either. As soon as I obtained the Account, I put it into 
your Hands, and desired you to look into it; and I have 
heard no more of it since, 'till now, just as Mr. Deane was 
on the point of departing. Mr. Deane, however, had left 



VOL. VII K 



130 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

with me, before the Receipt of your Letter, both the Pub- 
lic Papers, and Explications of the several Articles in the 
Account that came within his Knowledge. With these 
Materials I suppose we can settle the Account whenever 
you please. You have only to name the Day and Place, 
and I will attend the Business with you. I have the Honour 
to be, with great Esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



890. FROM ARTHUR LEE TO BENJAMIN 

FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Chaillot, April 2, 1778. 
SIR, 

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

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

I do not live ten minutes' distance from you. The communication, there- 
fore, could not be attended with delay or difficulty. Within these few days, 
I have seen you frequently, as usual. Particularly, on Monday I was with you 
at your house for some time. I asked you about the sailing of the ships at 
Nantes, expressing my desire to know when we should have an opportunity 
of writing. You said you did not know when they sailed. I asked if there 
were no letters, none but one from M. Dumas having been shown to me for 
some time. You answered, No. I had, at a former meeting, asked you 
whether it was not proper for us to send an express to give intelligence of 
such consequential events as our being acknowledged here, and the treaty 
avowed. You told me, it would be sufficient to write by the ship from 






1778] FROM ARTHUR LEE TO B. FRANKLIN 131 

Nantes, (for it was afterwards you mentioned there were two,) as the news 
being public would find its way fast enough. 

Upon M. Amiel, who came from your house to mine, mentioning, on 
Tuesday, that Mr. Deane was to go away in a few days, I wrote to you and 
him to repeat what I have so often requested, that the public accounts might 
be settled, for which Mr. Deane had taken possession of all the vouchers, and 
that the public papers might be delivered to us before his departure. You 
made no answer. I sent my secretary again yesterday to desire an answer. 
You sent me a verbal one, that you would settle the accounts with me any day 
after to-morrow. Your reason for not doing it before was, that it was not 
your business. Now it seemed your business only, and Mr. Deane had 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 to answer. 

During all this time, and with these circumstances, you have been totally 
silent to me about the present opportunity of writing to Congress, about the 
important public measure in agitation, and about Mr. Deane's departure. 
Nay, more, what you have said, and the manner in which you 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, that you will think with me, that I have a right to know your 
reasons for treating me thus. If you have anything to accuse me of, avow it, 
and I will answer you. If you have not, why do you act so inconsistently with 
your duty to the public, and injuriously to me ? Is the present state of Europe 
of so little moment to our constituents, as not to require our joint consideration, 
and information to them ? Is the character of the court here, and of the per- 
son sent to negotiate with our constituents, of no consequence for them to be 
apprized of? Is this the example, you in your superior wisdom think proper 
to set, of order, decorum, confidence, and justice? 

I trust too, Sir, that 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 honour to be, with great respect, 

ARTHUR LEE. 



132 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 
891. TO ARTHUR LEE (A.P.S.) 

Passy, April 3, 1778 

SIR 

It is true I have omitted answering some of your Letters. 
I do not like to answer angry Letters. I hate Disputes. 
I am old, cannot have long to live, have much to do and no 
time for Altercation. If I have often received and borne 
your Magisterial Snubbings and Rebukes without Reply, 
ascribe it to the right Causes, my Concern for the Honour 
& Success of our Mission, which would be hurt by our 
Quarrelling, my Love of Peace, my Respect for your good 
Qualities, and my Pity of your Sick Mind, which is forever 
tormenting itself, with its Jealousies, Suspicions & Fan- 
cies that others mean you ill, wrong you, or fail in Respect 
for you. If you do not cure your self of this Temper it 
will end in Insanity, of which it is the Symptomatick Fore- 
runner, as I have seen in several Instances. God preserve 
you from so terrible an Evil: and for his sake pray suffer 
me to live in quiet. I have the honour to be very respect- 
fully, 

Sir, etc, 

[B. FRANKLIN] 



892. TO ARTHUR LEE (A.P.S.) 

Passy, April 4, 1778. 

SIR, 

Mr. Deane communicated to me his Intention of setting 
out for America immediately as a Secret, which he desired 
I would mention to nobody. I comply'd with his Request. 



1778] TO ARTHUR LEE 133 

If he did not think fit to communicate it to you also; it is 
from him you should demand his Reasons. 

This Court has an undoubted Right to send as Minis- 
ters who it pleases, & where it pleases, without advising 
with us, or desiring our Approbation. The Measure of 
sending M. Ge*rard, as a Minister to Congress, was resolv'd 
on without consulting me, but I think it a wise one ; and if 
I did not, I do not conceive that I have any right to find 
fault with it. France was not consulted when we were sent 
here. Your angry Charge therefore of our "making a Party 
Business of it" is groundless; we had no Hand in the Busi- 
ness: And as we neither "acted nor advis'd" in it, which 
you suppose, your other high-sounding Charge of our do- 
ing thereby violence to the Authority that constituted us, 
and a great Injury and Injustice to you, is equally without 
Foundation. As to the concealing it from you, Reasons 
were given by Mr. Deane, that appeared to me satisfactory, 
and founded entirely on Views of Publick Good. I promise 
to communicate them to you hereafter, if you desire it, that 
you may have an Opportunity of refuting them if you can. 
At present it is not proper. 

Your third Paragraph, therefore, containing a particular 
iccount of what pass'd between you & me at my House 
m Monday, seems not to require any Answer. I am still 
of the same Opinion, that after having sent the Treaties 
themselves by different good Conveyances, in which Treat- 
ies our Publick Character was acknowledged in the most 
authentic Manner, and the Avowal of the Transaction by 
the French Ambassador to the King of England, which 
was in all the Papers of Europe, the sending a Vessel express 
to carry the News of paying our Respects to Court, w** 



134 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

was likewise in the Papers, was an Expensive and altogether 
unnecessary Operation. 

I received your Letter directed to Mr. Deane & myself 
relating to the Accounts. I had no Opportunity of show- 
ing it to him till the Evening of his Departure, and then he 
was too much in a Hurry to peruse it. I could not there- 
fore sooner answer it. But I then wrote an Answer acquaint- 
ing you that he had put into my hands the Public Papers 
with all the Information he could give relating to the Ac- 
counts. It was intended to be transcribed fairly and sent 
you in the Morning. Your Secretary call'd for an Answer 
before I had time to copy it. I had a good deal of Com- 
pany; and thinking a verbal Message might perhaps do as 
well and save the Trouble, I desired him with my Compli- 
ments to acquaint you that I was ready to settle the Account 
with you at any time you should think fit to appoint, except 
the morrow, when I should be otherwise engaged. As this 
verbal Message offended you, tho' I cannot conceive why, 
I now send you the Letter. In it I complain of your artful 
and, I think I may call them unjust Insinuations. You 
give me fresh Instances in the Letter I am answering. You 
magnify your Zeal to have the Publick Accounts settled, 
and insinuate that Mr. Deane and I prevented it, he by 
"taking Possession of all the Vouchers," and both of us by 
taking constantly the Public Papers to ourselves, which are 
the Property of all the Commissioners. 

When this comes to be read in the Committee, for whom 
it seems to be calculated, rather than for me, who know the 
Circumstances, what can they understand by it, but that 
you are the only careful, honest Man of the Three, and that 
we have some knavish Reasons for keeping the Accounts 



1778] TO ARTHUR LEE 135 

in the Dark, and you from seeing the Vouchers? But the 
Truth is, the Papers naturally came into Mr. Deane's Hands 
and mine; first as he was engag'd in the Purchasing of 
Goods for the Congress before either you or I came into 
France, next as somebody must keep the Papers, and you 
were either on long Journeys to Spain, to Vienna & Berlin, 
or had a Commission to go and reside in Spain, which it 
was expected would soon be executed; Mr. Deane and I 
liv'd almost constantly in the same House either at Paris 
or Passy; you separate from us, and we did most of the 
Business. Where then could the Papers be so properly 
placed as with us, who had daily Occasion to make Use of 
them? I never knew that you desired to have the Keeping 
of them. You never were refus'd a Paper or the Copy of 
a Paper that you desired. Why then these Reflections? 

As to my not acquainting you with the Opportunity of 
Writing to Congress by Mr. Deane, we had lately wrote, 
and sent by probably safe Conveyances, all I knew of Im- 
portance to write. I therefore did not propose, nor write 
any Letter to the Committee by him, especially as in my 
Opinion, considering the Route he was to take, he would 
not arrive so soon as other Vessels, who may sail long after 
him, and he could himself give as good an Ace 1 of our being 
at Court, the only Publick Transaction since our last Letters, 
as we could write. 

You ask me, Why I act so inconsistent with my Duty to 
the Publick? This is a heavy Charge, Sir, which I have 
not deserved. But it is to the Publick, that I am accountable 
and not to you. I have been a Servant to many publicks, 
thro' a long Life; have serv'd them with Fidelity, and 
have been honoured by their Approbation: There is not a 



136 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

single Instance of my ever being accused before of acting 
contrary to their Interest or my Duty. I shall account to 
the Congress when calPd upon for this my terrible Offence 
of being silent to you about Mr. Deane's and M. Gerard's 
Departure. And I have no Doubt of their Equity in ac- 
quitting me. 

It is true, that I have omitted answering some of your 
Letters, particularly your angry ones, in which you, with very 
magisterial Airs, schooPd and documented me, as if I had 
been one of your Domestics. I saw in the strongest Light 
the Importance of our living in decent Civility towards 
each other, while our great Affairs were depending here. 
I saw your jealous, suspicious, malignant and quarrelsome 
Temper, which was daily manifesting itself against Mr. 
Deane, and almost every other Person you had any Con- 
cern with: I therefore pass'd your Affronts in Silence; did 
not answer but burnt your angry Letters, and received 
you when I next saw you with the same Civility, as if you 
had never wrote them. Perhaps I may still pursue the 
same Conduct, and not send you these. I believe I shall 
not unless exceedingly press'd by you, for of all things I 
hate Altercation. 

One Word more about the Accounts. You tell me, that 
my Reason for not settling the Acc ts before, was, that it 
was not my Business; now it seem'd my Business only, & 
Mr. Deane had nothing to do with it. Both these Positions 
are imaginary. I could never have given any such Reason, 
being always willing to settle Accounts with everybody, 
and not having the least Motive to delay or postpone the 
Settlement of these. Nor could it seem that I should say 
Mr. Deane had nothing to do with it. He had done what 



1778] TO ARTHUR LEE 137 

he could towards it: and being actually gone, could do no 
more. The Infinity of Business we have had is the true 
and only Reason that I know of why they have not been 
settled, that is, why we did not meet, sit down & compare 
the Vouchers with the Articles in the Banker's Account, 
in order to see that his Charges were supported, and that he 
had given us due Credit for the Monies we had put into his 
Hands. This I apprehend is all we have to do here. It 
is to the Congress we are separately to account for the sepa- 
rate Drafts we have made on him. This Mr. Deane can do 
when he arrives, having taken a Copy of the Account with 
him. 

If you think we should account to one another for our 
Expences: I have no Objection, tho' I never expected it. 
I believe they will be found very moderate. I am sure 
mine will, having had only the Necessaries of Life, and 
purchased nothing besides except the Encyclop&dia, nor 
sent a Sixpence' worth of any thing to my Friends or Family 
in America. I have the honour to be your obedient servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 






893. TO ARTHUR LEE (A. p. s.) 

Passy, April 6. 1778 

SIR, 

Mr. Williams had Orders from Mr. Deane and myself 
to purchase and make up a large Quantity of Cloathing, 
and ship the same, in pursuance of the Orders of Congress. 
I imagine you were not in France when this Measure was 
taken, and so could not be consulted. But you certainly 
have been acquainted with it since your Return; I never 



138 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

heard that you made any Objection to it, and you may at 
any time have fuller Information if desired. I think the 
Orders of any two of us in these Cases are sufficient. And 
that if we have given Directions to an Agent of ours to draw 
on our Banker in Discharge of Contracts made properly 
for the Public Service, his Drafts ought to be honoured. 
The Reason of permitting him to draw on our Banker in- 
stead of ourselves, was as I understand it, convenient at 
that time, to mask more effectually our building & equip- 
ping Vessels of Force. If in a single Instance he is known 
or suspected to have abused this confidence plac'd in him, 
I am ready to join with you in putting a Stop to his Proceed- 
ings, by ordering his Bills to be protested. If not, I think 
the publick Service requires that he should compleat his 
Orders, which as far as I have ever heard he has hitherto 
executed with great Care, Fidelity & Ability. 

As to the want of Funds with Mr. Grand, 1 1 suppose that 
before the Bills drawn on him become due, which are charged 
in his Ace*, and bring the Ballance against us, he will be 
fully supplied with what are necessary. 

I send you herewith sundry Letters relating to our Affairs, 
for your Perusal and Advice upon them. I have the honour 
to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



894. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (i.e.) 

Passy, April 10, 1778. 

SIR: We received duly your despatch of the 3d instant, 
and approve very much the care and pains you constantly take 

1 Ferdinand Grand, a Paris banker. ED. 



1778] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 139 

in sending us the best intelligence of foreign affairs. We 
have now the pleasure of acquainting you that Mr. John 
Adams, a member of Congress, appointed to succeed Mr. 
Deane in this Commission, is safely arrived here. He came 
over in the Boston, a frigate of thirty guns belonging to the 
United States. In the passage they met and made prize 
of a large English letter-of-marque ship of fourteen guns, 
the Martha, bound for New York, on whose cargo 70,000 
sterling was insured in London. It contains abundance of 
necessaries for America, whither she is despatched, and we 
hope will get well into one of our ports. 

Mr. Adams acquaints us that it had been moved in Con- 
gress to send a minister to Holland, but that although there 
was the best disposition towards that country, and desire 
to have and maintain a good understanding with their High 
Mightinesses and a free commerce with their subjects, the 
measure was respectfully postponed for the present, till 
their sentiments on it could be known, from an apprehen- 
sion that possibly their connections with England might 
make the receiving an American minister as yet inconven- 
ient, and (if Holland should have the same good will towards 
us) a little embarassing. Perhaps, as our independency 
begins to wear the appearance of greater stability since 
our acknowledged alliance with France, that difficulty may 
be lessened. Of this we wish you would take the most 
prudent methods privately to inform yourself. It seems 
clearly to be the interest of Holland to share in the rapidly 
growing commerce of her young sister republic; and as in 
the love of liberty, and bravery in the defence of it, she has 
been our great example, we hope circumstances and con- 
stitutions in many respects so similar may produce mutual 



140 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

benevolence; and that the unfavourable impressions made 
on the minds of some in America, by the rigour with which 
supplies of arms and ammunition were refused them in 
their distress, may soon be worn off and obliterated by a 
friendly intercourse and reciprocal good offices. 

When Mr. Adams left America, which was about the 
middle of February, our affairs were daily improving, our 
troops well supplied with arms and provisions and in good 
order; and the army of General Burgoyne being detained 
for breaches of the capitulation, we had in our hands about 
ten thousand prisoners of the enemy. We are, sir, etc. 

FRANKLIN, ADAMS, LEE 

[ON A SEPARATE PAPER] 

The above is so written that you may show it on Occa- 
sion. We send enclosed a proposed Draft of a Letter to 
the Grand Pensionary; but as we are unacquainted with 
Forms, and may not exactly have hit your Idea with regard 
to the Matter and Expression, we wish you would consult 
with our Friend upon it, and return with the necessary 
Corrections. 

P. S. The Letters you mention coming to you from Eng- 
land are for Mr. William Lee, and you will be so good as 
to forward them, with his name superscribed and enclosed 
to Messrs. Frederic Gontard & Fils, Banquiers Frankfort 
sur la Maine. 



TO EDWARD BANCROFT 



141 



895. TO THE GRAND PENSIONARY OF HOL- 
LAND l (L. c.) 

Paris, April io th 1778. 

SIR: We have the Honour of acquainting your Excel- 
lency that the United States of North America being now 
an independent Power, and acknowledged as such by this 
Court, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce is compleated 
between France and the said States, of which we shall 
speedily send your Excellency a Copy, to be communicated, 
if you think proper, to their High Mightinesses, for whom 
the United States have the greatest Respect, and the strong- 
est Desire that a good Understanding may be cultivated, 
and a mutually beneficial Commerce be established, be- 
tween the People of the two Nations, which, as will be seen, 
there is nothing in the above-mentioned Treaty to prevent 
or impede. 
We have the honour to be, with great Respect, 

Your Excellency's, etc 
[THE COMMISSIONERS.] 



896. TO EDWARD BANCROFT 2 

Passy, April 16, 1778. 

DEAR SIR, 

I wish you would assure our friend, that Dr. Franklin 
never gave any such expectations to Mr. Pulteney. On 

1 E. P. Van Berckel. The preceding letter and this enclosure exist in 
auto, drafts by Franklin, and a contemporary copy, in French, by Dumas, 
to whom the enclosure was addressed. ED. 

3 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), Philadelphia, 



142 77^5- WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

the contrary, he told him, that the Commissioners could 
not succeed in their mission, whether they went to recover 
the dependence or to divide. His opinion is confirmed by 
the enclosed resolves, which perhaps it may not be amiss 
to publish in England. Please to send me the newspaper. 
Yours affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



897. FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO BENJAMIN 
FRANKLIN * 

Paris, April 23, 1778. 
DEAR SIR, 

I will take care of all your commissions. This moment a second packet of 
infinite value is received, which I shall cherish as a mark of affection from 
you. I opened the letter by mistake, which came with it, and soon saw it 
was not for me. I hope you will excuse it. I choose rather to throw my- 
self upon your goodness for the excuse, than any thing else. I shall not set 
out till between one and two; therefore, if you will be so good as to send me 
another copy, I will take care of it, and deliver it safely. 

God bless you, my dear friend. No exertion or endeavour on my part shall 
be wanting, that we may some time or other meet again in peace. Your pow- 
ers are infinitely more influential than mine. To those powers I trust my last 
hopes. I will conclude, " Blessed are the peace-makers." Your affectionate 
friend, D. HARTLEY. 

P. S. If tempestuous times should come, take care of your own safety; 
events are uncertain, and men may be capricious. 

1817, Vol. VI, p. 384. Edward Bancroft (1744-1821), naturalist, chemist, 
physician, and author, published (1769) "An Essay on the Natural History of 
Guiana," a novel entitled "Charles Wentworth" (1770), and a "Review of 
the Controversy between Great Britain and her Colonies" (1769). Bancroft 
characterized him as a double spy; Doniol says he was in the pay of the foreign 
office; Lord North described him as " wholly an American." Attempts have 
been made, but without complete success, to identify him with the mysterious 
" Edwards " of the secret correspondence with William Eden and the foreign 
office. ED. 

1 From " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States," Wharton, Vol. II, p. 555. ED. 



1778] 



TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 



DR. FRANKLIN'S ANSWER 

I THANK you for your kind caution, but having nearly 
finished a long life, I set but little value on what remains 
of it. Like a draper, when one chaffers with him for a rem- 
nant, I am ready to say, "As it is only the fag end, I will 
not differ with you about it; take it for what you please. " 
Perhaps the best use such an old fellow can be put to, is to 

make a martyr of him. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



TO COMTE DE VERGENNES l (P. A. E. E. u.) 



SIR, 



Passy, April 24, 1778. 



Mr. Hartley, Member of the British Parliament, an old 
acquaintance of mine, arrived here from London on Sun- 
day last. He is generally in the opposition, especially on 
American questions, but has some respect for Lord North. 
In conversation, he expressed the strongest anxiety for peace 
with America, and appeared extreamly desirous to know 
my sentiments of the terms, which might probably be ac- 
ceptable if offer'd; whether America would not, to obtain 
peace, grant some superior Advantages in Trade to Britain, 
and enter into an Alliance, offensive and defensive; 
whether, if War should be declared against France, we had 
oblig'd ourselves by Treaty to join with her against England. 

1 Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes (1717-1787), Minister of Foreign 
Affairs (1774-1787). ED. 



144 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

My Answers have been, that the United States were not 
fond of War, and with the advice of their friends would 
probably be easily prevailed with to make peace on equi- 
table terms ; but we had no terms committed to us to pro- 
pose, and I did not choose to mention any; that Britain, 
having injured us heavily by making this unjust war upon 
us, might think herself well off, if on Reparation of those 
Injuries we admitted her to equal advantages with other 
nations in commerce; but certainly she had no reason to 
expect superior; that her known fondness for war, and the 
many instances of her readiness to engage in wars on frivo- 
lous occasions, were probably sufficient to cause an imme- 
diate rejection of every proposition for an offensive alliance 
with her; and that, if she made war against France on our 
account, a peace with us, at the same time, was impossible; 
for that, having met with friendship from that generous 
nation, when we were cruelly oppressed by England, we 
were under ties stronger than treaties could form, to make 
common cause ; which we should certainly do to the utmost 
of our power. 

Here has also been with me a Mr. Chapman, who says 
he is a member of the Parliament of Ireland, on his way 
home from Nice, where he had been for the recovery of his 
health. He pretended to call on me only from motives of 
respect for my character, &c. But, after a few compli- 
ments, he entered on a similar discourse, urging much to 
know what terms would satisfy America, and whether, on 
having peace and independence granted to us, we should 
not be willing to submit to the Navigation Act, or give 
equivalent privileges in trade to Britain. The purport of 
my answer to him was, in short, that peace was of equal 



1778] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 145 

value to England as to us, and independence we were al- 
ready in possession of; that, therefore, England's offer to 
grant them to us could not be considered as proposing any 
favour, or as giving her a right to expect peculiar advantages 
in commerce. By his importunity, I found his visit was 
not so occasional as he represented it; and, from some ex- 
pressions, I conjectured he might be sent by Lord Shel- 
burne to sound me, and collect some information. On 
the whole, I gather from these conversations, that the oppo- 
sition, as well as the ministry, are perplexed with the pres- 
ent situation of affairs, and know not which way to turn 
themselves, or whether it is best to go backward or forward, 
or what steps to take to extricate that nation from its present 
dangerous situation. 

I thought it right to give your Excellency an account of 
these interviews, and to acquaint you with my intention of 
avoiding such hereafter; as I see but little prospect of utility 
in them, and think they are very liable to hurtful misrepre- 
sentations. 

By advices from London we learn, that a fleet for Quebec, 
with goods valued at five hundred thousand pounds sterling, 
is to sail about the end of this month, under convoy only of 
a single frigate of thirty guns, in which is to go Governor 
Haldimand. 1 

Enclosed I send a paper I have just received from Lon- 
don. It is not subscribed by any name, but I know the 
hand. It is from an old friend, of general and great ac- 
quaintance, and marks strongly the present distress and 

1 Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-1791) was appointed (April, 1778) to 
succeed Sir Guy Carleton as governor and commander-in-chief in Canada. 
ED. 

VOL. VII L 



146 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

despair of considerate people in England. I have the 
honour to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency's, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 

899. FROM COMTE DE VERGENNES TO 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Translation 

VERSAILLES, April 25, 1778. 
SIR, 

I have made known to the King the substance of the letter, which you did 
me the honour of writing to me yesterday ; and I am directed by his Majesty 
to express to you the satisfaction he has experienced from the information, 
which you have communicated on your conferences with Mr. Hartley. The 
grand principle of the English policy has always been to excite divisions; 
and it is by such means she expects to sustain her empire ; but it is not upon 
you, nor upon your colleagues, that she can practice such arts with success. 

I entertain the same sentiments of confidence in the United States. As to 
the rest, it is impossible to speak with more dignity, frankness, and firmness 
than you have done to Mr. Hartley; he has no reason to be very well satis- 
fied with his mission. I doubt whether this member of Parliament has any 
mission for us; but he desires to see me, and I expect him in the course of 
the morning. I should not be at all surprised, if his purpose be to sow dis- 
trust between us, by proposing a double negotiation. That I can obviate; 
but whatever passes between us, however trifling it may be, you shall be made 
acquainted with. I have the honour to be, with the most perfect considera- 
tion, Sir, &c. DE VERGENNES. 



900. TO JOHN ROSS * (L. c.) 

Passy, April 26, 1778. 

SIR : The multiplicity of affairs we have lately been en- 
gaged in, together with Mr. Deane's departure, who used to 
correspond with you, occasioned a deficiency in answering 

1 United States commercial agent at Nantes. This auto, draft is indorsed : 
" Letter to Mr. Jn. Ross, April 26, '78; not sent, May 19, '78." ED. 



1778] TO JOHN ROSS 147 

your letters. On looking them over I find some reflections 
on the Commissioners as having acted an ingenious part 
relative to the papers left by Mr. Thomas Morris. It ap- 
pears that you have not been well informed; and therefore 
I would now give you the history of the transaction. 

On the death of Mr. Morris, it was represented to the 
Commissioners that, on pretence of some kind of partner- 
ship between him and Mr. Penet, that gentleman might 
probably get possession of the papers, which would be 
attended with great inconvenience in case of any dispute on 
a settlement of the public accounts; and that, therefore, 
to prevent this, it was necessary Mr. W. Lee, the surviving 
colleague, should go down and take them into his custody, 
but, to enable him to do that, an order from government 
here should be obtained, directing the public officers in 
whose hands they regularly were, to deliver them to him; 
and the memorial requesting such an order was brought to 
Mr. Deane and me, ready drawn by Mr. A. Lee, to be signed, 
which we did without hesitation ; I, for my part, not having 
the least doubt that, on receiving them, he would deliver to 
you those belonging to the affairs of Willing & Morris. 
When he returned, he gave it as the reason of his not doing 
so that you had quarrelled with him, used him rudely, denied 
his authority to meddle with the public papers, and required 
the whole to be delivered to you ; on which he had brought 
the trunk containing them to Paris as he received it, sealed 
by two gentlemen of credit ; and he desired that, to prevent 
reflections or suspicions, it might be opened and the papers 
divided in our presence. We consented to this ; and I went 
to his house for that purpose, where Mr. Izard attended 
to verify the seals of the two gentlemen that were on the 



148 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

trunk. But, Mr. Deane being hindered from attending 
by an accident, the business was postponed; and, as I 
soon after understood by your letters, that Mr. Lee had had 
the papers under his particular examination several days 
before that formal sealing, of which I therefore did not see 
the use, and apprehending some danger of being involved 
in your quarrel, I refused, on consideration, to have any- 
thing to do with the opening and sorting of the papers. Mr. 
Lee was about to set out for Germany, and intimated that 
our not doing this must stop his journey. To remove this 
obstacle, as Mr. Deane was going to America, and Mr. A. 
Lee might soon go to Spain, I let him know that if he chose 
to leave the trunk sealed in my care, to be delivered in the 
same state to him or his order, I would consent to take it. 
He accordingly brought it to my house, with a receipt to 
that purpose ready written for me to sign. I signed it ac- 
cordingly, and thought that might have been sufficient; 
but, so cautious is he, that, lest I should deny my handwrit- 
ing (I suppose this reason because I cannot conceive an- 
other), he desired four persons to put their hands to the 
receipt as witnesses. He has, indeed, excused this since, 
by saying that he meant only to have it appear that those 
gentlemen being present approved of his delivery of the 
trunk to me. This might do for two of them, Mr. Deane 
and his brother, who, being Commissioners that with me 
procured for them the power of taking possession of them, 
had, therefore, some right to give their approbation; but 
the two others, Mr. Izard and Mr. Pringle, had no concern 
in the affair. Thus you see how the trunk comes to be in 
my hands, and yet not in my disposition. It is said to con- 
tain Mr. Morris' papers. I know nothing of the contents, 



1778] FROM B. VAUGHAN TO B. FRANKLIN 149 

and can know nothing of them, being obliged to deliver the 
trunk sealed as I received it, and I refused to take the key; 
and, apprehending Mr. Lee to be a very artful as well as 
disputatious man, I now wish I had not even consented to 
receive it. You see here the innocent part Mr. Deane and 
I have had in this affair, yet Mr. Lee has reflected upon us 
in one of his letters to me as countenancing you in treating 
him ill at Nantes; and you affront us as having given him 
our sanction for inspecting and carrying off the papers be- 
longing to the house of Willing & Morris, but nothing is 
more common than to pass censures without knowing facts. 
Mr. William Lee, in some conversation, expressed his 
opinion that a power to receive the papers ought to come 
from Mr. Morris' legal representative, otherwise he could 
not deliver them. I mention this for your information, as 
I suppose he will deliver them to no other person, for he is 
much of a lawyer, and would do everything regularly. I 
am, sir, your most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



901. FROM BENJAMIN VAUGHAN TO BEN- 
JAMIN FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

April 28, 1778. 
MY DEAREST SIR, 

I am sure I shall tell you something which you will have no pleasure in 
repeating again, when I inform you that L? Chatham is very ill indeed. 
Alarming symptoms have appeared, and no likelyhood of his getting rid 
of them, as he grows weaker every day. This intelligence is fresh from 
Hayes, where he now is. As I am afraid this great man is dying, I think 
it proper to give you what 7 recollected in his short speech on the 7^ of 
April; for short it was, and appeared as the mere throwing down of the 
gauntlet; reserving himself wholly for reply to the Duke of Richmond. He 
said, he 



150 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

" Was ill, but glad he was not in his grave when he heard of giving inde- 
pendence. The counsel dastardly and pusillanimous. Was there no middle 
way? Could not be said, while country ruined by unretracted error. Was 
not then for making a rod to whip our own backs. 

"Would never put his hands to the back of bonds for signing away 
America, or call princes to the Committee. America their birthright : it was 
once here under a prince of House of Brunswick, how came it gone ? Feared 
there was something rotten near the throne : yet did not mean ministers 
places. 

" Our case bad enough. But wished he could see daylight in the proposi- 
tion. France had taken our trade our fairest flower, and it was saying to 
France; insult us, take all we have, but don't make war with us. Did not 
indeed know the means: [such as we had, we must use them:] But if we 
must die, would die decently. Had stood irruptions of Danes and of Nor- 
mans, of Armada & Scotch rebels. Would not then extinguish and put out 
the glories of that throne (pointing to it.) 

" Knew he should be favourably interpreted : whatever else he was 
thought, should be thought sincere." 

These are all the expressions that have occured to me; and if a variation 
was observed by others, I have inserted it. I suppose you know that the 
debate-writers for the newspapers, are seldom very exact : Indeed they are 
low people, hear indistinctly, and know neither the history of men, parties, or 
opinions ; and therefore are always blundering. As to the order of sentences, 
it cannot be expected that I should preserve it; but I have reported as faith- 
fully as I could. His voice was often low and did not then reach the bar. 
The Duke of Richmond (who by the by is greatly improved, and will make a 
remarkable figure in this country, having much English stuff in him, and 
though not a soaring mind, yet very capable of business and detail, which he 
will conduct with industry, honour & courage) the Duke of Richmond I say, 
spoke pretty well in reply, but it was rather common-place, and what had 
chiefly fallen from him in former debates. There was a little harshness & 
sterness in it, which he cannot always keep under even to his domestics, but 
on the whole it was neither bitter nor formidable. I had observed Lord 
Chatham shifting his crutch from one hand into the other once or twice, but 
did not observe that he made any exertion to get anything out of his pocket, 
which they tell me was the case (feeling for a handkerchief with a tug;) but 
on a sudden he disappeared, and was carried out of the house without sense, 
and like a corpse ; and did not recover for almost an hour. He looked very 
ill at coming in at first; but did not speak so feebly as on the 30"? of May 

1777, when he told L? S to be prepared for the worst, for he did not know 

what might happen. In July or August last he fell off his horse in a fit, but 
recovered so, as to go through much business in the beginning of the ses- 
sions. I think about 15 or 20 voices cried out after the bustle was over, go 



1778] FROM B. Y A UGH AN TO B. FRANKLIN 151 

on, go on; at which I was hurt; and they told me the Duke of Richmond 
spoke of being obliged to attend his militia; which is possible enough. 
When LI Chatham was told by Dr Addington, that the Rockinghams said, the 
Duke of Richmond had killed him; " Another time " said Lord Chatham, 
sternly and firmly. 

April 8?, L? Shelburne came to the house and resumed the debate; and 
made a prodigious impression upon the Duke of Richmond; who really spoke 
his heart in the compliments he paid; and certainly it was a prodigious 
speech. Some trick and play there was in it; or as the Duke of R. called 
them "the honest arts of eloquence, for they were honest, he said; " but on 
the whole a monstrous deal of comprehension, reading, and real solid elo- 
quence; too rapid and sudden however to be always neat and without exple- 
tives. I shall trouble you with none of it, except what is material to you as 
an American and negotiator, and to save him from mis-interpretation, which 
has been more ignorantly than industriously used; though some of the latter 
kind has taken place in the abuse brought against him. 

"Man creature of regulation; is what his government makes him. A 
declaration of independence would acquit America of their thinking as Eng- 
lishmen; would make separate interests, competition and hatred. Already 
asked for Canada Florida and Scotia; and then to follow fishery and islands. 
Much property lost by it to individuals. A vast weapon put into hands of 
congress ; soon make minority into majority. Would now give it for noth- 
ing; for nothing said in return to the offer, but that they won't thank you for 
it. Not a child's play with diadems, to toss away a diadem, and hope to have 
it back again improved. Many of congress-men wished to serve their com- 
munity; those of elevated minds would wish (as they ought,) to have elevated 
stations. Was sure however the union would be again; and the name of 
Englishmen last, when that of France was rotten. France meant to dupe one 
and hurt both. Now thirteen republics; republics peaceful: would pay 
their first quotas easily, as in the scrip, but third and fourth payments would 
drag heavily. Prince Maurice built a citadel at Groningen to inforce pay- 
ment of quotas. (Here he said somthing about an agrarian law being as 
natural to a republic, as entails to a monarchy; but I forget the application.) 

" Wished none of the commissioners sent : if sent, sent with view to be 
refused. Ought to do like bungling physicians : after trying many things, try 
nothing; see what nature would do; nature enough in this case. Leave 
them alone : they will soon find what they have lost, and in two or three 
years be for sending commissioners here. 

"As to France & Spain must not despair: England had her same people, 
same private wealth, if properly taken care of and confidence to draw it forth 
from its hoardings. If we grown old, France grown old too. France & 
Spain vulnerable & etc. 

" Though Lords dispond, those who know frivolousness of French won't 



152 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

dispond, not women even, who do know it. France had great individuals, so 
had falling Rome ; but nation refined in nothing but in the art of making 
court ; this the view of all. 

" Rupture with France not instant ; long seen ; why then surprised ; why 
not so before ? Had low spirits at times himself ; men in dispondence he 
knew had not right judgments. We must appeal to the public ; call out 
religion and freedom ; give men something to fight for ; (the present a war 
of slavery ; ) and follow a directing public. 

" In 1672 Holland in a worse state ; & offered to submit to Lewis and only 
Amsterdam firm. De Witz, like all other great men, failed in not knowing 
the extent of folly ; never thought Charles would let them go ; yet Charles 
did. But still De Witz's maxim was, no country ought ever to give up one 
point of justice or reason, but oppose it from first. De Witz not only said, 
but did ; visited the fleet, made infinite exertions, and was torn in pieces 
repeating the ode Justum and tenaccm propositi &c. 

"Not true that Philip and Elisabeth accommodated to each other. As 
fast as one assisted Holland, the other assisted Ireland; and Armada was 
forced to delay, because Walsingham Gresham & Lutton borrowed Genoese 
bank money that was to arm it. Here was stock- jobbing, and yet cost only 
,40,000. Wished these times produced a Walsingham, and merchants like 
Gresham. Yet still some spirit to his knowledge and did not speak of 
mountains and mice. 

" If this point given up, should be ashamed of London, still more of abroad; 
believed should retire to the country. If danger followed him, would do as 
a traveller would, who found himself at a tavern where a company of gentle- 
men were attacked by ruffians ; without interest, would take his share. 

" But am asked a question : Must we fight all three ? Will answer dis- 
tinctly ; think need only fight two of them, but if necessary yes, fight the 
three. 

" On the whole, wished not to be replied to on the spot ; begged them 
(the Rockinghams) to take time, and weigh. He knew their worth. His 
opinions not court opinions: but respected their unspotted characters, and 
hoped their good intentions would not aid the little cunning of others to ruin 
the country. Should unite against ministers : Not to reap seed of their sowing, 
but have reaping of seed of their own sowing." 

Then followed a great variety of other matters relative to ministry and 
their conduct. 

He spoke two hours, besides a reply ; and was not flat for a moment. In 
his beginnings he is often flat, for 5 or 6 minutes, though wonderfully improved. 

He explained the expression of Lord Chatham's not knowing the means. 
But I wonder the Duke of R. did not talk of the instance of irruptions by 
Danes & Normans, as contrary to the case to be proved. Indeed the Danes 
were finally repelled and Norman line compromised, and in each case the 



1778] FROM B. VAUGHAN TO B. FRANKLIN 153 

Kings were obliged to reside in their conquests ; but the instances certainly 
very awkward. 

No news that I can communicate. The King & Queen will be at Ports- 
mouth on Friday. The Irish bills of course will not pass, ministry not being 
with them. Govf. Johnstone had great hopes at going out, but they have just 
heard here that America is not much inclined to negotiation, they say. I 
think they tell us Mr. Hartly makes the 2O th embassador you have had. I am 
very glad the first time I saw my friend, that I had no connections ; and the 
second time that I scarcely shewed an inclination to hear what, if I had been 
sent by my connections, I ought to have heard. 

I think if Lord Chatham had remained well, that a change of ministers 
would not have been distant ; for they know that he minds measures more than 
men, and rather has a turn to take care of national grandeur than national 
liberty, farther than as the latter assists the former ; all which is in a great 
degree true. Under him therefore they thought they could pension their 
creatures with sinecure places, leaving him the general direction. 

Upon a conversation this morning with Col! B., I find that absentees will 
at first be just as safe as inhabitants, personal care and exertion excepted; and 
therefore content myself with getting a letter to our governor, strongly desiring 
him to recommend our property to protection of the conqueror, which recom- 
mendation he knows by experience will be attended to. But as I wish to 
have two securities where I think them possible, I shall beg the favour of you 
to get the same thing mentioned to the parties concerned on your side, if you 
think it proper ; but as you may not think it proper, to make the refusal easy, 
and to prevent improper communication being, I hope you will never mention 
to me in any way, the part you may take. Our parish is that of St. James ; 
I have a brother named Charles on the spot. As to our connections, they 
are rank Whig and American. I know you have nobleness enough to excuse 
this application, and consider it as not made wholly on my part, but for the 
family. I am as ever, my dearest sir, your most devoted, affectionate & 
grateful . . . 

D! P. & D! P? * Have had a correspondence 

upon the latter's metaphysical 

writings, which will probably be 

soon published, unless the distraction of the times 

should withdraw attention to such subjects 

I have had some papers for the Duke De 

by me, but they are still in their old state, and I 
have not had leisure to prepare them for him. 

I dare say you have many such voluminous correspondents as myself: but 
you see how my pen runs to you. 

1 Richard Price and Joseph Priestley. 



154 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

902. TO ARTHUR LEE (A. p. s.) 

Passy, May 17, 1778. 

MR. FRANKLIN is not inclin'd to sign this Letter to Mr. 
Grand, 1 i. because he does not know, that any Inconven- 
iencies have arisen from the Order originally given that the 
Orders of each of us separately should be honoured. 

2. Because Mr. Lee is pleas'd to be very angry with him, 
which is expressed in many of his Letters, and therefore Mr. 
F. does not chuse to be oblig'd to ask Mr. Lee's Consent, 
whenever he may have Occasion to draw for his Subsistence, 
as that Consent cannot be expected from any Necessity of 
a reciprocal Compliance on Mr. F.'s part, Mr. Lee having 
secur'd his Subsistence by taking into his own Disposition 
185,000 Livres, and his Brother, by a Deception on the 
Commissioners, of 48,ooo. 2 Mr. F. has no Objection to any 
Resolution that all Contracts for the Publick shall be made 
by joint Consent, or at least by a Majority, together with the 
Drafts for Payment. Indeed he wishes that if practicable 
he might be excus'd from any Concern in Matters of Com- 
merce, which he so little understands. But as we are sepa- 
rately accountable to Congress for our personal Expences, 

1 The following is a copy of the letter to Mr. Grand, the American banker, 
which Mr. Lee requested Dr. Franklin to sign. 

" Sir ; It is our desire, that you accept no bills nor pay any money out of 
the funds which are or may be in your hands to the credit of us three jointly 
without our joint order. As it has been the practice to address Letters upon 
the business of the Commission to Mr. Deane, we desire that you will send to 
us all the Letters you receive so directed, & not give them to any private 
person." May 17, 1778 (A. P. S.). ED. 

2 This " deception," as it is here called, is explained in the letter to the 
Committee of Foreign Affairs, dated January 15, 1779. ED. 



1778] TO DAVID HARTLEY 155 

and Mr. F. does not desire to have the least Controll in those 
of his Colleagues, so neither does he chuse to subject his to 
the Controll of Mr. Lee. 

3. He declines signing this Letter, because it orders 
Mr. Grand to deliver to us all Letters directed to Mr. Deane, 
which may come into his hands : and it being understood that 
Dr. Bancroft is intrusted & empower' d by Mr. Deane to 
receive his Letters, and there may be some concerning his 
private Affairs with which we have no Concern, and which 
it may be improper for us to examine, Mr. F. thinks that the 
Supposition of a Possibility, that they may relate to the 
Publick, is not a sufficient Excuse for such Gratification of 
private Curiosity. I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



903. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 25 1778 

DEAR SIR, I am glad to learn by the Newspapers that 
you got safe home, where I hope you found all well. 

I wish to know whether your Ministers have yet come to 
a Resolution to exchange the Prisoners they hold in England, 
according to the Expectations formerly given you. We have 
here about two hundred, who are confined in the Drake, 
where they must be kept, as we have not the Use of Prisons 
on shore, and where they could not be so conveniently accom- 
modated as we could wish. But as the liberal Discharge 
we have given to near 500 Prisoners taken on your Coasts 
has wrought no Disposition to similar Returns, we shall keep 
these and all we take hereafter, till your Counsels become 



156 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

more reasonable. We have Accounts from the Mill Prison 
at Plymouth, that our People are not allowed the Use of Pen 
and Ink, nor the Sight of Newspapers, nor the Conversation 
of Friends. Is it true ? 

Be so good as to mention to me whether the two little Bills 
I gave you on Nesbit and Vaughan are accepted and paid, 
and the Sums of each, as I have omitted to make a Note 
of them. Permit me to repeat my thankful Acknowledg- 
ments for the very humane and kind part you have acted 
in this Affair. If I thought it necessary I would pray God to 
bless you for it. But I know he will do it without my Prayers. 
Adieu, and believe me ever, 

Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



904. TO JOHN PAUL JONES 1 

Passy, May 27. 1778. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the i8th, enclosing one for the Countess 
of Selkirk, which I forward this day by way of Holland, as 
you desire. It is a gallant letter, and must give her Ladyship 
a high and just opinion of your generosity and nobleness of 
mind. 

The Jersey privateers do us a great deal of mischief by 
intercepting our supplies. It has been mentioned to me, that 

1 First printed by Sparks. This letter was answered by Paul Jones (Brest, 
June i, 1778). He was then captain of U. S. S. Ranger, a vessel which 
he calls "crank and slow." He thought that her present crew could 
only be led by "great views of interest" to "bring about the plan" 
proposed in Franklin's letter. [See J. P. Jones Mss., L. C., and Sherburne, 
11 Life of John Paul Jones," New York, 1851, p. 68]. ED. 



1778] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 157 

your small vessel, commanded by so brave an officer, might 
render great service by following them where greater ships 
dare not venture their bottoms; or, being accompanied and 
supported by some frigates from Brest, at a proper distance, 
might draw them out, and then take them. I wish you to 
consider of this, as it comes from high authority, and that 
you would immediately let me know what you think of it, 
and when your ship will be ready. 

I have written to England about the exchange of your pris- 
oners. I congratulate you most cordially on your late suc- 
cess, and wish for a continuance and increase of the honour 
you have acquired. It will always be a pleasure to me to con- 
tribute what may lie in my power towards your advancement, 
and that of the brave officers and men under your command. 
I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



905. TO JOHN PAUL JONES 1 

Passy, June I, 1778. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have the pleasure of informing you, that it is proposed 
to give you the command of the great ship we have built at 
Amsterdam. 2 By what you wrote to us formerly, I have 
ventured to say in your behalf, that this proposition would be 
agreeable to you. You will immediately let me know your 
resolution; which, that you may be more clear in taking, I 
must inform you of some circumstances. She is at present 
the property of the King ; but, as there is no war yet declared, 
you will have the commission and flag of the United States, 

1 First printed by Sparks. ED. a Indien. ED. 



158 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

and act under their orders and laws. The Prince de Nassau 
will make the cruise with you. She is to be brought here 
under cover as a French merchantman, to be equipped and 
manned in France. We hope to exchange your prisoners for 
as many American sailors; but, if that fails, you have your 
present crew to be made up here with other nations and 
French. 

The other Commissioners are not acquainted with this 
proposition as yet, and you see, by the nature of it, that it is 
necessary to be kept a secret, till we have got the vessel here, 
for fear of difficulties in Holland, and interruption. You will 
therefore direct your answer to me alone, it being desired, 
that, at present, the affair rest between you and me. Per- 
haps it may be best for you to take a trip up here to concert 
matters, if in general you approve the idea. 

I was much pleased with reading your journal, which we 
received yesterday. I am, &c. 



906. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (L. c.) 

Passy, June 10, 1778. 

DEAR SIR, 

I receiv'd yours of the first Instant with the Papers enclos'd, 
which I have shown to the other Commissioners; but have 
not yet had their Opinion of them. I only know, that they 
had before (in Consideration of the Disposition and Uneasi- 
ness of your People) expressed an Inclination to order your 
Ship directly back to America. You will judge from what 
follows, whether it would not be adviseable for you to propose 









I77] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 159 

their sending her back with her People, and under some other 
Command. 

In consequence of the high Opinion the Minister of the 
Marine l has of your Conduct and Bravery, it is now settled 
(observe, that this is to be a Secret between us, I being ex- 
pressly enjoin'd not to communicate it to any other Person, 
not even to the other Gentlemen,) that you are to have the 
Frigate from Holland, which actually belongs to Government, 
and will be furnished with as many good French Seamen as 
you shall require. But you are to act under Congress' com- 
mission. As you may like to have a Number of Americans, 
and your own are homesick, it is proposed to give you as many 
as you can engage out of two hundred Prisoners, which the 
Ministry of Britain have at length agreed to give us in Ex- 
change for those you have in your hands. They propose 
to make the exchange at Calais, where they are to bring the 
Americans. Nothing is wanting to this, but a List of yours, 
containing their Names and Rank; immediately on the Re- 
ceipt of which, an equal Number are to be prepared and sent 
in a ship to that Port, where yours are to meet them. Pray 
send this List by the Return of the Post if possible. If by 
this means you can get a good new Crew, I think it will be 
best that you are quite free of the old, for a Mixture might 
introduce the Infection of that Sickness you complain of. 
But this may be left to your Discretion. 

Perhaps we shall join you with the Providence, Captain 
Whipple, a new Continental Ship of 30 Guns, which incoming 
out of the river of Providence gave the two frigates that were 
posted to intercept her each of them so heavy a Dose of her 
1 8 and 12 pounders, that they had not the courage, or were 

1M. deSartine. ED. 



160 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

not able, to pursue her. The Boston is supposed to be gone 
from Bordeaux. 

It seems to be desired by those concerned in your future 
Ship that you should step up to Versailles, (where one will 
meet you,) in order to such a Settlement of Matters and Plans 
with those who have the Direction, as cannot well be done by 
Letter. I wish it may be convenient to you to do it directly. 
The project of giving you the Command of this Ship pleases 
me the more, as it is a probable Opening to the higher Pre- 
ferment you so justly merit. I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



907. TO GEORGELIN DU COSQUER 1 

Passy, ce [u Juin 1778.] 

Personne, Monsieur, ne doit estre, et n'est effectivement 
plus attache* que moy aux francais, et je ne puis que vous 
louer du de*sir que vous avez de leur estre utile, vous leur 
rendriez effectivement un signale* service en dtablissant chez 
eux un moyen de diminuer et d'abre*ger les proces que je 
regarde comme un des plus grands fl^aux de la Socie'te*, mais 
le peu de connoissance que j'ay de vos lois civiles et des 
dispositions de votre nation a cet e*gard ne me permet pas 
d'aprecier celuy que vous proposez ; quoy je ne me*rite pas, 
Monsieur, la confiance que vous me te*moignez, je sens com- 

1 u Correspondant des Etats de Bretagne et de la Societe d' Agriculture." 
He had written to Franklin in terms of high and warm eulogy as to " the 
Lycurgus of the new Sparta," and enclosed a project which he called " Moyen 
de prevenir, ou au moins simplifier les Proces, par des essais de concilia- 
tion." To this communication the above letter is Franklin's reply. ED. 



1778] 



TO DAVID HARTLEY 



161 



bien elle m'honore et je vous prie de recevoir les assurances 
de 1'estime avec laquelle je suis, 

Monsieur, 
votre tres humble 
et tres obeissant 
serviteur. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



908. TO DAVID HARTLEY (L. c.) 

Passy near Paris June 16, 1778. 

SIR : I received yours of the 5th Instant acquainting us 
that the Ministers have at length agreed to an Exchange of 
Prisoners. We shall write to Capt. Jones for the List re- 
quired, which will be sent you as soon as received. I under- 
stand there are at least two hundred. We desire and expect 
that the Number of ours shall be taken from Forton and 
Plymouth, in Proportion to the Number in each Place, and 
to consist of those who have been longest in Confinement, 
it being not only equitable that they should be first relieved 
but this Method will prevent all suspicion that you pick out 
the worst and weakest of our People, to give in exchange for 
your good Ones. If you think proper to clear your Prisons 
at once, and give us all our People, we give you our solemn 
Engagement, which we are sure will be punctually executed, 
to deliver to Lord Howe in America, or his Order, a Number 
of your Sailors equal to the Surplus, as soon as the Agreement 
arrives there. 

There is one Thing more which we desire may be observed. 
We shall note in our List the Names and Number of those 

VOL. VII M 



162 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

taken in the Service of the King, distinguishing them from 
those taken in the Merchant Service ; that in the Exchange 
to be made you may give adequate Numbers of those taken 
in the Service of the States, and of our Merchants. This 
will prevent any Uneasiness among both your Navy men and 
ours, if the Seamen of Merchant Ships are exchang'd before 
them. As it will be very troublesome and expensive, as well 
as fatiguing to them, to march your people from Brest to 
Calais, we may endeavour to get leave for your Ship to come 
to the Road of Brest to receive them there ; or, if that cannot 
be, we must desire from your Admiralty a Passport for the 
Ship that is to convey them from Brest to Calais. If you have 
any of our people still Prisoners on board your Ships of war, 
we request that they may be put into the Prisons, to take 
their Chance of Exchange with the rest. 

I am, Dear Sir 

Your affectionate Friend 

& most obedient Serv 1 
B. F. 

909. TO JAMES BUTTON (L. c.) 

Passy, June 23, 1778. 

My dear old Friend has here the Paper he desired. 1 We 
have had a marble Monument made at Paris for the brave 
General Montgomery, which is gone to America. 2 If it 

1 Passport for a vessel, which was about to be sent to the Moravian mis- 
sionaries on the coast of Labrador. ED. 

2 The memorial in marble, made by Caffieri, was erected, by the desire of 
Congress, in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, New York, " to transmit to future 
ages" the "patriotic conduct, enterprise and prowess" of Major-general 
Richard Montgomery (1736-1775) who fell at Quebec. ED. 



1778] 



TO A. BOREL 



163 



should fall into the Hands of any of your Cruizers, I expect 
you will exert yourself to get it restor'd to us, because I know 
the generosity of your Temper, which likes to do handsome 
Things, as well as to make Returns. You see we are unwill- 
ing to rob the Hospital; we hope your People will be found 
as averse to pillaging the Dead. Adieu. Yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



910. TO CAPTAIN SAINNEVILLE (A. p. s.) 



SIR, 



Passy, June 23, 1778 



I have just received safe the several Letters & Packets 
you did me the Honour of forwarding to me. Please to accept 
my thankful Acknowledgements for your kind Care of them. 
They speak of you with great Regard, and express some 
Concern that our People had it not more in their Power to 
manifest their Respect for your Person and Affection for your 
Nation. With great Esteem I have the honour to be 
Sir 

Your most obed* hum Serv t 

B. F. 



SIR, 



911. TO A. BOREL 1 



(A. P. s.) 



Passy, June 24. 1778 



On reading again the Prospectus & Explanation of your 
intended Print, I find the whole Merit of giving Freedom to 

1 This letter exists also in L. C. t where it is a copy in French. It has 
hitherto been printed as to an unknown engraver in Paris. The identification 
of the engraver was established by Mr. Worthington C. Ford. The engrav- 
ing is described in the Hampton L. Carson "Catalogue," Vol. II, No. 1764. 
ED. 



1 64 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

America, continues to be ascrib'd to me, which, as I told 
you in our first Conversation, I could by no means approve 
of, as it would be unjust to the Numbers of wise and brave 
Men, who by their Arms & Counsels, have shared in the 
Enterprize, & contributed to its Success, (as far as it has yet 
succeeded) at the Hazard of their Lives & Fortunes. 

My Proposition to you was, and continues to be, that 
instead of naming me in particular, in the Explanation of 
the Print, it should be said, The Congress, represented by a 
Senator in Roman Dress, 6. As it stands, I cannot consent 
to accept the Honour you propose to do me by dedicating the 
Print to me, which I understand is in this Country considered 
as an Approbation. And in my own Country, it would hurt 
my Character and Usefulness if I were to give the least 
Countenance to such a Pretention, by recommending or 
promoting the Sale of a Print so explained. Upon these 
Considerations I must request that if you are determined 
to proceed in the Engraving, you would in a new Prospectus, 
change the Explanation, as above proposed, and dedicate 
the Print not to me, but to the Congress. I have the Honour 
to be, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



912. PROPOSED LETTER TO LORD NORTH 

CONCERNING PRISONERS 

June, 1778. 

MY LORD : The fortune of war having again made a 
number of British seamen prisoners to the United States, 
it is our duty to trouble you with a renewal of our former 
request for an immediate exchange of prisoners in Europe. 
To detain unfortunate men for months in prison and send 



1773] 



PROPOSED LETTER TO LORD NORTH 



165 



them three thousand miles to make an exchange which 
might take place immediately and on the spot is a most 
grievous and unnecessary addition to the calamities of war, 
in which we cannot believe the British government will 
persist. 

It is with the utmost regret that we find ourselves com- 
pelled to reiterate to your Lordship our remonstrances against 
your treating the citizens of the United States, made prisoners 
by the arms of the king of Great Britain, in a manner unex- 
ampled in the practice of civilized nations. We have received 
late and authentic information that numbers of such prisoners, 
some of them fathers of families in America, having been 
sent to Africa, are now in the fort of Senegal, condemned in 
that unwholesome climate to the hardest labour and most 
inhuman treatment. 

It will be our indispensable duty to report this to the Con- 
gress of the United States, and retaliation will be the inevitable 
consequence in Europe as well as in America, unless your 
Lordship will authorize us to assure Congress that those 
unhappy men, as well as all others of our nation who have 
been treated in a similar manner shall be immediately brought 
back and exchanged. 

Most earnestly we beseech your Lordship no longer to 
sacrifice the essential interests of humanity to claims of 
sovereignty, [of which the issue of our most solemn appeal 
to Heaven has sufficiently proved. It is a fatal mistake, by 
which you seem to have been misled, to think that when you 
trampled upon humanity you triumphed too over us] which 
your experience must by this time have convinced you are 
not to be maintained. We have the honour to be, etc. 

[B. F. for the Commissioners] 



166 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

913. TO CHARLES DE WEISSENSTEIN l (P.A.E.E.U.) 

Passy, July i, 1778. 

SIR, 

I received your letter, dated at Brussels the i6th past. 
My vanity might possibly be flattered by your expressions of 
compliment to my understanding, if your proposals did not 
more clearly manifest a mean opinion of it. 

You conjure me, in the name of the omniscient and just 
God, before whom I must appear, and by my hopes of future 
fame, to consider if some expedient cannot be found to put a 
stop to the desolation of America, and prevent the miseries 
of a general war. As I am conscious of having taken every 
step in my power to prevent the breach, and no one to widen 
it, I can appear cheerfully before that God, fearing nothing 
from his justice in this particular, though I have much occa- 
sion for his mercy in many others. As to my future fame, I 
am content to rest it on my past and present conduct, without 
seeking an addition to it in the crooked, dark paths, you pro- 
pose to me, where I should most certainly lose it. This 
your solemn address would therefore have been more prop- 
erly made to your sovereign and his venal Parliament. He 
and they, who wickedly began, and madly continue, a war 

1 Franklin received a long letter signed Charles de Weissenstein. It was 
dated " Brussels, June 16, 1778," and written in English. The original is now 
in P. A. E., and is addressed "To Benj. Franklin Esq. &c. &c. 

Secret and Confidential 
Read this in private & before you look 

at the other papers 

but don't be imprudent enough to let any one see it, before you have con- 
sider'd it thoroughly." 

The letter contained a " Plan of Reconciliation " and the Outline of the 
Future Government in America, and urged a secret conference. ED. 



1778] TO CHARLES DE WEISSENSTEIN 167 

for the desolation of America, are alone accountable for the 
consequences. 

You endeavour to impress me with a bad opinion of French 
faith ; but the instances of their friendly endeavours to serve 
a race of weak princes, who, by their own imprudence, de- 
feated every attempt to promote their interest, weigh but 
little with me, when I consider the steady friendship of France 
to the Thirteen United States of Switzerland, which has now 
continued inviolate two hundred years. You tell me, that 
she will certainly cheat us, and that she despises us already. 
I do not believe that she will cheat us, and I am not certain 
that she despises us ; but I see clearly that you are endeavour- 
ing to cheat us by your conciliatory bills ; that you actually 
despised our understandings, when you flattered yourselves 
those artifices would succeed ; and that not only France, but 
all Europe, yourselves included, most certainly and for ever 
would despise us, if we were weak enough to accept your 
insidious propositions. 

Our expectations of the future grandeur of America are 
not so magnificent, and therefore not so vain or visionary, as 
you represent them to be. The body of our people are not 
merchants, but humble husbandmen, who delight in the 
cultivation of their lands, which, from their fertility and the 
variety of our climates, are capable of furnishing all the neces- 
saries and conveniences of life without external commerce; 
and we have too much land to have the least temptation to 
extend our territory by conquest from peaceable neighbours, 
as well as too much justice to think of it. Our militia, you 
find by experience, are sufficient to defend our lands from 
invasion; and the commerce with us will be defended by all 
the nations who find an advantage in it. We, therefore, 



168 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

have not the occasion you imagine, of fleets or standing armies, 
but may leave those expensive machines to be maintained 
for the pomp of princes, and the wealth of ancient states. 
We propose, if possible, to live in peace with all mankind; 
and after you have been convinced, to your cost, that there 
is nothing to be got by attacking us, we have reason to hope, 
that no other power will judge it prudent to quarrel with us, 
lest they divert us from our own quiet industry, and turn us 
into corsairs preying upon theirs. The weight therefore of 
an independent empire, which you seem certain of our in- 
ability to bear, will not be so great as you imagine. The 
expense of our civil government we have always borne, and 
can easily bear, because it is small. A virtuous and laborious 
people may be cheaply governed. Determining, as we do, 
to have no offices of profit, nor any sinecures or useless ap- 
pointments, so common in ancient or corrupted states, we can 
govern ourselves a year, for the sum you pay in a single de- 
partment, or for what one jobbing contractor, by the favour 
of a minister, can cheat you out of in a single article. 

You think we flatter ourselves, and are deceived into an 
opinion that England must acknowledge our independency. 
We, on the other hand, think you flatter yourselves in imagin- 
ing such an acknowledgment a vast boon, which we strongly 
desire, and which you may gain some great advantage by 
granting or withholding. We have never asked it of you; 
we only tell you, that you can have no treaty with us but as 
an independent state ; and you may please yourselves and your 
children with the rattle of your right to govern us, as long as 
you have done with that of your King's being King of France, 
without giving us the least concern, if you do not attempt to 
exercise it. That this pretended right is indisputable, as you 



1778] TO CHARLES DE WEISSENSTE1N 169 

say, we utterly deny. Your Parliament never had a right 
to govern us, and your King has forfeited it by his bloody 
tyranny. But I thank you for letting me know a little of 
your mind, that, even if the Parliament should acknowledge 
our independency, the act would not be binding to posterity, 
and that your nation would resume and prosecute the claim 
as soon as they found it convenient from the influence of your 
passions, and your present malice against us. We suspected 
before, that you would not be actually bound by your con- 
ciliatory acts, longer than till they had served their purpose 
of inducing us to disband our forces ; but we were not certain, 
that you were knaves by principle, and that we ought not to 
have the least confidence in your offers, promises, or treaties, 
though confirmed by Parliament. 

I now indeed recollect my being informed, long since, 
when in England, that a certain very great personage, then 
young, studied much a certain book, called Arcana Imperil. 1 
I had the curiosity to procure the book and read it. There 
are sensible and good things in it, but some bad ones; for, 
if I remember rightly, a particular king is applauded for his 
politically exciting a rebellion among his subjects, at a time 
when they had not strength to support it, that he might, in 
subduing them, take away their privileges, which were 
troublesome to him ; and a question is formally stated and 
discussed, Whether a prince, who, to appease a revolt, makes 
promises of indemnity to the revolters, is obliged to fulfil those 
promises. Honest and good men would say, Ay; but this 
politician says, as you say, No. And he gives this pretty 

1 ** Arcana imperii detecta : or, divers select cases in Gorerament," etc. 
London, 1701 [a translation of " Disquisitiones politicae" of Mark Zuirius 
Boxhorn], ED. 



i;o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

reason, that, though it was right to make the promises, be- 
cause otherwise the revolt would not be suppressed, yet it 
would be wrong to keep them, because revolters ought to 
be punished to deter from future revolts. 

If these are the principles of your nation, no confidence 
can be placed in you ; it is in vain to treat with you ; and the 
wars can only end in being reduced to an utter inability of 
continuing them. 

One main drift of your letter seems to be, to impress me 
with an idea of your own impartiality, by just censures of 
your ministers and measures, and to draw from me proposi- 
tions of peace, or approbations of those you have enclosed to 
me which you intimate may by your means be conveyed to the 
King directly, without the intervention of those ministers. 
You would have me give them to, or drop them for, a stranger, 
whom I may find next Monday in the church of Notre Dame, 
to be known by a rose in his hat. You yourself, Sir, are quite 
unknown to me; you have not trusted me with your true 
name. Our taking the least step towards a treaty with Eng- 
land through you, might, if you are an enemy, be made use 
of to ruin us with our new and good friends. I may be indis- 
creet enough in many things ; but certainly, if I were disposed 
to make propositions (which I cannot do, having none com- 
mitted to me to make), I should never think of delivering them 
to the Lord knows who, to be carried to the Lord knows where, 
to serve no one knows what purposes. Being at this time one 
of the most remarkable figures in Paris, even my appearance 
in the church of Notre Dame, where I cannot have any con- 
ceivable business, and especially being seen to leave or drop 
any letter to any person there, would be a matter of some 
speculation, and might, from the suspicions it must naturally 
give, have very mischievous consequences to our credit here. 






1778] TO CHARLES DE WEISSENSTEIN 171 

The very proposing of a correspondence so to be managed, 
in a manner not necessary where fair deab'ng is intended, 
gives just reason to suppose you intend the contrary. Be- 
sides, as your court has sent Commissioners to treat with the 
Congress, with all the powers that could be given them by 
the crown under the act of Parliament, what good purpose 
can be served by privately obtaining propositions from us? 
Before those Commissioners went, we might have treated 
in virtue of our general powers, (with the knowledge, advice, 
and approbation of our friends), upon any propositions 
made to us. But, under the present circumstances, for us 
to make propositions, while a treaty is supposed to be actually 
on foot with the Congress, would be extremely improper, 
highly presumptuous with regard to our constituents, and 
answer no good end whatever. 

I write this letter to you, notwithstanding ; (which I think 
I can convey in a less mysterious manner, and guess it may 
come to your hands ;) I write it because I would let you know 
our sense of your procedure, which appears as insidious as 
that of your conciliatory bills. Your true way to obtain 
peace, if your ministers desire it, is, to propose openly to 
the Congress fair and equal terms, and you may possibly 
come sooner to such a resolution, when you find, that personal 
flatteries, general cajolings, and panegyrics on our virtue 
and wisdom are not likely to have the effect you seem to ex- 
pect ; the persuading us to act basely and foolishly, in betray- 
ing our country and posterity into the hands of our most bitter 
enemies, giving up or selling our arms and warlike stores, 
dismissing our ships of war and troops, and putting those 
enemies in possession of our forts and ports. 

This proposition of delivering ourselves, bound and gagged, 



172 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

ready for hanging, without even a right to complain, and with- 
out a friend to be found afterwards among all mankind, you 
would have us embrace upon the faith of an act of Parlia- 
ment ! Good God ! an act of your Parliament ! This 
demonstrates that you do not yet know us, and that you fancy 
we do not know you ; but it is not merely this flimsy faith, 
that we are to act upon; you offer us hope, the hope of 
PLACES, PENSIONS, and PEERAGES. These, judging from 
yourselves, you think are motives irresistible. This offer to 
corrupt us, Sir, is with me your credential, and convinces me 
that you are not a private volunteer in your application. It 
bears the stamp of British court character. It is even the 
signature of your King. But think for a moment in what 
light it must be viewed in America. By PLACES, you mean 
places among us, for you take care by a special article to 
secure your own to yourselves. We must then pay the sal- 
aries in order to enrich ourselves with these places. But you 
will give us PENSIONS, probably to be paid too out of your 
expected American revenue, and which none of us can accept 
without deserving, and perhaps obtaining, a sus-pension. 
PEERAGES! alas! Sir, our long observation of the vast ser- 
vile majority of your peers, voting constantly for every measure 
proposed by a minister, however weak or wicked, leaves us 
small respect for that title. We consider it as a sort of tar- 
and-feather honour, or a mixture of foulness and folly, which 
every man among us, who should accept it from your King, 
would be obliged to renounce, or exchange for that conferred 
by the mobs of their own country, or wear it with everlasting 
infamy. I am, Sir, your humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1778] 



TO FERDINAND GRAND 



'73 



914. TO FERDINAND GRAND 1 (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Le 3. Juillet 1778. 

M r . franklin presente ses respects a M r . Grand et 11 lui 
envoye la lettre originate dont il lui a parle*. Dans une 
autre M r . Bingham 3 dit que le plus leger pretexte suffit 
aujourd'hui aux Anglois pour saisir et condamner les effets 
des marchands francois qui ne peuvent pas meme trans- 
porter les productions d'Amerique d'une Isle a une autre 
sans courir les plus grands risques. En effet plusieurs 
Vaisseaux ont 6t6 conduite depuis peu a la Dominique par 
la seule raison qu'ils transporteient des productions d'Am- 
erique. II est a remarques qu'avant ces difficulty's les 
marchands francais pouvient acheter du tabac du oriz &c., 
des Americains du Continent pour etre transport's en france. 
Si je ne me trompe il est porte dans les trait's que le Vais- 
seau d'un ami assure les marchandiser meme d'un ennemi 
a plus forte raison dit il garantir vos propres marchandise 
qui vous avez achete*es au par avant de cet ennemi. 

M 1 " Bingham dit aussi que la Cour d'Amiraute* a la Domin- 
ique est constitute sur des principes si iniques qu'elle en- 
courage les condamnations, le juge ayant une portion des 
marchandises condamne'es desorte qu'on ne peut gueres 
se flatter de sauver des effets dont le sort depend de son 

jugement. 

[B. F.] 

1 F. Grand was a Swiss Protestant residing in Paris. He was a brother of 
Sir George Grand. Through the influence of Le Ray de Chaumont he became 
the banker to the American ministers. ED. 

a U. S. Commercial Agent at Martinique. ED. 



174 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 



915. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

(L. C.) 
Passy, July 13, 1778. 

DEAR SIR : Inclosed is the List of our Prisoners, which 
by an Accident was long in coming to us. There are sup- 
posed to be about 15 more remaining in the Hospital, whose 
Names we have not yet obtained, and about as many who 
being recovered of their Wounds have been suffered to go 
home to England. If you continue in the opinion of making 
the Exchange at Calais, you will send us the Papers necessary 
to secure the Vessel that shall transport the Men from the 
Ports where they are to that Place against Capture; as the 
Marching them thither would be attended with great Incon- 
veniences, and many of them might desert on the way, 
from an Apprehension of being put on board Men-of-War 
on their arrival in England. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



916. TO JAMES LOVELL * (u. OF p.) 

Passy, July 22. 1778. 

SIR, 

I received your favour of May i5th, and was glad to 
find, that mine of December 25th had come to hand. Mr. 
Deane's brother writes it was not signed, which was an acci- 
dental omission. Mr. Deane is himself I hope with you 
long before this time, and I doubt not every prejudice against 

1 Only a portion of this letter is in U. of P. The whole letter is printed in 
Sparks, "The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution," 
Vol. Ill, p. 52. ED. 



I778J 



TO JAMES LOVELL 



'75 



him is removed. It was not alone upon the proceedings of 
Congress, that I formed my opinion that such prejudices 
existed. I am glad to understand that opinion was ground- 
less, and that he is likely to come back with honour in the 
commission to Holland, where matters are already so ripe 
for his operations, that he cannot fail (with his abilities) of 
being useful. 

You mention former letters of the Committee, by which 
we might have seen the apprehensions of the resentment of 
foreign officers, &c. Those letters never came to hand. 
And we, on our part, are amazed to hear, that the Committee 
had had no line from us for near a year, during which we 
had written, I believe, five or six long and particular letters, 
and had made it a rule to send triplicates of each, and to 
replace those that we happened to hear were lost, so that of 
some there were five copies sent ; and, as I hear that Cap- 
tain Young is arrived, who had some of them, I think it 
probable that one of each, at least, must have come to your 
hands before this time. Mr. Deane's information, how- 
ever, may supply the want of them, whose arrival, as he 
went with a strong squadron of men-of-war, is more likely 
than that of this vessel, or any other single one by which 
we might send more copies. 

The affair with M. de Beaumarchais will be best settled 
by his assistance after his return. We find it recommended 
to us, but we know too little of it to be able to do it well 
without him. 

There has been some inaccuracy in sending us the last 
despatches of the Committee. Two copies of the contract 
with M. Francy, and the invoices, came by the same vessel, 
Captain Niles. And though one of your letters mentions 



176 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

sending enclosed a resolution of Congress relative to two 
articles of the treaty, that resolution is not come to hand. 
There are circumstances in the affair of those articles, that 
make them, in my opinion, of no consequence if they stand, 
while the proposing to abrogate them has an unpleasing 
appearance, as it looks like a desire of having it in our power 
to make that commercial kind of war, which no honest 
State can begin, which no good friend or neighbour ever 
did or will begin, which has always been considered as an 
act of hostility, that provoked as well as justified reprisals, 
and has generally produced such as rendered the first proj- 
ect as unprofitable as it was unjust. 

Commerce among nations, as well as between private 
persons, should be fair and equitable, by equivalent ex- 
changes and mutual supplies. The taking unfair advan- 
tages of a neighbour's necessities, though attended with 
temporary success, always breeds bad blood. To lay 
duties on a commodity exported, which our neighbours 
want, is a knavish attempt to get something for nothing. 
The statesman who first invented it had the genius of a 
pickpocket, and would have been a pickpocket if fortune 
had suitably placed him. The nations, who have prac- 
tised it, have suffered four-fold, as pickpockets ought to 
suffer. Savoy, by a duty on exported wines, lost the trade 
of Switzerland, which thenceforth raised its own wine; and 
(to wave other instances) Britain, by her duty on exported 
tea, has lost the trade of her colonies. But, as we produce 
no commodity that is peculiar to our country, and which 
may not be obtained elsewhere, the discouraging the con- 
sumption of ours by duties on exportation, and thereby 
encouraging a rivalship from other nations in the ports we 



1778] 



TO JAMES LOVELL 



'77 



trade to, is absolute folly, which indeed is mixed more or 
less with all knavery. For my own part, if my protest were 
of any consequence, I should protest against our ever doing 
it, even by way of reprisal. It is a meanness with which I 
would not dirty the conscience or character of my country. 
The objections, stated against the last of the two articles, 
had all been made and considered here; and were sent, I 
imagine, from hence, by one who is offended, that they were 
not thought of weight sufficient to stop the signing of the 
treaty, till the King should, in another council, reconsider 
those articles, and, after agreeing to omit them, order new 
copies to be drawn, though all was then ready engrossed 
on parchment as before settled. I did not think the articles 
of much consequence; but I thought it of consequence, 
that no delay should be given to the signing of the treaty 
after it was ready. But, if I had known that those objec- 
tions would have been sent to the Committee, I should have 
sent the answers they received, which had been satisfactory 
to all the Commissioners, when the treaty was settled, and 
until the mind of one l of them was altered by the opinion of 
two other persons. 2 It is now too late to send those answers. 
But I wish, for the future, if such a case should again happen, 
that Congress would acquaint their Commissioners with 
such partial objections, and hear their reasons before they 
determine that they have done wrong. In the mean time 
this only to you in private; it will be of no use to commu- 
nicate it, as the resolutions of Congress will probably be 
received and executed before this letter comes to hand. 

1 Arthur Lee. See "Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), VoL II., p. 
127. ED. 

a Ralph Izard and William Lee. Ibid. p. 372. ED. 

VOL. VII N 



178 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

Speaking of Commissioners in the plural, puts me in 
mind of inquiring, if it can be the intention of Congress to 
keep three Commissioners at this court; we have indeed 
four with the gentleman intended for Tuscany, who con- 
tinues here, and is very angry that he was not consulted in 
making the treaty, which he could have mended in several 
particulars; and perhaps he is angry with some reason, if 
the instructions to him do, as he says they do, require us to 
consult him. We shall soon have the fifth; for the envoy 
to Vienna, not being received there, is, I hear, returning hither. 
The necessary expense of maintaining us all is, I assure you, 
enormously great. I wish that the utility may equal it. 
I imagine every one of us spends nearly as much as Lord 
Stormont did. It is true, he left behind him the character 
of a niggard; and, when the advertisement appeared for 
the sale of his household goods, all Paris laughed at an 
article of it, perhaps very innocently expressed, " Une grande 
quantity du linge de table, qui n'a jamais servi" "Cela est 
tres vraisemblable," say they, " car il n'a jamais donne a 
manger." 

But, as to our number, whatever advantage there might 
be in the joint counsels of three for framing and adjusting 
the articles of the treaty, there can be none in managing 
the common business of a resident here. On the contrary, 
all the advantages in negotiation that result from secrecy 
of sentiment, and uniformity in expressing it, and in com- 
mon business from despatch, are lost. In a court, too, 
where every word is watched and weighed, if a number of 
Commissioners do not every one hold the same language, 
in giving their opinion on any public transaction, this lessens 
their weight; and when it may be prudent to put on, or 



i 77 8] 



TO JAMES LOVELL 



'79 



avoid certain appearances of concern, for example, or in- 
difference, satisfaction, or dislike, where the utmost sincerity 
and candor should be used, and would gain credit, if no 
semblance of art showed itself in the inadvertent discourse, 
perhaps of only one of them, the hazard is in proportion to 
the number. And where every one must be consulted on 
every particular of common business, in answering every 
letter, &c., and one of them is offended if the smallest thing 
is done without his consent, the difficulty of being often and 
long enough together, the different opinions, and the time 
consumed in debating them, the interruptions by new ap- 
plicants in the time of meeting, &c. &c., occasion so much 
postponing and delay, that correspondence languishes, 
occasions are lost, and the business is always behindhand. 

I have mentioned the difficulty of being often and long 
enough together. This is considerable, where they cannot 
all be accommodated in the same house; but to find three 
people whose tempers are so good, and who like so well 
one another's company, and manner of living and convers- 
ing, as to agree well themselves, though being in one house, 
and whose servants will not by their indiscretion quarrel 
with one another, and by artful misrepresentations draw 
their masters in to take their parts, to the disturbance of 
necessary harmony, these are difficulties still greater and 
almost insurmountable. And, in consideration of the 
whole, I wish Congress would separate us. 

The Spanish galleons, which have been impatiently ex- 
pected, are at length happily arrived. The fleet and army 
returning from Brazil is still out, but supposed to be on the 
way homewards. When that and the South Sea ships are 
arrived, it will appear whether Spain's accession to the treaty 



l8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

has been delayed for the reasons given, or whether the 
reasons were only given to excuse the delay. 

The English and French fleets, of nearly equal force, 
are now both at sea. It is not doubted, but that if they 
meet, there will be a battle; for, though England through 
fear affects to understand it to be still peace, and would 
excuse the depredations she has made on the commerce of 
France, by pretences of illicit trade, &c., yet France con- 
siders the war begun, from the time of the King's message 
to Parliament, complaining of the insult France had given 
by treating with us, and demanding aids to resist it, and the 
answer of both Houses, offering their lives and fortunes. 
These, and the taking several frigates, are deemed indis- 
putable hostilities. Accordingly, orders are given to all 
the fleets and armed ships to return hostilities, and encour- 
agement is offered to privateers, &c. An ambassador 
from Spain is indeed gone to London, and joyfully received 
there, in the idea that peace may be made by his mediation. 
But as yet we learn nothing certain of his mission, and 
doubt his effecting any thing of the kind. 

War in Germany seems to be inevitable, and this occa- 
sioning great borrowings of money in Holland and elsewhere, 
by the powers concerned, makes it more difficult for us to 
succeed in ours. When we engaged to Congress to pay 
their bills for the interest of the sums they should borrow, 
we did not dream of their drawing on us for other occasions. 
We have already paid of Congress' drafts, to returned offi- 
cers, eighty-two thousand two hundred and eleven livres, 
and we know not how much more of that kind we have to 
pay, because the Committee have never let us know the 
amount of those drafts, or their account of them never reached 



1778] 



TO CHEVALIER DE CHAMPIGNY 



181 



us, and they still continue coming in. And we are now sur- 
prised with advice of drafts from Mr. Bingham, to the 
amount of one hundred thousand more. If you reduce us 
to bankruptcy here, by a nonpayment of your drafts, con- 
sider the consequences. In my humble opinion no drafts 
should be made on us without first learning from us that 
we shall be able to answer them. 

M. de Beaumarchais has been out of town ever since the 
arrival of your power to settle with him. I hope he will 
be able to furnish the supplies mentioned in the invoice and 
contract. The settlement may be much better made with 
the assistance of Mr. Deane, we being not privy to the trans- 
actions. We have agreed to give M. Dumas two hundred 
louis a year, thinking that he well deserves it. With great 

esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

917. TO CHEVALIER DE CHAMPIGNY 1 (A. p. s.) 



SIR, 



Passy, July 24 1778 



I have received your Letter of the pth Instant, wherein 
you reproach me with breaking my Engagements to you, 
in not having paid you twenty one Ducats w 011 you say I 
owe you, reminding me that while I charge Breach of Faith 

1 Jean, Chevalier de Champigny (1717-1787), author of " Reflexions sur le 
Gouvernement des femmes" (1770) and "Nouvelle histoire d'Angleterre " 
(1777). He wrote to Franklin May 18, 1775, reminding him of his promise to 
subscribe to his History of England and his History of Denmark. August 8, 
1777, he wrote again that his enemies had not scrupled to say that his " History 
of England " would never be written. At the same time he sent a copy of 
Vol. I, said that Vol. II would follow shortly, and that the remaining fourteen 
volumes would be even more interesting ! The work was dedicated to Prince 
Ferdinand of Brunswick. The second volume was delivered October 18, 
1777. ED. 



1 82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

on the King respecting my Constituents I ought not to break 
mine to you, as private Engagem 48 . are more sacred than 
those of Sovereigns. I hold my self always ready to pay my 
just Debts, and shall pay this as soon as I am convinced it 
is of that kind. But as you have not favoured me with your 
Ace* I know not how it arises. I have not here my Books 
(& Receipts relating to) 1 that contain my Money Transac- 
tions & Expences while in England: But I remember 
that many years since a Gentleman of your Name, to whom 
I was entirely a Stranger, apply'd to me for a Subscription 
to a History of England which he proposed to write. I 
considered the Affair as one of those genteel Methods by 
w ch Men of Letters are assisted when their Circumstances 
require Assistance without being put to the Blush in being 
oblig'd to ask it as a Benevolence. In that Light I gave 
him perhaps two or three Guineas (I do not exactly remem- 
ber the Sum) and took his Receipt promising the History, 
but without the least Expectation of ever seeing it. Accord- 
ingly I never enquired after it; I never ask'd him for it. 

1 had by me at the time near a Dozen such Receipts, for 
Books not yet printed, & many of them I believe never 
intended to be written. I have however lately received 

2 Volumes, as they are Called, of that History, and four 
Volumes of Histories of Sweden and Denmark which I 
never desired or heard of before. They are badly printed 
and so thin as not to make more than two sizable Quarto 
Volumes when bound together, so that I cannot conceive 
them worth more than I have already paid. Nevertheless 
I do not on that Account desire to keep them. Had you 
publish'd your History of England within the Time you 

1 These words are written between the lines. ED. 






i;?8] TO CHEVALIER DE CHAMPIGNY 183 

first promis'd to your Subscribers, I might possibly have 
lived to read it. But you broke your Engagement with me, 
and that long before you could have the least Pretence for 
accusing me, as you now do of the same Crime ; and I never 
complain 'd of it. You have since made another Promise, 
that from the month of Sept. 1777, (when the two first vol- 
umes appear'd) two more should be publish'd every 5 Months. 
Ten Months are since elaps'd, and not one of the four vol- 
umes due has yet been heard of; so that I can have no 
Dependence on ever seeing the Work com pleated. Be- 
sides I am now grown very old, have but little time left, 
and that is occupy'd with too much Public Business to 
allow me any Leisure for the private Amusement of read- 
ing History. I request therefore that you would direct 
your Correspondent here to call for and receive back the 
6 Volumes of different Histories you have sent me; & 
desire you would accept what you formerly had of me, and 

believe me your Welwisher & very hum* Serv*. 

B. F. 

I return enclosed your Receipts. 

[Nevertheless if you are the Person, & will be so good as 
to send me a Copy of my Subscription that I may know 
what I stand engaged for, I shall take care to comply with 
it: But I request you would take again the Histories of 
Denmark & Sweden, and not put them into your Account ; 
for my little Estate in America being in the Hands of our 
Enemies, I am now too poor to pay for all the Histories you 
may be capable of writing and translating; and that at so 
high a Price as 21 Ducats for two 4* Volumes unbound. 
I am, Sir Yours &c]* 

1 The above in brackets stricken through by Franklin's pen. ED. 



184 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

918. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P.A.E.E.U.) 

Passy, July 25. 1778. 

SIR, 

We have just received another Copy of the Ratification. 
We understand the Congress have sent five by so many 
different Conveyances. The Vessel now arriv'd left Boston 
the 1 6 th June. There was then no News there of Count 
D'Estaign. I send enclosed a Letter from D r Cooper to 
me, the latest Newspaper, and an Account of the Cargo of 
the Duchesse de Grammont, of whose safe Arrival we have 
now first the good News. I am, with great Respect, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN 

Mr. Adams & myself were at Versailles to-day, with an 
Intention to pay our Respects to your ExcelF* but receiv- 
ing Notice while there of the Arrival of Dispatches for us, 
we hasten'd back to see if there was any News of Importance. 



919. TO WILLIAM LEE (A.P.S.) 

Passy Aug* 13. 78 

SIR, 

You left a Trunk in my Care seaPd up, and took my 
Receipt attested by four Witnesses, wherein I promised to 
deliver that Trunk to you on your Order in the same State 
wherein I received it. This I am ready to do whenever 
you Please. But I am not willing to have any Concern in 
the opening of it, or in examining & Sorting as you desire, 
the Papers it is said to contain. For this I have my Rea- 






1778] TO M. DE SARTINE 185 

sons. And I do not see any Necessity for my being the 
Person, as here are two other Commissioners, your Brother 
& M r Adams, either or both of whom can do what you 
desire as well or better than myself. You will be so oblig- 
ing therefore as to excuse me in this, and command in some 
other Service. 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant 

B. F. 



920. TO M. DE SARTINE 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Aug. 18. 1778 

SIR 

The Administration in England have agreed to an Ex- 
change of Prisoners with us, and propose that it shall be 
made at Calais. They will accordingly furnish us with a 
Passport for a Vessel to bring the Prisoners from Brest to 
Calais, if we procure a similar one for their Vessel which is 
to bring the Prisoners from England. As our People lan- 
guish in their Confinement, and may, when recovered, be of 
Use to Capt. Jones, or in some other Enterprise, we wish 
the Exchange may be made as soon as possible, and there- 
fore request your Excellency would take the Affair into Con- 
sideration, and afford us your Advice and Determination 
upon it. We are, with the greatest Esteem & Respect 
Your Excellency's most obedient 
& most humble Servants 

1 Antoine-Raymond-Jean-Gualbert-Gabriel de Sartine (1729-1801), Min- 
ister of the Marine. ED. 



186 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

The Minister has already agreed to give a Passport for 
the English vessel whenever we inform him it is necessary 
for Brest & therefore I presume he will have no objection 
to give it for Calais. 



921. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Sept. 3, 1778 

DEAR SIR, I received duly your Favours of July 14 and 
August 14. I hoped to have answered them sooner by send- 
ing the Passport. Multiplicity of Business has, I suppose, 
been the only Occasion of Delay in the Ministers to consider 
of and make out the said Passport. 

I hope now soon to have it, as I do not find there is any 
Objection made to it. In a former Letter I proposed to 
you that the Exchange would, in my Opinion, be preferable 
at or near Brest, and I expected some time your Answer 
on that Point. But perhaps you have not received my 
Letter; you say nothing of it. 

I wish with you as much for the Restoration of Peace, as 
we both formerly did for the Continuance of it. But it must 
now be a Peace of a different kind. I was fond to a Folly 
of our British Connections, and it was with infinite Regret 
that I saw the Necessity you would force us into of breaking 
it. But the extream Cruelty with which we have been 
treated has now extinguish'd every Thought of returning 
to it, and separated us for ever. You have thereby lost 
Limbs that will never grow again. 

We, too, have suffered greatly, but our Losses will soon 
be repaired by our good Government, our Industry, and 



1778] TO JOHN" PAUL JONES 187 

the Fertility of our Country. And we now see the mischiev- 
ous Consequences of such a Connection, and the Danger of 
their being repeated if we should be weak enough to enter 
into it; We see this too plainly ever to listen in the least to 
any such Proposition. We may therefore, with great Pro- 
priety, take leave of you in those beautiful Lines of Dante 
to the late Mistress of his Affections. [B. F.] 



922. TO JOHN PAUL JONES 

Passy, September 6, 1778. 
DEAR CAPTAIN, 

I received your favours of the 24th and 3ist of August. 1 

I am told, by M. de C , that M. de S is sorry you 

did not go with M. d'Orvilliers. 2 He had sent orders for 
that purpose, and your staying at L'Orient occasioned 
your missing the opportunity. Your letter was sent to the 
Prince de Nassau. I am confident something will be done 
for you, though I do not yet know what. 

Dr. Bancroft has been indisposed, and I have not lately 
seen him; but I hear he is getting better, and suppose he 
has written. I go out of town early this morning for a few 
days, but the other Commissioners will answer your letter. 
I am glad you have procured a guard for the prisoners. It 
is a good piece of service. They have concluded in Eng- 
land to send us an equal number of ours, and we expect to- 

1 The original of the letter of August 24, 1778, is in L. C. (Jones Mss.). In 
it Jones says that at this " nice moment," he " ought to be either in search of 
marine knowledge with Count D'Orvilliers or on some private enterprise." ED. 

2 M. de Chaumont; M. de Sartine; Louis Guillouet ryOrvilliers, Admiral, 
French navy. ED. 



188 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

morrow to send the passport for their cartel ship, which is 
to bring them. If we are to deliver theirs at Calais, I should 
be for accepting thankfully the offer you mention. 

We have no news from America, but what comes through 
England. Clinton's letter is in the London Gazette, and for 
style and colouring is so like KeppePs, that I cannot help 
thinking neither of them originals, but both the perform- 
ance of some under-secretary, whose business it is to cook 
the news for the ministers. Upon the whole, we learn that 
the English army was well worried in its march, 1 and that 
their whole fleet and forces are now blocked up in New 
York by Washington and Gates on the land side, and by 
Count d'Estaing by sea, and that they will soon be in want 
of provisions. I sympathize with you in what I know you 
must suffer from your present inactivity ; but have patience. 
I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



923. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D.S.W.) 

Passy, Sept 14 1778 

DEAR SIR : I now send you the Passport required. I post- 
pon'd answering your last in hopes of obtaining it sooner ; but 
tho j it was long since agreed to, much Business in the Ad- 
miralty Department here has I suppose occasioned its Delay. 
The Port of Calais was not approv'd of, and I think the 
Ports mentioned (Nantes or L'Orient) are better for you as 
well as for us, not only as being nearer to Plymouth, but 
as many of your Sailors would probably have found Op- 

1 The march across New Jersey to New York, after the evacuation of Phila- 
delphia. During this march was fought the battle of Monmouth. S. 



1778] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 189 

portunities of deserting in the long March from Brest to 
Calais, they being afraid of the Press. I understand that 
upwards of 80 more of your People have been brought by 
ours Prisoners into France since the List I sent you, but I 
cannot now send you their Names. You have not men- 
tioned whether the Proposition of sending us the whole of 
those in your Prisons was agreed to. If it is, you may 
rely on our sending immediately all that come to our hands 
for the future; or we will give at your Option, an Order 
for the Ballance to be delivered to your Fleet in America. 
By putting a little Confidence in one another, we may thus 
diminish the Miseries of War. To make the Expence of 
these Exchanges more equal, if another Cartel-Ship should 
be hereafter necessary, we thereby promise to send it to 
England at our Charge; and so it may continue to be done 
alternately as long as the War continues. 
With great Esteem and Affection I am ever, Dear Sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



924. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (A.P.S.) 

[Sept. 22, 1778] 

WE have, as you know, made Overtures to the Grand 
Pensionary. We took that to be the regular Course of 
Proceeding. We expect an Answer. If he gives us none, 
we shall naturally conclude that there is no Disposition in 
their H H M M, 1 to have any Connection with us, and I 
believe we shall give them no farther Trouble ; at least that 
would be my Opinion ; for I think that a young State like a 
young Virgin, should modestly stay at home, & wait the 

1 High Mightinesses. ED. 



190 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

Application of Suitors for an Alliance with her; and not 
run about offering her Amity to all the World ; and hazard- 
ing their Refusal. My Colleagues have this day proposed 
to me to go to Holland on this Business; but tho I honour 
that Nation, having been frequently there, and much es- 
teeming the People, and wishing for a firm Union between 
the two Republicks, I cannot think of Undertaking such a 
Journey without some Assurances of being properly received 
as a Minister of the States of America. Our Virgin is a 
jolly one; and tho at present not very rich, will in time be 
a great Fortune, & where she has a favourable Predispo- 
sition, it seems to me to be well worth cultivating. Your 
State perhaps is not of that Opinion; and it certainly has a 
right to judge for itself. 

You can judge better than we at this Distance, whether 
any farther step can properly be taken on our Part, till some 
encouragement is given on the Part of their H H M M. 

Let me know your Sentiments. 

[B. F.] 



925. TO FERDINAND GRAND (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Oct. 14, 1778. 

SIR, 

I have considered the Note you put into my Hands, con- 
taining a Complaint of the Conduct of Capt. Cunningham 
in the Revenge Privateer. We have no Desire to justify 
him in any Irregularities he may have committed. On 
the contrary we are obliged to our Friends who give us In- 
formation of the Misconduct of any of our Cruisers, that 
we may take the Occasion of representing the same to our 



I778J TO FERDINAND GRAND 191 

Government, and recommending more effectual Provision 
for suppressing, punishing and preventing such Practices 
in future. 

By the Papers I have the Honour to send you enclos'd, 
and which I request you would put into the Hands of his 
Excellency Count d'Aranda, the Care of the Congress to 
avoid giving Offence to neutral Powers will appear most 
evident; first in the Commission given to Privateers, where- 
in it appears that Sureties are taken of their Owners that 
nothing shall be done by them "inconsistent with the Usage 
and Customs of Nations" and those Sureties are obliged to 
make good all Damages. Courts of Admiralty are regu- 
larly established in every one of the United States for judg- 
ing of such Matters ; to which Courts any Person injured 
may apply, and will certainly find Redress. Secondly, in 
the Proclamation of Congress, whereby strict Orders are 
given to all Officers of armed Vessels to pay a sacred Regard 
to the Rights of neutral Powers and the Usage and Cus- 
toms of civilized Nations, and a Declaration made, that, if 
they transgress they shall not be allow'd to claim the Pro- 
tection of the States, but shall suffer such Punishment as 
by the Usage and Custom of Nations, may be inflicted on 
them. Lastly, in the particular Care taken by Congress 
to secure the Property of some Subjects of Portugal (a Power 
that has not been very favourable to us), altho' no Reclama- 
tion has been made. 

All these will shew that the States give no Countenance 
to Acts of Piracy; and, if Captain Cunningham has been 
guilty of that Crime he will certainly be punished for it when 
duely prosecuted: For not only a Regard to Justice in gen- 
eral, but a strong Disposition to cultivate the Friendship of 



192 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

Spain, for whose Sovereign they have the greatest Respect, 
will induce the Congress to pay great Attention to every 
Complaint, public and private, that shall come from thence. 
I have the Honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



926. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES l (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, ce 20. Oct re 1778. 

M. LE COMTE, 

Mes Colleagues croyent qu'il seroit necessaire que je 
fusse en Hollande, & que ma Presence pourroit y accelerer 
les Choses. Us me pressent en consequence. Je crains 
que ce servit plut6t les reculer que les avancer, & que ce 
ne soit pas le moment, de s'y presenter. Personne ne 
scait mieux que votre Excellence ce que nous convient de 
faire a cet egard, & je ne puis avoir de Conseil meilleur & 
plus agreable que le v6tre. Si vous voulez bien me Pac- 
corder, je m'y conformera avec la Confiance. 
J'ai Phonneur d'etre avec Respect 
M. le Comte, 
Votre tres humble & tres obeissant 

Serviteur, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



927. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 20, 1778. 

DEAR SIR: I received your Favour of the 9th Instant with 
a Copy of the Letter from the Admiralty Office, relative to 
1 Written entirely in Franklin's hand. ED. 



1778] TO DAVID HARTLEY 193 

the proposed Exchange of Prisoners, in which the precise 
Number of those we have here is desired. I cannot at present 
give it you, they being disposed in different Ports; and in- 
deed it will always be difficult to be precise in it, the Number 
continually changing by new Prisoners brought in and some 
escaping. I think the List I formerly sent you was near 
200; since which, 60 odd have been brought into France 
from the North Seas by Capt. M c Neil, 1 and some by others 
of our Cruisers and I just now hear that we have near an 
hundred more in Spain, taken by one of our Privateers in 
two New York Packets, one going thither, the other return- 
ing, 88 of which are Officers of your Army. I wish their 
Lordships could have seen it well to exchange upon Account ; 
but tho* they may not think it safe trusting to us, we shall 
make no Difficulty in trusting to them. And to expedite 
the Exchange, and save the Time that obtaining a correct 
List would require, we make this Proposition that if their 
Lordships will send us over 250 of our People we will de- 
liver all we have in France. If the Number we have falls 
short of the 250, the Cartel-Ship may take back as many 
of those she brings as the Deficiency amounts to, delivering 
no more than she receives. If our Number exceeds the 
250 we will deliver them all nevertheless, their Lordships 
promising to send us immediately a Number equal to the 
Surplus. We would thus wish to commence, by this first 
Advance, that mutual Confidence which it would be for 
the good of Mankind that Nations should maintain hon- 
ourably with each other, tho' engag'd in War. I hope this 
will remove all Obstructions to a speedy Completion of the 

1 Hector McNeil, captain of the American privateer General Mifflin. 
ED. 

VOL. VII O 



194 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

Business, as the Winter approaches and the poor Prisoners 
on both sides may suffer in it extremely. 

I am etc. B. FRANKLIN. 



928. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P.A.E.E.U.) 

Passy, Oct. 22. 1778 

SIR 

I am perfectly of the same Sentiments with your Excel- 
lency respecting Count d'Estaign. 1 I know his Zeal for the 
Cause, and have a high Opinion of his Abilities. I have 
therefore not the least doubt but that his going to Bos- 
ton was a Measure absolutely necessary, and will appear to 
be for the common Good. We just now learn that our 
Troops on Rhode island had made good their Retreat with- 
out the Loss of a Man. I have the honour to be with great 
Respect, etc. B. FRANKLIN. 



929. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 26, 1778. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received yours without Date, containing an old Scotch 
Sonnet, full of natural Sentiment and beautiful Simplicity. 
I cannot make an entire application of it to present Cir- 

1 Charles Hector, Count d'Estaing, born in 1729, vice-admiral in 1777 he 
raised his pennant on the Languedoc of ninety guns; left Toulon on the I3th 
of April, 1778, and reached Rhode Island on the 29th of July. He forced the 
passage into Newport and the next day sailed against the forces of Howe and 
Byron. His fleet was divided by a storm. From Newport he withdrew to 
Boston and aroused the anger of the Americans who accused him of treason. 
ED. 



I77] TO DAVID HARTLEY 195 

cumstances; but, taking it in Parts, and changing Persons, 
some of it is extremely apropos. First Jenie may be sup- 
posed Old England, and Jamie, America. Jenie laments 
the loss of Jamie, and recollects with Pain his Love for her, 
his Industry in Business to promote her Wealth and Wel- 
fare, and her own Ingratitude. 

" Young Jamie loved me weel, 

And sought me for his Bride, 
But saving ane Crown, 

He had naithing beside, 

To make that Crown a Pound, my Jamie gang'd to Sea, 
And the Crown and the Pound were all for me." 

Her Grief for this Separation is expressed very pathetically. 

" The Ship was a Wrack, 

Why did na Jennie die ; 
O why was I spared 
To cry, Wae is me ! " 

There is no Doubt but that honest Jammie had still so much 
Love for her as to Pity her in his Heart, tho' he might, at 
the same time, be not a little angry with her. 

Towards the Conclusion, we must change the Persons, 
and let Jamie be Old England, Jennie, America, and old 
Robin Gray, the Kingdom of France. Then honest Jenie, 
having made a Treaty of Marriage with Gray, expresses 
her firm Resolution of Fidelity, in a manner that does Hon- 
our to her good Sense, and her Virtue. 

" I may not think of Jamie, 

For that would be a Sin. 
But I maun do my best, 

A gude wife to be ; 
For auld Robin Gray 

Is very kind to me." 



196 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1778 

You ask my Sentiments of a Truce for 5 or 7 Years, in 
which no mention should be made of that Stumbling Block 
to England, the Independence of America. 

I must tell you fairly and frankly, that there can be no 
Treaty of Peace with us, in which France is not included. 
But I think a Treaty might be made between the three Pow- 
ers, in which England expressly Renouncing the Depend- 
ence of America seems no more necessary, than her renounc- 
ing the Title of King of France, which has always been 
claimed for her Kings. Yet, perhaps, it would be better 
for England to act nobly and generously on the Occasion, 
by granting more than she could at present be compelled 
to grant, make America easy on the Score of old Claims; 
cede all that remains in North America, and thus concili- 
ate and strengthen a young Power which she wishes to 
have a future and serviceable Friend. I do not think Eng- 
land would be a loser by such Cession. She may hold her 
remaining Possessions there, but not without vast Expence; 
and they would be the Occasion of constant Jealousies, 
frequent Quarrels, and renew'd Wars. The United States, 
continually growing stronger, will have them at last; and, 
by the generous Conduct above hinted at, all the interme- 
diate Loss of Blood and Treasure might be spared, and 
solid, lasting Peace promoted. This seems to me good 
Counsel, but I know it can't be followed. 

The Friend you mention must always be welcome to me, 
with or without the Cheese; but I do not see how his corn- 
ing hither could be of any Use at present, unless in Quality 
of a Plenipotentiary to treat of a sincere Peace between all 
the Parties. 

Your Commissioners are acting very indiscreetly in Amer- 



1778] TO DAVID HARTLEY 197 

ica. They first spoke very disrespectfully of our good 
Ally. They have since called in question the power of Con- 
gress to treat with them ; and have endeavour'd to begin a 
Dispute about the Detention of Bourgoyne's Troops, an 
Affair which I conceive not to be within their Commission. 
They are vainly trying, by Publications, to excite the people 
against the Congress. Gov 1 Johnston has been attempting 
to bribe the Members; and without the least Regard to 
Truth, has asserted three Propositions, which he says, he 
will undertake to prove. The two first of them I know to 
be false, and I believe the third to be so. 1 The Congress 
have refused to treat with the Commissioners, while he con- 
tinues one of them, and he has therefore resigned. 

These Gentlemen do not appear well qualify'd for their 
Business. I think they will never heal the Breach, but they 
may widen it. I am, my very dear Friend, yours most 
affectionately, 

N. A. [B. FRANKLIN.] 

1 Governor Johnstone was one of the British Commissioners for treating 
with Congress. These propositions were contained in a letter written by him 
to Francis Dana, a member of Congress, and dated at Philadelphia, June loth, 
1778. "There are three facts," said he, "which I wish to assure you of. 
First, that Dr. Franklin, on the 28th of March last, in discussing the several 
articles we wish to make the basis of our treaty, was perfectly satisfied they 
were beneficial to North America, and such as she should accept. Second, 
that this treaty with France was not the first treaty, that France had exacted, 
and with which Mr. Simeon Deane had put to sea, but granted and acceded 
to after the sentiments of the people of Great Britain had fully changed, after 
the friends to America had gained their points for reconciliation, and solely 
with a view to disappoint the good effects of our endeavours. The third fact 
is, that Spain, unasked, had sent a formal message, disapproving of the con- 
duct of France." ED. 



198 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

930. TO FERDINAND GRAND 1 

Passy, Nov. 3, 1778. 

WE owe our thanks, sir, to the person who has trans- 
mitted to us, through you, the complaint we have received 
against Mr. Conyngham, and we can assure him anew 
that, penetrated with the respect for S. M. C., 2 nothing pains 
us more than complaints on his part against our people. 
He will have seen, by the papers transmitted by you at the 
time from us to S. E. M. Count d'Aranda, the measures 
which Congress have taken to prevent any misconduct on 
the part of our privateers and seamen, and nothing better 
proves its solicitude in this regard than the proclamation it 
has just issued, of which the enclosed No. 2 is a copy, and 
to which we join its resolution for the protection of the 
property of a ship although belonging to a power with which 
we have no sympathy. 

But if one directs his attention to the atrocious proceed- 
ings of the English towards all nations without distinction, 
he will not be surprised that their pernicious example finds 
imitators among some individuals of a nation which they 
have so greatly outraged. But this does not excuse Con- 
yngham. It is a crime in our eyes to have displeased a 
power for which Congress is penetrated with respect, and 
although justified in seizing, by way of reprisals, the Eng- 
lish prize which Conyngham had brought to Teneriffe to 
be sent to Martinique, we will none the less inform Congress 
of the grounds for complaint which this privateer has given 

1 Translated from a French copy in Simancas. ED. 

2 His Christian Majesty. ED. 



1778] TO JOHN ROSS 199 

to his Catholic Majesty. This will certainly be a new 
motive for paying to his flag the homage and respect which 
it entertains for him. I hope from the wisdom as well as 
from the justice of S. M. that he will confide in this expres- 
sion of our sentiments towards him and in turn will permit 
us to experience the effects of them. 

I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



931. TO JOHN ROSS (u. OFF.) 

Passy, Nov. 5 th 1778 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the 27 th past, enclosing the resolve 
of Congress relative to M r T. Morris's Papers. The 
Trunk said to contain them was deposited with me by 
W Lee Esq r on Acct of his going to Germany. One of 
the Seals you mention was broken in bringing it to my 
House, and I got him to put on his own Seal instead of it. 
In this State it remains, and is ready to be delivered to any 
person you may appoint to receive it from me. The Keys 
are in the Hands of Arthur Lee Esq r at Chaillot. I have 
never seen W Morris's Papers: And from the time that 
I understood there was a Dispute about them between you 
& M* Lee, I determined not to have anything to do with 
the examining or separating them. The Order of the Min- 
ister for putting W Lee in Possession of them, was apply'd 
for to us on a Suggestion that otherwise they would fall 
into the hands of M. Penet which might be attended with 
some Inconvenience both to the Public & the Comp* of 
W. & Morris. My Idea was, that M* Lee would take out 



200 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

the public Papers and deliver the others to you. He says 
your quarrelling with him prevented his doing so. I had 
no suspicion that those belonging to Willing & Morris 
would be brought up here. I am glad an Order is come 
for delivering them to you. But as the Dispute about them 
may hereafter be continued, and Papers suspected to be 
embezzeled by somebody; and as I have sign'd a terrible 
long Receipt for the Trunk, of which I have no copy, and 
only remember that it appeared to be constructed with all 
the Circumspection of the Writers Motto, Non incautus 
juturi and that it filPd a Half Sheet so full there was scarce 
Room for the Names of the four Evidences he required to 
witness it: I beg you will not expect me to send it to you 
at Nantes but appoint who you please to receive it for you 
here. For I think I must deliver it before Witnesses, who 
may certify the State of the Seals ; nothing being more likely 
than that Seals on a Trunk may rub off in the Carriage on 
so long a Journey; and then I should be exposed to the 
Artful Suggestions of some who do not love me, & whom 
I conceive to be of very malignant Dispositions. As to the 
Sorting of the Papers after you receive them, I see no Direc- 
tion about it in the Order of Congress. It is therefore left 
to your Discretion. I am Sir 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



1778] 



TO JOB PRINCE 



201 



932. TO M. BARON 



SIR 



(A. P. s.) 

[Nov. 20, 1778.] 



I thank you for your readiness to serve Capt. Prince. 
His Bills for moderate Supplies will be honoured. The 
Bearer is my Grandson, I beg to recommend him to your 
Civilities. I shall Answer the rest of your Letter soon, I 

have the honour to be, 

Sir 

Your most obed 1 

humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



933. TO JOB PRINCE 



(A. P. S.) 



SIR 



Passy near Paris, Nov. 20. 1778 
1 1 at Night 



I have just received yours of the i8th Instant. My 
Grandson, William T. Franklin, who is the Bearer of this, 
and will have the honour of delivering it into your hands, 
sets out early to-morrow morning for that purpose. He is 
my private Secretary, and is a Young Man of Trust & 
Discretion, to whom you may safely confide, what you 
have to communicate to the Commissioners. We have 
rec d no Account of your Vessel or its destination from Con- 
gress, as our Dispatches have miscarried; therefore can 
give you no Advice till we have more Information from 
You, than is contained in your Letter. 

1 A merchant at Dieppe. ED. a Commander of U.S.S. Concord. ED. 



202 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

If you send any Prizes into Dunkirk, address them to 
Mr. Coff 3 there, Dieppe Mr. Baron, L'Orient or Nantes 
to Mr. Schweighauser, Bourdeaux, Mr. Bondfield. In 
any other, let your Masters enquire for American Agents. 
I wish you a good Cruise, & safe Return to your Country 
with much Profit and Honor; being 

Sir Your most obed* 

humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



934. TO M. BARON (A. p. s.) 

Passy Nov. 21. 1778 
SIR 

I write this Line per Post just to acq* you that your Letter 
relating to Capt Prince is received, and that a Person in 
our Confidence, as desired by him, sets out this Day for 
Dieppe with Answers to your & the Captain's Letters, and 
will probably be with you soon after your Receipt of this; 
of which it would be well to give the Capt? Notice, that 
they may meet as soon as nossible. I have the honour to 
be, 

Sir, 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant, 
B. F. 



1778] TO DAVID HARTLEY 203 

935. TO W. T. FRANKLIN (A.P.S.) 

Passy, Nov. 26. 1778 

DEAR GRANDSON, 

I received yours last Evening, with the Copies enclosed, 
and am now more certain than before that the whole is a 
piece of Roguery. As when you receive this, it will be 10 
Days since his quitting the Road of Dieppe, if he has not 
returned in that time, it is probable he will not return at all ; 
so we would have you return hither without waiting longer 
for him. If he should hereafter come, and venture on 
shore, he will be taken by the Orders you leave from the 
Minister; but I believe he is too cunning for that. My 
Respect to M* Baron. I am ever, 

Your affectionate Grandfather 

B. FRANKLIN 



936. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D.S.W.) 

Passy, Nov. 29, 1778 

DEAR SIR : I have heard nothing from you lately concern- 
ing the Exchange of Prisoners. Is that Affair dropt ? Win- 
ter is coming on apace. I understand that your charitable 
Contribution is near expended, and not likely to be re- 
newed. Many of those unfortunate People must suffer 
greatly. I wish to have a Line from you informing me 
what may be depended on. I am as ever, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



204 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 



937. TO ABBE DE LA ROCHE (B. N.) 

Dec. 7, '78. 

Void, mon cher Maitre, deux Exercises de plus. L'un 
est la Suite de PHypothese; Pautre en forme de Billet a 
Notre Dame d'Auteuil. Je suis charme* toujours de vos 
Corrections, mais comme je vois par ceux que vous avez 
fait vers le fin du 22 e Article que je n'ai pas ete assez clair 
pour e*tre entendu. Je crois qu'il sera mieux d'omettre 
les dernieres 5 ou 6 Lignes, nommement tous ceux qui 
suivent le Mot Electricite*. 1 Ainsi vous pouvez corriger 
votre Copie. Car ces Lignes ne sont pas necessaires. 

Voila un autre Exercise. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



938. A MADAME HELVETIUS 2 

CHAGRINE de votre resolution barbare, prononce*e si 
positivement hier au soir, de rester seule pendant la vie en 
honneur de votre cher mari, je me retirois chez moi, tom- 
bois sur mon lit, me croyois mort, et que je me trouvois 
dans les Champs-Elis^es. 

On me demanda si j'avois en vie de voir quelques per- 
sonnages particuliers. "Menez-moi chez les philosophes." 
"II y en a deux qui demeurent ici pres dans ce jardin; ils 

1 See article on "Aurora Borealis," Vol. VII, p. 209. ED. 

2 This is apparently the " Billet a Notre Dame d'Auteuil " referred to in 
the previous letter. ED. 



1778] A MADAME HELVETIUS 205 

sont de tres-bons voisins, et tres-amis Tun de Pautre." 
"Qui sont-ils?" "Socrate et Helve*tius." "Je les estime 
prodigieusement tous les deux; mais faites-moi voir prem- 
ierement Helve*tius, parce que j'entends un peu de Francois 
et pas un mot de Grec." II m'a recu avec beaucoup de 
courtoisie, m'ayant connu, disoit-il, de reputation il y avoit 
quelque temps. II me demanda mille choses sur la guerre, 
et sur Pe*tat present de la religion, de la liberte", et du gouv- 
ernement en France. "Vous ne demandez done rien," 
lui dis-je, "de votre chere amie Madame Helve*tius; et 
cependant elle vous aime encore excessivement, et il n'y a 
qu'une heure que j'dtois chez elle." "Ah!" dit-il, "vous 
me faites ressouvenir de mon ancienne felicite*. Mais il 
faut Poublier pour &tre heureux ici. Pendant plusieurs 
des premieres anne*es, je n'ai pense* qu'a elle. Enfin je 
suis console. J'ai pris une autre femme ; la plus semblable 
a elle que j'ai pu trouver. Elle n'est pas, il est vrai, tout-a- 
fait si belle, mais elle a autant de bon sens, beaucoup d'es- 
prit, et elle m'aime infiniment. Son etude continuelle est 
de me plaire, et elle est sortie actuellement chercher le meil- 
leur nectar et ambroisie pour me re*galer ce soir; restez 
avec moi et vous la verrez." " J'appercois," dis-je, "que 
votre ancienne amie est plus fidelle que vous ; car plusieurs 
bons partis lui ont e*te* offerts qu'elle a refuses tous. Je 
vous confesse que je Pai aime*e, moi, a la folie; mais elle 
e*toit dure a mon e*gard, et m*a rejet6 absolument pour 
Pamour de vous." " Je vous plains," dit-il, "de votre mal- 
heur; car vraiment c'est une bonne et belle femme, et bien 
aimable. Mais PAbbe* de la R * * * *, et PAbbe M * * * * l 
ne sont-ils pas encore quelquefois chez elle?" "Oui as- 

1 Abbes de la Roche and Morellet. ED. 



206 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

sur&nent; car elle n'a pas perdu un seul de vos amis." 
"Si vous aviez gagne* 1'Abbe* M * * * * (avec du bon cafe* a 
la creme) a parler pour vous, vous auriez peut-tre re*ussi; 
car il est raisonneur subtil comme Duns Scotus ou St. 
Thomas; il met ses arguments en si bon ordre qu'ils de- 
viennent presque irre*sistibles. Et si PAbbe* de la R * * * * 
avoit e*te* gagne (par quelque belle Edition d'un vieux clas- 
sique) a parler contre vous, cela auroit t mieux; car j'ai 
toujours observ6, que quand il lui conseilla quelque chose, 
elle avoit un penchant tres-fort a faire le revers." A ces 
mots entra la nouvelle Madame Helve'tius avec le nectar; 
a Pinstant je Pai reconnue pour tre Madame Franklin, 
mon ancienne amie Ame'ricaine. Je Pai re'clame'e, mais 
elle me dit froidement; "J'ai te* votre bonne femme quar- 
ante-neuf anne*es et quatre mois ; presqu'un demi-siecle ; 
soyez content de cela. J'ai forme' ici une nouvelle connex- 
ion, qui durera a Pe'ternite'." 

Indigne* de ce refus de mon Eurydice, je pris de suite la 
resolution de quitter ces ombres ingrates, et revenir en ce 
bon monde, revoir le soleil et vous. Me voici ! Yen- 
geons-nous! 



939. THE EPHEMERA 1 
An Emblem of Human Life 

You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately 
spent that happy day in the delightful garden and sweet 

1 The first of the " Bagatelles." It was addressed to Madame Brillon, in 
memory of a happy day at her country home Moulin Joly and was writ- 
ten in 1778. ED. 



1778] 



THE EPHEMERA 



207 



society of the Moulin Joly, I stopt a little in one of our walks, 
and staid some time behind the company. We had been 
shown numberless skeletons of a kind of little fly, called an 
ephemera, whose successive generations, we were told, were 
bred and expired within the day. I happened to see a living 
company of them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in 
conversation. You know I understand all the inferior 
animal tongues: my too great application to the study of 
them is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I 
have made in your charming language. I listened through 
curiosity to the discourse of these little creatures ; but as they, 
in their national vivacity, spoke three or four together, I 
could make but little of their conversation. I found, however, 
by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they 
were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, 
one a cousin, the other a moscheto; in which dispute they 
spent their time, seemingly as regardless of the shortness of 
life as if they had been sure of living a month. Happy peo- 
ple! thought I, you live certainly under a wise, just, and 
mild government, since you have no public grievances to 
complain of, nor any subject of contention but the perfec- 
tions and imperfections of foreign music. I turned my 
head from them to an old grey-headed one, who was single 
on another leaf, and talking to himself. Being amused 
with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will 
likewise amuse her to whom I am so much indebted for the 
most pleasing of all amusements, her delicious company and 
heavenly harmony. 

"It was," said he, "the opinion of learned philosophers of 
our race, who lived and flourished long before my time, that 
this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could not itself subsist 



208 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

more than eighteen hours; and I think there was some 
foundation for that opinion, since, by the apparent motion 
of the great luminary that gives life to all nature, and which 
in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the 
ocean at the end of our earth, it must then finish its course, 
be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave 
the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing uni- 
versal death and destruction. I have lived seven of those 
hours, a great age, being no less than four hundred and twenty 
minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long ! 
I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My 
present friends are the children and grandchildren of the 
friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more ! And I 
must soon follow them ; for, by the course of nature, though 
still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight 
minutes longer. What now avails all my toil and labor, 
in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to 
enjoy! What the political struggles I have been engaged 
in, for the good of my compatriot inhabitants of this bush, 
or my philosophical studies for the benefit of our race in 
general ! for, in politics, what can laws do without morals ? 
Our present race of ephemerae will in a course of minutes 
become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and 
consequently as wretched. And in philosophy how small 
our progress ! Alas ! art is long, and life is short ! My 
friends would comfort me with the idea of a name, they say, 
I shall leave behind me ; and they tell me I have lived long 
enough to nature and to glory. But what will fame be to 
an ephemera who no longer exists? And what will become 
of all history in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, 
even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be 
buried in universal ruin?" 



1778] AURORA BOREALIS 209 

To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures now 
remain, but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well, 
the sensible conversation of a few good lady ephemerae, and 
now and then a kind smile and a tune from the ever amiable 
Brillante. 1 B. FRANKLIN. 






940. AURORA BOREALIS (L. c.) 

Suppositions and Conjectures towards forming an Hypothe- 
sis for its Explanation. 2 

AIR heated by any Means becomes rarefied and specifi- 
cally lighter than other Air in the same Situation not heated. 

Air being thus made lighter rises, and the neighbouring 
cooler, heavier Air takes its place. 

If in the middle of a Room you heat the Air by a Stove, 

1 For the history of this " bagatelle " see Franklin's letter to William 
Carmichael, June 17, 1780. The substance of these reflections appeared in 
The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 4, 1735, in an essay on "Human 
Vanity." It has been generally said that the " Essay " was written by Frank- 
lin, and that in " the above letter * to the ever amiable Brillante,' it was doubt- 
less re-written from memory." Franklin, however, in his letter to Carmichael 
says, " The thought was partly taken from a little piece of some unknown 
writer which I met with fifty years since in a newspaper, and which the sight 
of the ephemera brought to my recollection." ED. 

2 First published in Benjamin Vaughan's edition of the " Works of Frank- 
lin." Vaughan says, " If I mistake not, the paper was read at the Royal 
Academy of Sciences at Paris, at the meeting held immediately after 
Easter, 1779." Dr. Ingenhousz acknowledged the receipt of the paper, May 
25, 1779, after it had been read before the Academy. Vaughan expressed 
much interest in it, May 31, 1779. Abbe Rozier requested permission, 
August 21, 1779, to print it in Le Journal de Physique. Extracts had already 
appeared in Le Mercure de France. Further to fix the date of composition, 
see letter to Abbe de la Roche, December 8, 1778. Two Ms. copies are in 
L. C., one written by Franklin, the other by Ingenhousz from the original sent 
to him by Franklin. ED. 

VOL. VII P 



210 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

or Pot of burning Coals near the Floor, the heated Air will 
rise to the Cieling, spread there over the cooler Air till it 
comes to the cold Walls; there being condensed and made 
heavier, it descends to supply the Place of that cool Air 
which had moved towards the Stove or Fire, in order to supply 
the Place of the heated Air which had ascended from the 
Space around the Stove or Fire. 

Thus there will be a continual Circulation of Air in the 
Room, which may be rendered visible by making a little 
Smoke; for that Smoke will rise and circulate with the Air. 

A similar Operation is perform'd by Nature on the Air 
of the Globe. Our Atmosphere is of a certain height, 
perhaps at a Medium Miles. Above that height it is 
so rare as to be almost a Vacuum. The Air heated between 
the Tropics is continually rising, its Place is supply'd by 
northerly and southerly Winds which come from the cooler 
regions. 

The light, heated Air, floating above the cooler and denser, 
must spread northward and southward, and descend near 
the two Poles, to supply the Place of the cooler Air which had 
moved towards the Equator. 

Thus a circulation of Air is kept up in our Atmosphere 
as in the Room above mentioned. 

That heavier and lighter Air may move in Currents of 
different and even opposite direction, appears sometimes 
by the Clouds that happen to be in those Currents, as plainly 
as by the Smoke in the Experiment above mentioned. Also 
in opening a Door between two Chambers, one of which has 
been warmed, by holding a candle near the top, near the 
bottom, and near the middle, you will find a strong current 
of warm Air passing out of the warmed Room above, and 



1778] AURORA BOREALIS 211 

another of cool Air entering it below, while in the Middle 
there is little or no Motion. 

The great Quantity of Vapour rising between the Tropics 
forms Clouds, which contain much Electricity. 

Some of them fall in Rain, before they come to the polar 
Regions. 

If the Rain be received in an isolated Vessel, the Vessel 
will be electrified; for every Drop brings down some Elec- 
tricity with it. 

The same is done by Snow and Hail. 

The Electricity so descending in temperate Climates, 
is received and imbib'd by the Earth. 

If the Clouds are not sufficiently discharged by this Means, 
they sometimes discharge themselves by striking into the 
Earth, where the Earth is fit to receive their Electricity. 

The earth in temperate and warm Climates is generally 
fit to receive it, being a good Conductor. 

A certain Quantity of Heat will make some Bodies good 
Conductors that will not otherwise conduct. 

Thus Wax render'd fluid, and Glass softened by Heat, 
will both of them conduct. 

And Water, tho' naturally a good Conductor, will not 
conduct well when frozen into Ice by a common Degree of 
Cold ; not at all where the Cold is extream. 

Snow falling upon frozen Ground has been found to retain 
its Electricity; and to communicate it to an isolated Body, 
when after falling, it has been driven about by the Wind. 

The Humidity, contained in all the equatorial Clouds 
that reach the Polar Regions, must there be condensed and 
fall in Snow. 

The great Cake of Ice that eternally covers those Regions 



212 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1778 

may be too hard frozen to permit the Electricity, descending 
with that Snow, to enter the Earth. 

It will therefore be accumulated upon that Ice. 

The Atmosphere being heavier in the Polar Regions, than 
in the equatorial, will there be lower ; as well from that Cause, 
as from the smaller Effect of the centrifugal Force; con- 
sequently the Distance to the Vacuum above the Atmosphere 
will be less at the Poles than elsewhere ; and probably much 
less than the Distance (upon the Surface of the Globe) 
extending from the Pole to the Latitudes in which the Earth 
is so thaw'd as to receive and imbibe Electricity; the Frost 
continuing to Lat. 80, which is 10 Degrees or 600 Miles from 
the Pole, while the Height of the Atmosphere there, can 
scarce be esteemed above Miles. 1 

The Vacuum above is a good Conductor. 

May not then the great Quantity of Electricity brought 
into the Polar Regions by the Clouds, which are condens'd 
there, and fall in Snow, which Electricity would enter the 
Earth, but cannot penetrate the Ice; may it not, I say (as 
a Bottle overcharged) break thro' that low Atmosphere and 
run along in the Vacuum over the Air towards the Equator, 
diverging as the Degrees of Longitude enlarge, strongly 
visible where densest, and becoming less visible as it more 
diverges : till it finds a Passage to the Earth in more temperate 
Climates, or is mingled with their upper Air? 

If such an Operation of Nature were really performed, 
would it not give all the Appearances of an AURORA BOREALIS ? 

And would not the auroras become more frequent after 
the Approach of Winter; not only because more visible in 

1 See letter to Abbe de la Roche, December 7, 1778, for reference to this 
paragraph. ED. 



1778] AURORA BOREALIS 213 

longer Nights ; but also because in Summer the long Presence 
of the Sun may soften the Surface of the great Ice Cake, 
and render it a Conductor, by which the Accumulation of 
Electricity in the polar Regions will be prevented ? * 

The atmosphere o] the polar regions being made more dense 
by the extreme cold, and all the moisture in that air being 
frozen, may not any great light arising therein, and passing 
thro' it, render its density in some degree visible during the 
night-time, to those who live in the rarer air of more southern 
latitudes? And would it not, in that case, altho' in itself a 
complete and full circle, extending perhaps 10 degrees from 
the pole, appear to spectators so placed (who could see 
only a part of it) in the form of a segment, its chord resting 
on the horizon, and its arch elevated more or less above it, 
as seen from latitudes more or less distant, darkish in color, 
but yet sufficiently transparent to permit some stars to be 
seen through it? 

The rays of electric matter issuing out of a body, diverge 
by mutually repelling each other, unless there be some con- 
ducting body near to receive them; and if that conducting 
body be at a greater distance, they will first diverge, and then 
converge in order to enter it. May not this account for some 
of the varieties of figure seen at times in the motions of the 
luminous matter of the auroras; since it is possible, that, 
in passing over the atmosphere from the north, in all direc- 
tions or meridians, towards the equator, the rays of that 
matter may find, in many places portions of cloudy regions, 
or moist atmosphere under them, which (being in the natural 
or negative state) may be fit to receive them, and towards 

1 At this place the copy in L. C. ends. What follows is in the handwriting 
of Ingenhousz. ED. 



214 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1778 

which they may therefore converge; and when one of those 
receiving bodies is more than saturated, they may again 
diverge from it, towards other surrounding masses of such 
humid atmosphere, and thus form the crowns, as they are 
called, and other figures, mentioned in the histories of this 
meteor? 

If it be true, that the clouds which go to the polar regions 
carry thither the vapours of the equatorial and temperate 
regions, which vapours are condensed by the extreme cold of 
the polar regions, and fall in snow or hail ; the winds which 
come from those regions ought to be generally dry, unless 
they gain some humidity by sweeping the ocean in their way ; 
and, if I mistake not, the winds between the northwest and 
northeast are for the most part dry, when they have continued 
some time. 1 

[In the Philosophical Transactions for 1774, p. 128, is 
a letter from Mr. J. S. Winn, to Dr. Franklin, stating that, 
since he had first made the observation concerning the south 
or southwest winds succeeding an aurora, he had found it 
invariably obtaining in twenty-three instances ; and he adds 
in a note a fresh confirming instance. In reply, Dr. Franklin 
makes the following conjecture.] 

The aurora borealis, though visible almost every night 
of clear weather in the more northern regions, and very high 
in the atmosphere, can scarce be visible in England but 
when the atmosphere is pretty clear of clouds for the whole 
space between us and those regions; and therefore are sel- 



1 Here ends the copy written by Ingenhousz. ED. In one of the copies 
of this paper there is a line drawn across this last article. W. T. F. 

This paragraph is not contained in Mr. Vaughan's edition and was proba- 
bly not communicated to him by the author. S. 



it: -, 




fly J 



The Arrows represent the general Currents of the Air. 
AB.C. the great Cake of Ice & Snow w the Pctar Regions. 
D.D.D.D.^j^*iwt ffeyfit of the Atmosphere. 
The Representation is nuide cnly for one Quarter and one* 
Aleritliaik 'offfie Globe/; 2>ut is to be understood the sajne 
for a&lhe rest . 




1779] TO ARTHUR LEE 215 

dom visible there. This extensive clearness may have been 
produced by a long continuance of northerly winds. When 
the winds have long continued in one quarter, the return is 
often violent. Allowing the fact so repeatedly observed 
by Mr. Winn, perhaps this may account for the violence of 
the southerly winds, that soon follow the appearance of the 
aurora on our coasts. 



941. TO ARTHUR LEE (p. H. s.) 

Passy, Jan. 3. 1779 

SIR, 

I am certain that I have not the Papers you mention, 
having never since seen them, as I should have done in sorting 
and looking over my Papers occasionally ; if they had been 
among them. 

You know the Gentleman better than I do, and can there- 
fore better judge whether a Meeting with him for the pro- 
pos'd purpose of making Peace may not be like some of the 
former, intended merely to give Countenance at this time 
to Change Ally-Reports, help the Stocks, and assist the 
Government in making their new Loans, or their Friends 
in retailing their Subscriptions. When I have the honour 
of seeing you, we can talk more fully on the Subject. Per- 
haps it would be well, in case you write to-day, to desire to 
know if he is or will be authorized to make any Propositions. 
I am, with great Esteem, 

Sir 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



216 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

942. TO RALPH IZARD 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Jan 4. 1779 
SIR, 

Your Intimation that you expect more Money from us, 
obliges us to expose to you our Circumstances. Upon the 
Supposition that Congress had borrowed in America but 
five millions of Dollars, or 25 millions of Livres, & relying 
on the Remittances intended to be sent us, for answering 
other Demands, we gave Expectations that we should be 
able to pay here the Interest of that Sum, as a Means of sup- 
porting the Credit of the Currency. The Congress have 
borrowed near twice that Sum, and are now actually draw- 
ing on us for the Interest, the Bills appearing here daily for 
Acceptance: Their Distress for Money in America has 
been so great from the enormous Expence of the War, that 
they have also been induced to draw on us for very large 
Sums, to stop other pressing Demands : And they have not 
been able to purchase Remittances for us to the Extent 
they proposed ; and, of what they have sent, much has been 
taken or treacherously carried into England ; only two small 
Cargo's of Tobacco having arrived, and they are long since 
mortgaged to the Farmers General, so that they produce us 
nothing, but leave us Expences to pay. 

The Continental Vessels of War, which come to France, 
have likewise required great Sums of us, to furnish or refit 

1 This letter was written by Dr. Franklin, but intended to be signed by 
the Commissioners jointly. On the back of the manuscript is the following 
endorsement : " Rough draft of a proposed letter in answer to one from Mr. 
Izard to the Commissioners, dated January 2d." As it is here called the draft 
of a proposed letter, it may possibly never have been sent. S. 



1779] TO RALPH IZARD 217 

them, & supply the Men with Necessaries. The Prisoners 
too who escape from England, claim a very expensive Assist- 
ance from us, and are much dissatisfied with the scanty 
Allowance we are able to afford them. The Interest Bills 
above mentioned, of the Drawing of which we have receiv'd 
Notice, amount to two Millions & an half, and we have not 
a fifth Part of the Sum in our Banker's hands to answer them. 
And large Orders to us from Congress for Supplies of Cloath- 
ing, Arms & Ammunition, remain uncomply'd with for want 
of Money. 

In this Situation of our Affairs, we hope you will not insist 
on our giving you a farther Credit with our Banker, with 
whom we are daily in danger of having no farther Credit 
ourselves. It is not a Year since you received from us the 
sum of Two Thousand Guineas, which you thought necessary 
on Ace 1 of your being to set out immediately for Florence. 
You have not incurred the Expence of that Journey. You 
are a Gentleman of Fortune. You did not come to France 
with any Dependence on being maintained here with your 
Family at the Expence of the United States, in the Time of 
their Distress, and without rendring them the equivalent 
Service they expected. 

On all these Considerations we should rather hope that 
you would be willing to reimburse us the Sum we have 
advanced to you, if it may be done with any possible Con- 
venience to your Affairs. Such a Supply would at least enable 
us to relieve more liberally our unfortunate Countrymen, 
who have long been Prisoners, stript of every thing, of whom 
we daily expect to have near three hundred upon our hands 
by the Exchange. We have the honour to be, &c. 



218 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1779 



943. TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 

(A. P. s.) 
Passy, Jan. 15. 1779. 

GENTLEMEN, 

It being undoubtedly our Duty to give the clearest Account 
to Congress of the Disbursement of their Money intrusted 
to us ; and as I apprehend our advancing to William Lee and 
Ralph Izard Esquires so large a Sum as Four Thousand 
Guineas at once, in Feb., 1778, without any Order of Con- 
gress for so doing, and at a time when Money was much 
Wanted to fulfil their actual Orders in the Purchase of Arms, 
&c., may subject the Commissioners to censure, I think it 
right & necessary to relate the Circumstances, that they 
may be communicated to our Constituents. 

Those Gentlemen, then, having represented to Mr. Deane, 
Mr. Lee & myself, that tho' they had received Commissions 
to go & reside at the Courts of Berlin, Vienna, & Florence, 
no Provision had arrived for their Subsistence; that they 
were nearly ready to set out for their respective Destinations, 
but wanted Money to defray the Expence of their Journeys ; 
for which, they therefore requested us to furnish them with 
a Credit on our Banker ; the Commissioners, fearing that 
the Public Interests might possibly suffer, if those Journeys 
were delayed till the necessary Provision or Orders should 
arrive from America, thought they might be justified in 
giving such a Credit, for the Expence of those Journeys; 
and Mr. Lee, being ask'd what sum he imagined would be 
necessary, said justly that the Expence of his Journey could 
not be exactly ascertained beforehand; but, if he were em- 
power'd to draw on our Banker, he should certainly only 



I 7 79] TO DAVID HARTLEY 219 

take from time to time what was absolutely necessary, and 
therefore it was of little Importance for what Sum the Credit 
should be order'd ; it would however look handsome & con- 
fidential, if the sum were two Thousand Louis. We there- 
upon confiding that no more of this Money would be taken 
out of our Disposition, than the Expences of the Journeys 
as they should accrue, did frankly but unwarily give the 
Orders. 

Mr. Deane and myself were, however, soon surpriz'd 
with the Intelligence, that the Gentlemen had gone directly 
to the Banker, & by Virtue of these Orders had taken out 
of our Account the whole Sum mentioned, & carried it to 
their own; leaving the Money indeed in his Hands, but 
requiring his Receipt for it as their Money, for which he was 
to be accountable to them only. 

This enormous Sum having been received by those Gentle- 
men not above ten months, I was still more surpriz'd, when 
the following Letters were communicated to me by my pres- 
ent Colleagues, requiring more Money. My colleague, Mr. 
Adams, was at first as much surpriz'd as myself. l 



944. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 25, 1779 

DEAR SIR : la long time believed that your government 
were in earnest in agreeing to an exchange of prisoners. 

1 Here the manuscript breaks off, apparently in an unfinished state, and it 
is uncertain whether this letter was sent. The substance of it, however, is 
contained in a letter to the Committee of Foreign Affairs dated May 26, 
1779. ED. 



220 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1779 

I begin now to think I was mistaken. It seems they can- 
not give up the pleasing idea of having at the end of the 
war one thousand Americans to hang for high treason. 
You were also long of opinion that the animosity against 
America was not national or general; but having seen the 
exterminating proclamation of the Commissioners approved 
by kings, lords, and commons, and that not attended by 
any marks of popular disapprobation, perhaps you too begin 
to think you are mistaken. I thank you for writing those 
excellent letters to your constituents. I like all but your 
reflections against the king of France for assisting us. In 
my mind, the coming to the relief of an innocent people under 
the bloody oppressions your ministers were exercising over 
them, and exposing himself and nation to a war on their 
account, was not only what any prince had a right to do 
for the sake of common humanity, but was a magnanimous 
and heroic action that is admired at present by the wise and 
good through all Europe, and will hand his name down 
with glory to posterity. Our different ways of thinking in 
this particular will not, however, diminish our private friend- 
ship, nor impair the sentiments of sincere esteem and respect 

with which I am ever, dear sir, 

Yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



945. TO MRS. MARGARET STEVENSON 1 (P. c.) 

Jan 25, 1779. 

IT is always with great Pleasure, when I think of our long 
continued Friendship, which had not the least Interruption 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



1779] TO MRS. MARGARET STEVENSON 1 221 

in the Course of Twenty Years (some of the happiest of my 
Life), that I spent under your Roof and in your Company. 
If I do not write to you as often as I us'd to do, when I hap- 
pen'd to be absent from you, it is owing partly to the present 
Difficulty of sure Communication, and partly to an Appre- 
hension of some possible Inconvenience, that my Correspond- 
ence might occasion you. Be assured, my dear Friend, that 
my Regard, Esteem, and Affection for you, are not in the 
least impaired or diminished; and that, if Circumstances 
would permit, nothing would afford me so much Satisfaction, 
as to be with you in the same House, and to experience again 
your faithful, tender Care, and Attention to my Interests, 
Health, and Comfortable Living, which so long and steadily 
attached me to you, and which I shall ever remember with 
Gratitude. 

I thought I had mentioned to you before, (and I believe 
I did, tho' my Letter may have miscarried,) that I had re- 
ceived the white Cloth Suit, the Sword, and the Saddle for 
Temple, all in good Order. I mention them now again, 
because Polly tells me you had not heard of their Arrival. 
And I repeat my Thanks for your Care in sending them. 
I wore the Clothes a good deal last Summer. There is one 
thing more, that I wish to have, if you should meet with an 
Opportunity of sending it. I mean the Copper Pot, lin'd 
with Silver, to roast Fowls in by means of a Heater. 1 
I should also be glad of the Piece of Elephant's Tooth. It 
is old Ivory, perhaps of the time before the Flood, and 

1 Franklin when at Sheffield with Dr. Ingenhousz purchased a copper pot 
for roasting chickens by a bolt of iron. He erred in supposing that it was in 
the possession of Mrs. Stevenson in London, for it had really been carried 
to Vienna by Ingenhousz who in a letter dated May 25, 1779, promised to 
return the " roasting vessel." ED. 



222 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

would be a Rarity to some Friends here. But I doubt you 
will not be able to send them. 

I rejoice to learn that your Health is establish'd, and that 
you live pleasantly in a Country Town, with agreable Neigh- 
bours, and have your Dear Children about you. My love 
to every one of them. I long to see them and you ; but the 
Times do not permit me the Hope of it. Why do you never 
write to me? I us'd to love to read your Letters, and I 
regret your long Silence. They were season'd with good 
Sense and Friendship, and even your Spelling pleas'd me. 
Polly knows I think the worst spelling the best. I do not 
write to her by this Conveyance. You will let her know, 
that I acknowledge the Receipt of her pleasing Letter, 
dated the nth Instant. I shall now only observe upon it, 
that I wonder how the patent came to be taken out in Jacob's 
Name. I am sure he had no Claim to it; for when I first 
propos'd to him the making of such Wheels at Mr. Viny's, 
in the Country, he objected to it as impracticable. But 
Mr. Viny, who seiz'd the Thought, and carried it into Execu- 
tion, had certainly the best Right to the Patent. I wish he 
would send me a good Drawing, with the Proportions, of 
the little Carriage without Horses, which his Children came 
once in to see us. How do they all do, and particularly 
my little Patient Bessum ? 

Since my coming here, I have been told, that Mr. Henley, 1 
the Linen- Draper, had said, on my going to America, that 

1 This is the William Henley or Henly who experimented in electricity and 
whose dismal exit from life was described by Benjamin Vaughan : see p. 410. 
He wrote to Franklin when the latter improved his electrometer, " If I have 
been able to produce any experiments in electricity which Dr. Franklin 
can vouchsafe to bestow the epithet curious upon, my highest ambition and 
Vanity is then satisfied and fully so" (January 29, 1771, A. P. S.). ED. 



1779] TO MESSRS. LLOYD AND OTHERS 223 

I had gone away in his Debt. I can hardly believe it. Let 
me know if you have heard such a Thing, and what is the 
meaning of it. I thought he had been fully paid, and still 
think so, and shall, till I am assur'd of the contrary. Let 
me know, at the same time, how my Account stands with 
you. 

You wish to know how I live. It is in a fine House, 
situated in a neat Village, on high Ground, half a Mile from 
Paris, with a large Garden to walk in. I have abundance 
of Acquaintance, dine abroad Six Days in seven. Sundays 
I reserve to dine at home, with such Americans as pass this 
Way; and I then have my Grandson Ben, with some other 
American Children from his school. 

If being treated with all the Politeness of France, and the 
apparent Respect and Esteem of all Ranks, from the highest 
to the lowest, can make a Man happy, I ought to be so. 
Indeed, I have nothing to complain of, but a little too much 
Business, and the Want of that Order and (Economy in my 
Family, that reign'd in it when under your prudent Direction. 
My Paper gives me only Room to add, that I am ever yours 

most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



946. TO MESSRS. LLOYD AND OTHERS * (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 26, 1779. 

GENTLEMEN : We had yesterday the honour of your 
Letter of the 2ist of this Month. 

1 Printed in " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the 
United States," Wharton, Vol. Ill, p. 32. The letter was addressed to 
J. Lloyd, Daniel Blake, P. N. Fendall, J. Ross, Jo. Wharton, Lawrence Brooke, 
W. Blake, W. Thompson, N. Maese, Cha. Ogilvie, at Nantes. 



224 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

You desire to know what Port or Ports is or are made free 
pursuant to the Treaty. We believe that none have as yet 
been determined on. At present all the Ports of France are 
open, to American Vessels of all Denominations, and we are 
at present rather doubtful whether it would be politick in 
us to apply to have any distinction made. If the appoint- 
ment of free Ports would relieve us from the Payment of 
Duties, of Import or Export, we should apply immediately. 
But as we apprehend, this Advantage would not be the 
Consequence, the Limits of the free Port would be pre- 
scribed, and the same Duties must be paid upon removing 
Goods within or without those Limits as are now paid upon 
Imports and Exports. Goods, however, might be brought 
into such free Ports from abroad, and there Landed and 
stored for a time, and then exported without paying Duties; 
but whether this would be any great Advantage to our Trade, 
at present, you are better Judges than we. We shall be glad 
of your Advice upon this Head, and if you think of any Ad- 
vantages of considerable moment that would arise we shall 
be always ready to apply for such an Appointment. We are 
sorry it is not in our Power to give you any acceptable Infor- 
mation respecting the eighth Article of the Treaty, which 
relates to the Barbary corsaires. All we can say is, that 
we have applied to the Ministry upon this head some Months 
ago, and received Satisfactory Expressions of the Disposition 
of this Government to do everything which is stipulated in 
that Article of the Treaty. But some Things remain to be 
determined by Congress, to whom we have written on the 
Subject, and we must necessarily await their Instructions. 

There are two Enquiries to be made, viz.: which of all 
the Nations who now Trade with France is the most favor'd ? 



1779] FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 225 

and what Duties are paid by that Nation? These Duties, 
and these only, we suppose, we are to pay; and as soon as 
Circumstances will permit, (two of us having been for 
a fortnight very ill, and one of us continuing so) we shall 
apply to the Ministry for an e*claircissement upon this Head, 
which we shall endeavour to communicate to you as soon as 
we shall obtain it. 

We have received an Answer to our last Application for 
a Convoy from their Excellencies, the Count de Vergennes 
and M. de Sartine. But the Answers convinced us that 
M. de Sartine was under some Misinformation or Misunder- 
standing relative to the Business, which obliged us to write 
again. As soon as we shall be honor'd with an Answer, 
we will communicate the Result of it to you. 

For the Commissioners, by B. FRANKLIN 



947. FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 

(A. P. s.) 

Jan. 23. 1779 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

You know my constant and earnest desire for peace. You are so fully 
possessed of my principles upon these subjects, that you cannot doubt but that 
the sentiments expressed in the 4 th letter on the American war, lately written 
by a member of Parliament in this country to his constituents, do perfectly 
accord with mine. 

In your letter of 26th October 1778, you seem to express, that a visit from 
a friend would not be unwellcome, if that friend were in a character of a 
plenipotentiary, to treat of a sincere peace between all parties. You must 
know from the course of public transactions in England, that the alliance 
between France and America is a great stumblingblock. Whatever engage- 
ments America may have entered into, they may, at least by consent of 
parties, be relinquished for the purpose of removing so material an obstacle 
to any general treaty of free and unengaged parties. If the parties c'd meet 
for the sake of peace, upon free and open ground, I sh'd think that a very 

VOL. VII Q 



226 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

fair proposition to be offered to the people of England, and an equitable 
proposition in itself. The universal destruction attending war to all parties 
ought to be a motive for the restoration of peace, superceding all minute 
considerations. Knowing the sincerity of your desire for peace, I throw out 
to you the cursory thoughts, which present themselves to me, to take the 
chance of starting any idea, which may lead to that blessed end. I am yours 

affectionately, 

G. B. 



948. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 3, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just received your favour of the 23d past, in which 
you mention, "that the alliance between France and America 
is the great StumblingBlock in the way of Making Peace;" 
and you go on to observe, that "whatever Engagements 
America may have entred into, they may, (at least by con- 
sent of Parties) be relinquished, for the purpose of removing 
so material an Obstacle to any general Treaty of free and 
unengaged Parties " adding, that "if the parties could meet 
for the sake of Peace upon free and open Ground, you should 
think that a very fair Proposition to be offered to the People 
of England, and an equitable Proposition in itself." 

The long, steady, & kind regard you have shown for the 
Welfare of America, by the whole Tenour of your Conduct in 
Parliament, satisfies me, that this Proposition never took its 
Rise with you, but has been suggested from some other quar- 
ter ; and that your Excess of Humanity, your Love of Peace, 
& your fears for us, that the Destruction we are threatened 
with will certainly be effected, have thrown a Mist before 
your Eyes, which hindred you from seeing the Malignity 
and Mischief of it. We know that your King hates Whigs 



1779] TO DAVID HARTLEY 227 

and Presbyterians; that he thirsts for our Blood, of which 
he has already drunk large Draughts; that his servile un- 
principled Ministers are ready to execute the wickedest of his 
Orders, and his venal Parliament equally ready to vote them 
just. Not the Smallest Appearance of a Reason can be 
imagined capable of inducing us to think of relinquishing 
a Solid Alliance with one of the most amiable, as well as most 
powerful Princes of Europe, for the Expectation of unknown 
Terms of Peace, to be afterwards offer'd to us by such a 
government; a Government, that has already shamefully 
broke all the Compacts it ever made with us ! This is worse 
than advising us to drop the Substance for the Shadow. 
The Dog after he found his Mistake, might possibly have 
recover'd his Mutton ; but we could never hope to be trusted 
again by France, or indeed by any other Nation under heaven. 
Nor does there appear any more Necessity for dissolving an 
Alliance with France before you can treat with us, than there 
would of dissolving your alliance with Holland, or your 
Union with Scotland, before we could treat with you. Ours 
is therefore no material Obstacle to a Treaty as you suppose 
it to be. Had Lord North been the Author of such a Proposi- 
tion, all the World would have said it was insidious, and 
meant only to deceive & divide us from our Friends, and 
then to ruin us ; supposing our Fears might be strong enough 
to procure an Acceptance of it ; but thanks to God, that is 
not the Case ! We have long since settled all the Account 
in our own Minds. We know the worst you can do to us, 
if you have your Wish, is to confiscate our Estates & take 
our Lives, to rob & murder us; and this you have seen we 
are ready to hazard, rather than come again under your 
detested Government. 



228 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

You must observe, my dear Friend, that I am a little warm. 
Excuse me. 'Tis over. Only let me counsel you not 
to think of being sent hither on so fruitless an Errand, as 
that of making such a Proposition. 

It puts me in mind of the comick Farce intitled, God-send 
or The Wreckers. You may have forgotten it; but I will 
endeavour to amuse you by recollecting a little of it. 

SCENE. Mounts Bay. 

[A Ship riding at anchor in a great Storm. A Lee Shore 
full of Rocks, and lirfd with people, furnish' d with Axes &* 
Carriages to cut up Wrecks, knock the Sailors on the Head, 
and carry off the Plunder; according to Custom.'] 

ist. Wrecker. This Ship rides it out longer than I expected. 
She must have good Ground Tackle. 

2 Wrecker. We had better send off a Boat to her, and 
persuade her to take a Pilot, who can afterwards run her 
ashore, where we can best come at her. 

3 Wrecker. I doubt whether the boat can live in this Sea ; 
but if there are any brave Fellows willing to hazard themselves 
for the good of the Public, & a double Share, let them say 
aye. 

Several Wreckers. I, I, I, I. 

[The Boat goes off, and comes under the Ship's Stern.] 
Spokesman. So ho, the Ship, ahoa! 
Captain. Hulloa. 
Sp. Wou'd you have a Pilot? 
Capt. No, no! 

Sp. It blows hard, & you are in Danger. 
Capt. I know it. 



1779] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 229 

Sp. Will you buy a better Cable? We have one in the 
boat here. 

Capt. What do you ask for it? 

Sp. Cut that you have, & then we'll talk about the price 
of this. 

Capt. I shall not do such a foolish Thing. I have hVd 
in your Parish formerly, & know the Heads of ye too well to 
trust ye; keep off from my Cable there; I see you have a 
mind to cut it yourselves. If you go any nearer to it, I'll 
fire into you and sink you. 

Sp. It is a damn'd rotten French Cable, and will part of 
itself in half an hour. Where will you be then, Captain? 
You had better take our offer. 

Capt. You offer nothing, you Rogues, but Treachery 
and Mischief. My cable is good & strong, and will hold 
long enough to baulk all your Projects. 

Sp. You talk unkindly, Captain, to People who came here 
only for your Good. 

Capt. I know you come for all our Goods, but, by God's 
help, you shall have none of them; you shall not serve us 
as you did the Indiaman. 

Sp. Come, my Lads, let's be gone. This Fellow is not so 
great a Fool as we took him to be. 

[B. F.] 

949. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 13, 1779. 

DEAR COUSIN : I have the pleasure of acquainting you 
that the Congress have been pleased to honour me with a 
sole appointment to be their Minister Plenipotentiary at 



230 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [i;;9 

this Court, and I have just received my Credentials. This 
Mark of public Confidence is the more agreable to me as it 
was not obtained by any Solicitation or Intrigue on my Part, 
nor have I ever written a Syllable to any Person, in or out of 
Congress, magnifying my own Services or diminishing those 
of others. 

William Greene, Esq., present Gov* of the State of 
Rhode Island, has sent me some Bills of Exchange, amount- 
ing to i, 080 Livres, which he desires may be laid out in the 
following Articles: one Piece dark Calico; one Piece Bed- 
tick ; best Silk Handkerchiefs and Linnen Do ; Hollands, 
Cambricks, Muslins, Sewing Silk, and one Box of Window 
Glass, 7 Inches by 9. I send you this Commission, and 
desire you to forward the Things by the first good Oppor- 
tunity, drawing upon me for the Money. 

I am told you have laid aside your Thoughts of going to 
America at present, so that you will not have the Opportunity 
you wished for of settling your Accounts there. No Resolu- 
tion has been yet taken by the Commissioners here relating 
to your Proposition of settling them by Arbitration at Nantes ; 
and tho' I could now perhaps do by myself what is necessary 
to finish the Affair in that Way, yet as the Transactions 
were in their time, it seems to me most proper that they 
should consent to it. 

I am ever your affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1779] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 231 

950. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, February 14, 1779. 

SIR, I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency 
that I have received from the Congress their appointment 
to be their minister plenipotentiary at this court, together 
with a letter of credence to be presented to his majesty. 
I beg thereupon your excellency's advice and direction. 

I have need also of your counsel with regard to the trial 
and punishment of some conspirators on board our frigate, 
the Alliance, which is just arrived. I would have done my- 
self the honour of waiting on your Excellency to-day, but am 
not quite well enough to go abroad in such weather. 

I have received a number of letters from America, all 
expressing the highest esteem for the Count d'Estaing and 
the Marquis de la Fayette. As I think they will give you 
and M. de Sartine some pleasure, I send you the originals, 
praying only to have them returned. 

I have the honour to be, etc. with the greatest respect, 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



951. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Febr* 19. 1779. 

DEAR SIR, Since mine of the nth inst. I have receiv'd 
an Appointment from Congress to be their sole Minister 
Plenipotentiary at this Court, my former Colleagues having 
or being likely to have, other Destinations. 



232 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

I have had frequent Conversations with your Friend con- 
cerning a Loan in Holland. A fit of the Gout has inter- 
rupted them these two Days, but his Demands appearing to 
be beyond my Powers, I have not agreed to them, and I ques- 
tion whether we can agree. I fancy he has had some Infor- 
mation of the Purport of some imprudent Letter you know 
of, & that he thinks our Necessities greater than they are. 
I begin to think it best to be oblig'd to one generous friend, 
and to take the little Aids we want from France only. 

The Marquis de la Fayette is arrived, cover'd with Laurels. 
He and his suite speak very handsomely of the Americans 
& of the present Condition of our Affairs. All our Letters 
from different Persons in different Bodies, the Congress, 
the Army, the Government of separate States, are full of his 
Praises. By his Bravery & good Conduct he appears to 
have gain'd the Esteem & the Affection of that whole Con- 
tinent. 

I am with sincere Regard, etc. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



952. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 22, 1779 

DEAR SIR: I received your Favour of Janf 23d, con- 
taining the Answer you had received from the Board of Sick 
and Hurt, in which they say they are taking Measures for the 
immediate Sending to France the Number of Americans first 
proposed to be changed, etc. I have heard nothing since 
of the Measures taken. The Prisoners grow more and more 
uneasy with us. They are told that we neglect them. We 



1779] 



TO DAVID HARTLEY 



233 



sent the Passport required in Sept. last. We were soon after 
assured that a Transport was actually taken up and vict- 
ualled for loo Men, to be sent to France with so many 
Prisoners. That Vessel has never appeared. We relyed 
on the Agreement to Exchange, and the Promise of doing it 
speedily, and we advised our People thereupon not to at- 
tempt Escapes. We seem to have been deceived or trifled 
with; but perhaps it is rather owing to the Multiplicity of 
Business the Board has on its hands, and your important 
Occupations not permitting you to follow it with such fre- 
quent sollicitations as are necessary to keep up its attention to 
this particular Affair. I have therefore thought of sending 
over a Person for that purpose, impowering him to stipulate 
in my Behalf what may be proper to remove little Obstacles 
readily, without the Delay attending Letters. By this means 
I would save you some of that Trouble which your Goodness 
and Humanity might otherwise continue to lead you on into. 
I would only desire you at present to procure a safe Conduct 
for the Person. His Name is Edward Bancroft. He is a 
Gentleman of Character and Honour, who will punctually 
observe such Restrictions respecting his Conduct when in 
England as it may be thought reasonable to lay him under. 
If this is or is not obtainable, I beg you will signify it by a 
Line directed for him at M. Leveaux's, Merchant in Calais; 
and that as soon as possible, that he may not be fruitlessly 
detained there in Expectation of it. 
I have the honour to be, etc, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



234 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

953. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 22, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your Proposition for removing the Stumbling- 
Block. Your constant Desires of Peace ought to endear you 
to both sides; but this Proposition seems to be naturally 
impracticable. We can never think of quitting a solid Alli- 
ance made and ratified, in order to be in a State for receiving 
unknown Proposals of Peace, which may vanish in the Dis- 
cussion. The Truth is we have no kind of Faith in your 
Government, which appears to us as insidious and deceitful 
as it is unjust and cruel; its Character is that of the Spider 

in Thomson, 

" Cunning and fierce, 
Mixture abhorrM!!" 

Besides, we cannot see the Necessity of our relinquishing 
our Alliance with France in order to a Treaty, any more than 
of your relinquishing yours with Holland. I am ever, affec- 
tionately yours, N. A. 1 



954. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 25, 1779 

As the Enemy seem determined upon another Campaign, 
I beg leave to communicate and submit to your Excellency's 
Consideration some Sentiments of Congress on certain Opera- 
tions in North America, which they conceive to be practicable 

1 North America. Franklin signed some of his letters to Hartley with 
these initials. ED. 



1779] 



TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 



235 



and highly advantageous to the Interests both of France and 
the United States. 

While the English continue to possess the Ports of Halifax, 
Rhode Island, and New York, they can 

1. Refit the Ships of War they employ in those Seas. 

2. Defend more easily their Fishery, a great Nursery of 
Seamen and Source of Wealth. 

3. Interrupt more effectually by their Cruisers the Com- 
merce between France and America, which would otherwise 
be so advantageous to both, and also the Supplies of Provi- 
sions of various kinds, which the French Islands might draw 
from the continent. 

Without a Naval Force, and in the present Situation of 
their Finances, the Reduction of some of those Posts must 
be extremely difficult, if not impossible. 

If Troops should be intended for the Defence of your 
Sugar Islands, and the Reduction of those of the Enemy in 
the ensuing Winter it is supposed that a Part of them, 4 or 
5000, convoy 'd by Four Ships of the Line and a few Frigates, 
might be advantageously employ'd this Summer first, 
by reducing (in Conjunction with the Troops of the Northern 
States) Rhode Island. This, it is conceived, will require no 
long time, and being done, those States, eased by that means, 
will find themselves at liberty to afford some Aid of Men, 
Transports, Provisions, etc., in reducing Halifax, and there 
is no reason to doubt their hearty good- Will to concur in such 
an Enterprize, the Success of which would free their Coasts 
from the grievous Restraints under which both their Com- 
merce and their Fisheries at present labour. The Inhabitants 
of Nova Scotia, too, except those in the Town of Halifax, are 
known to be generally well affected to the American Cause, 



236 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

being mostly Settlers who formerly emigrated from New 
England. 

Halifax being reduced, the small Forts on Newfoundland 
would easily follow, and by this means the Enemy's Fishery, 
not only for this Year would be broken up, but render'd so 
precarious from the Interruptions by our armed Vessels, 
or so expensive by the Force necessary to defend their Fisher- 
men, that it must soon be discouraged, diminished, and at 
length abandoned; their naval Strength, of course, much 
lessened, and that of France in proportion augmented. 

It is supposed that the Troops, being after these northern 
Operations refreshed in New England, and well supply'd 
with fresh Provisions, might proceed at the Approach of 
Winter for the West Indies, in good Health, and fit for such 
Service as may be required there. 

The Congress had Thoughts of attacking Canada this Sum- 
mer, and requesting some Aid of Ships and Men for that pur- 
pose ; but as their Paper- Money is not current in that Coun- 
try where hard Money alone can procure Provisions, which 
must for want of such Money be brought at a vast Expence 
from the United States, and being salted is not so good for 
the Men, it is uncertain whether that Expedition will be 
attempted. There is, however, to encourage it, a good 
Disposition in the Inhabitants, and if it succeeded, the Fur 
Trade and a great Vent for her Manufactures would be 
opened to France; her Fisheries would be more easily pro- 
tected; and the Frontiers of the States being secured, their 
Agriculture might again be pursued in those parts, and the 
general Strength employed where the interest of the Alliance 
might require it. 

The Congress have made no Mention to me of their Views 



1779] 



TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 



237 



with regard to New York. Perhaps they hope that the 
Enemy will abandon it, or that they shall be able to reduce it 
by Gen. Washington's Army. 

The Commissioners here had, before the Treaty, the Hon- 
our of making, in a Memorial to your Excellency, the follow- 
ing Proposition by order of Congress, viz: "That in case it 
is agreed that the Conquest of the British Sugar Islands be 
attempted, the United States, shall, on timely Notice, fur- 
nish Provisions for the Expedition to the Amount of two 
millions of Dollars, with Six Frigates manned, of not less 
than 22 Guns each, with such other Assistance as may be in 
their Power, and as becoming good Allies." As soon as 
they shall be, by the Aids above-mentioned, happily freed 
from the Embarassments occasioned by the Lodgments of 
the Enemy on their Coasts, it will be in their Power to assist 
much more amply in such an Expedition than they can at 
present. And I may assure your Excellency that they will 
do their utmost to fulfil the Expectations given by that 
Memorial, tho' the Losses in their Marine, and the Depre- 
ciation of their Currency since, may render it more difficult. 

I need not intimate to your Excellency the great Utility, 
if such joint Operations or Expeditions should be agreed to, 
of appointing Commanders of conciliating Tempers, and if 
possible, who know and esteem each other, and are acquainted 
with both the Languages. By this means the little Mis- 
understandings apt to arise between Troops of different 
Nations might be prevented or soon remov'd, and thence a 
greater Probability of Success in their Enterprises. 

I have the honour to be, with the utmost Esteem and Re- 
spect, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble 
Servant, B. F. 



238 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

955. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, February 25, 1779 

SIR: I received duly your Excellency's most obliging 
letter of the lyth inst. I was then so ill with the gout and a 
fever that I could neither write nor think of any thing. This 
necessarily prevented my attending at court to present my 
letters of credence on Tuesday last agreeable to his Majesty's 
gracious permission; but as the fit seems to be going off, I 
hope that in two or three days I shall be able to pay my 
respects to your Excellency at Versailles. 

I thank your Excellency for your kind notice of the affairs 
of Capt. McNeill. 

I have ordered the Alliance frigate to prepare for returning 
immediately to America, in order to convoy thither about 
fifteen sail of ships going from Nantes. As this ship is said 
to be an admirable swift sailor, I mention her as an oppor- 
tunity by which despatches may probably go safely. If 
your Excellency should think fit to write by her. 

With the most perfect respect I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



956. TO PATRICK HENRY (A. p. s.) 
Passy, February 26, 1779. 

SIR, 

I had the Honour of receiving your Excellency's Letter 
of March 3, 1778, by Capt. Lemaire, acquainting me, that your 
State * had desired Mr. William Lee, your Agent, to procure a 

1 Patrick Henry was at this time Governor of Virginia. ED. 



1779] TO PATRICK HENRY 239 

Quantity of Arms and military Stores, and requesting me to 
assist him with my Influence in obtaining them on Credit. 

Being glad of any Opportunity of serving Virginia, and 
showing my Regard to the Request of a Person I so highly 
esteem, and Mr. W. Lee being absent, I found immediately 
three different Merchants here, Men of Fortune, who were 
each of them willing to undertake furnishing the whole, and 
giving the Credit desired. But Mr. Arthur Lee being under- 
stood to have taken the Management of the Affair into his 
own Hands, one of the three soon after refused in that Case 
to have any thing to do with it; a second, whose Letter to 
me I enclose, apprehending Difficulties from Mr. Lee's 
Temper, required my Name and Mr. Adams's to the Agree- 
ment, which he supposes Mr. Lee did not like, as his Offer 
was not accepted. I know not why the Offer of the third 
was not taken. I was afterwards not at all consulted in the 
Business. 

Poor Lemaire was sent about Germany to find Goods and 
Credit, which consumed a great deal of Time to little purpose. 
Several of the Manufacturers wrote to me, that they would 
furnish him on my Promise of Payment. I referred them to 
Mr. Lee. On his return, Mr. Lee and he differed about his 
Expences. He complained frequently to me of Mr. Lee's 
not supplying him with necessary Subsistence, and treating 
him with great Haughtiness and Insolence. I thought him 
really attentive to his Duty, and not well us'd, but I avoided 
meddling with his Affairs, to avoid, if possible, being engag'd 
in Quarrels myself. Mr. Lee, in fine, contracted with Messrs. 
Penet and Dacosta 3 to supply great Part of the Goods. 
They too have differed, and I have several letters of 

1 Members of the mercantile firm of" Plairne, Penet & Co." (Nantes). ED. 



240 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Complaints from those Gentlemen; but I cannot remedy 
them, for I cannot change Mr. Lee's Temper. 

They have offered to send the Things you want and which 
he has refus'd, on my Account; but, not knowing whether 
he has not provided them elsewhere, or in what light he may 
look upon my concerning myself with what he takes to be his 
Business, I dare not meddle, being charged by the Congress 
to endeavour at maintaining a good Understanding with their 
other Servants, which is, indeed, a hard task with some of 
them. I hope, however, that you will at length be provided 
with what you want, which I think you might have been long 
since, if the Affair had not been in Hands, which Men of 
Honour and Candour here are generally averse to dealing 
with, as not caring to hazard Quarrels and Abuses in the 
Settlement of their Accounts. 

Our Public Affairs at this Court continue to go on well. 
Peace is soon expected in Germany, and we hope Spain is 
now near declaring against our Enemies. I have the honour 
to be, with great Respect, 

Your Excellency's most 

obedient and most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



957. TO JEAN DE NEUFVILLE (A.P.S.) 

Paris ce 28 fevrier 1779 

Quelque de*sir que j'aie, Monsieur, de profiter de la bonne 
volonte' que vous t&noignez pour vous charger de ngocier 
un emprunt de 1500 mil florins; Fe*tat actuel des affaires ne 
me permet pas de prendre aucun engagement avec vous ce 



1779] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 241 

sujet dans ce moment-ci. L'emprunt que nous avons ouvert 
l'anne*e derniere en Hollande n'ayant pas e*t6 acceuilli, j'ai 
lieu de craindre qu'un nouvel emprunt ne le soit pas mieux, 
et que cette seconde tentative manque*e ne porte un prejudice 
re*el au credit et a la dignite* des Etats Unis de PAme*rique 
que j'ai 1'honneur de re'prese'nter ; si cependant par votre 
credit et vos bons offices, vous parvenez a nous assurer d'un 
nombre suffisant de souscripteurs, vous pouvez compter, 
Monsieur, que je vous enverrai aussit6t les preliminaires 
proposes par M. de Chaumont. C'est a dire j'ai 1'honneur 
d'etre tres parfaitement Monsieur, votre tres humble et ties 

ob&ssant Serviteur. 

B. FRANKLIN 



958. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 9, 1779. 

SIR, It is with great Reluctance that I give your Exy 
any farther Trouble on the Subject of a Loan of Money. 
But the Bearer, Mr. Grand, who is much better acquainted 
with the Nature & Manner of such Operations than I am, 
being of Opinion that the sum we want might with your Per- 
mission & Countenance be procured in France, I beg you 
would be so good as to hear him upon the Subject, both of 
the Necessity of obtaining such a Loan, & of the Means 
of accomplishing it. 

I am ever, etc., 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



VOL. vn R 



242 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 



959. PASSPORT FOR CAPTAIN COOK 1 (L.C.) 

To all Captains and Commanders of armed Ships acting by 
Commission from the Congress of the United States of 
America, now in war with Great Britain. 

Gentlemen, 

A Ship having been fitted out from England before the 
Commencement of this War, to make Discoveries of new 
Countries in Unknown Seas, under the Conduct of that most 
celebrated Navigator and Discoverer Captain Cook; an 
Undertaking truly laudable in itself, as the Increase of Geo- 
graphical Knowledge facilitates the Communication between 
distant Nations, in the Exchange of useful Products and 
Manufactures, and the Extension of Arts, whereby the com- 
mon Enjoyments of human Life are multiply'd and aug- 
mented, and Science of other kinds increased to the benefit 
of Mankind in general; this is, therefore, most earnestly 
to recommend to every one of you, that, in case the said Ship, 
which is now expected to be soon in the European Seas on 
her Return, should happen to fall into your Hands, you 
would not consider her as an Enemy, nor suffer any Plunder 
to be made of the Effects contain J d in her, nor obstruct her 
immediate Return to England, by detaining her or sending 

1 The generosity of Franklin in issuing this passport was gratefully recog- 
nized by the British government, when, by the hand of Sir Joseph Banks, 
President of the Royal Society, one of the gold medals struck in honour of 
Captain Cook was presented to Dr. Franklin. The Admiralty Board also 
sent him a copy of Cook's " Voyage " " accompanied with the elegant collection 
of plates, and a very polite letter from Lord Howe, signifying that the present 
was made with the king's express approbation" (W. T. F.). ED. 



1779] TO OFFICERS ON BOARD THE "ALLIANCE" 243 

her into any other Part of Europe or to America, but that you 
would treat the said Captain Cook and his People with all 
Civility and Kindness, affording them, as common Friends 
to Mankind, all the Assistance in your Power, which they 
may happen to stand in need of. In so doing you will not 
only gratify the Generosity of your own Dispositions, but 
there is no doubt of your obtaining the Approbation of the 
Congress, and your other American Owners. I have the 
honour to be, Gentlemen, your most obedient humble 
Servant. 

[Given] at Passy, near Paris, this loth day of March, 1779. 

B. FRANKLIN, 
Plenipotentiary jrom the Congress of the 

United States to the Court oj France. 



960. TO MM. HILLS, PARKES, ADAMS, DEGGE, 
BUCKLEY, ELWOOD, AND WARREN, OFFICERS 

ON BOARD THE ALLIANCE 

(D. s. w.) 

Passy, March n, 1779. 

GENTLEMEN, I received your Letters of the 7th of Feb- 
ruary and 2d of March. The Application to me either 
for Advance of Cash or Payment of Wages to Officers in 
the Continental Service is quite irregular, as I am neither 
furnish'd with Money nor Authority for such Purposes. 
And I believe it is the Constant Practice with all maritime 
Powers to pay the Ships in their Service at home on their 
Return, and not in foreign Countries. I am sensible however 



244 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

of some Hardships in your present Circumstances relative 
to the high Price of Cloathing in America, and as I respect 
your Zeal for your Country and Readiness to engage in its 
Defence, and hope I shall on those Acc t8 be excused in doing 
it, I have this Day, in a Letter to the Agent at Nantes, given 
leave to advance to each of you, and also to the warrant 
officers, a decent Suit of Clothing, suitable to your respective 
Stations. But I must recommend it to you, and I flatter 
myself that you will not take it amiss, to be as frugal as pos- 
sible for your own Sakes, and not make yourselves expensively 
fine from a Notion that it is for the honour of the States you 
serve. It seems not necessary that young & poor States, 
labouring, as at present, under the Distresses of a most 
burthensome War in Defence of their Liberties, should vie 
in the Dress of their Officers with ancient and wealthy King- 
doms who are in full Prosperity. The honour of the States 
will be better supported by the prudent Conduct of their 
Officers, their Harmony with each other, their ready Obedi- 
ence to the Commands of superior Officers, their reasonable & 
kind Treatment of Inferiors, and above all, their Bravery in 
fight & Humanity to those they conquer. I am confident 
that you, Gentlemen, have the same Sentiments. If it 
should be in my Power to do any thing further for you before 
you go, it will give me Pleasure. But expecting daily a 
great Number of Prisoners in Exchange from England, who 
will be in Want of every thing, and our Funds here being low, 
I doubt it can be but little. The greater Advances made to 
the officers of the Boston at Bordeaux by the Agent, which 
you mention as an Example, were without Orders from the 
Commissioners here, and were much disapproved when we 
saw the Accounts. I wish that something handsome may 



1779] TO ARTHUR LEE 245 

fall into your Hands on your Return, and that you may have 
a happy sight of your Friends & Country. I am, Gentle- 
men 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



961. TO ARTHUR LEE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 13. 1779. 

SIR : Finding by a Note of yours on the Back of Mr. 
William's Acc u , dated Oct. 6, but which I never saw till 
lately by Accident, expressing that you are "perfectly satis- 
fy 'd, from his own Acc u , that Mr. Williams has now, and 
has long had, in his Hands upwards of an hundred thousand 
Livres belonging to the public which have not been em- 
ploy 'd in the public Use," etc., I have resolved to have those 
Accounts carefully examined by impartial Persons, skilled in 
such Business ; and if you have any other Objection to them 
than what appears in your Note, or any other Reasons than 
what appears upon the face of his Acc ts , for believing 
such a Sum in Mr. William's Hands, I beg you will furnish 
me with them, that I may communicate them to the Examiners. 
I wish Justice to be done, and that you had shown your Note 
either to Mr. Adams or me when you made it; the Matter 
would not have been so long neglected. The Money, if due, 
ought to be recovered immediately. 

I have the Honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. The Persons I have requested to examine the Acc t8 



246 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1779 

are the American Merchants now at Nantes with our deputed 
Commercial Agent, Mr. Schweighauser. 



962. TO ARTHUR LEE (i.e.) 

Passy, March 13, 1779 

SIR : A severe Fit of the Gout, with too much Business 
at the same time necessary to be done, has prevented till 
now my answering yours of the 2ist past. 

I did not imagine there would have been any Difference 
of Sentiment between us concerning the Propriety of return- 
ing to me the Papers which you have at various times taken 
from this House. Where several Persons join'd in the same 
Commission are to act upon Papers, it seems necessary that 
they should be lodg'd in one Place, where all the Parties 
may be sure of finding them, and under the care of one Per- 
son who should be accountable for them. And if there were 
not some particular Reasons to influence another Choice, I 
should suppose the first Person named in the Commission 
might with great Propriety take charge of them. I am sure 
that if you had been that Person, I should have made no 
Objection to it. Mr. Adams having a Room more convenient 
and more private than mine, and in which he lodg'd, I ap- 
proved of his keeping the Papers ; he has voluntarily return 'd 
me all he had without asking, and I thought Asking was only 
necessary to obtain the rest from you; for the whole Busi- 
ness, which before was transacted by us jointly being now 
devolved on me, and as there must be frequent Occasion 
to look back on Letters received, Memorials deliver'd, Ac- 



1779] TO ARTHUR LEE 247 

counts given in, Contracts made, etc., etc., which, if I cannot 
have the Opportunity of doing, I must be frequently at a 
Loss in future transactions. I did not imagine I should 
have any Difficulty in obtaining them; nor had I the least 
Idea that my asking for them would occasion any Dispute. 

I suppose that the Papers Mr. Deane mentions to have 
taken and secur'd were those only that related to his separate 
commercial Transactions for the Publick before his Appoint- 
ment with us in the political Commission. If he took away 
any of the Papers we were jointly concern'd in, I conceive 
he was wrong in doing so, and that his doing wrong would not 
justify the rest of us in following his Example. I can have no 
Desire to deprive you of any Paper that may be of Use to 
you in answering Mr. Deane's Accusations, having no Concern 
in them nor Interest in Supporting them; on the contrary, 
if any Papers remaining in my hands can be of such use to 
you, you are welcome to have authenticated Copies of them 
(which shall on request be made out for you), as well as of 
any others "evidencing our joint Transactions" which you 
may desire. On the whole it seems to me that this Matter 
may be reasonably settled by your keeping, if you please, 
all those Originals of which there are Duplicates at Passy, 
retaining for a time such of the rest as you desire to copy, 
which Copies, being compared by us with the Originals, 
may be authenticated by our joint Signatures; and return- 
ing immediately all the others, docketed and catalogu'd, 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 



248 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

the meantime do as well as I can with their Business, which, 
I think, must often suffer by my want of the Knowledge 
those Papers might occasionally furnish me with. 
I have the honour to be with great Respect, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



963. FROM JOHN PAUL JONES TO BENJAMIN 
FRANKLIN 1 (A. p. s.) 

L' Orient March 6 th 1779 
HONORED AND DEAR SIR, 

The mystery which you so delicately mention in your much esteemed favor 
of the 24 th Ult. it has been my intention for more than Twelve Months past 
to communicate to you; which however I have put off from time to time on 
reflecting that the Account must give you more pain than pleasure : yet had I 
not, on my sudden departure from hence for Paris, inadvertently neglected to 
take with me the Original Paper whereof the inclosed is a Copy, I certainly 
should then have put it into your hands. The subject at the beginning of the 
War was communicated to Sundry members of Congress among whom I may 
mention Mr Hewes of No. Carolina and Mr Morris of Philadelphia; and 
to various other persons in America before and Since. It was the advice of 
my friends Gov? Young among many others, when that great Misfortune of 
my Life happened, that I should retire Incog to the continent of America, and 
remain there until an Admiralty Commission should arrive in the Island, and 
then return. I had waited that event Eighteen Months before Swords were 
drawn and the Ports of the Continent were Shut. 

It had been my intention from the time of my misfortune to quit the Sea 
Service altogether, and, after standing Trial, as I had the means, to purchase 
some small tracts of Land on the Continent, which had been my favorite 
Country from the age of thirteen, when I first saw it. I had settled my future 
place of retirement in " calm contemplation and Poetic ease." But the 
revolution in America deranged everything and the person with whom I 
had in Trust left a considerable part of my Effects in the West Indies, had 
while the ports were open shewn very little inclination to make me proper 
Remittances. Many of my friends had expressed their fears that he meant 
to abuse my confidence and take advantage of my situation. Among these 
I can mention a person whom I very much esteem, and who has always ex- 
pressed great Obligation to you I mean Doctor John K. Read of Goochland 

1 See Introductory Note. ED. 



1779] FROM J. P. JONES TO B. FRANKLIN 249 

County Virginia. I was not however undeceived until after the Ports were 
Shut. 

I had made the Art of War by Sea in some degree my Study, and been 
fond of a Navy from my boyish days up. Knowing the perfidy and ingratitude 
of Dunmore, as soon as an expidition was adopted against him from Phila- 
delphia by sea ; I had the honor to be appointed Senior Lieutenant in the 
Navy of the Colonies which was then established under Hopkins. I need 
not observe that as I had not then heard the doctrine of Independence even 
in a whisper, and that as the Pamphlet called common Sense did not appear 
till a considerable time afterwards, I could have no Views of protection from 
a new Government ; and therefore as I adhered to my first resolution of 
returning to the West Indies, to Stand Trial, and to Settle my affairs there as 
soon as peace should be restored to the Continent, it was the advice of my 
friends that I should till that wish'd event might be brought about, remain 
Incog. Within a few Months after my first appointment as a proof of the 
public approbation of my conduct, I had the honour to receive a Captains 
Commission, without my having either said or written a single word in my 
own favour to any person either in or out of Congress. In the character of 
an American Officer, I think you are convinced that Gain has not been the 
object of my pursuit. I shall say nothing either of my Abilities(if I have any) 
or of my Services. It is the province of others to determine the merits of 
both. I have received no pecuniary gratification whatsoever, not even the 
expenses of my daily Dinner, from the publick Funds. On the contrary I 
have disbursed for the public Service, when our prospects were at the worst, 
considerable Sums of my private fortune, which has never yet been repaid. 
But I have always acknowledged that Congress have far more than rewarded 
my poor endeavours; by the generous and unsolicited attentions, and by the 
Confidential preferences which I have So often had the honour to experience 
in their appointments, and I hope at least, never to tarnish the honour of the 
American Flag. 

It may be said that I have been unfortunate but it can not be made 
appear that I have ever, even in the weakest Moment of my Life been capable 
of a Base or a mean Action. Nature has kindly given me a Heart that is 
heighly susceptible of the finer feelings and I have endeavoured to watch 
over the happiness of my poor Relations Unseen. For that purpose I sent 
several little remittances (Bills) from America in Trust to a very worthy friend 
of mine Captain Plaince of Cork to be applied for their use without their 
having the pain of knowing from whence : But to my great sorrow I find they 
have all miscarried the letters that contained them some of them having 
been Sunk, the rest taken on the passage. I brought no funds with me to 
Europe and since my Arrival in it you know my hands have been Tied. 
My Will, now in the hands of Mr Morris, will evince that I have not been 
unmindful of the duties which I owe to Nature and, were it equally in my 



250 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

power, I think Pope himself could not have taken more pleasure than I should 
" to Rock the Cradle of declining Age " 

In short, however chequered my fortune may have been I feel no Senti- 
ment in my Breast that can ever make me wish to conceal any event of my 
Life from persons of Candour and Ingenuity therefore you are at perfect 
liberty to communicate my Story to whom you think proper, and particularly 
to Doctor Bancroft. I am, and shall be always, ready to give every explana- 
tion that you can require. 

With respect to Lord Selkirks plate, it is my wish to restore it to the Lady 
from whom it was taken. When I wrote to her I expected that the plate 
had been of far more Value than it really is But since you agree to restore 
the one half in the Name of the Continent and as I feel myself above the 
Idea of receiving any Profit from such a Pillage I hope Lord Selkirk will 
gratify me so far as to Suffer the Plate to be restored. I claim no merit in 
this, nor has it been my intention to attract his notice either by my history 
or otherwise, except only as far as he might have been concerned in my 
Scheme of bringing about an exchange of Prisoners. If however his delicacy 
will not suffer him to receive what he thinks an Obligation from me it will be 
no difficult matter to point out to him, if he should be at a loss, how to dis- 
charge that Obligation. How Lord Selkirk came to renew his corre- 
spondence with Mr Alexander, and on that particular Subject too, appears 
to me rather Surprising. While I was at Passy in the Summer, Mr Alexan- 
der asked me several questions about the landing on St. Mary's Isle to gratify 
him I shewed him a Copy of my letter to the Countess. He invited me to 
dine with him and Said " he would keep the Copy among the Papers which 
he most esteemed " I remember also that in the course of the day he com- 
plained that Lord Selkirk had taken great offense at some freedom of Senti- 
ment which had marked his letters, and that in consequence they had not 
corresponded for a great while past. I remember too that he has frequently, 
by appearing to disclose his own Plans in some Measure, endeavoured to fish 
out Mine. Mrs Amiel has told me often that he is my Enemy. Yet why 
he should be so I cannot imagine, as I never gave him Cause. But this 
I know, that let them place round me as many Spies as they please as I 
have no Confidants near me, and as I do not keep my intentions by me in 
writing, they cannot betray my Councils and I may yet appear in a quarter 
of the Globe which they little imagine. 

The inclosed little correspondence between Mr Schweighauser and myself 
on the Subject of the Plate I send to you to shew that he makes difficulties 
where there are none. You will perhaps see fit to send him orders in conse- 
quence, as I have not to this moment rec? payment of my claim to the Prizes 
which have been in his hands. 

Mr Williams did me the honour to shew me the first paragraph of your 
letter on the Subject of your Appointment as sole American Ambassador at 



1779] FROM J. P. JONES TO B. FRANKLIN 251 

the Court of Versailles. I believe that appointment to have been unsolicited 
on your part, and 1 am sure that you are above writing any thing that could 
tend cither to magnify the merit of your own Services or to diminish that 
of others. In the fullness of my heart I congratulate you on your well 
merited appointment, and I trust you will believe me that I do now and ever 
shall rejoice in every circumstance that tends to the honour or happiness of a 
great and good Man, who has taught me as well as his Country to regard him 
with a Veneration and Affection which proceeds directly from the Heart, and 
that is due only to the best of Friends. 

The outfit of the Poor Richard has engaged my whole attention since I 
returned him. I received this day 33 Seamen from Brest, and Volunteers 
for soldiers enlist with me daily to serve for three years or during the War. 
I have found several and hope soon to have a full set of Brave and deserving 
Men, for officers. their Names &c I will send up to you. I find myself 
under the necessity of taking a journey to Bordeaux to give directions about 
the Set of Cannon that are to be made there for the Poor Richard. I shall 
set out after to morrow, and as I return immediately may I hope to be 
favoured with a letter from you to meet me at Nantes on my way Back. 

I hope nothing will prevent Doctor Bancroft from going to England on 
the Exchange of Prisoners. 

I am with greatful and real affection and respect 

Honored and dear Sir, 

Your very Obliged 
very obedient 
very humble Servant 
JNO. P. JONES 

[P. S.] The Master of a West India Ship from London had occasion to 
ship sundry seamen at the Island where he landed one of whom in particu- 
lar behaved himself very ill He was a principal in Embezzling the 
Masters Liquor He got frequently Drunk He neglected and even refused 
his duty with much insolence. He Stirred up the rest of the Crew to act in 
the Same manner and was their avowed Ringleader. 

As the Masters engagements were of such a Nature that his all depended 
upon despatch, he gave his Crew very reasonable Encouragement. They 
had plenty of good Provision and were in other respects well used. Not- 
withstanding of which one forenoon when the Master came on Board that the 
Crew had formed or were then forming a plot to desert the ship. As the 
Master was walking aft the Ringleader rushed up from the Steerage and 
stopped him with the grosest abuse that vulgarism could dictate because, 
as he pretended, the Master had Sailed his ship fourteen Months without 
paying wages. The fellow having some time before complained that he 
wanted Cloaths, the Master now gave him Frocks and Trousers telling 
him to go about his duty and to inform himself better for that what he had 



252 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

said was not so. But mildness had no good effect, for while the Master was 
distributing Cloathing to some of the rest who were also in want, the first 
conveyed his things into the Boat and another of the Crew was following his 
example, till observing that the Master had an Eye upon their proceedings 
they Sneaked back into the ship. They remained quiet for a short space 
But the Ringleader soon broke out again with Oaths and insisted on having 
the Boat and quiting the Ship. This the Master Refused, but offered to 
give up his agreement if a Man could be found to serve in his Room. The 
disturber Swore with horrid imprications that he would take away the Boat 
by force ! And for that purpose actually rushed over the Gangway, bidding 
the Master the most contemptuous defiance ! Upon the Masters Stepping 
up to prevent this the Man (having threw his strength) leapt into the Ship 
and forced him into the Cabin, using at the time language and attitudes too 
indecent to be mentioned, and charging him not to Shew his Nose upon 
Deck again till the Boat was gone at his utmost Peril. The Master searched 
the Cabin for a Stick, but not finding one, and his Sword, by chance being on 
the Table, he took it up in hopes that the sight of it would intimidate the 
Man into Submission. The Man had by this time descended the Gangway 
within a step of the Boat, so that it would have been impossible to prevent 
his Elopement had he persisted. But he now reentered the Ship breathing 
Vengeance, and, totally regardless of the Sword, tho within its reach, turned 
his back towards the Master, ran on the Main Deck, Armed himself with a 
Bludgeon with which he returned to the quarter Deck and attacked the 
Master. The Master was thunder Struck with Surprise, for he had con- 
sidered the Man's ravings as the natural effect of disappointed Rage which 
would soon subside of itself. But now his sole expedient was to prevent bad 
consequences by returning again to the Cabin; and this he endeavoured to 
do as fast as possible by retiring backwards in a posture of defence. But 
alas ! what is human foresight. The after Hatchway was uncovered and lay 
in a direct line between the Master's back and the Cabin door, but the 
momentary duration of the attack did not admit of his recollecting that 
circumstance before his heel came in contact with the Hatchway, which 
obliged him to make a Sudden Stop. Unhappily at that instant the assail- 
ants arm being high raised, he threw his Body forward to reach the Master's 
head with the descending Blow The fatal and unavoidable consequence of 
which was his rushing upon the Swords Point. 

After this melancholy accident the Master went Publickly to a Justice of 
the Peace and offered to Surrender as his Prisoner. The Justice who called 
himself the Masters friend, persuaded him to withdraw and Said it was unnec- 
essary to Surrender before the day of Trial. And the rest of the Masters 
friends who were present forced him to mount his Horse. Two weeks before 
this the Chief Mate had been for the first time in his Life advanced to that 
Station and yet unworthy as his conduct had been in it he now openly Arro- 



I 7 79] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 253 

gated his unblushing pretentions to the Command, and to attain it associated 
with the Crew. The Testimony of such a combination may easily be imagined, 
conscious as they were of having embezzled the Masters property they were 
not likely to dwell on any circumstance that manifested their own dastardly 
and undutiful Conduct. And as the second Mate a young Gentleman of 
worth lay Sick as well as all the inferior Officers and best disposed of the 
Crew, in all human probability the Truth could not escape the grossest per- 
versions. Besides the Nature of the Case Subjected it to the cognizance 
of a Court Martial And there was no Admiral'ty Commission then in the 
Government. For these obvious reasons the Masters friends constrained him 
for a time to leave the Country. 

N.B. The foregoing has been written in great haste to Save the Post. 



964. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 14. 1779 

DEAR SIR 

I yesterday rec'd your favour of the 4 th inst. I did not 
understand from M. Alexander that Lord Selkirk had any 
particular Objection to receiving the Plate from you. It 
was general, that tho' he might not refuse it if offer'd him by 
a public Body, as the Congress, he cou'd not accept it from 
any private Person whatever. I know nothing of M. Alex- 
ander's having any Enmity to you, nor can I imagine any 
Reason for it. But on the whole it seems to me not worth 
your while to give yourself any farther Trouble about Lord 
Selkirk. You have now the Disposal of what belongs to 
the Congress ; and may give it with your own Share, if you 
think fit, in little Encouragements to your men on particular 
Occasions. 

I thank you for your kind Congratulations on my particu- 
lar Appointment. It will give me more Satisfaction if it 
enables me to be more useful. 

We cou'd not obtain a Passport for D r Bancroft. We were 



254 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

told it was needless, as the Cartel Ship was actually sail'd 
for Plymouth to take in the first 100 Americans to be brought 
to Nantes or 1'Orient. Inclos'd is a Copy of a Letter from 
the Board to M. Hartley. I wish they may be arriv'd and 
that you may obtain such of them as you think proper. Pos- 
sibly the Alliance which wants Hands may endeavour to 
engage some. Mr. Adams goes over in her ; and I must not 
interfere, but leave you to scramble for the Men. I think, 
however, that if the Cartel comes to 1' Orient you will have the 
best Chance. 

I have look'd over the Copy of my Letter to you of Feb y 24, 
not being able to imagine what Part of it could give you the 
Idea that I hinted at an Affair I never knew. Not finding 
anything in the Letter, I suppose it must have been the Post- 
script of which I have no Copy, and which I know now that 
you could not understand tho' I did not when I wrote it. 
The story I alluded to is this : L'Abbe* Rochon had just been 
telling me & Madame Chaumont that the old Gardiner & 
his Wife had complained to the Curate, of your having at- 
tack'd her in the Garden about 7 o'clock the evening before 
your Departure, and attempted to ravish her relating all the 
Circumstances, some of which are not fit for me to write. 
The serious Part of it was y fc three of her Sons were deter- 
min'd to kill you, if you had not gone off ; the Rest occasioned 
some Laughing ; for the old Woman being one of the grossest, 
coarsest, dirtiest & ugliest that we may find in a thousand, 
Madame Chaumont said it gave a high Idea of the Strength 
of Appetite & Courage of the Americans. A Day or two 
after, I learnt y* it was the femme de Chambre of Mademoi- 
selle Chaumont who had disguis'd herself in a Suit, I think, 
of your Cloaths, to divert herself under that Masquerade, 



1779] PASSPORT FOR RICHARD OLIVER 255 

as is customary the last evening of Carnival : and that meet- 
ing the old Woman in the Garden, she took it into her Head 
to try her Chastity, which it seems was found Proof. 

As to the unhappy Affair of which you give me an Ace 1 , 
there is no Doubt but the Facts being as you state 'em, the 
Person must have been acquitted if he had been tried, it 
being merely se dejendendo. 

I wish you all imaginable Success in your present Under- 
taking, being ever with sincere Esteem, etc. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

965. TO RICHARD OLIVER 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 14, 1779. 

DEAR SIR : It will always be a Pleasure to me to do what 
may be agreeable to you, inclos'd is the Passport you desire. 
I wish you & your Friends a prosperous Voyage ; being ever 
with the sincerest Esteem, Dear Sir, etc., 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



966. PASSPORT FOR RICHARD OLIVER (D. s. w.) 

To all Captains and Commanders of Vessels of War, Priva- 
teers, and Letters of Marque Belonging to the United 
States of America. 

Gentlemen: I do hereby certify to you that I have 
long & intimately known the Bearer, Rich d Oliver, Esq.; 

1 Richard Oliver (1734 7-1784), member of Parliament for the city of 
London (1770-1780). "His name appears for the last time in the 'Parlia- 
mentary History* on 10 May 1776, when he seconded Sawbridge's resolution 



256 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Member of Parliament, & late Alderman of London, 1 & have 
ever found him a sincere & hearty Friend to the Cause of 
Liberty and of America; of which he has given many sub- 
stantial Proofs on various Occasions. Therefore, if by the 
Chance of War he should in his Voyage from England to 
the West Indies happen to fall into your Hands, I recommend 
him warmly, with the Friends that may accompany him, to 
your best Civilities, requesting that you would afford your 
generous Protection to their Persons, & favour them with 
their Liberty when a suitable Opportunity shall offer. In 
this I am sure your Conduct will be approved by the Congress 
and your Employers, and you will much oblige (if that be 
any Motive), Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

At Passy, near Paris, this I4th day of March, 1779. 



967. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 16, 1779. 

DEAR JONATHAN, Agreeable to your Desire, I have re- 
quested the American Gentlemen residing at Nantes to ex- 
amine your Accounts. I have added Mr. Schweighauser, he 
having been appointed by my former Colleagues to manage 
our Affairs there, and may be supposed interested particularly 

that the American colonies should ' be continued upon the same footing of 
giving and granting their money as his Majesty's subjects in Ireland are, by 
their own representatives ' " (G. F. Russell Barker in " Dictionary of National 
Biography"). ED. 

1 He resigned his gown at a court of aldermen held at Guildhall, Novem- 
ber 25, 1778. ED. 



1779] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 257 

to do Justice to the Congress. And the others, I imagine, can 
have no Interest in favouring you, as perhaps you may stand 
in their Way respecting Business. Inclos'd you have Copies 
of my Letter to the Gentlemen, and of another on the same 
Business to Mr. Lee. If I had known of his going to Nantes 
I should have desired him to state his Objections to the Acc u 
there, but I did not hear of his being there till a Day or two 
before his return. I have yet no Answer from him. 

I show'd your Letter of Feb y 20 relating to Mr. Simeon 
Deane's 1 Goods, to Mr. Adams, who thought the Proposition 
reasonable. I send by this Opportunity an Order to Mr. 
Schweighauser to deliver to you the Case which remains; 
and if you will send me the original Invoice and the form of 
the Bills you propose, I shall sign and return them, if 
no Objection arises on signing them that does not at Present 
occur to me. 

I suppose you settled the Affair yourself with Mercier's 
Agent, as he took the Papers from me saying that he was 
going to Nantes. This was before I received yours of Feb 7 23 
relating to that Business. 

I received the Bond for Collas' 2 Commission. 

The following Bills, drawn before the i2th of December 
in favour of William Dennie, were presented and accepted 
on the 19 of Febru y last, viz. : Dollars 600, 12, 600, 30, 120, 
12, 120, in all 1494 Dollars. These may possibly be a 
Part of those you mention. I shall order Payment to be 
stopt till I have examined the Indorsements, tho* I am not 
sure that I can well refuse Payment after having accepted 
them. We shall strictly examine such Drafts in favour of 

1 Brother of Silas and Barnabas Deane. ED. 

9 Son-in-law of Mrs. Jane Mccom. See letter to Mrs. Collas, 1789. ED. 

VOL. VII S 



258 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Dennie as may appear hereafter, till you let us know 
farther. 

I return Dr. Cooper's Letter, with Thanks to you for com- 
municating it. I am much obliged to that good Man for 
his kind expressions of Regard to me. 

The Tobacco which came in the Bergkre, and all the 
Tobacco which comes to us from America, is to be delivered 
directly out of the Ships to the Agents of the Farmers-Gen- 
eral, in the Ports where it arrives. I had sent Orders accord- 
ingly before the Receipt of your Notice of her Arrival. 

I am ashamed of the Orders of my Countrymen for so 
much Tea, when necessaries are wanting for Cloathing and 
defending ! 

I have been long ill and unfit to write or think of writing, 
which occasioned my omitting to answer before your several 
Letters since the 16 of February. I omitted, also, answering 
a kind Letter from Mr. Ridley, 1 who, I suppose, is now gone. 
If not, present my respects to him and best Wishes of a 
prosperous Voyage and happy Sight of his Friends. I am 
getting better and hope our Correspondence will now be 
more regular. 

I am ever your affectionate Uncle, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

968. TO JOSHUA JOHNSON 2 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 17, 1779. 

SIR, I received the Honor of yours of the 6th inst. I 
took the first Opportunity of speaking to M. D'Arlincourt, 

1 Matthew Ridley, Maryland agent in Europe. ED. 

3 A merchant of Nantes and London ; native of Maryland. He was the 



1779] T0 JOSHUA JOHNSON 1 259 

fils, 1 one of the Farmers-general in whose Department you 
reside, on the subject of your Furniture, who told me very 
politely, that, as it was a Matter in which I interested my- 
self, he would order the Duties, if they had been received, 
to be returned. By our Treaty we are only entitled to such 
Advantage respecting Duties as is enjoyed by the most 
favor'd Nations. I have not yet been able to obtain a 
certain Knowledge of the Duties paid by other Nations in 
France, and I am told it is not easy to obtain, as they are 
very different in the different Provinces, and there is not, 
as in England a printed Book of them. So, not being 
enough informed at Present to claim your Exemption as a 
Right, I was obliged to accept it as a Favor. But these 
Sorts of Favors I shall find a Difficulty in asking hereafter, 
for, the States being under great Obligations to the Farmers- 
general, who lent us Money in our Distress, and having 
often Occasion to ask Aids from this Government, one can 
hardly, with any Grace, demand at the same Time in Favour 
of Particulars an Exemption from paying their Share of the 
Duties whence only the Ability of affording such Aids can 
arise. 

I have ordered the Alliance to be got ready as soon as 
possible. The Execution depends on Mr. Schweighauser 
and the Captain. I thank you for your Information relating 
to the Bergtre. Orders had before been given relating to 
her Cargo. 



first consul of the United States at London, 1785-1799. His daughter Louisa 
Catherine became the wife of John Quincy Adams. ED. 

1 He came of an ancient and distinguished family, and was guillotined 
during the Terror. He was the father of the poet, Ch. Victor Prevot, Vicomte 
D'Arlincourt. ED. 



260 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

With great Esteem, I have the Honour to be, sir, your 

most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. If you can by any Means obtain an Ace* of the 
Duties to be paid by different Nations in your Port, I shall 
be obliged to you for it, and will pay any Expence necessary 
for Copying, etc. 



969. TO M. MONTAUDOUIN (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 17, 1779. 

DEAR SIR : 

I received your Favour of the 4th inst. by M. David l 
with much Pleasure; as it informed me of the welfare of 
Friends I love, and who are indeed beloved by everyBody. 
I thank you for your kind Congratulations, 2 and for the 
Prayer 3 you use in my Behalf. Tho' the Form is heathen, 
there is good Christian Spirit in it, and I feel myself very 
well disposed to be content with this World, which I have 
found hitherto a tolerable good one, & to wait for Heaven 
(which will not be the worse for keeping) as long as God 
pleases. In short I should have no Objection to living with 
you & M me Montaudoin in France another Century. I don't 
complain much, even of the Gout, which has harassed me 
ever since the Arrival of the Commission you so politely 
mention: There seems, however, some Incongruity in a 
Plenipotentiary who can neither stand nor go. 

1 David de Morlaix, a Fanner General. ED. 

a Upon his appointment as Plenipotentiary. ED. 

* Montaudouin had written " Je recite pour vous tres devotement la priere 
d' Horace pour Auguste : Serus in caelum rcdeas, diuque Laetus intersis 
[populo Quirini].' " ED. 



1779] TO WILLIAM McCREERY 261 

With the Sincerest Esteem, Respect & Affection, I am, 
etc., B. FRANKLIN. 



970. TO WILLIAM McCREERY 1 (p. H. s.) 

Passy Mar. 18, 1779 

SIR, 

I received your favours of Feb. 27 and March 6. Con- 
tinued Illness, with want of Information on the Subject, 
have occasioned the Delay in answering them. 

I have endeavoured to learn what the Duties are that are 
payable by ike most javour'd Nations on the Exportation 
of Salt from France: I am at length told that the Duties 
are very low; that they consist chiefly in what is paid for 
the Forms or Papers necessary in transacting Business 
regularly; and that they are equal in all Foreign Nations, 
and paid equally by all. If so we also must pay them. 
But you seem to think we have a Right to load Salt at Bor- 
deaux free of Duty: Perhaps you have heard that there is 
some favoured Nation which is allow'd that Right. Be so 
good as to enquire and obtain a certainty of this, and an 
Account what the Duties are, and of the different Duties 
paid by different Nations, if there is any difference. When 
I am well acquainted with the Facts, I shall know whether 
I can by any Application to the Ministry be of Service to 
you, and I shall exert myself with a great deal of Pleasure 
in ascertaining your Rights: But if our Shipping of Salt 
free of Duties be not a Right, and must be asked as a favour 
for particular Persons, which I apprehend you mean with 

1 A merchant of Bordeaux. W. T. F. secured passage for him to America 
June 4, 1781. ED. 



262 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

regard to the Lading of the Buckskin, I find a Difficulty in 
doing this : For as we are obliged to be frequently requesting 
Aids of Money from the Government for our Public Uses, 
one cannot at the same time with any good Grace, desire, 
for private Persons, an Exemption in the Payment from those 
general Duties from whence only the Ability of granting 
such Aids must arise. I thank you for the offer of convey- 
ing Dispatches in that Vessel, which I may possibly make 
Use of. 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 



971. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 18, 1779 

DEAR SIR: I received duly yours of the 3 inst. My 
Indisposition seems to be wearing off, and I hope will permit 
me to go abroad in a few Days. 

M. Neufville's * first Propositions were so much out of 
the Way that I could not accept them. He required a fifth 
Part of the Loan to be sent over to him annually during the 
first 5 years in the Produce of America for Sale, & the Money 
to remain in his Hands as a Fund for paying off the Debt 
in the last 5 years. By this Means he would have had the 
Use of our Money while we were paying Interest for it. He 
dropt this Demand on my objecting to it, and undertook to 
procure a Subscription on reasonable Terms. I wish him 

1 Jean de Neufville & Sons, merchants of Amsterdam. ED. 



1779] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 263 

success; but as the English give at Present higher Interest 
than I am permitted to offer, I have little Dependance on 
that Subscription. Let me know what you hear of it from 
time to time. 

Mr. Adams is gone to Nantes to take his Passage for 
America in one of our Frigates. Mr. A. Lee has retired 
from Chaillot to Paris ; And his Brother is come on a Visit 
from Frankfort. He talks of a Congress to be held in Ger- 
many, & seems to want me to advise his Attendance there 
incogn. I know nothing of it, or of any Use he can be of 
there, & therefore, can give no Advice about it. He talks 
of 20,000 Men at Liberty by the German Peace to be hired 
by the English against us, and would be employed in pre- 
venting it What do you think or learn of these Circum- 
stances ? 

The present Situation of Affairs in your Country is inter- 
esting. Unacquainted as I am with your Parties & Interests, 
I find it difficult to perceive how they will terminate. 

I am, Dear Sir, etc. 

[B. F.] 



972. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 19, 1779. 

DEAR NEPHEW : In your receipts for M. Monthieu's l 
Copper there is mention made of Copper Ore. Explain this 
to me. For as we bought no Copper Ore of him, and as it 
is not so valuable a. Copper, it ought not to be given us 
instead of Copper. 

1 John Joseph Monthieu, a Paris merchant. ED. 



264 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Mr. Lee has yet sent me no Answer to mine relating to 
your Accounts. Let me know whether the Reference is 
accepted by the Referees, and whether it goes on. I send you 
three Original Papers that may be of use to you, as they 
shew Mr. Lee's great Skill in Accounts, and Ability in object- 
ing them. The first is a Proposition M. Monthieu made 
to obtain a Contract. The second is the Contract actually 
made differing from the Proposition. The third is Mr. 
Lee's Report, wherein he took M. Monthieu's Proposition 
of a Contract to be an Account of Charge for the Execution 
of it; and comparing it with the Contract, he charges all 
the Differences he finds as so many Errors in M. Monthieu's 
Account. For Instance, M. Monthieu proposed to make 
10,000 Suits; we agreed with him only for 6,000. Here 
Mr. Lee finds an overcharge of 4,000 Suits. M. Monthieu 
proposed that we should give him 38 Livres per Suit; we 
agreed for 37. Here Mr. Lee finds an Over-charge of 
10,000 Livres, and so of the Rest; when in fact M. Mon- 
thieu, in his real Account, had charged exactly according to 
the Agreement. You must take good Care of these Papers, 
say nothing how you came by them, and return them to me 
safely. 

I send you enclosed the Proposals of a Tin-Plate Manu- 
facturer, which may some time or other be of use to you. 

I shall dispose of your Letter to Mr. Lee as you desire. 
I would advise your avoiding the Publication you mention. 

Explain to me what is meant in your Postcript by the 
Zeal of the lest of them, etc. 

I send an Order this Day to suspend the Action against 
M. Peltier. 1 But surely he acted very irregularly to sell a 

1 Peltier du Doyer, a merchant of Nantes. ED. 



1779] TO DANIEL-MARC-ANTOINE CHARDON 265 

Cargo consigned to us, without our Order, and give the 
Produce to another. We ourselves never had any Dealings 
with M. Beaumarchais, and he has never produced any 
Account to us, but says the States owe him a great deal of 
Money. Upon his Word only we gave him up the Cargo of 
the Amphitrite; he promised then to give us an Account, but 
has never done it ; and now, by means of M. Peltier, he has 
seized another Cargo. I imagine there is now no doubt but 
M. Peltier would be obliged to pay us the Money if the Action 
were continued. And Methinks every Man who makes a 
Demand ought to deliver an Account. For my own part, 
I imagine our Country has been really much obliged toM. 
Beaumarchais ; and it is probable that Mr. Deane concerted 
with him several large Operations for which he is not yet 
paid. They were before my Arrival, and therefore I was 
not privy to them. Had I been alone when the Action was 
commenced, perhaps I should have thought of some milder 
Proceeding, making Allowance for M. B's not being bred a 
Merchant. But I think you cannot well justify M. Peltier. 
I am ever your affectionate uncle. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



973. TO DANIEI^MARC-ANTOINE CHARDON 1 

(D. s. w.) 
Passy, ce 19. Mars 1779. 

MONSIEUR, 

J'ai lu avec Admiration votre requisitoire sur le Proces du 
Capitaine M c Neil. Heureux sont les Rois qui ont des Magis- 
trats aussi scavants et aussi habiles que vous, Monsieur, 

1 M. Chardon (1730-1795) was appointed maitre des requites (1764) and 
procureur general pres du conseil des prises. ED. 



266 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

pour e*clairer leur justice. J'en sens tout le Bonheur pour 
la Nation Ame*ricaine que j'ai 1'honneur de representer en 
cette Cour: elle scaura Monsieur qu'elle y est traitte*e en 
Frere, et que vous 1'y deffendez en Ami. Agre*ez 1'honneur 
de ma Reconnaissance et les Sentiments distingue's avec les 
quels j'ai L'honneur d'etre 
Monsieur, 

Votre tres humble et tres obe*issant 
Serviteur B. F. 



974. TO MADAM CONWAY 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy March 25, 1779 

I FIND, ma chere fille, that you and I have been very un- 
lucky in our Endeavours to oblige M r Mullens: for on the 
Contrary we have grievously offended him. I understood 
he had been taken Prisoner and stript by the English, and 
had not wherewith to pay the Expence of his Journey to his 
Regiment. I sent him an Order on my Banker for ten 
Guineas. He returns me the Order, and to make it & me & 
the Congress look ridiculous, he tells me I sent it him as a 
"Gratification "for his Services "in the Name of the Hon ble 
Congress." I had no such Idea. I had declared that I had 
no Authority to make Gratifications to Officers, nor any 
Money put into my Hands for such Purposes ; and he could 
not but see that the real Intention of the Order was expressed 

1 Wife of Thomas, Count de Conway, a soldier of Irish birth, and who had 
served in the French army. On the recommendation of Silas Deane he 
offered his services to Congress. He was made a brigadier-general, May 13, 
1777. He led the "Conway cabal," to deprive Washington of military com- 
mand. ED. 



I 7 79] TO DAVID HARTLEY 267 

in the face of it; whereby his Claim, if he has any, to a 
Gratification, is left open. If his Intention was to obtain 
it from me, he was mistaken in the Application : He shou'd 
have apply'd to the Congress. They might know him & 
his Services. But I was totally unacquainted with both. I 
had only heard, as you may remember I told you that he 
spoke his Sentiments very freely in Paris against the Congress 
and America, which however did not prevent my offering 
him the little Aid I thought he stood in need of. I am glad 
he has no Occasion for it. 

I join heartily in your Joy on the Return of your Husband ; 
as I was a Witness to your perpetual Anxiety for his Welfare 
during his Absence. I wish your Happiness together may 
not again be interrupted, but continue during your Lives, 

being ever 

Your affectionate Father 

(as you do me the Honor to call me) 

[B. F.] 



975. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 21, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received duly yours of the 2d Inst. I am sorry you 
have had so much Trouble in the Affair of the Prisoners. 
You have been deceived as well as we. No Cartel Ship has 
yet appear'd. And it is now evident that the Delays have 
been of Design, to give more Opportunity of seducing the 
Men by Promises and Hardships to seek their Liberty in 
engaging against their Country: For we learn from those 
who have escaped, that there are Persons continually 



268 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

employed in cajoling and menacing them, representing to 
them that we neglect them, that your Government is willing 
to exchange them; and that it is our Fault it is not done: 
That all the News from America is bad on their side; we 
shall be conquered and they will be hang'd, if they do not 
accept the gracious offer of being Pardon'd, on Condition 
of serving the King, &c. A great part of your Prisoners 
have been kept these Six Months on board a Ship in Brest 
road, ready to be delivered; where I am afraid they were 
not so comfortably accommodated, as they might have been 
in the French Prisons. They are now ordered on shore. 
Dr. Bancroft has received your Letter here. He did not 
go to Calais. 1 

Knowing how earnestly and constantly you wish for 
Peace, I cannot end a Letter to you without dropping a 
Word on that Subject, to mark that my Wishes are still in 
Unison with yours. After the Barbarities your Nation has 
exercis'd against us, I am almost ashamed to own, that I 
feel sometimes for her Misfortunes and her Insanities. 
Your Veins are open, and your best Blood continually run- 
ning. You have now got a little Army into Georgia, and are 
triumphing in that Success. Do you expect ever to see 
that Army again? I know not what Gen 1 Lincoln or Gen 1 
Thomson may be able to effect against them, but, if they 
stay thro' the Summer in that Climate, there is a certain 
Gen 1 Fever, that I apprehend will give a good Ace* of most 
of them. Perhaps you comfort yourselves that our Loss of 

1 It had been intended, that Dr. Bancroft should proceed to England, with 
a power from Dr. Franklin to negotiate an exchange of prisoners; but some 
difficulty having arisen, of which Mr. Hartley's letter contained an intimation, 
that journey did not take place. W. T. F. 



1779] TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 269 

Blood is as great as yours. But, as Physicians say, there 
is a great Difference in the Facility of repairing that Loss 
between an old Body and a Young one. America adds to 
her Numbers annually 150,000 Souls. She, therefore grows 
faster than you can diminish her and will outgrow all the 
Mischief you can do her. Have you the same Prospects? 
But it is unnecessary for me to represent to you, or you to 
me, the Mischiefs each Nation is subjected to by this War; 
we all see clear enough the Nonsense of continuing it; the 
Difficulty is where to find Sense enough to put an End to 
it. Adieu, my Dear Friend, and believe me ever Yours 

most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



976. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (A. P. s.) 

(L.C.) 
Passy, March 22, 1779. 

DEAR SIR : I admire much the activity of your Genius 
and the strong Desire you have of being continually employed 
against our Common Enemy. 

It is certain that the Coasts of England and Scotland are 
extreamly open and Defenceless; there are also many rich 
Towns near the Sea, which 4 or 5,000 Men, landing unex- 
pectedly, might easily surprize and destroy, or exact from 
them a heavy Contribution, taking a part in ready Money 
and Hostages for the rest. I should suppose, for Example, 
that two Millions Sterling, or 48 Millions of Livres might 
be demanded of Bristol for the Town and Shipping ; Twelve 
Million of Livres from Bath; Forty-eight Millions from 
Liverpool; Six Millions from Lancaster; and twelve 



270 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Millions from Whitehaven. On the East Side there are the 
Towns of New- Castle, Scarborough, Lynn, and Yarmouth, 
from which very considerable sums might be exacted. And 
if among the Troops there were a few Horsemen to make 
sudden incursions at some little Distance from the Coast, 
it would spread Terror to much greater Distances, and the 
whole would occasion Movements and Marches of Troops 
that must put the Enemy to a prodigious Expence and 
harass them exceedingly. Their Militia will probably soon 
be drawn from the different Counties to one or two Places 
of Encampment, so that little or no Opposition can be made 
to such a Force as this above mentioned in the Places where 
they may land. But the Practicability of such an Operation, 
and the Means of facilitating and executing it, military People 
can best judge of. I have not enough of Knowledge in such 
Matters to presume upon Advising it, and I am so trouble- 
some to the Ministers on other Accounts, that I could hardly 
venture to sollicit it if I were ever so confident of its Success. 
Much will depend on a prudent and brave Sea Commander, 
who knows the Coasts, and on a Leader of the Troops who 
has the affair at Heart, who is naturally active and quick 
in his Enterprizes, of a Disposition proper to conciliate the 
Good-will and Affection of both the Corps, and by that 
Means to prevent or obviate such Misunderstandings as 
are apt to arise between them, and which are often per- 
nicious to joint Expeditions. 

On the whole it may be encouraging to reflect on the many 
Instances of History which prove that in War, Attempts 
thought to be impossible, do often, for that very Reason 
become possible and practicable because nobody expects 
them and no Precautions are taken to guard against them. 



1779] TO ARTHUR LEE 271 

And those are the kind of Undertakings of which the Success 
affords the most glory to the Ministers who plan and to the 
Officers who execute them. 
With the sincerest Esteem and affection, I have the honor 

to be, sir, etc., 

B. F[RANKLIN]. 

977. TO ARTHUR LEE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 27, 1779 

SIR, I have not hitherto undertaken to justify Mr. 
Williams' Accounts, nor to Censure your Conduct in not 
passing them. To prevent any suspicion of Partiality 
towards him as my Nephew, I avoided having anything to 
do with the examination of them; but left it entirely to you 
and Mr. Adams. After that Examination Mr. Adams 
drew up and sent me in for signing the order you mention : 
I considered the Expressions in it as only serving to show 
that the Accounts were not finally settled ; and I considered 
Mr. Adams* drawing up and Sending me the Order as a 
Proof that, in his Judgment, who had with you examined 
the accounts, the Bills drawn on M. Grand ought to be paid. 
I therefore sign'd it. I was not, as you suppose, " con- 
vine* d that the accounts as they stood could not be passed; " 
for, having never examined them, I could form no such 
Opinion of them. It was not till lately that, being press'd 
by M. Monthieu for a Settlement of his Accounts and finding 
that they had a reference to Mr. Williams, I got those from 
Mr. Adams. They were put up in a paper Case which 
covered the note you had made upon them, and that Case 
was fastened with Wax. This prevented the Notes being 



272 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

before seen either by MySelf or Mr. Adams, among whose 
Papers you had left those Accounts. He was as much sur- 
prized at seeing it as I was, and as much dissatisfied with 
another you had made in the body of the Accounts, which 
taken with the first, imports that, notwithstanding it appeared 
from Mr. Williams's own Ace that he has now and has 
long had in his hands upwards of an hundred thousand 
livres belonging to the Public, that have not been applyed 
to the public Use, "B. Franklin and John Adams, Esqrs., 
had given an Order on the Public Banquer for the pay- 
ment of all Mr. Williams' Demands." 

This being a severe Reflection upon us both, might be 
suspected, if I were disposed to be suspicious, as one Reason 
why it was shown to neither of us, but left conceal'd among 
the Papers to appear hereafter as a charge, not controverted 
at the Time, whereby a future accusation might be confirmed. 
Mr. Adams spoke in strong Terms of your having no right 
to enter Notes upon Papers without our Consent or Knowl- 
edge, and talk'd of making a counter Entry, in which he 
would have shown that your assertion of our having "given 
an Order for the Payment of all Mr. Williams' Demands " 
was not conformable to truth nor to the express Terms of 
the Order, but his attention being taken up with what related 
to his departure, was probably the cause of his omitting to 
make that Entry. On the whole, I judg'd it now encumbent 
on me, for my own sake and Mr. Adams', as well as for the 
Public Interest, to have those accounts fully examined, as 
soon as possible, by skilful and impartial persons, of which 
I inform'd you in mine of the i3th Instant, requesting you 
to aid the Enquiry by stating your Objections, that they 
might be considered by those judges, which I am sorry you 



1779] 



TO ARTHUR LEE 



273 



do not think fit to comply with. I have no desire to screen 
Mr. Williams on ace 1 of his being my Nephew ; if he is guilty 
of what you charge him with, I care not how soon he is 
deservedly punish'd and the family purg'd of him; for I 
take it that a Rogue living in [a] Family is a greater Dis- 
grace to it than one hang'd out of it. If he is innocent, 
Justice requires that his Character should be speedily cleared 
from the heavy Charge with which it has been loaded. 
I have the honour to be, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



978. TO ARTHUR LEE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 27, 1779 

SIR : The offer you make of sending me Copies, sealed 
and authenticated, of all the Papers in your Hands is very 
satisfactory; and as you say they are but few I suppose it 
may soon be done. 1 I imagined, when I desired you to send 
me the Originals, that they were a great many, and at present 
of no Importance to you, and therefore not worth copying. 
I assure you I had not the least intention of depriving you 
of anything you might think necessary for your Vindication. 
The suspicion is groundless and injurious. In a former 
Letter I offered you authenticated Copies of any remaining 
in my hands that you should judge might be of such Use to 
you; and I now offer you the originals if you had rather 
have them, and will content myself with keeping Copies. 

1 Franklin wrote to A. Lee, February 18, 1779, " Sir, I beg you will be 
pleased to send me by the bearer all the public papers in your hands belong- 
ing to this department." ED. 

VOL. VII T 



274 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Mr. Adams did not as you insinuate exact any Promise 
of me to arrange and keep in order the Papers he sent me. 
He knew such a Promise unnecessary, for that I had always 
kept in order and by themselves the public Papers that were 
in my hands, without having them so confounded among a 
multitude of other Papers "that they could not be found 
when called for." 

I have the honour to be with great respect, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



979. TO STEPHEN SAYRE ' (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 31, 1779. 

SIR, I have just received your Favour of the loth inst. 
from Copenhagen. The Account you give of the Disposition 
of the Swedish Court is very agreeable. I saw in the News- 
Papers that a Deputy of Congress was at Stockholm; did 
you obtain the Audiences you mention by assuming that 
Character? The Informations you did not chuse to venture 
by the Post from Copenhagen may be safely sent from 
Amsterdam. 

I am not, as you have heard, the sole Representative of 
America in Europe. The commission of Mr. A. Lee, Mr. 

Wm. Lee, and Mr. Izard, to different Courts still subsist. 



I am only sole with Regard to France. Nor have I Power 
to give you any Employ worth your Accepting. 

1 Stephen Sayre was born on Long Island, N. Y., in 1734. Episodes 
of his adventurous career frequently appear in the correspondence of Frank- 
lin. He became a successful merchant and banker in London. He was 
chosen sheriff in 1774. Upon a charge of high treason he was committed 
to the Tower. He visited Berlin and Amsterdam, and at every opportunity 
eagerly solicited some salaried appointment at the hands of Franklin. ED. 



1779] TO WILLIAM LEE 275 

Much has been said by the English about Divisions in 
America. No Division of any Consequence has arisen 
there. Petty Disputes between particular Persons about 
private Interests there are always in every Country: But 
with Regard to the great Point of Independence there is no 
Difference of Sentiment in the Congress, and as the Con- 
gress are the annual Choice of the People, it is easy to judge 
of their Sentiments by those of their Representatives. 

The taking of Savannah makes a Noise in England and 
helps to keep up their Spirits: But I apprehend, before 
the Summer is over, they will find the Possession of that 
Capital of Georgia of as little Consequence as their former 
Possessions of Boston & Philadelphia; and that the Dis- 
tempers of that unwholesome Part of the Country will very 
much weaken, if not ruin, that Army. 

The principal Difficulty at Present in America consists 
in the Depreciation of their Currency, owing to the over- 
quantities issued and the diminished demand for it in Com- 
merce. But as the Congress has taken Measures for sinking 
it, expeditiously, and the several Governments are taxing 
vigorously for that Purpose, there is a Prospect of its recover- 
ing a proper Value. In the meantime, though an evil to 
particulars, there is some Advantage to the Publick in the 
Depreciation, as large nominal Values are more easily paid 
in Taxes, & the debt by that Means more easily extinguished. 
I have the Honour to be, B. FRANKLIN 



276 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 
980. TO WILLIAM LEE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 2, 1779. 

SIR, Before I apply for the Arms you desire, I wish 
to be informed whether your Brother did not apply for them 
at the same time he apply'd for the Cannon he obtained, or 
since, in Consequence of the Letter you mention to have 
sent us in January last, and whether they were refused or 
promised. 

Since I had the Honour of seeing you I have received an 
Application from the Government of Maryland for a similar 
quantity of Arms and military Stores, which I am requested 
to obtain in the same Manner, and these with the Orders of 
Congress, will make so vast a quantity, that I apprehend 
greater difficulties in obtaining them. I should be glad, 
therefore, if a Part could be obtained elsewhere, that the 
quantity now to be apply'd for might be diminished. On 
this Occasion permit me to mention that the D'Acostas 
have presented a Memorial to me setting forth that they 
have provided Arms, etc., to a great Amount, in Conse- 
quence of a Contract made with you through your Brother, 
and that for no other Reason but because they were not 
furnished at the time agreed, there having been a Delay of 
a Month, which they say was not their Fault, but inevitable, 
he had refused to take them. Upon this they desire that I 
wou'd procure Justice to be done them, or that I would 
approve of their sending the Goods and endeavour to 
have the Contract comply'd with on the Part of Virginia. 1 

1 The acrid correspondence of D'Acosta Brothers with Arthur Lee, dated 
December 12, 1778,15 in A. P. S. (Franklin Papers, Vol. XII, No. 185). ED. 



1779] TO JOHN ADAMS 277 

I declined having any thing to do with the Affair, but I wish 
you to consider whether it would not be prudent to accom- 
modate this little difference with those People, and take 
the Advantage of sending those Arms, which have been 
prov'd good, and I suppose still lie at Nantes ready to be 
shipt immediately, rather than wait the success of a doubtful 
Application. 

I have the Honour to be, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



981. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, April 3, 1779 

SIR, I received the Letter you did me the Honour to write 
me of the 24th past. I am glad you have been at Brest, as 
your Presence there has contributed to expedite the Opera- 
tions of Capt. Landais in refitting his Ship. I think with 
you that more has been made of the Conspiracy than was 
necessary; but that it would have been well if some of the 
most guilty could have received a proper Punishment. As 
that was impracticable under our present naval Code, I hope 
you will, on your Return, obtain an Amendment of it. I 
approve of cloathing the Midshipmen & petty Officers 
agreable to their Request to you, and hope you have ordered 
it, without waiting to hear from me ; and I now desire that 
whatever else you may judge for the Good of the Service, 
our Funds & Circumstances considered, you would in my 
behalf give directions for, as the great Distance makes it 
inconvenient to send to me on every Occasion; and I can 
confide in your Prudence that you will allow no Expence 
that is unnecessary. 



278 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

My Gout continues to disable me from Walking longer 
than formerly: But on Tuesday the 23d past I thought 
myself able to go thro' the Ceremony, and accordingly 
went to Court, had my Audience of he King in the new 
Character, presented my Letter of Credence, and was re- 
ceived very graciously. After which I went the Rounds 
with the other Foreign Ministers, in visiting all the royal 
family. The Fatigue, however, was a little too much for 
my Feet, and disabled me for near another Week. Upon 
the whole I can assure you that I do not think the Good- 
Will of this Court to the good Cause of America is at all 
diminished by the late little Reverses in the fortune of War; 
& I hope Spain, who has now forty-nine Ships of the Line 
and 31 Frigates ready for Service, will soon by declaring, 
turn the Scale. Remember me affectionately to Master 
Johnny, 1 and believe me, with great Esteem, Sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



982. TO ARTHUR LEE 2 (p. c.) 

Pafsy, April 3. 1779. 

SIR 

As I had no Knowledge of the Gentleman, & he said he 
had lived in Virginia, I referr'd him to you, imagining you 
might know something of his Character, and whether it 
would be proper to give him the Pafs he defires. If upon 
conversing with him you apprehend it may be safely done, 

1 John Quincy Adams. ED. 

2 From the original in the possession of Mr. William F. Havemeyer. 
ED. 



1779] TO JOSHUA JOHNSON 279 

I would do it on your Recommendation: But as the ufe 
of it is to be in America and not here, I imagine it would 
be as well for you to give it as me. I have the honour to be 
with great Respect, 
Sir, 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



983. TO JOSHUA JOHNSON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 8, 1779 

SIR, Mr. Wm. Lee has lately been here from Frankfort: 
he has desired me to make such an Application in Behalf of 
the State of Virginia as you request in Behalf of Maryland. 
M D'Acosta & Co. had complained to me that they had 
provided what Mr. Lee wanted, in Pursuance of a Contract 
made with Mr. A. Lee, who had refused to take the Goods 
off his Hands. I proposed to Mr. Wm. Lee to accommo- 
date this little Difference, and take those Goods now lying 
ready at Nantes to be shipt, rather than wait the Event of 
an uncertain application to Government. He absolutely 
refuses, and says you may take them for Maryland, if you 
please. Pray let me know, as soon as may be, whether it 
will not suit you to agree for them with these Gentlemen. 
I have the Honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



280 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

984. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy April 8. 1779 

SIR, 

I did myself the honour of writing to you a few Days 
since. Last night I received yours of the 31* past. I am 
glad to hear the ship is so far in order. As to the DisCon- 
tents you find among the Officers and People, it is impossible 
for me at this Distance to judge of them, or of the means of 
removing them. I must therefore, as in my last, refer to 
your Judgment whatever you may think for the good of the 
service, considering our Circumstances and Funds, and I 
desire you would give orders accordingly. If the officers 
are dissatisfied with the Person who is here now, I fancy, 
but do not speak from knowledge, that he is not sollicitous 
about continuing in his Place ; and would have no objection 
to being permitted to play as long as he pleases in Paris. 
I cannot at all interfere with regard to the disposition of the 
Exchanged Prisoners, by ordering them to go on board one 
Ship or another. They are Free men as soon as they land 
in France, and may inlist with which Captain they please. 

I shall by this Post give the orders you desire to M" 
Schweighauser and Capt. Landais, relating to your Passage 
and Sea Stores ; tho' I did not think them necessary. 

I have the honour to be, 

Sir, Your most obed and 

most humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



I779J 



TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 



281 



985. TO CAPTAIN PETER LANDAIS (M. H. s.) 



SIR 



Passy April 8, 1779 



Understanding that you expect an explicit order from me, 
this is to require you to receive on Board your ship the Alli- 
ance, the Honourable John Adams Esq. with his son and 
servant, and give them a passage therein to America. 

I have the honour to be, 

Sir 

Your most obedient 

humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



986. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 8, 1779 

DEAR JONATHAN : Too much Business, too much In- 
terruption by friendly Visits, and a little remaining Indis- 
position, have occasioned the Delay in answering your late 
Letters. 

You desire a Line "relative to the Complexion of Affairs." 
If you mean our Affair [sic] at this Court, they wear as good 
a Complexion as ever they did. 

I do not know what to advise concerning M. Monthieu's 
Proposition. Follow your own Judgment. If you doubt, 
set down all the Reasons, pro and con, in opposite Columns 
on a Sheet of Paper, and when you have considered them 
two or three Days, perform an Operation similar to that in 



282 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

some questions of Algebra; observe what Reasons or Mo- 
tives in each Column are equal in weight, one to one, one to 
two, two to three, or the like, and when you have struck 
out from both Sides all the Equalities, you will see in which 
column remains the Ballance. It is for want of having all 
the Motives for and against an important Action present in 
or before the mind at the same time, that People hesitate 
and change their Determinations backwards and forwards 
Day after Day, as different Sets of Reasons are recollected 
or forgot, and if they conclude and act upon the last set, it 
is perhaps not because those were the best, but because 
they happen to be present in the Mind, and the better ab- 
sent. This kind of Moral Algebra I have often practised 
in important and dubious Concerns, and tho' it cannot be 
mathematically exact, I have found it extreamly useful. 
By the way, if you do not learn it, I apprehend you will 
never be married. 

There is in one Ace* of the Copper an Article des 
mines de St. Bell, 63,400. I suppose it was the word mines, 
not Rosette, that was translated ore. 

Let me know, if you can, what Answer the Gentleman 
receives from London, on his Enquiries concerning a sup- 
posed Letter. 

I send you herewith the Paper you desire respecting the 
Settlement of your Accounts. I send, also, an attested 
Copy of Mr. Lee's Reasons for not passing them. In 
answer to my letter requesting him to furnish the Gentle- 
men who are to examine them with such further Objections 
as he may have against them, he writes me that "I must 
excuse him, now that it is no longer his indispensible Duty, 
from concerning himself with a Business which is in much 



1779] TO AMERICAN MERCHANTS AT NANTES 283 

abler hands. If Congress' 1 he adds, " should call upon 
me for farther Reasons than those that I have already given, 
it will then be my Duty to act, and I will obey." I cannot 
conceive his Reason for not giving his farther Reasons, 
(if he has any,) on the present Occasion, when they would 
be so proper: But he refuses, and I cannot compel him. 

I shall file the Letters and Papers you sent me with your 
Accounts. I have received back those you inclosed in yours 
of March 27, relating to M. Monthieu's Contract. I have 
received, also, Messrs. Horneca & Fizeaux's * Invoice, 
and will return it by next Post with the Order you desire. 

I have no Objection to your mentioning the Fact relative 
to the Censure of M. Monthieu's Acc u . 

I am ever your affectionate Uncle, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



987. TO JOSEPH WHARTON, MATTHEW RID- 
LEY, JOSHUA JOHNSON, MATTHEW MEASE, 
JOHN ROSS, JON. NESBIT, CUMMINGS, JO- 
SEPH GRIDLEY, AND J. D. SCHWEIGHAUSER, 
AMERICAN MERCHANTS, NOW AT NANTES 

(D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 8, 1779. 

GENTLEMEN : Great Objections having been made by 
the Hon ble Mr. A. Lee to the Acc ts of Mr. Jonathan Williams, 
late Agent for the Commissioners at Nantes, which are there- 
fore yet unsettled ; and, as not being conversant in mercantile 
Business, I cannot well judge of them, and therefore, as 

1 Amsterdam bankers. ED. 



284 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

well as for other Reasons, I did not & cannot undertake to 
examine them myself, and they may be better examined at 
Nantes where the Business was transacted than either here 
or in America, I beg the favour of you, Gentlemen, that you 
would, for the sake of Justice and of the public Good, take 
that Trouble upon you and make Report to me thereupon; 
which I do hearby agree shall be conclusive and final (sub- 
ject only to the Revision of Congress), in case Mr. Will- 
iams shall previously sign an Engagement to abide there- 
by; and hoping you will comply with my Request, I have 
ordered him to lay his Acc t8 fully before you. 1 If it should 
not suit you all to attend to this Business, I shall be con- 
tent with the Judgment of as many of you as can & will 
attend it, the Number not being less than three. If an 
equal Number undertake it & should be divided in their 
Opinions I request them to join in chusing an Umpire, 
that the Matter may be concluded. I did desire M r Lee, 
if he had any further Objections to furnish you with them; 
but he has in a Letter to me declined it. I have requested 
the Honourable Mr. A. Lee, who makes the objections, 
to furnish you with the same, that, by having the whole in 
view, you may be able to form an equitable judgment. 
I have the honour to be with great respect, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 "The above underlined, was put, in the Letter sent, as a Postscript." F. 



1779] PASSPORT FOR A MORAVIAN- VESSEL 285 



988. PASSPORT FOR A MORAVIAN VESSEL 

(L.C.) 

To all Captains and Commanders of Armed Vessels of 
War, Privateers, and Letters of Marque belonging to the 
United States of America. 

Gentlemen 

The religious Society commonly called the Moravian 
Brethren, having established a Mission on the Coast of 
Labrador, for the conversion of the Savages there to the 
Christian Religion, which has already had very good Ef- 
fects in turning them from their ancient Practices of surpris- 
ing, plundering, and murdering such white People, Ameri- 
cans and Europeans, as, for the Purposes of Trade or Fishery, 
happened to come on that Coast; and persuading them to 
lead a Life of honest Industry, and to treat Strangers with 
Humanity and Kindness; and it being necessary for the 
Support of this Useful Mission, that a small Vessel should 
go thither every Year to furnish Supplies and Necessaries 
for the Missionaries and their Converts; which Vessel for 
the present Year is a 
of about seventy-five Tons, called the 
whereof is master Captain 

This is to request you, that, if the said vessel should 
happen to fall into your Hands, you would not suffer her 
to be plundered, or hindered in her Voyage, but on the con- 
trary afford her any Assistance she may stand in need of; 
wherein I am confident your Conduct will be approved by 
the Congress and your Owners. 



286 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Given at Passy, near Paris, this n th day of April 

B. FRANKLIN, 

Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States 
of America at the Court o) France. 

P. S. The same request is respectfully made to the com- 
manders of armed Vessels belonging to France and Spain, 
friends of the said United States. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



989. FROM JEAN-PAUL MARAT TO BENJAMIN 
FRANKLIN J (A. p. s.) 

April 12*, '79. 
SIR 

The report of the Committee for to morrow has been declined by M. le 
Roy, & is delay' d till Saturday next. 

I again beg earnestly you would be so good as to be present then to give 
your opinion, which will be requested by M. le Comte de Maillebois. 

Was it not so material a point to the Author, that a candid judgment 
should be pass'd upon his work, he would trust to time alone. But he is 
certain that many a Accademical gentleman do not look with pleasure upon 
his discoveries, & will do their utmost to prejudice the whole Body. Let 
the cabal be ever so warm, it certainly will be Silenced by the Sanction of 
such a Man as Doctor Franklin : and how far a judgement passed by himself 
and the Royal Academy can influence public opinion is well known. 

If I appeare troublesome, Sir; my consciousness of your Benevolence & 
my respect for your candour and understanding are my apology. 

THE REPRESENTATIVE. 

1 Marat had conducted laborious experiments to determine the nature of 
fire. The results of his researches he sent to Franklin soliciting his judgment 
upon them. Franklin regarded them seriously, and championed the eager 
and zealous philosopher. At the meeting of the Academy (April 17, 1779) 
Marat's experiments were declared to be new, exact, and made in accordance 
with a new method which opened vast fields for the research of physicists. 
En. 



1779] TO JOHN ADAMS 287 

990. TO M. DE SARTINE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 18, 1779. 

SIR, By letters I am daily receiving I find there are in various 
prisons of France a number of American sailors who, hav- 
ing been forced into the English service and since taken, 
remain confined with those of that nation, but are very 
desirous of serving their own country in any of our ships 
of war; and to that end request I would obtain their dis- 
charge from their present confinement. To prevent giving 
your excellency the frequent trouble of particular applica- 
tion and orders upon every occasion, I beg leave to submit 
it to your consideration whether it would not be well to give 
a general order to those who have the care of the prisoners, 
to examine in each of them those who pretend to be Ameri- 
cans and who desire to enter our service; and such as are 
found to answer that description be sent immediately to 
L'Orient and ship with Captain Jones or in the Alliance. 

I am with sincere respect, your excellency's most obedient 

and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



991. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, April 21, 1779 

Sm, 

I have received your two Favours of the i3th inst. I am 
much obliged to you for undertaking the Trouble of con- 
tenting the Officers and People of the Alliance. I must 
now beg Leave to make a little Addition to that Trouble by 



288 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

requesting your Attention to the situation of the Officers 
and Sailors, late Prisoners in England, which Mr. Williams 
will acquaint you with, and that you would likewise order 
for them such Necessaries and Comforts as we can afford. 
I wish we were able to do all they want and desire; but 
the scantiness of our Funds and the Multitude of Demands 
prevent it. 

The English Papers talk much of their Apprehensions 
about Spain; I hope they have some Foundation. 

With great esteem, I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



992. TO JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 21, 1779 

DEAR MASTER JOHNNY, 

I am glad you have seen Brest and the fleet there. It 
must give you an Idea of the naval force of this Kingdom 
which you will long retain with Pleasure. 

1 John Quincy Adams, aged eleven, accompanied his father, as John Adams 
wrote to Franklin, " in the capacity of Interpreter, Secretary, Companion, and 
Domestick, to his Poppa." The following letter from him taking farewell of 

Franklin is in A. P. S. : 

Alliance April ye 22 1779 
DEAR FRIEND 

I just now arrived here from Nantes & once more find myself aboard Ship 
& hope soon to sail for America once more, this is about 38 miles from 
Nantes. Yesterday morning with the wind very high against us, and sail'd 
on the boat till 12 o'clock last night when we arrived at painboeuf which is 
about 30 miles from Nantes & this morning set out from there at about eight 
oclock and arrived here as I said before. Just now but as the boat is just ago- 
ing I cannot write anymore & so conclude myself your affectionate Friend 

JOHN Q. ADAMS. 
M Benj* Franklin 
Passy near Paris. 



1779] 



TO JOSIAH QUINCY 



289 



I caused the Letters you inclosed to me to be carefully 
delivered, but have not received Answers to be sent you. 

Benjamin whom you so kindly remember, would have 
been glad to hear of your Welfare, but he is gone to Geneva. 
As he is destined to live in a Protestant Country, and a Re- 
public, I thought it best to finish his Education where the 
proper Principles prevail. 

I heartily wish you a good Voyage & happy sight of your 
Mama, being really your Affectionate Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



993. TO JOSIAH QUINCY 



(L. c.) 



Passy, April 22, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your very kind Letter by Mr. Bradford, who 
appears a very sensible and amiable young Gentleman, to 
whom I should with Pleasure render any service here upon 
your much respected Recommendation; but I understand 
he returns immediately. 

It is with great Sincerity I join you in acknowledging 
and admiring the Dispensations of Providence in our Favour. 
America has only to be thankful, and to persevere. God 
will finish his Work, and establish their Freedom; and the 
Lovers of Liberty will flock from all Parts of Europe with 
their Fortunes to participate with us of that Freedom, as 
soon as Peace is restored. 

I am exceedingly pleas'd with your Account of the French 
Politeness and Civility, as it appeared among the Officers 
and People of their Fleet. They have certainly advanced 
in those Respects many degrees beyond the English. I 

VOL. VII U 



290 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

find them here a most amiable Nation to live with. The 
Spaniards are by common Opinion supposed to be cruel, 
the English proud, the Scotch insolent, the Dutch Avari- 
cious, &c., but I think the French have no national Vice 
ascrib'd to them. They have some Frivolities, but they 
are harmless. To dress their Heads so that a Hat cannot 
be put on them, and then wear their Hats under their Arms, 
and to fill their Noses with Tobacco, may be called Follies, 
perhaps, but they are not Vices. They are only the effects 
of the tyranny of Custom. In short, there is nothing want- 
ing in the Character of a Frenchman, that belongs to that 
of an agreable and worthy Man. There are only some 
Trifles surplus, or which might be spared. 

Will you permit me, while I do them this Justice, to hint 
a little Censure on our own Country People, which I do 
in Good will, wishing the Cause removed. You know the 
Necessity we are under of Supplies from Europe, and the 
Difficulty we have at present in making Returns. The 
Interest Bills would do a good deal towards purchasing 
Arms, Ammunit 1 ' ,., Clothing, Sail-cloth, and other Neces- 
saries for Defence. Upon Enquiry of those who present 
these Bills to me for Acceptance, what the Money is to be 
laid out in, I find that most of it is for Superfluities, and 
more than half of it for Tea. How unhappily in this In- 
stance the Folly of our People, and the Avidity of our Mer- 
chants, concur to weaken and impoverish our Country. I 
formerly computed, that we consumed before the War, in 
that single Article, the value of 500,000 Sterling annually. 
Much of this was sav'd by stopping the Use of it. I hon- 
oured the virtuous Resolution of our Women in foregoing 
that little Gratification, and I lament that such Virtue 



1779] PROM SAMUEL COOPER TO B. FRANKLIN 291 

should be of so short Duration. Five Hundred Thousand 
Pounds Sterling, annually laid out in defending ourselves, 
or annoying our Enemies, would have great Effects. With 
what Face can we ask Aids and Subsidies from our Friends, 
while we are wasting our own Wealth in such Prodigality? 
With great and sincere Esteem, I have the honour to be, 
dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



994. FROM SAMUEL COOPER TO B. FRANKLIN 

(A. p. s.) 

Boston, 4th January, 1779. 

MY DEAR SIR, 

The Marquis de la Fayette will do me the Honour to be the Bearer of this 
Letter. This young Nobleman has done Honour to his Nation, as well as to 
himself, by the manner in which he has served these States. His Intrepidity 
and Alertness in the Field are highly distinguished. His Prudence and good 
Temper are equally remarkable. He is highly esteemed and beloved in Con- 
gress, in the army, and, thro* the States; and, tho' we are not without Parties, 
and his Situation has been sometimes very delicate, I have never heard that 
he has made a single enemy. He has gone thro* great Fatigues, he has 
faced uncommon Dangers, he has bled for our Country, and leaves it, as far as 
I am able to find, with universal applause. In short, his whole Conduct, both 
public and private, appears to me to have been most happily adapted to serve 
the great Purpose of the Alliance, and cement the two Nations. Justice 
obliges me to make this mention of one, who has done so much for our Coun- 
try, as well as his own, and from whose acquaintance, with which he has honoured 
me, I have received the greatest Pleasure. His acquaintance with our mili- 
tary and political Affairs will enable him to give you many Details, which can- 
not easily be conveyed by Writing. 

You will hear, before this reaches you, of what has been done in this 
Quarter by the Armament under the orders of the Count d'Estaing. The 
abilities of this commander, his Bravery, and Zeal for our common cause, are 
indisputably great. No man could have done more in his Situation, than he 
has done. He was unfortunate in the Weather he met with, which greatly 
delayed his Passage to these Seas, gave an opportunity to the British Navy 
and Army to escape from Philadelphia, snatch'd a Victory from him off Rhode 
Island, and put his Fleet in such a condition, that he was indispensably 



292 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1779 

obliged to leave that Place at a critical Time, which occasioned reflections from 
some, that were unmerited. He bore all with a manly Patience and uncom- 
mon Prudence. I admired his Firmness, Silence, and Condescension. He 
relyed on the Proofs he had given of attachment to our Cause, and of the 
Capacity and undauntedness with which he had prosecuted the Service upon 
which he was sent. 

The account he gave of the Reasons for coming to Boston with his Fleet, 
before the Council of this State, not only satisfied that Body, but gave them a 
high Idea of his Merits as a Commander. The Prejudices of a few soon van- 
ished, which had been raised by an honest but indiscreet Warmth in some 
officers employed in the Expedition against Rhode Island. His officers 
imitated their commander in preserving the best order thro' the Fleet during 
their Residence here ; everybody admired the peaceable, inoffensive, cour- 
teous Behaviour of such a number of men, and the Count left us on the 4th of 
November last, with the strongest Impressions of Esteem and Affection for 
him, of the Friendship of his Court and Nation for us, and of the superior 
order and civility prevailing in the French Forces. He is gone, it is conjec- 
tur'd (for no-Body pretends to know), for the West Indies. We hope, if the 
War continues, to see him in the Spring, and that Canada will be wrested 
from the British Power. This may easily be done by a joint Invasion by Sea 
and Land, provided our Finances will allow us to support an army; but the 
Depreciation of our Money is so great, that I fear our Inability to do this, un- 
less we have assistance and can procure Loans from abroad. If such a Plan 
of Operation is adopted, France must give us the most unequivocal assurances, 
that she means not to resume the Government of Canada, but to incorporate it 
with the United States. This is her true Interest, and is so agreeable to the 
Principles and Basis of the alliance, that I have not the least doubt she 
intends it, and it will only be needful to make known her Intentions in the 
most explicit manner, at least to us. 

It gives me great Pleasure to hear of the continuance of your Health and 
Vivacity. Though it is long since I have had the Pleasure of a Line from you, 
I am sure you do not forget one, who is, with the greatest Respect and the 
warmest Friendship, ever your's, 

SAMUEL COOPER. 



995. TO SAMUEL COOPER (L. c.) 

Passy, April 22, 1779. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your valuable Letter by the Marquis de la 
Fayette, and another by Mr. Bradford. I can only write 



1779] TO SAMUEL COOPER 293 

a few Words in answer to the latter, the former not being 
at hand. The Depreciation of our Money must, as you 
observe, greatly affect Salary Men, Widows, and Orphans. 1 
Methinks this Evil deserves the attention of the several 
Legislatures, and ought, if possible, to be remedied by some 
equitable law, particularly adapted to their Circumstances. 
I took all the Pains I could in Congress to prevent the De- 
preciation, by proposing first, that the Bills should bear In- 
terest; this was rejected, and they were struck as you see 
them. Secondly, after the first Emission, I proposed that 
we should stop, strike no more, but borrow on Interest those 
we had issued. This was not then approved of, and more 
Bills were issued. When, from the too great Quantity, 
they began to depreciate, we agreed to borrow on Interest; 
and I propos'd, that, in order to fix the Value of the Prin- 
cipal, the Interest should be promised in hard Dollars. 
This was objected to as impracticable; but I still continue 
of Opinion, that, by sending out Cargoes to purchase it, 
we might have brought in Money sufficient for that purpose, 
as we brought in powder, &c. &c. ; and that, tho' this Op- 
eration might have been attended with disadvantage, the 
Loss would have been a less Mischief than any Measure 
attending the Discredit of the Bills, which threatens to take 
out of our Hands the great Instrument of our Defence. 

The Congress did at last come into the Proposal of paying 
the Interest in real Money. But when the whole Mass of 
the Currency was under Way in Depreciation, the Momen- 
tum of its Descent was too great to be stopt by a Power, 
that might at first have been sufficient to prevent the Begin- 
ning of the Motion. The only Remedy now seems to be a 

1 Salt sold in April, 1779, for j los. a bushel ED. 



294 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Diminution of the Quantity by a vigourous Taxation, of 
great nominal Sums, which the People are more able to pay, 
in proportion to the Quantity and diminished Value; and 
the only Consolation under the Evil is, that the Publick 
Debt is proportionably diminish'd with the Depreciation; 
and this by a kind of imperceptible Tax, every one having 
paid a Part of it in the Fall of Value that took place between 
his receiving and Paying such Sums as pass'd thro' his 
hands. For it should always be remembered, that the origi- 
nal Intention was to sink the Bills by Taxes, which would 
as effectually extinguish the Debt as an actual Redemption. 

This Effect of Paper Currency is not understood on 
this Side the Water. And indeed the whole is a Mystery 
even to the Politicians, how we have been able to continue 
a War four years without Money, and how we could pay 
with Paper, that had no previously fix'd Fund appropriated 
specifically to redeem it. This Currency, as we manage 
it, is a wonderful Machine. It performs its Office when 
we issue it; it pays and clothes Troops, and provides Vic- 
tuals and Ammunition; and when we are obliged to issue 
a Quantity excessive, it pays itself off by Depreciation. 

Our Affairs in general stand in a fair Light thro'out 
Europe. Our Cause is universally approved. Our Con- 
stitutions of Government have been translated and printed 
in most Languages, and are so much admired for the Spirit 
of Liberty that reigns in them, that it is generally agreed 
we shall have a vast accession of People of Property after 
the War, from every Part of this Continent, as well as from 
the British Islands. We have only to persevere to be great 
and happy. With the sincerest esteem, I am ever, Dear 
Friend Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1779] TO JOHN ADAMS 295 

996. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, April 24, 1779 

SIR, By the enclosed Letter from M. de Sartine expressing 
his Majesty's Desire that the Alliance should be retained 
here a little longer, you will see that I am under a kind of 
Necessity of disappointing you in your Intentions of mak- 
ing your Passage in that Vessel, which would be more un- 
pleasing to me but for these Considerations, that possibly 
it may be safer for you to go in a Ship where the Crew, not 
being so mixed, can be better depended on, where you will 
not be so incommoded by the Misunderstandings subsist- 
ing between the Officers and their Capt. and where you 
will have the Society of the French Ambassador, M. le 
Chevalier de la Luzerne, who appears to me a most amiable 
Man, and of very sensible & pleasing Conversation. I hope 
this will in some Measure compensate for the Inconven- 
ience of shifting your Stores from one Ship to the other. 
And as I shall order the Alliance to L'Orient, where the 
King's Frigate is that carries the Ambassador, the Removal 
of your Things from one Ship to the other will be more easy ; 
you can even go thither in the Alliance if you chuse it. The 
Ships in the American Trade which were at Nantes when 
I offer'd them the Convoy of the Alliance having declined 
that offer and sailed, as I understand, under another and 
perhaps safer Convoy, makes her immediate Departure 
for America less necessary, and perhaps she may now make 
a Cruize in these Seas, for which I understand she will have 
time; and which will be probably more advantageous, 



296 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

and therefore more satisfactory, to her People than a direct 
Return. I hope she may procure us some more Prisoners 
to exchange the Rest of our Countrymen, and at the same 
time reimburse us the Charges of her Refitting, which you 
know we stand much in need of. M. Dumas writes me 
from the Hague of the ipth: " Je scais depuis hier de bonne 
part, que 1'Espagne s'est enfin declared. Cela fera un bon 
effet ici & partout." I hope his Intelligence is good, but 
nothing of it has yet transpired here. 

Enclosed I send you a Cover which I have just received 
from Martinique, directed to me, but containing only a 
Letter for you. The Cover being unskilfully seal'd over, 
the Seal of your Letter was so attached to it that I had like 
to have broke open the one in opening the other. I send 
you also another Letter which came from Spain. 

I am obliged for your Offer of taking Charge of my Dis- 
patches for America. I shall send them down to you by 
M. De la Luzerne, who is to set off in a few Days. 

With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



997. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 27, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have at the Request of M. de Sartine, postponed the 
sending the Alliance to America and have ordered her to 
proceed immediately from Nantes to L'Orient, where she 
is to be furnished with her Complement of Men, join your 
little Squadron, and act under your Command. 

The Marquis De la Fayette will be with you soon. It 



I 779 ] T0 J HN PAUL J NES 2 97 

has been observed, that joint Expeditions of Land and Sea 
Forces often miscarry, thro' Jealousies and misunderstand- 
ings between the Officers of the different Corps. This 
must happen, where there are little Minds, actuated more 
by personal Views of Profit or Honour to themselves, than 
by the warm and sincere Desire of Good to their Country. 
Knowing you both as I do and your just manner of thinking 
on these Occasions, I am confident nothing of the kind can 
happen between you, and that it is unnecessary for me to 
recommend to either of you that Condescension, mutual 
Good Will & Harmony, which contribute so much to Suc- 
cess in such Undertakings. 

I look upon this Expedition as an Introduction only to 
greater Trusts, and more extensive Commands, and as a 
kind of Trial of both your Abilities and of your Fitness in 
Temper & Disposition for acting in Concert with others. 
I flatter myself therefore that nothing will happen that may 
give Impressions to the Disadvantage of either of you, 
when greater Affairs shall come under Consideration. As 
this is understood to be an American Expedition, under the 
Congress' Commission and Colours, the Marquis, who is 
a Major- General in that Service, has of course the Step in 
Point of Rank, and he must have the Command of the Land 
Forces, which are committed by the King to his Care: 
But the Command of the Ships will be entirely in you; in 
which I am persuaded, that, whatever Authority his Rank 
might in strictness give him, he will not have the least De- 
sire to interfere with you. There is Honour enough to be 
got for both of you, if the expedition is conducted with a pru- 
dent Unanimity. The Circumstance is indeed a little 
Unusual ; for there is not only a Junction of Land and Sea 



298 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Forces, but there is also a Junction of Frenchmen and 
American, which increases the Difficulty of maintaining a 
good Understanding. A cool, prudent Conduct in the 
Chiefs is, therefore, the more necessary ; and I trust neither 
of you will in that respect be deficient. With my best 
Wishes for your Success, Health, and Honour, I remain, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 

INSTRUCTIONS 

To the honourable J. P. Jones Esquire, Commander of the 
American Squadron in the Service of the United States, 
now in the Port of UOrient. (D. s. w.) 

1. His Majesty, having been pleased to grant some Troops 
for a particular Expedition proposed to annoy our Common 
Enemy, in which the Sea-Force under your Command 
might have an Opportunity of distinguishing itself; you 
are to receive on board your Ships of War, and the other 
Vessels destined for that purpose, the Troops that shall 
present themselves to you, afford them such Accommoda- 
tion as may be most proper for preserving their Health, 
and convey them to such Port or Place as their Commander 
shall desire to land them at. 

2. When the Troops are landed you are to aid, by all 
means in your Power, their Operations, as they will be in- 
structed in like manner to aid and support those you may 
make with your Ships, that so by this Concurrence and 
Union of your different forces, all that such a Compounded 
Strength is capable of may be effected. 

3. You are during the Expedition never to depart from 
the Troops, so as not to be able to protect them or to secure 



I 7 79] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 299 

their retreat in Case of a Repulse; and in all Events you 
are to endeavour their compleat Reimbarkation on board 
the Ships and transports under your Command, when the 
Expedition shall be ended. 

4. You are to bring to France all the English Seamen 
you may happen to take Prisoners, in order to compleat 
the good work you have already made such Progress in, of 
delivering by an Exchange the rest of our Countrymen 
now languishing in the goals of Great Britain. 

5. As many of your Officers and People have lately es- 
caped from English Prisons, either in Europe or America, 
you are to be particularly attentive to their Conduct towards 
the Prisoners, which the fortune of War may throw into 
your hands; lest resentm* of the more than Barbarous 
Usage by the English in many Places towards the Ameri- 
cans should occasion a Retaliation, and an Imitation of 
what ought rather to be detested and avoided, for the Sake 
of Humanity and for the honour of our Country. 

6. In the same view, altho* the English have wantonly 
burnt many defenceless Towns in America, you are not to 
follow this Example, unless where a Reasonable Ransom 
is refused; in which Case, your own generous feelings, as 
well as this Instruction, will induce you to give timely No- 
tice of your Intention, that sick and ancient Persons, Women 
and Children, may be first removed. 

Given at Passy, the 28th Day of April, 1779. 

B. FRANKLIN, 

Minister Plenipotentiary from the United 
States to the Court o) France. 1 

1 To this Jones replied in a memorable letter of May i, 1779, beginning 
" Honoured and Dear Sir, the letter which I had the honour to receive from 



300 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

998. TO ARTHUR LEE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 3, 1779. 

SIR, 

I did write to the Gentlemen at Nantes concerned in fitting 
out the Vessels for America, offering them the Alliance as 
a Convoy, and order'd her to Nantes accordingly. They 
did not chuse to accept that offer knowing, as I suppose, 
her Weakness, but sail'd for Brest, to go with the French 
Convoy, without waiting her Arrival, and would probably 
have been gone long before she could have been fitted for 
Sea, if contrary Winds had not prevented. I wish your 
Information were true, that she is manned, and fit for such 
Service ; it must be from some Person who is unacquainted 
with the facts, perhaps Mr. Ford. 

I must suppose the Merchants are satisfied with the 
Convoy they have put their Ships under, as I do not learn 
that they have applied for one more suitable. I would 
readily have sollicited such an Application, if I had under- 
stood it to be necessary, being equally desirous with you of 
their arriving safe, and sensible of the Importance of it. 
But I have not received a line from any of them to any such 
purpose; and Captain Landais has assured me, that my 
supposition of his having Men sufficient to fight his Ship 
on occasion, in going home, tho' not enough to man Prizes 
on a Cruise, was a great Mistake in my informer; he then 

your Excellency to-day, together with your liberal and noble minded instruc- 
tions would make a coward brave. You have called up every sentiment of 
public virtue in my breast and it shall be my pride and ambition in the strict 
pursuit of your instructions to deserve success." ED. 



, 779 ] TO THOMAS VINY 301 

wanted 150 men, & I have not since heard of his having 
recruited more than 40, with the exchanged Americans 
from England. Mr. Ford may probably be accommodated 
in the same Frigate that will take Mr. Adams. I have the 

honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. I am glad to hear from you, that Supplies neces- 
for Virginia are shipt. 



999. TO THOMAS VINY 1 (L.C.) 

Passy, May 4. 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received with great Pleasure your kind Letter, as I 
learnt by it that my hospitable Friend still exists, and that 
his Friendship for me is not abated. 

We have had a hard Struggle, but the Almighty has 
favoured the just Cause; and I join most heartily with you 
in your Prayers, that he may perfect his Work, and estab- 
lish Freedom in the new World, as an Asylum for those of 
the Old, who deserve it. I find that many worthy and 
wealthy families of this Continent are determined to remove 
thither and partake of it, as soon as Peace shall make the 
Passage safer; for which Peace I also join your Prayers 
most cordially, as I think the War a detestable one, and 
grieve much at the Mischief and Misery it occasions to many ; 
my only Consolation being, that I did all in my power to 
prevent it. 

When all the Bustle is over, if my short Remainder of 

1 A wheel manufacturer of Tenterden, Kent. ED. 



302 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Life will permit my Return thither, what a Pleasure will it 
be to me to see my old Friend and his Children settled there ! 
I hope he will find Vines and Fig-trees there for all of them, 
under which we may sit and converse, enjoying Peace and 
Plenty, a good Government, good Laws, and Liberty, with- 
out which Men lose half their Value. I am with much 
Esteem, dear Friend, yours most affectionately 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

1000. TO MRS. PATIENCE WRIGHT l (L. c.) 

Passy, May 4, 1779. 

DEAR MADAM, 

I received your Favour of the i4th of March past, and, 
if you should continue in your Resolution of returning to 

1 Mrs. Patience Wright was altogether a very extraordinary woman. She 
was the niece of the celebrated John Wesley, but was born at Philadelphia, in 
which city her parents settled at an early period. Mrs. Wright was greatly dis- 
tinguished as a modeller in wax ; which art she turned to a remarkable account 
in the American war, by coming to England, and exhibiting her perform- 
ances. This enabled her to procure much intelligence of importance, which 
she communicated to Dr. Franklin and others, with whom she corresponded dur- 
ing the whole war. As soon as a general was appointed, or a squadron begun 
to be fitted out, the old lady found means of access to some family where she 
could gain information, and thus, without being at all suspected, she con- 
trived to transmit an account of the number of the troops, and the place of 
their destination to her political friends abroad. She at one time had fre- 
quent access to Buckingham House ; and used, it was said, to speak her sen- 
timents very freely to their Majesties, who were amused with her originality. 
The great Lord Chatham honoured her with his visits, and she took his like- 
ness, which appears in Westminster Abbey. Mrs. Wright died very old in 
February, 1786. W.T.F. 

I know not by what authority Temple Franklin declares Patience Wright 
to be a niece of John Wesley. Nor was she born at Philadelphia. Her 
parents, named Lovell, were members of the Society of Friends, living at Bor- 
dentown, N.J. Her husband also resided in that town. She was forty- 
seven when she removed to England in 1772. ED. 



1779] T0 MRS ' PATIENCE WRIGHT 303 

America, thro' France, I shall certainly render you any of 
the little Services in my Power; but there are so many 
Difficulties at present in getting Passages from hence, par- 
ticularly safe ones for Women, that methinks I should ad- 
vise your Stay till more settled Times, and till a more fre- 
quent Intercourse is established. 

As to the Exercise of your Art here, I am in doubt whether 
it would answer your Expectations. Here are two or three 

10 profess it, and make a Show of their Works on the 
Boulevards; but it is not the Taste for Persons of Fashion 
to sit to these Artists for their Portraits; and both House 
Rent and Living at Paris are very expensive. 

I thought that friendship required I should acquaint 
you with these Circumstances; after which you will use 
your Discretion. I am, Dear Madam 

Your most obedient and most humble Servant 

B. F[RANKLIN.] 

P.S. My Grandson, whom you may remember when a 
little saucy Boy at School, being my Amanuensis in writing 
the within letter, has been diverting me with his Remarks. 
He conceives, that your Figures cannot be packed up with- 
out Damage from any thing you could fill the boxes with 
to keep them steady. He supposes, therefore, that you 
must put them into Post-chaises, two and two, which will 
make a long train upon the road, and be a very expensive 
Conveyance; but, as they will eat nothing at the Inns, you 
may the better afford it. When they come to Dover, he is 
sure they are so like Life and Nature, that the Master of 
the Pacquet will not receive them on board without Passes; 
which you will do well therefore to take out from the 



304 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Secretary's Office, before you leave London ; where they will 
cost you only the modest Price of Two Guineas and Six- 
pence each, which you will pay without Grumbling, because 
you are sure the Money will never be employ'd against your 
Country. It will require, he says, five or six of the long 
wicker French Stage Coaches to carry them as Passengers 
from Calais to Paris, and at least two large ships with good 
Accommodations to convey them to America; where all 

the World will wonder at your Clemency to Lord N ; 

that, having it in your Power to hang, or send him to the 
Lighters, you had generously repriev'd him for Transpor- 
tation. 



1001. TO JOHN LLOYD 

Passy, May 4, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, I received the letter you did me the honour to 
write me of the loth past. As you seem to have some reli- 
ance on my advice in the affair you mention, I ought to give 
it candidly and sincerely. And it must, therefore, be, not to 
accept of the offer made you. If you carry your family to 
America, it is, I suppose, with the intention of spending the 
remainder of your days in your own country. This cannot 
be done happily without maintaining the general good opin- 
ion of your countrymen. Your entering by that door will 
unavoidedly subject you to suspicions ; those suspicions will 
render your situation uncomfortable. I think, therefore, you 
had better conclude to stay where you are till peace, though 
under some present inconveniences. The circumstances 
of such a family will always justify this, wherever you shall 



1779] FROM D. HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 305 

arrive in America. Please to make my affectionate respects 
acceptable to your amiable lady, and believe me, with sin- 
cere esteem, dear sir, etc., etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1002. FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO 

B. FRANKLIN (D. s. w.) 

London, April 22, 1779. 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

The bearer of this, and of some other papers (Mr. D.) is a very sensible 
and worthy Gentleman, with whom I had the pleasure of contracting an 
acquaintance since the Commencement of the American troubles, originally 
upon the business of the American prisoners. It is a satisfaction to me at all 
times to have found him a friend to the restoration of Peace between the two 
Countries. It has likewise been an additional satisfaction and confirmation 
to me in my own thoughts upon that subject, to find that his sentiments have, 
I think upon most or all of the subjects upon w h we have conversed, coin- 
cided with mine. We both seemed possessed of the opinion, that some plan 
of opening a negotiation upon preliminaries, w h each side might find to be a 
sufficient security to itself, might be practicable ; and then your sentiment, 
w ch y OU g av e me in a letter some years ago, might have its free scope and 
effect, viz. A little time given for cooling might have excellent effects. 

The sentiments I have opened to you in my late letters for some months 
past, and w* I have reduced in an enclosed paper into a more specific shape, 
seem to me, upon very repeated reflection, to promise the fairest ground of 
good expectation. These propositions originate from myself, as a mediator ; 
I have communications with both sides, but certainly no authority to make 
proposals from either; and perhaps neither side, if I were to make the propo- 
sitions separately to each (being myself unauthorized), might give me positive 
consent. Each side separately might say No, from what is called political 
prudence; & yet each side might secretly wish that the offer be made, with 
a Done first, from the other party. I think the proposition of a truce for 5 or 
7 years, leaving all things in the present dispute in statu quo, must be 
advantageous to all parties, if it were only in Consideration that a general 
satisfactory peace to all parties may come among the excellent effects of time 
given for cooling. We can but fight it out at last. War never comes too 
late; Wisdom may step in between. These Matters have stolen upon us, to 
great and formidable consequences from small and unsuspected beginnings ; 
but Henceforward we sh'd know by experience what to expect. If the rage 

VOL. VII X 



306 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

of war c d but be abated for a sufficient length of time for reason and reflection 
to operate, I think it w d never revive. I cannot pretend to forecast the 
result of any negotiation,, but I think war w 4 not revive ; w ch is all that I 
want for my argument. Peace is a Bonum in se. Whereas the most favor- 
able events of War are but relatively lesser evils : But certainly they are evils. 
Mala in se y not Bona in se. 

I hope that a cessation of hostilities w d produce a renewal of affection : 
But even to take the argument at the worst advantage, the two parties are at 
a cooling distance of 3000 Miles asunder. If the flames of war c d be but 
once extinguished, Does not the Atlantick Ocean contain cold water enough 
to prevent their bursting out again ? I am very strongly of Opinion that the 
two nations of Great Britain & North America w* accord to the proposition 
of a truce for cooling. I cannot say whether a British Ministry w d accord to 
it, because they wont tell me ; nor can I say whether an American plenipo : y 
w d accord to it, because, probably you will not tell me. I put myself 
into your hands however when I tell you frankly, that I am of opinion that 
both of you w 4 accord to it, if there c d be a Done first on either side, to bind 
the bargain fast. You [have] the odds of me upon this Declaration, because 
you know one half of the Question, whether I am right or wrong in my 
Opinion ; and I cannot give you any proof on the other side, but only my own 
presumptive judgement upon a course of reasoning in my own thoughts and 
observations. 

But for France. My judgement w a be, that if the proposition of the pro- 
posed preliminaries sh d be agreeable to America, France w d do very unhand- 
somely to defeat it by their refusal. I likewise think the interest of France, 
because their interest leads them to go to a certain point, & no further. There 
is a disparity in the opperation of the terms of the alliance on the part of 
France, and on the part of America. The more vigorously France inter- 
poses, the better for America. In proportion to their exertions, they create 
less or more a diversion of the British force. This reasoning goes strait 
forward for America; but it is not so with France. There is a certain 
point to France, beyond w oh their work would fail, and recoil upon them- 
selves; if they were to drive the British Ministry totally to abandon the Ameri- 
can war, it w d become totally a French war. The Events of a twelve Month 
past seem to bear testimony to this Course of reasoning. The Disadvantage 
upon the bargain to America is, that the efficacy of the French Alliance to 
them presupposes their continuance in the war. The demur to France is, 
that the liberation of their new ally recoils with double weight of the war 
upon themselves, without any ulterior points of advantage in view, as depend- 
ent upon that alliance. I think the interest of all parties coincides with the 
proposition of Preliminaries. 

The proposed Preliminaries appear to me to be just and equitable to all 
Parties. But the great object with me is to come to some preliminaries. I 
could almost add, whatever those preliminaries might be provided a suspension 



I 7 79] FROM D. HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN" 307 

of arms for an adequate term of Years were one, I think it w* be ten thou- 
sand to one against any future renewal of the war. It is not necessary to 
enter at large into the reasons w oh induce me to think, that the British min- 
istry, as well as an American plenipotentiary, w 4 consent to the terms of the 
proposed preliminaries for indeed I do not know that I am founded in that 
opinion with respect to either, but still I believe it of both. 

But what can a private person do in such a case, wishing to be a mediator 
for peace, having access to both parties, but equally uncertain of the reception 
of his mediation on either side? I must hesitate to take any public step, as 
by a proposition in Parliament, or by any other means, to drive the parties to 
an explanation upon any specific proposals; and yet I am very unwilling to 
let the session pass without some proposition, upon w ob the parties may meet, 
if they sh d be so inclined, as I suspect them to be. I have been endeavour- 
ing to feel pulses for some Months, but all is dumb show. I cannot say that 
I meet with any thing discouraging, to my apprehension, either as to the 
equitableness or practicability of the proposition for preliminaries. If I c d 
but simply receive sufficient encouragement, that I sh d not run any hazard of 
obstructing any other practicable propositions by obtruding mine, I sh d be 
very much satisfied to come forward in that case with mine, to furnish a 
beginning at least, w ch might lead to peace. 

There is nothing that I wish so much, as to have an opportunity of [seeing] 
and conversing with you, having many things to say to you. But if that can- 
not yet happen, I have only to say, that whatever Communication you may 
think proper to make to me w oh may lead to peace, you may be assured that I 
shall be most strenuous in applying it to that end. In all cases of difficulty in 
human life there must be Confidence somewhere, to enable us to extricate 
Nations from the evils attendant upon national disputes, as they arise out of 
national passions, jealousies, and points of honour. I am not sure, whether 
the extreme caution & diffidence of persons in political life be not the cause, 
allmost as frequently, of the unnecessary protraction of the Miseries of War, 
as of the final production of any superior National good to any state. Peace 
now is better than peace a twelvemonth hence, at least by all the lives that 
may be lost in the mean while, and by all the accumulated miseries that may 
intervene by that delay. When I speak of the necessity of confidence, I 
w 4 not have you to think, that I trust to all professions, promiscuously, with 
Confidence; my thoughts are free respecting all parties; and for myself, if I 
thought it necessary for the end of attaining any additional confidence in your 
esteem, to enable me to cooperate the more effectually towards the restoration 
of peace, there is nothing that I w 4 wish you to be assured of but this, that no 
fallacious offers of insincerity, nor any pretexts for covering secret designs, or 
for obtaining unfair advantages, shall never pass through my hands. 

Believe me truly not only to be a lover of my own country, but a sincere 
friend to peace & to the rights of mankind and ever most affately yours, 

D. HARTLEY. 



308 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Observations by Mr. Hartley. 

Lord North consented to Mr. Hartley's proposition, for endeavouring to 
procure from the American plenipotentiary or plenipotentiaries some opening, 
that they would be willing to commence a parley, on propositions of peace 
between Great Britain and America; and supposed the terms, which Mr. 
Hartley had in view, would be something like a tacit cession of independence 
to America, with a truce for a certain term of years, to serve as a basis for a 
general treaty of accommodation and final settlement. 

This last application (which was made on the 2Oth of April, 1779,) of 
Mr. Hartley to Lord North, after several previous conferences on the subject, 
is the ground of the present confidential communication with Dr. Franklin, 
on the part of Mr. Hartley, who states to Dr. Franklin, as he did to Lord 
North, that an auspicious beginning of a negotiation is dim idium facti. 

Mr. Hartley's ideas of the probable course of the negotiation would be to 
the following effect ; 

1. Five commissioners (or any three of them) to be appointed on the part 
of his Britannic Majesty to treat, consult, and agree upon the final settlement 
and pacification of the present troubles, upon safe, honourable, and permanent 
terms, subject to ratification by Parliament. 

2. That any one of the aforesaid commissioners may be empowered to 
agree, as a preliminary, to a suspension of hostilities by sea and land, for a 
certain term of five or seven years. 

3. That any one of the aforesaid commissioners be empowered to agree, as 
a second preliminary, to suspend the operation and effect of any and all acts 
of Parliament respecting America, for a certain term of five or seven years. 

4. That it is expected, as a third preliminary, that America should be 
released, free and unengaged, from any treaties with foreign powers, which 
may tend to embarrass or defeat the present proposed negotiation. 

5. That a general treaty for negotiation shall be set on foot as soon as 
may be, after the agreement of the foregoing preliminaries. 

N.B. A doubt seeming to arise from Lord North, relative to the probability 
of any explanatory communication on the part of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Hartley 
expressed, he thought it possible, that, as a known friend to peace, he might 
be considered by Dr. Franklin as a depot of any communications, which may 
serve from time to time to facilitate the terms of peace; which therefore pre- 
vents this communication from being considered as any direct overture from 
Lord North to Dr. Franklin, or from Dr. Franklin to Lord North ; but as it 
is merely a mediatorial proposition of Mr. Hartley, as a private person, for 
the purpose of bringing the parties to a parley. 



1 779 ] TO DAVID HARTLEY 309 

1003. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 4, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your several Favours, viz. one of April the loth, 
one of the 2oth, and two of the 22d, all on the same Day, 
but by different Conveyances. 

I need not repeat, what we have each of us so often repeated, 
the Wish for Peace. I will begin, by frankly assuring you, 
that tho' I think a direct, immediate Peace, the best Mode 
of present Accommodation for Britain, as well as for America, 
yet if that is not at this time practicable, and a Truce is 
practicable, I should not be against a Truce, but this is 
merely on Motives of general Humanity, to obviate the Evils 
Men devilishly inflict on Men in Time of War, and to lessen 
as much as possible the similarity of Earth and Hell. For 
with regard to particular Advantages, respecting the States 
I am connected with, I am persuaded it is theirs to continue 
the War, till England shall be reduced to that perfect im- 
potence of Mischief, which alone can prevail with her to let 
other Nations enjoy "Peace, Liberty, and Safety" I think, 
however, that a short Truce, which must, therefore, be an 
armed Truce, and put all Parties to an almost equal Ex- 
pence with a continued War, is by no means desireable. 

But this Proposition of a Truce, if made at all, should 
be made to France at the same time it is made to America. 
They have each of them too much Honour, as well as too 
much Sense, to listen separately to any Propositions which 
tend to separate them from each other. 

I will now give you my Thoughts on your Ideas of a 



3io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Negotiation, in the Order you have placed them. If you 
will number them in your Copy, you will readily see to 
which my Observations refer, and I may therefore be the 
more concise. 

To the ist, I do not see the Necessity or Use of Five 
Commissioners. A Number of Talkers lengthen Discus- 
sions, and often embarrass instead of aiding a Settlement. 
Their different particular Views, private Interests, and Jeal- 
ousies of each other, are likewise so many Rubs in the way; 
and it sometimes happens, that a Number cannot agree to 
what each privately thinks reasonable, and would have agreed 
to or perhaps proposed if alone. But this as the Parties 
please. 

To the 2d, The term of 21 Years would be better for 
all sides. The Suspension of Hostilities should be expressed 
to be between all the Parties at War; and that the British 
Troops and Ships of War now in any of the United States 
be withdrawn. 

To the 3^, This seems needless, and is a thing that may 
be done or omitted as you please; America has no concern 
about those Acts of Parliament. 

To the tfh, The Reason of proposing this is not under- 
stood, nor the Use of it, nor what Inducement there can be 
for us to agree to it. When you come to treat with both 
your Enemies, you may negotiate away as much of those 
Engagements as you can; but Powers who have made a 
firm solid League, evidently useful to both, can never be 
prevailed with to dissolve it for the vague expectation of 
another in nubibus: nor even on the Certainty, that another 
will be proposed, without knowing what are to be its Articles. 
America has no Desire of being free from her Engagements 




TO DAVID HARTLEY 311 

to France. The chief is, that of continuing the War in Con- 
junction with her, and not making a separate Peace; and 
this is an Obligation not in the power of America to dissolve, 
being an obligation of Gratitude and Justice towards a Nation, 
which is engaged in a War on her Account and for her Pro- 
tection: and would be for ever binding, whether such an 
Article existed or not in the Treaty. And tho' it did not 
exist, an honest American would cut off his right Hand 
rather than sign an Agreement with England contrary to 
the Spirit of it. 

To the $th, As soon as you please. 

If you had mentioned France in your proposed Suspension 
of Arms, I should immediately have shewn it to the Minis- 
ter, and have endeavoured to support that Idea. As it stands 
I am in doubt whether I shall communicate your Paper or 
not, tho' by your writing it so fair it seems as if you intended 
it. If I do, I shall acquaint you with the Result. 

The Bill, of which you send me a Copy, was an excellent 
one at the time, and might have had great and good Effects, 
if instead of telling us haughtily that our humble Petition 
should receive no Answer, the Ministry had received and 
enacted that Bill into a Law. It might have erected a Wall 
of Brass round England, if such a Measure had been adopted, 
when Fryar Bacon's brazen Head cried out, TIME is ! But 
the wisdom of it was not seen, 'till after the fatal Cry of 
TIME 's PAST ! * I am, my dear friend, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 A slight paragraph of thanks to Mr. Hartley for his attention to the 
Exchange of Prisoners is here omitted. ED. 



312 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

1004. TO M. DE SARTINE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 8, 1779. 

SIR, I have received the honour of your excellency's letter 
of the 3 rd instant. I am very sensible of the king's goodness 
in granting liberty to the Americans who have been taken 
prisoners in the English service, as by that means his majesty 
lessens the number of prisoners that may be exchanged for 
his own subjects ; and I think we ought, when ever we can, 
show our gratitude by procuring liberty for such of his sub- 
jects as may be in the same circumstances. We had in Amer- 
ica, by the last accounts, many more prisoners of the enemy 
than they had of our people ; and I will write to the Congress 
to advise the obtaining by an exchange the discharge of 
such French prisoners as may be confined in New York, that 
I have no doubt of its being done whenever the cartel shall 
take place there. 

Captain Jones informs me that among the English prisoners 
brought from Senegal there are sixteen Americans, who,, 
having been taken by the English in the unfortunate attack 
of Quebec, January i, 1777, had been sent as slaves to Africa, 
and that they have petitioned to obtain their discharge, in 
order to serve under him and have an opportunity of taking 
satisfaction for the cruel treatment they have received. He 
has applied to the commandant for them, but has received 
for answer that, the garrison having surrendered conditionally, 
the troops in it should be sent to England; it is not in his 
power to give them up without orders from the court. Your 
excellency can best judge if this matter is practicable either 



1779] TO M. DE CHAUMONT 313 

by our replacing them with as many English or by any other 
means. 

Captain Jones also writes to me that the officer mentioned 
in the enclosed memorial has been very useful in disciplining 
his marines, and that he wishes if possible to have him upon 
the cruise agreeable to his petition, which is therefore sub- 
mitted to your excellency's consideration. 

I am, with great respect. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



1005. TO M. DE CHAUMONT (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 10. 1779. 

DEAR SIR : I received the Letter you did me the honour 
to write to me the ist inst. That inclos'd for the Marquis 
de la Fayette was sent to him directly. The other for M. de 
Sartine, was carried to Marly by my son; but he being at 
Paris, it was brought back and delivered to him there the 
next morning. His answer has been ever since expected to 
be return'd by your Express, but not arriving, we suppose 
he has sent it by some other opportunity. All Paris now 
talks of the Marquis de la Fayette's going to America with 
Troops, etc. From Holland I have certain Advice that the 
States- General have come to a Resolution to give Convoys 
to their Merchant Ships, notwithstanding the last memorial 
of S r Joseph York; and to fit out immediately 32 Sail of 
Men-of-War for that purpose. This Resolution was taken 
the 26th past. With the greatest Esteem and Affection, 
I am ever, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble 
servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



314 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

1006. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, May 10, 1779. 

SIR : I received the honour of yours of the 2gih past 
from Nantes. 1 I hope you are before this time safely arrived 
at L' Orient. M. de la Luzerne is making diligent prepara- 
tion for his departure, and you will soon see him. He and 
the secretary of the embassy are both very agreeable and 
sensible men, in whose conversation you will have a great 
deal of pleasure in your passage. What port the ships 
will be ordered to I have not yet learned. I suppose that 
may partly be left to the captain's discretion, as the winds 
may happen to serve. It must certainly be most agreeable 
to you to be landed in Boston, as that will give you an earlier 
sight of your family ; but as you propose going immediately 
to Congress, being landed in Philadelphia will have some 
little advantage as it saves half your journey. I shall take 
care to procure the order to the captain from M. Sartine 
which you desire, though I should suppose showing the 
original letter of that minister, which you have, would be 
sufficient. 

No public despatches are arrived here since you left us. 

The anniversary of the signing of the treaty was observed 
with great festivity by the Congress at Philadelphia. From 

1 The original of this letter (April 29, 1779) is in A. P. S. John Adams 
refers in it to the affair of Elizabethtown, " by which it appears that the Eng- 
lish were repulsed and lost the cattle and horses they had taken, and if they 
had not fled with uncommon dexterity they would have been burgoinisses, a 
technical term which I hope the Accademie will admit into the language by 
lawful authority." ED. 



I 7 79] TO MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN BECKWITH 315 

Holland I have just received the resolution of the States- 
General of the 26th, to convoy their trade, notwithstanding 
Sir Joseph York's memorial, and to fit out directly thirty- 
two ships of war for that purpose, which is good news, and 
may have consequences. 

I have the honour to be, with great regard, sir, your most 
obedient and humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1007. TO MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN BECKWITH 1 

Passy, May 17, 1779. 

SIR, 

Having assured you verbally that I had no authority to 
treat or agree with any military person, of any rank whatever, 
to go to America, I understand your expressions, that "you 
will take your chance if I think you may be useful" to mean, 
that you will go over without making any terms with me 
on a supposition, which you also mention, that my recom- 
mendation will be regarded by the Congress, and that you 
shall thereupon be employed in our armies. 

Whoever has seen the high character given of you by 
Prince Ferdinand (under whom you served) to Lord Chatham, 
which I saw when in London, must think that so able an 
officer might have been exceedingly useful to our cause, 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin." (W. T. F., 
London, 1818, Vol. I, p. 35.) General Beckwith commanded the 2Oth regi- 
ment at the battle of Minden, and he served afterwards in Germany. He 
had four sons who became distinguished general officers, among them Sir 
Thomas Sydney Beckwith. He sent to Dr. Franklin a copy of a letter, 
written by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick to the Earl of Chatham, in 1767, 
highly commendatory of his character and military skill. ED. 



316 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

if he had been in America at the beginning of the war. But 
there is a great difficulty at this time in introducing one of 
your rank into our armies, now that they are all arranged 
and fully officered ; and this kind of difficulty has been found 
so great, and the Congress has been so embarrassed with 
numbers of officers from other countries, who arrived under 
strong recommendations, that they have been at above 100,000 
livres expense to pay the charges of such officers in coming 
to America and returning to Europe, rather than hazard the 
discontent, the placing them to the prejudice of our own 
officers who had served from the beginning, would have 
occasioned. 

Under these circumstances, they have not merely left 
me without authority, but they have in express terms forbid 
me to agree with or encourage by any means, the going over 
of officers to America in expectation of employment. As 
to my recommendation, whatever weight it might have had 
formerly, it has in several instances been so improperly 
employed through the too great confidence I had in recom- 
mendations from others, that I think it would at present be of 
no importance if it were necessary ; but after that above men- 
tioned of so great a general, and so good a judge of military 
merit as Prince Ferdinand, a character of you from me would 
be impertinence. 

Upon the whole, I can only say, that, if you choose to go 
over and settle in our land of liberty, I shall be glad to find 
you there on my return as a fellow citizen, because I believe 
you will be a very good one, and respected there as such 
by the people. But I cannot advise or countenance your 
going thither with the expectation you mention. With great 
esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1779] TO COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN' AFFAIRS 317 

1008. TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN 

AFFAIRS (L. c.) 

Passy, May 26, 1779. 

GENTLEMEN, 

The Marquis de la Fayette, who arrived here the nth of 
February, brought me yours of Oct 28, and the new Com- 
mission, Credentials, and Instructions, which the Congress 
have honour'd me with. I have not since had an Oppor- 
tunity of writing, that I could trust; for I see, by several 
Instances, that the Orders given to private Captains to throw 
their Dispatches into the Sea, when likely to be taken, are 
sometimes neglected, and sometimes so badly executed, that 
the Letters are recovered by the Enemy, and much Incon- 
venience has attended their Interception. You mention, 
that you should speedily have Opportunities of forwarding 
Duplicates and Triplicates of these Papers; none of them 
has ever come to hand, nor have I received any other Line 
from you of later Date. 

I immediately acquainted the Minister for Foreign Affairs 
with my Appointment, and communicated to him, as usual, 
a Copy of my Credential Letter, on which a Day was named 
for my Reception. A Fit of the Gout prevented my Attend- 
ance at that time, and for some Weeks after; but, as soon 
as I was able to go thro' the Ceremony, I went to Versailles, 
and was presented to the King, and received in all the Forms. 
I delivered the Letter of the Congress into his Majesty's 
own Hands, who, in the most gracious manner, expressed 
his satisfaction. And I have since constantly attended 
the Levee every Tuesday, with the other Foreign Ministers, 
and have taken every proper Occasion of repeating the 



318 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Assurances I am instructed to give, of the grateful Sentiments 
of Congress, and their determin'd Resolution to fulfil re- 
ligiously their Engagements. Much Pains is constantly 
taken by the Enemy to weaken the Confidence of this Court 
in their new Allies, by representing our People as weary of 
the War, and of the Government of Congress; which Body, 
too, they represent as distracted by Dissensions, &c. ; but 
all this has very little Effect, and, when on some Occasions 
it has seem'd to make a little Impression, and create some 
Apprehensions, I have not found it difficult to remove them. 
And it is my firm Opinion, that, notwithstanding the great 
Losses suffered by the Commerce of this Kingdom, since the 
Commencement of the War, the Disposition of the Court 
to continue it (till its purpose of establishing our Independence 
is compleated) is not in the least changed, nor their Regard 
for us diminished. 

The End of that Part of the Instructions, which relates 
to American Seamen taken by the French in English Ships, 
had already been obtain'd, Capt. Jones having had for some 
time an Order from Court, directed to the keepers of the 
Prisoners, requiring them to deliver to him such Americans 
as should be found in their Hands, that they might be at 
Liberty to serve under his Command. Most of them have 
accordingly been delivered to him, if not all. The Minister 
of the Marine, having entertain'd a high Opinion of him, 
from his Conduct and Bravery in taking the Drake, was de- 
sirous of employing him in the Command of a particular 
Enterprize, and to that end requested us to spare him, which 
we did, and sent the Ranger home, under the Command of 
his Lieutenant. Various Accidents have hitherto postponed 
his Equipment, but he now has the command of a 50 Gun 



1779] 



COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 



319 



Ship with some Frigates, all under American Commissions 
and Colours, fitted out at the King's Expence, and will sail, 
it is said, about the ist of June. 

The Marquis de la Fayette was, with some Land Troops, 
to have gone with him; but I now understand the Marquis 
is not to go, the Plan being a little changed. 

The Alliance being weakly manned at first, and the Cap- 
tain judging it necessary to be freed from 38 of his Men, 
rho had been concern' d in a Conspiracy, and unwilling to 
ike French Seamen, I thought it best to send him directly 
home, as his Ship might be of some Protection to the Vessels 
icn about sailing to America, and Mr. Adams, who was 
desirous of returning soon, might be accommodated with a 
Passage in a swift-sailing Vessel. I accordingly offered her 
as a Convoy to the Trade at Nantes; but the Gentlemen 
concerned did not think fit to wait for her getting ready, 

a French Convoy offer'd, for at least Part of the Voyage ; 
md, the Minister requesting she might be added to Capt. 
Jones's little Squadron, and offering to give a Passage to 
Mr. Adams in the Frigate with the new Ambassador, and 
to compleat the Alliances Complement of Men, I thought 
it best to continue her a little longer in Europe, hoping she 
may, in the projected Cruise, by her extraordinary Swiftness, 
be a means of taking Prisoners enough to redeem the rest 
of our Countrymen, now in the English Goals. With this 
r iew, as well as to oblige the Minister, I ordered her to join 
Capt. Jones at L'Orient, and obey his Orders, where she is 
now accordingly. 

There have been great Misunderstandings between the 
Officers of that Ship and their Captain, and great Discon- 
tents among the latter for want of Clothes and Money. 



320 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1779 

I have been obliged to make great Advances to appease those 
Discontents, and I now hope the Authority and Prudence of 
Capt. Jones will be able to remove, or at least prevent, the 
ill Effects of those Misunderstandings. The Conspirators 
are detained in Prison, and will remain there, subject to such 
Directions as Congress may think fit to give concerning them. 
The Courts here would not, because they properly could 
not, undertake to try them ; and we had not Captains enough 
to make a Court-martial for the purpose. The sending them 
to America, with Evidence to convict them, will be a great 
Trouble and Expence; and perhaps their Offence cannot 
be so clearly made out, as to justify a Punishment sufficient 
to deter by its exemplary Severity. Possibly, the best Use, 
that can be made of them, is to give them in exchange for 
as many Americans in the Cartel now operating here. The 
perfidious Conduct of English and Scotch Sailors in our 
Service, a good deal discourages the Idea of taking them out 
of those Prisons in order to employ them. 

This Cartel is at length brought about by the indefatigable 
Endeavours of an old Friend of mine, and a long declared 
one to America, Mr. Hartley, Member of Parliament for 
Hull. The Ship employed has already brought us one Cargo 
from the Prison at Plymouth. The number was intended for 
an Hundred, but prov'd 97, and she is returned with as many 
in Exchange, to bring us a second Number from the Prison 
at Portsmouth. This is to continue till all are exchanged. 
The Americans are chiefly engag'd with Captains Jones and 
Landais. This Exchange is the more remarkable, as our 
people were all committed as for high Treason. 

Agreable to the yth Instruction, I have earnestly recom- 
mended the Reduction of Halifax and Quebec. The Mar- 





L'AMERIQUE IN 7 DEPENDANTS. 

After an engraving by A. Borel. From a rare print belonging to the 
Department of History of the Johns Hopkins University. 



I 7 79] TO COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 321 

quis de la Fayette joined me warmly in the Application for 
this purpose, and I hope we shall in due time see some good 
Effects from it. I have also in various Ways, and thro' 
various Channels, laid before the Ministry the distressed 
state of our Finances in America. There seems a great 
Willingness in all of them to help us, except in the Controller, 
M. Necker, who is said to be not well disposed towards us, 
and is supposed to embarras every Measure propos'd to re- 
lieve us by Grants of Money. It is certain, that under the 
Resolution, perhaps too hastily declar'd, of the King's impos- 
ing no new Taxes on his Subjects for this year, the Court 
has great Difficulties in defraying the present Expence, 
the vast Exertions to put the Navy in a Condition to equal 
that of England having cost immense Sums. 

There is also a prevailing Opinion, that the most effectual 
Service to us is to be expected from rendering their Marine 
superior to that of England. The King has, however, to 
encourage our loan in Holland, been so good as to engage, 
under his Hand, to be Security for our Payment of the In- 
terest of Three Millions of Livres; but that Loan has not 
yet amounted to more than about 80,000 Florins. Dr. 
Price, whose Assistance was requested by Congress, has 
declin'd that Service, as you will see by the Copy of his Letter 
enclosed. To me it seems, that the Measure recommended 
by the Wisdom of Congress, for diminishing the Quantity 
of Paper by Taxes of large nominal Sums, must have very 
salutary Effects. 

As to your Finances here, it is fit that you should know 
the state of them. When the Commissioners of Congress 
made the Proposition of paying the Interest at Paris of the 
Money borrowed in America, they understood the Loan to 

VOL. VII Y 



322 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

be of Five Million of Dollars. They obtained from Govern- 
ment Sums more than sufficient for the Interest of such a 
Sum. That Sum has been encreas'd; and, if they could 
otherwise have provided for it, they have been from time to 
time drain'd by a number of unforeseen Expences, of which 
the Congress had no Knowledge, and of others, occasion'd 
by their Orders and Drafts ; and the Cargos sent to the 
Commissioners by the Committee have some of them been 
treacherously run away with by the Seamen, or taken by 
the Enemy, or, when arrived, have been hitherto applied 
towards the Payment of Debts, the Tobaccos to the Farmers- 
General according to Contract, and the Rice and Indigo to 
Messrs. Hortales & Co., from whom, by the way, we have 
not yet been able to procure any Account. 

I have lately employed an Accountant, the Son of our 
Banker, to form compleat Books of our Accounts, to be sent 
to Congress. They are not yet ready. When they are, 
I shall send them by the first safe Opportunity. In the 
mean time, I may just mention some particulars of our 
Disbursements. Great Quantities of Clothing, Arms, Am- 
munition, and naval Stores, sent from time to time ; Payment 
of Bills from Mr. Bingham, 100,000 Livres; Congress Bills 
in favour of Haywood & Co., above 200,000; advanc'd 
to Mr. Ross, about 20,000 sterling; Paid Congress Drafts 
in favour of return'd Officers, 93,080 livres. To our pris- 
oners in England, and after their Escape to help them home, 
and to other Americans here in Distress, a great sum, I cannot 
at present say how much. Supplies to Mr. Hodge for fitting 
out Capt Cunningham, very considerable ; for the Freights of 
Ships to carry over the Supplies, great sums ; to Mr. W. Lee 
and Mr. Izard, 5,500 Sterling; and for fitting the Frigates 



[ 7 ?9] TO COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 323 

laleigh, Aljred, Boston, Providence, Alliance, Ranger, &c., 
imagine not less than 60 or 70,000 livres each, taken one 
rith another ; and for the Maintenance of the English Pris- 
icrs, I believe, when I get in all the Accounts, I shall find 
[oo,ooo Livres not sufficient, having already paid above 
>5,ooo on that Article. And now, the Drafts of theTreas- 
irer of the Loans coming very fast upon me, the Anxiety 
have suffered, and the Distress of Mind lest I should not 
able to pay them, has for a long time been very great 
ideed. 

To apply again to this Court for Money for a particu- 
Purpose, which they had already over and over again 
>rovided for and furnished us, was extremely awkward, 
therefore repeated the general Applications, which we had 
iade when together, for Aids of Money; and received the 
jneral Answers, that the Expence of Government for the 
[avy was so great, that at present it was exceedingly difficult 
furnish the necessary Supplies; that France, by sending 
Fleet to America, obliged the Enemy to divide their Forces, 
id left them so weak on the Continent, as to aid us by lessen- 
ig our Expence, if it could not by giving us Money, &c. 
&c. ; and I was ask'd if we did not receive Money from 
spain. I know, indeed, of some Money received from thence, 
id I have heard of more, but know not how much, Mr. 
L. Lee, as minister for Spain, having taken to himself all 
ic Management of that Affair, and will account to Congress, 
only understand, that there is none of it left to assist in pay- 
ig Congress Bills. 

I at length obtained, as above mentioned, the King's Bon 
>r Payment of the Interest of Three Millions, if I could 
>rrow it in Holland, or elsewhere; but, tho' two eminent 



324 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Houses in Amsterdam have undertaken it, and had Hopes 
of Success, they have both lately written to me, that the great 
Demands of Money for Germany and for England had 
raised Interest above our Limits, and that the Successes 
of the English in Georgia and St. Lucia, and in destroying 
the French Trade, with the suppos'd Divisions in Congress, 
all much magnified by the British Minister, and the pressing 
Application to borrow by several of our States separately, 
had made the money'd People doubtful of our Stability, 
as well as our Ability to repay what might be lent us, and 
that it was necessary to wait a more favourable moment for 
proceeding with our Loan. 

In this Situation, I have been applied to by Mr. William 
Lee, and lately, thro' our Banker, by Mr. Izard, for more 
Money for their Expences; and I am told, there is much 
Anger against me for declining to furnish them, and that I 
am charg'd with disobeying an Order of Congress* and with 
cruelly attempting to distress Gentlemen, who are in the 
Service of their Country. They have, indeed, produc'd 
to me a Resolve of Congress, impowering them to draw on 
the Commissioners in France for their Expences at Foreign 
Courts; and doubtless Congress, when that Resolve was 
made, intended to enable us to pay those Drafts; but, as 
that has not been done, and the Gentlemen (except Mr. 
Lee for a few Weeks) have not incurred any Expence at 
Foreign Courts, and, if they had, the 5,500 guineas, received 
by them in about 9 Months, seem'd an ample Provision for 
it, and as both of them might command Money from England, 

1 Letter from Izard to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, January 28, 1779, 
in "The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States." 
Wharton, Vol. Ill, p. 33. ED. 






1779] TO COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 325 

I do not conceive that I disobey* d an Order of Congress, 
and that, if I did, the Circumstances will excuse it; and 
I could have no intention to distress them, because I must 
know it is out of my Power, as their private Fortunes and 
Credit will enable them at all times to pay their own Ex- 
pences. 

In short, the dreadful Consequences of Ruin to our Public 
Credit, both in America and Europe, that must attend pro- 
testing a single Congress Draft for Interest, after our Funds 
were out, would have weigh'd with me against the Payment 
of more Money to those Gentlemen, if the Demand had 
otherwise been well founded. I am, however, in the Judg- 
ment of Congress; and, if I have done amiss, must submit 
dutifully to their Censure. Thanks to God, I have this last 
Week got over the Difficulty, so far as relates to the Bills 
which will all be punctually paid; but if the Navy Board 
sends more Ships here to be fitted, or the Congress continue 
to draw for the Payment of other Debts, the Ships will be 
disappointed, and I shall probably be made a Bankrupt, 
unless Funds are at the same time sent over to discharge 
such Demands. 

With regard to the Fitting out of Ships, receiving and dis- 
posing of Cargoes, and purchasing of Supplies, I beg leave 
to mention, that, besides my being wholly unacquainted 
with such Business, the Distance I am at from the Ports 
renders my having any thing to do with it extreamly incon- 
venient. Commercial Agents have indeed been appointed 
by Mr. William Lee; but they and the captains are con- 
tinually writing for my Opinion or Orders, or leave to do 
this and that, by which much time is lost to them, and much 
of mine taken up to little purpose, from my Ignorance. 



326 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

I see clearly, however, that many of the Captains are exorbi- 
tant in their Demands, and in some cases I think those de- 
mands are too easily comply 'd with by the Agents, perhaps 
because their Commissions are in proportion to the Expence. 
I wish, therefore, the Congress would appoint the Consuls 
they have a right to appoint by the Treaty, and put into their 
Hands all that sort of Employment. I have in my Desk, 
I suppose, not less than Fifty Applications from different 
Ports, praying the Appointment, and offering to serve gratis 
for the Honour of it, and the Advantage it gives in Trade; 
but I should imagine, that, if consuls are appointed, they will 
be of our own People from America, who, if they should make 
Fortunes abroad, might return with them to their Country. 

The Commissions demanded by the Agents seem to me 
in some cases very high. For instance, Mr. Schweighauser, 
in a late Ace*, charges 5 per cent on the simple Delivery of 
the Tobaccos to the Officer of the Farmers- General in the 
Port, and by that means makes the Commission on the 
Delivery of the two last Cargoes amount to about 630 
Sterling. As there was no Sale in the Case, he has, in order 
to calculate the Commission, valued the Tobacco at 90 livres 
the hundred weight; whereas, it was, by our contract with 
the Farmers, to be delivered at about 40 livres. I got a 
Friend, who was going upon Change, to inquire among the 
Merchants what was the Custom in such Cases of Delivery. 
I send enclosed the Result he has given me of his Enquiries. 
In consequence, I have refused to pay the Commission of 
5 per cent on this Article; and I know not why it was, as 
is said, agreed with him at the time of his Appointment, 
that he should have 5 per cent on his Transactions, if the 
Custom is only 2 per cent, as by my Information. 



I 7 79] TO COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 327 

I have mentioned above the applications of separate States 
to borrow Money in Europe, on which I beg leave to remark, 

iat, when the General Congress are endeavouring to obtain a 
Loan, these separate Attempts do interfere, and are extreamly 
inconvenient, especially where some of the Agents are em- 
power'd to offer a higher Interest, and some have Powers 
in that respect unlimited. We have likewise lately had 
Applications from three several States to this Court, to be 
furnish'd with great Quantities of Arms, Ammunition, and 
Cloathing, or with Money upon Credit to buy them; and 
from one State to be supply'd with Naval Stores and Ships 
of War. These Agents, finding that they had not Interest 
to obtain such Grants, have severally applied to me, and 
seem to think it my Duty, as Minister for the United States, 
to support and enforce their particular Demands. I have 
endeavoured to do so; but I find the Ministers do not like 
these separate Applications, and seem to think, that they 
should properly come only thro' Congress, to whom the 
several States in such Cases ought first to make known their 
Wants, and then the Congress could instruct their Minister 
accordingly. This would save the King's Ministers a good 
deal of Trouble, and the several States the Expence of these 
particular Agents; concerning whom I would add a little 
Remark, that we have in America, too readily, in various 
instances, given Faith to the Pretensions of Strangers from 
Europe, who offer their Services as Persons who have pow- 
erful Friends and great Interest in their own Country, and 
by that means obtain Contracts, Orders, or Commissions, 
to procure what we want, and who, when they come here, 
are totally unknown, and have no other Credit but what such 
Commissions give them, or, if known, the Commissions do 



328 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

not add so much to their Credit as they dimmish that of 
their Employers. 

I have received two Letters from a Frenchman, settled 
in one of the Ports of Barbary, offering himself to act as our 
Minister with the Emperor, with whom he pretended to be 
intimate, and acquainting me, that his Imperial Majesty 
wonder'd we had never sent to thank him for being the first 
Power on this side of the Atlantick that had acknowledg'd 
our Independence, and opened his Ports to us ; advising that 
we should send the Emperor a Present. On enquiry at the 
Office in whose department Africa is included, I learnt the 
Character of this Man to be such, that it was not safe to have 
any Correspondence with him, and therefore I did not answer 
his Letters. I suppose Congress has receiv'd the Memorial 
we presented to this Court respecting the Barbary States, 
and requesting the King's good Offices with them, agreable 
to the Treaty; and also the Answer, expressing the King's 
Readiness to perform those good Offices whenever the Con- 
gress should send us Instructions, and make Provision for 
the necessary Presents ; l or, if those Papers have not yet got 
to hand, they will be found among the Copies carried over 
by Mr. Adams, and therefore I only mention them by way 
of Remembrance. Whenever a Treaty with this Emperor 
shall be intended, I suppose some of our naval Stores will 
be an acceptable Present, and the Expectation of continu'd 
Supplies of such Stores, a powerful Motive for entering into 
and continuing a Friendship. 



1 See Commissioners to Vergennes, August 28, 1778 ; Sartine to Vergennes, 
September 20, 1778; Vergennes to Commissioners, September 27, 1778, in 
" The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States," 
Wharton, Vol. II. ED. 









1779] TO COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN' AFFAIRS 329 

I should send you Copies of several other Memorials and 
publick Papers ; but, as Mr. Adams goes in the same Ship, 
and has the whole of our Transactions during his Time, it 
is not so necessary by this Vessel. The disposition of this 
Nation in general continues friendly towards us and our 
Cause; and I do not see the least diminution of it, except 
among the West India Merchants and Planters, whose losses 
have render'd them a little discontented. Spain has been 
long acting as a Mediator, but arming all the time most 
vigorously. Her naval Force is now very great indeed, and, 
as her last Proposition of a long Truce, in which America 
should be included and treated as independent in fact, tho* 
not expressly acknowledged as such, has been lately rejected 
by England, it is now thought, that her open Junction with 
France in the War is not far distant. 

The Commissioners here have a Power in general Terms 
to treat of Peace, Friendship, and Commerce with European 
States, but I apprehend this is scarce explicit enough to 
authorize me to treat of such a Truce, if the Proposition 
should again come upon the Tapis. I therefore wish the 
Congress to consider of it, and give such Powers as may be 
necessary to whom they may think proper, that, if a favour- 
able Opportunity of making an advantageous Treaty should 
offer, it may not be missed. 

Admiral Arbuthnot, who was going to America with a 
large Convoy and some Troops, has been detain 'd by a little 
Attempt upon Jersey ; and contrary Winds, since that Affair 
was over, have detained him further, till within these few 
days. 

Since I began writing this Letter, I have received a packet 
from the Committee, by way of Statia and Holland, sent by 



330 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Mr. Lovel, containing his Letters of December 8, January 29, 
and Feb. 8, with one from the President, dated Jan. 3. Sev- 
eral Papers are mention'd as sent with them, and by other 
Opportunities, but none are come to hand, except the Reso- 
lution to postpone the attempt upon Canada ; and these are 
the first Dispatches received here since the Date of those sent 
by the Marquis de la Fayette. I have also just received a letter 
from Mr. Bingham, acquainting me, that the ship Dean, and 
the General Gates, are just arriv'd at Martinico, and apply to 
him to be careened, refitted, and procure a fresh Supply of 
Provisions; and that, tho' he has no Orders, he must draw 
upon me for the Expence. I think it right to acquaint you 
thus early, that I shall be oblig'd to protest his Bills. 

I have just obtain 'd from his Majesty Orders to the Gov- 
ernment of Guadaloupe, to make reasonable Reparation to 
Captain Giddins of Newbury for the Loss of his Vessel, sunk 
in mistake by a Battery of that Island. Great Preparations 
are now making here, with much Activity in all the SeaPorts, 
taking up Transports, and building small Vessels, proper for 
the landing of Troops, &c. ; so that many think an Invasion 
of England or Ireland is intended. The Intention, whatever 
it is, may change; but the Opinion of such an Intention, 
which seems to prevail in England, may tend to keep their 
Troops and Ships at home. 

General and Lord Howe, Generals Cornwallis and Grey, 
Col. Montresor, Capt. Hammond, and others, have formally 
given it as their Opinion, in Parliament, that the Conquest 
of America is impracticable. This Week, as we hear, John 
Maxwell, Esq., Joseph Galloway, Esq., Andrew Allen, 
Esq., John Patterson, Theophilus Morris, Enoch Storey, 
and Jabez Fisher, are to be examined to prove the contrary. 



I 7 79] TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM 331 

One would think the first Set were likely to be the best 
Judges. 

Be pleased to present my dutiful Respects to the Congress, 
and assure them of my most faithful Services. I have the 
honour to be, gentlemen 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1009. TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM 1 

Passy, May 27, 1779. 

SIR, 

I should sooner have sent this passport, but that I hoped 
to have had the other from this court in time to send with 
it. If you should stay a few days in England, and will let 
me know how it may be directed to you, I can send it to you 
per post. 

I received some time since a letter from a person at Belfast, 
informing me, that a great number of people in those parts 
were desirous of going to settle in America, if passports could 
be obtained for them and their effects, and referring me to you 
for further information. I shall always be ready to afford 
every assistance and security in my power to such under- 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (W. T. F.), 
London, i8i8,Vol.I,p. 37. Sir Edward Newenham (1732-1814) was one of the 
most constant and intimate of Franklin's correspondents. He was a politician 
who represented the County of Dublin from 1776 to 1797. He wrote numer- 
ous political tracts under the pen-names Brutus and Leonidas. He was in 
entire sympathy with the colonists in the Revolution. Upon the arrival of the 
news of General Montgomery's death he appeared in Parliament in deep 
mourning, " deeper even," as he said, " than his own brother." Unfortunately 
the letters addressed to him by Franklin appear to have been destroyed. ED. 



332 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

takings, when they are really meant, and are not merely 
schemes of trade with views of introducing English manu- 
factures into America, under pretence of their being the 
substance of persons going there to settle. 

I admire the spirit with which I see the Irish are at length 
determined to claim some share of that freedom of commerce, 
which is the right of all mankind, but which they have been 
so long deprived of by the abominable selfishness of their 
fellow subjects. To enjoy all the advantages of the climate, 
soil, and situation in which God and nature have placed us, 
is as clear a right as that of breathing ; and can never be justly 
taken from men but as a punishment for some atrocious 
crime. 

The English have long seemed to think it a right, which 
none could have but themselves. Their injustice has already 
cost them dear, and, if persisted in, will be their ruin. I have 
the honour to be with great esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1010. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES ( ? ) l 

(P. A. E. E. U.) 
June I, 1779 

THE refusal of the Director- General to accede to the propo- 
sition of Mr. Franklin and his pressing needs determine him, 
that he may have nothing wherewithal to reproach himself 
if the events follow which he apprehends, to renew his appeal 
to the administration. To avoid them, therefore, he asks one 
million as a loan. Although this sum will not suffice for his 

1 The translation of this document into French is endorsed " enclosing 
blank promissory note with coupons." ED. 



1779] TO HORATIO GATES 333 

necessities, he hopes that before it will be all used he will 
receive other supplies, either from America or by borrowing, 
for which he has authority, and for which he has caused to 
be printed the promissory notes of the thirteen States, reim- 
bursable in ten years at Paris, with annual interest. He 
offers these notes at par, and if the administration fails to 
realize on them before they fall due, he engages to take them 
up with the first funds which he shall have available for that 
purpose. 

Although by this arrangement the operation appears more 
like an investment than a benefaction, Mr. Franklin will 
none the less appreciate the service which will be rendered, 
and which, he may add, the interest of the two nations makes 
a necessity to-day, if they would not expose themselves to 

lose the fruit of their union. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



ion. TO HORATIO GATES 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 2, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your obliging letter by the Chevalier de Ray- 
mondis, who appears extremely sensible of the civilities he 
received at Boston, and very desirous of being serviceable to 
the American cause. His wound is not yet right, as he tells 
me there is a part of the bone still to be cut off. But he is 
otherwise well and cheerful, and has a great respect for you. 

The pride of England was never so humbled by any thing 
as by your capitulation of Saratoga. They have not yet got 
over it, though a little elevated this spring by their success 

1 At that time Major-General in the American army. S. 



334 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

against the French commerce. But the growing apprehension 
of having Spain too upon their hands has lately brought them 
down to an humble seriousness, that begins to appear even 
in ministerial discourses, and the papers of ministerial 
writers. All the happy effects of that transaction for America 
are not generally known. I may some time or other acquaint 
the world with some of them. When shall we meet again 
in cheerful converse, talk over our adventures, and finish 
with a quiet game of chess? 

The little dissensions between particular States in America 
are much magnified in England, and they once had great 
hopes from them. I consider them, with you, as the effects 
of apparent security; which do not affect the grand points 
of independence, and adherence to treaties; and which will 
vanish at a renewed appearance of danger. This court con- 
tinues heartily our friend, and the whole nation are warm in 
our favour; excepting only a few West Indians, and mer- 
chants in that trade, whose losses make them a little uneasy. 
With sincere and great esteem and affection, I am ever, dear 

Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1012. TO JAMES LOVELL (L. c.) 

Passy, June 2, 1779. 

Sm, 

I received a few Days since, via Eustatia and Holland, 
the Triplicates of your several Favours, of Dec. 8, Jan. 29, 
and Feb. 8. The preceding Copies of the same Dates never 
came to hand. I thank you very much for the Newspapers, 
tho j the Disputes I see in them give me pain. You observe 



1 779 ] TO JAMES LOVELL 335 

rightly, that the want of good Conveyances obstructs much 
the Punctuality of your Correspondence. The Number of 
long Letters I have written to America has almost discouraged 
me from writing, except by such an Opportunity as this. 
You may judge of the Uncertainty of Letters getting to hand, 
when I tell you, that tho' you mention having sent me Quadru- 
plicates of my Credentials, only those by the Marquis de 
la Fayette have yet appeared. 

I am glad to understand, that you are taking Measures 
to restore the Value of your Money, by taxing largely to re- 
duce the Quantity. I believe no Financier in the World can 
put you upon a more effectual Method. The English have 
had a little Flow of Spirits, lately, from their Success against 
the Trade of France, and the News of their imagined Conquest 
of Georgia; but the growing Apprehension of a War with 
Spain, also, begins to sober 'em, and, like People who have 
been drunk with Drams, they now seem to have both the 
Head and Heart ake. The late Letters from thence are in 
more humble Stile, and some Printed Papers by the last Post, 
known to be ministerial, appear intended to prepare the 
Minds of the People for Propositions of Peace. But these 
Ebbs and Flows are common with them, and the Duration 
of neither are to be relied on. 

As I do not find, by any of yours, that a long Letter of mine 
to you in July last, has come to hand, I send you herewith a 
Copy of it (tho' now a little Stale), as it serves to show my 
continu'd good Opinion of a Gentleman, 1 who, by the Papers 
you have sent me, seems to be hardly us'd. I have never 
meddled with the Dispute between him and Mr. Lee, but the 
Suspicion of having a Good Will to him has drawn upon me a 

1 Silas Deanc. ED. 



336 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

great deal of 111 Will from his Antagonist. The Congress 
have wisely enjoyned their Ministers in Europe to agree with 
one another. I had always resolved to have no Quarrel, 
and have therefore made it a constant Rule to answer no 
angry, affronting, or abusive Letters, of which I have received 
many, and long ones, from Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard, who, I 
understand, and see indeed 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 
mention 'd them in any of my Letters. 

Our Scheme here for Pacquet- Boats did not continue. 1 
I wish Congress could fall upon some Method of sending 
some little light Vessels once a Month, to keep up a Corre- 
spondence more regularly. Even the receiving Letters of 
a certain Date, tho' otherwise of no Importance, might serve 
to refute the false News of our Adversaries on both sides 
the Water, which have sometimes too long their intended 
Effect before the Truth arrives. I see that frequently little 
Pilot Boats, of 25 or 30 Tons' burthen, arrive safe from Vir- 
ginia ; the Expence of such would not be great. 

I beg leave to recommend earnestly to your Civilities 
M. le Chevalier de la Luzerne, who goes over to succeed M. 
Ge*rard, as the King's Minister to the Congress. He bears 
here a most amiable Character, has great Connections, and 
is a hearty Friend to the American Cause. With great 

Esteem, I am, Sir, &c. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

1 See "Diplomatic Correspondence (Sparks)," Vol. I, p. 284. ED. 



1779] TO CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON 337 



1013. TO CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON 

(D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 2, 1779 

DEAR SIR, This will be delivered to you by the Cheva- 
lier de la Luzerne, who succeeds M. Gerard. He is a Gentle- 
man of a most amiable Character here, and a sincere Well- 
wisher to America. As such I beg leave to recommend him 
to your Civilities. You must have heard much of M. de 
Malesherbes, Son of the Chancellor Lamoignon, and late 
President of the Cour des Aides, famous for his Eloquent, 
free and strong Remonstrances to the king. This Gentle- 
man is his nephew. 

Correspondence between friends in America and Europe 
is now miserably cut to pieces by the Captures of Vessels. 
When one writes and the Letters do not get to hand, or if 
they get to hand the answers miscarry, by degrees we may 
come to forget one another. But I shall never forget the 
Pleasure I had in your Company on our Journey to Canada. 
Please to remember me when you write to your other com- 
pagnons de voyage, 1 and believe me ever, with sincere Esteem 
and Affection, dear sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble Servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. In looking over a Letter you favoured me with, 
dated August 12, 1777, and which gave me great Satisfaction 
at the time, I find one passage which I did not then answer. 
It relates to the sending over artificers of various kinds. 

1 John Carroll and Samuel Chase (Commissioners to Canada in 1776). 
ED. 

VOL. VII Z 



338 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

You can have no conception of the Numbers that apply to 
me with that View, and who would go over if I could assist 
them by obtaining a passage for them without expence. If 
this should be thought useful, and Congress could afford the 
charge, and could confide in my judgement of the Persons 
and knowledge of the Arts wanted among us, I am persuaded 
I could send you over many people who would be valuable 
acquisitions to our Country. 



1014. TO THE MARINE COMMITTEE OF 

CONGRESS (D. s. w.) 

June 2, 1779. 

GENTLEMEN : I received the Honour of yours by the 
Marquis de la Fayette, who arrived safe and well in the 
Alliance frigate, which you were pleased to put under my 
Orders. 

There has been a Conspiracy on board to seize and run 
away with the Ship to England. Thirty-eight of the crew 
concerned in the Plot were brought in under Confinement, 
and the Captain was much embarrassed with them, and sus- 
picious of many more. We would not try them here for 
want of Officers sufficient to make a Court-Martial. The 
French Admiralty could not take cognizance of their offence. 
The Captain objected to carrying them back, as both trouble- 
some and dangerous. In fine we got leave to land and con- 
fine them in a French Prison, where they continue till fur- 
ther orders. 

Captain Landais desired much to have his Ship sheathed 



1779] TO MARINE COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS 339 

here with copper, but having neither Orders nor Money in 
my hands for that purpose, I was obliged to refuse it. There 
was a great Misunderstanding between him and his Officers, 
and a great Discontent among the Officers themselves, who 
were in want of Cloathing and Money; the Ship, too, tho' 
new, wanted great Repairs, all her Iron Work being bad: 
The Agent, Mr. Schweighauser, required my orders about 
every thing, and I had Letters from him, from the Officers, 
or from the Captain by almost every Post. My total unac- 
quaintance with such Business made it very perplexing to 
me. I have got thro' it at last, and I hear the officers are 
more contented, but I hope to have no more such affairs on 
my hands: Being informed by the Officer who came up 
from the Captain with the Dispatches, that he had not hands 
sufficient to man Prizes if she siiould be sent on a Cruise ; 
that the Captain did not care to supply the Deficiency with 
Frenchmen ; that if she were again at Boston, now that her 
Character for a swift Sailer, and that of the Captain for a 
good Officer, were established, of which the Seamen were 
before doubtful, there was the greatest probability that she 
would be fully mann'd immediately; and as Mr. Adams 
wish'd for an Opportunity of going home, and I heard that 
some Ships were bound to North America from Nantes, to 
whom the Convoy of a Frigate quite to the American Coast 
might be convenient, I determined to send her back directly, 
and accordingly offer'd her as Convoy to the Trade. But 
as M. de la Motte Picquet was about to sail from Brest with 
a Squadron before our frigate could be fitted, and as he 
offer'd to take care of all outward-bound Ships who should 
join him at Brest, the offer I made was not accepted. All the 
American Ships went from Nantes to join his Fleet. She 



340 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

was, however, still to go with Mr. Adams, but receiving the 
enclosed letter from M. de Sartine, Minister of the Marine, 
who at the same time offered to man her compleatly if I 
comply'd with his Request, I thought it right to oblige him, 
as the Inconvenience would be only a little longer Delay to 
Mr. Adams in getting home, and by her extremely swift 
sailing, of which they relate Wonders, she might in the pro- 
posed Cruize take Prisoners enough to redeem by the now 
establish'd Cartel the rest of our unfortunate Countrymen 
still in the English Prisons. I accordingly acquainted M. de 
Sartine that I would, agreable to his desire, order her to 
L' Orient, where she now is, a Part of Capt. Jones' little 
Squadron, which is ready to sail, if not already sailed, on the 
intended Expedition. 

After all this was thus arranged, Mr. Arthur Lee wrote 
to me to urge the sending her with the Merchant-Ships, and 
to carry over some Dispatches of his and Mr. Izard's that 
were of great Importance, but as those Ships were by this 
time sailed, and the French frigate with the new Minister 
and Mr. Adams was to sail in a Week or two, and might carry 
those Dispatches, the Contents of which I was not acquainted 
with, I did not see the Necessity of retracting the Promise I 
had made to the Minister, and thereby deranging the Expe- 
dition. 

As our Ships of War that arrive here require an amazing 
Expence to outfit them, and the Prizes they bring in often oc- 
casion Lawsuits and all the Embarrassment and Sollicitation 
and Vexation attending Suits in this Country, I must beg the 
Committee would be so good as to order the several Navy 
Boards to send no more to be outfitted here, without send- 
ing Effects to defray the Expence, and that if our armed 



1779] TO JOHN JAY 341 

Ships should be still ordered to cruise in these seas, a Consul 
or Consuls may be appointed in the several SeaPorts, who 
will thereby be more at hand to transact maritime Business 
expeditiously, will understand it better, relieve your Minister 
at this Court from a great deal of Trouble, and leave him at 
liberty to attend affairs of more general Importance 

With great Esteem and Respect, I have the honour Gentle- 
men, to be your most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1015. TO JOHN JAY 1 (D.S.W.) 

Passy, June 2, 1779 

DEAR SIR, I received a few Days since, by way of St. 
Eustachia, the Duplicate of a Letter you did me the honour 
to write to me of 3d January. But the Act of Congress of 
Dec. 23, which you mention, is not yet come to hand. 

Col. Diricks, whom the Secretary names to you, called here 
in his way to Holland, and brought me a Recommendatory 
Letter from Gov 1 " Trumbull, but neither himself nor that 
letter mentioned any thing of his Business in Holland, except 
to see his friends ; so that I yet know of nothing to the pur- 
port of that act. The other, of January ist, is come to hand. 
Besides the Reasons given in it for deferring the Expedition 
to Canada, there is one that would weigh much with me, 
and that is our Want of Sufficient Quantity of hard Money. 
The Canadians are afraid of Paper, and would never take 
the Congress Money. To enter a Country which you mean 
to make a friend of, with an army that must have occasion 

1 This letter is erroneously dated June 9th in Wharton and Bigelow. ED. 



342 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

every Day for fresh Provision, Horses, Carriage labour of 
every kind, having no acceptable Money to pay to those 
that serve you, and to be obliged, therefore, from the Neces- 
sity of the Case, to take that Service by Force, is the sure way 
to disgust, offend, and by Degrees make Enemies of the 
whole People, after which all your operations will be more 
difficult, all your Motions discovered, and every endeavour 
used to have you driven back out of their Country. 

I need not recommend the Chevalier de la Luzerne to the 
President of Congress. His public Character will recom- 
mend him sufficiently to all the respect and Consideration 
due to the Minister of so great and good a Prince as the king 
of France, our Ally. I shall only mention that his private 
Character here is an excellent one, and that he is connected 
by relation to some of the greatest and best People of this 
Country. I hope that his Residence with us will be made 
agreable to him. I have written largely to the Committee. 
By our last Advices from Holland the English Interest 
diminishes there, and from England they write that the daily 
apprehension of a War with Spain begins to have a serious 
effect in disposing People generally to wish for Peace. Great 
Preparations are making here in all the SeaPorts, and this 
Summer will probably produce some important Action. 

With great respect and Esteem, etc., etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1779] 



TO RICHARD BACHE 



343 



1016. TO RICHARD BACHE 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 2, 1799. 

DEAR SIR, I have received yours of June [January?] 
1 6. You observe that you seldom hear from me. I have the 
same reason to complain, but I do not complain of you. It 
is the Loss of Ships, and the Sinking of Dispatches when 
chased that cuts our Correspondence to pieces. 

Yours of Oct. 22 gave me a good deal of satisfaction in 
informing me of the Adventures of your Family, your re- 
turn to Philad*, Welfare, etc. 

You desire me to set the Price of the printing-house sold 
to Virginia ; but I have received no Account of the Particu- 
lars whereof it consisted. Did they take the Cases as well 
as the Types, and what were the number? There was a 
large Mahogany Press that cost me 25 Guineas, and a Small 
one that cost 12 Guineas. Did they take those? And did 
they take all the Letters, flowers, &c. &c. except the five 
Cases of Money Types which you say the Congress have 
taken? ... I hope, indeed, they did not take the Presses; 
for I should be unwilling to part with them, as they were made 
under my own Inspection, with Improvements; and also a 
Stone belonging to the press, and a Number of Iron Chases, 
or Frames for fixing the Pages, and many other things which 
I know not whether they have taken or not, which may be 
valued by any Printer. 

The Script Letters which the Congress have taken cost 
me double the Price of common Letters of the same sizes; 

1 Erroneously dated June 9th in Wharton and Bigelow. ED. 



344 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

the long Pica and long primer Bill I remember amounted to 
forty pound Sterling. What I gave for the larger sort I 
have forgotten, but suppose about ten Pounds. You may 
therefore settle that in the same manner as to the advance, &c. 
And when you are paid you may send [End of Record.] 



1017. TO RICHARD BACHE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 2, 1779. 

1 AM very easy about the efforts Messrs. Lee and 

Izard are using, as you tell me, to injure me on that side of 
the water. I trust in the justice of the Congress, that they 
will listen to no accusations against me, that I have not first 
been acquainted with, and had an opportunity of answering. 
I know those gentlemen have plenty of ill will to me, though 
I have never done to either of them the smallest injury, or 
given the least just cause of offence. But my too great repu- 
tation, and the general good will this people have for me, and 
the respect they show me, and even the compliments they 
make me, all grieve those unhappy gentlemen; unhappy 
indeed in their tempers, and in the dark, uncomfortable 
passions of jealousy, anger, suspicion, envy, and malice. It 
is enough for good minds to be affected at other people's 
misfortunes; but they, that are vexed at everybody's good 
luck, can never be happy. I take no other revenge of such 
enemies, than to let them remain in the miserable situation 
in which their malignant natures have placed them, by en- 
deavouring to support an estimable character; and thus, by 
continuing the reputation the world has hitherto indulged me 



I 
I 



1779] TO RICHARD BACHE 345 

with, I shall continue them in their present state of damna- 
tion; and I am not disposed to reverse my conduct for the 
alleviation of their torments. 

I am surprised to hear, that my grandson, Temple Franklin, 
being with me, should be an objection against me, and that 
there is a cabal for removing him. 1 Methinks it is rather 
some merit, that I have rescued a valuable young man from 
the danger of being a Tory, and fixed him in honest republican 
Whig principles ; as I think, from the integrity of his disposi- 
tion, his industry, his early sagacity, and uncommon abilities 
for business, he may in time become of great service to his 
country. It is enough that I have lost my son; would they 
add my grandson? An old man of seventy, I undertook a 
winter voyage at the command of the Congress, and for the 
public service, with no other attendant to take care of me. 
I am continued here in a foreign country, where, if I am sick, 
his filial attention comforts me, and, if I die, I have a child 
to close my eyes and take care of my remains. His dutiful 
behaviour towards me, and his diligence and fidelity in busi- 
ness, are both pleasing and useful to me. His conduct, as 
my private secretary, has been unexceptionable, and I am 
confident the Congress will never think of separating us. 

I have had a great deal of pleasure in Ben too. 2 He is a 

1 Richard Bache wrote to Franklin (October 22, 1779) : "I am informed 
they [Lee and Izard] lay some stress upon your employing as a private secre- 
tary, your grandson, whom they hold out as unfit to be trusted, because of his 
father's principles. This has been hinted to me ; but this be so or not, sure 
I am, that this was an argument made use of by your friend M r Roberdeau, 
upon the votes being called for, on your Late appointment [plenipotentiary] 
and he had influence enough to carry the vote against you for this state, and 
it seems pretty remarkable that this State was the only one that voted against 
you on this question." ED. 

2 Benjamin Franklin Bache. ED. 



346 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

good, honest lad, and will make, I think, a valuable man. 
He had made as much proficiency in his learning, as the 
boarding school he was at could well afford him ; and, after 
some consideration where to find a better for him, I at length 
fixed on sending him to Geneva. I had a good opportunity 
by a gentleman of that city ; * who had a place for him in 
his chaise, and has a son about the same age at the same 
school. He promised to take care of him, and enclosed I 
send you the letters I have since received relating to him and 
from him. He went very cheerfully, and I understand is 
very happy. I miss his company on Sundays at dinner. 
But, if I live, and I can find a little leisure, I shall make the 
journey next spring to see him, and to see at the same time 
the old thirteen United States of Switzerland. 

Thanks be to God, I continue well and hearty. Un- 
doubtedly I grow older, but I think the last ten years have 
made no great difference. I have sometimes the gout, but 
they say that is not so much a disease as a remedy. God 
bless you. I am your affectionate father, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1018. TO MRS. SARAH BACHE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 3, 1779. 

DEAR SALLY, 

I have before me your letters of October 22d and Jan- 
uary iyth. They are the only ones I received from you in 
the course of eighteen months. If you knew how happy 
your letters make me, and considered how many miscarry, 
I think you would write oftener. 

1 A Mr. Cramer ; see letter to him. ED. 



1779] TO MRS. SARAH BACHE 347 



. 

I am much obliged to the Miss Cliftons for the kind care 
they took of my house and furniture. Present my thankful 
acknowledgments to them, and tell them I wish them all sorts 
of happiness. 

The clay medallion of me you say you gave to Mr. Hop- 
kinson was the first of the kind made in France. A variety 
of others have been made since of different sizes ; some to be 
set in the lids of snuffboxes, and some so small as to be worn 
in rings ; and the numbers sold are incredible. These, with 
the pictures, busts, and prints, (of which copies upon copies 
are spread everywhere,) have made your father's face as well 
known as that of the moon, so that he durst not do any thing 
that would oblige him to run away, as his phiz would discover 
him wherever he should venture to show it. It is said by 
learned etymologists, that the name doll, for the images 
children play with, is derived from the word IDOL. From 
the number of dolls now made of him, he may be truly said, 
in that sense, to be i-doll-ized in this country. 

I think you did right to stay out of town till the summer 
was over, for the sake of your child's health. I hope you will 
get out again this summer, during the hot months; for I 
begin to love the dear little creature from your description 
of her. 

I was charmed with the account you gave me of your in- 
dustry, the tablecloths of your own spinning, &c. ; but the 
latter part of the paragraph, that you had sent for linen from 
France, because weaving and flax were grown dear, alas, 
that dissolved the charm ; and your sending for long black 
pins, and lace, and feathers I disgusted me as much as if you 
had put salt into my strawberries. The spinning, I see, is 
laid aside, and you are to be dressed for the ball ! You seem 



348 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

not to know, my dear daughter, that, of all the dear things 
in this world, idleness is the dearest, except mischief. 

The project you mention, of removing Temple from me 
was an unkind one. To deprive an old man, sent to serve 
his country in a foreign one, of the comfort of a child to attend 
him, to assist him in health and take care of him in sickness, 
would be cruel, if it was practicable. In this case it could not 
be done ; for, as the pretended suspicions of him are ground- 
less, and his behaviour in every respect unexceptionable, I 
should not part with the child, but with the employment. 
But I am confident, that, whatever may be proposed by weak 
or malicious people, the Congress is too wise and too good 
to think of treating me in that manner. 

Ben, if I should live long enough to want it, is like to be 
another comfort to me. As I intend him for a Presbyterian 
as well as a republican, I have sent him to finish his education 
at Geneva. He is much grown, in very good health, draws 
a little, as you will see by the enclosed, learns Latin, writing, 
arithmetic, and dancing, and speaks French better than Eng- 
lish. He made a translation of your last letter to him, so 
that some of your works may now appear in a foreign lan- 
guage. He has not been long from me. I send the accounts 
I have of him, and I shall put him in mind of writing to you. 
I cannot propose to you to part with your own dear Will. 
I must one of these days go back to see him ; happy to be 
once more all together ! but futurities are uncertain. Teach 
him, however, in the mean time, to direct his worship more 
properly, for the deity of Hercules is now quite out of 
fashion. 

The present you mention as sent by me was rather that of 
a merchant at Bordeaux; for he would never give me any 



1779] TO MRS. SARAH BACHE 349 

account of it, and neither Temple nor I know any thing of the 
particulars. 

When I began to read your account of the high prices of 
goods, "a pair of gloves, $7; a yard of common gauze, $24, 
and that it now required a fortune to maintain a family in a 
very plain way," I expected you would conclude with telling 
me, that everybody as well as yourself was grown frugal and 
industrious; and I could scarce believe my eyes in reading 
forward, that "there never was so much pleasure and dress- 
ing going on;" and that you yourself wanted black pins and 
feathers from France to appear, I suppose, in the mode! 
This leads me to imagine, that perhaps it is not so much that 
the goods are grown dear, as that the money is grown cheap, 
as every thing else will do when excessively plenty ; and that 
people are still as easy nearly in their circumstances, as when 
a pair of gloves might be had for half a crown. The war 
indeed may in some degree raise the prices of goods, and the 
high taxes which are necessary to support the war may make 
our frugality necessary ; and, as I am always preaching that 
doctrine, I cannot in conscience or in decency encourage the 
contrary, by my example, in furnishing my children with 
foolish modes and luxuries. I therefore send all the articles 
you desire, that are useful and necessary, and omit the rest; 
for, as you say you should "have great pride in wearing any 
thing I send, and showing it as your father's taste," I must 
avoid giving you an opportunity of doing that with either 
lace or feathers. If you wear your cambric ruffles as I do, 
and take care not to mend the holes, they will come in time 
to be lace ; and feathers, my dear girl, may be had in America 
from every cock's tail. 

If you happen again to see General Washington, assure 



350 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

him of my very great and sincere respect, and tell him, that 
all the old Generals here amuse themselves in studying the 
accounts of his operations, and approve highly of his conduct. 
Present my affectionate regards to all friends that inquire 
after me, particularly Mr. Duffield and family, and write 
oftener, my dear child, to your loving father, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1019. TO FRANCIS HOPKINSON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 4, 1779. 

DEAR FRIEND: I received your kind Letter of the 226. 
October last, which gave me great Pleasure, as it informed 
me of your Welfare, and of your appointment to the honour- 
able Office of Treasurer of Loans. I think the Congress 
judg'd rightly in their Choice, and Exactness in accounts 
and scrupulous fidelity in matters of Trust are Qualities for 
which your father was eminent, and which I was persuaded 
was inherited by his Son when I took the liberty of naming him 
one of the Executors of my Will, a Liberty which I hope you 
will excuse. 

I am sorry for the Losses you have suffered by the Goths 
and Vandals, 1 but hope it will be made up to you by the 
good Providence of God and the Good Will of your country, 
to whom your Pen has occasionally been of Service. 

1 In his letter of October 22, 1779 (A. P. S.) Hopkinson wrote: "I have 
suffered much by the invasion of the Goths and Vandals. I was obliged to 
fly from my house at Borden Town with my Family & leave all my effects in 
statu quo ; the Savages plundered me to their Heart's Content but I do not 
repine as I really esteem it an honour to have suffered in my Country's Cause 
& in support of the Rights of human Nature & of Civil Society." ED. 



1779] 



TO WILLIAM GREENE 



351 



I am glad the Enemy have left something of my Gim- 
crackery that is capable of affording you pleasure. You 
are therefore very welcome to the use of my Electrical and 
Pneumatic Machines as long as you think proper; 1 

I inclose you a little Piece or two of Oxford wit, 3 which I 
lately received, hoping they may afford you a few minutes' 
Amusement. Present my respects to your good Mother 
and Sisters, and believe me ever, my dear friend, your most 
affectionate, B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Permit me to recommend the new Minister, M. le 
Chevalier de Luzerne, to your Civilities, as a Gentleman of 
most amiable Character here, and a hearty friend of the 
American Cause. If you can in any respect be serviceable 
to him, you will much oblige me. 






1020. TO WILLIAM GREENE 8 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 4, 1779- 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of Dec. 10, with the Bills of 
Exchange for Two hundred and Sixteen Dollars, with the 

1 Hopkinson had borrowed from Mr. Bache the portable electrical appa- 
ratus and a little air pump belonging to Franklin. "N. B. Your gimcracks 
have suffered much by the late Usurpers of our city." ED. 

* In reply Hopkinson wrote, September 5, 1779 (A. P. S.) : "I thank you 
for the little Piece of Oxford Wit. ... In return for your rocket I send you 
a few of my political squibs. Ammunition of this kind hath been rather 
scarce with us. Most of our writers have left the great field of general politics 
wherein they might have been of considerable service to skirmish & bush- 
fight in the fens & thickets of Party Disputes for which I blame them much." 
ED. 

Governor of Rhode Island (1778-1786). Letter undated by Sparks and 
Bigelow. ED. 



352 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

List of Goods you would have in return. As I live far from 
any SeaPort, and am unacquainted with Merchandise, I 
sent the Bills with your Orders directly to my Nephew at 
Nantes, who will, I doubt not, accomplish it to your Satis- 
faction. I shall be glad of any Opportunity of being service- 
able to your Son-in-Law, 1 both for your Sake and his Father's. 

Your Letter, with the first Set of the Bills, did not come to 
hand which I regret the more, as by that means I have lost 
Mrs. Greene's Letter, which you tell me was inclos'd. Pre- 
sent my affectionate Respects to her ; and my Love, with that 
of my Grandson, to honest Ray ; 2 of whose Welfare I am 
very glad to hear, and of his Progress in his Learning. 

If my Sister continues under your hospitable Roof, let her 
know, that I hope to receive hers of the 7th that you mention, 
I have not time now to write to her, but will by the next 
Opportunity ; and that I am well, & love her as well as ever. 
With great Esteem and Respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. If the Chevalier de la Luzerne should pass through 
your Government, I recommend him warmly to your Civilities. 
He goes over to supply the place of M. Ge*rard, as his Most 
Christian Majesty's Minister to the Congress. He is a 
Gentleman of a most amiable Character here, has great 
connections, and is a hearty friend to America. 

1 Major Samuel Ward (1756-1832), son of Samuel Ward, governor of 
Rhode Island. He was major of the First Rhode Island line. ED. 

2 Ray Greene (1765-1849) was at this time preparing to enter Yale Col- 
lege. He became attorney-general of Rhode Island in 1794, and United 
States senator in 1797. ED. 



1779] TO COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY 353 



1021. TO THE COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS 

BAY ( D . s. w.) 

Passy, June 4, 1779- 

HON BLB GENTLEMEN: The Commissioners at this Court 
received the Letters you did them the Honour of writing to 
them recommending the Marquis de la Fayette. I immedi- 
ately sent it [sic] to be perus'd by the Ministers, who desired 
to have a Copy of it. He was very favourably received by 
his Majesty, & has had given him a Regiment of Dragoons. 
He retains the warmest Zeal for the American Cause and 
affection for the People, and has been continually moving 
something or other with the Ministry for the Advantage of 
America ever since his arrival. The Chevalier De Ramondis, 
too, retains the most grateful Sense of the attention paid him 
by your Government during his Illness under the Loss of his 
Arm. Several other Officers speak highly in favour of our 
Country on account of the Civilities they received there, 
which has a very Good Effect here, and evinces the Wisdom 
of the Conduct you are accustomed to pursue with regard 
to Strangers of merit. I thought it right to acquaint you with 
these Circumstances, and I do it with more pleasure, as it 
gives me an opportunity of assuring you of the great Respect 

with which I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. If the Chevalier de la Luzeme who is going to 
America to succeed M. Gerard as Minister from this Court, 
should happen to put into Boston, you will find him every 
way deserving of the Civilities he may receive independent 

VOL. VII 2 A 



354 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

of his public Character. He is much esteemed and respected 
here, has great Connections, and is a hearty Friend to the 
Cause of Liberty & America. 



1022. TO JOHN ADAMS 



(M. H. s.) 



SIR, 



Passy June 5, 1779 



The Chevalier de la Luzerne set out yesterday for L'- 
Orient and will be with you perhaps before this comes to 
hand. You will find him a very agreable sensible Man, 
and a hearty Friend to the Cause of America. 

As you may land in Boston and are not certain of going 
directly to Philadelphia I have put under his care my Dis- 
patches for Congress, and request yours for those to New 
England. 

M* Bondfield l has drawn on me for 18000 Livres on 
account of the canon. I can not find the agreement that 
was made with him for that Article. If you have it and 
can easily get at it, be so good as to send it to me or a copy 
of it. 

M*. Schweighauser in a late account charges a Com- 
mission of 5 per cent on the simple Delivery of two Cargoes 
of Tobacco out of the Ship into the hands of the officer of 
the Farmers General, all attendding (sic) Expences sepa- 
rately charged ; and to make the Commission rise the higher 
he has valued the Tobacco at 90 Livres, the Price it now 
sells at in the Ports and not at 40 Livres which it was to be 

1 John Bondfield, merchant and United States commercial agent at 
Bordeaux. ED. 



1779] TO JOHN ADAMS 355 

delivered at by our Contracts; by this means the Commis- 
sion on those two Cargoes comes to 630^ sterling. Think- 
ing this an exorbitant Demand I got a Friend to inquire of 
the Merchants upon Change what was the custom in such 
Cases, and received the following Answer: "I have spoken 
to more than 10 Merchants, who all have told me unani- 
mously that one percent was not only the general custom 
but as high as could be claimed being half Commission. 
For if there had been a sale in the Case, it would have been 
two percent which is the general Usage in the Trade and 
not 5 per cent." I have wrote to W. Schweighauser that 
I objected to that article of his account, but he seems not 
disposed to give it up. I find myself too little acquainted 
with Mercantile Business to be a Match for these people 
which makes me more and more desire to see Consuls ap- 
pointed in the Ports, who might take it off my hands, and 
I wish, if you are of Opinion it would be right, that you 
would press it upon Congress. My grandson desires I would 
present you his affectionate Respects and joins with me in 
heartily wishing you and our young Friends a prosperous 
Voyage and happy meeting with your Friends and Family. 

I shall take care to present your Respects to the good 
Ladies you mention. All goes on well here: countenances 
begin to brighten, and the contrary in England (according 
to our last Advices) from the Apprehension of certain Events 
which may God prosper. 

I am with great Esteem and Respect 
Sir, 

Your most obed* and 
most humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



356 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 



1023. TO MESSRS. J. ROCQUETTE, A. ELSEVIER, 
AND BROTHERS ROCQUETTE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 13, 1779 

GENTLEMEN : I received your favour of the 7th inst., 1 
inclosing two Notes of the United States for 1000 dollars 
each, for my Inspection, which I return enclosed. I have 
not yet seen the Resolution mentioned therein, but, by what 
I can recollect from the face of the Notes themselves, I 
judge that the Dollars for which the Notes are given were 
of Paper- Money borrowed, and that the interest will be 
paid and the principal repaid in the same paper, which is 
now in state of great Depreciation. If before the time of 
Payment it should fall still Lower, the possessor of the Notes 
will be so much the Loser. If on the Contrary, they should 
rise in Value, (of which, from the Measures taken for that 
purpose there is great appearance), the possessor will be in 
proportion a Gainer; the Interest will be pay'd every year, 
but is payable only at the Loan Office in America from 
whence the Bills issued, and to that End they must be 
produced there, that the payment may be indorsed. These 
Bills have therefore been improperly brought to Europe, 
being of less value here, as they must return to have their 
Effect, and, being Sola Bills, payable to the Bearer, they 
have not the same Security from the Dangers of the Sea 
that Bills of Exchange usually have; for they may not 
only be lost or destroyed by Accidents, but, if taken, the 

1 The letter of inquiry (June 7) is in A. P. S. It was written in Rotter- 
dam. ED. 



1779] MORALS OF CHESS 357 

Enemy will reap the benefit of them. The Insurance of 
them back is therefore a proportionate Diminution of their 
Value. At what Value they are at present current in 
America I cannot inform you, that depending on the 
fluctuating state of the Paper there ; nor do I know where 
they can be so well negociated as in the place where they 
are payable. 
I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1024. MORALS OF CHESS 1 (A. P. s.) 

[PLAYING at chess is the most ancient and most universal 
game known among men; for its original is beyond the 
memory of history, and it has, for numberless ages, been 
the amusement of all the civilised nations of Asia, the Per- 
sians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it 
above a thousand years ; the Spaniards have spread it over 
their part of America; and it has lately begun to make its 
appearance in the United States. It is so interesting in it- 
self, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in 
it ; and thence it is seldom played for money. Those there- 
fore who have leisure for such diversions, cannot find one 
that is more innocent : and the following piece, written with 
a view to correct (among a few young friends) some little 

1 The date of this "bagatelle " is fixed by a letter written to Franklin by 
Dr. Dubourg June 28, 1779 (A. P. S.). With this letter Dubourg returned 
to his " dear master " the Ms. of "The Morals of Chess," stating that he was 
retaining a copy of it and expected to have it published in Le Journal de 
Paris. It was published in the same year in London by C. and J. Robinson. 
The Ms. copy in A. P. S. is incomplete, and is in the handwriting of Dr. 
Dubourg. ED. 






3$8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

improprieties in the practice of it, shows at the same time 
that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely inno- 
cent, but advantageous, to the vanquished as well as the 
victor.] 

The Game of Chess is not merely an idle Amusement. 
Several very valuable qualities of the Mind, useful in the 
course of human Life, are to be acquired or strengthened 
by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. For 
Life is a kind of Chess, in which we often have Points to 
gain, & Competitors or Adversaries to contend with; and 
in which there is a vast variety of good and ill Events, that 
are in some degree the Effects of Prudence or the want of 
it. By playing at Chess, then, we may learn, 

I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and con- 
siders the Consequences that may attend an action; for it 
is continually occurring to the Player, "If I move this piece, 
what will be the advantages or disadvantages of my new 
situation? What Use can my Adversary make of it to 
annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, 
and to defend myself from his attacks?" 

II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess- 
board, or scene of action ; the relations of the several pieces 
and situations, the Dangers they are respectively exposed 
to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the 
probabilities that the Adversary may make this or that 
move, and attack this or the other Piece, and what differ- 
ent Means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its conse- 
quences against him. 

III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This 
habit is best acquired, by observing strictly the laws of the 



i/79] MORALS OF CHESS 359 

Game ; such as, // you touch a Piece, you must move it 
somewhere; ij you set it down, you must let it stand. And 
it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as 
the Game becomes thereby more the image of human Life, 
and particularly of War; in which, if you have incautiously 
put yourself into a bad and dangerous position, you cannot 
obtain your Enemy's Leave to withdraw your Troops, and 
place them more securely, but you must abide all the conse- 
quences of your rashness. 

And lastly, we learn by Chess the habit of not being dis- 
couraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, 
the habit of hoping for a favourable Change, and that of 
persevering in the search of resources. The Game is so full 
of Events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the Fortune 
of it is so subject to sudden Vicissitudes, and one so fre- 
quently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of 
extricating one's self from a supposed insurmountable 
Difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the Contest 
to the last, in hopes of Victory from our own skill, or at 
least [of getting a stale mate,] from the Negligence of our 
Adversary. And whoever considers, what in Chess he 
often sees instances of, that [particular pieces of] success 

[ ls ] apt to produce Presumption, & its consequent Inat- 
tention, by which more is afterwards lost than was gain'd 
by the preceding Advantage, while misfortunes produce 
more care and attention, by which the loss may be recovered, 
will learn not to be too much discouraged by any present 
success of his Adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune 
upon every little Check he receives in the pursuit of it. 
That we may therefore be induced more frequently to 



360 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

chuse this beneficial amusement, in preference to others 
which are not attended with the same advantages, every 
Circumstance that may increase the pleasure of it should 
be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, dis- 
respectful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should 
be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of both 
the Players, which is to pass the Time agreably. 

Therefore, 1 first, if it is agreed to play according to the 
strict rules, then those rules are to be exactly observed by 
both parties, and should not be insisted on for one side, 
while deviated from by the other for this is not equitable. 

Secondly, if it is agreed not to observe the rules exactly, 
but one party demands indulgencies, he should then be as 
willing to allow them to the other. 

Thirdly, no false move should ever be made to extricate 
yourself out of difficulty, or to gain an advantage. There 
can be no pleasure in playing with a person once detected 
in such unfair practice. 

Fourthly, if your adversary is long in playing, you ought 
not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. 
You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, 
nor take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your 
feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do 
any thing that may disturb his attention. For all these 
things displease; and they do not show your skill in play- 
ing, but your craftiness or your rudeness. 

Fifthly, you ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive 
your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, 
and saying that you have now lost the game, in order to 
make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your 

1 What follows in the Ms. is in French. ED. 



1779] 



MORALS OF CHESS 



361 



schemes: for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the 
game. 

Sixthly, you must not, when you have gained a victory, 
use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor show too 
much pleasure; but endeavour to console your adversary, 
and make him less dissatisfied with himself, by every kind 
of civil expression that may be used with truth, such as, 
"you understand the game better than I, but you are a little 
inattentive;" or, "you play too fast;" or, "you had the best 
of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, 
and that turned it in my favour." 

Seventhly, if you are a spectator while others play, ob- 
serve the most perfect silence. For, if you give advice, 
you offend both parties, him against whom you give it, 
because it may cause the loss of his game, him in whose 
favour you give it, because, though it be good, and he fol- 
lows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had 
permitted him to think until it had occurred to himself. 
Even after a move or moves, you must not, by replacing 
the pieces, show how they might have been placed better; 
for that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts 
about their true situation. All talking to the players lessens 
or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing. Nor 
should you give the least hint to either party, by any kind 
of noise or motion. If you do, you are unworthy to be a 
spectator. If you have a mind to exercise or show your 
judgment, do it in playing your own game, when you have 
an opportunity, not in criticizing, or meddling with, or 
counselling the play of others. 

Lastly, if the game is not to be played rigorously, ac- 
cording to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your 



362 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with 
one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage 
offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out 
to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a 
piece in danger and unsupported; .that by another he will 
put his king in a perilous situation, &c. By this generous 
civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) 
you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your oppo- 
nent ; but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, 
and his affection, together with the silent approbation and 
good-will of impartial spectators. 



1025. TO ALEXANDER GILLON l (D. s. w.) 

Passyjulys, 1779 

SIR : I received the Honour of yours dated the 2Qth past. 2 
The Zeal you show for the Relief of Carolina is very laudable ; 
and I wish it was in my Power to second it by complying 
with your Proposition. But the little squadron 3 which 
you suppose to be in my disposition, is not, as you seem to 
imagine, fitted out at the Expence of the United States; 
nor have I any Authority to direct its Operations. It was 
from the beginning destined by the Concerned for a partic- 
ular Purpose. I have only, upon a Request that I could 
not refuse, lent the Alliance to it, hoping the Enterprise may 
prove more advantageous to the Common Cause than her 
Cruise could be alone. I suppose, too, that they are sailed 

1 Commodore of the South Carolina naval forces. 2 In A. P. S. ED. 

8 The fleet at L'Orient. ED. 



1779] 



TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 



363 



before this time. Your other Scheme for raising 1,800,000 
livres by Subscription throughout France, to be advanced 
to the State of S Carolina on an Interest of 7 percent., &c., 
being mixed with a Commercial Plan, is so far out of my 
way, and what I cannot well judge of, but in the present 
Circumstances I should think it not likely to succeed. How- 
ever, as I am charged to procure a Loan for the United 
States at a lower Interest, I can have no hand in encourag- 
ing this particular Loan, as it interferes with the other. 
And I cannot but observe that the Agents from our differ- 
ent States running all over Europe begging to borrow Money 
at high Interest, has given such an Idea of our Poverty 
and Distress as has exceedingly hurt the general Credit, 
and made the Loan for the United States almost imprac- 
ticable. With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1026. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D.S.W.) 

Passy, July 8, 1779 

DEAR JONATHAN, I received yours of the ist and 2d 
Inst. Inclos'd I send as you desire Mr. Lee's original 
Letter declining any farther Concern with the Accounts. 
As it contains some malevolent Insinuations relating to 
them that are groundless, I think it right you should at 
the same time see my Observations on them, in the Drafts 
of a Letter I intended to send him in Answer, but which 
on second thoughts I did not send, merely to avoid a 
continued Altercation, for which I had neither Time nor 
Inclination, and he abundance of both. 



364 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

I am much oblig'd to the Gentlemen who have undertaken 
the Trouble of examining your Accounts, and if they think 
fit to join Commodore Gillon to their Number, and he will 
be so good as to accept, it will be very agreable to me. I 
am sorry that M. Schweighauser declines it, as he was put 
into our Business by Messrs. Lee, and it was therefore I 
nam'd him in the request, tho' not an American. 

I request you would make Inquiry concerning the Com- 
plaints contained in two Papers I inclose, which were handed 
to me from the Spanish Ambassador. 

I suspect that some of the English Cruizers do sometimes 
personate Americans to create Mischief. Let me know if 
such Vessels really went from Nantes. 

I am, your affectionate Uncle. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1027. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D.S.W.) 

Passy, July 8, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your favours of the 2d and 4th Inst. 1 I am 
sorry for the Accidents, that have obliged your little Squad- 
ron to return and refit; but hope all may be for the best. 
Some days since, M. Chaumont handed to me the Substance 
of a Letter in French, which contained Heads of the Instruc- 
tions, that M. de Sartine wish'd me to give you. I had 
them translated, and put into the form of a Letter to you, 
which I signed, and gave back to M. C., who, I suppose, has 
sent it to you. I have no other Orders to give ; for, as the 

1 Both in A. P. S. ED. 



1779] 



TO BARBEU DUBOURG 



365 



Court is at the chief Expence, I think they have the best 
right to direct. 

I observe that you write about a Change of the Destina- 
tion; but, when a thing has been once considered and de- 
termin'd on in Council, they do not care to resume the Con- 
sideration of it, having much Business on hand, and there 
is not now time to obtain a Reconsideration. It has been 
hinted to me, that the Intention of ordering your Cruise to 
finish at the Texel, is with a view of getting out that Ship: 
But this should be kept a Secret. 

I can say nothing about Capt. Landais' Prize. 1 I sup- 
pose the Minister has an account of it, but I have heard 
nothing from him about it. If he reclaims it on account 
of his passport, we must then consider what is to be done. 
I approve of the Careenage proposed for the Alliance, as a 
thing necessary. As she is said to be a remarkable swift 
Sailer, I should hope you might by her means take some 
privateers, and a Number of Prisoners, so as to Continue 
the Cartel, and redeem all our Poor Countrymen. My 
best Wishes ever attend you. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1028. TO BARBEU DUBOURG (D.S.W.) 

Passy, Aug. 13, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, Having begun the affair of our Loan by the 
Means of our friend, M. Ferdinand Grand, banker, Rue 

1 A brigantine belonging to Dublin and bound homewards from Bordeaux 
with a cargo of wine and brandy. The captain had a passport signed by 
M. de Sartine in October, 1778, valid for one voyage only. ED. 



366 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Montmartre, he is in possession of all the Particulars relat- 
ing to it, and can fully satisfy the Curiosity of the Person 
who Enquires thro' you. I need only mention, in answer 
to your eighth Query, that the Money borrow'd being to 
be laid out in France for Arms, Ammunition, Soldier's 
Cloathing, &c., it will not answer our purpose to take any 
Money but such as is current in France, and the Ameri- 
can Paper has no Business here. Those who have brought 
any of it into France except Bills of Exchange have 
committed a folly in exposing their property to two Risques 
for nothing, as it must go back again to find its Value. 

With regard to your proposition concerning your Prop- 
erty in America, I should be glad to assist you in it, but I 
do not conceive it practicable. First, because the Congress 
has no Lands in its Disposition; the vacant Lands are all 
in some or other of the particular States; they dispose of 
them by general Rules; and an application to them for a 
Deviation from those general rules in favour of a particular 
Person will hardly be attended to, for they will apprehend 
that having done it in favour of one they will be urged to 
do it for many, which would be attended with many great 
public Inconveniences. 

I am ever, my dear friend, etc., etc., 

[B. FJ 



1029. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (L. c.) 

Passy, Aug. 19, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just now received your Favour of the lyth. I 
wrote to you a Day or two ago, and have little to add. You 



1779] 



THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 



367 



ask my Opinion, what Conduct the English will probably 
hold on this Occasion, and whether they will not rather 
propose a Negociation for a Peace. I have but one Rule 
to go by in devining of those people, which is, that what- 
ever is prudent for them to do they will omit ; and what is 
most imprudent to be done, they will do it. This like other 
general rules may sometimes have its Exceptions; but I 
think it will hold good for the most part, at least while the 
present Ministry continues, or, rather, while the present 
Madman has the Choice of Ministers. 

You desire to know whether I am satisfied with the Min- 
isters here? It is impossible for anybody to be more so. 
I see they exert themselves greatly in the common Cause, 
and do every thing for us that they can. We can wish for 
nothing more, unless our great Want of Money should 
make us wish for a Subsidy, to enable us to act more vig- 
orously in expelling the enemy from their remaining Posts, 
and reducing Canada. But their own Expences are so 
great, that I cannot press such an Addition to it. I hope, 
however, that we shall get some Supplies of Arms and 
Ammunition, and perhaps, when they can be spar'd, some 
Ships to aid in reducing New York and Rhode Island. 

At present, I know of no good Opportunity of writing to 
America. There are Merchant Ships continually going, 
but they are very uncertain Conveyances. I long to hear 
of your safe Arrival in England ; but the Winds are adverse, 
and we must have Patience. With the sincerest Esteem 
and Respect, I am ever, &c. 

B. [FRANKLIN.] 



368 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

1030. TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BACHE 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, Aug 4 19, 1779. 

MY DEAR CHILD, 

Do not think that I have forgotten you, because I have 
been so long without writing to you. I think of you every 
day, and there is nothing I desire more than to see you 
furnish'd with good Learning, that I may return you to 
your Father and Mother so accomplish'd with such Knowl- 
edge & Virtue as to give them Pleasure, and enable you to 
become an honourable Man in your own Country. I am 
therefore very willing you should have a Dictionary, and 
all such other Books as M. de Marignac 2 or M. Cramer shall 
judge proper for you. Those Gentlemen are very good to 
you and you are I hope very thankful to them, and do every- 
thing chearfully they advise you to do; by so doing you 
will recommend yourself to me, and all good People as well 
as we will love & esteem you for your dutiful Behaviour. 

Your Friends Cochran and Deane are well, Cochran 
gave me a Letter for you a long time since, which I mis- 
laid, but having now found it, I send it inclos'd. The 
Small Pox is in that Pension, and 4 of the Scholars are dead 
of it. I will speak to Cochran to send you their Names. 
He has not yet had it. How happy it is for you that your 
Parents took care to have you inoculated when you were 
an Infant ! Which puts you out of that Danger. Your 
Cousin is well and will write to you and send you the Por- 

1 From a transcript courteously furnished by Mr. Arthur W. Peirce, of 
Franklin, Mass. ED. 

2 His tutor in Geneva. ED. 



1779] 



TO MR. CRAMER 



369 



trait you desire. I heard lately from your Father and Mother 
who were well, as your Brother Will, & little Sister. Pre- 
sent my Respects to M. Cramer, & M. Marignac. I con- 
tinue very well, Thanks to God; and I shall always love 
you very much if you continue to be a good Boy; being 
ever 

Your affectionate Grandfather 

B. F. 

Let me know what you are learning,) 
& whether you begin to draw. ) 



1031. TO MR. CRAMER 1 



Sra, 



Passy, Aug! 19, 1779. 



I have deferred too long acknowledging the Receipt of 
your obliging Letter relating to my Grandson. Your 
favourable account of him gave me a great deal of Pleasure. 
I hope he will not fall much short of your kind Expectations. 
Please to accept my Thanks for your friendly & fatherly 
care of him, and for the Permission you are so good as to 
grant him of visiting in your Family, which I am sure will 
be a great Advantage to him. Tho J at such a Distance 
from me, I feel myself perfectly satisfied respecting him, 
esteeming it a most happy Circumstance for him and me, 

1 From a transcript in the possession of Mr. Arthur W. Peirce, of Franklin, 
Massachusetts. Mr. Cramer was a gentleman of Geneva with whom young 
Bache travelled to Switzerland, and who had a friendly supervision of his 
education. Mme. Cramer (nee de Wenslow) wrote to Franklin May 15, 
1781 (A. P. S.), giving an analysis of the character of Benjamin Franklin 
Bache. ED. 

VOL. VII 2B 



370 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

that you are so good as to take him under your Protection, 
and to inspect his Education. Bills drawn upon me from 
time to time for the Expense of that Education will be punc- 
tually paid : But I can never fully discharge the Obligation 
I am under to your Goodness. With great Esteem & 
Respect, I am, Sir, your most obed* & most humble Serv*. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1032. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (A. p. s.) 

(L. C.) 
Passy, Aug* 24, 1779. 

SIR, 

The Congress, sensible of your Merit towards the United 
States, but unable adequately to reward it, determined to 
present you with a Sword, as a small Mark of their grate- 
ful Acknowledgment. They directed it to be ornamented 
with suitable Devices. Some of the principal Actions of 
the War, in which you distinguished yourself by your Brav- 
ery and Conduct, are therefore represented upon it. These, 
with a few emblematic Figures, all admirably well executed, 
make its principal Value. By the help of the exquisite 
Artists France affords, I find it easy to express every thing 
but the Sense we have of your Worth and our Obligations 
to you. For this, Figures and even Words are found in- 
sufficient. I therefore only add, that with the most perfect 
Esteem and Respect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. My grandson goes to Havre with the sword, and 
will have the honour of presenting it to you. 1 

1 The sword was superbly ornamented with gold relief work by Liger. 
The receipted bill dated August 24, 1779 (A. P. S.) shows the cost to have 



1779] 



TO CHARLES EPP 



371 



1033. FROM THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE TO 
B. FRANKLIN l (A. p. s.) 

At the Havre, 29* August, 1779. 
SIR, 

Whatever expectations might have been rais'd from the sense of past 
favours, the goodness of the United States for me has ever been such, that on 
every occasion it far surpasses any idea I could have conceiv'd. A new proof 
of that flattering truth, I find in the noble present which Congress have been 
pleased to honour me with, and which is offered in such a manner by your 
Excellency, as will exceed any thing but the feelings of my unbounded 
gratitude. 

Some of the devices I can't help finding too honourable a Reward for those 
slight services, which, in concert with my fellow soldiers, and under the god- 
like American hero's orders, I had the good luck to render. The sight of 
these actions, where I was a witness of American Bravery and patriotic spirit, 
I will ever enjoy with that pleasure, which becomes a heart glowing with love 
for the nation, and the most ardent zeal for theyr glory and happiness. 
Assurances of gratitude, which I beg leave to present to your Excellency, are 
much unadequate to my feelings, and nothing but those sentiments may prop- 
erly acknowledge your kindness towards me. 

The polite manner in which Mr. [Temple] Franklin was pleas'd to deliver 
that inestimable sword, lays me under great obligations to him, and demands 
my particular thanks. With the most perfect respect, I have the honor to be, 
Your Excellency's Most obedient humble Servant 

LAFAYETTE. 



1034. TO CHARLES EPP 3 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Au 27, 1779 

SIR, I received the Letter you did me the honour to write 
to me, concerning your Inclination to remove to America* 

been 4800 livres. Lafayette expressed his appreciation of Temple Franklin's 
part in the presentation by appointing him his aide (September, 1779). ED. 

1 The original letter is in A. P. S. ; a copy in Franklin's hand is in 
P. A. E. A contemporary copy made by C W. F. Dumas is in L. C ED. 

* Procureur at Altorff, Switzerland, who wrote to Franklin (July 12, 1779) 
for advice concerning his removal to America. ED. 



372 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

In so great a Country as is at present possess'd by the thir- 
teen United States extending through such different Cli- 
mates, and having such a variety of Soils and Situations, 
there is no doubt but you might, if you were there, find 
one to your Mind. Lands in general are cheap there, com- 
pared with the Prices in Europe. The air is good, there 
are good Governments, good Laws, and good People to 
live with. And as you would probably make a good Citi- 
zen, there is no doubt of your meeting with a Welcome 
among them; But since you are in easy Circumstances 
where you are, and there is no immediate Necessity for 
your Removing, I cannot advise your taking such a Voyage 
with a family in this time, when if taken by the Enemy, 
you might be subject to many Inconveniences. I have the 
honour to be, Sir, etc. B. FRANKLIN. 



1035. TO JOHN D. SCHWEIGHAUSER (D.S.W.) 

Passy, Sept. 17, 1779- 

SIR, I have now before me your favours of July 31 and 
Aug. 19. 

Your testimony with Regard to Mr. Wm. Lee is fully 
sufficient to remove the Suspicion of his Sharing in your 
Commission. I mentioned it, not as a Charge against him, 
but as an Excuse for you; 5 per Cent, being, as I under- 
stood, more than double of what is usual. I could wish I 
had nothing to do with mercantile Business, as I am not 
versed in it. I perceive that you have abated the Com- 
mission on the Delivery of the Tobacco to one per Cent., 



1779] 



TO JOHN D. SCHWEIGHAUSER 



373 



but then that is i per C . paid to your Correspondent, 
and another i per C . for yourself. To me it seems that 
your Commission should be not on the whole Sum, but 
only on what you paid your Correspondent for doing the 
Business; otherwise we pay twice for the same service. 
I must submit, however, to the Custom of Merchants. It 
may be against me, and if it is I suppose it is founded in 
some Reason that at present I am unacquainted with. But 
if these Two Commissions are right, the article for trav- 
elling Charges, 1,024 livres, wants Explanation. 

Notwithstanding what I said relating to such of your Drafts 
as are founded on the part of your Account I have refused 
none, but honoured them all. 

I am satisfy'd with your Reason about the Date of your 
Bills. If I should be at any time so straitned for Money 
when in your Debt, as that a sudden Demand from you 

would be inconvenient to me, I will mention it to , 

and request that your bills may be drawn at one or two 
Usances. 

The Swedish Ambassador has presented a Memorial to 
M. De Vergennes relating to the Prize and the demanded 
Damages. He mentioned that the Swedish People were 
beaten and cruelly treated by ours. This is so contrary 
to our Custom that I can hardly believe it. I must answer 
his memorial, and therefore wish to see again the Papers 
that I may examine them. I think I sent them down to 
you, when I desired you to get some of the Letters trans- 
lated. Please to return them to me, and you shall have 
them again when wanted for the Trial. If you have re- 
ceived the Opinion of the advocate of the Bureau of Prizes, 
which you expected, please to send me a Copy of it. 



374 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 



The two sick Persons who came over among the Pri- 
soners from England should undoubtedly be taken care of 
till they are able to go home. I wish to know their Names, 
and the Parts of America they come from. I have no Ob- 
jection to continuing the allowance to Captain Harris, sup- 
posing that he intends going by the first opportunity. 
Please to present my Compliments to him, and request 
him to inform me about a Trunk belonging to M. Louis 
Dupre*, which was intrusted to his Care, and which is en- 
quired after. 

I thought to have had the Dispatches ready to send by 
Capt. Samson this Day, but there are some Points on which 
I must wait an answer from the Court, in order to send that 
answer in my Letters. This may yet require some days; 
but I think it will not exceed another Week. 

I approve of your assisting the American Prisoners that 
are arrived from Lisbon, in the manner that Mr. Adams 
ordered for those come from England. They were, I be- 
lieve, generally pretty well cloathed by Charities collected 
there. If any of these should be apparently in great want 
of cloathing, it will be well to assist them with what may 
be absolutely necessary in that Article. 

I should think it would be right to discharge Mr. Hill, 
the Surgeon. I am sorry he has been kept so long. In 
my Opinion Surgeons should never be detained as Prisoners, 
as it is their Duty and their Practice to help the sick and 
wounded of either side when they happen to have an Op- 
portunity. They should therefore be considered not as 
Parties in any War, but as friends to Humanity. 

I request you to make enquiry by your Correspondents 
in the Different Ports of Spain, what English Prisoners 



1779] TO PIERRE JEAN GEORGES CABANIS 375 

brought in by the Americans were confined there. When 
you receive answers, please to communicate them to me. 

I inclose you a Copy of what I write to Mr. Williams 
relating to my Orders about the Prisoners. We must not 
regard Reports. 

I have the honour to be, with great Esteem sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

I will transmit to Congress the memoire relating to the 
Baron d'Autroche. 



1036. TO PIERRE JEAN GEORGES CABANIS 1 

k Passy, ce 19 f n '79. 

M? FRANKLIN est facile* d'avoir cause* le moindre tort a 
ces beaux cheveux, qu'il regarde toujours avec Plaisir. 
Si cette Dame aime a passer ses Jours avec lui, il aimerait 
autant a passer ses Nuits avec elle; & comme il lui a deja 
donne* beaucoup de ses jours, quoique il en avait si peu de 
reste a dormer, elle parait ingrate de ne lui avoir jamais 
donne* une seule de ses nuits, qui coulent continuellement 
en pure perte, sans faire le bonheur de personne, a Pexcep- 
tion de Poupon. H Pembrasse neantmoins bien serre- 
ment, parce qu'il Paime innniment malgre* tous ses de*fauts- 
A Monsieur 

Monsieur Cabbanis, pour e"tre 
montre*e a notre Dame 
d'Auteuil. 

1 From the original exhibited" at the Paris Exposition of 1889. Madame 
Helvetius, widow of the well-known philosopher, was the centre of the little 
court of distinguished men, scientists and ardent friends of liberty, who were 



376 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 



1037. TO PIERRE JEAN GEORGES CABANIS 1 

M. FRANKLIN e*tant leve*, lave*, rase*, peigne*, beautifie* & 
son mieux, tout habille* & sur le point de sortir, avec sa 
tte pleine des 4 Mesdames Helvetius, & des doux Baisers 
qu'il propose de leur de"rober, est bien mortine* de trouver 
la Possibility de cette Felicite* remise a Dimanche prochain. 
II prendra autant qu'il peut de Patience, esperant de 
voir une de ces Dames chez M. de Chaumont le Mercredi. 
II sera la a bonne heure, pour la voir entrer avec cette Grace 
& cette Dignite* qui Pont tant charme* il y a sept Semaines 
dans le meme lieu. II projette meme de Parre"ter la & de 
la retenir chez lui pour la vie. Ses trois autres restantes 
a PAuteuil peuvent suffire pour les Serins & les Abbe's. 

A Passy, Dimanche matin. 



1038. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Sept 26, 1779. 
SIR, 

I received yesterday Evening the Letter your Excellency 
did me the honour of writing to me, together with the Pac- 
quet for M. De la Luzerne, which I shall take Care to for- 
ward with my Dispatches. I could have wished it had 
been possible to write something positive to the Congress 

Franklin's intimates during his residence at Passy. By them she was recog- 
nized as their amiable and gracious sovereign, and surnamed " Notre Dame 
d' Auteuil." Cabanis was at this time twenty-two years old. ED. 

1 From the original exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1889. Date 
uncertain, but probably September, 1779. ED. 



1779] 



TO JONATHAN NESBITT 



377 



by this Opportunity, on the Subject of the Supplies they 
have asked, because I apprehend great Inconveniences 
may arise from their being left in a State of Uncertainty 
on that Account, not only as the Hope or Expectation of 
obtaining those Supplies may prevent their taking other 
Measures, if possible, to obtain them, but as the Disappoint- 
ment will give great Advantage to their Enemies, external 
and internal. Your Excellency will be so good as to excuse 
my making this Observation, which is forced from me by 
my great Anxiety on the Occasion. With the greatest 
respect, I am, your Excellency's most obedient & most 
humble Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1039. TO JONATHAN NESBITT 1 (D.S.W.) 

Passy, September 29. 1779 

SIR, Captain Conyngham has not been neglected. 2 As 
soon as I heard of his arrival in England, I wrote to a 
friend to furnish him with what money he might want, and 
to assure him that he had never acted without a Commission. 
I have been made to understand in answer that there is not 
intention to prosecute him, and that he was accordingly 
removed from Pendennis Castle and put among the common 
Prisoners at Plymouth, to take his Turn for Exchange. 
The Congress, hearing of the Threats to sacrifice him, put 
three Officers in close Confinement to abide his fate, and 
acquainted Sir George Collier with their Determination 
who probably wrote to the British Ministers. I thank you 

1 A banker at L'Orient. ED. 

2 See Franklin to Captain Conyngham Nov. 22, 1779. ED. 



378 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

for informing me what became of his first Commission. 1 I 
suppose I can now easily recover it to produce on Occasion. 
Probably the Date of that taken with him being posterior 
to his Capture of the pacquet, made the Enemy think they 
had an Advantage against him. But when the English 
Government have encouraged our Sailors intrusted with 
our Vessels to betray that Trust, run away with the Vessels, 
and bring them into English Ports, giving such Traitors 
the Value, as if good and lawful Prizes, it was foolish Impru- 
dence in the British Commodore to talk of hanging one of 
our Captains for taking a Prize without Commission. 
I have the honour to be, with great esteem, sir, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



SIR, 



1040. TO JAMES LOVELL (D. s. w.) 

Passy, September 30, 1779. 



I have within these few Days received a Number of Dis- 
patches from you which have arrived by the Mercury and 
other Vessels. Hearing but this instant of an Opportunity 
from Bordeaux, & that the Courier sets out from Versailles 
at 5 this Evening, I embrace it just to let you know, that 
I have delivered the Letters from Congress to the King, and 
have laid the Invoices of Supplies desired (with a Transla- 
tion) before the Ministers and, tho' I have not yet receiv'd 
a positive Answer, I have good reason to believe I shall 
obtain most of them, if not all. But, as this Demand will 
cost the Court a vast sum, and their Expences in the War 

1 It was taken from him in Dunkirk after he was put in prison, and sent 
up to Paris. Nesbitt believed it to be " lodged in the hands of Mon" le Comte 
de Vergennes." ED. 



1779] 



TO ARTHUR LEE 



379 



are prodigious I beg I may not be put under the Necessity 
by occasional Drafts on me, of asking for more money than 
is required to pay your Bills for Interest. I must protest 
those I have advice of from Martinique and New Orleans, 
(even if they were drawn by permission of Congress,) for 
want of money; and I wish the Committee of Commerce 
would caution their Correspondents not to embarrass me 
with their Bills. 

I put into my Pocket nothing of the allowance Congress 
has been pleas 'd to make me. I shall pay it all in honouring 
their Drafts and supporting their Credit; but do not let me 
be burthened with supporting the Credit .of every one, who 
has Claims in the Board of Commerce, or the Navy. I 
shall write fully by the Mercury. I send you some of the 
latest Newspapers, and have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1041. TO ARTHUR LEE (D. s. w.) 
Passy, September, 30, 1779. 

SIR, I received but yesterday morning, just as I was 
going out of Town, the Letter you did me the honour of 
writing me, dated the 26th Instant respecting my supplying 
you with Money for your support in Spain. As I cannot 
furnish the Expence, 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 honour to be, sir, your 

most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



380 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

1042. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, October i, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, It is a long time since I did myself the honour 
of writing to you, but I have frequently had the Pleasure of 
hearing of your Welfare. 

Your kindness to my Grandson in offering to take him 
under your Wing in the Expedition is exceedingly obliging 
to me. Had the Expedition gone on, it would have been 
an infinite advantage to him to have been present with you 
so early in Life at Transactions of such vast Importance to 
great Nations. I flatter myself, too, that he might possibly 
catch from you some Tincture of those engaging Manners 
that make you so much the Delight of all that know you. 
Accept, however, my warmest and most grateful acknowl- 
edgments. 

I send you enclosed a Newspaper containing the Par- 
ticulars of Wayne's gallant attack of Stony Point. This is 
good News. But it is follow'd by some bad: the Loss of 
our little Squadron from Boston at Penobscot, which it is 
said our people were obliged to blow up. I hope Count 
d'Estaign's Arrival in America will give us our Revenge. 
Six thousand Troops are ordered to the West Indies to secure 
your Conquests, and I hope, make more. But I do not 
hear of any Intention to send any to our Country. I have 
no Orders to request Troops, but large ones- for Supplies, 
and I dare not take any farther Steps than I have done in 
such a Proposition without Orders. Accept in Behalf of 
the Congress my thankful Acknowledgments for your Zeal 



1779] TO EDWARD BRIDGE!* 381 

to serve America. Occasions may offer which at present do 
not appear, wherein your Bravery & Conduct may be highly 
useful to her. 

May every felicity attend you, is the wish of, dear Sir, 
your affectionate and most obedient Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1043. TO EDWARD BRIDGEN (L. c.) 

Passy, Octo f 2* 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your Favor of the iyth past, 1 and the two Samples 
of Copper are since come to hand. The Metal seems to be 
very good, and the price reasonable; but I have not yet 
received the Orders necessary to justify my making the 
Purchase proposed. There has indeed been an intention 
to strike Copper Coin, that may not only be useful as small 
Change, but serve other purposes. 

Instead of repeating continually upon every halfpenny the 
dull story that everybody knows, (and what it would have 
been no loss to mankind if nobody had ever known,) that 
Geo. Ill is King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, 
&c. &c., to put on one side, some important Proverb of 
Solomon, some pious moral, prudential or economical Precept, 
the frequent Inculcation of which, by seeing it every time one 
receives a piece of Money, might make an impression upon 
the mind, especially of young Persons, and tend to regulate 
the Conduct ; such as, on some, The fear of the Lord is the 
beginning o) Wisdom; on others, Honesty is the best Policy; 
on others, He that by the Plow would thrive, himself must 
UnA.P. S. ED. 



382 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

either hold or drive; on others, Keep thy Shop, and thy Shop 
will keep thee; on others, A penny saved is a penny got; 
on others, He that buys what he has no need of, will soon be 
forced to sell his necessaries; on others, Early to bed and 
early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise; 
and so on, to a great variety. 

The other side it was proposed to fill with good Designs, 
drawn and engraved by the best artists in France, of all the 
different Species of Barbarity with which the English have 
carried on the War in America, expressing every abominable 
circumstance of their Cruelty and Inhumanity, that figures 
can express, to make an Impression on the minds of Pos- 
terity as strong and durable as that on the Copper. This 
Resolution has been a long time forborne; but the late 
burning of defenceless Towns in Connecticut, on the flimsy 
pretence that the people fired from behind their Houses, 
when it is known to have been premeditated and ordered 
from England, will probably give the finishing provocation, 
and may occasion a vast demand for your Metal. 

I thank you for your kind wishes respecting my Health. 
I return them most cordially fourfold into your own bosom. 
Adieu. B. FRANKLIN. 



1044. TO JOHN JAY 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct 4 1779. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excel! 7 did me the honour to 
write to me of the [30] of June last, inclosing Acts of Congress 

1 This letter was addressed to John Jay as President of Congress, but he 
had, at this date, been succeeded by Huntington. ED. 



1779] 



TO JOHN JAY 



383 



respecting Bills of exch. for 2,400,000 Livres tournois, drawn 
on me in favour of M. de Beaumarchais. 1 The Bills have 
not yet appeared, but I shall accept them when they do, 
relying on the Care of Congress to enable me to pay them. 
As to the Accounts of that Gentleman, neither the Commis- 
sioners, when we were all together, nor myself since, have 
ever been able to obtain a Sight of them, though repeatedly 
promis'd ; and I begin to give over all Expectation of them. 
Indeed, if I had them, I should not be able to do much with 
them, or to controvert any thing I might doubt in them, 
being unacquainted with the Transactions and Agreements 
on which they must be founded, and having small Skill in 
Accounts. Mr. Ross and Mr. Williams, pressing me to 
examine and settle theirs, I have been obliged to request 
indifferent Persons, expert in such Business, to do it for me, 
subject to the Revision of Congress; and I could wish that 
my Time and Attention were not taken up by any Concerns 
in mercantile Affairs, and thereby diverted from others more 
important. 

The Letters of Congress to the King were very graciously 
received. I have earnestly press 'd the Supplies desir'd, and 
the Ministers (who are extreamly well disposed towards us) 
are now actually studying the Means of furnishing them. 
The Assistance of Spain is hop'd for. We expect to hear 
from thence in a few days. The Quantity is great, and will 
cost a vast Sum. I have this Day accepted three of your 
Drafts, part of the 360,000 Livres, drawn for on the Qth of 
June ; but, when I ask for Money to pay them, I must men- 
tion, that, as they were drawn to purchase Military Stores, 
an Abatement, equal to the Value, may be made of the 

1 Original letter (June 30) in A. P. S. ED. 



384 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Quantity demanded from hence ; for I am really asham'd to 
be always worrying the Ministers for more Money. And, as 
to the private Loans expected, I wrote in a former letter, that 
our public Credit was not yet sufficiently established, and 
that the Loan in Holland had not exceeded 80,000 Florins, 
to which there has since been no Addition. 

A Mr. Neufville * came from thence to me last Spring, 
proposing to procure great Sums, if he might be employ 'd 
for that purpose, and the Business taken away from the 
House that had commenc'd it. His Terms at first were 
very extravagant, such as that all the Estates real and per- 
sonal in the 13 Provinces should be mortgaged to him; that 
a fifth part of the Capital Sum borrowed should every year, 
for 5 years, be laid out in Commodities, and sent to Holland, 
consign'd to him, to remain in his hands till the term (10 
years) stipulated for final Payment was compleated, as a 
Security for the Punctuality of it, when he was to draw the 
usual ^Commissions ; that all Vessels or Merchandize coming 
from America to Europe should be consign'd to him or his 
Correspondents, &c. &c. As I rejected these with some 
Indignation, he came down to the more reasonable ones of 
doing the Business as it was done by the other House, who, 
he said, could do no more, being destitute of the Interest 
which he possessed. 

I did not care abruptly to change a House, that had in 
other respects been very friendly and serviceable to us, and 
thereby throw a slur upon their Credit, without a Certainty 
of mending our Affairs by it, and therefore told Mr. Neufville, 
that, if he could procure and show me a List of Subscribers, 
amounting to the Sum he mentioned, or near it, I would 

1 Jean de Neufville, merchant of Amsterdam. ED. 



1779] TO JOHN JAY 385 

comply with his Proposition. This he readily and confidently 
undertook to do. But, after three Months, during which he 
acquainted me from time to time, that the favourable Mo- 
ment was not yet come, I received, instead of the Subscrip- 
tion, a new Set of Propositions, among the terms of which 
were an additional one per cent, and a patent from Congress, 
appointing him and his sons "Commissioners jor Trade and 
Navigation, and Treasurers of the General Congress and of 
every private State of the Thirteen United States of North 
America, through the Seven United Provinces," with other 
Extravagancies ; which I mention, that it may be understood 
why I have dropped a Correspondence on this Subject with 
a Man, who seem'd to me a vain Promiser, extreamly self- 
interested, and aiming chiefly to make an Appearance with- 
out Solidity, and who I understand intends applying directly 
to Congress, some of his Friends censuring me as neglecting 
the publick Interest in not coming into his Measures. 

The truth is, I have no expectations from Holland, while 
Interest received there from other Nations is so high, and 
our Credit there so low; while particular American States 
offer higher Interest than the Congress, and even our Offer- 
ing to raise our Interest tends to sink our Credit. My sole 
Dependence now is upon this Court. I think reasonable 
Assistance may be obtain 'd here, but I wish I may not be 
obliged to fatigue it too much with my applications, lest it 
should grow tired of the connection. 

Mr. Ross has lately demanded of me near 20,000 Sterling, 
due to him from the Committee of Commerce, but I have 
been oblig'd to refuse him, as well as an application made 
last week by Mr. Izard for more money, tho' he has already 
had 2500 guineas, and another from Mr. Arthur Lee, tho' 

VOL. VII 2 C 



386 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

he has had 500 Guineas since the News of his being out 
of this Commission. 1 He writes me, that he will return to 
America forthwith, if I do not undertake to supply his Ex- 
pences. As I see no likelihood of his being received at 
Madrid, I could not but approve his Resolution. 

We had reason to expect some great Events from the 
Action of the Fleets this Summer in the Channel; but they 
are all now in Port, without having effected any thing. The 
Junction was late ; and the length of time the Brest Squadron 
was at sea, equal to an East India voyage, partly on the hot 
Spanish Coast, occasion 'd a Sickness among the People, that 
made their Return necessary; they had chas'd the English 
Fleet, which refus'd the Combat. The sick Men are recover- 
ing fast since they were landed : And the proposed Descent 
on England does not yet seem to be quite given up, as the 
troops are not withdrawn from the Ports. 

Holland has not yet granted the Succours required by 
the English, nor even given an Answer to the Requisition 
presented by Sir Joseph York. The Aids will be refused; 
and, as the Refusal must be disagreable, it is postponed 
from time to time. The Expectations of Assistance from 
Russia and Prussia seem also to have fail'd the English; 
and they are as much at a Loss to find effective Friends in 
Europe, as they have been in America. 

Portugal seems to have a better disposition towards us 
than heretofore. About 30 of our People, taken and set 
ashore on one of her Islands by the English, were main- 
tained comfortably by the Governor during their stay there, 
furnish'd with every Necessary, and sent to Lisbon, where, 

1 See " Diplomatic Correspondence " (Sparks), Vol. II, pp. 246, 262, 268, 

272. S. 



I779J 



TO JOHN JAY 



387 



on Enquiring to whom Payment was to be made for the 
Expence they had occasion'd, they were told, that no Reim- 
bursement was expected, that it was the Queen's Bounty, 
who had a Pleasure in showing Hospitality to Strangers in 
Distress. I have presented Thanks, by the Portuguese Am- 
bassador here in Behalf of the Congress ; and I am given 
to understand, that probably in a little time the Ports of that 
Nation will be open to us, as those of Spain. What relates 
to Spain, I suppose Mr. Lee informs you of. 

The Sword ordered by Congress for the Marquis de 
la Fayette being at length finished, I sent it down to him at 
Havre, where he was with the Troops intended for the Inva- 
sion. I wrote a Letter with it, and received an Answer, 
Copies of which I enclose, together with a Description of 
the Sword, and Drawings of the Work upon it, which was 
executed by the best Artists in Paris, and cost altogether 
200 guineas. The Present has given him great Pleasure, 
and some of the Circumstances have been agreable to the 
nation. 

Our Cartel goes on, a second Cargo of American Prisoners, 
1 19 in Number, being arrived and exchanged. Our Priva- 
teers have dismissed a great Number at Sea, taking their 
written Paroles to be given up in Exchange for so many of 
our People in their Gaols. This is not yet quite agreed to 
on the other side; but some Expectations are given me, 
that it may take place. Certainly, Humanity would find 
its Account in the Practice of exchanging upon Parole; as 
all the Horrors of Imprisonment, with the Loss of Time and 
Health, might be prevented by it. 

We continue to insult the Coasts of these Lords of the 
Ocean with our little Cruisers. A small Cutter, which was 



388 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

fitted out as a Privateer at Dunkirk, called the Black Prince, 
Capt. Stephen Manhant, a native of Boston, has taken, 
ransomed, burnt, and destroyed above 30 Sail of their 
Vessels within these 3 Months. The Owners are about to 
give her a Consort, called the Black Princess, for whom they 
ask a Commission. The Prisoners brought in serve to 
exchange our Countrymen, which makes me more willing 
to encourage such Armaments, tho 7 they occasion a good 
deal of Trouble. Captain, now Commodore Jones, put to 
Sea this Summer with a little Squadron, consisting of a Ship 
of 40 guns, the Alliance, another Frigate of 20, with some 
armed Cutters ; all under American Colours, with Congress 
Commissions and manned in part with exchang'd Prisoners. 
He has sent in several Prizes, has greatly alarmed the coasts 
of Ireland and Scotland, and we just now hear, that, going 
North about, he fell in with a Number of Ships from the 
Baltic, convoy 'd by a Fifty- Gun Ship and a 24- Gun Frigate, 
both of which he took, after an obstinate Engagement, and 
forced several of the others ashore. This News is believ'd, 
but we wait the Confirmation and the Particulars. 

The blank Commissions remaining, of those sent to us 
here, are all signed by Mr. Hancock, which occasions some 
Difficulty. If Congress approves of my continuing to issue 
Commissions, I wish to have a fresh Supply, with the other 
necessary Papers, Instructions, Rules, Bonds, &c., of which 
none are now left. 

M. le Comte de Maillebois, esteemed one of the best 
Generals in this Country, and who loves our Cause, has 
given me a Memorial, containing a Project for raising a 
Corps here for your Service, which I promised to lay before 
Congress, and accordingly I enclose a Copy. I know nothing 



TO JOHN JAY 



389 



of the Sentiments of Congress on the Subject of introducing 
Foreign Troops among us, and therefore could give no 
Expectation that the Plan would be adopted. It will, how- 
ever, be a Pleasure to him to know, that his Good Will to 
serve them has been acceptable to the Congress. 

A Major Borre, who has been in America, and some 
other Officers who have quitted our Service in Disgust, 
endeavour to give an Idea, that our Nation do not love the 
French. I take all Occasions to place in View the Regard 
shown by Congress to good French Officers, as a Proof that 
the Slight these Gentlemen complain of is particular to them- 
selves, and probably the effect of their own Misbehaviour. 
I wish for the future, when any of these Sort of People leave 
our Armies to come home, some little Sketch of their Con- 
duct or Character may be sent me, with the real Causes of 
their Resigning or Departure, that I may be the more able 
to justify our Country. 

Here are return 'd in the last Cartel a number of French 
Sailors, who had engaged with Captain Cunningham, were 
taken in coming home with one of his Prizes, and have been 
near two Years in English Prisons. They demand their 
Wages and Share of Prize Money. I send their Claim, as 
taken before the Officers of the Classes at Dunkerque. I 
know nothing of the agreement, they alledge was made with 
them. Mr. Hodge perhaps can settle the Affair, so that they 
may have Justice done them. This sort of things give me 
a great deal of Trouble. Several of those Men have made 
personal Applications to me, and I must hear all their Stories, 
tho j I cannot redress them. I inclose also the Claim of two 
Gunners, upon a Prize made by the Boston, Captain Tucker. 
I am persuaded the Congress wish to see Justice done to the 



390 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

meanest Stranger that has serv'd them. It is Justice that 
establisheth a Nation. 

The Spanish Ambassador here has delivered me several 
Complaints against our Cruisers. I imagine, that all the 
Injuries complain'd of are not justly chargeable to us, some 
of the smaller English Cruisers having pillag'd Spanish 
vessels under American Colours, of which we have Proof 
upon Oath ; and also, that no such American Privateers, as 
are said to have committed these Robberies after coming 
out of Nantes, have ever been known there, or in any other 
Port of France, or even to have ever existed. But, if any of 
the Complaints are well founded, I have assured the Ambas- 
sador that the Guilty will be punished, and Reparation 
made. 

The Swedish Ambassador also complains of the Taking 
a ship of his Nation by Capt. Landais, the Master of which 
lays his Damages at 60,000 livres. I understand it was his 
own Fault that he was stopt, as he did not show his Papers. 
Perhaps this, if proved, may enable us to avoid the Damages. 

Since writing the above, I have received the following 
further particulars of the Action between Commodore Jones 
and the English Men-of-War. The 44-Gun Ship is new, 
having been but 6 Months off the stocks ; she is called the 
Ser aphis; the other of 20 Guns is the Countess of Scar- 
borough. He had before taken a Number of valuable Prizes, 
particularly a rich Ship bound to Quebec, which we suppose 
he may have sent to America. The English, from mistaken 
Intelligence, imagining he had a Body of Troops with him 
to make Descents, have had all their Northern Coasts alarmed, 
and have been put to very Expensive Movements of Troops, 
&c. 



1779] TO JOHN JAY 39I 

The extravagant Luxury of our Country, in the midst of 
all its Distresses, is to me amazing. When the Difficulties 
are so great to find Remittances to pay for the Arms and 
Ammunition necessary for our Defence, I am astonish'd and 
vex'd to find upon Enquiry, that much the greatest Part 
of the Congress Interest Bills come to pay for Tea, and a 
great Part of the Remainder is ordered to be laid out in 
Gewgaws and Superfluities. It makes me grudge the Trouble 
of examining, and entering, and accepting them, which 
indeed takes a great deal of Time. 

I yesterday learned from M. de Monthieu, that every 
thing necessary for equipping two Frigates, of 36 Guns each, 
such as Sailcloth, Cordage, Anchors, &c. &c., which we sent 
to the Congress from hence two years since, remains stored 
in the Warehouses of his Correspondent, Mr. Carrabas, at 
Cape Francois, having never been called for. Probably by 
the miscarriage of Letters, the Navy Board never heard of 
those Goods being there. I shall, nevertheless, leave the 
Application I have lately made for Materials for a Frigate 
of 36 Guns to take its Course. But I send you herewith 
Copies of two Invoices of the Cargo of the Thirlse, one of 
which is what was sent by us, the other by M. de Beau- 
marchais, to the end that Enquiry may be made after the 
whole. 

On this Occasion give me leave to remark, that, of all 
the vast Quantities of Goods we have sent you by many 
different Vessels since my being in France, we never were 
happy enough to receive the least Scrip of Acknowledgment 
that they had ever come to hand, except from Mr. Langdon, 
of a Cargo arrived at Portsmouth, and I think of one more. 
This is doubtless owing to the Interruption Correspondence 



392 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

has met with, and not altogether to Neglect. But, as such 
Advices of Receipt may be made in short Letters, it would 
be well to send more Copies. The following is a matter of 
less Importance. It is two Years, I believe, since I sent the 
Monument of Gen. Montgomery. I have heard that the 
Vessel arriv'd in North Carolina, but nothing more. I 
should be glad to know of its coming to hand, and whether 
it is approved. Here it was admired for the Goodness and 
Beauty of the Marble, and the elegant Simplicity of the Design. 
The Sculptor has had an Engraving made of it, of which I 
enclose a Copy. It was contriv'd to be affix'd to the Wall 
within some Church, or in the great Room where the Congress 
meet. Directions for putting it up went with it. All the 
Parts were well packed in strong Cases. 1 With the greatest 

respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. Oct. 28. I kept the Packet in hopes of sending a 
more explicit Account of what might be expected in regard 
to the Supplies. The Express, which was daily look'd for 
from Spain, when I began this Letter, arrived but a few days 
since. I am now informed, that Court is understood to be 
in Treaty with the Congress in America, to furnish a Sum 
of hard Money there, and, on that Account, excuses itself 
from sharing in the Expence of furnishing these Supplies. 
This has a little derang'd the Measures intended to be taken 
here, and I am now told, that the whole Quantity of Goods 
demanded can hardly be furnished, but that, as soon as the 
Court returns from Marli, the Ministers will consult, and do 
the best they can for us. The arms, I hear, are in hand 

1 This monument is erected in the front of St. Paul's Church, in New 
York. ED. 



1779] TO MRS. ELIZABETH PARTRIDGE 393 

at Charleville. I am unwilling to keep the Packet any 
longer, lest she should arrive on our Coasts too far in the 
Winter, and be blown off. I therefore send away the Dis- 
patches ; but, if I have the Result of the Council in time to 
reach her by the post, I will send it in a separate Letter. 
The hearty Good Will of the Ministry may be depended on ; 
but it must be remembred, that their present Expences are 
enormous. 



1045. TO MRS. ELIZABETH PARTRIDGE 1 (U.OFP.) 

Passy, Oct. u. 1779. 

MRS. PARTRIDGE 

Your kind Letter, my dear Friend, was long in coming ; 
but it gave me the Pleasure of knowing that you had been 
well in October and January last. The Difficulty, Delay & 
Interruption of Correspondence with those I love, is one of 
the great Inconveniencies I find in living so far from home : 
but we must bear these & more, with Patience, if we can; 
if not, we must bear them as I do with Impatience. 

You mention the Kindness of the French Ladies to me. 
I must explain that matter. This is the civilest nation upon 
Earth. Your first Acquaintances endeavour to find out 
what you like, and they tell others. If 'tis understood that 
you like Mutton, dine where you will you find Mutton. 
Somebody, it seems, gave it out that I lov'd Ladies; and 
then every body presented me their Ladies (or the Ladies 
presented themselves) to be embraced, that is to have their 
Necks kiss'd. For as to kissing of Lips or Cheeks it is not 

1 Elizabeth (" Betsey ") Hubbard, a niece of Franklin, married Captain 
Patridge or Partridge, Superintendent of the almshouse in Boston. ED. 



394 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

the Mode here, the first, is reckon'd rude, & the other may 
rub off the Paint. The French Ladies have however 1000 
other ways of rendering themselves agreable ; by their vari- 
ous Attentions and Civilities, & their sensible Conversation. 
'Tis a delightful People to live with. 

I thank you for the Boston Newspapers, tho' I see nothing 
so clearly in them as that your Printers do indeed want new 
Letters. They perfectly blind me in endeavouring to read 
them. If you should ever have any Secrets that you wish 
to be well kept, get them printed in those Papers. You 
enquire if Printers Types may be had here? Of all Sorts, 
very good, cheaper than in England, and of harder Metal. 
I will see any Orders executed in that way that any of your 
Friends may think fit to send. They will doubtless send 
Money with their Orders. Very good Printing Ink is like- 
wise to be had here. I cannot by this opportunity send the 
miniature you desire, but I send you a little Head in China, 
more like, perhaps, than the Painting would be. It may 
be set in a Locket, if you like it, cover' d with Glass, and may 
serve for the present. When Peace comes we may afford to 
be more extravagant. I send with it a Couple of Fatherly 
Kisses for you & your amiable Daughter, the whole wrapt 
up together in Cotton to be kept warm. 

Present my respectful Compliments to Mr Partridge. 
Adieu, my dear Child, & believe me ever 

Your affectionate Papah 






1779] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 395 

1046. TO JOHN PAUL JONES 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 15, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received the Account of your Cruize and Engagement 
with the Serajris, which you did me the honour to send me 
from the Texel. I have since received your Favor of the 
8th, from Amsterdam. For some Days after the Arrival 
of your Express, scarce any thing was talked of at Paris and 
Versailles, but your cool Conduct and persevering Bravery 
during that terrible Conflict. You may believe, that the Im- 
pression on my Mind was not less strong than on that of 
others ; but I do not chuse to say in a letter to yourself all I 
think on such an Occasion. 

The Ministry are much dissatisfied with Captain Landais, 
and M. de Sartine has signified to me in writing that it is 
expected that I should send for him to Paris, and call him 
to Account for his Conduct particularly for deferring so long 
his coming to your Assistance, by which Means, it is sup- 
posed, the States lost some of their valuable Citizens, and 
the King lost many of his Subjects, Volunteers in your Ship, 
together with the Ship itself. 

I have, accordingly, written to him this Day, acquainting 
him that he is charged with Disobedience of Orders in the 
Cruize, and Neglect of his Duty in the Engagement; that, 
a Court-Martial being at this Time inconvenient, if not 
impracticable, I would give him an earlier Opportunity of 

1 This letter is in the Jones Papers (L. C.) endorsed : "A true copy taken 
at L'Orient in August 1780, 

Joseph Wharton Junior." ED. 



396 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

offering what he has to say in his Justification, and for that 
Purpose direct him to render himself immediately here, 
bringing with him such Papers or Testimonies, as he may 
think useful in his Defence. I know not whether he will 
obey my orders, nor what the Ministry will do with him, if 
he comes; but I suspect that they may by some of their 
concise Operations save the Trouble of a Court-Martial. 
It will be well, however, for you to furnish me with what you 
may judge proper to support the Charges against him, that 
I may be able to give a just and clear Account of the Affair 
to Congress. In the mean time it will be necessary, if he 
should refuse to come, that you should put him under an 
Arrest, and in that Case, as well as if he comes, that you 
should either appoint some Person to command his Ship 
or take it upon yourself ; for I know of no Person to recom- 
mend to you as fit for that Station. 

I am uneasy about your Prisoners; I wish they were 
safe in France. 1 You will then have compleated the glorious 
work of giving Liberty to all the Americans that have so long 
languished for it in the British Prisons ; for there are not so 
many there, as you have now taken. 

I have the Pleasure to inform you, that the two Prizes 
sent to Norway are safely arrived at Berghen. With the 
highest Esteem, I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. I am sorry for your Misunderstanding with M. de 
C[haumont], who has a great Regard for you. 

1 The number of prisoners was five hundred and four. S. 



1779] TO CAPTAIN PETER LANDAIS 397 

1047. TO CAPTAIN PETER LANDAIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy Oct. 15, 1779 

SIR, I received the Letter you did me the honour of 
writing me, the 4th Instant, 1 with an Abstract of your journal. 
I thank you for your Care in sending it so early, and I con- 
gratulate you on the Success of your Cruize. 

But I am sorry to find the r 2 are Charges against you for 
disobedience of orders, and also that the ministry here think 
the great loss among the king's subjects, viz., the French 
Volunteers on board the Eon Homme Richard, was owing 
to your not coming up sooner to her assistance, as it is sup- 
posed you might have done. M. de Sartine has in conse- 
quence written to me that it is expected I should cause an 
immediate Enquiry to be made into your Conduct. A 
Court-martial is the regular way, if you choose it: But as 
that may occasion a long Discussion, and be in many respects 
at this time inconvenient to the Service, I have (with the 
advice, too, of your friend M. de Chaumont) thought it 
better to give you an opportunity of justifying yourself, 
both to the Ministry and to me, coming directly to Paris, 
which I do hereby accordingly desire (or, to use a stronger 
Expression, as you may think such necessary to justify 
your leaving your ship, I do require) that you render your- 
self here as soon as possible. I need not advise you to bring 
with you such papers and testimonies as you may think 
proper for your Justification, and will only add that you 
iln A. P. S. ED. 



398 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

may be sure of finding in me every disposition to do that 
justice of your Character which it shall appear to merit. 
I have the honour to be, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1048. TO THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE NAVY 
FOR THE EASTERN DEPARTMENT, BOSTON 

(D. s. w.) 
Passy, October 17, 1779, 

GENTLEMEN, I received the Letters you did me the 
honour of writing to me the 3Oth of July and i8th of August 
last, by the Mercury Packet-Boat and by a French Cutter, 
the other Dispatches Capt. Samson was entrusted with, 
came all safe to hand; and I should have dispatched him 
sooner if I had not found it necessary to detain him in order 
to send by him to Congress some Advices of Importance 
which could not be sooner obtained. 

The Cruise of our little American Squadron, under Com- 
modore Jones, intended partly to intercept the Baltic Trade, 
has had some Success, tho' not all that was hoped for. The 
Coasts of Britain and Ireland have been greatly alarmed, 
apprehending Descents, it being supposed that he had land 
forces with him. This has put the Enemy to much Expence 
in marching Troops from place to place. Several valuable 
Prizes have been made of Merchant-Ships, particularly two, 
one from London 300 Tons and 84 men, with 22 Guns, 
laden with naval Stores for Quebec; the other from Liver- 
pool bound to New York and Jamaica, of 22 Guns and 87 
men, laden with provisions and Bale Goods. These two 



1779] TO THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE NAVY 399 

are safely arrived at Bergen, in Norway ; two smaller Prizes 
are arrived in France, and a Number of Colliers have been 
burnt or ransomed. The Baltic fleet was met with, and the 
two Men-of-War who convoyed them, viz., the Serajris, 
a new ship of 44 Guns, and the Countess of Scarborough, 
of 20 Guns are taken after a long and bloody engagement, 
and are brought into the Texel. But the merchant-Ships 
escaped during the conflict, for which the Alliance and one 
of the other Ships are blamed, whether justly or not may 
be enquired into. Our Commodore's ship was so shat- 
ter'd that she could not be kept afloat, and the People being 
all taken out of her, she sank the Second Day after the En- 
gagement. The rest of the Squadron are refitting in the 
Texel, from which neutral Place they will be obliged soon to 
depart with their prizes and Prisoners, near 400. I wish 
they may arrive safe in France, for I suppose the English 
will endeavour to intercept them. Jones's Bravery and 
Conduct in the Action has gain'd him great honour. 

I condole with you on the Loss of our Armament against 
Penobscot, but I suppose the Sugar Ships since taken and 
brought into your Port have more than compensated the 
Expence, tho' not the disappointment of the well intended 
Expedition. The Congress write for Naval Stores. I have 
acquainted them that I have lately been informed that Stores 
for fitting out two 36 Gun frigates, which we bought here 
and sent out two Years ago are still lying in the Warehouses 
of M. Carrabas, at Cape Francois, having been forgotten 
there or never sent for. Perhaps you may obtain them. 
The Quebec Ship, if we can get her safe home, will afford 
large supply. 

I am much oblig'd to you for the Newspapers. I shall 



400 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKUN [1779 

direct M r ' Schweighauser to send you an account of the 
advances made to the officers of the Alliance, if he has not 
already done it. 
With great Respect, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1049. TO JAMES LOVELL (u. OF p.) 

(L. C.) 

Passy, Oct 17, 1779. 
SIR, 

The foregoing is a Copy of my last. I have now before 
me your several Favours therein mentioned, viz. of June 13, 
July 9 and 16, and Aug. 6. I received the Journals of 
Congress from January i to June 12, which you took care 
to send me: But the vols. i. & 2. which you mention*, 
are not yet come to hand. I hear they are at Madrid. 
I know not how they came there, nor how well to get 
them from thence. Perhaps you can easier send me 
another Set. 

As I hear of the arrival of the Chev* de la Luzerne, by whom 
I wrote a long Letter to your Committee, I presume you have 
received it, and that it is not necessary to send more Copies. 
By this Opportunity I write largely to the President. You 
ask, "Will no one, under a Commission from the United 
States," 1 &c. Inclosed I send you a Copy of the Instructions 
I gave to Commodore Jones, when it was intended to send 
with him some Transports and Troops to make Descents 
in England. Had not the Scheme been altered by the general 

1 Lovell asked (July 16, 1779), " Will no one under a Commission from 
these United States retaliate on the Coasts of England for the Burning of our 
beautiful Fairfield ? " - ED. 



17791 



TO JAMES LOVELL 



401 



one of a grand Invasion, I know he would have endeavoured 
to put some considerable Towns to a high Ransom, or have 
burnt them. He saiFd without the Troops, but he never- 
theless would have attempted Leith, and went into the Firth 
of Edinburgh with that Intention, but a sudden hard gale 
of Wind forc'd him out again. The late Provocations by 
the Burning of Fairfield and other Towns, added to the pre- 
ceding, have at length demolished all my Moderation; and, 
were such another Expedition to be concerted, I think so 
much of that Disposition would not appear in the Instruc- 
tions. But I see so many Inconveniencies in mixing the 
two Nations together, that I cannot encourage any farther 
Proposal of the kind. This has ended better than I ex- 
pected; and yet a mortal Difference has arisen between 
Captains Jones and Landais, that makes me very uneasy 
about the Consequences. I send you the Journal of the 
Cruise. 

I am glad to understand, that Congress will appoint some 
Person here to audit our Accounts. Mine will give but 
little Trouble, and I wish much to have them settled. And, 
for the future, I hope I shall have none to settle but what 
relate to my Expences. 

The Quarrel you mention, between Mr. Deane and Mr. 
Lee, I have never meddled with, and have no Intention to 
take any Part in it whatever. I had and still have a very 
good opinion of Mr. Deane, for his Zeal and Activity in the 
Service of his Country ; I also thought him a man of Integrity. 
But if he has embezzled publick Money, or traded with it 
on his private Account, or employed it in Stockjobbing, 
all which I understand he is charg'd with, I give him up. 
As yet, I think him innocent. But he and his Accusers 



VOL. VII 2 D 



402 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

are able to plead their own Causes, and Time will show 
what we ought to think of them. 1 

I send you with this, a Piece written by a learned Friend 
of mine on the Taxation of Free States, which I imagine may 
give you some Pleasure. Also a late Royal Edict, for abol- 
ishing the Remains of Slavery in this Kingdom. Who would 
have thought, a few years since, that we should live to see 
a king of France giving freedom to Slaves, while a king of 
England is endeavouring to make Slaves of Freemen. 

There is much Talk all over Europe of an approaching 
Peace by the mediation of Russia and Holland. I have no 
Information of it to be depended on, and believe we ought 
to lay our Account on another Campaign, for which I hope 
you will receive in time the Supplies demanded. Nothing 
is wanting on my Part to forward them: And I have the 
satisfaction to assure you, that I do not find the Regard of 
this Court for the Congress and its Servants in any respect 



1 Lovell defended Lee against the charges made by Deane. He wrote to 
Franklin (Aug. 6, 1779) : " You will long ere now have seen the Use which 
has been made of my letter to you respecting Mr. Deane's Recall. I at least 
made a Show of a Disposition to befriend him. I really had such a Disposi- 
tion : and, early on his arrival, let him know what had grounded that Proceed- 
ing of Congress in hope that he would not be driven by a false Jealousy which 
he discovered so as to suffer Wreck upon the Quicksands of Indiscretion. All 
my Aim was in vain. He has been borne head long. His Publication of 
Dec' 5 has in my opinion, totally ruined his claims to any public trust on the 
ground of his Stability in Affaires. And, however you may not discover the great 
Malignity of his Innuendoes, you cannot but see & own that his Peice contains 
downright lies, which must be pointed out to the Public, who have not yet your 
good Grounds for Conviction. There is not a single Circumstance which is 
mentioned against M Lee that is supported except his not having the Confi- 
dence of the french Court. The Ministers must have been Angels of Light not 
to have conceived Prejudices in Consequence of the indefatigable Arts of one 
who thought himself ' saddled ' when a Colleague of Sense Honor and Integ- 
rity was given to him by Congress." (A. P. S.) ED. 



1779] 



TO JONATHAN LORING AUSTIN 



403 



diminished. We have just heard from Norway, that two 
of the most valuable Prizes taken by the Alliance, Captain 
Landais, in the Squadron of Commodore Jones, are safe 
arrived at Bergen, viz. the Ship from London to Quebec, 
laden with Naval Stores, and that from Liverpool to New 
York and Jamaica. They were Letters of Marque, of 22 guns 
and 84 men each ; I wish we may get them safe to America. 
The Squadron itself is got into Holland, with the two Prize 
Men-of-War, where they are all refitting. Great Damage 
has been done to the English Coal Trade, and 400 Prisoners 
have been taken, which will more than redeem the rest of 
our People from their Captivity in England, if we can get 
them safe from Holland to France; but I suppose the Eng- 
lish will endeavour to intercept us, and recover their Ships, 
if possible. With great Esteem for yourself and the Com- 
mittee, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1050. TO JONATHAN LORING AUSTIN (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 20, 1779. 

SIR: I received your several favours of June 10, July 
12 and 27. 1 It gave me Pleasure to hear of your safe arrival 
in your native Country, and I am obliged to you for the 
Intelligence your Letters contain, which I hope you will 
continue, and for the Newspapers. This Campaign in 
Europe has not been so active as was expected, owing to 
contrary Winds and other accidents, which a long time 
prevented the junction of the French and Spanish fleets, 

1 The letters of June 10 and July 27 are in A. P. S. ED. 



404 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

and afterward the meeting with that of the English. But 
something may yet be done before Winter. The American 
Flag has, however, disturbed the British Coasts, interrupted 
their home trade a good deal, and alarmed them with appre- 
hensions of Descents in different places : Our little Squadron, 
under Commodore Jones, has also lately taken two of their 
men-of-War and brought them to Holland with near 400 
Prisoners, which will be a means, I hope, of delivering the 
rest of our Countrymen who are confined in English Prisons. 
Here is nothing worth your Acceptance that one can pro- 
pose to you. I wish you Success in any Business you may 
undertake, being with much Regard, sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

My Grandson presents his Respects. 



1051. TO M. STADEL (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 20, 1779. 

SIR : I received the Letter you did me the honour of 
writing to me, enclosing a Project of raising a Regiment for 
the Service of the United States, of which you desire my 
Sentiment. 1 The Congress, I believe, have never had any 
Intention of raising Troops in Europe and transporting them 
to America; the Expence would be too great for them, and 
the Difficulty extreme, as the English command their seas, 
and would often intercept their transports. And having 
myself no Orders relative to such an Object that might au- 
thorise me to encourage the project, I cannot give the least 

1 The letter and "project," bearing date October 20, 1779, are in A. P. S. 
ED. 



1779] TO COMMERCIAL COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS 405 

Expectation that it would be accepted. We are, neverthe- 
less, oblig'd to the Officer for his friendship in making the 
proposition, and I request that my thanks, in behalf of my 
country may be presented to him. 
I have the honour to be, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1052. TO THE COMMERCIAL COMMITTEE OF 
CONGRESS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 21, 1779 

GENTLEMEN, I received the honour of yours dated the 
2ist of July, containing an Extract from Mr. Pollock's Letter 
to you, in which he mentions his Drafts on Mr. Delap for 
10,897 Dollars, and his Expectation that in case of any dif- 
ficulty I will see those Bills paid. 1 I should certainly do 
every thing in my power to support the Credit of the States, 
and every Person acting under their authority: But I have 
been so exhausted by great and unexpected Drafts and Ex- 
pences that I am glad those Bills have never been proposed 
to me, as I could not have taken upon myself to pay them. 
And I beg that you would not in future have any dependance 
of that kind upon me without knowing beforehand from me 
that I shall be able to pay what is desired. I hope you will 
excuse my giving this Caution, which is forc'd from me by 
the Distress and Anxiety such occasional and unforeseen 
demands have occasioned me. 

I have the honour to be, gentlemen, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Oliver Pollock, merchant, made a claim upon Congress in 1786 for the 
payment of these unpaid bills. The drafts had been drawn upon Samuel and 
J. H. Delap, U.S. commercial agents at Bordeaux. ED. 



406 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

1053. TO A FRIEND IN AMERICA 1 

Passy, October 25, 1779. 

1 RECEIVED your kind letter of February i4th, the 

contents of which gave me a kind of melancholy satisfaction. 
The greater ease you will now enjoy makes some compen- 
sation in my mind for the uncomfortable circumstance that 
brought it about. I hope you will have no more affliction 
of that kind, and that, after so long and stormy a day, your 
evening may be serene and pleasant. 

The account you have had of the vogue I am in here has 
some truth in it. Perhaps few strangers in France have 
had the good fortune to be so universally popular; but the 
story you allude to, mentioning "mechanic rust," is totally 
without foundation. But one is not to expect being always 
in fashion. I hope, however, to preserve, while I stay, the 
regard you mention of the French ladies; for their society 
and conversation, when I have time to enjoy them, are ex- 
tremely agreeable. 

The enemy have been very near you indeed. When only 
at the distance of a mile, you must have been much alarmed. 
We have given them a little taste of this disturbance upon 
their own coasts this summer; and, though we have burnt 
none of their towns, we have occasioned a good deal of terror 
and bustle in many of them, as they imagined our Commodore 
Jones had four thousand troops with him for descents. 

I am glad to learn that my dear sister continued in good 

1 From "A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of 
Benjamin Franklin" (Sparks), Boston, 1833, p. 171. ED. 



1779] T0 SAMUEL COOPER 407 

health, and good spirits, and that she had learnt not to be 
afraid of her friend, fresh air. With the tenderest affection, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1054. TO SAMUEL COOPER (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 27, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

It is a long time since I have had the Pleasure of hearing 
from you. The Intelligence you were us'd to favour me 
with was often useful to our Affairs. I hope I have not lost 
your Friendship, together with your Correspondence. Our 
excellent Mr. Winthrop, 1 1 see, is gone. He was one of those 
old Friends, for the sake of whose Society I wish'd to return 
and spend the small Remnant of my Days in New England. 
A few more such Deaths will make me a Stranger in my 
own Country. The Loss of Friends is the Tax a man pays 
for living long himself. I find it a heavy one. 

You will see by the Newspapers that we have given some 
Disturbance to the British Coasts this Year. One little 
Privateer out of Dunkerque, the Black Prince, with a Con- 
gress commission, and a few Americans mix'd with Irish 
and English smugglers, went round their Islands and took 
37 Prizes in less than 3 Months. The little Squadron of 
Commodore Jones, under the same Commission and Colours, 
has alarmed those Coasts exceedingly, occasioned a good 
deal of internal Expence, done great Damage to their Trade, 
and taken two Frigates, with 400 Prisoners. He is now 
with his principal Prizes in Holland, where he is pretty well 

1 John Winthrop died May 3, 1779. ED. 



4o8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

receiv'd, but must quit that neutral Country as soon as his 
Damages are repaired. The English watch with a superior 
Force his coming out, but we hope he will manage so as to 
escape their Vigilance. Few Actions at Sea have demon- 
strated such steady, coojy determined Bravery, as that of 
Jones in taking the Serapis. 

There has been much Rumour this Summer throughout 
Europe, of an approaching Peace, thro' the Mediation of 
Russia and Holland ; but it is understood to arise from the 
Invention of Stockjobbers and others interested in propagat- 
ing such an opinion. England seems not to be yet sufficiently 
humbled, to acknowledge the Independence of the American 
States, or to treat with them on that Footing ; and our Friends 
will not make a Peace on any other. So we shall probably 
see another Campaign, $ 

By the Invoices I have seen and heard of, sent hither with 
Congress Interest Bills of Exchange to purchase the Goods, 
it should seem that there is not so great a want of Necessaries 
as of Superfluities among our People. It is difficult to con- 
ceive that your Distresses can be great, when one sees that 
much the greatest Part of that Money is lavished in Modes, 
Gewgaws, and Tea! Is it impossible for us to become 
wiser, when by simple Economy, and avoiding unnecessary 
Expences, we might more than defray the Charge of the War. 
We export solid Provision of all kinds, which is necessary 
for the Subsistence of Man, and we import Fashions, Lux- 
uries, and Trifles. Such Trade may enrich the Traders, 
but never the Country. 

The Good Will of all Europe to our Cause as being the 
Cause of Liberty, which is the Cause of Mankind, still con- 
tinues, as does the universal Wish to see the English Pride 



1779] TO JEAN HOLKER 409 

humiliated, and their Power curtailed. Those Circumstances 
are encouraging, and give hopes of a happy Issue. Which 
may God grant, and that you, my Friend, may live long a 
Blessing to your Country. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1055. TO JEAN HOLKER 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 28, 1779 

DEAR SIR : Inclos'd I send you a Packet I have just 
received from Morlaix, containing some of the Papers you 
requested me to recover, and a Receipt for the Rest. 2 You 
will see what M5 Diot says about the Trunks of Clothes. 
It will be best, I imagine, for the person who desires to have 
them, if he knows which they are, to describe them to M. Diot 
or some other Person, and order them to be bid for at the 
Sale. I received a quantity of apple Gelly, but no Letter. 
If it was for me, 1000 Thanks to good Mad 6 Holker. I am 

ever, my dear friend, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1056. TO MESSRS. FIZEAUX AND GRAND (D. s. w.) 

Passy, October 28, 1779. 

GENTLEMEN, I have advice from England that eight boxes 
of printing Characters are sent from London to your care for 

1 Merchant at Rouen, and French consul-general in the United States. 
ED. 

2 Holker had written on behalf of a Mrs. Bullen who had " been took by 
the Black Prince and lost some Bonds and Affects the Vallue of which she 
esteems at 50, pounds, and offers that sum to have them back " (October 2, 
1779). ED. 



410 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

me. If they are arrived, I request you would ship them 
to Rouen, addressed to M. Holker there. I suppose you 
have Dutch Vessels frequently going there. Their value 
is about 100 sterling, which I desire you to get insured, 
Whatever charges you are at I shall repay, with thanks. 
I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1057. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (L. c.) 

Passy, Nov. 9. 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have received several kind Letters from you, which I 
have not regularly answered. They gave me however great 
Pleasure, as they acquainted me with your Welfare, and that 
of your Family and other Friends ; and I hope you will con- 
tinue writing to me as often as you can do it conveniently. 

I thank you much for the great Care and Pains you have 
taken in regulating and correcting the Edition of those Papers. 
Your Friendship for me appears in almost every Page ; and 
if the Preservation of any of them should prove of Use to 
the Publick, it is to you that the Publick will owe the Obliga- 
tion. In looking them over, I have noted some Faults of 
Impression that hurt the Sense, and some other little Matters, 
which you will find all in a Sheet under the title of Errata. 
You can best judge whether it may be worth while to add 
any of them to the Errata already printed, or whether it 
may not be as well to reserve the whole for Correction in 
another Edition, if such should ever be. Inclos'd I send a 
more perfect copy of the Chapter?- 

1 "The Parable against Persecution;" Vaughan had reprinted it from Lord 
Kames's version. ED. 



1779] 



TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 



411 



If I should ever recover the Pieces that were in the Hands 
of my Son, and those I left among my Papers in America, 
I think there may be enough to make three more such 
Volumes, of which a great part would be more interest- 
ing. 

As to the Time of publishing, of which you ask my Opinion 
I am not furnish 'd with any Reasons, or Ideas of Reasons, 
on which to form any Opinion. Naturally I should suppose 
the Bookseller to be from Experience the best Judge, and 
I should be for leaving it to him. 

I did not write the Pamphlet you mention. I know noth- 
ing of it. I suppose it is the same, concerning which Dr. 
Priestley formerly asked me the same Question. That 
for which he took it was intitled, A Dissertation on Liberty 
and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain, with these Lines in the 

TitlePage. 1 

" Whatever is, is right. But purblind Man 
Sees but a part o' the Chain, the nearest Link ; 
His Eye not carrying to that equal Beam, 
That poises all above. 1 ' 



DRYDEN. 



London, Printed M.D.C.C.X.X.V. 






It was addressed to Mr. J. R., that is, James Ralph, then 
a youth of about my age, and my intimate friend ; afterwards 

1 Vaughan in a letter dated July 30, 1779, asked Franklin: " Pray did you 
write a piece on Liberty & Necessity, printed for Shackford or Shuckurgh in 
1729 or 1739, with a dedication to truth ; the burthen of the piece being that 
the mind was acted upon by ideas, as body was by matter ; and an analysis of 
the mind's operations was there given out ? The piece was short." Priestley 
made a similar inquiry (May 8, 1779) : "I have just seen but have had no 
opportunity to read, a pamphlet in favour of the doctrine of Necessity printed, 
I think, in 1729, and dedicated to Truth. Is this the tract you told me you 
wrote, and could not procure me a copy of ? I cannot help being desirous of 
knowing this circumstance." ED. 



412 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

a political writer and historian. The purport of it was to 
prove the doctrine of fate, from the supposed attributes of 
God; in some such manner as this: that in erecting and 
governing the world, as he was infinitely wise, he knew what 
would be best; infinitely good, he must be disposed, and 
infinitely powerful, he must be able to execute it : consequently 
all is right. There were only an hundred copies printed, 
of which I gave a few to friends, and afterwards disliking 
the piece, as conceiving it might have an ill tendency, I burnt 
the rest, except one copy, the margin of which was filled 
with manuscript notes by Lyons, author of the Infallibility 
of Human Judgment, who was at that time another of my 
acquaintance in London. I was not nineteen years of age 
when it was written. In 1730, I wrote a piece on the other 
side of the question, which began with laying for its founda- 
tion this fact: "That almost all men in all ages and coun- 
tries, have at times made use of prayer." Thence I reasoned, 
that if all things are ordained, prayer must among the rest 
be ordained. But as prayer can produce no change in 
things that are ordained, praying must then be useless and 
an absurdity. God would therefore not ordain praying if 
everything else was ordained. But praying exists, therefore 
all things are not ordained, etc. This pamphlet was never 
printed, and the manuscript has been long lost. The great 
uncertainty I found in metaphysical reasonings disgusted 
me, and I quitted that kind of reading and study for others 
more satisfactory. 

I return the Manuscripts you were so obliging as to send 
me; I am concerned at your having no other copys, I hope 
these will get safe to your hands. I do not remember the 
Duke de Chaulnes showing me the Letter you mention. 



1779] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 4I3 

I have received Dr. Crawford's book, but not your Abstract, 
which I wait for as you desire. 1 

I send you also M. Dupont's Table Economique, which 
I think an excellent Thing, as it contains in a clear Method 
all the principles of that new sect, called here les Economises * 

Poor Henley's 3 dying in that manner is inconceivable to 
me. Is any Reason given to account for it, besides insanity ? 

Remember me affectionately to all your good Family, 
and believe me, with great Esteem, my dear Friend, yours, 
most sincerely, B. FRANKLIN. 

1 " The manuscripts " were three articles by Vaughan on Jamaica, Vapour, 
and the vis inertia. 

" The letter " was sent to the Due de Chaulnes by Mr. Vaughan and was 
cut from the Public Advertiser, giving an account of Wilson's electrical ex- 
periments. 

" Dr. Crawford's book " was " Experiments and Observations on Animal 
Heat, and the Inflammation of Combustible Bodies," by Adair Crawford, 
1779. ED. 

2 Vaughan wrote to Franklin September 21, 1779: " I am very much dis- 
tressed by not having M. Dupont's table or map of the System of the CEcono- 
mistes, which you had the goodness to promise to procure for me. I could not 
get it myself, nor by any of the very various people I have made use of. I 
therefore again have recourse to you." ED. 

* William Henley or Henly (Franklin spells it in the former way, Vaughan in 
the latter), F.R.S., electrician, inventor of the electrometer, destroyed himself in 
the summer of 1779. Vaughan wrote to Franklin (September 20, 1779) : " Mr. 
Henly certainly cut his throat most deliberately. His family endeavoured to 
talk him into quiet, but in vain : He cut the veins with a pen-knife." ED. 



414 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN- FRANKLIN [1779 
1058. THE WHISTLE 1 

TO MADAME BRILLON 

Passy, November 10, 1779. 

I RECEIVED my dear friend's two letters, one for Wednes- 
day and one for Saturday. This is again Wednesday. I 
do not deserve one for to-day, because I have not answered 
the former. But, indolent as I am, and averse to writing, 
the fear of having no more of your pleasing epistles, if I 
do not contribute to the corre pondence, obliges me to take 
up my pen ; and as Mr. B. has kindly sent me word, that 
he sets out to-morrow to see you, instead of spending this 
Wednesday evening as I have done its namesakes, in your 
delightful company, I sit down to spend it in thinking of 
you, in writing to you, and in reading over and over again 
your letters. 

I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with 
your plan of living there ; and I approve much of your con- 
clusion, that, in the mean time, we should draw all the good 
we can from this world. In my opinion, we might all draw 
more good from it than we do, and suffer less evil, if we would 
take care not o give too much for whistles. For to me it 
seems, that most of the unhappy people we meet with, are 
become so by neglect of that caution. 

You ask what I mean? You love stories, and will excuse 
my telling one of myself. 

When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on 

1 See Vol. I, Introduction, p. 189-195. ED. 



1779] THE WHISTLE 415 

a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly 
to a shop where they sold toys for children; and, being 
charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way 
in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave 
all my money for one. I then came home, and went whis- 
tling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but 
disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and 
cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I 
had given four times as much for it as it was worth ; put me 
in mind what good things I might have bought with the 
rest of the money ; and laughed at me so much for my folly, 
that I cried with vexation ; and the reflection gave me more 
chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure. 

This however was afterwards of use to me, the impression 
continuing on my mind ; so that often, when I was tempted 
to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give 
too much for the whistle; and I saved my money. 

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions 
of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave 
too much for the whistle. 

When I saw one too ambitious of court favour, sacrificing 
his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his 
virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to 
myself, This man gives too much for his whistle. 

When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employ- 
ing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and 
ruining them by that neglect, He pays, indeed, said I, too 
much for his whistle. 

If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable 
living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem 
of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, 



416 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man, said I, you 
pay too much jor your whistle. 

When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every 
laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere 
corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, 
Mistaken man, said I, you are providing pain jor yourself, 
instead of pleasure; you give too much jor your whistle. 

If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine houses, 
fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which 
he contracts debts, and ends his career in a prison, Alas! 
say I, he has paid dear, very dear, jor his whistle. 

When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl married to 
an ill-natured brute of a husband, What a pity, say I, that 
she should pay so much jor a whistle I 

In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of man- 
kind are brought upon them by the false estimates they 
have made of the value of things, and by their giving too 
much jor their whistles. 

Yet I ought to have charity for these unhappy people, 
when I consider, that, with all this wisdom of which I am 
boasting, there are certain things in the world so tempting, 
for example, the apples of King John, which happily are not 
to be bought ; for if they were put to sale by auction, I might 
very easily be led to ruin myself in the purchase, and find 
that I had once more given too much for the whistle. 

Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours very 
sincerely and with unalterable affection, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1779] TO GIAMBATISTA BECCARIA 4I? 

1059. FROM MLLE. LE VEILLARD TO 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Dreux 18 Novembre 1779. 

Vous souvient-il, Monsieur, d'avoir demande a ce que vous appellez votrc 
enfant une petite lettre pendant son sejour a Dreux? II est trop bon a vou 
de vouloir bien qu'elle vous occupe d'elle, mais c'est bien peu pour elle de ne 
pouvoir que vous 6crire; car en conscience elle aimeroit infiniment mieux 
vous voir et mSme vous embrasser, quoique vous disiez qu'elle ne le fasse pas 
de bonne grace; savez-vous que vous 8tes quelquefois tres injuste vis a vi 
de moi? vous savez sans doute un grand nombre de choses, vous avez beau- 
coup voyage; vous connaissez les hommes, mais vous n'etes jamais entre dans 
la te"te d'une fille francaise; eh bien! je vais vous dire leur secret; quand 
vous voulez en embrasser une, et qu'elle pretend que cela ne lui fait pas de 
peine, c'est-a-dire que cela luy fait plaisir, a present je vous ai dit le fin de la 
chose, j'espere que vous ne me ferez plus de mauvaises querelles; ne m'en 
faites pas non plus de ne vous avoir pas ecrit plutSt. 

Adieu, Monsieur, vous m'avez dit que lorsque vous m'ecririez que vous 
m'aimez un peu y cela voudrait dire beaucoup. Moi je vous dis que je vous 
aime beaucoup, j'espere que vous n'en conclurez pas que je vous aime un peu. 
Ce seroit encore une injustice a vous, et je vous assure que mon beaucoup est 
a prendre dans toute sa valeur. 

Bien des compliments a M* votre petit fils, si cela ne le chagrine pas trop; 
j'ai 1'honneur d'etre, Monsieur, votre tres humble et tres obeissante servante 

LEVEILLARD. 1 



1060. TO GIAMBATISTA BECCARIA 1 (L.C.) 

Passy, Nov. 19, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, 

Having some time since heard of your Illness with great 
Concern, it gave me infinite Pleasure to learn this Day from 

1 Daughter of Franklin's friend and neighbour at Passy. ED. 

2 This letter, translated into Italian by Prospero Balbo, was published 
in "Memorie istoriche intorno gli studi del Padre GiambatisU Beccaria" 
(Turin, 1783), p. 151. ED. 

VOL. VII 2 E 



418 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

M. Chantel, (who did me the honour of a Visit,) that you were 
so far recovered as to be able to make little Excursions on 
Horseback. I pray God that your Convalescence may be 
quick and perfect, and your Health be again firmly estab- 
lished. Science would lose too much in losing one so zealous 
and active in its Cause, and so capable of accelerating its 
Progress and augmenting its Dominions. 

I find myself here immers'd in Affairs, which absorb my 
Attention, and prevent my pursuing those Studies in which 
I always found the highest Satisfaction ; and I am now grown 
so old, as hardly to hope for a Return of that Leisure and 
Tranquillity so necessary for Philosophical Disquisitions. 
I have, however, not long since thrown a few Thoughts on 
Paper relative to the Aurora Borealis, which I would send 
you, but that I suppose you may have seen them in the Jour- 
nal of 1'Abbe* Rozier. If not I will make out a Copy, and 
send it to you ; perhaps with some Corrections. 

Every thing of your Writing is always very welcome to 
me; if, therefore, you have lately published any new Ex- 
periments or Observations in Physicks, I shall be happy to 
see them, when you have an Opportunity of sending them 
to me. With the highest Esteem, Respect, and Affection, 
I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 

1061. TO CAPTAIN CONYNGHAM 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Nov. 22, 1779 

SIR, It gave me great Pleasure to hear of your Escape out 
of Prison, which I first learnt from 6 of the Men who broke 

1 Captain Gustavus Conyngham, commander of an American cutter, Revenge, 
was taken by the Galatea in the spring of 1779. He notified Franklin by 



1779] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 419 

out with you and came to France in a Boat. I was anxious 
lest you should be retaken, and I am very glad indeed to 
hear of your safe Arrival at Amsterdam. I think it will 
be best for you to stay awhile at Dunkirk, till we see what 
becomes of the little Squadron from Holland, for which it 
is said the English are lying in wait with a superior force. 
The Congress resented exceedingly the inhuman Treatment 
you met with, and it ordered three English officers to be 
confined in the same manner, to abide your fate. 

There are some Frenchmen returned to Dunkirk who 
were put by you into one of your first Prizes, which was 
afterwards carried into England. I wish you would adjust 
their Claims of Wages, Prize-Money, &c., and put them 
in a way of getting what may be due to them. 

I write to M. Coffyn * by this Post to supply you with 
Necessaries. You will be as frugal as possible, Money be- 
ing scarce with me and the Calls upon me abundant. 

With great Esteem, I have, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1062. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Dec. 6. 1779. 

SIR, As the arrangements that M. le Due de la Vauguyon, 
Ambassador of the King in Holland, must make with the 
States- General, for the free Departure from the Texel of 

letter from Amsterdam (November 18, 1779) that on the 3d of November, 
with about fifty of his countrymen, he had broken out of Mill Prison: "The 
treatment I have received is unparalleled Irons, Dungeons, hunger, the 
hangman's Cart I have experienced." ED. 

1 Francis Coffyn, a merchant of Dunkirk. ED. 



420 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

the French and American Vessels assembled there, may 
require that the English Prisoners taken in Merchant Ships, 
and at present on board the Alliance ', should be in the Dis- 
position of the Ambassador, I do hereby desire and order, 
that the said Prisoners be sent on board the Pallas and the 
Vengeance whenever M. le Due de la Vauguyon shall re- 
quire it. With much Esteem and best Wishes for your 
Prosperity, I have the honour to be, sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1063. TO ANDRES PEDER, COUNT BERNSTORFF 1 

(L. C.) 
Passy near Paris, Dec. 22. 1779. 

SIR, 

I have received a Letter from M. de Chezaulx, Consul 
of France at Berghen in Norway, acquainting me, that 
two Ships, viz. the Betsey and the Union, Prizes taken from 
the English on their Coasts by Captain Landais, commander 
of the Alliance Frigate, appertaining to the United States 
of North America, which Prizes having met with bad 
Weather at Sea, that had damaged their Rigging and occa- 
sioned Leaks, and being weakly manned had taken Shelter 
in the supposed neutral Port of Berghen, in order to repair 
their Damages, procure an additional Number of Sailors, 
and the necessary Refreshments; that they were in the 
said Port enjoying, as they conceived, the common Rights 
of Hospitality, established and practised by civilized Na- 

1 Count Bernstorff (i735~i797)> Minister of Foreign Affairs in Denmark 
(1772-1780), was a member of the Danish branch of the ancient and illustri- 
ous Austrian family of Bernstorff, which in the eighteenth century gave three 
distinguished statesmen to Denmark. ED. 



1779] TO ANDRES PEDER, COUNT BERNSTORFF 421 






tions, under the care of the above said Consul, when, on the 
28th of October last, the said Ships, with their Cargoes and 
Papers, were suddenly seized by Officers of his Majesty, 
the King of Denmark, to whom the said Port belongs; 
the American Officers and Seamen turned out of their Pos- 
session, and the whole delivered to the English Consul. 

M. de Chezaulx has also sent me the following as a Trans- 
lation of his Majesty's Order, by which the above Proceed- 
ings are said to be authorized, viz. "The English minister 
having insisted on the restitution of two vessels, which had 
been taken by the American privateer called the Alliance^ 
commanded by Captain Landais, and which were brought 
into Berghen, viz. the Betsey of Liverpool, and the Union 
of London, his Majesty has granted this demand on this 
account, because he has not as yet acknowledged the inde- 
pendence of the colonies associated against England, and 
because that these vessels for this reason cannot be consid- 
ered as good and lawful prizes. Therefore, the said two 
ships shall be immediately liberated, and allowed to depart 
with their cargoes." By a subsequent Letter from the 
same Consul, I am informed, that a third Prize belonging 
to the said United States, viz. the Charming Polly, which 
arrived at Berghen after the others, has also been seized 
and delivered up in the same Manner; and that all the 
People of the three Vessels, after being thus stript of their 
Property (for every one of them had an Interest in the 
Prizes), were turn'd on shore to shift for themselves, with- 
out Money, in a strange Place, no Provision being made 
for their Subsistence, or for sending them back to their 
Country. 

Permit me, Sir, to observe on this Occasion, that the 



422 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

United States of America have no War but with the English ; 
they have never done any Injury to other Nations, particu- 
larly none to the Danish Nation; on the contrary, they are 
in some degree its Benefactors, as they have opened a Trade 
of which the English made a Monopoly, and of which the 
Danes may now have their Share, and, by dividing the 
British Empire, have made it less dangerous to its Neigh- 
bours. They conceiv'd, that every Nation whom they had 
not offended was by the Rights of Humanity their Friend ; 
they confided in the Hospitality of Denmark, and thought 
themselves and their Property safe when under the roof of 
his Danish Majesty. But they find themselves stript of 
that Property, and the same given up to their Enemies, 
on this Principle only, that no Acknowledgment had yet 
been formally made by Denmark of the Independence of 
the United States ; which is to say, that there is no Obliga- 
tion of Justice towards any Nation with whom a Treaty, 
promising the same, has not been previously made. This 
was indeed the Doctrine of ancient Barbarians, a Doctrine 
long since exploded, and which it would not be for the 
Honour of the present Age to revive; and it is hoped that 
Denmark will not, by supporting and persisting in this De- 
cision, obtained of his Majesty apparently by Surprise, be 
the first Modern Nation that shall attempt to revive it. 1 



1 "The ancients," says Vattel, "did not conceive themselves bound under 
any obligation towards a people with whom they were not connected by a 
treaty of friendship. At length the voice of nature was heard by civilized 
nations; they acknowledged all mankind as brothers." An injustice of the 
same kind, done a century or two since by some English in the East Indies, 
Grotius tells us, " was not without its partisans, who maintained, that by the 
ancient laws of England, no one was liable to punishment in that kingdom 
for outrages committed against foreigners, when no treaty of alliance had been 



1779] TO ANDRES PEDER, COUNT BERNSTORFF 423 

The United States, oppressed by, and in War with, one 
of the most powerful Nations of Europe, may well be sup- 
pos'd incapable in their present Infant State of exacting 
Justice from other Nations not disposed to grant it; but 
it is in human Nature, that Injuries as well as Benefits 
receiv'd in Times of Weakness and Distress, national as 
well as personal, make deep and lasting Impressions; and 
those Ministers are wise, who look into Futurity and quench 
the first Sparks of Misunderstanding between two Nations, 
which, neglected, may in time grow into a Flame, all the 
consequences whereof no human Prudence can foresee, 
which may produce much Mischief to both, and cannot 
possibly produce any Good to either. I beg leave, thro 1 
your Excellency, to submit these Considerations to the 
Wisdom and Justice of his Danish Majesty, whom I infi- 
nitely respect, and who, I hope, will reconsider and repeal 
the Order above recited; and that, if the Prizes, which I 
hereby reclaim in behalf of the United States of America, 
are not actually gone to England, they may be stopt and 
re-delivered to M. de Chezaulx, the Consul of France at 
Berghen, in whose Care they before were, with Liberty to 
depart for America when the Season shall permit. But, 
if they should be already gone to England, I must then claim 
from his Majesty's Equity the Value of the said three prizes, 
which is estimated at 50,000 sterling, but which may be 
regulated by the best Information that can by any means 
be obtained. With the greatest Respect, I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN.* 

contracted with them." But this principle he condemns in the strongest 
terms. " History of the Troubles in the Netherlands," Book xvi. F. 

1 The answer to this letter is in L. C. (in French) endorsed by Franklin 



424 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 



1064. TO JOSHUA JOHNSON (D.S.W.) 

Passy,Dec. 29, 1779. 

SIR : I am much obliged by your kind Attention in send- 
ing me from time to time the American Newspapers that 
have come to your hands. Please to accept my thankful 
Acknowledgments. 

"Danish Minister's letter in Answer to my Memorial." The following is a 
translation of the letter : 

Copenhagen, March 8, 1780. 
" SIR, 

Were you a person less known and respected, I should have been quite at 
a loss on the subject of the letter, which I have had the honour of receiving 
from you, which did not come to hand till the 3ist of January. I should have 
considered it as a measure calculated to place us under a new embarrassment 
as painful as the first; but there is no fear nor risk with such a sage as you 
are, Sir, generally respected by that universe which you have enlightened, 
and known for that prevailing love for truth which characterizes the good man 
and the true philosopher. These are the titles, which will transmit your name 
to the remotest posterity, and in which I am particularly interested at the 
time, when the situation of affairs imposes on me the necessity of divesting 
myself of every public character, in writing to you, and only to aspire at 
appearing to you what I truly am, the earnest friend of peace, truth, and 
merit. 

" This mode of thinking not only decides my personal sentiments with 
respect to you, but also those I have respecting the unfortunate affair, which 
you have thought fit to mention to me, and which, from its commencement, 
has given me the utmost pain. You will readily agree with me, Sir, in grant- 
ing, that there are perplexing situations in which it is impossible to avoid 
displeasing one party. You are too equitable not to enter into ours. There 
would be no consolation in such cases, nor would the persons who have been 
led into them ever be forgiven, were it not that opportunities sometimes 
present themselves of being heard, and preventing in future such essential 
embarrassments. 

" The Baron de Blome will speak to you in confidence, and with the utmost 
freedom on this subject; and, if my wishes can be accomplished, I shall be 
recompensed for all my pains, and there will only remain the agreeable recol- 
lection of having had the satisfaction of assuring you, from under my hand, of 
that perfect esteem with which I have the honour of being, Sir, &c. 

" BERNSTORFF." 



1779] TO JOSHUA JOHNSON 425 

I have the Pleasure now to acquaint you that tho' my 
Application, at your Request, for Arms or a Loan of Money 
for your Province in particular was not attended with suc- 
cess, the Opinion here being (as I think I formerly wrote 
you), that all such Applications should regularly come 
thro' the Congress; yet, an aid being now lately granted to 
that Body for the whole, there is no doubt but Maryland 
will obtain its share of what shall arrive in America. 

If I have not corresponded with you so punctually as 
you might expect, and as I could have wished to do, I pray 
you to excuse me. I have had too much Business, with too 
little Help. The constant expectation of a Secretary, who 
had long been voted, but did not arrive, prevented my en- 
gaging such assistance as I wanted, and I have not been 
able by increased Application to supply the Deficiency. 

I do not understand that by the Treaty of Alliance be- 
tween France and America, an American taking a house 
and settling in France to carry on Business is exempted 
from the Duties & Services that would have been required 
of a Native of France inhabiting the same house. The 
droit d'aubaine is indeed abolished in our favour, but in other 
Respects I should suppose that Americans settled here, as 
well as Frenchmen settled in America, must, while they 
live as Inhabitants, be subject to the Laws of the respective 
Countries of which they at the same time claim and enjoy 
the Protection. I am sorry, however, that you find this 
so Inconvenient as to induce you to quit the kingdom. Par- 
ticular Circumstances may have occasioned the Quartering 
of Soldiers on the Inhabitants last year, which in time of 
Peace, may rarely happen. 

With great Esteem, etc. [B. F.] 



APPENDIX 
1065. THE LORD'S PRAYER 

OLD VERSION 

1. Our Father which art in Heaven, 

2. Hallowed be thy Name. 

3. Thy Kingdom come. 

4. Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

5. Give us this Day our daily Bread. 

6. Forgive us our Debts as we forgive our Debtors. 

And lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from 
Evil. 

NEW VERSION BY B. F. 

1. Heavenly Father, 

2. May all revere thee, 

3. And become thy dutiful Children and faithful Subjects. 

4. May thy Laws be obeyed on Earth as perfectly as they 

are in Heaven. 

5. Provide for us this Day as thou hast hitherto daily done. 

6. Forgive us our Trespasses and enable us likewise to for- 

give those that offend us. 

7. Keep us out of Temptation, and deliver us from Evil. 

Reasons jor the Change of Expression 

Old Version. Our Father which art in Heaven. 
New V. Heavenly Father, is more concise, equally expres- 
sive, and better modern English. 
427 



428 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Old V. Hallowed be thy Name. This seems to relate 
to an Observance among the Jews not to pronounce 
the proper or peculiar Name of God, they deeming it a 
Profanation so to do. We have in our Language no 
proper Name for God; the Word God being a common 
or general Name, expressing all chief Objects of Worship, 
true or false. The Word hallowed is almost obsolete. 
People now have but an imperfect Conception of the 
Meaning of the Petition. It is therefore proposed to 
change the expression into 

New V. May all revere thee. 

Old V. Thy Kingdom come. This Petition seems suited 
to the then Condition of the Jewish Nation. Origi- 
nally their State was a Theocracy. God was their King. 
Dissatisfied with that kind of Government, they desired 
a visible earthly King in the manner of the Nations round 
them. They had such Kings accordingly; but their 
Offerings were due to God on many Occasions by the 
Jewish Law, which when People could not pay, or had 
forgotten as Debtors are apt to do, it was proper to pray 
that those Debts might be forgiven. Our Liturgy uses 
neither the Debtors of Matthew, nor the indebted of Luke, 
but instead of them speaks of those that trespass against us. 
Perhaps the Considering it as a Christian Duty to forgive 
Debtors, was by the Compilers thought an inconvenient 
Idea in a trading Nation. There seems however some- 
thing presumptuous in this Mode of Expression, which has 
the Air of proposing ourselves as an Example of Goodness 
fit for God to imitate. We hope you will at least be as 
good as we are; you see we forgive one another, and 
therefore we pray that you would forgive us. Some have 



1779] THE LOR&S PRAYER 429 

considered it in another sense, Forgive us as we forgive 
others; i.e. If we do not forgive others we pray that thou 
wouldst not forgive us. But this being a kind of con- 
ditional Imprecation against ourselves, seems improper 
in such a Prayer; and therefore it may be better to say 
humbly & modestly 

New V. Forgive us our Trespasses, and enable us 
likewise to forgive those that offend us. This instead of 
assuming that we have already in & of ourselves the 
Grace of Forgiveness, acknowledges our Dependance on 
God, the Fountain of Mercy for any Share we may have 
in it, praying that he would communicate of it to us. 

Old V. And lead us not into Temptation. The Jews had 
a Notion, that God sometimes tempted, or directed or 
permitted the Tempting of People. Thus it was said he 
tempted Pharaoh; directed Satan to tempt Job; and a 
false Prophet to tempt Ahab, &c. Under this Persuasion 
it was natural for them to pray that he would not put 
them to such severe Trials. We now suppose that Temp- 
tation, so far as it is supernatural, comes from the Devil 
only, and this Petition continued conveys a Suspicion 
which in our present Conception seems unworthy of God, 
therefore might be altered to 

New V. Keep us out of Temptation. Happiness was not 
increas'd by the Change, and they had reason to wish 
and pray for a Return of the Theocracy, or Government of 
God. Christians in these Times have other Ideas when 
they speak of the Kingdom of God, such as are perhaps 
more adequately expressed by 

New V. And become thy dutiful Children & faithful 
Subjects. 



430 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

Old y. Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

New V. May thy Laws be obeyed on Earth as perfectly 
as they are in Heaven. 

Old V. Give us this Day our daily Bread. Give us 
what is ours, seems to put us in a Claim of Right, and to 
contain too little of the grateful Acknowledgment and 
Sense of Dependance that becomes Creatures who live 
on the daily Bounty of their Creator. Therefore it is 
changed to 

New V. Provide for us this Day, as thou hast hitherto daily 
done. 

Old V. Forgive us our Debts as we forgive our Debtors. 
Matthew. 

Forgive us our Sins, for we also forgive every one that 
is indebted to us. Luke. 



1066. THE LEVEE 

IN the first chapter of Job we have an account of a trans- 
action said to have arisen in the court, or at the levee, of 
the best of all possible princes, or of governments by a 
single person, viz. that of God himself. 

At this levte, in which the sons of God were assembled, 
Satan also appeared. 

It is probable the writer of that ancient book took his 
idea of this levte from those of the eastern monarchs of the 
age he lived in. 

It is to this day usual at the levees of princes, to have 
persons assembled who are enemies to each other, who seek 
to obtain favor by whispering calumny and detraction, and 



1779] THE LEVEE 



43i 



thereby ruining those that distinguish themselves by their 
virtue and merit. And kings frequently ask a familiar ques- 
tion or two, of every one in the circle, merely to show their 
benignity. These circumstances are particularly exemplified 
in this relation. 

If a modern king, for instance, finds a person in the circle 
who has not lately been there, he naturally asks him how 
he has passed his time since he last had the pleasure of 
seeing him? the gentleman perhaps replies that he has been 
in the country to view his estates, and visit some friends. 
Thus Satan being asked whence he cometh? answers, 
"From going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and 
down in it." And being further asked, whether he had con- 
sidered the uprightness and fidelity of the prince's servant 
Job, he immediately displays all the malignance of the de- 
signing courtier, by answering with another question : " Doth 
Job serve God for naught? Hast thou not given him im- 
mense wealth, and protected him in the possession of it? 
Deprive him of that, and he will curse thee to thy face." 
In modern phrase, Take away his places and his pensions, 
and your Majesty will soon find him in the opposition. 

This whisper against Job had its effect. He was delivered 
into the power of his adversary, who deprived him of his 
fortune, destroyed his family, and completely ruined him. 

The book of Job is called by divines a sacred poem, and, 
with the rest of the Holy Scriptures, is understood to be 
written for our instruction. 

What then is the instruction to be gathered from this 
supposed transaction? 

Trust not a single person with the government of your 
state. For if the Deity himself, being the monarch may for 



432 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

a time give way to calumny, and suffer it to operate the 
destruction of the best of subjects; what mischief may you 
not expect from such power in a mere man, though the best 
of men, from whom the truth is often industriously hidden, 
and to whom falsehood is often presented in its place, by 
artful, interested, and malicious courtiers? 

And be cautious in trusting him even with limited powers, 
lest sooner or later he sap and destroy those limits, and 
render himself absolute. 

For by the disposal of places, he attaches to himself all 
the placeholders, with their numerous connexions, and also 
all the expecters and hopers of places, which will form a 
strong party in promoting his views. By various political 
engagements for the interest of neighbouring states or princes, 
he procures their aid in establishing his own personal power. 
So that, through the hopes of emolument in one part of his 
subjects, and the fear of his resentment in the other, all 
opposition falls before him. 



1067. PROPOSED NEW VERSION OF THE BIBLE 

To THE PRINTER OF *** 
SIR, 

It is now more than one hundred and seventy years since 
the translation of our common English Bible. The language 
in that time is much changed, and the style, being obsolete, 
and thence less agreeable, is perhaps one reason why the 
reading of that excellent book is of late so much neglected. 
I have therefore thought it would be well to procure a new 
version, in which, preserving the sense, the turn of phrase 



1779] PROPOSED NEW VERSION OF THE BIBLE 433 

and manner of expression should be modern. I do not 
pretend to have the necessary abilities for such a work 
myself; I throw out the hint for the consideration of the 
learned; and only venture to send you a few verses of the 
first chapter of Job, which may serve as a sample of the 
kind of version I would recommend. 

A. B. 

PART OF THE FIRST CHAPTER OF JOB MODERNIZED 



OLD TEXT 

Verse 6. Now there was a day 
when the sons of God came to pre- 
sent themselves before the Lord, and 
Satan came also amongst them. 

7. And the Lord said unto Satan, 
Whence comest thou ? Then Satan 
answered the Lord, and said, From 
going to and fro in the earth, and 
from walking up and down in it. 

8. And the Lord said unto Satan, 
Hast thou considered my servant Job, 
that there is none like him in the 
earth, a perfect and an upright man, 
one that feareth God, and escheweth 
evil ? 

9. Then Satan answered the Lord, 
and said, Doth Job fear God for 
naught ? 

10. Hast thou not made an hedge 
about his house, and about all that 
he hath on every side ? Thou hast 
blessed the work of his hands, and 
his substance is increased in the land. 

11. But put forth thine hand now, 
and touch all that he hath, and he 
will curse thee to thy face. 



NEW VERSION 

Verse 6. And it being Uvie day in 
heaven, all God's nobility came to 
court, to present themselves before 
him ; and Satan also appeared in the 
circle, as one of the ministry. 

7. And God said to Satan, You 
have been some time absent ; where 
were you ? And Satan answered 
I have been at my country-seat, and 
in different places visiting my friends. 

8. And God said, Well, what 
think you of Lord Job ? You see 
he is my best friend, a perfectly 
honest man, full of respect for me, 
and avoiding every thing that might 
offend me. 

9. And Satan answered, Doe 
your Majesty imagine that his good 
conduct is the effect of mere personal 
attachment and affection ? 

10. Hare you not protected him, 
and heaped your benefits upon him, 
till he is grown enormously rich ? 

11. Try him; only withdraw 
your favor, turn him out of his places, 
and withhold his pensions, and you 
will soon find him in the opposition. 



434 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 



1068. A MONSIEUR L'ABBE DE LA ROCHE, 
A AUTEUIL 

J'AI parcouru, mon cher ami, le petit livre de po&ies de 
M. Helv6tius, dont vous m'avez fait cadeau. Le po&ne sur 
le Bonheur m'a donne* beaucoup de plaisir, et m'a fait res- 
souvenir d'une petite chanson a boire, que j'ai faite il y a 
quarante ans sur le m&ne sujet, et qui avoit a-peu-pres le 
mtoe plan, et plusieurs des m&nes pense*es, mais bien 
densement exprime'es. La void. 

Singer 

Fair Venus calls ; her voice obey, 
In beauty's arms spend night and day. 
The joys of love all joys excel, 
And loving's certainly doing well 

Chorus 
Oh ! no ! 
Not so ! 

For honest souls know, 
Friends and a bottle still bear the bell. 

Singer 

Then let us get money, like bees lay up honey; 
We'll build us new hives, and store each cell. 
The sight of our treasure shall yield us great pleasure; 
We'll count it, and chink it, and jingle it well. 

Chorus 
Oh! no! 
Not so ! 

For honest souls know, 
Friends and a bottle still bear the bell. 

Singer 

If this does not fit ye, let's govern the city, 

In power is pleasure no tongue can tell; 

By crowds though you're teased, your pride shall be pleased, 

And this can make Lucifer happy in hell ! 



1779] * MONSIEUR UABBE DE LA ROCHE 435 

Chorus 
Oh ! no ! 

Not so ! 

For honest souls know, 

Friends and a bottle still bear the belt 

Singer 

Then toss off your glasses, and scorn the dull uses, 
Who, missing the kernel, still gnaw the shell; 
What's love, rule, or riches? Wise Solomon teaches, 
They're vanity, vanity, vanity still. 

Chorus 
That's true ; 
He knew; 

He'd tried them all through; 
Friends and a bottle still bore the bell 

C'est un chanteur, mon cher Abb6, qui exhorte ses com- 
pagnons de chercher le bonheur dans V amour, dans les richesses 
et dans le pouvoir. Ils re*pliquent, chantant ensemble, que 
le bonheur ne se trouve pas en aucunes de ces choses, et 
qu'on ne le trouve que dans les amis et le vin. A cette posi- 
tion, le chanteur enfin consent. La phrase "bear the bell" 
signifie en Francois remporter le prix. 

J'ai sou vent remarque*, en lisant les ouvrages de M. Helve"- 
tius, que quoique nous e*tions n& et eleves dans deux pays si 
e*loign& Tun de Pautre, nous nous sommes rencontre's souvent 
dans les m&nes penses; et c'est une reflexion bien flatteuse 
pour moi, que nous avons aime* les monies Etudes, et autant 
que nous les avions connus, les m&nes amis, 1 et la meme 
femme* 

Adieu ! mon cher ami, &c. B. F. 

1 Messrs. Voltaire, Hume, Turgot, Marmontel, d'Holbach, Le Roy, le 
Abbes Morellet et la Roche, &c. &c. W. T. F. 
8 Madame Helvetius. 



436 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

1069. A MONSIEUR L'ABBE MORELLET 

Passy, le***- 

Vous m'avez souvent e*gay6, mon tres-cher ami, par vos 
excellences chansons a boire; en e*change, je desire vous 
diner par quelques reflexions Chr&iennes, morales et 
philosophiques, sur le me"me sujet. 

In vino veritas, dit le sage. La verite est dans le vin. 
Avant Noe* done, les hommes, n'ayant que de 1'eau a boire, 
ne pouvoient pas trouver la ve'rite'. Ainsi ils s'e*garerent, ils 
devinrent abominablement me*chants, et ils furent justement 
extermine*s par I'eau qu'ils aimoient a boire. 

Ce bon-homme Noe*, ayant vu que par cette mauvaise bois- 
son tous ses contemporains avoient pe*ri, le prit en aversion ; 
et Dieu, pour le desalt e*rer, cre*a la vigne, et lui reVela Tart d'en 
faire du vin. Par 1'aide de cette liqueur, il de*couvrit maintes 
et maintes ve*rite*s; et depuis son temps, le mot "dewwer" 
a 6t6 en usage, signifiant originairement decouvrir par le 
moyen du VIN. Ainsi le patriarche Joseph pr&endoit dewwer 
au moyen d'une coupe ou verre de VIN ; * liqueur qui a recu 
ce nom pour marquer qu'elle n^toit pas une invention 
humaine, mais divine, (autre preuve de 1'antiquite* de la 
langue Franfoise, contre M. Gobelin.) 2 Aussi, depuis ce 
temps, toutes les choses excellentes, m&ne les D^it^s, ont 
i appele*es divines ou diwwit^s. 

On parle de la conversion de 1'eau en vin, a la noce de 

1 L'orateur Remain, qui est bien connu par ses mauvaises poesies, d'etre 
un buveur d'eau, confesse francbement, dans son livre De Divmatione, qu'il 
ne savoit pas dcviner. " Quid fiitur urn sit non divmo." AUTHOR. 

2 Autbor of " Le Monde primitif compare au Monde moderne" 



1779] * MONSIEUR LAB BE MORELLET 437 

Cana, comme d'un miracle. Mais cette conversion est faite 
tous les jours, par la bonte* de Dieu, sous nos yeux. Voilk 
Peau qui tombe des cieux sur nos vignobles, et alors elle 
entre dans les racines des vignes pour 6tre changed en vin; 
preuve constante que Dieu nous aime, et qu'il aime a nous 
voir heurcux. Le miracle particulier a &6 fait seulement 
pour hater Pope'ration, dans une circonstance de besoin 
soudain, qui le demandoit. 

II est vrai que Dieu a aussi instruit les hommes a re*duire 
le vin en eau. Mais quelle espece d'eau? C'est l'eau-de- 
vie. Et cela, afin que par-la ils puissent, au besoin, faire 
le miracle de Cana, et convertir Peau ordinaire en cette 
espece excellente de vin, qu'on appelle punch! 

Mon frere Chretien, soyez bienveillant et bienfaisant 
comme lui, et ne gatez pas son bon ouvrage. II a fait le vin 
pour nous re^ouir. Quand vous voyez votre voisin a table 
verser du vin dans son verre, ne vous hatez pas a y verser 
de Peau. Pourquoi voulez-vous noyer la virile? II est 
vraisemblable que votre voisin sait mieux que vous ce qui 
lui convient. Peut-6tre il n'aime pas Peau ; peut-6tre il ne 
veut mettre que quelques gouttes, par complaisance pour la 
mode; peut-e'tre il ne veut pas qu'un autre observe combien 
peu il en met dans son verre. Done, n'offrez Peau qu'aux 
enfans; c'est une fausse politesse, et bien incommode. Je 
vous dis ceci comme homme du monde ; et je finirai, comme 
j'ai commence*, en bon Chretien, en vous faisant une obser- 
vation religieuse bien importante, et tire*e de PEcriture 
Sainte ; savoir que Pap6tre Paul conseilloit bien se'rieusement 
k Timothe'e de mettre du vin dans son eau pour la sante*; 
mais que pas un des apdtres, ni aucuns des saints peres, 
n'ont jamais conseilld de mettre de Veau dans le vin I 

B. F. 



438 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

P. S. Pour vous confirmer encore plus dans votre piete 
et reconnoissance a la Providence Divine, re*fle*chissez sur la 
situation qu'elle a donne'e au coude. Vous voyez aussi que 
les animaux qui doivent boire Peau qui coule sur la terre, 
s'ils ont des jambes longues, ont aussi un cou long, afin qu'ils 
puissent atteindre leur boisson sans la peine de se mettre k 
genoux. Mais 1'homme, qui e*toit destine a boire du vin, 
doit etre en etat de porter le verre a sa bouche. Si le coude 
avoit e*te* place* plus pres de la main, la partie d'avant auroit 
e*te" trop courte pour approcher le verre de la bouche ; et s'il 
avoit te* place* plus pres de Pe*paule, la partie seroit si longue 
qu'il porteroit le verre au-dela de la tete. Ainsi nous aurions 
e*te* tantalises. Mais par la presente situation du coude nous 
sommes en e*tat de boire a notre aise ; le verre venant juste- 
ment a la bouche. Adorons done, le verre a la main, cette 
sagesse bienveillante ! Adorons, et buvons I 



1070. SOME DIRECTIONS FOR THE DRAWING 
OUT THE TONE FROM THE GLASSES OF 
THE ARMONICA (A. p. s.) 

BEFORE you sit down to play, the Fingers should be well 
wash'd with Soap and Water, and the Soap well rins'd off. 

The Glasses must be always kept perfectly clean from the 
least Greasiness; therefore suffer nobody to touch them 
with unwash'd hands; for even the common slight natural 
Greasiness of the Skin rubbed on them will prevent their 
sounding for a long time. 

You must be provided with a Bottle of Rain Water, 
(Spring Water is generally too hard and produces a harsh 



I779J TONE FROM GLASSES OF ARMONICA 439 

Tone,) and a middling Spunge in a little Slop- Bowl, in which 
you must keep so much of the Water that the Spunge may 
be always very wet. 

In a TeaCup keep also ready some fine scrap M Chalk, 
free from grit, to be us'd on occasion. 

The Fingers when you begin to play should not only be 
wet on the Surface, but the Skin a little soak'd, which is 
readily done by pressing them hard a few Times in the 
Spunge. 

The first Thing after setting the Glasses in motion is to 
pass the Spunge slowly along from the biggest Glass to 
the smallest, suffering it to rest on each Glass during at 
least one Revolution of the Glasses, whereby they will all 
be made moderately wet. If too much Water is left on them, 
they will not sound so readily. 

If the Instrument is near a Window, let the Window be 
shut or the Curtain drawn," as Wind or Sunshine on the 
Glasses dries them too fast. 

When these Particulars are all attended to, and the Direc- 
tions observed, the Tone comes forth finely with the slightest 
Pressure of the Fingers imaginable, and you swell it at 
pleasure by adding a little more Pressure, no Instrument 
affording more Shades, if one may so speak, of the Forte 
and Piano. 

One Wetting with the Spunge will serve for a Piece of 
Music twice as long as Handel's Water-piece, unless the Air 
be uncommonly drying. 

But a number of thin Slices of Spunge, plac'd side by 
side, and their Ends held fast between two strips of Wood, 
like Rulers, of a length equal to the Glasses, and plac'd so 
that the loose Ends of the Spunges may touch the Glasses 



440 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1779 

behind, and by that means keep them constantly wet, is 
very convenient where one proposes to play a long time. 
The Spunges being properly wetted will supply the Glasses 
sufficiently a whole Evening, and touching the Glasses lightly 
do not in the least hurt the Sound. 

The Powder of Chalk is useful two Ways. 

Fingers, after much Playing, sometimes begin to draw 
out a Tone less smooth and soft, and you feel as well as 
hear a small Degree of Harshness. In this Case, if you dip 
the Ends of your wet fingers in the Chalk, so as to take up 
a little, and rub the same well on the Skin, it will immediately 
recover the smoothness of Tone desired. And if the Glasses 
have been sullied by Handling, or the Fingers not being just 
wash'd have some little Greasiness on them, so that the 
Sounds cannot easily be produc'd, Chalk so us'd will clean 
both Glasses and Fingers, and the Sounds will come out to 
your Wish. 

A little Practice will make all this familiar; and you will 
also find by Trials what Part of the Fingers most readily 
produces the Sound from particular Glasses, and whether 
they require to be touch 'd on the Edge chiefly, or a little 
more on the Side; as different Glasses require a different 
Touch, some pretty full on the flat side of the Brim, to bring 
out the best Tone, others more on the Edge, and some of 
the largest may need the Touch of Two Fingers at once. 



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