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Full text of "The writings of Benjamin Franklin;"

THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

VOLUME VIII 




</ 



THE WRITINGS 






BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

COLLECTED AND EDITED 
WITH A LIFE AND INTRODUCTION 

BY 

ALBERT HENRY SMYTH 



VOLUME VIII 
1780-1782 

sro 



Nefo 
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

LONDON : MACMILLAN & CO., LTD. 
1906 

All rights reserved 



COPYRIGHT, 1906, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published July, 1906. 



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



CONTENTS 

VOLUME VIII 

NO. PACK 

1071. To William Hodgson. January 20, 1780 . . . . , , p 

1072. To Charles W. F. Dumas. January 27, 1780 . ... ,. , r . 3 

1073. To David Hartley. February 2, 1780 ,,. .,..,,,. , .. j- . 4 

1074. To Richard Price. February 6, 1780 , ,...,,,' M j . 8 

1075. To Joseph Priestley. February 8, 1780 . . > '. , : ,. t . ,.-} . 9 

1076. To M. de Sartine. February 13, 1780 ;':;";* -.7 I2 

1077. To John Paul Jones. February 19, 1780 . .. ,-$ i ,,;,^ . y . 14 

1078. To Fran9ois Louis Teisseidre, Marquis de Fleury. Feb- 

ruary 26, 1780 . . .'.., .' ,. . ,: ,>, ,, ..t . 16 

1079. To Louis XVI. [March, 1780] ...,- ;.-;;,.. ,^ . 17 

1080. To John Paul Jones. March i, 1780 /., f / ..* ,,, ., ,,'p. 18 

1081. To the Marquis de Lafayette. March 2, 1780 . ,.,,,-; . 20 

1082. To Samuel Huntingdon. March 4, 1780 . .,. ? ....;^,,- 22 

1083. To Horatio Gates. March 5, 1780 . ,. , ,*.... 27 

1084. To George Washington. March 5, 1780 . . t ,;, . . 27 

1085. To the Chevalier de la Luzerne. March 5, 1780 f ,-- ,- t . 29 

1086. To Francis Hopkinson. March 6, 1780 . . . . 31 

1087. To John Paul Jones. March 8, 1780 n , < .,,,^ r< :..4 <,T* 3 2 

1088. To Peter Landais. March 12, 1780 . .;. , .,^ ( ;, ^ i; -j . 33 

1089. To James Lovell. March 1 6, 1780 . ,.>;.;.,,,*>, -j 35 

1090. To Thomas Bond. March 1 6, 1780 . . ,.* ,,,r .*..-;. 37 

1091. To Samuel Cooper. March 1 6, 1780 '" . - ;/ ,.,,.,,.,; -', 38 

1092. To Cyrus Griffin. March 1 6, 1780 . ,,..:,,.,-. . 39 

1093. To John Paul Jones. March 1 8, 1780 ,,;,--*,....< 4 

1094. To Joseph Reed. March 19, 1780 . . !,/..',,.,: 42 

1095. To Joseph Reed. March 19, 1780 . '.^ . M -^ ,,f,^ , - . 43 

1096. To M. de Sartine. March 20, 1780 . . :,,:,,.,? ,,T* 4^ 

1097. To George Washington. March 25, 1780 .;,'.,-, \<f .,y 4^ 

1098. To Charles W. F. Dumas. March 29, 1780 . ;.,,,.,;( c ,j. 49 

1099. To Charles W. F. Dumas. March 30, 1780 ..^ , ir i,x ,/j . 50 

1 100. To William Car michael. March 31, 1780 . ... 51 



vi CONTENTS 

NO. FAGI 

noi. To John Jay. April 7, 1780 55 

1102. To John Adams. April 21, 1780 57 

1103. To John Ross. April 22, 1780 59 

1104. To Charles W. F. Dumas. April 23, 1780 ... 60 

1105. To Fournier the Younger. May 4, 1780 .... 62 

1106. To Jonathan Williams. May 10, 1780 .... 64 

1107. To the Judges of the Admiralty at Cherbourg. May 16, 

1780 . 65 

1108. Note for his Excellency, M. le Comte de Vergennes. 

May 16, 1780 66 

1 109. To the Officers of the Admiralty of Vannes. May 18, 1780 69 
I no. To Samuel Huntington. May 22, 1780 .... 69 
mi. ToJ. Torris. May 30, 1780 . . . :: .' ! " ; j : . 70 

1 1 12. To Marquis de Fleury. [May, 1780] .... 71 

1113. To Samuel Huntington. May 31, 1780 . .' c / . . 72 

1114. To Samuel Huntington. June i, 1780 . . ' **i * . 78 

1115. To John Paul Jones. June i, 1780 . . . : "j ' *" . 78 

1116. To Robert Morris. June 3, 1780 79 

1117. To Jean de Neufville & Sons. June 4, 1780 ... 80 

1118. To Charles W. F. Dumas. June 5, 1780 . 81 

1119. To Jean de Neufville & Sons. June 6, 1780 ... 84 

1 1 20. To Peter Landais. June 7, 1780 . . . ".'*''. 85 

1 121. To Lieutenant James Degge of the Ship Alliance, and the 

other Officers of the said Ship, at L'Orient. June 7, 1780 86 

1 122. To John Paul Jones. June 12, 1780 .... 90 

1123. To John Jay. June 13, 1780 92 

1124. To Samuel Wharton. June 17, 1780 . . : "'.' 94 

1125. To John Paul Jones. June 17, 1780 .... 97 

1126. To William Carmichael. June 17, 1780 .... 98 

1127. To Comte de Vergennes. June 1 8, 1780 . . . . 101 

1128. To John Fothergill. June 19, 1780 104 

1129. To Charles W. F. Dumas. June 22, 1780 . . .105 

1130. To C. Van der Oudermeulen. June 22, 1780 . . . 107 

1131. To Joseph-Matthias de Rayneval. June 24, 1780 . . 108 

1132. To Thomas Digges. June 25, 1780 . . . .; . 109 

1133. To John Paul Jones. June 27, 1780. . . . . in 

1134. To Jonathan Williams. June 27, 1780 . . ''.' '. 112 

1135. To M. de Sartine. June 27, 1780 113 

1136. To Pierre-Jean-Georges Cabanis. June 30, 1780 . . 115 

1137. To John Paul Jones. July 5, 1780 116 



CONTENTS vii 

NO. PACK 

1138. From Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin. June 

30/1780 i.-Un.-n'S .i(J. . 117 

1139. To Comte de Vergennes. July 10, 1780 . . . .118 

1140. To Samuel Huntington. July 10, 1780 . . . .119 

1141. To Alexander Small. July 22, 1780. '-.^ r:.'!:<;riQ{_ o'l. 120 

1142. To Gharles W. F. Dumas. July 26, 1780 rrgSfcrr..^ oT. 121 

1143. To Comte de Vergennes. August 3, 1780 " ,[. ".&[ ;;T. 123 
1-144. 'To Samuel Huntington. August 9, 1780 . ' ^.iilr'i/ <;T. 124 

1145. To James Lovell. August 10, 1780 . :: J.-;:> -;, ./;.<. I/ .'1 . 131 

1146. To John D. Schweighauser. August 10, 1780 . f-l! c :'. 132 

1147. To John Paul Jones. August 12, 1780 ' .'.'.i^bJ. -ii ,-. I . 136 

1148. To Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin West. August 16, 1780 . . 137 

1149. To Comte de Vergennes. September 7, 1780 . iu k ) c.'I'. 138 

1150. To Comte de Vergennes. September 20, 1780 . .->'-;!. til . 139 

1151. To Charles W. F. Dumas. October 2, 1780 . .':-v> o"l . 141 

1152. To John Jay. October 2, 1780 . -ii'"^ xjtaH atof'-i. 142 

1153. To John Adams. October 2, 1780 . >;!-< .'* xifo4 ol . 145 

1154. To John Adams. October 8, 1780 . ii!,:i.r/. ilq.wj ;> ! . 146 

1155. To Miss Georgiana Shipley. October 8, 1780 . "i i' ! . 148 

1156. To Charles W. F. Dumas. October 9, 1780 . '&' oT. 150 

1157. To Thomas Ruston. October 9, 1780 . . . - . 151 

1158. To Richard Price. October 9, 1780 . $' #M Jqcfrffy/ qT . 153 

1159. Dialogue -between Franklin and the Gout. October 22, 

1780 "I' ' '. :f v 1 ":-'^ " ''. 154 

1160. The Handsome and Deformed Leg. [1780] . :ri4oT. 162 

1161. To Sir Grey Cooper. November 7, 1780 .... 165 

1162. To John Adams. November 13, 1780 '-. /-< ^' ! '-J. <>!'. 166 

1163. To Edward Nairne. November 13, 1780 . --C ''''".I <'-T. . 168 

1164. To Comte de Vergennes. November 19, 1780 . >>; '/ "T. 174 

1165. To Comte de Vergennes. November 22, 1780 . '!* .'.-;.;! . 175 

1166. To John Paul Jones. November 25, 1780 i^ rr *t . 176 

1167. To John Adams. November 30, 1780 .... 177 

1168. To James Searle. November 30, 1780 '' . '* -.""ifi.) ,. 1 '. 178 

1169. To Samuel Huntington. December 2, 1780 " ; ; ' : ' f ".'' " '' . 180 

1170. To James Lovell. December 2, 1780 'V' -'4 ' irf '".l "'''. 181 

1171. To Rev. Samuel Cooper. December 2, 1780 . : 'Hl" f . 182 

1172. To Charles W. F. Dumas. December 3, 1780 . -' f/ "T. 183 

1173. To Samuel Huntington. December 3, 1780 l>;- ;;/"(,; o '! . 185 

1174. To John Paul Jones. December g, 1780 . -' '. ' !: f- ri ' . 188 

1175. To Jonathan Williams. December 27, 1780 .-;! o'l . 188 



CONTENTS 



HO. 'ACK 

1 176. Queries on Electricity, from Dr. Ingenhousz ; with Answers 

by Dr. Franklin. [1780] . . . c'-'v 189 

1177. To Benjamin Waterhouse. January 1 8, 1781 . . . 194 

1178. To Charles W. F. Dumas. January 1 8, 1781 . . .195 

1179. To Jonathan Williams. January 20, 1781 i-,ia".-tf 4 oi* *97 

1180. To Jonathan Williams. January 22, 1781 . . . 198 

1181. To John Jay. January 27, 1781 .-m,.-.^ ,v. 200 

1182. To William Carmichael. January 27, 1781 . . . 203 

1183. To Marquis de Castries. January 28, 1781 . . . 205 

1184. To David Barclay. February 12, 1781 .,m<r. 206 

1185. To Sir Edward Newenham. February 12, 1781 . . 206 

1186. To Comte de Vergennes. February 13, 1781 . ^ .-..-{. 208 

1187. To Giambatista Beccaria. February 19, 1781 . -..;._,.! 211 

1188. To John Adams. February 22, 1781 ,.,.,/..;,.._. .,,_ . ,-. 211 

1189. To Comte de Vergennes. March 6, 1781 . // *::'.> .,<*, /! 2I 3 

1190. From Felix Nogaret to Benjamin Franklin. March 2, 1781 213 

1191. To Felix Nogaret. March 8, 1781 . f ,. ; . , . ... ,. 214 

1192. To Joseph-Matthias de Rayneval. March 11,1781 . . 215 

1193. To Samuel Huntington. March 12, 1781 .... 217 

1194. To Francis Lewis and the Board of Admiralty. March 17, 

1781 ... ^7; , .:., . 223 

1195. To William Hodgson. April i, 1781 .-<*< . 231 

1196. To Francis Dana. April 7, 1781 . ,,., i .. . 232 

1197. To Charles W. F. Dumas. April 7, 1781 . . . .235 

1198. To John Adams. April 7, 1781 _, ; ,. ;; ,, r ,,,...;. . 235 

1199. To William Carmichael. April 12, 1781 . , .*...* . 236 

1200. To John Jay. April 12, 1781 . . .,./ 238 

1201. To John Adams. April 29, 1781 . .,,,-,./ *.,.-> 241 

1202. To Miss Georgiana Shipley. [1781] L ,,,,; -,* . . 242 

1203. From the Marquis of Turgot to Benjamin Franklin. April 

25, 1781 ,...; -. . . .244 

1204. To Marquis de Turgot. May i, 1781 . . . 244 

1205. To Charles W. F. Dumas. May 4, 1781 .... 245 

1206. To Court de Gebelin. May 7, 1781 . ., ., *..-! 2 4 6 

1207. To John Adams. May n, 1781 . . .. ..,*, ,. 248 

1208. To John Hancock. May 14, 1781 . . .,..<. 249 

1209. To Marquis de Lafayette. May 14, 1781 .... 250 

1210. To Samuel Huntington. May 14, 1781 .... 252 

I2U. To Samuel Cooper. May 15, 1781 256 

1212. To Francis Lewis. May 16, 1781 . . ...,. 258 



CONTENTS ix 

HO. PAGE 

1213. To John Laurens. May 17, 1781 -. .<;>!.'! I.ftumhil ,-,T 259 

1214. To John Adams. May 19, 1781 !) ..;! /..., :.T ,'U <T 260 

1215. To Comte de Vergennes. June 4, 1781 . ..fc.-siort'J' t/l ' 261 

1216. To Messrs. D. Wendorp and Thomas Hope Heyliger. 

June 8, 1781 ..-'u;^-v.V . . . 262 

1217. To Comte de Vergennes. June 10, 1781 . 263 

1218. To Samuel Huntington. June 1 1, 1781 .... 267 

1219. To John Adams. June II, 1781 . . !-^ ::;:?{ t ,'j . 268 

1220. To Jonathan Williams. June 15, 1781 riouh nwjf'j A/ o'l . 270 

1221. To William Jackson. June 28, 1781 . .*..;,'.; . 271 

1222. To John Adams. June 30, 1781 . . 4 .:''. .,!. 272 

1223. To David Hartley. June 30, 1781 . ,;' -.:.',* . r: -.y. ,./; . 273 

1224. To John Jay. June 30, 1781 . . . :j,A jirfaj o'l . 273 

1225. To William Jackson. July 5, 1781 . .,*:;. i.:',.'i ,,;. 274 

1226. To William Jackson. July 5, 1781 . . fl.l i ,,,4,' ..,'! 275 

1227. To William Jackson. July 6, 1781 . . .,.'.4 n.f. [,'! 276 

1228. To Comte de Vergennes. July 6, 1781 .'!.','/ at,to.-;rfi) o'l . 279 

1229. To William Jackson. July 10, 1781 . .il. :.>:.- ...jj}.- *;<>;; 281 

1230. To Samuel Huntington. July n, 1781 . . . . 284 

1231. To Felix Vicq d'Azyr. July 20, 1781 .:;:! -UK; -'-i.j/ t,'!.'. 285 

1232. To Robert Morris. July 26, 1781 ,-t< ij w'n.-.W. ^;..;t.' t ,. i . 288 

1233. To Robert Morris. July 26, 1781 -i,}\ , :ivj! S .;-; -j'y. ( > ! . 289 

1234. To John Adams. August 6, 1781 .1::...-.; -:4^:. .>; ci. 291 

1235. To Charles W. F. Dumas. August 6, 1781 -. -i-., ; M >} ( , i . 292 

1236. To Charles W. F. Dumas. August 10, 1781 . : ;j ( J ( , j . 293 

1237. To William Carmichael. August 24, 1781 ;l ^ .vj;W u !' 294 

1238. To Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur. September 2, 

1781 ; H -.^ ;..*/ -i'-'f.'.j : ') . 297 

1239. To William Nixon. September 5, 1781 . ,-/sf nrk^ o't 298 

1240. To Robert Morris. September 12, 1781 . nv:-::': /v j . 299 

1241. To Samuel Huntington. September 13, 1781 . . . 301 

1242. To Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer. September 13, 1781 . 303 

1243. To Richard Bache. September 13, 1781 . . r;: ,.y .. i . 304 

1244. To Francis Hopkinson. September 13, 1781 . ; ,y ; . 306 

1245. To Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur. September 21, 

i?8i . -,,. c" 37 

1246. To John Hancock. September 21, 1781 . .-, .i\ . -,,-.< 308 

1247. To Jan Ingenhousz. October 2, 1781 . . ..4 , \ . 309 

1248. To John Adams. October 12, 1781 , -,:;,?;:>, ,-i'>' >. i 3 l & 

1249. From Edmund Burke to Benjamin Franklin. August 15, 1781 317 



x CONTENTS 

NO. '* 

1250. To Edmund Burke. October 15, 1781 .* M.iJ ,iJ.l .>%'. 319 

1251. To W. T. Franklin. October 23, 1781 ..,;'.'*-. i.'.*i ,.. 321 

1252. To Thomas McKean. November 5, 1781 :..:<,,;, .T. 322 

1253. To Charles W. F. Dumas. November 8, 1781 . -U .-f. 328 

1254. To Comte de Vergennes. November 20, 1781 . <; . 328 

1255. To Madame de Bohlen. November 21, 1781 . .':. 329 

1256. To Thomas Pownall. November 23, 1781 !! ',:, . . V. 330 

1257. To John Adams. November 26, 1781 . ,; * . . 331 

1258. To William Strahan. December 4, 1781 . ,.,*',-,. ,. 335 

1259. To John Adams. December 6, 1781 . (.. . 337 

1260. To Felix Nogaret. December 10, 1781 . . . 338 

1261. To Mrs. Caroline Edes. December 13, 1781 . atf-,V. 339 

1262. To John Adams. December 14, 1781 . . ..'..;_, I. 341 

1263. To William Alexander. December 15, 1781 . ::'* . 346 

1264. To David Hartley. December 15, 1781 . . . . 346 

1265. To John Adams. December 17, 1781 . . . . 347 

1266. To Charles W. F. Dumas. December 19, 1781 ,i> . 348 

1267. From Madame Brillon to Benjamin Franklin. December 

11, 1781 . V. 349 

1268. To Madame Brillon. December 25, 1781 .... 350 

1269. To Miss Martha Laurens. December 29, 1781 . . . 352 

1270. To Messrs. Henry Royle, Thomas Helt, Joseph Heathcote, 

John Rowbotham, and John Schoefield. January 4, 1782 354 

1271. To Robert Morris. January 9, 1782 . :. tJ -. : ... . T. 356 

1272. To John Adams. January n, 1782 . I.'/,' *. . . . 357 

1273. To David Hartley. January 15, 1782 . b '.'. V . 358 

1274. To John Jay. January 15, 1782 . . '. . 362 

1275. To Comte de Vergennes. January 18, 1782 . . . 362 

1276. To John Jay. January 19, 1782 .P....:.*'/...; . . 364 

1277. To William Carmichael. January 23, 1782 -';-.. . . 367 

1278. To John Barry. January 24, 1782 37 

1279. To Samuel Cooper Johonnot. January 25, 1782 . . 371 

1280. To Benjamin Franklin Bache. January 25, 1782 . . 372 

1281. To Robert Morris. January 28, 1782 . . . -373 

1282. To Robert R. Livingston. January 28, 1782 . :' . I . 375 

1283. To Gustavus Conyngham. February 6, 1782 . ,.;i 375 

1284. To John Barry. February 10, 1782 377 

1285. To John Adams. February 12, 1782 . . . -378 

1286. To Thomas Barclay. February 12, 1782 .... 379 

1287. To David Hartley. February 16, 1782 . ,,?..; . , . 381 



NO. PAGB 

1288. To Comte de Vergennes. March 3, 1782 . .i^' :uf<.{ t,T. 384 

1289. To Robert Morris. March 4, 1782 . . ... ;.i^ .!. 385 

1290. To Robert R. Livingston. March 4, 1782 v-V. r!$I>.K, 388 

1291. To Robert Morris. March 7, 1782 . . . . 395 

1292. To Robert R. Livingston. March 9, 1782 . . . 397 

1293. To John Jay. March 1 6, 1782 . ' *<'- *; ; "'/ *.' "'!". 398 

1294. To Joseph-Matthias Ge'rard de Rayneval. March 22, 1782 399 

1295. To Jonathan Williams. March 23, 1782 . '; 'v'. '. 400 

1296. To Robert Morris. March 30, 1782 . A. :'..'. > !: ', ! . 401 

1297. To Robert R. Livingston. March 30, 1782 - ( -\ . 405 

1298. To John Adams. March 31, 1782 . ., j:,, .: . -s .U I . 406 

1299. To David Hartley. March 31, 1782 . .*ci'L.*-*ttntf <.T. 408 

1300. To William Hodgson. March 31, 1782 . t f>i,U >vi: /T. 408 

1301. To M. L'Abbe* de St. Favre, Prieur de St. Martin. March 

3i> 1782 -J v.tfKfn # >T. 409 

1302. To Henry Wyld. March 31, 1782 .. -::."/;'*;.; t^, -bill oT. 410 

1303. To George Washington. April 2, 1782 . .-4..], -;]; .iT. 411 

1304. To David Hartley. April 5, 1782 . ':. J >' **h .' >.']'. 413 

1305. To the Chevalier de Chastellux. April 6, 1782 . rc >> ->T. 415 

1306. An Account of Toads found enclosed in Solid Stone. 

April 6, 1782 (?) . . 'j;.l. .:;..:".' v ; .-|,,,.biii >/l. 417 

1307. To Mrs. Catherine Greene. April 7, 1782 :-.,..">U. . i . 419 

1308. To George Washington. April 8, 1782 . ;.T.;.:V .. 419 

1309. To Robert R. Livingston. April 8, 1782 . . .-tr.yj . 420 

1310. To Robert Morris. April 8, 1782 . .:~J ' i^M.oJ -t. 422 

1311. To Henry Laurens. April 12, 1782 . .-;..l .:[ t -^:'i! i>1 . 423 

1312. To Robert R. Livingston. April 12, 1782 *' ;.".. lotf ;j T. 424 

1313. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. April 13, 1782 . . . . 426 

1314. To David Hartley. April 13, 1782 . !,v .* ft'V . 427 

1315. To John Adams. April 13, 1782 . . - i .:: ) V - . 428 

1316. To David Hartley. April 14, 1782 . . i :i '. 429 

1317. To Mrs. Stevenson and Mrs. Hewson. April 19, 1782 . 430 

1318. To John Adams. April 21, 1782 430 

1319. To John Adams. April 22, 1782 . .. .-', v >'.. &>>:$ -"I. 432 

1320. To John Jay. April 22, 1782 . ;'_.-..' iv ;>.'.''>/.' /I. 433 

1321. To John Jay. April 24, 1782 . ., ..:,! :.*: '{ . 434 

1322. To Leopoldo M. M. Caldani. April 26, 1782 . ;;: oT. 435 

1323. Supplement to the Boston Independent Chronicle. April, 

1782 :;r> .-V ...,;- ;! ,-,i i . 437 

1324. To Charles W. F. Dumas. May 3, 1782 . out/"- "'J <"' . 447 



xii CONTENTS 

MO. *AG* 

1325. To John Thornton. May 8, 1782 448 

1326. To William Hodgson. May 27, 1782 ..;.'. i . . . 449 

1327. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. June, 1782 . . -i ;i .. . . . 450 

1328. To Joseph Priestley. June 7, 1782 . . V. *.. f . . 451 

1329. To Jonathan Shipley. June 10, 1782 .... 454 

1330. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. June 13, 1782 .... 455 

1331. To Richard Price. June 13, 1782 . k 457 

1332. To Miss Alexander. June 24, 1782 . ...,.' : ., . . 458 

1333. Journal of the Negotiation for Peace with Great Britain. 

March 2l-July I, 1782 . !/, ... -.:.'. li -/i i; . . 459 

1334. To Henry Laurens. July 2, 1782 ..i-1 .mu.'-i . . 560 

1335. To James Hutton. July 7, 1782 .:/.. ..;... >,,i ..,' . . 561 

1336. To the Marquis de Lafayette. July 9, 1782 .... ...... . 563 

1337. To David Hartley. July 10, 1782 . .! '',.',,' .\\ V. "" . 563 

1338. To Benjamin Vaughan. July n, 1782 . . <; . 565 

1339. To Richard Oswald. July 12, 1782 . '.; ','.'..;:*;: :. 567 

1340. To the Earl of Shelburne. July 12, 1782 . . / w. : . '!'. 568 

1341. To Comte de Vergennes. July 1 8, 1782 . .:U K -:; . . 568 

1342. To Comte de Vergennes. July 24, 1782 .... 570 

1343. To the Marquis de Lafayette. July 24, 1782 . . . 571 

1344. To Richard Oswald. July 28, 1782 . ,.- . . -571 

1345. To Alexander Martin. August 5, 1782 ., .-.'. . 573 

1346. Certificate of Commission granted to Captain Gustavus 

Conyngham. August 7, 1782 ..- ^ >. 4- . . 574 

1347. To Comte de Vergennes. August 8, 1782 \f. t~ . . 575 

1348. To Robert R. Livingston. August 12, 1782 . . . 576 

1349. To Robert Morris. August 12, 1782 . . . . 580 

1350. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. August 17, 1782 : :!/. . . 585 

1351. To Comte de Vergennes. August 24, 1782 . . . 585 

1352. To Robert R. Livingston. September 3, 1782 . . . 586 
1353- To John Jay. September 4, 1782 . . '.:-.. . 590 

1354. To Joseph-Matthias Ge'rard de Rayneval. September 4, 

1782 59 

1355. To Richard Oswald. September 8, 1782 . . . . 591 

1356. To Comte de Vergennes. September 8, 1782 . . . 592 

1357. To Sir Joseph Banks. September 9, 1782 .:J v . 592 

1358. To the Earl of Grantham. September ir, 1782 . . 594 

1359. From the Marquis de Lafayette to Benjamin Franklin. 

September 17, 1782 595 

1360. To the Marquis de Lafayette. September 17, 1782 . . 595 



CONTENTS 



1361. To David Hartley. September 17, 1782 .... 596 

1362. To the Abbe" Soulavie. [Conjectures concerning the forma- 

tion of the Earth.] September 22, 1782 . . . 597 

1363. To Robert R. Livingston. September 26, 1782 . . 602 

1364. Information to those who would remove to America. Sep- 

tember, 1782 (?) 603 

1365. To Robert R. Livingston. October 14, 1782 . . . 614 

1366. To John Adams. October 15, 1782 617 

1367. To Thomas Townshend. November 4, 1782 . . . 617 

1368. To Robert R. Livingston. November 7, 1782 . . . 618 

1369. To Comte de Vergennes. November 8, 1782 . . . 619 

1370. To Comte de Vergennes. November 15, 1782 . . . 620 

1371. To Richard Oswald. November 26, 1782 . . . 621 

1372. To Comte de Vergennes. November 29, 1782 . . . 627 

1373. To Robert R. Livingston. December 4, 1782 . . . 627 

1374. To Robert R. Livingston. December 5, 1782 . . . 628 

1375. To Comte de Vergennes. December 6, 1782 . . . 637 

1376. To Robert Morris. December 14, 1782 .... 637 
J377- To Comte de Vergennes. December 15, 1782 . . . 640 

1378. From Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin. Decem- 

ber 15, 1782 641 

1379. To Comte de Vergennes. December 17, 1782 . . . 642 

1380. To Robert Morris. December 23, 1782 .... 644 

1381. To Robert R. Livingston. December 24, 1782 . . . 645 

1382. To Francis Hopkinson. December 24, 1782 . . . 647 

1383. To Samuel Cooper. December 26, 1782 .... 648 
1383^. Apologue 650 



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. 



TO WILLIAM HODGSON 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 20, 1780. 
DEAR SIR: 

I am much obliged by your kind letter informing me of 
the good disposition of the commissioners for the sick and 
wounded. I believe they would do in all things what is hu- 
mane, just, and honourable, but I have not so good an opinion 
of the lords of admiralty, from whom Mr. Hartley had never 
been able to obtain a yes or a no on the plain question whether 
the written paroles or engagements of English prisoners set 
at liberty by our cruisers were to be complied with. By the 
resolution which you inform me is now taken, not to send any 
more men to Morlaix than there shall be assembled there to 
exchange them with, I perceive they have determined that 
such paroles are not to be regarded; I must therefore give 
notice to our people to trust no more to them, but to bring and 
lodge all their prisoners in French jails. How much human 
misery might be saved by continuing the other method ! I 
thought confidence, if it had not begot confidence, would at 
least have produced justice, but I was mistaken. The Eng- 
lish navy has had the service of more than two hundred sea- 

1 William Hodgson (1745-1851) in early life studied medicine in Holland. 
He adopted extreme political views in the French Revolution. He was tried 
at the Old Bailey, December 9, 1793, for having proposed a toast to the 
French Revolution and " compared the king to a German hog butcher "; for 
this offence he was fined and sentenced to prison for two years. He wrote 
numerous works, and died at Islington at the age of one hundred and six. 
ED. 

VOL. VIII B I 



2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

men so released ever since May last. Had the like confi- 
dence been placed in us, or even had those engagements been 
executed, I should have sent over directly from Holland in 
Dutch bottoms, without writing for a passport, the prisoners 
brought in there by Commodore Jones, which exceeded five 
hundred, and without waiting [sic] for the agreement made a 
long time after between the French and English ambassadors 
for their exchange. It is surprising on how slight grounds 
Englishmen can think themselves disengaged from their 
paroles given to Americans. There is a Captain Tetnall, 
who, with all his ship's company, was released at Boston on 
his promise to obtain in England the release of a Captain 
Robinson and his company, who were an equal number. On 
his arrival in England he found Captain Robinson already 
exchanged, and, therefore, as Mr. Hartley informs me, judges 
himself quit of his engagement ; and it seems we then are to 
have no men in exchange for those given for Captain Robinson 
and his people. Probably we shall then have none neither 
for those brought over upon British faith with two flags of 
truce from Boston. Commodore Jones released on their 
written parole, they being in bad health, John Brownell, 
master's mate, and Samuel Wightman, lieutenant of marines, 
both of the Serapis, soon after their arrival in Holland. Their 
paroles, with many others, are in my hands. I have not yet 
been able to obtain an account of the prisoners we have in 
Spain. Here are forty-eight at L'Orient and thirty-six or 
thirty eight at Brest, which may all soon be rendered at 
Morlaix if a cartel should arrive there. Enclosed I send a 
second pass for that place. I trouble you with it, as I appre- 
hend Mr. Hartley, who wrote for it, may be out of town. 
I am persuaded, too, that if you can procure any favourable 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 3 

change in the sentiments of their lordships of the admiralty 
relating to parole prisoners, of which I should be glad to hear, 
it will be a pleasure to your benevolent mind. 

I rejoice to learn the friends I esteemed and loved when in 
England continue well. Be pleased to remember me to them 
affectionately. 

With great esteem, I am ever, dear sir, yours, etc., 



1072. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 27, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the loth Instant. I shall be glad to 
learn how the Taking of the Dutch Ships has been accommo- 
dated. We have yet no News of the Alliance, but suppose 
she is cruizing. We are more in Pain for the Confederacy, 
who saiPd the 28th of October from the Capes of Delaware. 
There is some hopes that she went to Charlestown to take in 
Mr. Laurens; for some Passengers arrived in France, who 
left Philadelphia several Weeks after her sailing, say, that 
it was a general Opinion she would call there before she 
departed for Europe. 1 If this was not the Case, we fear she 
must be Lost, & the Loss will be a very severe one. 

I send you enclos'd a Translation of a Letter, that I think 
I sent you the Original of before. Perhaps it may serve our 
Leiden friend. 3 

1 For the voyage of the Confederacy, see Wharton, " The Revolutionary 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States," Vol. Ill, pp. 436-445. ED. 

2 Reinier Arrenberg, editor of the Gazette de Leide. ED. 



4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

I am sorry you have any difference with the Ambassador, 1 
and wish you to accommodate it as soon as possible. Depend 
upon it that no one ever knew from me that you had spoken 
or written against any Person. There is one of whom I think 
you sometimes receive erroneous Information. In one Par- 
ticular, I know you were misinform'd, that of his selling us 
Arms at an enormous Profit ; the Truth is we never bought 
any of him. I am ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



f.W .fj .0 ?/. TA'KI /!; .77 <ri.l /i/ T;'j OT .'Ci 

1073. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 



Passy, February 2, 1780. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

It is some time since I procured the Discharge of your 
Capt. Stephenson. 2 He did not call here in his way home. 
I hope he arrived safely, and had a happy Meeting with his 
friends and family. 

I have long postponed answering your Letter of the 2gih 
of June. 8 A principal Point in it, on which you seemed to 
desire my Opinion, was the Conduct you thought America 
ought to hold in Case her Allies should, from Motives of 
ambition or resentment of former Injuries, desire her to 
continue the War, beyond what should be reasonable and 

1 Due de La Vauguyon, 1746-1828, ambassador of his most Christian 
Majesty to the States-General (1776-1784). ED. 

2 Captain of the British transport Mellish. ED. 

8 In A. P. S. In this excellent letter Hartley writes of the Americans that 
" There is no common sense in their entangling themselves in all the Gothic 
crusading follies of European nations, amongst whom the only definition 
of man seems to be a fighting animal, or the gladiator of God's creation to 
mangle and destroy his works." ED. 



1780] TO DAVID HARTLEY 5 

consistent with her particular Interests. As often as I took 
up your Letter in order to answer it, this suggestion displeas'd 
me, and I laid it down again. I saw no Occasion for dis- 
cussing such a Question at Present, nor any good End it 
could serve to discuss it before the Case should happen, which 
I believe never will happen ; and I saw Inconveniencies 
in discussing it. I wish therefore you had not mentioned it. 
For the rest, I am as much for peace as ever I was, and as 
heartily desirous of seeing the War ended, as I was to prevent 
its Beginning ; of which your Ministers know I gave a strong 
Proof before I left England, when, in order to an accommoda- 
tion, I offer'd at my own Risque, without Orders for so doing, 
and without knowing whether I should be own'd in doing it, 
to pay the whole Damage of destroying the Tea at Boston, 
provided the Acts made against that Province were repealed. 
This offer was refused. I still think it would have been wise 
to have accepted it. If the Congress have therefore entrusted 
to others rather than to me, the Negociations for Peace, 
when such shall be set on foot, as has been reported, it is 
perhaps because they may have heard of a very singular 
Opinion of mine, that there hardly ever existed such a thing 
as a bad Peace, or, a good War, 1 and that I might therefore 
easily be induc'd to make improper Concessions. But at the 
same time, they and you may be assured, that I should think 
the Destruction of our whole Country, and the Extirpation of 
our whole People, preferable to the Infamy of abandoning 
our Allies. 

As neither you nor I are at Present authoriz'd to treat of 
Peace, it seems to Little purpose to make or consider Proposi- 

1 A saying often repeated by Franklin. See letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 
n, 1783. ED. 



6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

tions relating to it. I have had so many such put into my 
hands, that I am tired of them. I will however give your 
Proposal of a Ten Years' Truce this Answer, that tho' I 
think a solid Peace made at once a much better thing; yet, 
if the Truce is practicable and the Peace not, I should be for 
agreeing to it. At least I see at present no sufficient Reasons 
for refusing it, provided our Allies approv'd of it. But this 
is merely a private Opinion of mine, which perhaps may be 
changed by Reasons, that at Present do not offer themselves. 
This however I am clear in, that withdrawing your Troops 
will be best for you, if you wish a cordial Reconciliation, and 
that the Truce should produce a Peace. To show that it was 
not done by compulsion, being required, as a Condition of 
the Truce, they might be withdrawn beforehand, for various 
good Reasons. But all this is idle Chat, as I am persuaded, 
that there is no Disposition for Peace on your side, and 
that this War will yet last many years. I know nothing, 
and believe nothing, of any Terms offered to Sir H. 
Clinton. 

The Prisoners taken in the Serapis and Countess of Scar- 
borough being all treated for in Holland, and Exchanged 
there, I hope M. Brown's Son is now safe at home with his 
father. 1 It grieved me, that the Exchange there which you 
may remember I immediately proposed, was so long delayed. 
Much human Misery might have been prevented by a prompt 

1 Mr. Thomas Browne of Hull, a friend of David Hartley, had a son who 
was taken on board the armed ship, The Countess of Scarborough : " He has 
writ to me to desire that I w d apply to you in his favour if it was in your 
Power either to obtain his release or an easy confinement. There is nothing 
that I set my heart upon so much as to cultivate the intervention of any good 
offices to prevent and to abate animosities between the people of Great Britain 
and America." [Hartley to F., Oct. 26, 1779.] ED. 



1780] TO DAVID HARTLEY 7 

Compliance ; and so might a great Deal by the Execution of 
Parole promises taken at Sea; but since I see no regard is 
paid to them in England, I must give Orders to our arm'd 
Ships who cruise in Europe to secure their Prisoners as well 
as they can, and lodge them in French or Spanish Prisons. 
I have written something on this affair to Mr. Hodgson, 1 
and sent to him the second Passport for a Cartel to Morlaix, 
supposing you to be out of town. The Number of Prisoners 
we now have in France is not easily ascertain'd. I suppose it 
exceeds 100; but you may be assured, that the Number 
which may be brought over by the Two Cartels shall be fully 
exchanged, by adding to those taken by us as many as will 
make up the Complement out of those taken by the French, 
with whom we have an account since the Exchange in Holland 
of those we carried in there. I wish therefore you would, as 
was proposed, clear your Prisons of the Americans, who have 
been so long confined there. The Cartels that may arrive 
at Morlaix, will not be detain'd. 

You may have heard that Accounts upon Oath have been 
taken in America by Order of Congress, of the British Bar- 
barities committed there. It is expected of me to make a 
School Book of them, and to have 35 Prints designed here by 
good artists and engraved each expressing one or more of the 
different horrid facts, to be inserted in the Book, in order to 
impress the minds of Children and Posterity with a deep sense 
of your bloody and insatiable Malice and Wickedness. 
Every Kindness I hear of done by an Englishman to an 
American Prisoner, makes me resolve not to proceed in the 
Work, hoping a Reconciliation may yet take place. But 
every fresh Instance of your Devilism weakens that resolu- 
1 See letter from F. to William Hodgson, page i. ED. 



8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

tion, and makes me abominate the Thought of a Reunion with 
such a People. You my friend have often persuaded me, and 
I believ'd it, that the War was not theirs, nor approv'd by 
them. But their suffering it so long to continue, and the 
Wretched Rulers to remain who carry it on, makes me 
think you have too good an Opinion of Them. Adieu, my 

dear friend, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1074. TO RICHARD PRICE (L. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 6. 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received but very lately your kind Favour of Oct. 14,* 
Dr. Ingenhousz, who brought it, having staied long in Holland. 
I sent the enclos'd directly to Mr. L[ee]. It gave me great 
Pleasure to understand that you continue well. Take care of 
yourself. Your life is a valuable one. Your Writings, after 
all the Abuse you & they have met with, begin to make 
serious Impressions on those who at first rejected the Coun- 
sels you gave ; and they will acquire new Weight every day, 
& be in high Esteem when the Cavils against them are dead 
& forgotten. 

Please to present my affectionate Respects to that honest, 
sensible & intelligent Society 2 who did me so long the Honour 
of admitting me to share in their instructive Conversations. 
I never think of the Hours I so happily spent in that Company, 
without regretting that they are never to be repeated : For 

1 The original is in A. P. S. ED. 

8 The society of honest Whigs, meeting at the London Coffee House. ED. 



1780] TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY 9 

I see no Prospect of an End to this unhappy War in my Time. 
Dr. Priestly you tell me continues his Experiments with 
Success. We make daily great Improvements in Natural, 
there is one I wish to see in Moral Philosophy ; the Discovery 
of a Plan, that would induce & oblige Nations to settle their 
Disputes without first Cutting one another's Throats. When 
will human Reason be sufficiently improv'd to see the Advan- 
tage of this! When will Men be convinc'd, that even suc- 
cessful Wars at length become Misfortunes to those who 
unjustly commenc'd them, & who triumph'd blindly in their 
Success, not seeing all its Consequences. Your great com- 
fort & mine in this War is, that we honestly & faithfully 
did every thing in our Power to prevent it. Adieu, & believe 
me ever, my dear Friend, yours, most Affectionately 

B. F[RANKLIN.] 



1075. TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (L. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 8. 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

Your kind Letter of September 27* came to hand but very 
lately, the Bearer having staied long in Holland. I always 
rejoice to hear of your being still employ'd in experimental 
Researches into Nature, and of the Success you meet with. 2 

1 Original in A. P. S. ED. 

2 " I have confirmed, explained, and extended my former observations on 
the purification of the atmosphere by means of vegetation; having just dis- 
covered that the green matter I treat of in my last volume is a vegetable sub- 
stance, and then that other plants that grow wholly in water have the same 
property, all of them without exception imbibing impure air, and emitting it, 
as excrementitious to them, in a dephlogisticated state." Priestley, September 
27. I779- ED- 



io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

The rapid Progress true Science now makes, occasions my 
regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impos- 
sible to imagine the Height to which may be carried, in a 
thousand years, the Power of Man over Matter. We may 
perhaps learn to deprive large Masses of their Gravity, and 
give them absolute Levity, for the sake of easy Transport. 
Agriculture may diminish its Labour and double its Produce ; 
all Diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured, not 
excepting even that of Old Age, and our Lives lengthened 
at pleasure even beyond the antediluvian Standard. O that 
moral Science were in as fair a way of Improvement, that 
Men would cease to be Wolves to one another, and that hu- 
man Beings would at length learn what they now improperly 
call Humanity ! 

I am glad my little Paper on the Aurora Borealis pleased. 
If it should occasion further Enquiry, and so produce a better 
Hypothesis, it will not be wholly useless. I am ever, with the 
greatest and most sincere Esteem, dear Sir, yours very 

affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Enclosed in the jore going Letter; being an Answer to a sepa- 
rate Paper received from Dr. Priestley (L. c.) 

I have consider'd the Situation of that Person very atten- 
tively. I think that, with a little help from the Moral Alge- 
bra, 1 he might form a better judgment than any other Person 
can form for him. But, since my Opinion seems to be de- 
sired, I give it for continuing to the End of the Term, under 
all the present disagreeable Circumstances. The connection 

1 See letter to Dr. Priestley, dated September 19, 1772. ED. 



1780] TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY 1 1 

will then die a natural Death. No Reason will be expected 
to be given for the Separation, and of course no Offence 
taken at Reasons given; the Friendship may still subsist, 
and in some other way be useful. The Time diminishes 
daily, and is usefully employ 'd. All human Situations have 
their Inconveniencies ; we feel those that we find in the 
present, and we neither feel nor see those that exist in another. 
Hence we make frequent and troublesome Changes without 
Amendment, and often for the worse. 

In my Youth, I was Passenger in a little Sloop, descending 
the River Delaware. There being no Wind, we were obliged, 
when the Ebb was spent, to cast anchor, and wait for the next. 
The Heat of the Sun on the Vessel was excessive, the Company 
Strangers to me, and not very agreable. Near the river Side 
I saw what I took to be a pleasant green Meadow, in the 
middle of which was a large shady Tree, where it struck my 
Fancy I could sit and read, (having a Book in my Pocket,) 
and pass the time agreably till the tide turned. I therefore 
prevail'd with the Captain to put me ashore. Being landed, 
I found the greatest part of my Meadow was really a Marsh, 
in crossing which, to come at my Tree, I was up to my Knees 
in Mire; and I had not placed myself under its Shade five 
Minutes, before the Muskitoes in Swarms found me out, 
attack'd my Legs, Hands, and Face, and made my Reading 
and my Rest impossible ; so that I return'd to the Beach, and 
call'd for the Boat to come and take me aboard again, where 
I was oblig'd to bear the Heat I had strove to quit, and also 
the Laugh of the Company. Similar Cases in the Affairs 
of Life have since frequently fallen under my Observa- 
tion. 

I have had Thoughts of a College for him in America. I 



12 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

know no one who might be more useful to the Publick in the 
Instruction of Youth. But there are possible Unpleasant- 
nesses in that Situation; it cannot be obtain'd but by a too 
hazardous Voyage at this time for a Family; and the Time 
for Experiments would be all otherwise engaged. 1 



1076. TO M. DE SARTINE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb*. 13. 1780. 

SIR, 

Enclosed is the Order your Excellency required of me in the 
Letter you yesterday did me the honour of writing to me, 
relating to the English Prisoners brought into L'Orient by 
the Black Prince and other American Privateers. 

I beg leave to mention to your Excell 7 that there are still 
remaining in the English Prisons 410 Americans, some of 
whom have languish'd there near three years. They had 
great hopes of obtaining their liberty in Exchange for those 
taken by the squadron under Commodore Jones, a great Part 
of which were taken by the Alliance and delivered to M. Le 
Due de La Vauguyon 2 under a kind of Promise made by him 

1 The advice contained in this paper related to Dr. Priestley himself, who 
had engaged to live with Lord Shelburne, as his librarian, at a salary of about 
three hundred pounds per annum, for a certain number of years ; but, before 
the term had expired, he became dissatisfied with his situation, and requested 
counsel from Dr. Franklin on the subject W. T. F. 

Priestley retired from Shelburne's service, May, 1780; " the separation was 
amicable and the annuity [^150] was punctually paid. Some years later 
(apparently in 1784) Shelburne made overtures for a renewal of the connec- 
tion, which Priestley wisely declined." (Rev. Alex. Gordon.) ED. 

* French ambassador to the States General of Holland. ED 



1780] TO M. DE SARTINE 13 

to M. Jones, that they should be exchanged for Americans. 
I have not heard that anything has been done in that Respect, 
and I fear they will be in Despair if not speedily releas'd. 
I therefore intreat your Excellency to take that Matter into 
Consideration, and favour me with as many English Pris- 
oners as may serve to exchange those poor People, when 
they shall be brought over in the Cartels expected at Mor- 
laix. 

The Black Prince, the Black Princess, and the Fearnot, 
American Privateers, are, I suppose, now on a new Cruise, 
and will I hope bring in more English Prisoners ; I hope the 
same also from the Alliance, now at Corunna. If we once 
had our Prisoners from England, several other privateers 
would immediately be manned with them, and probably 
give as much Trouble to the English as those above men- 
tion'd. 

There were 38 English and Irishmen said to be concern'd 
in the Conspiracy on Board the Alliance when the Marquis 
de la Fayette came over. They were left in Prison at Brest. 
I do not see any probability of these being ever brought to a 
Trial, and perhaps the best thing that can be done with them, 
is to exchange them for honester Men. If your excellency 
approves of it, I will give the same Orders relating to them 
when you send any Prisoners from that port. 

With greatest Respect, I am your Excellency's, etc. 

[B. FRANKLIN] 



14 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1077. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (i. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 19, 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received yours from Corogne of the i6th past, and from 
L'Orient of the i3th instant. I rejoice that you are so safely 
arrived in France, malgrt all the pains taken to intercept 
you. 1 

As to the refitting your ship at the expense of this court, I 
must acquaint you, that there is not the least probability of 
obtaining it, and therefore I cannot ask it. I hear too much 
already of the extraordinary expense you made in Holland, 
to think of proposing an addition to it, especially as you seem 
to impute the damage she has sustained more to Captain 
Landais' negligence, than to accidents of the cruise. The 
whole expense will, therefore, fall upon me, and I am ill 
provided to bear it, having so many unexpected calls upon me 
from all quarters. I therefore beg you would have mercy on 
me, put me to as little charge as possible, and take nothing 
that you can possibly do without. 

As to sheathing with copper, it is totally out of the question. 
I am not authorized to do it, if I had money ; and I have not 
money for it if I had orders. The purchase of the Serapis 
is in the same predicament. I believe the sending canvass 
and cordage from Amsterdam has already been forbidden; 
if not, I shall forbid it. I approve of your applying to Messrs. 
Gourlade & Moylan for what repairs you want, having an 

1 " I made my passage safe thro* the Channel notwithstanding all the watch* 
fulness of the many ships which the Enemy had employed in Squadrons for 
three months to cut off my retreat " (Jones). ED. 



1780] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 15 

exceeding good opinion of those gentlemen; but, let me 
repeat, for God's sake be sparing, unless you mean to make 
me a bankrupt, or have your drafts dishonoured for want of 
money in my hands to pay them. 

We are likely to obtain fifteen thousand stands of good arms 
from the government. They are much wanted in America. 
M. de Lafayette has just now proposed, that you should take 
them as ballast. You know best if this is practicable. Mr. 
Ross also requests to be permitted to take his passage with 
you. As he has been a servant of the States, in making their 
purchases in Europe, it seems to me, that it would be wrong 
to refuse him, if you can accommodate him. There is also 
a particular friend of mine, Mr. Samuel Wharton of Phila- 
delphia, 1 who desires to go with you. These gentlemen will 
doubtless lay in their own stores, and pay as customary for 
their accommodations, and I am persuaded you will find them 
agreeable company. Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard also propose to 
take their passages in your ship, whom I hope you can likewise 
accommodate. Pray write me immediately your sentiments 
on these particulars; and let me know, at the same time, 
when you think you can be ready, that I may forward my 
despatches. 

I am glad to hear, that your indisposition is wearing off. 
I hope your health will soon be reestablished. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Samuel Wharton (1732-1800), a partner in the firm of Baynton, Wharton 
& Morgan, of Philadelphia. ED. 



16 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 



1078. TO FRANCOIS LOUIS TEISSEIDRE, MAR- 
QUIS DE FLEURY ' (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Feb. 26, 1780. 

Sm, 

I am sorry you were disappointed in meeting me at Ver- 
sailles. In all your Billets except that of yesterday you 
omitted mentioning where you Lodged, 3 otherwise I could 
have acquainted you that I should not be at court on the Days 
you expected me. 

I suppose you will acquaint the Congress or General Wash- 
ington with your Reasons for desiring a Prolongation of your 
furlow. As you have not communicated them to me, I know 
not what to say in order to enforce them. I can therefore only 
forward your Request and pray that it may be favourably 
considered, which I shall do. 8 I imagine, however, that the 
Congress have so high an Opinion of your merit as an offi- 
cer, and the Importance of having you in actual Service, that 
the request will not be lightly granted. 

With great Esteem, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Fleury was the hero of "Stony Point. He was bom in Languedoc, August 
28, 1749. He attracted the attention of Washington by his gallantry at the 
Battle of the Brandywine. A horse was presented to him " in token of the 
high esteem in which his merit was held by Congress." He was the first to 
scale the ramparts of Stony Point, for which he was awarded a medal by 
Congress. ED. 

a Hotel de Picardie, rue de Seine. ED. 

8 " Marquis De lafayete goes to america I Remain behind him, with grief, 
but determined to follow him. I writte to Congress, & General Washington, to 
ask a prolongation of furlough ; if you did not think improper, to interfere by 
your friends, or by writting to congress in my favour, I could expect they would 
grant to me, what the King of france has granted before to serve the United 
States." Fleury, February 26, 1780. ED. 



1780] TO LOUIS XVI 17 

1079. TO LOUIS XVI (P. A. E. E. u.) 

[March, 1780] 

M. Franklin attendoit Parrivde de la f regatte La Confedera- 
tion, pour envoyer a Philadelphie des munitions de guerre, 
et 1'habillement complet de quinze mille soldats, qui en sont 
absolument depourvus. 

Cette fregatte etoit destine*e a porter M. Gerard en France ; 
elle a e"te* demate*e de tous mats sur le bane de Terre Neuve, et 
est en relache a la Martinique ; ou elle sera employee a des 
correspondances entre la Martinique et PAmerique Septen- 
trionale ou a convoyer en France les navires marchands. 

M. Franklin ne peut suplier au deffaut de cette fregatte, 
qu'en implorant au nom des Etats Unis de PAmerique Sep- 
tentrionale, les bonte"s de sa Majeste" tres Chretienne, pour ac- 
corder incessament un vaisseau de guerre dans lequel il puisse 
faire charger les munitions de guerre et les habillements 
dont les troupes americaines ont le plus pressant bezoing. 

II est d'autant plus essentiel que ce vaisseau soit d'unne 
marche et d'unne force superieure que rien ne pouroit rem- 
placer la perte des dits aprovisionements. II est a desirer 
que ce vaisseau soit pris dans le port de Rochefort parceque 
les habillements se font a Nantes. Le dit vaisseau peut se 
rendre a PAmerique Septentrionale avec trois mois de vivres 
parcequ'il en trouvera abondament a Philadelphie ou, de 
memoire d'homme, on n'a jamais fait de si bonne recolte 
que la derniere, ainsy que dans tout le continent. Au deffaut 
d'equipages francais on poura y suplier par des equipages 
Americains, qui attendent leur ^change en Angleterre contre 
les prisonniers que L'Escadre Jones a fait sur les Anglais. 

VOL. VIII C 



1 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

Le Vaisseau de guerre qui sera accorde" sera a mesme s'il 
est destine" ensuitte pour les colonies franchises, de proteger 
les navires marchands qui sont en grand nombre et qui 
porteront des vivres de toutte espe*ce. 

M. Franklin suplie sa Majest6 Ire's Chretienne de luy 
accorder avec bcnte* unne prompte reponse sur la demande 
attendu qu'il ne peut retarder les avis a faire passer au Con- 
gres sur les secours qu'il est charge* d'envoyer. 



1080. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March i. 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the 25th and 28th past. 

I am glad to learn that you can take a Quantity of the 
Cloathing and Arms and that you can accommodate the 4 
Gentlemen I had mentioned to you. I could wish also that 
you would find Room for Mr. Brown of S. Carolina who is 
about returning there. M. de Sartine desires also a Place for 
a Passenger that goes on some Business from him ; I make 
no doubt of your Willingness to oblige the Minister. I do 
not know that I have authority to give the order you desire to 
Lieutenant Rhodes. 1 But if you and he agree in the Trans- 
portation proposed I have no objection to it. Captain 
Landais has demanded of me an order to you to deliver him 
his Trunks and Things that were left on board the Alliance. 

1 Jones had written that he was in need of a first lieutenant, " he that acts 
at present having a second lieutenant's Commission and being oftener drunk 
than sober." He desired F. to order Lieutenant Rhodes of the Luzern to 
come aboard the Alliance as First Lieutenant. ED. 



i;8o] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 19 

I find him so exceedingly captious and critical, and so apt 
to misconstrue, as an intended Injustice, every Expression in 
our Language he does not immediately understand, that I 
am tired of writing anything for him or about him, and am 
determined to have nothing further to do with him. I make 
no doubt, however, that you will deliver his Things to any 
Person he may impower to receive them, and therefore think 
such an order unnecessary. 

I have as yet received no Answer to the Memorial I sent 
to the Court of Denmark, reclaiming the Prizes sent into 
Norway and delivered up unjustly by that Court to the British 
Consul. I have not heard that they have yet left Bergen. 
I hope we may yet recover them or their Value. 

There is a Mr. Lockyer, who has serv'd 22 Years in the 
British Navy as a Master, and, having met with some Injus- 
tice, would go to America in hopes of finding Service there. 
He wishes to go with you, and if you can give him any Em- 
ployment on Board it will be very agreable to him. 

Dr. Bancroft, being by this time with you, will take all 
Steps possible to promote your refitting, and forward the 
Payment of the Prize Money. I do not comprehend what 
the Weight of Metal has to do with the Division, unless 
where Ships are fitted out by different Owners. 

I hope your Indisposition will soon be over and your 
Health re-established, being, with sincere esteem, dear sir, 
your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



20 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN 1 FRANKLIN [1780 



1081. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 

(D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 2, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I receiv'd with Pleasure the Letter you honour'd me with 
of the 2Qth past, and am infinitely obliged by the zeal and 
assiduity with which you have forwarded our affairs at Ver- 
sailles. The 15,000 Arms and Accoutrements are a great 
article. 1 

I had written to Capt. Jones that besides the 122 Bales of 
Cloth, we hoped for that quantity arms which it was supposed 
he might take as Ballast. I think the cloathing, 4,000 suits, 
was also mentioned to him by M. de Chaumont. In his last 
letter to me he says he will take as much as possible, and hopes 
he may be able to cram in the whole, if not your Ship can take 
the rest. I wish much to know where the Arms are and when 
they can be render'd at L'Orient. 

Mr. Williams I hear is indefatigable in preparing the 
cloathing, and hopes to have the whole 10,000 suits ready by 
the End of the Month. I wish they could go with you ; but 
that being impossible, I hope we shall get another Ship of 

1 " From both ministers of war and of foreign affairs, I get the most positive 
assurance, that our fifteen thousand stands of arms, with the same number of 
accoutrements will be soon deliver*d for the use of and safely convey'd to the 
American Army. . . . According to your request, my dear Sir, I have made 
it a point to carry with me about four thousand complete suits, and have got 
from the minister of the navy such an order as will direct the captain of the 
frigate appointed for my passage, not only to take on board the cloathing that 
will be brought to Rochelle, but even, if necessary for making room, to dis- 
embark a part of his provisions." Lafayette to F., Feb. 29, 1780 (A. P. S.). 
ED. 



1780] TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 21 

Force to carry them. They are made precisely according to 
the Directions of the Committee. 

If on seeing the accounts, I find I can add a proportion of 
cloaths for Officers, which you urge so earnestly, I shall do it 
with Pleasure. But from the large and unexpected Drafts 
often made upon me by Congress, I am become timid. I 
must take Care of their Credit and my own, and cannot take 
hazardous steps, as protesting or not paying one of their Bills 
would be attended with great Mischief on both sides the 
Water ; and when I consider the vast Expence occasioned to 
this nation by the War, I am asham'd to be repeatedly 
worrying the Ministers by applications for more Money. 

I ought to let Capt. Jones know as soon as Possible whether 
the Arms are to go with him, as he would stow them low to 
serve partly for Ballast. If a Ship can be obtain'd for them 
and what shall remain of the Cloathing, perhaps it may be as 
well to excuse the Alliance from that article and let her take 
more of the Cloathing. 

I am told the 122 Bales of Cloth to be shipt by Mr. Ross 
for the Congress will by Computation make 7 or 8000 Suits. 
These will be in addition to the 10,000 making by Mr. 
Williams. Those Suits will be compos'd of Coat, Waste- 
coat, Breeches, Overalls, 2 pair of Stockings, 2 pair of Shoes, 
two Shirts, two Stocks, and a Hat for each man. I think there 
will also be Buckles. If there be any further information 
that you want, let me know and I will give what I can. 

With the sincerest Esteem and Affection, I am, dear sir, 

etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



22 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1082. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (L. c.) 

Passy, March 4, 1780. 

SIR, 

M. Gerard, under whose Care I understand the Dispatches 
from Congress to me were forwarded, is not yet arrived here, 
and I have not received them. I cannot, therefore, at present 
answer any thing that may be contained in them. He is, 
however, expected next Week, and I may afterwards have time 
to write further by the Alliance. Mr. Adams is come, but 
did not bring Duplicates of those Dispatches. I have, in 
obedience to the Order of Congress, which he produc'd to 
me, furnish'd him with 1,000 Louis-d'ors. I have also given 
a Credit to Mr. Jay upon the Correspondent of our Banker 
at Madrid for an equal Sum. I have not yet heard of his 
Arrival there. His Letter to me was of the 28th of Jan 1 from 
Cadiz. 

In my last I gave some Account of the Success of our little 
Squadron under Commodore Jones. Three of their Prizes 
sent into Bergen in Norway, were, at the Instance of the Brit- 
ish minister, seized by Order of the Court of Denmark, and 
delivered up to him. I have, with the Approbation of the 
Ministry here, drawn up and sent to that Court a Memorial 
reclaiming those Prizes. It went thro' the Hands of the 
French Minister residing there, who has delivered it; but I 
have yet receiv'd no Answer. I understand from the French 
Consul at Bergen, that the Prizes remain still in that Port, 
and it is said there is some Hope that the Order may be re- 
versed; but this is doubtful, and I suppose the Congress 

1 President of Congress. ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 23 

will immediately consider this important Affair, and give me 
such Instructions upon it as they may judge proper. With 
this, I send a Copy of the Memorial. 

During that Cruise a mortal Quarrel arose between the 
Commodore and Captain Landais. On their Arrival in 
Holland, M. de Sartine, Minister of the Marine, propos'd 
to me the sending for Landais, in order to enquire into his 
Conduct. I doubted the Propriety of my Meddling in the 
Affair ; but Captain Landais' Friends conceiving it a Measure 
that might be serviceable to him, and pressing it, I complied, 
and he came accordingly to Paris. I send the Minutes of the 
Enquiry for the Consideration of Congress. I have not pre- 
sumed to condemn or acquit him, doubting as well my own 
Judgment as my Authority. He proposes to demand a 
Court-Martial in America. In his Absence from the Ship, 
the Commodore took the Command of her, and on quitting 
the Texel made a Cruize thro' the Channel to Spain, and has 
since return'd to L' Orient, where the Ship is now refitting 
in order to return to America. Capt. Landais has not apply'd 
to me to be replac'd in her, and I imagine has no Thought 
of that kind, having before on several Occasions express'd 
to me and others his Dissatisfaction with his Officers, and 
his Inclination on that Account to quit her. Capt. Jones 
will therefore carry her home, unless he should be prevail'd 
with to enter another Service, which, however, I think is not 
likely, tho' he has gained immense Reputation all over Europe 
for his Bravery. 

As Vessels of War under my Care create me a vast deal of 
Business, of a kind too that I am unexperienced in and by my 
Distance from the Coast is very difficult to be well executed, 
I must repeat my earnest Request, that some Person of Skill 



24 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

in such Affairs may be appointed in the Character of Consul, 
to take Charge of them. I imagine that much would by that 
means be saved in the Expence of their various Refittings 
and Supplies, which to me appears enormous. 

Agreable to the Order of Congress, I have employed one 
of the best Artists l here in cutting the Dies for the Medal 
intended for M. de Fleury. The Price of such Work is 
beyond my Expectation, being 1,000 Livres for each Die. I 
shall try if it is not possible to have the others done cheaper. 

Our Exchange of Prisoners has been for some time past 
at a Stand, the English Admiralty refusing, after long Con- 
sideration, to give us any Men in return for those who had 
been dismissed by our armed Vessels on Parole, and the actual 
Prisoners we had being exchanged. When the Squadron of 
Comm e Jones arrived in the Texel with 500 English Pris- 
oners, I proposed exchanging there; but this was declin'd, 
in Expectation, as I heard from England, of retaking them 
in their Way to France. The Stay of our ships in Holland, 
thro' the Favour of the States, being prolonged, and the 
Squadrons station'd to intercept us being tired of Cruising 
for us, they consented at length to a Cartel with France, and 
brought Frenchmen to Holland to exchange for those Prison- 
ers instead of Americans. These Proceedings have occa- 
sion'd our poor People to be kept longer in Confinement; 
but the Minister of the Marine, having given Orders that I 
should have as many English, another Cartel charg'd with 
Americans is now daily expected, and I hope in a few Months 
to see them all at Liberty. This for their sakes, and also to 
save Expence ; for their long and hard Imprisonment induces 

1 B. Duvivier was the artist. He announced to F. in a letter dated April 
20, 1780 (A. P. S.), the completion of the work. ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 25 

many to hazard Attempts of Escaping; and those who get 
away thro' London and Holland, and come to Paris in their 
Way to some Seaport in France, cost one with another, I 
believe, near 20 Sterling a Head. 

The Delays in the Exchange have I think been lengthen'd 
by the Admiralty, partly with the View of breaking the 
Patience of our People and inducing them to enter the English 
Service. They have spar'd no pains for this purpose, and 
have prevailed with some. The Number of these has not 
indeed been great, and several of them lost their Lives in the 
Blowing up of the Quebec. I am also lately inform'd from 
London, that the Flags of Truce with Prisoners from Boston, 
one of which is seized as British Property, will obtain no 
Americans in Exchange ; the return'd English being told, that 
they had no Authority or Right to make such Agreements 
with Rebels, &c. This is not the only Instance in which it 
appears, that a few late Successes have given that Nation 
another Hour of Insolence. And yet their Affairs upon the 
whole wear a very unpromising Aspect. They have not yet 
been able to find any allies in Europe. Holland grows daily 
less and less dispos'd to comply with their Requisitions; 
Ireland is not satisfied, but is making new Demands; Scot- 
land, and the Protestants in England are uneasy, and the 
Associations of Counties in England, with Committees of 
Correspondence to make Reforms in the Government, all 
taken together, give-a good deal of Apprehension at present, 
even to their mad Ministers ; while their Debt, on the point 
of amounting to the amazing sum of 200 Millions, hangs as a 
Millstone upon the Neck of their Credit, and must ere long 
sink it beyond Redemption. 

The Disposition of this Court continues as favourable as 



26 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

ever, tho' it cannot comply with all our Demands. The 
Supplies required, in the Invoice sent me by the Committee, 
appeared too great and numerous to be immediately supplied. 
Three Millions of Livres were, however, granted me, with 
which, after deducting what will be necessary to pay the 
Interest Bills, and other late Drafts of Congress, I could not 
venture in ordering more than 10,000 Suits of Cloathes. 
With these, we shall have 15,000 Arms and Accoutrements. 
A good deal of Cloth goes over in the Alliance, purchased by 
Mr. Ross, which, it is computed, may make 7 or 8000 Suits 
more. But altho' we have not obtain'd that Invoice of Goods, 
this Court being at immense Expence in the Preparations 
for the next Campaign, I have reason to believe that a Part 
of those Preparations will be employ'd in essential Assistance 
to the United States, and I hope effectual, tho' at present I 
cannot be more particular. 

I have sent to Mr. Johnson the Vote of Congress relative 
to the Settlement of the Accounts. He has express'd his 
Readiness to enter on the Service. Mr. Dean is soon ex- 
pected here, whose Presence is very necessary, and I hope with 
his Help they may be gone through without much difficulty. 
I could have wish'd it had suited Mr. Lee to have been here 
at the same time. 

The Marquis de la Fayette, who, during his Residence 
in France, has been extremely zealous in supporting our 
Cause on all Occasions, returns again to fight for it. He is 
infinitely esteem'd and belov'd here, and I am persuaded 
will do every thing in his Power to merit a Continuance of the 
same Affection from America. With the greatest Respect, 
I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1780] TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 27 

1083. TO HORATIO GATES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 5. 1780. 

I embrace this Opportunity of the Marquis de la Fayette's 
return to the Army to salute you, my dear old friend, and to 
present you with my best Wishes for your Health and Pros- 
perity. 

He will deliver you a Book, lately published by General 
Burgoyne, to explain and account for his Misfortune. 1 
The perusal may amuse you to make the work compleat 
methinks he ought to have given us in it his proclamation 
contrasted with his capitulation. 

We are making great Preparations here, intending an 
active and hoping for a successful Campaign. 

May God give us soon a good Peace, and bring you and I 
(sic) together again over a Chessboard, where we may have 
Battles without Bloodshed. I am as ever, with the highest 

Esteem, dear sir, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1084. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON (L. c.) 

Passy, March 5 1780. 

SIR, 

I have received but lately the Letter your Excellency did 
me the honour of writing to me in Recommendation of the 

1 " State of the Expedition from Canada, as laid before the House of Com- 
mons by Lieutenant-general Burgoyne and verified by Evidence " (1779). 
He complained that his army was but one half the size he had demanded, and 
was badly provided. ED. 



28 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

Marquis de la Fayette. His modesty detained it long in his 
own Hands. 1 We became acquainted, however, from the 
time of his Arrival at Paris ; and his Zeal for the Honour of 
our Country, his Activity in our Affairs here, and his firm 
Attachment to our Cause and to you, impress'd me with the 
same Regard and Esteem for him that your Excellency's 
Letter would have done, had it been immediately delivered 
to me. 

Should peace arrive after another Campaign or two, and 
afford us a little Leisure, I should be happy to see your 
Excellency in Europe, and to accompany you, if my Age and 
Strength would permit, in visiting some of its ancient and 
most famous Kingdoms. You would, on this side of the 
Sea, enjoy the great Reputation you have acquir'd, pure and 
free from those little Shades that the Jealousy and Envy 
of a Man's Countrymen and Cotemporaries are ever endeav- 
ouring to cast over living Merit. Here you would know, 
and enjoy, what Posterity will say of Washington. For 
looo Leagues have nearly the same Effect with 1000 Years. 
The feeble Voice of those grovelling Passions cannot extend 
so far either in Time or Distance. At present I enjoy that 
Pleasure for you, as I frequently hear the old Generals of 
this martial Country, (who study the Maps of America, and 
mark upon them all your Operations,) speak with sincere 
Approbation and great Applause of your conduct ; and join 

1 The letter was written at Philadelphia, December 28, 1778. See Sparks, 
" The Writings of George Washington," Vol. VI, p. 148. Lafayette recipro- 
cated the esteem and affection of Washington. Upon Christmas Day, 1779, " at 
two o'clock in the morning," he wrote to F. that at that moment M'de de Lafay- 
ette was happily delivered of a son, and added, " The Boy shall be call'd George, 
and you will easily guess that he bears that name as a tribute of Respect and 
love for my dear friend General Washington." ED. 



1780] TO THE CHEVALIER DE LA LUZERNE 29 

in giving you the Character of one of the greatest Captains of 
the Age. 

I must soon quit the Scene, but you may live to see our 
Country flourish, as it will amazingly and rapidly after the 
War is over. Like a Field of young Indian Corn, which long 
Fair weather and Sunshine had enfeebled and discolored, and 
which in that weak State, by a Thunder Gust, of violent 
Wind, Hail, and Rain, seem'd to be threaten'd with absolute 
Destruction ; yet the Storm being past, it recovers fresh Ver- 
dure, shoots up with double Vigour, and delights the Eye, 
not of its Owner only, but of every observing Traveller. 

The best Wishes that can be form'd for your Health, 
Honour, and Happiness, ever attend you from your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant 

B. F. 



1085. TO THE CHEVALIER DE LA LUZERNE 1 

(L.C.) 
Passy, Mar. 5 1780. 

SIR, 

I received with great Pleasure the Letter you did me the 
Honour of writing to me from Boston. I rejoiced to hear of 
your safe Arrival, and that the Reception you met with in my 
Country had been agreable to you. I hope its Air will suit 
you, and that, while you reside in it, you will enjoy constant 
Health and Happiness. 

Your good Brother 2 does me sometimes the Honour of 

1 Anne-Cesar de La Luzerne (1741-1791) was minister of France to the 
United States (1779-1783). He died while ambassador to England. Luzerne 
County, Pennsylvania, was named in his honour. ED. 

8 He had three brothers, Cesar-Henri, a lieutenant-general, Cesar-Guil- 



30 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

calling on me, and we converse in English, which he speaks 
very intelligibly. I suppose that by this time you do the same. 
M. de Malesherbes 1 did me lately the same Honour. That 
great Man seems to have no Wish of returning into Publick 
Employment, but amuses himself with Planting, and is desir- 
ous of obtaining all those Trees of North America, that have 
not yet been introduced into France. Your sending him a 
Box of the Seeds would, I am persuaded, much oblige him. 
They may be obtain'd of my young Friend Bartram, living 
near Philadelphia. 

You will have heard that Spain has lately met with a little 
Misfortune at Sea, but the Bravery with which her Ships 
fought a vastly superior Force has gained her great Honour. 
We are anxious here for further news from that Coast, which 
is daily expected. Great Preparations are making here for 
the ensuing Campaign, and we flatter ourselves that it will 
be more active and successful in Europe than the last. 

One of the Advantages of great States is, that the Calamity 
occasion'd by a foreign War falls only on a very small Part 
of the Community, who happen from their Situation and par- 
ticular Circumstances to be exposed to it. Thus as it is 
always fair Weather in our Parlours, it is at Paris always 
Peace. The people pursue their respective Occupations ; 
the Playhouses, the Opera, and other publick Diversions, are 
as regularly and fully attended, as in Times of profoundest 
Tranquillity, and the same small Concerns divide us into 

laume, a cardinal, and another who became minister of Marine in 1 789. It 
is perhaps impossible to decide which of them is referred to. ED. 

1 Chretien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbe (1721-1794) had 
retired from his office of " ministere de la maison du roi et des provinces " 
(minister of the interior) in 1776 and was occupying his leisure with the 
preparation of sundry monographs upon agriculture. ED. 



1780] TO FRANCIS HOPKINS ON 31 

Parties. Within these few Weeks we are for or against 
Jeannot, 1 a new Actor. This man's Performance, and the 
marriage of the Duke de Richelieu, fill up much more of our 
present Conversation, than any thing that relates to the War. 
A Demonstration this of the publick Felicity. 

My Grandson joins with me in best Wishes for your Health 
and Prosperity. He is much flatter'd by your kind Remem- 
brance of him. We desire also that M. de Marbois 2 would 
accept our Assurances of Esteem. I have the honour to be 
with the greatest respect, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1086. TO FRANCIS HOPKINSON 3 

Passy, March 6, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I thank you for your political Squibs; they are well made. 
I am glad to find you have such plenty of good powder. 

You propose that Kill-pig, the butcher, should operate 
upon himself. You will find some thoughts on that subject 
in a little piece called A Merry Song about Murder, in a 
London newspaper I send herewith. 

1 Volange, a French actor, achieved great popularity through the perform- 
ance of " Jeannot," a play which was the precursor of " Figaro." " II se 
nommait Volange, mais la France ne le connut d'abord que sous le nom de 
' Jeannot,' role que fut son triomphe" ("Memoires de Fleury de la Comedie 
Francaise. Publiee par B. P. Lafitte. Premiere Serie, 1757-1789. Paris, Ad. 
De la hays, 1847," Chapter xvii). See also "The French Stage and the 
French People as illustrated in the Memoirs of M. Fleury," edited by Theo- 
dore Hook, London, 1841, Vol. II, p. 26. ED. 

2 Secretary of the French Legation in the United States. ED. 

8 From " The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin " (W. T. F.), 
London, 1818, Vol. I, p. 57. ED. 



32 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

The greatest discovery made in Europe for some time past 
is that of Dr. Ingenhousz's relating to the great use of the 
leaves of trees in producing wholesome air. I would send 
you his book, if I had it. 1 A new instrument is lately invented 
here, 2 a kind of telescope, which by means of Iceland crystal 
occasions the double appearance of an object, and, the two 
appearances being farther distant from each other in propor- 
tion to the distance of the object from the eye, by moving 
an index on a graduated line till the two appearances coincide, 
you find on the line the real distance of the object. I am 
not enough master of this instrument to describe it accurately, 
having seen it but once ; but it is very ingeniously contrived. 

Remember me respectfully to your mother and sisters, 
and believe me ever, my dear friend, yours most affec- 
tionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1087. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 8, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your Favour of the 3d Inst. I find the Arms are 
to be sent in one of the king's Ships. I inclose an Order for 
the Cannon which you say you can take as Ballast. To the 
other Particulars of your Letter I shall endeavor to answer 
to-morrow. With great Esteem I am, dear sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

A Muster- Roll of the Bonhomme Richard will be wanted, I 
understand, in order to divide the Produce of the Prizes. 

1 "Experiences sur les Vegetaux" (1779). ED. 

2 By the Abbe Rochon, of the French Academy of Sciences. ED. 



1780] TO CAPTAIN PETER LANDAIS 33 

Mr. Ross having wrote me word that he shall go in the 
Luzerne, I request you to take in his stead Captain Hutchins, 
a very worthy American, who has suffered much for his 
Attachment to our Cause. 



1088. TO PETER LANDAIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 12, 1780. 

SIR, 

I received this Day the two Letters you did me the honour 
of writing to me, dated the loth and nth Instant. 

Having already twice answered very clearly and explicitly 
your demand about your Things, it seems unnecessary to 
say any thing further on that Head. I have written long since 
to Capt. Jones to deliver them to any Person you may author- 
ize to demand and receive them. If you please, you may give 
that authority to the agent you mention. I have also already 
often answered your demand of my procuring for you a 
Passage to America. 

M. de Chaumont having had the Payment of all Expences 
in equipping the Squadron, will, I suppose, have the Pay- 
ment of the Prize Money. None of it will pass thro* my 
hands. 

After the continual Quarrels between you and the People 
of the Alliance, from the time of your taking the Command 
of her at Boston; after the repeated written complaints 
made to me by you of the officers, and by the officers of you 
during all the Time from your arrival in Europe to your 
Departure on your last Cruize ; after having acquainted me 
in writing with your Resolution not to continue in the Com- 

VOL. VIII D 



34 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

mand with such Officers, and expressing the same Disposition 
in discourse to M*. Chaumont, after being as you say 4 
Months in Paris, in all which time you never gave the least 
Instruction (sic) of a Wish to return to her, nor desired any- 
thing of me relating to her but to have your things out of her, 
it is really surprising to be now told that the Officers and Crew 
like you for their Captain, and that they hate their Present 
Commander of whom, however, they have not made to me 
the least Complaint ; and to have now for the first time a 
demand from you of being replac'd in that Ship, made only 
when you know she is just on the Point of Sailing. The 
demand, however, may perhaps be made chiefly for the sake 
of obtaining a Refusal, of which you seem the more earnestly 
desirous as the having it to produce may be of service to you 
in America. I will not therefore deny it to you, and it shall 
be as positive and clear as you require it. No one has ever 
learnt from me the Opinion I formed of you from the Enquiry 
made into your conduct. I kept it entirely to myself. I have 
not even hinted it in my Letters to America, because I would 
not hazard giving to any one a Bias to your Prejudice. By 
communicating a Part of that Opinion privately to you it can 
do you no harm for you may burn it. I should not give you 
the pain of reading it if your Demand did not make it neces- 
sary. I think you, then, so imprudent, so litigious and quar- 
relsome a man, even with your best friends, that Peace and 
good order and, consequently, the quiet and regular Subordi- 
nation so necessary to Success, are, where you preside, impos- 
sible. These are matters within my observation and com- 
prehension, your military Operations I leave to more capable 
Judges. If therefore I had 20 Ships of War in my Disposi- 
tion, I should not give one of them to Captain Landais. The 



1780] TO JAMES LOVELL 35 

same Temper which excluded him from the French Marine 
would weigh equally with me. Of course I shall not replace 
him in the Alliance. 

I am assur'd, however, that as Captain of a Merchant Ship 
you have Two very good Qualities highly useful to your 
Owners, viz., (Economy and Integrity; for these I esteem 

you, and have the honour to be, sir, etc., 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

P.S. I have passed over all the charges made or insinu- 
ated against me in your Letters and angry Conversations, 
because I would avoid continuing an Altercation for which I 
have neither Time nor Inclination. You will carry them to 
America where I must be accountable for my Conduct 
towards you, and where it will be my Duty, if I cannot justify 
myself, to submit to any Censures I may have merited. Our 
Correspondence, which cannot be pleasant to either of us, 
may therefore, if you please, end here. 



1089. TO JAMES LOVELL (L. c.) 

Passy, March 16 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

The Marquis de la Fayette, our firm and constant Friend, 
returning to America, I have written a long Letter by him to 
the President, of which a copy goes by this Ship. M.Ge'rard 
is since arrived, and I have received the Dispatches you men- 
tioned to me, but no Letter in Answer to mine, a very long one, 
by the Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor any Acknowledgment 
that it came to hand. 

By the many Newspapers and Pamphlets I send, you will 



36 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

see the present State of European Affairs in general. Ire- 
land continues to insist on compleat Liberty, and will prob- 
ably obtain it. The Meetings of Counties in England, and 
the Committees of Correspondence they appoint, alarm a good 
deal the Ministry, especially since it has been proposed to 
elect out of each Committee a few Persons to assemble in 
London, which, if carried into Execution, will form a kind of 
Congress, that will have more of the Confidence and Support 
of the People than the old Parliament. If the Nation is not 
too corrupt, as I rather think it is, some considerable Reforma- 
tion of internal Abuses may be expected from this. With 
regard to us, the only Advantage to be reasonably expected 
from it is a Peace, the general Bent of the Nation being for it. 

The Success of Admiral Rodney's Fleet against our Allies 
has a little elated our Enemies for the present, and probably 
they will not now think of proposing it. If the approaching 
Campaign, for which great Preparations are making here, 
should end disadvantageously to them, they will be more 
treatable; for their Debts and Taxes are daily becoming 
more burthensome, while their Commerce, the Source of 
their Wealth, diminishes : And tho' they have flattered them- 
selves with obtaining Assistance from Russia and other 
Powers, it does not appear that they are likely to succeed; 
on the contrary, they are in danger of losing the Neutrality 
of Holland. 

Their Conduct with regard to the Exchange of Prisoners 
has been very unjust. After long suspense and affected 
Delays for the purpose of wearying out our poor people, they 
have finally refused to deliver us a MAN in Exchange for those 
set at Liberty by our Cruisers on Parole. A Letter, I inclose, 
from Capt. Mitchel, will show the Treatment of the late flags 



1780] TO THOMAS BOND 37 

of Truce from Boston. There is no gaining any thing upon 
these Barbarians by Advances of Civility or Humanity. 

Inclos'd I send for Congress the Justification of this Court 
against the Accusations published in the late English Memo- 
rials. With great Esteem, &c. 

,B. FRANKLIN. 



1090. TO THOMAS BOND (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 16, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind letter of September the 22d, and I 
thank you for the pleasing account you give me of the health 
and welfare of my old friends, Hugh Roberts, Luke Morris, 
Philip Syng, Samuel Rhoads, &c., with the same of yourself 
and family. Shake the old ones by the hand for me, and give 
the young ones my blessing. For my own part, I do not find 
that I grow any older. Being arrived at seventy, and con- 
sidering that by travelling further in the same road I should 
probably be led to the grave, I stopped short, turned about, 
and walked back again ; which having done these four years, 
you may now call me sixty-six. Advise those old friends of 
ours to follow my example; keep up your spirits, and that 
will keep up your bodies ; you will no more stoop under the 
weight of age, than if you had swallowed a handspike. 

I am glad the Philosophical Society made that compliment 
to M. Ge'rard. 1 I wish they would do the same to M. Feutry, 
a worthy gentleman here; and to Dr. Ingenhousz, who has 

1 Gerard was elected a member of The American Philosophical Society, 
April 1 6, 1779. Feutry and Ingenhousz were not elected until July 21, 
1786. ED. 



38 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

made some great discoveries lately respecting the leaves of 
trees in improving air for the use of animals. He will send 
you his book. He is physician to the Empress Queen. I 
have not yet seen your piece on inoculation. Remember me 
respectfully and affectionately to Mrs. Bond, your children, 

and all friends. 1 I am ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. I have bought some valuable books, which I intend 
to present to the Society; but shall not send them till safer 
times. 



1091. TO SAMUEL COOPER 3 

Passy, March 16, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind favour by Captain Chavagnes, 8 
which I communicated to the minister of marine, who was 
much pleased with the character you give of the Captain. 
I have also yours of November i2th, by your grandson, 4 
who appears a very promising lad, in whom I think you will 
have much satisfaction. He is in a boarding school just by 
me, and was well last Sunday, when I had the pleasure of his 
company to dinner with Mr. Adams's sons, and some other 
young Americans. He will soon acquire the language ; and, 
if God spares his life, may make a very serviceable man to his 
country. 

1 Dr. Bond (1712-1784) was an eminent physician of Philadelphia. ED. 
8 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (W. T. F.), 
London, 1818, Vol. I, p. 59. ED. 

8 Captain of the French ship of war, Sensible. ED. 
* Samuel Cooper Johonnot. ED. 



1780] TO CYRUS GRIFFIN 39 

It gives me infinite satisfaction to find, that, with you, the 
wisest and best among our people are so hearty in endeavour- 
ing to strengthen the alliance. 1 We certainly owe much to 
this nation ; and we shall obtain much more, if the same pru- 
dent conduct towards them continues, for they really and 
strongly wish our prosperity, and will promote it by every 
means in their power. But we should at the same time do as 
much as possible for ourselves, and not ride (as we say) a 
free horse to death. There are some Americans returning 
hence, with whom our people should be upon their guard, as 
carrying with them a spirit of enmity to this country. Not 
being liked here themselves, they dislike the people ; for the 
same reason, indeed, they ought to dislike all that know them. 
With the sincerest respect and esteem, I am ever my dear 

friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1092. TO CYRUS GRIFFIN 2 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 16, 1780. 

SIR, 

I have just received the letter you have done me the honour 
to write to me, and shall immediately deliver the packet it 
recommends to my care. I will take the first opportunity of 
mentioning to M. Gerard what you hint, relative to our not 

1 " I send him [his grandson] partly, as a dear Pledge of my own Esteem 
and Gratitude for a Nation to whom my Country is so much indebted, and of my 
sincere Inclination to act, even in the tenderest Cases, in the true spirit of the 
Alliance." Cooper, Nov r 12, 1779 (A. P. S.). ED. 

2 Cyrus Griffin (1749-1810), a Virginian jurist, member of the Virginia 
legislature and President of the Continental Congress in 1788. He was judge 
of the U. S. court for the district of Virginia (1789-1810). ED. 



40 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

entertaining strangers so frequently and liberally, as is the 
custom in France. But he has travelled in Europe, and knows 
that modes of nations differ. The French are convivial, live 
much at one another's tables, and are glad to feast travellers. 
In Italy and Spain, a stranger, however recommended, rarely 
dines at the house of any gentleman, but lives at his inn. 
The Americans hold a medium. I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1093. TO JOHN PAUL JONES 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 18, 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received your letter relating to the bullets of the engineer 
in Denmark, and shall write thither accordingly. I have also 
just received yours of the i3th. Mr. Ross writes to me, that 
he finds a difficulty in passing the goods to you from L'Isle 
Noirmoutier. I do, therefore, now desire you, if practicable, 
to call at or off that island, in order to take them on board, 
their speedy and safe arrival in America being of the greatest 
consequence to the army. I have sent my despatches by 
Mr. Wharton, who set off yesterday morning. When they 
arrive, and you have got the cloth on board, I know of nothing 
to retard your proceeding directly to such port in North 
America, as you shall judge most likely to be reached with 
safety. If in other respects equal, Philadelphia is to be 
preferred. 

1 This letter is in " Records of the United States Legation, Paris Letter 
Book, 1 780." It is endorsed " The foregoing is an exact Copy from my grand- 
father's Rough Draft. He being obliged to go out, before it was finish' d 
copying directed me to sign it for him." W. T. Franklin. ED. 



1780] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 41 

I wish the prize money due to your people could be paid, 
before they go. I have spoken often about it. As to the 
prizes sent in to Norway, you know they were delivered back 
to the English by the court of Denmark. I have reclaimed 
them by a strong memorial, but have yet received no answer ; 
and it is doubted whether we shall recover any thing, unless 
by letters of marque and reprisal from the Congress, against 
the subjects of that kingdom, which, perhaps, in the present 
circumstances, it may not be thought proper soon to grant. 
The ships of war, that you took, are, I hear, to be valued, the 
King intending to purchase them ; and the muster-roll of the 
Bon Homme Richard is wanting, in order to regulate the 
proportions to each ship. These things may take time. I 
have considered, that the People of the Bon Homme may want 
some little supplies for the Voyage, and, therefore, if these 
proportions should not be regulated and paid before you sail, 
and you find it necessary, you may draw on me as far as 
24,000 Livres to advance to them, for which they are to be 
accountable; but do not exceed that sum. I do this to 
prevent, as much as in me lies, the bad effects of any uneasiness 
among them; for I suppose that regularly all payments to 
seamen should be made at home. 

. A grand convoy, I understand, is to sail from Brest about the 
end of this month, or beginning of the next. It is of great 
importance to the United States, that not only the Alliance, 
but the merchantmen that may sail under her convoy, should 
safely arrive there. If it will be convenient and practicable 
for you to join that convoy, and sail with it till off the coast, 
I wish it may be done. But I leave it to your discretion and 
judgment. I have no farther instructions to give, but, 
committing you to the protection of Providence, I wish you a 



42 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

prosperous voyage, and a happy sight of your friends in 
America; being with great esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1094. TO JOSEPH REED 1 

Passy, March 19 1780. 

SIR, 

I beg leave to introduce to your Excellency's acquaintance 
and civilities the Chevalier de Chastellux ; 2 major-general in 
the French troops, now about to embark for America, whom 
I have long known and esteemed highly in his several charac- 
ters of a soldier, a gentleman, and a man of letters. His 
excellent book on Public Happiness 9 shows him the friend to 
mankind, and as such entitles him, wherever he goes, to their 
respect and good offices. He is particularly a friend to our 
cause, and I am sure your Excellency will have great pleasure 
in his conversation. With great esteem and respect, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Joseph Reed (1741-1785), Pennsylvania statesman, was president of the 
supreme executive council of Pennsylvania ( 1 778-1 781 ) . The letter is printed 
from "The Life of Joseph Reed," by William Reed. ED. 

2 The Chevalier de Chastellux (1734-1788) came to the United States with 
Count de Rochambeau's army. He travelled much in various parts of the 
country, and, after he returned to France, published an account of his travels, 
in a work entitled Voyages dans PAmerique Septentrionale (1786). It was 
well received both in Europe and America, and was translated into English 
and German. After his return to France the title of Marquis was conferred 
on him. He translated the poems of General Humphreys into French. ED. 

8 " De la felicit^ publique " (1772); Voltaire compared this work with 
" 1'Esprit des Lois." ED. 



1780] TO JOSEPH REED 43 

1095. TO JOSEPH REED 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March igth 1780. 

SIR, 

I have just received the Pamphlet 2 you did me the honour 
to send me by M. Ge*rard, and have read it with Pleasure, 
not only as the Clear State of facts do you honour, but as they 
prove the falshood of a Man, who also show'd no regard to 
Truth in what he said of me that I approved of the Propositions 
he carry' d over? The Truth is that his brother, Mr. Poultney, 
came here with those Propositions, and after stipulating 
that, if I did not approve of them, I should not speak of them 
to any Person, he communicated them to me. I told him 
frankly on his desiring to know my Sentiments, that I DID 
NOT approve of them, and that I was sure they WOULD NOT be 
accepted in America. "But," says I, "there are two other 
Commissioners here ; I will, if you please show your Propo- 
sitions to them and you will hear their Opinion. I will also 
show them to the Ministry here, without whose Knowledge 
and Concurrence we can take no step in such affairs." " No," 
says he, "as you do not approve of them, it can answer no 

1 Published in " The Life of Joseph Reed " by William B. Reed. Also 
printed with changes in "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), Vol. 
VI, p. 385. Printed here from the Letter Book (1781) of the "Records of 
the United States Legation, Paris." ED. 

2 " Remarks on Governor Johnstone's Speech in Parliament; with a Collec- 
tion of all the letters and authentic papers, relative to his proposition to engage 
the interest of the delegates of the state of Pennsylvania, in the Congress of 
the states of America, to promote the views of the British Commissioners." 
Phila. 1779. ED. 

8 Alluding to a statement made by Governor Johnstone, one of the British 
Commissioners for treating with Congress. See REMEMBRANCER, Vol. VII, 
pp. 8-1 8. S. 



44 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

purpose to show them [to anybody else; the reasons that 
weigh with you will also weigh with them ;] l therefore I now 
pray, that no mention may be made of my having been here, 
or my business." To this I agreed, and therefore nothing 
could be more astonishing to me, than to see, in an American 
Newspaper, that direct Lie in a Letter from Mr. Johnstone, 
join'd with two other falshoods relating to the Time of the 
Treaty, and to the Opinion of Spain ! 

In proof of the above, I inclose a Certificate of a friend of 
Mr. Pultney's, the only person present at our Interview; 
and I do it the rather at this time, because I am informed, 
that another Calumniator (the same who formerly, in his 
private Letters to particular Members, accus'd you, with 
Messrs. Jay, Duane, Langdon, and Harrison, of betraying 
the Secrets of Congress in a Correspondence with the Ministry) 
has made this Transaction with Mr. Pultney an Article of 
Accusation against me, as having approved those propositions. 
He proposes, I understand, to settle in your Government. 
I caution you to beware of him; for, in sowing Suspicions 
and Jealousies, in creating Misunderstandings and Quarrels 
among friends, in Malice, Subtilty, and indefatigable indus- 
try, he has I think no equal. 2 

I am glad to see that you continue to preside in our new 
State, as it shows that your Public Conduct is approved by 
the People. You have had a Difficult Time, which required 
abundance of Prudence, and you have been equal to the 
Occasion. The Disputes about the Constitution seem to have 
subsided. It is much admired here, and all over Europe, 
and will draw over many families of fortune to settle under it, 

1 Passage in brackets is not found in Letter Book (D. S. W.). ED. 
8 Arthur Lee. ED. 



1780] TO JOSEPH REED 45 

as soon as there is a peace. The Defects, that may on seven 
years' Trial be found in it, can be amended, when the time 
comes for considering them. With great and sincere Esteem 

and Respect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Certificate referred to above (u. OF P.) 

DEAR SIR, 

I send, adjoined, the Certificate you desire, and am per- 
fectly convinc'd, from Conversations I have since had with 
Mr. Pultney, that nobody was authorised to hold the Lan- 
guage, which has been imputed to him on that Subject ; and, 
as I have a high Opinion of his Candour and Worth, I 
know it must be painful to him to be brought into question 
in Matters of fact with Persons he esteems. I could wish 
that this Matter may receive no further Publicity, than what 
is necessary for your Justification. I am, &c. 

W. ALEXANDER. 

Paris, March 19, 1780. (U. of P.) 

I DO hereby Certify whom it may Concern, that I was 
present with Mr. Pultney and Dr. Franklin at Paris, when 
in a Conversation between them, on the subject of certain 
Propositions for a Reconciliation with America, offer'd by 
Mr. Pultney, Dr. Franklin said, he did not approuve (sic) of 
them, nor did he think they would be approved in America, 
but that he would communicate them to his Colleagues and the 
French Ministry. This Mr. Pultney opposed, saying that it 
would answer no good End, as he was persuaded, that what 
weigh'd with Dr. Franklin would weigh also with them ; and 
therefore desired, that no Mention might be made of his 
having offer'd such Propositions, or even of his having been 



46 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

here on such Business; but that the whole might be buried 
in Oblivion, agreable to what had been stipulated by Mr. 
Pultney, and agreed to by Dr. Franklin, before the Proposi- 
tions were produced; which Dr. Franklin accordingly 

promised. 

W ALEXANDER. 



1096. TO M. DE SARTINE (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 20* 1780. 

SIR, In compliance with your Excellency's Opinion expressed 
in the Letter you did me the honour of writing to me on the 
i4th of October last, that I should send for Capt. Landais to 
Paris to give an Account of his Conduct respecting the last 
engagement with the Serapis, wherein it had appear'd to 
your Excellency, "that if the frigate Alliance, which he com- 
manded, had seconded the Bonhomme Richard by engaging 
at the same time, the advantage gain'd by Commodore Jones 
would have been sooner obtain'd, have cost fewer lives, and 
not have left the Bonhomme Richard in such a Condition as to 
sink in 36 Hours after the combat," I immediately wrote to the 
said Captain Landais, acquainting him with that and other 
charges against him, and directing him to render himself 
here, and to bring with him such Evidence as he could obtain 
and should think proper for his Justification; and I wrote 
at the same time to the Commodore, acquainting him with 
this step, and directing him to send me the Evidence he had 
to support the Charges against Capt. Landais, contain'd in 
his Letters. Captain Landais, who had also himself desired 
of me to order an Enquiry, was necessarily detained some 



1780] TO M. DE SARTINE 47 

time after in Holland, sundry accidents, such as the Delay of 
Commodore Jones' expected Proofs, and the Indisposition 
at Different Times of myself and Capt. Landais, have drawn 
the enquiry to a Length unexpected, and after all I find so 
much Contradiction in the Declarations of the Parties and 
in the written Evidence adduced in support of them, and such 
an Insufficiency of Marine knowledge in myself, when all 
the Possibilities are to be considered of this or that Manoeuvre 
of a Ship under the Various Circumstances of Wind, Tide, and 
Situation, that I cannot presume, even if I had Authority 
for so doing, to condemn the Conduct of Captain Landais, or 
to advise the Congress to erase his name from the List of their 
Sea-Officers. His regular Trial will be before a Court- 
Ma rtial, consisting of a Competent Number of such Officers, 
which can only be found in America; and to that I must 
therefore refer him. That Court will judge how far he is 
chargeable with Disobedience to Orders, Delay in coming to 
the assistance of the Commodore, or Neglect of taking the 
Merchant Ships. I will only venture to give your Excellency 
an Opinion of mine in his favour, that his firing into that Ship 
instead of the Serapis, if that fact should be found clear, 
could never have been the effect of Design, but merely from 
accident occasioned by the night, or the natural spreading of 
Shot, for tho' it appeared in the Course of the Enquiry that a 
mortal Quarrel had arisen during the Cruise between the 
commodore and him, Human Nature is not yet so depraved 
as to hazard the killing of many for the Chance of hurting 
one; nor is it probable that if Captain Landais had given 
such Orders his People would have obeyed them. All I 
can farther do is to transmit to Congress Copies of the Min- 
utes of the Enquiry with the Papers produced, and to leave 



48 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

Capt. Landais at liberty to return to America in order to a 
Trial. The Enquiry, imperfect as it is, has, however, had one 
good Effect, the preventing a Duel in Holland between those 
Officers, which might have proved fatal to one or both of 
them, and would at best have occasioned much inconvenient 
Rumour, Scandal, Dispute, and Dissension prejudicial to 
our Affairs. 

With the greatest Respect, I have the honour to be, sir, 
your Excellency's most obedient, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1097. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy March 25, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

The Bearer of this, M. le Prince Emanuel de Salm, Colonel 
Commandant of the Regiment d'Anhalt, supposing it possible 
that the Operations of the ensuing Campaign may bring him 
near to your Excellency, has desired of me a Line of Intro- 
duction. He bears here an excellent Character, is highly 
esteem'd by all that have the Honour of his Acquaintance, 
and I make no doubt of your receiving great Pleasure in his 
Conversation. 
With the highest Esteem & Respect, I am 

Your Excellency's most obedient 
& most humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 49 

1098. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 29, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I did receive the Letter you mentioned to have enclos'd 
for Mr. Carmichael, in yours of the 25th of February. 1 
I had before received a Letter from him, Dated at Cadiz, 
acquainting me, that he was just setting out for Madrid, and 
desiring I would send him a Credit there for 200 Louis. 
Mr. F. Grand, our Banker here, had undertaken to do this 
with his Correspondent, a Banker there. I not knowing how 
to address your Letter to Mr. Carmichael at Madrid, sent it 
to Mr. Grand's, to be put under his Cover to his Banker, who 
might deliver it to Mr. Carmichael, as he would necessarily 
find out his lodging, to acquaint him with the Credit. 

The Day after Sir George Grand was gone for Holland, his 
Brother 2 came to me, and, Expressing a great deal of Concern 
and Vexation, told me, that Sir George, seeing that Letter 
on his Desk, said, this Superscription is M. Dumas's Hand- 
writing; and some time afterwards came to him with the 
Letter in his hand open, saying, this Letter is full of ingrati- 
tude, (or some Words to that purpose,) and I will carry it to 
Holland and show it to the Ambassador; and that he had 
accordingly carry'd it away with him, notwithstanding all 
that was or could be said to the Contrary. That it gave him 

1 Original in A. P. S. In a letter dated March 23, 1780, Dumas says: "I 
must beg another favour of y r Excf Viz. to let me know, as soon as possible, if 
you have received, in a Letter from me, dated Feb? 25, another Letter of 
mine for Mr. Carmichael, & what is become of it ; has it been sent away to 
Madrid, I am extremely uneasy on account of this Letter, & shall be so till I 
receive your Answer." ED. 

2 Ferdinand Grand. ED. 



VOL. vni E 



50 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

infinite pain to acquaint me with this action of his Brother, 
but he thought it right I should know the truth. I did not 
mention this to you before, hoping that, upon Reflection, Sir 
G. would not show the Letter to the Ambassador, but seal it 
up again and send it forward ; and I was desirous to avoid 
increasing the Misunderstanding between you and Sir 
George. But, as I understood by yours to M. Bowdoin, that 
he has actually done it, I see no reason to keep it longer as a 
Secret from you. If I had known it to be a Letter of Con- 
sequence, I should nevertheless have taken the same Method 
of forwarding it, not having the least Suspicion, that any 
Person in that house would have taken so unwarrantable a 
Liberty with it. But I am now exceedingly Sorry that I 
did not rather send it to the Spanish ambassador's. Let me 
know, in your next, what you may think proper to com- 
municate to me of the Contents of it. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1099. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 30, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I wrote to you yesterday, relating to the affair of your letter 
to Mr. Carmichael, that you might know exactly the truth 
of the transaction. On reflection, I think it proper to add, 
that what I wrote was for your satisfaction only ; and that, 
as the making it public would give infinite pain to a very 
worthy man, Mr. F. Grand, who would then appear in the 
light of dllateur de son ]rlre, and it can serve no other purpose 
but that of vengeance on Sir George, and be of no advantage 
to you, I must insist on your generosity in keeping it a secret 



1780] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 51 

to yourself. In this you will also very much oblige me, who 
would by no means have my name publicly mentioned on this 
occasion ; and I depend on your compliance. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



iioo. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 31, 1780. 

DEAR SIR: I received by M. Gerard your kind letter 
written at Philadelphia. His safe return has given me 
great pleasure. 

As soon as I received yours of January 25, from Cadiz, 
I ordered a credit of 1,000 louis d'ors to be lodged for Mr. Jay 
and you by M. Grand with his banker at Madrid. He wrote 
by the next post. It does not appear by yours of March 13 
that you had then been acquainted with this or received my 
letter. This surprised me, and I inquired of M. Grand about 
it, who tells me that a letter from his correspondent of March 
12 mentions the receipt of the order, and he supposes that 
M. d'Yranda would soon find you out. 

The M. de la Fayette is gone again to America. He took 
leave at court in his American uniform. He carries with him 
a warm heart for our cause and country. Dr. Bancroft is 
just returned here from L'Orient, where he has been to assist 
in getting one of our frigates out, the Alliance. He will 
probably write to you by next post. 

I thank you for your intelligence of the state of affairs at 
home and for the extracts of Mr. Lee's philippics against 
me. Such they were intended, but when I consider him as the 
most malicious enemy I ever had (though without the smallest 



52 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1789 

cause), that he shows so clear his abundant desire to accuse 
and defame me, and that all his charges are so frivolous, so 
ill founded, and amount to so little, I esteem them rather 
as panegyrics upon me and satires against himself. 

I am glad to understand by yours of February 19 and March 
17 that you had met with so agreeable a reception at Madrid. 
The more so, as I once imagined that the long delay of the 
court in acceding to the treaty had a dubious appearance. 

Here I have every proof of the utmost cordiality and the 
sincerest good-will to us and our cause. It is true I do not 
obtain all I have been directed to ask for. The committee 
of commerce sent me over an invoice of goods, amounting, 
I guess, to more than 12,000,000 of livres. I have been 
obliged to abridge it greatly, the sum granted me not sufficing. 
I send, however, some of the most necessary articles, viz., 
fifteen thousand complete dress for soldiers, fifteen thousand 
new fusils, and one thousand barrels of gunpowder. If 
Mr. Jay can obtain a sum from Spain it may help to supply 
the sufficiency. You have reason, as you say, to pity my 
situation. Too much is expected of me, and not only the 
Congress draw upon me, often unexpectedly, for large sums, 
but all the agents of the committee of commerce in Europe 
and America think they may do the same when pinched, 
alleging that it is necessary to the credit of the Congress that 
their particular credit should be supported. From the desire 
here of carrying on the war without levying new taxes and the 
extraordinary expenses of the navy so much money can not 
be spared to us as is imagined in America ; but essential aid 
will be given us this campaign, either by an actual junction of 
force or concert of operations in the United States, or by a 
powerful diversion in the West Indies, a very considerable 



1780] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 53 

armament of ships and troops being on the point of departure 
for those countries. 

Mr. Adams is at Paris with Mr. Dana. We live upon good 
terms with each other, but he had never communicated any- 
thing of his business to me and I have made no inquiries 
of him, nor have I any letter from Congress explaining it, 
so that I am in utter ignorance. Indeed, the Congress seems 
very backward in writing to me. I have no answer to a long 
letter I wrote by the Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor even any 
acknowledgment that it came to hand; pray can you tell 
me the reason? 

Friday, April 7. Having met with some interruptions, 
I did not finish my letter in time to go by the last post. M. 
Grand has since read me part of a letter from M. le Marquis 
d'Yranda, in which he mentions his having seen you and his 
willingness to serve Mr. Jay and you, but that you appeared 
somewhat reserved. We concluded that you had not re- 
ceived M. Grand's letter, which went at the same time with 
mine (of which latter I enclose copies), because he had 
acquainted you with his having recommended you to the 
marquis, and had given you such a character of him as would 
have induced you to have conversed freely with him. We 
could not imagine how these letters could miscarry ; but since 
M. Grand left us I have thought that you may possibly have 
forgotten that you advised me to direct for you under the 
name of M. Clement, to be left at the post-office, and perhaps 
you have not asked, therefore a letter so addressed might 
have incommoded you. 

I did not imagine Mr. Jay would have stayed so long at 
Cadiz, or I should have written to him there. After some 
doubts about the manner of our future corresponding I am 



54 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

inclined to think the best way will be to convey our dispatches 
with those of the respective courts, the fidelity and honour 
of the people managing the post-office not being so much to 
be relied on, we will probably have no secrets that our friends 
may not safely be acquainted with, though not proper to be 
known by others. M. de Vergennes informed me the other 
day that Mr. Jay was on his way to Madrid, and I therefore 
now write to him there. I wish it had so happened that he 
had first called at Paris, and if he could spare you a few weeks 
to take a trip hither to visit your old friends it would, besides 
the pleasure of seeing you, be a great satisfaction to me, who 
am at present very ignorant of the true state of America, and 
I am persuaded such an interview between us would be useful 
in many respects. 

Dr. Bancroft yesterday read me a letter he had received 
from you, in which you express your surprise at not having 
heard from me. You will now find that I had written by 
the very first opportunity after the receipt of yours from 
Cadiz. He will write to you by the next Tuesday post. 

Messrs. Lee and Izard are gone to L'Orient, in order to 
embark in the Alliance together, but they did not travel to- 
gether from hence. No soul regrets their departure. They 
separately came to take leave of me, very respectfully offering 
their services to carry any despatches, etc. We parted civilly, 
for I have never acquainted them that I know of their writing 
against me to Congress. But I did not give them the trouble 
of my dispatches. Since Mr. Lee's being at L'Orient he has 
written to M. Grand, requesting a certificate from him in 
contradiction to something you had said of him in a paper 
delivered to Congress. I suppose M. Grand will explain this 
to you. There has been a fracas between our friends Sir 



1780] TO JOHN JAY 55 

George Grand and M. Dumas, in which both have been to 
blame, and each ought to forgive the other. It relates to a 
letter from Dumas to you which had been intercepted. I 
suppose he will acquaint you with the affair, and if you should 
not fully understand it from his account, I can give the 
explanation. 

I retain my health a merveille; but what with bills of 
exchange, cruising ships, supplies etc., besides the proper 
business of my station, I find I have too much to do. Your 
friend Billy (who presents his respects) is a great help to me, 
or I could not possibly go through with it. 

With sincere esteem, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



HOI. TO JOHN JAY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April, 7, 1780. 

DEAR SIR: I have been some time in Suspense about writ- 
ing to you, not knowing whether you were at Cadiz or 
Madrid. But being informed a few days since that you had 
set out for the latter, I now acknowledge the receipt of your 
several favours of September 26 from Philadelphia, Decem- 
ber 27 from Martinique, January 26 and March 3 from Cadiz. 

The Account you give of the prudent and pleasing Conduct 
of M. Gerard agrees perfectly with my opinion of him. I 
communicated it to his Brother, who is Secretary of the 
Council of State. 

Your Bill drawn in favour of M. Bingham for 3,379 livres 
S sols came to hand and was immediately accepted. 

In a former Letter, which I hope you have by this time 



56 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

received, I acquainted you that your Bill drawn at Cadiz 
for 4,079 Livres toumois had been presented and accepted ; 
and, tho' payable only at sixty days from the Date, I ordered 
it as you requested to be paid immediately. 

I thank you for the Communication of the Letters you had 
written to the Ministers; they are extreamly well drawn. I 
shall be glad to see also if you think proper the Answers 
you received. In my next I shall in return give you some 
Account of a secret Negotiation I am engaged in with Den- 
mark on Occasion of their delivering up three Prizes to the 
English that had been taken by the Alliance. 

The Reports you tell me prevail at Cadiz that the Loan 
Office Bills payable in France have not been duly honoured 
are wicked falshoods. Not one of them duly indors'd by 
the original Proprietor was ever refused by me or the Pay- 
ment delayed a moment ; and the few not so indorsed have 
been also paid on the Guaranty of the Presenter on some 
Person of known credit. No Reason whatever has been 
given for refusing Payment of a Bill except this very good 
one, that either the first, second, third or fourth of the same 
Set had already been paid. The Pretense that it was neces- 
sary for the whole Set to arrive before money could be paid is 
too absurd and ridiculous for any one to make use of who 
knows anything of the Nature of Bills of Exchange. The 
unexpected large Drafts made upon me by Congress and 
others, exclusive of these from the Loan Office, have indeed 
sometimes embarassed me not a little, and put me to Diffi- 
culties, but I have overcome these Difficulties so as never 
to have been obliged to make the smallest Excuse or 
desire the least Delay of Payment from any presenter of 
such Bills. Those reports must therefore have been invented 



1780] TO JOHN ADAMS 57 

by Enemies to our Country, or by Persons who proposed an 
Advantage to themselves by purchasing them at an under 
Rate. Inclosed I send you a Certificate of our Banker in 
refutation of those Calumnies. The letters you mention 
having for me, if they were not those brought to me by M. 
Ge'rard, you will be so good as to send me by post ; as to the 
Packets, please to open them, and if they contain only News- 
papers, retain them till you have Opportunity by some private 
hand, as the Postage, they being old, will exceed their Value. 

Your Bill for 564 Livres 18 sols 10 deniers has been pre- 
sented and accepted and will be duly paid. I hope you are 
before this time acquainted with the Credit I long since 
lodged for you at Madrid for 1,000 louiswith M. le Marquis 
d'Yranda, which will make the trouble of drawing on me 
unnecessary. I hope also you will be able to obtain some 
Aid of Money from that Court for the Congress to be sent out 
in the Goods I have been obliged to omit for want of Money. 
This Court is hearty and steady in our favour. A consider- 
able Armament is going out, from which we have reason to 
hope great Advantage in the ensuing Campaign. 

I wish to hear of your safe Arrival at Madrid. Be pleased 
to make my Respects acceptable to Mrs. Jay, and believe 
me to be, etc., B. FRANKLIN. 



1102. TO JOHN ADAMS 1 (M. H. s.) 
DEAR SIR Passy, April 21, 1780 

The letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing 
to me yesterday gives me the first Information of the Resolu- 

1 " I have been informed that the State of Maryland have named Mr. 
Carmichael, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Williams, Mr. Lloyd, Mid Mr. Jennings as proper 



58 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

lion mentioned as taken by the state of Maryland relating to 
their Money in England. If there is no mistake in the 
Intelligence (which I apprehend there may be) and such a 
Power as is supposed should come to my Hands I shall then 
take your Excellency's Recommendation (which has great 
weight with me) into consideration. At present I can only 
say that I shall not name my nephew M* Williams. For tho* 
I have a great Opinion of his Ability and Integrity and think 
that by his early Declaration and Attachment to our Cause 
and Activity in its Service, he has a good deal of Merit with 
the States in General, I know of none that he has with Mary- 
land in particular ; and as the other four are Natives of that 
State I think the Choice ought to be from among them. 
M* Williams will however be very sensible of the honour done 
him by being put into the nomination. 

With the greatest respect, I have the honour to be 
Your Excellency's 

Most obedient and most 

humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Persons out of whom they have desired, your Excellency to choose one, in 
order to draw out of the English Funds a Sum of Money they have there, for 
which the Agent is to have two and half per Cent. Mr. Carmichael is other- 
wise employed, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Lloyd are all proper Per- 
sons, but perhaps they may be otherwise employed too, except Mr. Lloyd 
whose fortune, both by himself and his wife is so ample that it may be no 
object." Adams to Franklin, April 19, 1780. ED. 



1780] TO JOHN ROSS 59 

1103. TO JOHN ROSS 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 22, 1780. 

SIR, 

I duly received your favours of the i4th and iyth Instant. 
I am sorry to understand from you that the Woollens are in 
such a situation, as to endanger their being lost to the States. 
But do not see why it should be expected of me to point out a 
Vessel for them to be shipt in, or to approve or accept of any 
Contract you may make for the freight of them. The affair 
is yours. I never had any thing to do with it. I know 
nothing of it, and am quite sick of meddling, as I have been 
too often induced to do, with a kind of Business that I am 
utterly unacquainted with. 

If you like Messrs. Gourlade and Moylan's 2 Vessel to 
send them in, and approve of their Terms, but want my 
assistance to pay the freight, I will help you so far. Your 
retaining the Sailcloth, Linnens, etc., as a Security for the 
Payment of your Advances, is what I suppose you have a 
Right to do. I am sure I have none to make any objection 
to it ; nor should I make any, if you thought fit to keep the 
Cloth also. The long and fruitless attention you mention, 
without receiving relief from an order of Congress, which you 
suppose in my Possession, was not occasioned by any fault 
of mine, since I never gave you any Expectation of paying 
your Ballance, and have done all in my Power, that the Order 
requir'd of me. Indeed, I cannot find among the Papers any 
Order relating to your affairs. I wish to see a Copy of that 

1 This letter was not sent until June 3, 1780. ED. 

2 Merchants and United States commercial agents at L'Orient, France. ED. 



60 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

you mention. If I remember right, it was only an Order, 
that you should settle your Accounts with the Commissioners 
here, which is done; not an order that they should pay the 
Ballance. 

I thank you for your kind offer of carrying Letters for me 
and shall trouble you with a few ; one to our common friend 
Mr. Morris ; and I heartily wish you a prosperous Voyage. 

I am exceedingly griev'd at the discontents you mention 
among the People of the Alliance. Unforeseen Accidents 
have occasioned Delays in procuring for them their Prize 
Money; but the exactest Justice will be done them as soon 
as possible. I know not what the Manoeuvres are that you 
mention, which every American will ever consider as an 
insult offered to the United States. I am sorry to see, in 
some of our Countrymen, a Disposition on all occasions to 
censure and exclaim against the Conduct of this Court 
towards us, without being well acquainted with facts, or 
considering the many and substantial Benefits we have 
received, and are continually receiving, from its friendship 

and Good will to us. With much esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1104. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 23, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I am much pleased with the account you give me, of the 
Disposition with which the Proposals from the Empress of 
Russia have been received, and desire to be informed, from 
time to time, of the progress of that interesting Business. 

I shall be glad to hear of your perfect Reconciliation with 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 61 

the [ambassador,] l Because a Continuance of your difference 
will be extreamly inconvenient. 2 Permit me to tell you 
frankly, what I formerly hinted to you, that I apprehend you 
suffer yourself too easily to be led into personal prejudices 
by interested People, who would ingross all our Confidence 
to themselves. From this source have arisen, I imagine, the 
Charges and Suspicions you have insinuated to me against 
several who have always declared a friendship for us, in Hol- 
land. It is right that you should have an opportunity of 
Giving the Carte du Pays to Mr. Laurens, when he arrives in 
Holland. But if in order to serve your particular friends, 
you fill his head with these prejudices, you will hurt him and 
them, and perhaps yourself. There does not appear to me 
the least probability, in your supposition, that [the ambassa- 
dor] 1 is an Enemy to America. 

Here has been with me a Gentleman from Holland, who 
was charged, as he said, with a verbal Commission from 
divers Cities, to enquire whether it was true that Amsterdam 
had, as they heard, made a Treaty of Commerce with the 
United States, and to Express in that Case their Willingness 
to enter into a Similar Treaty. Do you know any thing of 
this? What is become, or likely to become, of the plan of 
Treaty, formerly under consideration? By a Letter from 
Middlebourg, to which the enclosed is an answer, a Cargo 
seized and sent to America, as English Property, is reclaimed, 
partly on the supposition that free Ships make free Goods. 
They ought to do so between England and Holland, because 
there is a Treaty which stipulates it; but, there being yet 

1 Passages in brackets do not exist in Letter Book (D. S. W.). ED. 

2 In his letter dated "Amsterdam, 17 Avril 1780," Dumas wrote that he 
owed Sir George Grand " une reparation dans les formes " (A. P. S.). ED. 



62 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

no treaty between Holland and America to that purpose, I 
apprehend that the Goods being declared by the Captain to 
be English, a neutral ship will not protect them, the Law of 
Nations governing in this case, as it did before the Treaty 
above mentioned. Tell me, if you please, your Opinion. 
I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1105. TO FOURNIER THE YOUNGER 1 (A. p. s.) 

a Passy ce 4 Mai 1780. 

MONSIEUR, 

Je parle si mal Francois que je ne suis pas surpris de trouver 
que vous ne m'ayez pas bien compris relativement au Por- 
trait que vous avez de'sire'. Quand j'ai fait mention de M. 
du Plessis, c'e'toit pour dire qu'ayant fait un bon Portrait de 
moi en grand pour M. de Chaumont votre artiste pouvoit le 
copier en miniature pour vous. Mais comme vous aimiez 
mieux le faire tirer d'apres nature, j'aiconsenti pour vous 
obliger, de donner des stances a tel artiste que vous voudriez 
employer, quoique ce soit une chose tres ennuyante pour moi 
et que je 1'eusse de"ja refuse' a plusieurs. II me semble par 
quelques expressions dans votre lettre que vous entender 
que je payerai 1'artiste. II faut done que nous nous enten- 
dions mieux avant de commencer; car quoique je sois tres 
sensible a 1'honneur que vous voulez me faire d'accepter 
mon Portrait, je vous dirai que je ne suis ni assez riche ni 

1 "Fournier le jeune" was the son of Pierre-Simon Fournier (1712-1768), 
a celebrated printer and type-founder at Paris, whose business he continued. 
The father's " italics, his notes for music, especially choir-music, his orna- 
mented letters and tail-pieces, acquired for him a great celebrity" (B.). He 
was the author of " De 1'Origine et des productions de rimprimerie primitive 
en taille de bois" (1759); " Manuel Typographique " (1764-1766). ED. 



1780] TO FOURNIER THE YOUNGER 63 

assez vain pour en faire tirer a 8 ou 10 louis la piece pour les 
donner en presents et me'me temps je ne crois pas qu'ils 
meritent que vous en fassiez la defense. 

Je trouve 1' N et 1' & bien forme's. Je vous remercie de 
votre piece sur la belle invention de caracteres de Musique. 
Je suis etonne" qu'ils ne soient plus en usage. Je n'ai jamais 
vu le traite* sur 1'Origine de 1'Imprimerie et je suis bien curieux 
de le voir. Avant que vous donnerez vos ordre pour le moule 
a Lucien je serois bien aise de vous voir et de confe*rer avec 
vous sur le poids de la fonte et le prix. Je suis avec beaucoup 
d'estime et de consideration, 

Monsieur 

etc. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 1 

Pre*sentez je vous prie mes respects 
a Mad 6 Fournier. 

1 The following letter was addressed to Franklin in reply to the above 

(A.P.S.): 

" Paris, le 9 Mai 1780. 
" MONSIEUR, 

" Je suis on ne peut plus sensible au cadeau que vous voulez bien me faire 
de permettre au peintre de prendre deux a trois seances pour avoir votre por- 
trait, je me suis arrange du prix avec lui : je n'ai jamais compte Monsieur que 
vous me le feriez faire a vos depens. C'est bien heureux pour moi de 1'avoir 
quand il m'en couteroit 20 louis, je les donnerais avec plaisir. Ce n'est point 
je vous jure flatterie de ma part. C'est le plus beau cadeau que j'aurai en de 
ma vie et qui me fera honneur et mSme a ma posterite. Le peintre vous 
remettra cette lettre et je vous prierai de lui donner une seance si votre temps 
vous le permet. 

" Je pars Mardy pour Chartres et dans un mois ou six semaines je vous 
apporterai 1'epreuve en lettre de votre caractere ainsi que le traite des obser- 
vations sur 1'origine de 1'imprimerie fait par mon pere et que vous trouverez 
surement bien ecrit ; en attendant Phonneur de vous voir je vous prie de me 
croire avec des sentiments d'estime et de reconnaissance. 

" Monsieur 

" Votre tres humble 

" et tres obeissant serviteur 

" FOURNIER." 



64 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1106. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 10, 1780. 

DEAR JONATHAN: I received yours of the i8th past and f>th 
Instant, and approve of the Steps you have hitherto taken to 
dispatch the Goods. It grieves me to understand that the 
Ships from Brest could not take them. At this Distance from 
the Ports, and unacquainted as I am with such Affairs, I 
know not what to advise about getting either that Cloathing 
or the small Arms and Powder at L'Orient or the Cloth of 
Mr. Ross transported to America ; and yet everybody writes 
to me for Orders, or Advice, or Opinion, or Approbation, 
which is like calling upon a blind Man to judge of Colours. I 
know those things are all wanted in America ; I am distressed 
much with the thought of a Disappointment ; and M. de 
Chaumont, the only Person here whom I could rely on for 
Counsel, has been ill these three Weeks and incapable of 
attending to any Business. I must therefore desire you to 
find out some good Means of conveying all these Goods, and 
execute it in the best Manner you can and with all possible 
Expedition. If you freight a vessel, try to get her away 
under Convoy of the Alliance; but if that can not be done, 
she must wait for some other convoy. 

I am ever, your affectionate Uncle. 

For what concerns Mr. Ross' Cloth, I must leave that to 
his Discretion, having really nothing to do with it. But it 
may be well that you should consult together. 



1780] TO THE JUDGES OF THE ADMIRALTY 65 



1107. TO THE JUDGES OF THE ADMIRALTY 
AT CHERBOURG ' (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, May 16, 1780 

GENTLEMEN, 

I have received the Prods Verbaux, and other Papers you 
did me the honour to send me, agreable to the nth article of 
regulation of the 2yth of Sept. 1778. These Pieces relate 
to the taking of the Ship Flora, whereof was captain Henry 
Rodenberg, bound from Rotterdam to Dublin, and arrived at 
Cherbourg, in France, being taken the 7th day of April, 1780, 
by Captain Dowlin, Commander of the American Privateer 
the Black Prince. 

It appears to me, from the above mentioned Papers, that 
the said ship Flora is not a good Prize, the same belonging to 
the Subjects of a Neutral Nation: But that the Cargo is 
really the property of the Subjects of the King of England 
tho' attempted to be masqu'd as neutral. I do therefore 
request, that, after the Cargo shall be landed, you would cause 
the said Ship Flora to be immediately restor'd to her Captain, 
and that you would oblige the Captors to pay him his full 
freight according to his Bills of Lading, and also to make 
good all the Damages he may have sustained by Plunder or 
otherwise ; and I further request that, as the Cargo is perish- 
able, you would cause it to be sold immediately, and retain the 
Produce deposited in your hands, to the End, that if any of 
the freighters, being subjects of their High Mightinesses the 
States- Generals, will declare upon Oath, that certain parts 

1 A copy also exists in Letter Book (1780) of " The Records of the United 
States Legation, Paris " (D. S. W.) ED. 
VOL. VIII F 



66 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

of the said Cargo were bond fide shipp'd on their own account 
and Risque, and not on the account and risk of any British 
or Irish Subject, the Value of such Parts may be restored; 
or that, if the freighters, or any of them, should think fit to 
appeal from this Judgment to the Congress, the Produce so 
deposited may be disposed of according to their final Deter- 
mination. I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1108. NOTE FOR HIS EXCELLENCY, MONSIEUR 
LE COMTE DE VERGENNES (D. s. w.) 

May 1 6, 1780. 

WHEN the Alliance Frigate arrived in France, Mr. Franklin 
was desirous of employing her in annoying the English 
Trade, and obtaining Prisoners to Exchange for the Ameri- 
cans who had long languished in the Prisons of England. 

A Cruise with a small Squadron, under Commodore Jones 
round the Coast of Britain being about that time intended, 
Mr. Franklin was requested by his Excellency the Minister 
of the Marine to join the Alliance to that squadron. He 
chearfully complied with that Request, and in his instructions 
to Capt. Jones he encouraged him by the hopes of his being 
useful to his Country in delivering so many poor Prisoners 
from their Captivity. 

As the Squadron acted under American Commission and 
Colours, was commanded by an American Chief, and was 
thence understood to be" American, our Countrymen in the 
British Prisons rejoiced to hear of its Success, and that 500 
English were made Prisoners in the Cruise, by an Exchange 



1780] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 67 

with whom they hoped to obtain their Liberty, and to return 
to their families and Country. 

The Alliance alone took Vessels containing near 200 of those 
English Prisoners. The Bonhomme Richard, which was 
mann'd chiefly by Americans, took in the Serapis a great part 
of the Remainder. 

The ambassador of France at the Hague applied to Comm e 
Jones for the Prisoners in order to execute a Cartel entered 
into with the Ambassador of England. Comrn 6 Jones 
declined delivering them without Orders from M 1 Franklin. 
The Ambassador did Mr. F. the honour of writing to him on 
the subject acquainting him that M r Jones had urged the 
Exchanging them for Americans, and promising to use his 
Endeavours for that Purpose. 

Mr. Franklin thereupon immediately sent the Orders 
desired, expressing at the same tune his Confidence in the 
Ambassadors Promise. 

The Prisoners were accordingly delivered, but they were 
actually exchanged for French. 

His Excellency M. de Sartine afterwards acquainting 
Mr. Franklin that he had not English Prisoners enough at 
L'Orient to fill an English Cartel then there, Mr. F. gave 
Orders that 48 he had in that Port should be deliver'd up 
for that Purpose, 38 others at Brest to be employed in the 
same manner. 

Mr. Franklin was afterwards informed by M. de Chau- 
mont that M. de Sartine had assured him that other English 
Prisoners should be furnished to exchange for those so given 
up, in Holland and in France. 

Mr. Franklin wrote accordingly to England, and a Cartel 
Vessel was thereupon ordered from Plymouth to Morlaix 



68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

with ioo Americans. As soon as Mr. F. was acquainted 
with this he apply'd thro' M. de Chaumont to M. de Sartine 
for an Equal Number of English, who readily agreed to 
furnish them, and promised to send Orders immediately to 
march ioo from Saumur to Morlaix. 

The Cartel arrived, landed the ioo Americans, but was 
sent back empty, with only a Receipt from the Commissary 
of the Port, no English being arrived for the Exchange. 

Mr. F. has since received Letters from England, acquaint- 
ing him that he is charged with Breach of Faith, and with 
deceiving the Board which had the Charge of Managing the 
Exchange of Prisoners, and a Stop is put to that Exchange in 
consequence. 

The poor American Prisoners there, many of whom have 
been confined two or three Years, and have bravely resisted 
all the Temptations, accompanied with Threats, and follow'd 
by ill Usage, to induce them to enter into the English Service, 
are now in Despair, seeing their hopes of speedy liberty ruined 
by this failure. 

His Excellency M. de Sartine has kindly and repeatedly 
promised, by M. de Chaumont, to furnish the number wanted 
about 400 for exchanging the said Americans. 

But it is now said that the king's Order is necessary to be 
first obtained. 

Mr Franklin therefore earnestly requests his Excellency 
M. Le Comte de Vergennes to support the proposition in 
Council, and thereby obtain liberty for those unfortunate 
People. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 69 



1109. TO THE OFFICERS OF THE ADMIRALTY 

OF VANNES 1 

Passy, May 18, 1780. 

GENTLEMEN, By the Declaration and Report to me made 
by the Honourable Commodore Jones, a Copy of which 
Declaration I herewith send you, it appears to me that the 
British Ship of War (the Serapis) therein mentioned to be 
met with, when convoying a fleet of the same Nation from the 
Baltic and taken by the Bonhomme Richard, which was com- 
missioned by the Congress and commanded by the aforesaid 
Commodore, is undoubtedly a good Prize, being taken from 
the Enemies of the United States of America. And I do 
accordingly hereby desire of you that you would proceed to 
the Sale of the above said Prize, in Conformity to his 
Majesty's Regulation of September 27, 1778. 

I have the Honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



mo. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, May 22, 1780. 

SIR, 

The Baron d'Arendt, Colonel in the Armies of the United 
States, having express'd to me his Desire of returning to the 
Service in America, tho' not entirely cured of the Wound, 
which occasioned his Voyage to Europe, I endeavoured to 
dissuade him from the undertaking. 2 But, he having pro- 

1 From the original in the Bibliotheque de la Marine, Paris. ED. 

2 He had commanded Fort Island and the German battalion, and resigned 
in 1777 on account of ill health. ED. 



70 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

cured a Letter to me from M. de Vergennes, of which I send 
your Excellency a Copy herewith, I have been induced to 
advance him 25 louis d'ors towards enabling him to proceed. 
To justify his long Absence, he intends laying before Con- 
gress some Letters from the hon ble M. William Lee, which he 
thinks will be sufficient for that purpose. With great respect, 

&c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



mi. TO J. TORRIS 1 (D. s. w.) 
Passy, May 30, 1780. 

SIR, 

In my last, of the 27th Instant, I omitted one thing I had 
intended, viz. to desire you would give absolute Orders to 
your Cruisers not to bring in any more Dutch Vessels, tho* 
charg'd with enemy's goods, unless contraband. All the neu- 
tral States of Europe seem at present disposed to change what 
had before been deemed the law of Nations, to wit, that an 
Enemy's Property may be taken wherever found; and to 
establish a Rule, that free Ships shall make free Goods. 
This rule is itself so reasonable, and of a nature to be so 
beneficial to mankind, that I cannot but wish it may become 
general. And I make no doubt but that the Congress will 
agree to it, in as full an extent as France and Spain. In the 
mean time, and until I have received their Orders on the 
Subject, it is my intention to condemn no more English Goods 
found hi Dutch Vessels, unless contraband ; of which I thought 
it right to give you this previous Notice, that you may avoid 
the Trouble and Expence likely to arise from such Captures, 

1 An agent for American cruisers. He lived at Dunkirk. ED. 



1780] TO MARQUIS DE FLEURY 71 

and from the Detention of them for a Decision. With great 
Regard, and best wishes for the Success of your Enterprizes, 

I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



ma. TO MARQUIS DE FLEURY 1 

[Passy, May, 1780] 

MONSIEUR 

J'ai 1'honneur de vous envoyer, conforme'ment aux ordres 
du Congres, la Me*daille qu'il m'a ordonne" de faire frapper, 
en memoire de votre belle action, a 1'attaque du fort de 
Stony Point, pour vous la presenter en son nom. Je remplis 
ce devoir avec plaisir, ayant moi-meme une haute opinion 
de votre merite. Je desire que vous puissiez porter pendant 
une longue vie cette marque honorable de la consideration des 
Etats-Unis. 2 Je suis avec une grande estime, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 This letter was written between April 2Oth and May 3Oth. Upon the 
former day the artist M. Duvivier wrote to Franklin that the medal was 
finished, and asking Franklin to name a day when he might call to deliver it. 
In the next letter (to Samuel Huntington, May 31, 1780), Franklin says that 
the medal has been delivered to Fleury's order, he being absent. This 
letter was published in "Journal Politique de Bruxelles," November 1^,1783, 
whence it is now reprinted. Eight medals were struck by Congress duriug 
the war. Fleury and de Cambrai were the only foreigners to receive them. 

2 The Fleury medal is in the collection given by M. Vattemare to the 
Bibliotheque Nationale. It represents a general in Roman costume standing 
on a pile of ruins, holding in one hand a drawn sword and in the other a 
flag, on which he is trampling. Legend: " Virtutis et Audaciae Monum et 
Praemum. Exergue. D. de Fleury Equiti Gallo Primo supra Muros, Res- 
pub. Americ. (Duvivier fecit.) Reverse a fortress built on a rock and be- 
sieged by a squadron. Legend: Aggeres, Paludes, Hostes Victi. Exergue 
Stony Point. Jul. MDCCLXXIX." ED. 



72 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1113. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, May 31, 1780. 

SIR, 

I wrote to your Excellency the 4th of March past, to go by 
this Ship, the Alliance, then expected to sail immediately. 
But the Men refusing to go till paid their Shares of Prize 
Money, and sundry Difficulties arising with regard to the 
Sale and Division, she has been detain'd thus long, to my 
great Mortification, and I am yet uncertain when I shall be 
able to get her out. The Trouble and Vexation these Mari- 
time Affairs give me is inconceivable. I have often expressed 
to Congress my Wish to be reliev'd from them, and that some 
Person better acquainted with them, and better situated, 
might be appointed to manage them : Much Money as well 
as Time would, I am sure, be saved by such an Appointment. 

The Alliance is to carry some of the Cannon long since 
ordered, and as much of the Powder, Arms, and Cloathing 
(furnished by Government here), as she, together with a 
Frigate, the Ariel, we have borrowed, can take. I hope they 
may between them take the whole, with what has been 
provided by Mr. Ross. This Gentleman has, by what I 
can learn, served the Congress well in the Quality and Prices 
of the Goods he has purchas'd. I wish it had been in my 
Power to have discharg'd his Ballance here, for which he 
has importun'd me rather too much. We furnish'd him with 
about 20,000 Sterling to discharge his first Accounts, which 
he was to replace as soon as he receiv'd Remittances from the 
Committee of Commerce : This has not been done, and he 

1 President of Congress. ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 73 

now demands another nearly equal Sum, urging as before, 
that the Credit of the States as well as his own will be hurt 
by my Refusal. 

Mr. Bingham too complains of me for refusing some of 
his Drafts, as very hurtful to his Credit, 1 tho' he owns he had 
no Orders from Congress to authorize those Drafts. I 
never undertook to provide for more than the Payment of the 
Interest Bills of the first Loan. The Congress have drawn 
on me very considerably for other Purposes, which has some- 
times greatly embarrass'd me, but I have duly accepted and 
found means to pay their Drafts; so that their Credit in 
Europe has hitherto been well supported. But, if every 
Agent of Congress in different Parts of the World is permitted 
to run in Debt, and draw upon me at pleasure to support his 
Credit, under the Idea of its being necessary to do so for the 
Honour of Congress, the Difficulty upon me will be too great, 
and I may in fine be obliged to protest the Interest Bills. 
I therefore beg that a Stop may be put to such irregular 
Proceedings. 

Had the Loans proposed to be made in Europe succeeded, 
these Practices might not have been so inconvenient: But 
the Number of Agents from separate States running all over 
Europe, and asking to borrow Money, has given such an 
Idea of our Distress and Poverty as makes everybody afraid 
to trust us. I am much pleas'd to find, that Congress has at 

1 William Bingham wrote from St. Pierre, Martinique, February 28, 1780, 
complaining that the bills he had drawn upon Franklin " for amount of the Dis- 
bursements on Continental Vessels " came back protested, " and the Intend- 
ant has in Consequence exacted of me a promissory Note with personal 
Security, for the Payment of that Sum, which is due in a short time, and 
which it is impossible for me to do honour to. This unlucky Transaction became 
publickly known here, & has effectually ruined my Credit." ED. 



74 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

length resolv'd to borrow of our own People, by making their 
future Bills bear Interest. This Interest duly paid in hard 
Money, to such as require hard Money, will fix the Interest 
in such Money for the most part unnecessary, provided al- 
ways that the Quantity of Principal be not excessive. 

A great Clamour has lately been made here by some 
Merchants, who say, they have large Sums in their Hands of 
Paper Money in America, and that they are ruin'd by some 
Resolution of Congress, which reduces its Value to One 
Part in Forty. As I have had no Letter explaining this 
Matter, I have only been able to say, that it is probably 
misunderstood, and that I am confident the Congress have 
not done, nor will do, any thing unjust towards Strangers, 
who have given us Credit. I have indeed been almost ready 
to complain, that I hear so little and so seldom from Congress, 
or from the Committee of Correspondence ; but I know the 
Difficulty of Communication, and the frequent Interruption it 
meets in this Time of War. I have not yet receiv'd a Line 
this Year, and the Letters wrote by the Confederacy, (as I 
suppose some must have been written by her,) have not yet 
come to hand* 

I mention'd in a former Letter, my having communicated 
to Mr. Johnson of Nantes, the Order of Congress appointing 
him to examine the accounts, and his Acceptance of the 
Appointment. Nothing, however, has yet been done in 
pursuance of it ; for, Mr. Deane having wrote that he might 
be expected here by the middle of March, and as his Presence 
would be very useful in explaining the mercantile Transac- 
tions, I have waited his Arrival to request Mr. Johnson's 
coming to Paris, that his Detention here from his affairs at 
Nantes might be as short as possible. Mr. Dean (sic) is not 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 75 

yet come ; but, as we have heard of the Arrival of the Pen- 
dant in Martinique, in which Ship he took his Passage, we 
imagine he may be here in some of the first Ships from that 
Island. 

The medal for M. Fleury is done and deliver'd to his 
Order, he being absent; I shall get the others prepar'd as 
soon as possible, by the same hand, if I cannot find a cheaper 
equally good, which I am now enquiring after. 2000 Livres 
appearing to me a great sum for the Work. 1 

With my last I sent a Copy of my Memorial to the Court of 
Denmark. I have since receiv'd an Answer from the Minister 
of that Court for Foreign Affairs, a Copy of which I enclose. 
It referr'd me to the Danish Minister here, with whom I 
have had a Conference on the Subject. He was full of Pro- 
fessions of the Good will of his Court to the United States, 
and would excuse the Delivery of our Prizes to the English, 
as done in Conformity to Treaties, which it was necessary 
to observe. He had not the Treaty to show me, and I have 
not been able to find such a Treaty on Enquiry. After my 
Memorial, our People left at Bergen were treated with the 
greatest Kindness by an Order from Court, their Expences 
during the Winter that they had been detain'd there all paid, 
Necessaries furnished to them for their voyage to Dunkerque, 
and a passage thither found for them all at the King's Ex- 
pence. I have not dropt the Application for a Restitution, 
but shall continue to push it, not without some Hopes of 
Success. I wish, however, to receive Instructions relating 
to it, and I think a Letter from Congress to that Court 
might forward the Business; for I believe they are sensible 
they have done wrong, and are apprehensive of the Incon- 

1 See previous letter to Marquis de Fleury. ED. 



76 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

veniencies that may follow. With this I send the Protests 
taken at Berghen against the Proceeding. 

The Alliance, in her last Cruize, met with and sent to 
America a Dutch Ship, suppos'd to have on board an English 
Cargo. The Owners have made Application to me. I have 
assur'd them, that they might depend on the Justice of our 
Courts, and that, if they could prove their Property there, 
it would be restor'd. M. Dumas has written to me about 
it I inclose his Letter, and wish Dispatch may be given to the 
Business, as well to prevent the Inconveniencies of a Mis- 
understanding with Holland, as for the sake of Justice. 

A Ship of that Nation has been brought in here by the 
Black Prince, having an English Cargo. I consulted with 
Messrs. Adams and Dana, who inform'd me, that it was an 
established Rule with us in such cases to confiscate the Cargos, 
but to release the Ship, paying her Freight, &c. This I 
have accordingly ordered in the Case of this Ship, and hope 
it may be satisfactory. But it is a critical Time with respect 
to such Cases; for, whatever may formerly have been the 
Law of Nations, all the Neutral Powers at the Instance of 
Russia seem at present dispos'd to change it, and to inforce 
the Rule that free Ships shall make free Goods, except in the 
Case of Contraband. Denmark, Sweden, and Holland have 
already acceded to the Proposition, and Portugal is expected 
to follow. France and Spain, in their Answers, have also 
express'd their Approbation of it. I have, therefore, in- 
structed our Privateers to bring in no more neutral Ships, as 
such Prizes occasion much Litigation, and create ill Blood. 

The Alliance, Capt. Landais, took two Swedes in coming 
hither, who demand of us for Damages, one upwards of 
60,000 Livres, and the other near ^500 Sterling; and I 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 77 

cannot well see how the Demand is to be settled. In the 
Newspapers that I send, the Congress will see authentic 
Pieces expressing the Sense of the European Powers on the 
Subject of Neutral Navigation. I hope to receive the Sense 
of Congress for my future Government, and for the Satisfac- 
tion of the Neutral Nations now entering into the Confederacy, 
which is considered here as a great Stroke against England. 

In Truth, that Country appears to have no Friends on 
this Side the Water ; no other Nation wishes it Success in its 
present War, but rather desires to see it effectually humbled ; 
no one, not even their old Friends the Dutch, will afford them 
any assistance. Such is the mischievous Effect of Pride, 
Insolence, and Injustice on the Affairs of Nations, as well as 
on those of private Persons! 

The English Party in Holland is daily diminishing, and 
the States are arming vigorously to maintain the Freedom 
of their Navigation. The Consequences may possibly be a 
War with England, or a serious Disposition in that mad 
Nation to save what they can by a timely Peace. 

Our Cartel for the Exchange of American Prisoners has 
been some time at a Stand. When our little Squadron brought 
near 500 into Holland, England would not at first exchange 
Americans for them there, expecting to take them in their 
Passage to France. But at length an Agreement was made 
between the English and French Ambassadors, and I was 
persuaded to give them up, on a Promise of having an equal 
Number of English delivered to my Order at Morlaix. So 
those were exchang'd for Frenchmen. But the English now 
refuse to take any English in Exchange for Americans, that 
have not been taken by American Cruisers. They also refuse 
to send me any Americans in Exchange for their Prisoners 



78 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

releas'd, and sent home by the two Flags of Truce from 
Boston. Thus they give up all Pretensions to Equity and 
Honour, and govern themselves by Caprice, Passion, and 
transient Views of present Interest. 

Be pleased to present my Duty to Congress, and believe 
me to be, with great Respect, your Excellency's, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1114. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June i, 1780. 

SIR, 

Commodore Jones, who by his Bravery and Conduct has 
done great Honour to the American Flag, desires to have 
that also of presenting a Line to the hands of your Excellency. 
I chearfully comply with his request, in recommending him 
to the notice of Congress, and to your Excellency's Protection ; 
tho' his actions are a more effectual Recommendation, and 
render any from me unnecessary. It gives me, however, an 
Opportunity of showing my Readiness to do justice to Merit, 
and of professing the Esteem and Respect with which I am 

your Excellency's, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1115. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June i, 1780. 

SIR : I have received a Letter from the Board of 
Admiralty containing their Orders for the Return of the 
Alliance, a copy of which is annex'd for your government; 
and I hereby direct that you carry the same into Execution 
with all possible Expedition. 



1780] TO ROBERT MORRIS 79 

With great Regard I am, sir, your most obedient and most 
humble Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

[Copy of Order sent to Captain Landais.] 

To the Commanding officer for the time being of the frigate 
"Alliance" belonging to the United States of America. 

SIR : You are hereby directed to receive on board the 
said frigate as many cases of fusils and as much of the gun- 
powder ready to be delivered to you by order of his Excel- 
lency the Prince de Montbarey, 1 Minister of War, as you can 
conveniently stow, giving a receipt for the same ; and the same, 
together with the powder, arms, and cannon already shipped, 
to transport to Philadelphia, and deliver the whole to the 
Board of Admiralty there for the use of the Congress, for 
doing which this order shall be your warrant. 

[Signed] B. FRANKLIN. 

Minister P., etc., etc. 



1116. TO ROBERT MORRIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 3, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of March 31, acquainting me 
with your having engaged in M. de la Fred's affairs, on my 
Recommendation. 2 I thank you very much, and beg you to 

1 Marie-Eleonor-Alexandre de Saint Mauris, Prince de Montbarey, suc- 
ceeded Lieutenant General Comte de Saint-Germain as Minister of War 
September 27, 1777, and was replaced December 23, 1780, by Marquis de 
Segur. ED. 

2 The original of the letter is in A. P. S. M. de la Frete had business 
relations with M. Roulhac of Edenton, which Franklin desired to promote. 
ED. 



So THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

be assured that any Recommendation of yours will be regarded 
by me with the greatest attention. The Letter you enclos'd 
to M. Dumas is forwarded to him. We are impatient to 
hear from America, no account of the operations before 
Charlestown, later than the gib. of March, having yet come 
to hand. 

Every thing here in Europe continues to wear a good face. 
Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland are raising a strong 
naval force to establish the free navigation for neutral Ships, 
and of all their Cargoes, tho' belonging to Enemies, except 
contraband, that is, military stores. France and Spain have 
approved of it, and it is likely to become henceforth the law 
of Nations, that free Ships make free Goods. England does 
not like this confederacy. I wish they would extend it still 
farther, and ordain that unarmed Trading Ships, as well as 
Fishermen and Farmers, should be respected, as working for 
the common Benefit of Mankind, and never be interrupted in 
their operations, even by national Enemies ; but let those only 
fight with one another whose Trade it is, and who are arm'd 
and paid for that purpose. With great and sincere Esteem, 

I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1117. TO JEAN DE NEUFVILLE & SONS 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 4, 1780. 

GENTLEMEN, I received the Letter you did me the honour 
of writing to me on the 29th past, relating to certain Bills 
drawn on Mr. Laurens, & requesting to know if I will engage 
to reimburse you if you in his absence accept and pay them. As 

1 Amsterdam merchants. ED. 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 81 

I have received no Orders nor any advice relating to any such 
Bills, know not by whom they are drawn, whether for private 
or publick Account, or whether they are true or counterfeit, 
what Quantity or Value there are of them, nor, in short, any 
one circumstance relating to them, it would be inconsistent 
with common Prudence for me to enter into any such general 
Engagement. , f j ; 

All I can say is, that if they are really drawn by order of 
Congress, I make no doubt but care will be taken to place 
funds in time for the punctual Payment of them. I thank 
you in behalf of the Congress for the Readiness with which you 
kindly offer your Service in the Case. But I can say nothing 
farther at present, to encourage your paying such Bills. I 
have the honour to be with much Esteem, Gentlemen, 
Your most obedient and humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1118. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 5, 1780 
DEAR SIR: 

The Gentleman, whose Name you wished to know, in 
one of your late Letters, is M . Westhuysen, Echevin et Con- 
seitter de la Ville de Harlem. I shall probably send an order 
to that place for some of the Types, of which you have sent 
me the prices, before / leave Europe. I think them very good 
and not Dear. 

A Dutch Ship belonging to Messrs. Little, Dale, & Co., 
of Rotterdam, being brought into France as having an English 
Cargo on board, I have followed your Opinion with regard 

VOL. VIII G 



82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

to the Condemnation of the Cargo, which I think the more 
right, as the English have in the West Indies confiscated 
several of our Cargoes found in Dutch Ships. But to show 
Respect to the Declaration of the Empress of Russia, I have 
written to the Owners of our Privateers a Letter, of which I 
enclose a Copy, together with a Copy of the Judgement, 
for your Use if you hear of any Complaint. 1 I approve 
much of the Principles of the Confederacy of the Neutral 
Powers, and am not only for respecting the Ships as the 
House of a Friend, tho' containing the Goods of an Enemy, 
but I even wish for the sake of humanity that the Law of 
Nations may be further improv'd, by determining, that, even 
in time of War, all those kinds of People, who are employ'd 
in procuring subsistence for the Species, or in exchanging 
the Necessaries or Conveniencies of Life, which are for the 
common Benefit of Mankind, such as Husbandmen on their 
lands, fishermen in their Barques, and traders in unarm'd 
Vessels, shall be permitted to prosecute their several innocent 
and useful Employments without interruption or Molestation, 
and nothing taken from them, even when wanted by an 
Enemy, but on paying a fair Price for the same. 

I think you have done well to print the letter of Clinton ; * 
for tho' I have myself had Suspicions whether some Parts 
of it were really written by him, yet I have no doubt of the 
facts stated, and think the Piece valuable, as giving a True 
Account of the British and American affairs in that Quarter. 
On the whole, it has the Appearance of a Letter written by a 
general, who did not approve of the Expedition he was sent 
upon, who had no Opinion of the Judgement of those who drew 

1 Sec the letter to J. Torris, May 30, 1780. ED. 
a In the Courier du Bas-rhin. ED. 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 83 

up his Instructions, who had observed that the preceding 
Commanders, Gage, Burgoyne, Keppel, and the Howes, had 
all been censur'd by the Ministers for having unsuccessfully 
attempted to execute injudicious Instructions with unequal 
forces; and he therefore wrote such a Letter, not merely to 
give the Information contain'd in it, but to be produced in 
his Vindication, when he might be recall'd, and his want of 
Success charg'd upon him as a Crime ; tho', in Truth, owing 
to the folly of Ministers, who had ordered him on impracti- 
cable Projects, and persisted in them, notwithstanding his 
faithful Informations, without furnishing the necessary 
Number of Troops he had demanded. In this View much of 
the Letter may be accounted for, without supposing it fic- 
titious ; and therefore if not genuine it is ingeniously written : 
But you will easily conceive, that, if the State of publick facts 
it contains were known in America to be false, such a publica- 
tion there would have been absurd, and of no possible use to 
the Case of the Country. 

I have written to M* Neufville concerning the Bills you 
mention. I have no orders or advice about them, know 
nothing of them, and therefore cannot prudently meddle 
with them ; especially as the funds in my Power are not more 
than sufficient to answer the Congress Bills for Interest and 
other inevitable Demands. He desired to know, whether I 
would engage to reimburse him, if he should accept and pay 
them ; but, as I know not the amount of them, I cannot enter 
into any such engagement: For tho', if they are genuine 
Congress Bills, I am persuaded all possible care will be taken 
by Congress to provide for their punctual Payment, yet there 
are so many Accidents, by which remittances are delay'd 
or intercepted in the time of War, that I dare not hazard for 



84 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

these new Bills, the Possibility of being rendered unable to 
pay the others. With great Esteem, I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



.-; vl/M.'ci fo /: w . ,. :! ,;,v. ;. -i / . ..' 
1119. TO JEAN DE NEUFVILLE & SONS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 6, 1780. 

GENTLEMEN, Since writing to you by yesterday's Mail, 
I have received the Honour of yours proposing to accept 
Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens, if I will authorize you so to 
do, and accept your Bills to equal amount. Having no or- 
ders about those Bills, or even any advice of such being 
drawn, and knowing that the English have played many 
villainous Tricks with our Paper, I cannot think of giving 
Power to another, who may be less acquainted with our 
American Handwritings and Printing, to accept Bills which 
I have never seen, and therefore cannot judge whether they 
are counterfeit or genuine, and in this Way make myself 
or the Congress accountable for unknown Sums. I believe 
no prudent Man would so expose himself or the Govern- 
ment of his Country. 

I thank you, however, for the Zeal and Readiness you show 
to support our Credit. When M. Laurens arrives, he will 
doubtless accept any good Drafts made upon him, and 
accept them as of the Date when they would have been 
presented, if he had been at Amsterdam when they were 
received, because this is just, and I make no doubt but they 
will be punctually paid. As to loans in Holland, I believe the 
Congress have laid aside all Thoughts of them, having fallen 
upon Means of borrowing at Home of their own People, by 



X7 8o] TO PETER LANDAIS 85 

issuing paper Money bearing Interest, which appears better 
and more advantageous to the Country than paying Interest 
abroad. You may see their Scheme as resolved March i8 th 
printed in the London Evening Post of May 25 th ; and, having 
come to this Resolution, I fancy they cannot have drawn 
many Bills on Mr. Laurens. 

With great Regard, I am, gentlemen, your most obedient 

and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1120. TO PETER LANDAIS (u. OF p.) 

Passy, June 7* 1780. 

SIR 

I received yours of the 29 th past, and after the Manner in 
which you quitted the Ship, my clear and positive Refusal of 
replacing you contained in mine of March the 12 th and my 
furnishing you with a considerable Sum to enable you to go to 
America for a Trial, I am surpris'd to find you at L'Orient 
when I thought you had long since been on your Voyage, 
and to be told that "you had been waiting ever since your 
Arrival there for my Orders to retake the Command of the 
Alliance" when I had never before heard of your being there, 
or given you the least Expectation of the kind. The whole 
Affair between us will be laid before our Superiors who will 
judge justly of the Consistency and Propriety of your Con- 
duct and of mine. I wave therefore any farther Dispute with 
you. But I charge you not to meddle with the Command of 
the Alliance, or create any Disturbance on board her, as you 
will answer the contrary at your Peril. I am, Sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



86 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

iiai. TO LIEUTENANT JAMES DEGGE OF THE 
SHIP "ALLIANCE," AND THE OTHER OFFI- 
CERS OF THE SAID SHIP, AT L'ORIENT 

(D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 7, 1780. 

GENTLEMEN, I received your Letter dated the 12 th of April 
past, expressing that you were in necessitous circumstances 
and that you were alarm'd at having received neither Wages 
nor Prize-Money when the Ship was so nearly prepared for 
sea. 

Having had nothing to do with the Prizes, and under- 
standing that they could not soon be turned into Money, 
I had answer'd the purpose of your Letter in the best Manner 
in my Power, by advancing twenty-four thousand Livres, 
to supply the most urgent of your Necessities, 'till the Prize- 
Money could be obtain'd. With regard to your Wages, I 
thought the Expectation of having them paid here was wrong. 
Nobody in Europe is impower'd to pay them. And I believe 
it a rule with all maritime States to pay their Ships only at 
home, by an Office where the accounts are kept, and where 
only it can be known, what agreement we made with the 
officers and men, what advances they have received, and what 
their families or attorneys may have received in their absence. 
I had many Letters and Informations from L'Orient, ac- 
quainting me with the Discontent among the People of the 
Alliance at the Method propos'd of Valuing the Prizes in order 
to their being paid by the king; and that our Ship would 
not possibly be got out, unless the Method was changed 
and the Prizes fairly sold at auction to the highest Bidder. 



1780] TO LIEUTENANT JAMES DEGGE, ETC. 87 

I then apply'd to have the change made, and it was readily 
agreed by the Minister of the Marine, that they should be 
so sold. But to sell them suddenly would again have been 
liable to Objection; and therefore time was given in the 
advertisements that distant Purchasers of Ships might know 
of the Sale, and a greater number of Buyers give a chance of 
a higher Price, for your Benefit. Had the first method been 
comply'd with, I am inclined to think, from his Majesty's 
known Generosity, a better Price would have been obtain'd 
as similar Instances have proved than is likely to be got 
by the sale, and you would have had your Money sooner. 
I consented to the Change to satisfy and if possible please 
you. The Delay was by no means agreable to me, as it occa- 
sioned a great additional Expence, and I heartily wish'd the 
Ship in America. 

I did, as you have heard, send a Memorial to the Court of 
Denmark, claiming a Restitution of the Prizes, or of their 
Value. This Memorial was receiv'd long before they sail'd 
from Berghen. They were nevertheless allow'd to depart for 
England ; and the only Answer I have had from that Court 
is, that the Restitution was made in pursuance of treaties 
between the two Crowns. I am not satisfy'd with this Answer, 
but have laid the whole matter before Congress, desiring their 
Instructions. You may be assured that not a Penny of the 
Value has yet been paid ; and that if ever anything is recover'd 
while I am concern'd in the Business, strict Justice shall be 
done you, which I have also no doubt will be done with re- 
gard to the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough. 

Having received several Letters from you formerly com- 
plaining in strong terms of Capt. Landais' Conduct in the 
Government of the Ship and his ill Treatment of all the Om- 



88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

cers except the Purser; and having received also from Capt. 
Landais himself a Letter dated at L'Orient, May 15, 1779, 
in which he says you all join'd together against him even 
before he left Boston ; that he was promised another set, but 
being ready to sail, the Navy Board said your Behavior would 
be better when at Sea; on the Contrary, it grew worse and 
worse, and was come to the Pitch that he was compelled to 
acquaint me with it, that I might take a proper method to 
remedy it ; and if no other was to be found, he would rather 
chuse to leave the command than continue with such Officers ; 
after all this, it is a little surprising to me that Capt. Landais, 
who came to Paris only to vindicate himself from some 
charges against him, and there voluntarily as I thought, 
(and in pursuance of his former Resolution,) relinquished 
the Ship, by desiring me repeatedly to give an Order for tak- 
ing out of her the Things he had on board ; and who, never 
once during all the time he staled here, express'd the least wish 
or gave the least Hint of a Desire to be continued in her, till 
he heard she was upon the Point of sailing, and that now he 
should demand to be replac'd over you, and that you should 
wish to be again under his Command. I know not how to 
account for this Change. But having agreed to what I 
imagin'd from the Letters on both sides would be agreable 
to both you and Capt. Landais, and plac'd another Capt. 
in the Ship, I cannot now comply with your Request. I 
have related exactly to Congress the manner of his leaving the 
Ship, and tho' I declined any Judgement of his Manoeuvres 
in the fight, I have given it as my Opinion, after examining 
the affair, that it was not at all likely either that he should 
have given Orders to fire into the Bonhomme Richard, or 
that his Officers would have obey'd such Orders if he had 



1780] TO LIEUTENANT JAMES DEGGE, ETC. 89 

given them. Thus I have taken what care I could of your 
honor in that Particular; you will therefore excuse me if I 
am a little concern'd for it in another. If it should come to 
be publickly known that you had the strongest aversion to 
Capt. Landais, who had used you basely, and that it is only 
since the last year's Cruise, and the appointment of Commo- 
dore Jones to the Command, that you request to be again 
under your old Captain, I fear Suspicions and Reflections 
may be thrown upon you by the world, as if this Change of 
Sentiment must have arisen from your Observations during 
that Cruise, that Capt. Jones lov'd close fighting, that Capt. 
Landais was skillful in keeping out of Harm's way, and that 
therefore you thought yourselves safer with the Latter. For 
myself, I believe you to be brave men, and lovers of your 
Country and its glorious Cause; and I am persuaded you 
have only been ill-advised, and misled by the artful and 
malicious Misrepresentations of some Persons I guess at. 
Take in good part this friendly Counsel of an old man who 
is your friend. Go home peaceably with your Ship ; do your 
Duties faithfully and chearfully. Behave respectfully to 
your Commander, and I am persuaded he will do the same 
to you. Thus you will not only be happier in your Voyage, 
but recommend yourselves to the future favours of Congress, 
and to the Esteem of your Country. I have the honour to be, 
gentlemen, your most obedient and most humble servant, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



QO THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

ii22. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 12, 1780. 

DEAR SIR: Saturday Morning last I received a Letter 
signed by about 115 of the Sailors of the Alliance, declaring 
that they would not raise the Anchor, nor depart from 
L'Orient, till they had six Months' Wages paid them, and 
the utmost farthing of their Prize Money, including the Ships 
sent into Norway, and until their legal Captain P. Landais is 
restored to them ; or to that effect, for I have not the Letter 
before me. This Mutiny has undoubtedly been excited by 
that Captain, probably by making them believe that Satisfac- 
tion has been received for those Norway Prizes deliver'd up 
to the English, which, God knows, is not true ; the Court of 
Denmark not having yet resolved to give us a Shilling on that 
Account. That he is concern'd in this Mutiny, he has been 
foolish enough to furnish us with Proofs, the Sailors' Letter 
being not only enclosed under a Cover directed to me in his 
Hand Writing, but he has also in the same Writing interlin'd 
the Words their legal Captain P. Landais, which happened 
to contain his Signature. I went immediately to Versailles to 
demand the Assistance of Government, and on showing the 
Letter by which his Signature quite plainly appear'd, an Order 
was immediately granted and sent away the same Evening for 
apprehending and imprisoning him, and Orders were promis'd 
to be given at the same time to the Commisary of the Port, 
to afford you all kind assistance to facilitate your Departure ; 
M. De Chaumont being with me, and assisting warmly in 
obtaining these Orders, we thought it best at the same time 



1780] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 91 

to give Directions, that those Sailors who have signed his 
Letter should not be favoured with receiving any part of the 
Money order'd to be advanced hi part of what it is supposed 
the Serapis and Countess may be sold for, unless to such as 
express their Sorrow for having been so misled, and willing- 
ness to do their Duty; and that they may be known, their 
Letter was sent down to M. de Monplaiser ; but care should 
be taken that it be return'd, as it contains the Proofs above 
mentioned against Landais, who will probably be try'd for 
his Life, being considered by the Ministers as an Emigrant 
without the king's Permission, and therefore still a French- 
man, and when found in France still subject to its Laws. 
When that Advance was ordered, it was supposed the Vessels 
might have been got away without waiting for the Sale, and 
that the People who had a Right to share them, receiving this 
in part to relieve their present Necessities, might have ap- 
pointed some Agent to receive and remit the Rest to them in 
America, but the Delays have been so great that the Time of 
Sale now approaches, and perhaps the Produce may be known 
before you can be ready to depart with the Ariel, and if 
ready Money is paid the Division may be made at once. If 
any unforeseen Difficulties should arise to prevent this, I see 
no other way but to separate those who cannot trust to their 
Country to do them justice, and put them on shore and let 
them wait for their shares at their own Expence, for 'tis 
unreasonable to keep the Ship here at so monstrous an Ex- 
pence to the Public, for their private Advantage or Humours. 
As to Wages, I have no Authority or Means of paying Wages 
here ; and I believe that all Maritime States pay their Ships 
at home, for it cannot be supposed that Pay Officers are to be 
kept in every Port of the World to which Ships may happen 



92 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

to go; besides it cannot be known here what their families 
or attorneys have received for them. I see you are likely to 
have a great Deal of Trouble. It requires Prudence. I 
wish you well thro' it. You have shown your abilities in 
fighting. You have now an Opportunity of showing the other 
necessary Part in the Character of a great Chief, Your 
abilities in governing. Adieu. Yours sincerely, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1123. TO JOHN JAY 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June 13, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

Yesterday, and not before, is come to hand your Favour 
of April 14, with the Pacquets and Dispatches from Congress, 
etc., which you sent me by a French Gentleman to Nantes. 

Several of them appear to have been opened; the Paper 
round the Seals being smok'd and burnt, as with the Flame 
of a Candle us'd to soften the wax, and the impression defac'd. 
The Curiosity of People in this Time of War is unbounded. 
Some of them only want to see the news ; but others want to 
find, (thro* interested Views,) what Chance there is of a 
speedy Peace. Mr. Ross has undertaken to forward the 
Letters to England. I have not seen them ; but he tells me 
they have all been opened. I am glad, however, to receive 
the Despatches from Congress, as they communicate to me 
Mr. Adams's Instructions, and other Particulars of which I 
have been long ignorant. 

1 Mr. Jay was appointed minister plenipotentiary to Spain on the 27th of 
September, 1 779, and arrived at Madrid in the following April. Erj. 



1780] TO JOHN JAY 93 

I am very sensible of the Weight of your Observation, 
"that a constant Interchange of Intelligence and Attentions, 
between the public Servants at the different Courts, are 
necessary to procure to their Constituents all the Advantages 
capable of being derived from their Appointment." I shall 
endeavour to perform my Part with you, as well to have the 
Pleasure of your Correspondence, as from a Sense of Duty, 
But my Time is more taken up with matters extraneous to 
the Function of a Minister, than you can possibly imagine. 
I have written often to the Congress to establish Consuls in 
the Ports, and ease me of what relates to maritime and mer- 
cantile Affairs; but no Notice has yet been taken of my 
Request. 

A number of Bills of Exchange, said to be drawn by Order 
of Congress on Mr. Laurens, are arrived in Holland. A 
Merchant there has desired to know of me, whether, if he 
accepts them, I will engage to reimburse him. I have no 
Orders or Advice about them from Congress. Do you know 
to what Amount they have drawn ? I doubt I cannot safely 
meddle with them. 

Mrs. Jay does me much Honour in desiring to have one of 
the Prints, that have been made here of her Countryman. 
I send what is said to be the best of 5 or 6 engraved by dif- 
ferent hands, from different Paintings. The Verses at the 
bottom are truly extravagant. But you must know, that the 
Desire of pleasing, by a perpetual rise of Compliments in 
this polite Nation, has so us'd up all the common Expressions 
of Approbation, that they are become flat and insipid, and 
to use them almost implies Censure. Hence Musick, that 



94 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

formerly might be sufficiently prais'd when it was called 
bonne, to go a little farther they call'd it excellente, then 
superbe, magnifique, exquise, ctleste, all which being in their 
turns worn out, there only remains divine; and, when that is 
grown as insignificant as its Predecessors, I think they must 
return to common Speech and common Sense ; as from vying 
with one another in fine and costly Paintings on their Coaches, 
since I first knew the Country, not being able to go farther 
in that Way, they have returned lately to plain Carriages, 
painted without Arms or Figures, in one uniform Colour. 

The League of neutral Nations to protect their Commerce 
is now established. Holland, offended by fresh Insults 
from England, is arming Vigorously. That Nation has 
madly brought itself into the greatest Distress, and has not a 
Friend in the World. With great and sincere esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1124. TO SAMUEL WHARTON 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 17, 1780. 

DEAR SIR : You oblig'd me very much in sending me 
Clinton's Letter. I sent Copies to England and Holland, 
where it has been printed. 2 Some have doubted its being 
genuine : My answer is, that whether written by him or 

1 Samuel Wharton (1732-1800), a partner in the firm of Baynton, Wharton 
and Morgan. As indemnification for injury done to goods belonging to 
the house, the chiefs of the Six Nations gave the firm a tract of land on the 
Ohio River including about one-fourth of the present state of West Virginia. 
The traders named it Indiana. ED. 

2 Printed by Dumas in Courier du Bas-rhin. It was a letter from General 
Clinton to Lord George Germain, and was first printed by Dunlap, April 8, 
1 780. A copy of it in Franklin's handwriting is in P. H. S. ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL WHARTON 95 

not, it contains in my Opinion a True State of American 
and British Affairs in that Quarter. The Protestant Mob in 
London, beginning soberly the 2nd Instant with the attend- 
ance on a Petition to Parliament, on a refusal to take 
it into immediate Consideration, proceeded to Violence, 
treated ill several Members, burnt several Ambassadors' 
Chapels, and being on the seven following Days joined 
by all the disorderly Rogues of the two Cities, pillag'd and 
destroy'd the Houses of Catholics and favourers of Catholics 
to the number of near fifty; among them Lord Mansfield's 
House, with all his Furniture, Pictures, Books, Papers, etc., 
and himself almost frighten'd out of his wits. If they had 
done no other Mischief, I would have more easily excused 
them, as he has been an eminent Promoter of the American 
War, and it is not amiss that those who have approved the 
Burning our poor People's Houses and Towns should taste a 
little of the Effects of Fire themselves. But they turn'd all 
the Thieves and Robbers out of Newgate to the Number of 
three hundred, and instead of replacing them with an equal 
Number of other Plunderers of the Publick, which they might 
easily have found among the Members of Parliament, they 
burnt the Building. It is said they also attempted to plunder 
the Bank. The Troops fired on them and kill'd 33. They 
were not finally suppress'd till the Qth, at Night; and then 
chiefly by the City associated Troops. Lord George Gor- 
don is committed to the Tower. Damage done is computed 
at a Million Ster g . 

I thank you for yours of the 14th. 1 I have Letters signed 
by the very officers who now join Capt. Landais, complaining 
of his Conduct to them in the strongest Terms ; and the like 

i!nA.P. S. ED. 



96 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

from him against them, declaring that he would quit the 
Ship rather than serve with such a Set. When he came up 
to Paris, which was only to explain his Conduct, he had no 
Desire, at least he express'd none to me, of returning to the 
Ship, but on the Contrary worry'd me for an Order to have 
his things out of her, which I declin'd, because I would not 
do an act that should look like punishing him before he was 
tried by a Court-Martial, that could only be had in America. 
The separating him and his Officers one would think should 
be a pleasure to him as well as to them, especially when it 
appeared his own Act. His attempt therefore to resume 
the Command after another was appointed, and when he 
had received a considerable Sum, advanced to assist him in 
taking Passage on another Ship, in order to obtain a Trial, 
and this by exciting a Mutiny just when the Alliance was on 
the Point of Sailing, is not only unjustifiable but criminal. 
I have no doubt that your suspicion of his Adviser is well 
founded. 1 That Genius must either find or make a Quarrel 
wherever he is. The only excuse for him that his Conduct 
will admit of, is his being at times out of his Senses. This I 
always allow, and am persuaded that if some of the many 
Enemies he provokes do not kill him sooner he will die in a 
madhouse. 

As to Capt. Landais, I have no other Powers relating to the 
Alliance, than what are imply 'd in my Ministerial Office. 

1 Samuel Wharton had written to Franklin (June 14, 1780): "It is dif- 
ficult at present to collect such Facts as would positively authorise me to say, 
That Mr. [Arthur] Lee is at the Bottom of this Affair, But from combining 
a variety of strong Circumstances, I think, That when the Parties shall be 
properly examined on Oath by Congress, or the Admiralty Board, it will 
be found, He has employed every indirect Means in his power for that 
End." ED. 



1780] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 97 

He was instructed strictly by the Admiralty in America to 
obey my Orders. He disobey 'd them. It is not necessary 
to discuss those Matters here. We are accountable at home. 
I am heartily sorry that you have been so long detained. 
I have done every thing in my Power to prevent it. You can 
have no Conception of the Vexation these Maritime Affairs 
occasion me. It is hard that I, who give others no Trouble 
with my Quarrels, should be plagu'd with all the Perversities 
of those who think fit to wrangle with one another. I wish 
you a good Voyage at last, and that I could mend your Com- 
pany. Adieu, I am ever, 

Yours affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1125. TO JOHN PAUL JONES 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June 17, 1780. 

SIR : Having been informed by several Gentlemen from 
L'Orient, that it is there generally understood the Mutiny 
on board your Ship has been advised or promoted by the 
Honourable Arthur Lee, Esq., whom I had ordered you to 
receive as a Passenger, I hereby withdraw that Order, so 
far as to leave the Execution of it to your Discretion; that 
if from the Circumstances which have come to your Know- 
ledge it should appear to you that the peace and good Gov- 
ernment of the Ship during the Voyage may be endangered 
by his presence, you may decline taking that Gentleman, 
which I apprehend need not obstruct his Return to America, 

1 From the Jones Papers, in L. C., endorsed; " A true copy taken at L'Orient 
in August 1780, by Tho 1 Hutchins." ED. 

VOL. VIII H 



98 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

as there are several Ships going under your Convoy, and no 
doubt any of their Passengers may be prevailed with to 
change Places. But if you judge these Suspicions ground- 
less, you will comply with the Order aforesaid. I have the 
honour to be, sir, your most obedient and most humble Ser- 
vant, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1126. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 17, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

Your favours of the 22d past came duly to hand. Sir John 
Dalrymple 2 has been here some time, but I hear nothing 
of his political operations. The learned talk of the discovery 
he has made in the Escurial Library, of forty Epistles of 
Brutus, a missing part of Tacitus, and a piece of Seneca, that 
have never yet been printed, which excite much curiosity. 
He has not been with me, and I am told, by one of his friends, 
that, though he wished to see me, he did not think it prudent. 
So I suppose I shall have no communication with him; for 
I shall not seek it. As Count de Vergennes has mentioned 
nothing to me of any memorial from him, I suppose he has 
not presented it ; perhaps discouraged by the reception it met 

1 William Carmichael, a native of Maryland, was secretary to the American 
Legation at Madrid, while Mr. Jay was minister there; and afterwards for 
many years Charge <T Affaires of the United States at the court of Spain. 
En. 

2 Sir John Dalrymple (1726-1810), baron of the Exchequer, author of 
" Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland from the Dissolution of the last Par- 
liament of Charles II until the Sea Battle of La Hogue " (1771). ED. 



1780] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 99 

with in Spain. So I wish, for curiosity's sake, you would 
send me a copy of it. 1 

The Marquis de Lafayette arrived safely at Boston on the 
28th of April, and, it is said, gave expectations of the coming 
of a squadron and troops. The vessel that brings this left 
New London the 2d of May; her captain reports, that the 
siege of Charleston was raised, the troops attacked in their 
retreat, and Clinton killed; but this wants confirmation. 
London has been in the utmost confusion for seven or eight 
days. The beginning of this month, a mob of fanatics, joined 
by a mob of rogues, burnt and destroyed property to the 
amount, it is said, of a million sterling. Chapels of foreign 
ambassadors, houses of members of Parliament that had 
promoted the act for favouring Catholics, and the houses of 
many private persons of that religion, were pillaged and con- 
sumed, or pulled down, to the number of fifty; among the 
rest, Lord Mansfield's is burnt, with all his furniture, pictures, 
books, and papers. Thus he, who approved the burning of 
American houses, has had fire brought home to him. He 
himself was horribly scared, and Governor Hutchinson, it is 
said, died outright of the fright. The mob, tired with roar- 
ing and rioting seven days and nights, were at length sup- 
pressed, and quiet restored on the gih, in the evening. Next 
day Lord George Gordon was committed to the tower. 

Enclosed I send you the little piece you desire. 2 To under- 
stand it rightly you should be acquainted with some few 
circumstances. The person to whom it was addressed is 
Madame Brillon, a lady of most respectable character and 

1 See Supplement to " Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin " 
(W. T. F.), Vol. II, p. 430. ED. 

2 The Ephemera. See Vol. VII, p. 206. ED. 



ioo THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

pleasing conversation; mistress of an amiable family in 
this neighbourhood, with which I spend an evening twice in 
every week. She has, among other elegant accomplishments, 
that of an excellent musician ; and, with her daughters, who 
sing prettily, and some friends who play, she kindly enter- 
tains me and my grandson with little concerts, a cup of tea, 
and a game of chess. I call this my Opera, for I rarely go to 
the Opera at Paris. 

The Moulin Joli is a little island in the Seine about two 
leagues hence, part of the country-seat of another friend, 1 
where we visit every summer, and spend a day in the pleasing 
society of the ingenious, learned, and very polite persons who 
inhabit it. At the time when the letter was written, all 
conversations at Paris were filled with disputes about the 
music of Gluck and Picini, a German and Italian musician, 
who divided the town into violent parties. A friend of this 
lady having obtained a copy of it, under a promise not to 
give another, did not observe that promise ; so that many have 
been taken, and it is become as public as such a thing can 
well be, that is not printed; but I could not dream of its 
being heard of at Madrid ! 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. Adieu, my dear 
friend, and believe me ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Claude-Henri Watelet (1718-1786), artist and man of letters, author of 
"1'Art de peindre" (1760), created this charming Moulin-Joli, and its 
famous English garden, which was planned according to the ideas expressed 
in his " Essai sur les jardins " (1774). ED. 



1780] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 101 

1127. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, June 18, 1780. 

SIR, 

I received the letter your Excellency did me the honour 
of writing to me the if h of this month, together with the 
letters inclosed of M. de Sartine and of the Ambassador of 
Holland, concerning the Ship Flora, which had been brought 
into Cherbourg by the Black Prince Privateer: your Excel- 
lency will see by the inclosed papers, that I had already 
given orders for the release of the vessel, with payment of 
damages, before M. the Ambassador's Complaint was made. 
And by my letters to the owners, may be seen what my senti- 
ments are with regard to the principle about to be established 
by the Neutral Powers. This single cargo I nevertheless 
condemn'd to the use of the captors, excepting what should 
be reclaimed on oath by the subjects of Holland. My 
reasons for doing so were, 

1. Because the law has been settled in America, that 
enemies' property found in neutral ships, might be taken out 
of the same, paying the freight that would have been due if 
the ships had compleated their voyages, together with all 
costs and damages. Of this there has been already several 
instances; and Foreign owners have been so well satisfy'd 
with the handsome treatment their ships met with when 
carried into our Ports on such occasions, that I never heard 
of any complaint. 

2. Because the English have always condemn'd and con- 
fiscated American property found in Dutch ships, of which 
there have been, as I am informed, many instances in America ; 



102 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

and neither the Dutch captains nor owners, have ever com- 
plained of this as a violation of the Flag of their Nation, 
nor claimed its right of protecting our goods in their ships, 
but have deliver'd them up to the English on receiving their 
freight. 

3. Because a treaty has been long since offer'd to Holland, 
in behalf of the United States, in which there was an article, 
that free ships should make free goods; but no notice has 
been taken of that offer : And it was understood, that till 
such a Treaty was enter'd into, the old law of Nations took 
place, by which the property of an Enemy was deem'd good 
prize wherever found. And this vessel, charged with English 
property, being brought in; on the Captain's voluntary 
declaration that it was such, before the intention of the neutral 
powers to change that law could be known, it was thought 
that the captor's right to the cargo, could not be fairly refused. 

I hope these reasons, and the orders I have given, will be 
satisfactory to his Ex y the Ambassador of their High Mighti- 
nesses, whom I highly esteem and respect. I am perfectly 
convinc'd of the wisdom of your Excellency's reflections on 
the subject ; and you will always find me pursuing a conduct 
conformable to those just sentiments. 

With regard to the observation of M. de Sartine on the 
"Inconvenience resulting from American Privateers, fitted 
out as the Black Prince is, by Frenchmen, and yet not 
subject to the same forms and laws, with your Privateers," 
I beg leave to observe, that by the express words of the Com- 
mission, granted to them, they are directed to submit the 
prizes they shall carry into any Port in the dominions of a 
Foreign State, to the judgment of the admiralty courts es- 
tablished in such Ports or States, and according to the usage 



1780] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 103 

there in force. Several of our first prizes brought into France, 
were if I mistake not, so judged; and it was not upon any 
request of mine, that such causes were afterwards referr'd 
to me, nor am I desirous of continuing to exercise that juris- 
diction. If therefore the judgment I have given in the case 
of the Flora, is not approved, and the council of prizes will 
take the trouble of re-examining and trying that cause, and 
those of all other prizes to be brought in hereafter by American 
cruisers, it will be very agreable to me; and from the very 
forms above mentioned of the Commission, I think it will 
also be agreable to the Congress. Nor do I desire to encour- 
age the fitting out of Privateers in France by the King's 
subjects, with American Commissions. I have had many 
applications of the kind, which I have refused, advising the 
owners to apply for the Commissions of his Majesty. The 
case of the Black Prince was particular. She had been an 
old smuggler on the Coasts of England and Ireland; was 
taken as such, and carried into Dublin; where her crew 
found means to break prison, cut their vessel out of the Har- 
bour, and escaped with her to Dunkerque. It was repre- 
sented to me, that the people being all English and Irish, 
were afraid to continue their smuggling business, lest if they 
should be again taken, they might be punished as British 
subjects for their crime at Dublin: and that they were 
willing to go a Privateering against the English, but speaking 
no other language, they imagined they might if taken, better 
pass as Americans if they had an American Commission, than 
as Frenchmen if under a French Commission. On these 
grounds I was applied to for a Commission, which I granted, 
believing that such a swift vessel, with a crew that knew so 
well all parts of the Enemy's Coasts, might greatly molest 



104 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

their coasting trade : Her first successes occasioned adding the 
Black Princess, by the same owners; and between them they 
have taken and sent in, or ransomed or destroyed, an 



number of vessels I think near eighty. But I shall continue 
to refuse granting any more Commissions, except to American 
vessels, and if, under the circumstances above represented, 
it is thought nevertheless inconvenient that the Commissions 
of the Black Prince and Princess should continue, I will 
immediately recall them. 

With the greatest respect, 
I am 

Sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1128. TO JOHN FOTHERGILL 1 

Passy, Jane 19. 1780 

MY dear old friend, Dr. Fothergill, may assure Lady H. J 
of my respects, and of any service in my power to render her, 
or her affairs in America. I believe matters in Georgia cannot 
much longer continue in their present situation, but will 

1 Fron Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," 1818, VoLLp. 63. 

Dr. Fothergill (1712-1780) was bora in Wenskydale, Yorkshire. He en- 
tered St. Thomas' Hospital, London, as a student, and became an eminent 
practitioner of medicine. He corresponded with John Bartram and Humphry 
Marshall, of Pennsylvania, concerning botany, and made a great collection of 
botanical specimens. His collection of pi*ip. on reUum of rare plants 
was purchased for the Empress of Russia. ED. 

* Sdina Hontington, Coutess of Hastings (1707-1791), became acquainted 
with George Whitefield before his voyage to America in 1744. Upon his 
return she appointed him her chaplain and opened her house in Park Lane 
for him to preach in twice a week to the aristocracy. Whitefield left her by 
his wfll considerable possessions in America (1770). ED. 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 105 

return to that state in which they were, when her property 
and that of our common friend G. W., 1 received the protec- 
tion she acknowledges. 

I rejoiced most sincerely to hear of your recovery from the 
dangerous illness by which I lost my very valuable friend 
P[eter] Collinson. 2 As I am sometimes apprehensive of the 
same disorder, I wish to know the means that were used and 
succeeded in your case ; and shall be exceedingly obliged to 
you for communicating them when you can do it conveniently. 

Be pleased to remember me respectfully to your good sister, 
and to our worthy friend, David Barclay, who I make no 
doubt laments with you and me, that the true pains we took 
together to prevent all this horrible mischief proved ineffec- 
tual. 8 I am ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1129. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 22, 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received duly yours of May 23, June 2, 6, 8, and 15. 
Inclosed you have a Letter for the Gentleman you recom- 
mend to me. 4 He seems to be a man of Abilities. The 

1 George Wbitefield. ED. 

2 Peter Collinson, when on a visit to LordPetre, in 1768, was seized with a 
total suppression of urine, which baffled every attempt at relief and proved 
fatal August II, 1768, in his seventy-fifth year. ED. 

8 Alluding to the negotiations for bringing about a reconciliation between 
Great Britain and the colonies, which took place before Dr. Franklin left 
England in the spring of 1775, and in which Dr. Fothergill, David Barclay, 
and Lord Howe were concerned. David Barclay was a grandson of Robert 
Barclay the apologist. ED. 

4 Mr. Van Oudermeulen. ED. 



106 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

words, "before I leave Europe," had no Relation to my 
Particular immediate Intention, but to the General one I 
flatter myself with, of being able to return and spend there 
the small Remains of Life that are left me. 

I have written distinctly to Messrs, de Neufville concerning 
those bills. I hear that 484* was at New-Bern the i2th of 
April, and soon to sail from thence, or from Virginia for 
France. Probably he might not sail in some Weeks after, 
as Vessels are often longer in fitting out than was expected. 
If it is the Fier Rodtrique, a 5o-gun ship, that he comes in, 
I have just heard that she would not sail till the Middle of 
May. Herewith you have the Judgment relating to the 
Flora, which I thought had been sent before. The Mischiefs 
done by the Mob in London are astonishing. They were, 
I heard, within an Ace of destroying the Bank, with all the 
Books relating to the Funds, which would have created infinite 
confusion. 

I am grieved at the Loss of Charlestown. Let me hope 
soon to hear better News from the Operations of the French 

and Spanish Forces gone to America. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. As the English do not allow that we can make 
legal Prizes, they certainly cannot detain the Dutch Ship, 
the Berkenloos, on Pretence that it was become American 
Property before they took it. For the rest, there is no doubt 
but the Congress will do what shall appear to be just, on a 
proper Representation of facts laid before them, which the 
Owners should appoint some Person in America to do. 
Those Gentlemen may depend on my rendering them every 
Service in my Power. 

1 The number belongs to a cipher code. ED. 



1780] TO C. VAN DER OUDERMEULEN 107 

1130. TO C. VAN DER OUDERMEULEN 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June 22, 1780. 

SIR : I received the Letter you did me the Honour of 
writing to me the i$th List., containing the Sketch of a 
Plan for commerce with America, by establishing there and 
in Europe Companies with Privileges for that Purpose, 
upon which you desire my Sentiments. 

I cannot from so small a Sketch understand fully the Extent 
of your Plan ; but I will mention what occurs to me in Per- 
using it. There is no doubt but that Merchants in Europe 
may, if they think fit, form themselves into Companies for 
carrying on the Commerce of America with such Privileges 
as they can obtain from their Sovereigns; but the general 
Principle in America being for a free Trade with all the World, 
and to leave every one of their Merchants at Liberty to prose- 
cute it as he may judge most for his Advantage, I do not 
think such Companies can be established there with any exclu- 
sive Rights or Privileges. And this open commerce being 
free to all Nations, and more profitable to Europe than to 
America, which can very well subsist and flourish without a 
Commerce with Europe, a Commerce that chiefly imports 
Superfluities and Luxuries, it concerns those Nations princi- 
pally to protect that Commerce, in which Protection there is 
no doubt but France will bear her Part. But that she should 
take the whole upon her, is too much to be ask'd or expected 
by America. We have, besides, a common Opinion that 
Business is best manag'd and to most Advantage by those 

1 A merchant of Amsterdam. ED. 



108 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

who are immediately interested in the Profits of it, and that 
Trading Companies are generally more profitable to the Ser- 
vants of the Company than to the proprietors of the Stock, 
or to the Publick. I have the honour to be, Sir, your most 
obedient and most humble Serv* 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1131. TO JOSEPH-MATTHIAS DE RAYNEVAL 1 

(P. A. E. E. U.) 

June 24, 1780. 

SIR : The person who calls himself Dumont was with me 
yesterday evening, bringing notes to me from M. de Vergennes 
and M. le Due de Vauguyon. He said his business was to 
solicit a supply of 4,000 stand of arms, to be landed on the 
west of England for the use of the petitioners, who were 
become sensible that petitioning signified nothing, and that 
without using force it was impossible to prevent the total 
loss of liberty and the establishment of arbitrary government 
in England ; that the appearance of 4,000 men in arms would 
be sufficient to draw together a great body from different 
parts, the whole nation being dissatisfied with the present 
government; that even the army was disaffected, and the 
navy so much so that Admiral Geary had been ordered to put 
to sea with the fleet, to prevent a revolt which was appre- 

1 Brother of Conrad-Alexandre Gerard de Rayneval, first minister from France 
to America. The brothers are frequently confused. To distinguish them the 
minister is styled Gerard, and his brother is called De Rayneval. When 
Gerard departed for America, de Rayneval succeeded him as first secretary to 
the foreign office. The correspondence of the foreign office is for the most 
part in the handwriting of Comte de Vergennes; when it U not it is in the 
hand of de Rayneval. ED. 



1780] TO THOMAS DIGGES 109 

bended among the seamen. I mentioned the difficulty of 
landing such a quantity of arms in England without being 
observed, and troops sent to seize them or defeat the people 
that should undertake to use them before they could be dis- 
ciplined, and that it was not probable such an aid could be 
obtained without its being well known whose hands the arms 
were to be put into, what persons of weight were likely to 
be concerned, and other circumstances that might satisfy 
there was a chance of success. He said all relating to the 
reception and use of the arms was already arranged; and 
persons of note concerned in the affair would discover them- 
selves as soon as they could be assured of obtaining the 
supply; but otherwise it was dangerous and could not be 
expected. He desired me to forward and favour the business 
if my opinion should be asked, but made no particular offers 
or overtures to me. I do not know him. He asked my 
opinion of the design. I told him I could form none without 
knowing more particulars of it than he had communicated, 
and also the persons who were to conduct it. He said he 
was to see M. de Vergennes and that he would call again 
upon me after that interview. If he communicates anything 
further worth notice, I shall immediately acquaint M. de 
Vergennes with it, to whom be pleased to present my sincere 
respects. I have the honour to be, sir, with perfect esteem, 
etc., B. FRANKLIN. 

1132. TO THOMAS DIGGES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 25, 1780. 

DEAR SIR: I received yours inclosing a very obliging 
Letter from Mr. President Banks. The Congress cannot 



no THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

be said to have ordered the Instructions I gave, tho' they 
would no doubt have done it, if such a Thing had been 
mentioned to them. It is therefore not proper to use any 
farther Endeavours to procure a Medal for them. 1 I do not 
indeed perceive that one is intended for me, as you imagined, 
and tho' it would certainly give me Pleasure if voluntarily 
ordered, I would not have it obtained by Sollicitation. 

I thank Mr. Hartley much for his kind offer of more 
Jamaica Rum. But as I have still a great deal left of what 
he was before so obliging as to send me, a fresh Quantity is 
unnecessary. I wish you would hint to me how I could make 
him some acceptable Return. 

The Portrait 2 you mention is not yet come to hand, nor have 
I heard any thing of it. I am anxious to see it, having no hope 
of living to see again the much lov'd and respected original. 

I have at the request of Friends sat so much and so often 
to painters and Statuaries, that I am perfectly sick of it. I 
know of nothing so tedious as sitting hours in one fix'd pos- 
ture. I would nevertheless do it once more to oblige you 
if it was necessary, but there are already so many good Like- 
nesses of the Face, that if the best of them is copied it will 
probably be better than a new one, and the body is only that 
of a lusty man which need not be drawn from the Life; 
any artist can add such a Body to the face. Or it may be 
taken from Chamberlain's Print. I hope therefore you will 
excuse me. The Face Miss Georgiana 8 has is thought here 
to be the most perfect. Ornaments and emblems are best 
left to the Fancy of the Painter. 

1 A medal struck by the Royal Society to commemorate Captain Cook's 
voyage of discovery. ED. 

a Of Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph. ED. 
* Daughter of Bishop Shipley. ED. 



1780] TO JOHN PAUL JONES m 

As the board after receiving the 500 English Prisoners we 
carry'd into Holland, in Exchange for Frenchmen, refused 
to take other Frenchmen which the Government here had 
promised me in Exchange for Americans, I gave over 
all Thoughts or Expectations of continuing the Cartel. I 
have, however, wrote to Mr. Hodgson about it by the Oppor- 
tunity. We are much obliged to that good Man for the 
Pains he has taken in that Affair. Finding that the Prisoners 
are like to be longer detained, I desire they may be paid from 
me the little Comfort I can afford them of Sixpence per week 
each. I will answer your Drafts for the Sums necessary. 

I received Mr. Hartleys excellent Letters, printed and 
manuscript, which I have sent to America, where he will ever 
be revered for his incessant Endeavours to procure Peace, 
which endeavours, however, I imagine he will find from the 
late Success of the king's Troops at Charlestown less attended 
to than they have been, and that desirable Event more remote 
than expected. 

I send you herewith the Passport for Mr. Scott. I have, 
you see, great Faith in your Recommendation. 

With great Regard and Esteem, I am, dear sir, your most 

obedient, humble servant, 

FRANCIS LYN. 



1133. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, 6 P.M. June 27, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, I have this Minute received yours of the 23d. 
The Letter you mention having sent me by the last Post, inclos- 
ing the necessary Papers to explain Circumstances, is not come 



112 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

to hand ; so that I am much in the dark about your present 
Situation. I only learn by other means that the Alliance 
is gone out of the Port, and that you are not likely to recover 
and have relinquish'd the Command of her, so that affair is 
over. And the business is now to get the Goods out as well 
as we can. I am perfectly bewildered with the different 
Schemes that have been proposed to me for this purpose by 
Mr. Williams, Mr. Ross, yourself, and M. De Chaumont. 
Mr. Williams was for purchasing Ships. I told him I had 
not the Money but he still urges it. You and Mr. Ross 
proposed borrowing the Arid. I join'd in the application 
for that Ship. We obtained her. She was to carry all that 
the Alliance could not take. Now you find her insufficient. 
An additional Ship has already been asked, and could not be 
obtained. I think therefore it will be best that you take as 
much into the Ariel as you can and depart with it. For the 
rest I must apply to the Government to contrive some means 
of transporting it in their own Ships. This is my present 
Opinion. And when I have once got rid of this Business, 
no Consideration shall tempt me to meddle again with such 
Matters. 

With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, sir, your most 
obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1134. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 27, 1780. 

DEAR JONA" : To get rid of all farther Projects and Prop- 
ositions which I never understand relating to the Shipping of 
the Goods, I entrusted you with that Business and impower'd 



1780] TO M. DE SARTINE 113 

you to freight a Ship or Ships. But I have not succeeded, 
for in yours of the 23d you send me new Schemes. No other 
Man-of- War to go under the Command of Comm e Jones can 
at present be obtained : Assist him in getting out with the 
Ariel; after that you and M. de Chaumont may unite in 
finding some means of sending the rest of the Goods. You 
and he can agree and assist each other ; but there never can 
be any Union of Counsels or Endeavors between the Com- 
modore and him. I was told that if we would obtain the 
Ariel, she would do our Business; I join'd in the application 
and we obtained her. Now she is too Little and another is 
wanted. I will absolutely have nothing to do with any new 
Squadron Project. I have been too long in hot Water, 
plagu'd almost to Death with the Passions, Vagaries, and 
ill Humours and Madnesses of other People. I must have 
a little Repose. This to yourself, and believe me ever, 

Your affectionate Uncle, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. If the Alliance is not totally gone, you have inclos'd 
an Order which I promised the Prince de Montbarey * to 
send down for her Reception of more arms, etc., tho' I fear 
she will be carry'd into England either by her Crew or by the 
Enemy. 

1135. TO M. DE SARTINE (A. p. s.) 

Passy, June 27, 1780. 

SIR, 

I am very thankful to his Majesty, in Behalf of the suffering 
Owners of the Brigantine Fair Play: for his Goodness in 

1 Minister of War. ED. 

VOL. VIII I 



114 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

ordering to be paid them Fifteen Thousand Livres out of 
your Treasury. But as that sum is conceived by your 
Excellency to be a favourable Allowance, in consideration 
that the Misfortune happen'd by the fault of Captain Giddins, 
and the Owners apprehend there was no fault on his Part, 
(being so informed by Depositions upon Oath,) and none 
was mentioned or supposed in the Governor of Guadaloupe's 
first letter to your Excellency on the Subject, I fear they will 
think the Sum very small as an Indemnification for the Loss 
of their Vessel, valued at 26,666$ Spanish mill'd Dollars or 
6,000 Sterling. 

I therefore request your Excellency would be pleased to 
examine with some attention the said Depositions, and the 
Valuation (of which I enclose the Duplicates) ; and, if, on 
the whole, you should judge the matter improper to be offer'd 
at present for his Majesty's Reconsideration, you would at 
least favour me with the Informations, that have been sent 
to your Excellency from Guadaloupe, of the blamable Con- 
duct of the Captain, as, by communicating those Informa- 
tions to the Owners, I may more easily satisfy them of 
the Favorableness of the Sum his Majesty has been pleased 
to grant them. 

Your Excellency will perceive by their Letter, which I 
send herewith, that they desire Mr. Jonathan Williams of 
Nantes might receive for them the sum that should be granted. 
I am therefore farther to request, that your Excellency would 
be pleas'd to give Order to your Treasurer to accept and pay 
his Drafts for the said fifteen thousand Livres. I am, with 
great respect, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1780] TO PIERRE-JEAN-GEORGES CABANIS 115 



1136. TO PIERRE- JEAN-GEORGES CABANIS 1 

(P. c.) 

Passy, June 30, 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

Daily expectation of having a printed copy of the enclosed 
paper to send you (which I did not receive till last night) has 
made me too long omit answering your kind letter of the loth 
of last month. 2 I imagine you may collect from it all that 
is necessary to be known in order to erect properly a con- 
ductor for securing a house from lightning. A private dwelling 
will not require such complex and costly machinery as the 
lofty Tower of Strasburg. A simple rod of iron of half an 
inch in diameter, tapering to a point, and extending nine feet 
above the highest part of the building, and descending into 
the earth till four or five feet below the surface, will be suffi- 
cient. We often talk of you at Auteuil, where everybody 
loves you. I now and then offend our good lady 3 who cannot 
long retain her displeasure, but, sitting in state on her sopha, 
extends graciously her long, handsome arm, and says, "la; 
baisez ma main: je vous pardonne," with all the dignity of 
a sultaness. She is as busy as ever, endeavoring to make 
every creature about her happy, from the Abbes down thro' 
all ranks of the family to the birds and Poupou. I long for 
your return, being with great and sincere esteem, 

Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From "The Life of Benjamin Franklin " (John Bigelow), fifth edition, 
1905, Vol. II, p. 496 b. ED. 

2 This letter (May 10) is in A. P. S. The elder Cabanis, familiar with 
only a part of Franklin's works, desired his son to ask for information about 
lightning conductors. ED. 8 Madame Helvetius. ED. 



Il6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

Present my respects to your father and my thanks for 
getting so valuable a son. My grandson joins his compli- 
ments. [B. F.] 

1137. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy,July 5, 1780. 

DEAR SIR: I received yours of June 21,* with the Papers 
it inclosed, from M. Genet, who had kept them a Day or Two 
to translate them for the Minister. I approve much of your 
humanity and Prudence, But am sorry that in the Letter to 
Dr. Bancroft you complain of your Friends, 2 who are in no 
Fault. They spare you, and have not even hinted that if you 
had staied on board where your Duty lay, instead of coming 
to Paris, you would not have lost your Ship. Now you blame 
them as having deserted you in recovering her. Tho' 
relinquishing to prevent Mischief was a Voluntary Act of 
your own, for which you have Credit, Hereafter, if you should 
observe on occasion to give your Officers and Friends a little 
more praise than is their Due, and confess more Fault than 
you can justly be charged with, you will only become the 
sooner for it, a Great Captain. Criticising and censuring 
almost every one you have to do with, will diminish Friends, 
encrease Enemies, and thereby hurt your affairs. 

I continue as ever, dear sir, etc., g FRANKLIN 

1 In A. P. S. ED. 

a Jones replied, July 12, 1780 (A. P. S.) : "Your letter of the 5th curr'. 
gives me more pleasure than any other I have had the Honour to receive 
from you; because it affords me the strongest proof of your affection, I ob- 
serve however with regret that my Letter to Doctor Bancroft has given you 
offense : It was a private Letter, and as far as I can remember, is the only 
one I have ever written mentioning your Name that I would not have freely 
submitted to your perusal." ED. 



1780] COMTE DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN 117 



1138. FROM COMTE DE VERGENNES TO 

B. FRANKLIN (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Translation 

Versailles, June 30, 1780. 
SIR, 

I did not until this day receive the letter, which you did me the honour 
to write to me on the 24th of this month. 

You request, in consequence of an application made to you by Mr. Adams, 
that the orders given to the Chevalier de la Luzerne relative to a resolution 
of Congress of the i8th of March last should be revoked, or at least sus- 
pended ; as that plenipotentiary is able to prove, that those orders are 
founded on false reports. 

Mr. Adams, on the 22d, sent me a long dissertation on the subject in 
question ; but it contains only abstract reasonings, hypotheses, and calcula- 
tions, which have no real foundation, or which at least do not apply to the 
subjects of the King, and, in fine, principles, than which nothing can be less 
analogous to the alliance subsisting between his Majesty and the United States. 

By this, Sir, you can judge, that the pretended proofs mentioned by Mr. 
Adams are not of a nature to induce us to change our opinion, and conse- 
quently cannot effect a revocation or suspension of the orders given to the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne. The King is so firmly persuaded, Sir, that your 
private opinion respecting the effects of that resolution of Congress, as far as 
it concerns strangers, and especially Frenchmen, differs from that of Mr. 
Adams, that he is not apprehensive of laying you under any embarrassment 
by requesting you to support the representations, which his minister is 
ordered to make to Congress. And, that you may be enabled to do this with 
a complete knowledge of the case, his Majesty has commanded me to send 
you a copy of my letter to Mr. Adams, the observations of that plenipoten- 
tiary, and my answer to him. 1 

The King expects that you will lay the whole before Congress; and his 
Majesty flatters himself, that that assembly, inspired with principles different 
from those which Mr. Adams has discovered, will convince his Majesty, that 
they know how to prize those marks of favour, which the King has constantly 
shown to the United States. 

However, Sir, the King does not undertake to point out to Congress the 
means, which may be employed to indemnify the French, who are holders 
of the paper money. His Majesty, with respect to that, relies entirely on the 
justice and wisdom of that assembly. I have the honour to be, &c. 

DE VERGENNES. 

1 See Diplomatic Correspondence (Sparks), Vol. V, pp. 208, 213, 232. ED. 



Ii8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1139. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 1 (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, July 10, 1780. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excellency did me the honour 
of writing to me, dated June 30th, together with the Papers 
accompanying it, containing the Correspondence with Mr. 
Adams. I have taken some pains to understand the Subject, 
and obtain information of facts from Persons lately arrived, 
having received no Letters myself that explain it. I cannot 
say, that I yet perfectly understand it ; but in this I am 
clear, that if the Operation directed by Congress in their 
Resolution of the i8th of March occasions, from the Necessity 
of the Case, some Inequality of Justice, that Inconvenience 
ought to fall wholly on the Inhabitants of the States, who 
reap with it the Advantages obtained by the Measure; and 
that the greatest Care should be taken, that foreign Merchants, 
particularly the French, who are our Creditors, do not 
suffer by it. This I am so confident the Congress will do, 
that I do not think any Representations of mine necessary 
to persuade them to it. 

I shall not fail, however, to lay the whole before them; 
and I beg that the King may be assured, their Sentiments, 
and those of the Americans in general, with regard to the 
Alliance, as far as I have been able to learn them, not only 
from private Letters, but from Authentic Public Facts, differ 
widely from those that seem to be expressed by Mr. Adams 
in his Letter to your Excellency, and are filled with the 

1 Also a copy in the Letter Book (1780) of "The Records of the United 
States Legation, Paris" (D. S. W.). ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 119 

strongest Impressions of the Friendship of France, of 
the generous manner in which his Majesty was pleased 
to enter into an equal Treaty with us, and of the 
great Obligations our Country is under for the important 
Aids he has since afforded us. I have the honour to 

be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1140. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, July 10? 1780. 

SIR 

I am requested by Madame la Marquise de la Fayette, 
whom no body can refuse, to give the Bearer, M. le Baron 
d'Arros, a Letter to your Excellency. I have acquainted him 
that our Armies are fully officer'd, that there was no Proba- 
bility of his being employed, that it was contrary to my Orders 
to recommend any foreign Officer for Employment, that such 
a Recommendation, if I were to give it, would therefore do 
him no Service, & that I could not give him the least Expec- 
tation or Encouragement to go over to America, but would 
rather advise him to remain in France. All this has had no 
Effect to change his Resolution. He thinks his long Experi- 
ence and Skill in his Military Profession, will recommend 
him: and I have only to request of your Excellency, 
that you would shew him that Countenance and those 
Civilities that his Zeal for our Cause & his Connections 

1 This letter was purchased at a sale in London by the late Sam. Timmins, 
and presented by him to Sir Richard Tangye, who presented it to A. P. S. 
ED. 



120 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

with a Family we all so much esteem & love, may entitle 
him to. * 

I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect, Sir, 
Your Excellency's, 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1141. TO ALEXANDER SMALL 2 

i < -i A) ! '* 'Tv r >/! rX-JH JID1//R OT .CM n: 

Passy, July 22, 1780. 

You see, my dear Sir, that I was not afraid my masters 
would take it amiss, if I ran to see an old friend, though in the 
service of their enemy. They are reasonable enough to 
allow, that differing politics should not prevent the inter- 
communication of philosophers, who study and converse for 
the benefit of mankind. But you have doubts about coming 
to dine with me. I suppose you will not venture it; your 
refusal will not indeed do so much honour to the generosity 
and good nature of your government, as to your sagacity. 
You know your people, and I do not expect you. I think, too, 
that in friendship I ought not to make you more visits, as I 
intended; but I send my grandson to pay his duty to his 
physician. 

You inquired about my gout, and I forgot to acquaint you, 
that I had treated it a little cavalierly in its two last accesses. 
Finding one night that my foot gave me more pain after it 

1 Baron d'Arros became commander of Le Languedoc, an 8o-gun ship in 
the squadron of le Comte de Grasse. ED. 

a From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," London, 
1818, Vol. I, p. 64. ED. 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 121 

was covered warm in bed, I put it out of bed naked; and, 
perceiving it easier, I let it remain longer than I at first de- 
signed, and at length fell asleep leaving it there till morning. 
The pain did not return, and I grew well. Next winter, 
having a second attack, I repeated the experiment ; not with 
such immediate success in dismissing the gout, but constantly 
with the effect of rendering it less painful, so that it permitted 
me to sleep every night. I should mention, that it was my 
son who gave me the first intimation of this practice. He 
being in the old opinion, that the gout was to be drawn out 
by transpiration; and, having heard me say, that perspira- 
tion was carried on more copiously when the body was naked, 
than when clothed, he put his foot out of bed to increase that 
discharge, and found ease by it, which he thought a con- 
firmation of the doctrine. But this method requires to be 
confirmed by more experiments, before one can conscien- 
tiously recommend it. I give it you, however, in exchange for 
your receipt of tartar emetic; because the commerce of 
philosophy as well as other commerce, is best promoted by 
taking care to make returns. I am ever yours most affec- 
tionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1142. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, July 26, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I wrote to M. de Neufville by last Post, in Answer to theirs 
of the i4th. I hope they received my Letter. It signified, 
that I would accept the Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens. I find, 
by a Vote of Congress on the 4 of March, that they then stopt 
drawing, and I am informed, no more Bills have been issued 



122 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

since. I could not relish those gentlemen's Proposal of 
mortgaging all our Estates, for the Little Money Holland is 
likely to lend us. But I am obliged to them for their zeal 
in our Cause. 

I received & thank you for the Protest relating to the Elec- 
tion of the Coadjutor. You seem to be too much affected 
with the taking of Charlestown. It is so far a Damage to 
us, as it will enable the Enemy to exchange a great Part of 
the Prisoners we had in our Hands; otherwise their affairs 
will not be much advanced by it. They have successively 
been in Possession of the Capitals of 5 Provinces, viz. Massa- 
chusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, and 
Georgia ; but were not therefore in Possession of the Provinces 
themselves. New York and Georgia still continue their 
Operations as free States ; and so I suppose will S. Carolina. 
The Cannon will be recovered with the Place ; if not, our 
Furnaces are constantly at work in making more. The de- 
stroying of our Ships by the English is only like shaving our 
Beards, which will grow again. Their Loss of Provinces 
is like the Loss of limbs, which can never again be united to 
their Body. I was sorry to hear of your Indisposition. Take 
care of yourself. Honey is a good Thing for obstructions in 
the reins. I hope your health is by this time reestablished. 

I am less committed than you imagine in the affair between 
Jones & Landais. The latter was not dispossessed by me 
of his Command, but quitted it. He afterwards took it into 
his head to resume it, which the former's too long stay at 
Paris gave him an Opportunity of Effecting. Capt. Jones is 
going in the Ariel Frigate to America, where they may settle 
their affairs as they can. 

The capt. Comu of Dunkerque, who occasioned the Loss 



1780] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 123 

of our Dispatches, is himself taken by the English. I have 
no doubt of the Truth of what Mr. White told you, about 
the facility with which the Tax was collected. 

That same Baron de Wulffen 1 has not pleased me, having 
left little Debts behind him unpaid, tho' I furnished him with 
20 Guineas. As he had been with his Brother at Venlo, 
before he saw you, where he might get Money, I wonder at 
his borrowing of you. 2 

This will be delivered to you by his Excellency, John 
Adams, whom I earnestly recommend to your best Civilities. 
He has never been in Holland, and your Counsels will be of 
use to him. My best Wishes attend you, being ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1143. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES] (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, August 3, 1780. 

SIR, 

It was indeed with great Pleasure that I received the letter 
your Excellency did me the Honour of writing to me, com- 
municating that of the President of Congress, and the Reso- 
lutions of that Body relative to the Succours then expected. 
For the Sentiments therein expressed are so different from 
the Language held by Mr. Adams in his late Letters to your 
Excellency as to make it clear that it was from his par- 
ticular Indiscretion alone, and not from any Instruc- 

1 Baron Johan Henrich De Wulffen, Captain of the Light Horse in the 
service of the United States, wrote to Franklin June 10, 1780 (A. P. S.), 
thanking him very humbly for a loan of twelve Louis, and politely asking 
for thirty more. ED. 

2 A paragraph omitted acknowledging the receipt of despatches. ED. 



124 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

tions received by him, that he has given such just Cause of 
Displeasure, and that it is impossible his Conduct therein 
should be approved by his Constituents. I am glad he has 
not admitted me to any Participation of those Writings, 
and that he has taken the Resolution he expresses, of not 
communicating with me, or making use of my Intervention 
in his future Correspondence 1 ; a Resolution that I believe 
he will keep, as he has never yet communicated to me more 
of his Business in Europe than I have seen in Newspapers. 
I live upon Terms of Civility with him, not of Intimacy. 
I shall as you desire lay before Congress the whole Correspon- 
dence which you have sent me for that purpose. With the 
greatest and most sincere respect, I am, sir, yours, etc., etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1144- TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 2 (t. c.) 

Passy, August 9, 1780. 

SIR, 

With this your Excellency will receive a Copy of my last, 
dated May [3ist,] the Original of which, with Copies of pre- 
ceding Letters, went by the Alliance, Capt. Landais, who 
sailed the Beginning of last Month, and who I wish may 
arrive safe in America, being apprehensive, that by her long 
Delay in Port, from the Mutiny of the People, who after she 
was ready to sail refused to weigh Anchor till paid Wages, 
she may fall in the Way of the English Fleet now out; or 
that her Crew, who have ever been infected with Disorder 

1 See this letter from John Adams to Vergennes (July 27, 1780), in Volume 
X of this edition. ED. 

2 President of Congress from September 28, 1779, to July 10, 1781. ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 125 

and Mutiny, may carry her into England. She had, on her 
first coming out, a Conspiracy for that purpose; besides 
which her Officers and Captain quarrell'd with each other, 
the Captain with Comm e Jones, and there have been so many 
Embroils among them, that it was impossible to get the 
Business forward while she staied, and she is at length gone, 
without taking the Quantity of Stores she was capable of 
taking, and was ordered to take. 

I suppose the Conduct of that Captain will be enquired 
into by a Court-Martial. Capt. Jones goes home in the 
Ariel, a Ship we have borrowed of Government here, and 
carries 146 Chests of Arms, and 400 Barrels of Powder. 
To take the rest of the Stores, and Cloathing I have been 
obliged to freight a Ship, which, being well arm'd and well 
mann'd, will, I hope, get safe. The cloathes for 10,000 Men 
are, I think, all made up; there are also Arms for 15,000, 
new and good, with 2,000 Barrels of Powder. Besides this, 
there is a great Quantity of Cloth I have bought, of which you 
will have the Invoices, sent by Mr. Williams; another large 
Quantity purchas'd by Mr. Ross; all going in the same 
Ship. 

The little Authority we have here to govern our armed 
Ships, and the Inconvenience of Distance from the Ports, 
occasion abundance of Irregularities in the Conduct of both 
Men and Officers. I hope, therefore, that no more of those 
Vessels will be sent hither, till our Code of Laws is perfected 
respecting Ships abroad, and proper Persons appointed to 
manage such Affairs in the SeaPorts. They give me infinite 
Trouble; and, tho' I endeavour to act for the best, it is 
without Satisfaction to myself, being unacquainted with that 
kind of Business. I have often mention'd the Appointment 



126 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

of a Consul or Consuls. The Congress have, perhaps, not 
yet had time to consider that Matter. 

Having already sent you, by different Conveyances, Copies 
of my Proceedings with the Court of Denmark, relative to 
the three Prizes delivered up to the English, and requested 
the Instructions of Congress, I hope soon to receive them. 
I mention'd a Letter from the Congress to that Court, as 
what I thought might have a good Effect. I have since had 
more Reasons to be of that Opinion. 

The unexpected Delay of Mr. Dean's Arrival has retarded 
the Settlement of the joint Accounts of the Commission, he 
having had the chief Management of the commercial Part, 
and being therefore best able to explain Difficulties. I have 
just now the Pleasure to hear that the Fier Rodrique, with her 
Convoy from Virginia, arrived at Bordeaux, all safe except 
one Tobacco Ship, that foundered at Sea, the Men saved; 
and I have a letter from Mr. Deane that he is at Rochelle, 
proposes to stop a few Days at Nantes, and then proceed to 
Paris, when I shall endeavour to see that Business completed 
with all possible Expedition. 

1 [Mr. Adams has given Offence to the Court here, by some 
Sentiments and Expressions contained in several of his 
Letters written to the Count de Vergennes. I mention this 
with Reluctance, tho* perhaps it would have been my Duty 
to acquaint you with such a Circumstance, even were it not 
required of me by the Minister himself. He has sent me 
Copies of the Correspondence, desiring I would communicate 
them to Congress; and I send them herewith. 2 Mr. Adams 

1 The part within brackets exists in a duplicate copy in U. of P. ED. 
8 See these letters in the fifth volume of the Diplomatic Correspondence. 

S. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 127 

did not show me his Letters before he sent them. I have, in 
a former Letter to Mr. Lovell, mentioned some of the Incon- 
veniencies, that attend the having more than one Minister 
at the same Court; one of which Inconveniencies is, that 
they do not always hold the same Language, and that the 
Impressions made by one, and intended for the Service of his 
Constituents, may be effaced by the Discourse of the other. 
It is true, that Mr. Adams's proper Business is elsewhere; 
but, the Time not being come for that Business, and having 
nothing else here wherewith to employ himself, he seems to 
have endeavoured to supply what he may suppose my Ne- 
gociations defective in. He thinks, as he tells me himself, 
that America has been too free in Expressions of Gratitude 
to France ; for that she is more oblig'd to us than we to her ; 
and that we should show Spirit in our Applications. I appre- 
hend, that he mistakes his Ground, and that this Court is 
to be treated with Decency and Delicacy. The King, a 
young and virtuous Prince, has, I am persuaded, a Pleasure 
in reflecting on the generous Benevolence of the Action in 
assisting an oppressed People, and proposes it as a Part of 
the Glory of his Reign. I think it right to encrease this 
Pleasure by our thankful Acknowledgments, and that such 
an Expression of Gratitude is not only our Duty, but our 
Interest. A different Conduct seems to me what is not only 
improper and unbecoming, but what may be hurtful to us. 
Mr. Adams, on the other hand, who, at the same time means 
our Welfare and Interest as much as I, or any man, can do, 
seems to think a little apparent Stoutness, and greater air of 
Independence and Boldness in our Demands, will procure 
us more ample Assistance. It is for Congress to judge and 
regulate their Affairs accordingly. 



128 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

M. Vergennes, who appears much offended, told me, 
yesterday, that he would enter into no further Discussions 
with Mr. Adams, nor answer any more of his Letters. He 
is gone to Holland to try, as he told me, whether something 
might not be done to render us less dependent on France. 
He says, the Ideas of this Court and those of the People in 
America are so totally different, that it is impossible for any 
Minister to please both. He ought to know America better 
than I do, having been there lately, and he may chuse to 
do what he thinks will best please the People of America. 
But, when I consider the Expressions of Congress in many 
of their public Acts, and particularly in their Letter to the 
Chev. de la Luzerne, of the 24th of May last, I cannot but 
imagine, that he mistakes the Sentiments of a few for a 
general Opinion. It is my Intention, while I stay here, to 
procure what Advantages I can for our Country, by endeav- 
ouring to please this Court ; and I wish I could prevent any 
thing being said by any of our Countrymen here, that may 
have a contrary Effect, and increase an Opinion lately show- 
ing itself in Paris, that we seek a Difference, and with a view 
of reconciling ourselves to England.] Some of them have 
of late been very indiscreet in their Conversations. 

I received, eight months after their Date, the Instructions 
of Congress relating to a new Article for guaranteeing the 
Fisheries. The expected Negociations for a Peace appearing 
of late more remote, and being too much occupied with other 
Affairs, I have not hitherto proposed that Article. But I 
purpose doing it next Week. It appears so reasonable and 
equitable, that I do not foresee any Difficulty. In my next, 
I shall give you an Account of what passes on the Occasion. 

The Silver Medal ordered for the Chev* de Fleury, has 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTOH 129 

been delivered to his Order here, he being gone to America. 
The others, for Brigadier-General Wayne and Colonel 
Stuart, I shall send by the next good Opportunity. 

The Two Thousand Pounds I furnished to Messrs. Adams 
and Jay, agreable to an Order of Congress, for themselves 
and Secretaries, being nearly expended, and no Supplies to 
them arriving, I have thought it my Duty to furnish them 
with further Sums, hoping the Supplies promised will soon 
arrive to reimburse me, and enable me to pay the Bills 
drawn on Mr. Laurens in Holland, which I have engaged 
for, to save the public Credit, the Holders of those Bills 
threatening otherwise to protest them. Messrs, de Neufville 
of Amsterdam had accepted some of them. I have prom- 
ised those Gentlemen to provide for the Payment before 
they become due, and to accept such others as shall be pre- 
sented to me. I hear, and hope it is true, that the Drawing 
of such Bills is stopped, and that their Number and Value 
is not very great. 

The Bills drawn in favour of M. de Beaumarchais for the 
Interest of his Debt are paid. 

The German Prince, who gave me a Proposal some Months 
since for furnishing Troops to the Congress, has lately de- 
sired an Answer. I gave no Expectation, that it was likely 
you would agree to such a Proposal ; but, being pressed to 
send it you, it went with some of my former Letters. 

M. Fouquet, who was employ'd by Congress to instruct 
People in making Gunpowder, is arriv'd here, after a long 
Passage; he has requested me to transmit a Memorial to 
Congress, which I do, enclosed. 

The great public Event in Europe of this Year is the Pro- 
posal, by Russia, of an armed Neutrality for protecting the 

VOL. VIII K 



130 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

Liberty of Commerce. The proposition is accepted now by 
most of the maritime Powers. As it is likely to become the 
Law of Nations, that free Ships should make free Goods, I 
wish the Congress to consider, whether it may not be proper 
to give Orders to their Cruizers not to molest Foreign Ships, 
but conform to the Spirit of that Treaty of Neutrality. 

The English have been much elated with their Success at 
Charlestown. The late News of the Junction of the French 
and Spanish Fleets, has a little abated their Spirits; and I 
hope that Junction, and the Arrival of the French Troops 
and Ships in N. America, will soon produce News, that may 
afford us also in our Turn some Satisfaction. 

Application has been made to me here, requesting that I 
would solicit Congress to permit the Exchange of William 
John Mawhood, a Lieutenant in the iyth Regiment, taken 
Prisoner at Stony Point, July i5th, 1779, and confin'd near 
Philadelphia; or, if the exchange cannot conveniently be 
made, that he may be permitted to return to England on his 
Parole. By doing this at my Request, the Congress will 
enable me to oblige several Friends of ours, who are Persons 
of Merit and Distinction in this country. 

Be pleased, Sir, to present my Duty to Congress, and be- 
lieve me to be, with great Respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. A similar Application has been made to me in 
favour of Richard Croft, Lieutenant in the zoth Regiment, 
a Prisoner at Charlottesville. I shall be much obliged by 
any Kindness shown to that young Gentleman, and so will 
some Friends of ours in England, who respect his Father. 

B. F. 



1780] TO JAMES LOVELL 131 

1145. TO JAMES LOVELL (L. c.) 

Passy, August 10, 1780. 

SIR, 

I received on the i2th of June, 1780, Copies of your 
several Favours of April 29, 1779, June 13, 1779, July 9, 
1 6, Aug. 6, Sept. 1 6, 1779. You will see by this what Delays 
our Correspondence sometimes meets with. I have lately 
received two of fresher Date, viz. Feb. 24, and May 4. I 
thank you much for the Newspapers and Journals you have 
from time to time sent me ; I endeavour to make full Returns 
in the same way. I could furnish a Multitude of Dispatches 
with confidential Informations taken out of the Papers I 
send you, if I chose to deal in that kind of Manufacture; 
I know the whole Art of it, for I have had several volunteer 
Correspondents in England, who have in their Letters for 
Years together communicated to me Secrets of state, ex- 
tracted from the Newspapers, which sometimes came to 
hand in those Papers by the same Post, and sometimes by the 
Post before. You and I send the Papers themselves. Our 
Letters may appear the leaner, but what Fat they have is 
their own. 

I wrote to you the i7th of October, and the i6th of March, 
and have sent duplicates, some of which I hope got to hand. 
You mention receiving one of Sept. 30, and one of Dec. 30 
but not that of Oct. 17. The Cypher you have communicated, 
either from some Defect in your Explanation, or in my Com- 
prehension, is not yet of use to me ; for I cannot understand 
by it the little Specimen you have wrote in it. If you have 
that of M. Dumas, which I left with Mr. Morris, we may 



1 32 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

correspond by it when a few Sentences are required only to 
be writ in Cypher, but it is too tedious for a whole Letter. 

I send herewith Copies of the Instruments annulling the 
II th and 12 th Articles of the Treaty. 1 The Treaty printed 
here by the Court omitted them, and numbered the subse- 
quent Articles accordingly. 

I write fully to the President. The frequent Hindrances 
the Committee of Correspondence meet with in writing as a 
Committee, which appear from the Excuses in your particular 
Letters, and the many Parts of my Letters, that have long 
been unanswered, incline me to think, that your foreign 
Correspondence would be best managed by one Secretary, 
who could write when he had an Opportunity, without waiting 
for the Concurrence or Opinions of his Brethren, who cannot 
always be got conveniently together. My chief Letters will, 
therefore, for the future, be address'd to the President, till 
further Orders. 

I send you enclos'd some more of Mr. Hartley's Letters. 
He continues passionately to desire Peace with America, but 
wishes we could be separated from France. With great 

Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1146. TO JOHN D. SCHWEIGHAUSER (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Aug! 10, 1780. 

Sm, 

On Tuesday, the 8th Instant, sundry Bills drawn by you 
upon me, amounting to upwards of 1.30,000 were presented 
at my House, and an [sic] immediately urged. Being that 

1 See Diplomatic Correspondence (Sparks), Vol. I, p. 432. ED. 



1780] TO JOHN D. SCHWEIGHAUSER 133 

Day at Versailles, and not returning till late in the Evening, 
I gave my answer the next Day, that having no advice of the 
said Bills, and not knowing on what account they could be 
drawn, I did not accept them. I think I had formerly 
objected to the Drawing of Bills for the amount of an Account 
before the same had been delivered in, & a sufficient time 
allowed for examining and considering it; which appeared 
to me a part of a fair Dealing. I know, however, that I 
objected to your Drawing at a few Days' date, which might 
be expired before the Bills could be presented, instead of so 
many Sight, and that you promised to conform to the latter 
method for the future, and did so accordingly in your subse- 
quent Bills. These however were drawn at 8 Days' Date, 
I and your Letter of advice with the account if your corre- 

spondent had authority to make it, which I think he had not 
with any Right to expect my paying it unaccompanied with 
Vouchers, tho' the Payment was so hastily and prematurely 
demanded. 

On receiving your and my Letters, I find the Case between 
us stands thus : June 20, you wrote to me that Capt. Landais 
had summoned your Correspondents to furnish his Wants 
in consequence of the Orders he brought to you from Navy 
Board, and that you, knowing there had been Disputes, had 
requested M. Thevenard the Commandant to give your 
Correspondent Orders how to act, till my Orders should 
arrive. I answered you June 24, that I should have no 
Objection to "your supplying the Alliance with such Pro- 
visions as might be necessary for the present Subsistance 
of the People that are on board her, many of whom are 
exchanged Prisoners, honest and good Men, who ought not 
to suffer Famine for the Folly of Capt. Landais. But the 



134 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

king having given Orders for paying all the necessary Charges 
of that Ship during her present Relache at L'Orient, I did not 
see why the application had been made to you unless the 
provisions furnished ever since her arrival there had been 
lately stopt, which I had heard. Because this was unneces- 
sarily bringing a Present Expence upon me, besides com- 
mencing a new Account of Disbursements in another House, 
that will rather tend to confuse the Affair, and answer no good 
purpose." Adding, "I shall therefore write by this Post to 
L'Orient, requesting that if the Provisions have been stopt 
on ace* of Capt. Landais Misconduct, they may nevertheless 
be continued for the Sake of the poor People." You will 
observe that this Permission to supply was conditional: 
in case the Provisions furnished otherwise had been stopt on 
account of the Capt. Landais' Misconduct. That it men- 
tions only provisions, and those necessary for the present 
Subsistence, not Sea Stores for the Voyage ; Subsistence, too 
for the People, not superfluities for the officers ; and it was to 
prevent their suffering famine, not to regale them with Lux- 
uries. By the Return of the Post from L'Orient, I was 
informed that the Provisions had not been stopt, and it 
appeared to be merely the Will of Capt. Landais to take them, 
with every thing he had a fancy for, from your Correspondents 
who, it seems, were very willing to furnish him liberally. 
You now, in yours of the 3d Instant, speak of my having 
approved this measure. I do not find among the Copies of 
my Letters any other Approbation than what is contained in 
the above. If you have any such, please to send me a Copy 
of it. As to the above, you were at the time so far from 
considering it as an Approbation, that you acquaint me in 
your Answer of July 15 that you had given positive Orders 



1780] TO JOHN D. SCHWEIGHAUSER 135 

to that House not to furnish any longer to that Frigate, and 
that they nevertheless had continued to do it ; excusing them- 
selves with this Slender Reason, that no other House had 
presented itself for that purpose. It was not to be expected 
that another House would present itself to Messrs. Puchel- 
berg & Co. 1 with such an offer ; but it might have been decent 
for them to have informed themselves, before they under- 
took a Business that was in execution by another House, 
whether that House had refused or was willing to continue 
it. You cannot but see upon reflection that were the Dis- 
bursements necessary, your Observation that it is very 
immaterial to me, whether they were made by you or Messrs. 
Gourlade & Moylan 2 is ill founded ; since in one Case they 
would have been paid by the king, who would not probably 
have demanded payment till the Peace, if ever. And in the 
other case they are demanded of my [sic] with a promptitude 
and urgency that is unusual if not unfair and cannot but be 
disagreable, especially when I consider that the Ship was 
well fitted for the Sea and on the point of sailing when Capt. 
Landais took possession of her, and yet an account of near 
32,000 Livres is run up against her in a few Weeks, great 
part of it for Luxuries and Superfluities in extravagant 
Quantities, and if I may judge of those I do not know by 
those I do at very extravagant Prices. Upon the whole, 
since you consider it as a necessary Compliance with the 
Orders you received from the Navy Board, I must refer 
you to them for the Consideration and Allowance of your 
Account. They have neither given me Orders nor furnished 
me with Money to pay such Account, and I am persuaded, 

1 Forsters & Puchelberg & Co. were Nantes merchants. ED. 

2 Merchants at L'Orient. ED. 



136 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

whatever respect they may with me have for yourself, they 
will not be much pleased with the Conduct of Capt. Landais 
or your Agents. I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1147. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, August 12, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours by the Count de Vauban, 1 and I send by 
him my public Dispatches, requesting you to sink them if 
necessary. I am glad you are so near ready for sailing. I 
return all the Papers, that were enclosed in yours, and send 
Copies of some others, which perhaps may be of use to you 
in your future Affair with Landais. 

Depend upon it, I never wrote to Mr. Gillon, that the Bon 
Homme Richard was a Privateer. 2 I could not write so, 
because I never had such thought. I will next post send you 
a Copy of my Letter to him, by which you will see, that he 
has only forced that Construction from a vague expression 
I used, merely to conceal from him (in answering his idle 
Demand, that I would order your Squadron, then on the 
point of Sailing to go with him to Carolina), that the Expe- 
dition was at the Expence and under the Direction of the 
King, which it was not proper or necessary for him to know. 

1 Jacques- Anne- Joseph Le Prestre, Comte de Vauban (1754-1816), aide- 
de-camp to Rochambeau, in America. ED. 

2 Jones's letter was dated August 7, 1780 (A. P. S.). In it he wrote, " Mr. 
Gillon of South Carolina has taken much pains to promulgate that you wrote 
him a Letter with an Assurance that the Bonhomme Richard was a privateer. 
This has already done me much harm, and as it is not true, I beg your excel- 
lency to contradict it." ED. 




LE DOCTEUR FRANCKLIN COURONNE PAR LA LIBERTE. 
From a rare aquatint in the collection of Hampton L. Carson, Esq. 



1780] TO MR. AND MRS. BENJAMIN WEST 137 

The Expression I used was, that the concerned had destined 
the Squadron for another Service. These Words, the Con- 
cerned, he & the Counsellor have interpreted to mean the 
Owners of a Privateer. 

I shall send per post some private Letters for my American 
Friends, for which I had no time by your Express. If you 
should be still at L' Orient when they come, it is well; but 
do not wait a Moment for them, if you are ready to sail, & 
the Wind Serves. Adieu ! I wish you a prosperous Voyage, 
a happy Sight of your Friends and Country, and that you 
may be received with all the Honour you have so justly 

merited. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. I say nothing about the Prize Money, having never 
had any thing to do with it ; but I will endeavour to forward 
the Payment to those Honest Fellows, who are gone to 
America. Pray let me know, if the Dispatches I formerly 
sent down to go with you in the Alliance are gone in her. 
There were Letters containing the Proceedings about Cap. 
Landais. 



1148. TO MR. AND MRS. BENJAMIN WEST 1 

Passy, August 16, 1780. 

I received by the hands of Mr. Strange, 2 and contemplated 
with great pleasure, the representations of my dear friends 
Mr. and Mrs. West and their children, contained in the fine 

1 Printed from "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " (Bigelow), 
Vol. VII, page 122. ED. 

2 Robert Strange, engraver. See letter to William Strahan, December 4, 
1781. ED. 



138 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

print they have been so kind as to send me. I pray God 
to bless them all, particularly my godson, 1 and grant them 
to live as long as I have done, and with as much health, who 
continue as hearty as a buck, with a hand still steady, as they 
may see by this writing. I hope yet to embrace them once 
more in peace. In the meantime I wish them every kind of 
felicity, being with sincere respect and esteem, 

Theirs affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1149. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 7, 1780. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excellency did me the Honour 
of writing to me, the 4th instant, on the appointment of 
Consuls. I have not yet received any Orders or Instructions 
from the Congress relating to that Object. I shall transmit 
to that Body a Copy of your Excellency's Letter, but as the 
Office of Consul has not been heretofore in use in America, 
and they may therefore not be so well acquainted with the 
usual Functions and Powers of such an Officer in Europe as 
to send me Instructions equally compleat and perfect with 
those your Excell 7 could send to M. de la Luzerne, if the 
Convention were to be treated there, I would submit it to 
your Judgement whether that Method may not be the best 
and shortest. As it is a Matter of the same general Nature 
with others that are enumerated among the Powers of Con- 

1 Franklin's godson, Benjamin West's younger son, was at this time in his 
eighth year. The eldest son was aged fourteen. ED. 



1780] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 139 

gress in the Articles of Confederation, tho' not particularly 
mentioned; and as the Grant in the 2gih Article of the 
Treaty is to the States United, and not to each separately; 
and farther, as the having a Consul for each State, or thirteen 
American Consuls, in each Port of France would be of more 
Expence and Inconvenience than of real Utility, I cannot 
imagine that the Authority of Congress to make the necessary 
Convention will be disputed by the particular States. With 
the greatest Respect, I have the honour to be, Sir, your Ex- 
cellency's most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1150. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 20. 1780 

SIR 

Since I had the Honour of speaking to your Excellency on 
the Subject of a farther Loan of Money to the United States, 
our Banker M r Grand has given me a State of the Funds 
necessary to be provided, which I beg Leave to lay before 
you. 

I have frequently written to Congress to draw no farther 
upon me, but to make me Remittances ; for that the inevita- 
ble Expences of France in this War were immense, and that 
I could not presume to make repeated Applications for more 
Money with any Prospect of Success. Your Excellency 
will see this acknowledg'd in their late Letters to me; of 
which I inclose Copies; and that they would have avoided 
drawing on me any more, if the present Conjuncture in 
which they were oblig'd to make vast Preparations to act 



HO THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

effectually with your Troops, had not kid them under the 
absolute Necessity. 

The present State of their Currency rendring it insufficient 
for the Maintaining of their Troops, they provide for a great 
Part of the Expence by furnishing Provisions in kind: but 
some more hard Money than came in by Taxes, was wanted, 
and could only be obtain'd by these fresh Drafts. 

Their former unexpected Drafts had already absorb 'd 
much of the Money put into my hands, and I am now put 
into a Situation that distresses me exceedingly. I dread the 
Consequences of protesting their Bills. The Credit of the 
Congress being thereby destroy'd at home, the People will 
be unable to act or exert their Force. The Enemy will find 
them in a State similar to that of being bound hand and foot. 

We have had Hopes of some Aid from Spain ; but they are 
vanished. 

The Expectation of a Loan hi Holland, has also failed. 

I submit these important Circumstances to your Excellency's 
wise Consideration. The States will be well able in a few 
Years of Peace, to repay all that shall be ad vane 'd to them in 
this tune of Difficulty : and they will repay it with Gratitude. 
The Good Work of establishing a free Government for them, 
and a free Commerce with them for France, is nearly com- 
pleated. It is pity it should now miscarry for want of 4 or 5 
millions of Livres, to be furnished, not immediately but in the 
Course of the ensuing Year. 

With the greatest & most sincere Respect, I have the 
honour to be, [B. FRANKLIN] 



1780] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 141 

1151. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Oct. 2, 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received duly your several Letters of the i2th, i5th, 
i yth, i pth, and 2ist of September. I am much pleased with 
the Intelligence you send me, and with the Papers you have 
had printed. 

Mr. Searle is a military Officer in the Pensilvania Troops, 
and a Member of Congress. He has some Commission to 
execute for that Province, but none that I know of from Con- 
gress. He has an open Letter for you from Mr. Lovel, 
which he has shown me. It is full of Expressions of his Es- 
teem; and I understand from Mr. Searle, that you stand 
exceedingly well with the Committee and with the Congress 
in general. I am sorry to see any marks of Uneasiness & 
apprehension in your Letters. M. Chaumont tells me, that 
you want some Assurance of being continued. The Congress 
itself is changeable at the Pleasure of their Electors, and none 
of their Servants have, or can have, any such assurance. If 
therefore any thing better for you, & more substantial should 
offer, nobody can blame you for accepting it, however satisfied 
they may be with your Services. But as to the Continuance of 
what you now enjoy, or of something as valuable in the Service 
of the Congress, I think you may make yourself easy, for that 
your appointment seems more likely to be increased than 
diminish'd, tho' it does not belong to me to promise any thing. 

M. Laurens was to sail 3 Days after M. Searle, who begins 
to fear he must be lost, as it was a small Vessel he intended 
to embark in. He was bound directly for Holland. 



143 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

I enclose some extracts of Letters from two French Officers 
of Distinction in the Army of M. de Rochambeau, which are 
pleasing, as they mark the good Intelligence that subsists 
between the Troops, contrary to the Reports circulated by 
the English. They will do perhaps for your Leiden Gazette. 1 
With great esteem & affection, I am ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1152. TO JOHN JAY a (D. s. w.) 

Passy, October 2, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received duly and in good order the several Letters you 
have written to me of Aug? 16, 19, Sept. 8 & 22. The Papers 
that accompanied them of your Writing gave me the Pleasure 
of seeing the affairs of our Country in such good Hands, and 
the Prospect, from your Youth, of its having the Service of 
so able a Minister for a great number of years. But the little 
Success that has attended your late applications for money 
mortified me exceedingly; and the Storm of Bills, which I 
found coming upon us both has terrified and vexed me to 
such a Degree, that I have been deprived of Sleep, and so 
much indispos'd by continual anxiety, as to be render'd 
almost incapable of writing. 

At length I got over a Reluctance that was almost invincible, 
and made another Application to the Government here for 
more Money. I drew up and presented a state of debts and 
newly expected demands, and requested its aid to extricate me. 
Judging from your Letters, that you were not likely to obtain 

1 See letter to John Adams, October 2, 1780. ED. 

Printed in "The Life of John Jay," by William Jay, VoL II, p. 62. ED. 



1780] TO JOHN JAY 143 

any thing considerable from your Court, I put down in my 
Estimate the 25,000 Dollars drawn upon you with the same 
Sum drawn upon me, as what would probably come to me 
for Payment. I have now the Pleasure to acquaint you, that 
my Memorial was received in the kindest and most friendly 
Manner, & tho' the Court here is not without its Embarrass- 
ments on Account of Money, I was told to make myself easy, 
for that I should be assisted with what was necessary. 

Mr. Searle arriving about this time and assuring me there 
had been a plentiful Harvest, & great Crops of all kinds; 
that the Congress had demanded of the several States Con- 
tributions in Produce, which would be chearfully given ; that 
they would therefore have plenty of Provisions to dispose of ; 
&, I being much pleased with the generous behaviour just 
experienced, I presented another Paper, proposing in order 
to ease [the government here, which has been so willing to 
ease] us, that the Congress might furnish their Army in 
America with Provisions in Part of Payment for the Sum 
lent us. This Proposition I was told was well taken; but, 
it being considered, that the States having the Enemy in their 
Country, and obliged to make great Expences for the Present 
Campaign, the furnishing so much Provisions as the French 
Army would need, might straiten and be inconvenient to 
the Congress, his Majesty did not at this time think it right 
to accept the offer. You will not wonder at my loving this 
good prince. He will win the Hearts of all America. 

If you are not so fortunate in Spain, continue however the 
even good Temper you have hitherto manifested. Spain 
owes us nothing; therefore, whatever Friendship she shows 
us in lending Money, or furnishing Cloathing, &c., tho' not 
equal to our Wants & Wishes, is however tant de gagne. 



144 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN 1 FRANKLIN [1780 

Those, who have begun to assist us, are more likely to con- 
tinue than to decline, and we are still so much obliged as 
their aids amount to. But I hope and I am confident, that 
Court will be wiser than to take advantage of our Distress, 
& insist on our making Sacrifices by an agreement, which 
the Circumstance of such Distress would hereafter weaken, 
& the very Proposition can only give disgust at Present. Poor 
as we are, yet, as I know we shall be rich, I would rather agree 
with them to buy at a great Price the whole of their Right 
on the Mississippi, than sell a Drop of its Waters. A Neigh- 
bour might as well ask me to sell my Street Door. 

I wish you could obtain an Account of what they have 
supplied us with already in Money and Goods. 

Mr. Grand, informing me, that one of the Bills drawn on 
you, having been sent from hence to Madrid, was come back 
unaccepted, I have directed him to pay it; and he has, at 
my Request, undertaken to write to the Marquis D'Yranda, 
to assist you with money to answer such Bills as you are not 
otherwise enabled to pay, and to draw on him for the amount ; 
which drafts I shall answer here as far as the Sum above 
mentioned of 25,000 Dollars. If you expect more, acquaint 
me. But pray write to Congress, as I do, to forbear this 
Practice, which is so extreamly hazardous, & may some 
time or other prove very mischievous to their Credit & affairs. 
I have undertaken too for all the Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens, 
that have yet appeared. He was to have sailed 3 days after 
M. Searle, that is, the i8th of July. M. Searle begins to be 
in pain for him, having no Good Opinion of the little Vessel 
he was to embark in. 

We have Letters from America to the yth of August. The 
Spirit of our People was never higher. Vast exertions making 






1780] TO JOHN ADAMS 145 

preparatory for some important Action; great Harmony 
& affection between the Troops of the two Nations; the 
New Money in good Credit, &c. 

I will write to you again shortly, & to Mr. Carmichael. 
I shall now be able to pay up your Salaries compleat for the 
Year; but, as Demands unforeseen are continually coming 
upon me, I will retain the Expectations you have given me, 
of being reimbursed out of the first Remittances you receive. 

If you find any Inclination to hug me for the good News of 
this Letter, I constitute and appoint Mrs. Jay my Attorney, 
to receive in my Behalf your embraces. With great and 
sincere esteem, I have the honour to be, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1153. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 2, 1780. 
SIR, 

By all our late Advices from America, the Hopes you express 
that our Countrymen, instead of amusing themselves any 
longer with delusive Dreams of Peace, would bend the whole 
Force of their Minds to find out their own Strength and Re- 
sources, and to depend upon themselves, are actually accom- 
plished. All the Accounts I have seen agree that the Spirit 
of our People was never higher than at present, nor their 
Exertions more vigorous. 

Inclos'd I send you Extracts of some Letters from two 
French Officers, a Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel in the 
Army of M. de Rochambeau, which are the more pleasing, 
as they not only give a good Character of our Troops, but 

VOL. VIII L 



146 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

show the good Understanding that subsists between them and 
those of our Ally. I hope we shall soon hear of something 
decisive perform'd by their joint Operations, for your Obser- 
vation is just, that Speculations and Disputations do us little 
Service. Our Credit and Weight in Europe depend more on 
what we do than on what we say; And I have long been 
humiliated with the Idea of our running about from Court to 
Court begging for Money and Friendship, which are the more 
withheld, the more eagerly they are solicited, and would 
perhaps have been offer'd if they had not been ask'd. The 
suppos'd Necessity is our only Excuse. The Proverb says, 
God helps them that help themselves. And the World too in 
this Sense is very godly. 

As the English Papers have pretended to Intelligence that 
our Troops and the French disagree, perhaps it would not be 
amiss to get these Extracts inserted in the Amsterdam Gazette. 1 

With great Respect, I have the honour to be, etc. 

[B. F.] 
My compliments to Messrs. Dana and Austin. 



1154. TO JOHN ADAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, October 8, 1780. 

Sm, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me by M. Andrews, and shall render him every Service I 
can in his application.* 

1 See letter to C. W. F. Dumas, October 2, 1780. ED. 

2 The letter was dated September 29, 1780 (A. P. S.) and was handed to 
F. by Samuel Andrews " formerly of Boston, lately of Demerara." ED. 



1780] TO JOHN ADAMS 147 

Your Books & Trunks have been lodged here by Mr. 
Thaxter, 1 and will be taken care of. They are of no Incon- 
venience to me. 

We begin to be in pain for M. Laurens, who was to have 
sailed 3 Days after Mr. Searle. If that took place he has 
been out 10 or n Weeks. I hope he did not sail so soon, 
otherwise it would be probable that he is either lost or taken. 

I do not just now recollect my having written as from myself 
any Letter to the Grand Pensionary. I drew indeed the 
Letter that was sent by the Commissioners acquainting him 
with the Treaty of Commerce, to which we had no answer. 
But I will search, and if I can find such a one will send you a 
Copy of the other. 

I shall be glad to hear if you are like to make any Progress 
in the Affair of a Loan, which I understand M. Laurens was 
charged with. I send you enclos'd a Copy of a Vote of Con- 
gress, respecting your Salaries. I hope you will be able to 
do without my assistance. If not, I must furnish you. But 
I have been obliged to accept M. Neufville's Bills on account 
of his Acceptances of those drawn on Mr. Laurens, and I 
shall with some Difficulty be able to pay them, tho' these 
extra demands often embarrass me exceedingly. 

We hear that the Alliance is arrived at Boston. I beg 
leave to recommend to your civilities M. Searle, a Member of 
Congress for Pensilvania, with whose conversation you will 
be pleased, as he can give you good Information of the State 
of our Affairs when he left America. 

I ought to acquaint you, a governo as the merchants say, 
that M. le Comte de V., having taken much amiss some pas- 
sages in your Letter to him, sent the whole correspondence to 

1 John Thaxter, private secretary to John Adams. ED. 



148 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

me, requesting that I would transmit it to Congress. I 
was myself sorry to see those passages. If they were the 
effects merely of Inadvertence, and you do not on reflection 
approve of them, perhaps you may think it proper to write 
something for effacing the Impressions made by them. I 
do not presume to advise you ; but mention it only for your 
Consideration. 1 The Vessel is not yet gone, which carries 
the Papers. With great Regard, I have the Honour to be, 

sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1155. TO MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 8, 1780. 

It is long, very long, my dear Friend, since I had the great 
Pleasure of hearing from you, and receiving any of your very 
pleasing Letters. But it is my fault. I have long omitted 
my Part of the Correspondence. Those who love to receive 
Letters should write Letters. I wish I could safely promise 
an Amendment of that Fault. But, besides the Indolence 
attending Age, and growing upon us with it, my Time is 
engross'd by too much Business; and I have too many 
Inducements to postpone doing, what I feel I ought to 
do for my own Sake, and what I can never resolve to omit 
entirely. 

Your Translations from Horace, as far as I can judge of 
Poetry and Translations, are very good. That of the Qud, 
qub ruitis ? is so suitable to the Times, that the Conclusion, 

1 For the letter referred to Adams to Vergennes, July 27, 1780 see 
vol. X of this edition. ED. 



1780] TO MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY 149 

(in your Version,) seems to threaten like a Prophecy ; * and 
methinks there is at least some Appearance of Danger that 
it may be fulfilled. I am unhappily an Enemy, yet I think 
there has been enough of Blood spilt, and I wish what is left 
in the Veins of that once lov'd People, may be spared by a 
Peace solid and everlasting. 

It is a great while since I have heard any thing of the good 
Bishop. Strange, that so simple a Character should suffi- 
ciently distinguish one of that sacred Body! Donnez-moi 
de ses Nouvelles. I have been some time flatter'd with the 
Expectation of seeing the Countenance of that most honoured 
and ever beloved Friend, delineated by your Pencil. The 
Portrait is said to have been long on the way, but is not yet 
arriv'd ; nor can I hear where it is. 

Indolent as I have confess'd myself to be, I could not, you 
see, miss this good and safe Opportunity of sending you a 
few Lines, with my best Wishes for your Happiness, and that 
of the whole dear and amiable Family in whose sweet Society 
I have spent so many happy Hours. Mr. Jones 2 tells me, 
he shall have a Pleasure in being the Bearer of my Letter, 
of which I make no doubt. I learn from him, that to your 
Drawing, and Music, and Painting, and Poetry, and Latin, 
you have added a Proficiency in Chess; so that you are, as 
the French say, tout plein de talens. May they and you fall 
to the Lot of one, that shall duly value them, and love you as 

much as I do. Adieu. 

B. F[RANKLIN]. 

1 Sic est : acerba fata Romanes agunt 
Scelensque fraternse necis, 
Ut inmerentis fluxit in terram Remi 
Sacer nepotibus cruor. Carmen VII. ED. 

2 Afterwards Sir William Jones, the eminent Orientalist. ED. 



ISO THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKUN [1780 

1156. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D.S.W.) 

Passy, October 9, 1780. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the 2Qth Sept. and 3d Oct. It is a very 
good Addition you have made to your Memoir e for the Minis- 
ters of Russia & Sweden. I am glad to find you are again 
on such good Terms with the Ambassador, as to be invited 
to his comedy. I doubt not of your continuing to cultivate 
that good understanding. I like much your Insertions in 
the Gazettes. Such things have good effect. 

Your Information relative to the Transactions at Peters- 
bourg & in Denmark are very interesting, & afford me a 
good deal of Satisfaction, particularly the former. Mr. 
Searle will have the Pleasure of seeing you. I recommend him 
warmly to your Civilities. He is much your Friend, and will 
advise M. Laurens to make you his Secretary, which I hope 
you will accept. I have given it as my Opinion, that 
MT L. can nowhere find one better qualified, or more 
deserving. The Choice is left to that Minister, and he is 
impowered to give a Salary of 500^ Sterling a year. I am 
in pain on account of his not being yet arrived, but I hope you 
will see him soon. I request you would find means to intro- 
duce M. Searle to the Portuguese Ambassador. Pray con- 
sider the enclos'd Papers, and, after advising with your Friend, 
give me your Opinion as to the manner of the Application 
to the States- General, whether I should make it thro' their 
Ambassador, or directly with a Letter to the G.frand] P.[en- 
sionary], or in what other manner. You know we wrote to 



j;8o] TO THOMAS RUSTON 151 

him formerly, and received no answer. With great Esteem, 
I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. You say nothing of Mr. Adams? How do you 
stand with him? What is he doing? 



1157. TO THOMAS RUSTON 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 9, 1780. 

SIR, 

I received and read with Pleasure your Thoughts on 
American Finance, and your Scheme of a Bank. I com- 
municated them to Abbe* Morellet, who is a good Judge of 
the Subject, and he has translated them into French. He 
thinks them generally very just, and very clearly exprest. I 
shall forward them to a friend in the Congress. 

That body Is, as you suppose, not well skilPd in Financing. 
But their Deficiency in Knowledge has been amply supply'd 
by Good Luck. They issued an immense Quantity of Paper 
Bills, to pay, clothe, arm, and feed their Troops, and fit out 
Ships ; and with this Paper, without Taxes for the first three 
Years, they fought and bafHed one of the most powerful 
Nations of Europe. They hoped, notwithstanding its 
Quantity, to have kept up the Value of their Paper. In this 
they were mistaken. It depreciated gradually. But this 
Depreciation, tho' in some Circumstances inconvenient, has 
had the general good and great Effect of operating as a Tax, 

1 Addressed to Thomas Ruston " at the Pennsylvania Coffee-house." Dr. 
Thomas Ruston, author of " De febribus biliosis putridis " (Edinb. 1765) ; " An 
Essay on Inoculation for the Small-pox" (London, 1767); "A Collection of 
Facts interspersed with Observations on the Nature, Causes and Cure of the 
Yellow Fever " (Phila. 1804). ED. 



152 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

and perhaps the most equal of all Taxes, since it depreciated 
in the Hands of the Holders of Money, and thereby tax'd 
them in proportion to the Sums they held and the time they 
held it, which generally is in proportion to Men's Wealth. 
Thus, after having done its Business, the Paper is reduc'd 
to the sixtieth Part of its original Value. 

Having issued 200 millions of Dollars the Congress stopped, 
and supply'd themselves by borrowing. These Sums were 
borrow'd at different Periods during the Progress of the 
Depreciation. Those, who lent to the Publick, thereby fix'd 
the Value of the Paper they lent, since it is to be repayd in 
Silver according to its Value at the Time of the Loan. The 
Rest went on depreciating; and the Depreciation is at 
length only stopt by the vast nominal Sums call'd in easily 
by Taxes, and which will be by that means destroyed. Thus, 
so much of the Publick Debt has been in this manner insensibly 
paid, that the Remainder, which you desire to know, does not 
exceed Six Millions Sterling. And now they are working with 
new Paper, exprest to be equal in Value to Silver, which they 
have made to bear Interest ; and have provided such Funds 
to pay that Interest, that probably its original Value will be 
supported. 

In the mean time the Vigour of their military Operations is 
again revived, and they are now as able, with respect to 
Money, to carry on the War, as they were at the beginning, 
and much more so with regard to Troops, Arms, and Dis- 
cipline. It is also an increasing Nation, Sixty Thousand 
Children having been born annually in the United States 
since the Beginning of the War; while their Enemies are 
said to be diminishing. I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1780] TO RICHARD PRICE 153 

1158. TO RICHARD PRICE (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 9, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

Besides the Pleasure of their Company, I had the great 
Satisfaction of hearing by your two valuable Friends, and 
learning from your Letter, that you enjoy a good State of 
Health. May God continue it, as well for the Good of 
Mankind as for your Comfort. I thank you much for the 
second Edition of your excellent Pamphlet. 1 I forwarded 
that you sent to Mr. Dana, he being in Holland. I wish also 
to see the Piece you have written (as Mr. Jones tells me) on 
Toleration. I do not expect that your new Parliament will 
be either wiser or honester than the last. All Projects to 
procure an honest one, by Place Bills, &c., appear to me 
vain and Impracticable. The true Cure, I imagine, is to 
be found only in rendring all Places unprofitable, and the 
King too poor to give Bribes and Pensions. Till this is 
done, which can only be by a Revolution (and I think you have 
not Virtue enough left to procure one), your Nation will 
always be plundered, and obliged to pay by Taxes the Plun- 
derers for Plundering and Ruining. Liberty and Virtue 
therefore join in the call, COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE ! 

I am fully of your Opinion respecting religious Tests; 
but, tho' the People of Massachusetts have not in their new 
Constitution kept quite clear of them, yet, if we consider 
what that People were 100 Years ago, we must allow they have 
gone great Lengths in Liberality of Sentiment on religious 
Subjects ; and we may hope for greater Degrees of Perfection, 

1 " Essay on the Population of England," 2d Edition, 1780. ED. 



154 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

when their Constitution, some years hence, shall be revised. 
If Christian Preachers had continued to teach as Christ and 
his Apostles did, without Salaries, and as the Quakers now do, 
I imagine Tests would never have existed ; for I think they 
were invented, not so much to secure Religion itself, as the 
Emoluments of it. When a Religion is good, I conceive 
that it will support itself ; and, when it cannot support itself, 
and God does not take care to support, so that its Professors 
are oblig'd to call for the help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, 
I apprehend, of its being a bad one. But I shall be out of 
my Depth, if I wade any deeper in Theology, and I will not 
trouble you with Politicks, nor with News which are almost 
as uncertain ; but conclude with a heartfelt Wish to embrace 
you once more, and enjoy your sweet Society in Peace, among 
our honest, worthy, ingenious Friends at the London. 1 Adieu, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1159. DIALOGUE BETWEEN FRANKLIN AND 
THE GOUT 

Midnight, October 22, 1780. 

FRANKLIN. Eh! Ohl Eh! What have I done to merit 
these cruel sufferings? 

GOUT. Many things ; you have ate and drank too freely, 
and too much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence. 

FRANKLIN. Who is it that accuses me? 

GOUT. It is I, even I, the Gout. 

FRANKLIN. What! my enemy in person? 

GOUT. No, not your enemy. 

1 London Coffee-boose. ED. 



1780] DIALOGUE: FRANKLIN AND THE GOUT 155 

FRANKLIN. I repeat it; my enemy; for you would not 
only torment my body to death, but ruin my good name; 
you reproach me as a glutton and a tippler ; now all the world, 
that knows me, will allow that I am neither the one nor the 
other. 

GOUT. The world may think as it pleases ; it is always very 
complaisant to itself, and sometimes to its friends; but I 
very well know that the quantity of meat and drink proper 
for a man, who takes a reasonable degree of exercise, would 
be too much for another, who never takes any. 

FRANKLIN. I take Eh ! Oh ! as much exercise 
Eh ! as I can, Madam Gout. You know my sedentary 
state, and on that account, it would seem, Madam Gout, as 
if you might spare me a little, seeing it is not altogether my 
own fault. 

GOUT. Not a jot ; your rhetoric and your politeness are 
thrown away; your apology avails nothing. If your situa- 
tion in life is a sedentary one, your amusements, your recrea- 
tions, at least, should be active. You ought to walk or ride ; 
or, if the weather prevents that, play at billiards. But let us 
examine your course of life. While the mornings are long, 
and you have leisure to go abroad, what do you do ? Why, 
instead of gaining an appetite for breakfast, by salutary 
exercise, you amuse yourself, with books, pamphlets, or news- 
papers, which commonly are not worth the reading. Yet 
you eat an inordinate breakfast, four dishes of tea, with 
cream, and one or two buttered toasts, with slices of hung 
beef, which I fancy are not things the most easily digested. 
Immediately afterward you sit down to write at your desk, 
or converse with persons who apply to you on business. 
Thus the time passes till one, without any kind of bodily 



156 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

exercise. But all this I could pardon, in regard, as you say, 
to your sedentary condition. But what is your practice after 
dinner? Walking in the beautiful gardens of those friends, 
with whom you have dined, would be the choice of men of 
sense ; yours is to be fixed down to chess, where you are found 
engaged for two or three hours! This is your perpetual 
recreation, which is the least eligible of any for a sedentary 
man, because, instead of accelerating the motion of the fluids, 
the rigid attention it requires helps to retard the circulation 
and obstruct internal secretions. Wrapt in the speculations 
of this wretched game, you destroy your constitution. What 
can be expected from such a course of living, but a body 
replete with stagnant humours, ready to fall a prey to all 
kinds of dangerous maladies, if I, the Gout, did not occasion- 
ally bring you relief by agitating those humours, and so puri- 
fying or dissipating them ? If it was in some nook or alley 
in Paris, deprived of walks, that you played awhile at chess 
after dinner, this might be excusable; but the same taste 
prevails with you in Passy, Auteuil, Montmartre, or Sanoy, 
places where there are the finest gardens and walks, a pure 
air, beautiful women, and most agreeable and instructive 
conversation ; all which you might enjoy by frequenting the 
walks. But these are rejected for this abominable game of 
chess. Fie, then Mr. Franklin! But amidst my instruc- 
tions, I had almost forgot to administer my wholesome 
corrections ; so take that twinge, and that. 

FRANKLIN. Oh! Eh! Oh! Ohhh! As much instruction 
as you please, Madam Gout, and as many reproaches; but 
pray, Madam, a truce with your corrections ! 

GOUT. No, Sir, no, I will not abate a particle of what 
is so much for your good, therefore 



1780] DIALOGUE: FRANKLIN 1 AND THE GOUT 157 

FRANKLIN. Oh ! Ehhh ! It is not fair to say I take no 
exercise, when I do very often, going out to dine and returning 
in my carriage. 

GOUT. That, of all imaginable exercises, is the most slight 
and insignificant, if you allude to the motion of a carriage 
suspended on springs. By observing the degree of heat 
obtained by different kinds of motion, we may form an 
estimate of the quantity of exercise given by each. Thus, 
for example, if you turn out to walk in winter with cold feet, 
in an hour's time you will be in a glow all over ; ride on horse- 
back, the same effect will scarcely be perceived by four hours' 
round trotting ; but if you loll in a carriage, such as you have 
mentioned, you may travel all day, and gladly enter the last 
inn to warm your feet by a fire. Flatter yourself then no 
longer, that half an hour's airing in your carriage deserves 
the name of exercise. Providence has appointed few to 
roll in carriages, while he has given to all a pair of legs, which 
are machines infinitely more commodious and serviceable. 
Be grateful, then, and make a proper use of yours. Would 
you know how they forward the circulation of your fluids, 
in the very action of transporting you from place to place; 
observe when you walk, that all your weight is alternately 
thrown from one leg to the other; this occasions a great 
pressure on the vessels of the foot, and repels their contents ; 
when relieved, by the weight being thrown on the other 
foot, the vessels of the first are allowed to replenish, and, by 
a return of this weight, this repulsion again succeeds; thus 
accelerating the circulation of the blood. The heat produced 
in any given time, depends on the degree of this acceleration ; 
the fluids are shaken, the humours attenuated, the secretions 
facilitated, and all goes well; the cheeks are ruddy, and 



158 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

health is established. Behold your fair friend at Auteuil ; * 
a lady who received from bounteous nature more really useful 
science, than half a dozen such pretenders to philosophy 
as you have been able to extract from all your books. When 
she honours you with a visit, it is on foot. She walks all 
hours of the day, and leaves indolence, and its concomitant 
maladies, to be endured by her horses. In this see at once 
the preservative of her health and personal charms. But 
when you go to Auteuil, you must have your carriage, though 
it is no further from Passy to Auteuil than from Auteuil to 
Passy. 

FRANKLIN. Your reasonings grow very tiresome. 

GOUT. I stand corrected. I will be silent and continue 
my office; take that, and that. 

FRANKLIN. Oh ! Ohh ! Talk on, I pray you ! 

GOUT. No, no; I have a good number of twinges 
for you to-night, and you may be sure of some more to- 
morrow. 

FRANKLIN. What, with such a fever ! I shall go distracted. 
Oh ! Eh ! Can no one bear it for me ? 

GOUT. Ask that of your horses; they have served you 
faithfully. 

FRANKLIN. How can you so cruelly sport with my tor- 
ments? 

GOUT. Sport! I am very serious. I have here a list of 
offences against your own health distinctly written, and can 
justify every stroke inflicted on you. 

FRANKLIN. Read it then. 

GOUT. It is too long a detail; but I will briefly mention 
some particulars. 

1 Madame Helvetius. ED. 



1780] DIALOGUE: FRANKLIN AND THE GOUT 159 

FRANKLIN. Proceed. I am all attention. 

GOUT. Do you remember how often you have promised 
yourself, the following morning, a walk in the grove of 
Boulogne, in the garden de la Muette, or in your own garden, 
and have violated your promise, alleging, at one time, it was 
too cold, at another too warm, too windy, too moist, or what 
else you pleased ; when in truth it was too nothing, but your 
insuperable love of ease ? 

FRANKLIN. That I confess may have happened occasion- 
ally, probably ten times in a year. 

GOUT. Your confession is very far short of the truth; 
the gross amount is one hundred and ninety-nine times. 

FRANKLIN. Is it possible? 

GOUT. So possible, that it is fact; you may rely on the 
accuracy of my statement. You know M. Brillon's gardens, 
and what fine walks they contain ; you know the handsome 
flight of an hundred steps, which lead from the terrace above 
to the lawn below. You have been in the practice of visiting 
this amiable family twice a week, after dinner, and it is a 
maxim of your own, that "a man may take as much exercise 
in walking a mile, up and down stairs, as in ten on level 
ground." What an opportunity was here for you to have had 
exercise in both these ways ! Did you embrace it, and how 
often ? 

FRANKLIN. I cannot immediately answer that question. 

GOUT. I will do it for you ; not once. 

FRANKLIN. Not once? 

GOUT. Even so. During the summer you went there at 
six o'clock. You found the charming lady, with her lovely 
children and friends, eager to walk with you, and entertain 
you with their agreeable conversation; and what has been 



160 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

your choice? Why to sit on the terrace, satisfying yourself 
with the fine prospect, and passing your eye over the beauties 
of the garden below, without taking one step to descend and 
walk about in them. On the contrary, you call for tea and 
the chess-board ; and lo 1 you are occupied in your seat till 
nine o'clock, and that besides two hours' play after dinner; 
and then, instead of walking home, which would have 
bestirred you a little, you step into your carriage. How 
absurd to suppose that all this carelessness can be reconcilable 
with health, without my interposition! 

FRANKLIN. I am convinced now of the justness of poor 
Richard's remark, that "Our debts and our sins are always 
greater than we think for." 

GOUT. So it is. You philosophers are sages in your 
maxims, and fools in your conduct. 

FRANKLIN. But do you charge among my crimes, that I 
return in a carriage from Mr. Brillon's? 

GOUT. Certainly; for, having been seated all the while, 
you cannot object the fatigue of the day, and cannot want 
therefore the relief of a carriage. 

FRANKLIN. What then would you have me do with my 
carriage ? 

GOUT. Burn it if you choose ; you would at least get heat 
out of it once in this way; or, if you dislike that proposal, 
here's another for you ; observe the poor peasants, who work 
in the vineyards and grounds about the villages of Passy, 
Auteuil, Chaillot, &c. ; you may find every day, among these 
deserving creatures, four or five old men and women, bent and 
perhaps crippled by weight of years, and too long and too 
great labour. After a most fatiguing day, these people have 
to trudge a mile or two to their smoky huts. Order your 



1780] DIALOGUE: FRANKLIN AND THE GOUT 161 

coachman to set them down. This is an act that will be 
good for your soul; and, at the same time, after your visit 
to the Brillons, if you return on foot, that will be good for 
your body. 

FRANKLIN. Ah ! how tiresome you are ! 

GOUT. Well, then, to my office ; it should not be forgotten 
that I am your physician. There. 

FRANKLIN. Ohhh ! what a devil of a physician ! 

GOUT. How ungrateful you are to say so! Is it not -I 
who, in the character of your physician, have saved you from 
the palsy, dropsy, and apoplexy? one or other of which 
would have done for you long ago, but for me. 

FRANKLIN. I submit, and thank you for the past, but 
entreat the discontinuance of your visits for the future ; for, 
in my mind, one had better die than be cured so dolefully. 
Permit me just to hint, that I have also not been unfriendly 
to you. I never feed physician or quack of any kind, to 
enter the list against you ; if then you do not leave me to my 
repose, it may be said you are ungrateful too. 

GOUT. I can scarcely acknowledge that as any objection. 
As to quacks, I despise them ; they may kill you indeed, but 
cannot injure me. And, as to regular physicians, they are at 
last convinced that the gout, in such a subject as you are, is 
no disease, but a remedy; and wherefore cure a remedy? 
but to our business, there. 

FRANKLIN. Oh! oh! for Heaven's sake leave me! 
and I promise faithfully never more to play at chess, but to 
take exercise daily, and live temperately. 

GOUT. I know you too well. You promise fair ; but, after 
a few months of good health, you will return to your old 
habits ; your fine promises will be forgotten like the forms of 

VOL. VIII M 



162 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

last year's clouds. Let us then finish the account, and I 
will go. But I leave you with an assurance of visiting you 
again at a proper time and place ; for my object is your good, 
and you are sensible now that I am your real friend. 



1160. THE HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG 1 

(A. p. s.) 

THERE are two Sorts of People in the World, who with 
equal Degrees of Health, & Wealth, and the other Comforts 
of Life, become, the one happy, and the other miserable. 
This arises very much from the different Views in which they 
consider Things, Persons, and Events; and the Effect of 
those different Views upon their own Minds. 

In whatever Situation Men can be plac'd, they may find 
Conveniencies & Inconveniencies : In whatever Company; 
they may find Persons & Conversation more or less pleasing. 
At whatever Table, they may meet with Meats & Drinks of 
better and worse Taste, Dishes better & worse dress'd : In 
whatever Climate they will find good and bad Weather: 
Under whatever Government, they may find good & bad 

1 An imperfect rough draft in A. P. S. It is there entitled "The deform'd 
and handsome Leg." The passage within brackets is not found in the Ms. 
draft, but is printed from the text of W. T. F. A unique copy of a French 
version, printed upon the Passy press, is in A. P. S. It was probably written 
about the same time as the " Dialogue with the Gout." Miss Shipley acknowl- 
edged the receipt of both of these bagatelles at the same time. " Your dialogue 
with the Gout is written with your own cheerful pleasantry & la belle et la 
tnauvaisejam.be recalls to my mind those happy hours we once passed in your 
society when we were never amused without learning some usefull Truth & 
when I first acquired a taste pour la conversation badinante et reflechie." 
Georgiana Shipley to Franklin May 6, 1781. 



1780] THE HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG 163 

Laws, and good & bad Administration of those Laws. In 
every Poem or Work of Genius they may see Faults and 
Beauties. In almost every Face & every Person, they may 
discover fine Features & Defects, good & bad Qualities. 

Under these Circumstances, the two Sorts of People above 
mention'd fix their Attention, those who are to be happy, 
on the Conveniencies of Things, the pleasant Parts of Con- 
versation, the well-dress'd Dishes, the Goodness of the Wines, 
the fine Weather; &c., and enjoy all with Chearfulness. 
Those who are to be unhappy, think & speak only of the 
contraries. Hence they are continually discontented them- 
selves, and by their Remarks sour the Pleasures of Society, 
offend personally many People, and make themselves every- 
where disagreable. If this Turn of Mind was founded in 
Nature, such unhappy Persons would be the more to be pitied. 
But as the Disposition to criticise, & be disgusted, is perhaps 
taken up originally by Imitation, and is unawares grown into 
a Habit, which tho' at present strong may nevertheless be 
cured when those who have it are convinc'd of its bad Effects 
on their Felicity; I hope this little Admonition may be of 
Service to them, and put them on changing a Habit, which 
tho' in the Exercise it is chiefly an Act of Imagination yet 
has serious Consequences in Life, as it brings on real Griefs 
and Misfortunes. For as many are offended by, & nobody 
well loves this Sort of People, no one shows them more than 
the most common [civility and respect, and scarcely that; 
and this frequently puts them out of humour, and draws them 
into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some 
advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, 
or will stir a step, or speak a word, to favour their pretensions. 
If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or 



164 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and 
render them completely odious. If these people will not change 
this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is 
pleasing, without fretting themselves and others about the 
contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with 
them; which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very 
inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled 
in their quarrels. 

An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from 
experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully 
avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other 
philosophers, a thermometer to show him the heat of the 
weather, and a barometer to mark when it was likely to prove 
good or bad ; but, there being no instrument invented to dis- 
cover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, 
he for that purpose made use of his legs ; one of which was 
remarkably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked 
and] deformed. If a Stranger, at the first interview, regarded 
his ugly Leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. 
If he spoke of it, & took no notice of the handsome Leg, 
that was sufficient to determine my Philosopher to have no 
further Acquaintance with him. Every body has not this 
two-legged Instrument, but every one with a little Attention, 
may observe Signs of that carping, fault-finding Disposition, 
& take the same Resolution of avoiding the Acquaintance of 
those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, 
querulous, discontented, unhappy People, that if they wish 
to be respected and belov'd by others, & happy in them- 
selves they should leave off looking at the ugly Leg. 



1780] TO SIR GREY COOPER 165 

1161. TO SIR GREY COOPER 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, November 7, 1780. 
SIR, 

I understand that Mr. Laurens, an American Gentleman, 
for whom I have a great Esteem, is a Prisoner in the Tower, 
and that his Health suffers by the Closeness and Rigour of 
his Confinement. As I do not think that your affairs can 
receive any Advantage from the Harshness of this Proceeding, 
I take the Freedom of requesting your kind Interposition, to 
obtain for him such a Degree of Air & Liberty, on his Parole, 
or otherwise, as may be necessary for his Health and Comfort. 
The Fortune of War, which is daily changing, may possibly 
put it in my Power to do the like good office for some Friend 
of yours, which I shall perform with much Pleasure, not only 
for the Sake of Humanity, but in respect to the Ashes of our 
former Friendship. With great Regard, I have the Honour 

to be, &C. B. FRANKLIN. 2 

1 Secretary to the Treasury of Great Britain. ED. 

2 The following answer was received by Sir Grey Cooper and forwarded by 

him to Franklin. 

" Hampstead, November 27, 1780. 
" DEAR SIR, 

" I am much ashamed to think, that I shall appear so dilatory in answering 
the favour of your letter ; but the truth is, I was not in town when the mes- 
senger left it in Cork Street, and by the neglect of my servants I received it 
only on Sunday last. I went immediately to the Tower, to know from Mr. 
Laurens himself, if he had any cause of complaint, and if he had availed him- 
self of the indulgence allowed him by the secretary of state, of walking within 
the Tower whenever it was agreeable to himself. His answer to me was full 
and frank to the questions, that he had received every reasonable indulgence 
since his confinement, and that, by the liberty allowed him of walking, he 
found his health much mended. He said, at the same time, that he had 
always thought himself highly honoured by the distinguished place of his 



166 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1162. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 
Passy, November 13, 1780. 

SIR, 

I am honour'd by your Excellency's letter of the 4 th instant 
relating to the Bills drawn on M* Laurens. I recommended 
their being presented to you as I understood you supplied 
his place during his absence, and I thought it more suitable 
for our affairs that they should be accepted by you for him 
than that their credit should depend on the good will of a 
Dutch Merchant, who, except a few of the first, does not 
accept them but as I guarantee their Payment and will 
perhaps besides making a great Merit of it charge 5 percent 
Commission for his service. I therefore still wish you would 

confinement, and regretted much it was not in his power to make known to all 
the world the acknowledgments he had more than once made to me upon this 
subject. 

" I beg you will do me the favour to communicate these particulars to Lord 
George Germain as soon as convenient. I have the honour to be, dear Sir, &c. 

" CHARLES VERNON. 
[Lieutenant -Governor of the Tower of London.]" 

The tenour of the foregoing does not quadrate with the sentiments expressed 
by Mr. Laurens, about a year afterwards, in his petition to the House of Com- 
mons, written by himself in the Tower, with a black lead pencil, on a blank 
leaf of an octavo book, and privately conveyed to Mr. Burke, who presented 
it in that state to the House. In this petition, dated December 7th, 1781, he 
expressly states: "That he was captured on the American coast, and com- 
mitted to the Tower on the 6th of October, 1780, being then dangerously ill; 
that in the mean time he has in many respects, particularly by being deprived 
(with very little exception) of the visits and consolations of his children and 
other relations and friends, suffered under a degree of rigour, almost, if not 
altogether, unexampled in modern British History. That, from long confine- 
ment and the want of proper exercise, and other obvious causes, his bodily 
health is greatly impaired, and that he is now in a languishing state," &c. 
See Annual Register for 1781, p. 322. W. T. F. 



1780] TO JOHN ADAMS 167 

accept them, and if you should not before they become due 
be enabled otherwise to pay them, you can draw on me so 
as to be furnished in time with the Money. I have other 
letters from your Excellency to answer which I must at present 
postpone, as I continue ill with the gout and write this in 
my Bed with Difficulty. 

With great respect I have the honour to be 

Sir 

Your Excellency's 

Most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 1 

1 FROM JOHN ADAMS TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (A. P. S.) 

Amsterdam, Nov r 4, 1780. 
SIR, 

M. de Neufville this morning brought to me a number of Bills of Exchange, 
drawn upon M r . Laurens, in the Month of July, amounting to seven or eight 
hundred Pounds sterling, and informed me, that your Excellency had declined 
becoming responsible for them, and referred him to me. I have enquired of 
Mr. Searle, who informs me, there are about twenty thousand Pounds in such 
Bills now on their Way. 

If there were only seven or eight hundred Pounds, I would accept them 
for the Honour of the United States, and run the Venture of being able to 
pay them, by borrowing, or some way or other; but twenty thousand pounds 
is much beyond my private Credit. 

I have been and am, pursuing all those Measures to which I am advised by 
gentlemen in whose judgment I can justify placing Confidence, and am not 
without hopes of succeeding in some Measure ; but I have not as yet been 
able to obtain any Money, nor any certainty of obtaining any in future. I 
write this, therefore, to your Excellency, that, if you could see your way clear to 
become responsible for these Bills for the present, I will engage to see them 
paid with the Money I may borrow here, if I borrow enough before the 
Term for their payment expires, or as much of them as I shall be able to 
borrow; but in this case, if I should not succeed in obtaining the money, your 
Excellency will be answerable. I should be sorry that the Credit of the 
United States should suffer any Stain, and would prevent it if I could; but at 
present it is not in my power. 

The Successes of the English at the southward, added to the many Causes 



168 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1x63. TO EDWARD NAIRNE 1 (L. c.) 
Passy, near Paris, Nov. 13. 1780. 

SIR, 

The Qualities hitherto sought in a Hygrometer, or Instru- 
ment to discover the Degrees of Moisture and Dryness in 
the Air, seem to have been, an aptitude to receive Humidity 
readily from a moist Air, and to part with it as readily to a 
dry Air. Different Substances have been found to possess 
more or less of this Quality ; but when we shall have found 
the Substance that has it in the greatest Perfection, there will 
still remain some Uncertainty in the Conclusions to be drawn 
from the Degree shown by the Instrument, arising from the 
actual State of the Instrument itself as to Heat & Cold. 
Thus if two Bottles or Vessels of Glass or Metal being filled, 
the one with cold & the other with hot Water, are brought 
into a Room, the Moisture of the Air in the Room will 
attach itself in Quantities to the Surface of the cold Vessel ; 
while if you actually wet the Surface of the hot Vessel, the 
Moisture will immediately quit it, and be absorbed by the 
same Air. And thus in a sudden Change of the Air from 

that obstructed our Credit in this Republick before, some of which it would 
not be prudent to explain, will render a Loan here difficult ; but I still hope, 
not quite impracticable. I have the honour to be, with great Respect, Sir, your 
Excellency's most obedient & most humble servant, T OHK A DAMS ED 

1 This letter, or article, upon Hygrometers, exists in L. C. in form of a tran- 
script, and of a letter press copy. It was read at a meeting of the A. P. S. 
January 28, 1786, and was published in "Transactions of The American Philo- 
sophical Society (Old Series)," II : 51. Edward Nairne (1726-1806) was a 
maker of optical, mathematical, and philosophical instruments at 20, Cornhill, 
London. He was elected F. R. S. March 20, 1776. ED. 



1780] TO EDWARD NAIRNE 169 

cold to warm, the Instrument remaining longer Cold may 
condense & absorb more Moisture, and mark the Air as 
having become more humid than it is in Reality; and the 
contrary in a Change from warm to cold. 

But if such a suddenly changing Instrument could be freed 
from these Imperfections, yet when the Design is to discover 
the different Degrees of Humidity in the Air of different 
Countries, I apprehend the quick Sensibility of the Instru- 
ment to be rather a Disadvantage ; since to draw the desired 
Conclusions from it, a constant & frequent Observation 
Day & Night in each Country will be necessary for a year 
or years, and the mean of each different Set of Observations 
is to be found & determined. After all which some Uncer- 
tainty will remain respecting the different Degrees of Exac- 
titude with which different Persons may have made and taken 
Notes of their Observations. 

For these Reasons I apprehend that a Substance, which, 
tho' capable of being distended by Moisture & contracted 
by Dryness, is so slow in receiving and parting with its 
Humidity, that the frequent Changes in the Atmosphere 
have not time to affect it sensibly, and which therefore should 
gradually take nearly the Medium of all those Changes and 
preserve it constantly, would be the most proper Substance 
of which to make such an Hygrometer. 

Such an Instrument, you, my dear Sir, tho' without intend- 
ing it, have made for me ; and I without desiring or expecting 
it have received from you. It is therefore with Propriety 
that I address to you the following Account of it; and the 
more as you have both a Head to contrive and a hand to 
execute the Means of perfecting it. And I do this with greater 
Pleasure, as it affords me the Opportunity of renewing that 



i;o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

antient Correspondence & Acquaintance with you, which 
to me was always so pleasing & so instructive. 

You may possibly remember, that, in or about the year 
1758, you made for me a Set of artificial Magnets, Six in 
Number, each 5^ Inches long, \ an Inch broad, & \ of an 
Inch thick. These with two Pieces of Soft Iron, which 
together equalled one of the Magnets were inclos'd in a 
little Box of Mahogony Wood, the Grain of which ran with, 
& not across, the Length of the Box ; and the Box was clos'd 
by a Little Shutter of the same Wood, the Grain of which ran 
across the Box; and the Ends of this shutting Piece were 
bevel'd so as to fit & slide in a kind of Dovetail Groove 
when the Box was to be shut or open'd. 

I had been of Opinion, that good Mahogony Wood was 
not affected by Moisture so as to change its Dimensions, & 
that it was always to be found as the Tools of the Workman 
left it. Indeed the Difference at different Times in the same 
Country is so small as to be scarcely in a common Way 
observable. Hence the Box which was made so as to allow 
sufficient Room for the Magnets to slide out and in freely, 
and when in afforded them so much Play that by shaking 
the Box one could make them strike the opposite Sides alter- 
nately, continued in the same State all the Time I remain'd 
in England, which was four Years, without any apparent 
Alteration. I left England in August 1762 and arriv'd at 
Philadelphia in October the same Year. In a few Weeks 
after my arrival, being desirous of showing your Magnets 
to a Philosophical Friend, 1 1 found them so tight in the Box, 
that it was with Difficulty I got them out; and constantly, 
during the two Years I remain'd there, viz. till November 

1 Francis Hopkinson. ED. 



1780] TO EDWARD NAIRNE 171 

1764, this Difficulty of getting them out and in continued. 
The little Shutter too, as Wood does not shrink lengthways 
of the Grain, was found too long to enter its Grooves, & 
not being us'd, was mislaid and lost; and I afterwards had 
another made that fitted. 

In December 1764, I returned to England and after some 
time I observed that my Box was become full big enough for 
my Magnets, and too wide for my new Shutter ; which was 
so much too short for its Grooves, that it was apt to fall out ; 
and to make it keep in, I lengthened it by adding to each 
End a little Coat of Sealing- Wax. 

I continued in England more than 10 Years, and during 
all that time after the first Change, I perceived no alteration. 
The Magnets had the same Freedom in their Box, and the 
little Shutter continued with the added Sealing- Wax to fit 
its Grooves, till some Weeks after my second Return to 
America. 

As I could not imagine any other Cause for this Change of 
Dimensions in the Box, when in the different Countries, I 
concluded first generally that the Air of England was moister 
than that of America. And this I supposed an Effect of its 
being an Island, where every Wind that blew must neces- 
sarily pass over some Sea before it arrived, and of Course 
lick up some Vapour. I afterwards indeed doubted whether 
I had not been too general in my conclusion ; and whether it 
might not be just only so far as related to the City of London, 
where I resided ; because there are many Causes of Moisture 
in the City Air, which do not exist to the same Degree in the 
Country ; such as the Brewers' and Dyers' boiling Cauldrons, 
and the great Number of Pots and Teakettles continually 
on the Fire, sending forth abundance of Vapour; and also 



172 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

the Number of Animals who by their Breath continually 
increase it, to which may be added, that even the vast Quan- 
tity of Sea Coals, burnt there, in kindling discharge a great 
deal of Moisture. 

When I was in England, the last time, you also made for me 
a little Achromatic Pocket Telescope; the Body was Brass, 
and it had a round Case (I think of thin Wood) covered with 
Shagrin. All the while I remained in England, tho' possibly 
there might be some small Changes in the Dimensions of 
this Case, I neither perceived nor suspected any. There was 
always comfortable Room for the Telescope to slip in and 
out. But soon after I arrived in America, which was in 
May 1775, the Case became too small for the Instrument; 
it was with much difficulty and various Contrivances that I 
got it out, and I could never after get it in again ; during my 
stay there, which was 18 months. I brought it with me to 
Europe, but left the Case as useless, imagining that I should 
find the continental Air of France as dry as that of Pensil- 
vania, where my Magnet-Box had also returned a second 
time to its Narrowness, & pinched the Pieces as heretofore, 
obliging me, too, to scrape the Sealing- Wax off the Ends of 
the Shutter. 

I had not been long in France, before I was surprized to 
find, that my Box was become as large as it had always been 
in England, the Magnets enter'd and came out with the same 
Freedom, and when in, I could rattle them against its Sides; 
this has continued to be the Case without sensible Variation. 
My Habitation is out of Paris, distant almost a league, so that 
the moist Air of the City cannot be supposed to have much 
Effect upon the Box ; & I am on a high dry Hill in a free 
Air, as likely to be dry as any Air in France. Whence it 



1780] TO EDWARD NAIRNE 173 

seems probable that the Air of England in general may, as 
well as that of London, be moister than the Air of America, 
since that of France is so, and in a Part so distant from the 
Sea. 

The greater Dryness of the Air in America appears from 
some other Observations. The Cabinet Work formerly sent 
us from London, which consisted in thin Plates of fine Wood 
glu'd upon Fir, never would stand with us, the Vaneering, 
as those Plates are call'd, would get loose & come off ; both 
Woods shrinking, and their Grains often crossing, they were 
for ever cracking and flying. And in my Electrical Experi- 
ments there, it was remarkable, that a Mahogony Table on 
which my Jars stood under the Prime Conductor to be 
charged, would often be so dry, particularly when the Wind 
had been some time at N. W. which with us is a very drying 
Wind, as to isolate the Jars, and prevent their being charged 
till I had formed a Communication between their Coatings 
and the Earth. I had a like Table in London, which I us'd 
for the same Purpose all the time I resided there ; but it was 
never so dry as to refuse conducting the Electricity. 

Now what I would beg leave to recommend to you, is, 
that you would recollect, if you can, the Species of Mahogony 
of which you made my Box, for you know there is a good deal 
of Difference in Woods that go under that Name ; or if that 
cannot be, that you would take a Number of Pieces of the 
closest and finest grain'd Mahogony that you can meet with, 
plane them to the thinness of about a Line, and the Width 
of about two Inches across the Grain, and fix each of the 
Pieces in some Instrument that you can contrive, which will 
permit them to contract & dilate, and will show in sensible 
Degrees, by a moveable Hand upon a marked Scale, the 



174 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

otherwise less sensible Quantities of such Contraction and 
Dilatation. If these Instruments are all kept in the same 
Place while making, and are graduated together while subject 
to the same Degrees of Moisture or Dryness, I apprehend you 
will have so many comparable Hygrometers which being 
sent into different Countries, and continued there for some 
time will find and show there the Mean of the different Dry- 
ness & Moisture of the Air of those Countries ; and that with 
much less Trouble than by any Hygrometer hitherto in Use. 
With great Esteem, I am, dear Sir, 
Your most obedient & most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1164. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P.A.E.E.U.) 

Passy. Nov. 19. 1780. 

SIR, 

I lately received from America the inclosed letters, and 
resolutions of Congress. Such unexpected drafts on me give 
me much pain; as they oblige me either to give your Ex- 
cellency the trouble of fresh applications, or to protest their 
Bills, which would be absolute ruin. But your Excellency 
will see the pressing necessity that has driven the Congress 
into this measure ; they could not suddenly by any other means 
raise the money necessary to put their troops in motion to 
co-operate with those of the King; and hope his Majesty, 
to whose goodness we are already so much indebted, will in 
the course of the next year, enable me to pay these bills. 
None of them have yet appear'd, their times of payment are 



1780] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 175 

two or three months after sight; and they will probably be 
many of them long on the way, as American bills often come 
round by the West Indies. 
With the greatest Respect I am, Sir, 
Your Excellency's 

most obed* and most 
humble servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1165. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, 22 Novembre, 1780. 
MONSEIGNEUR, 

M. de Chaumont m'ayant procure" par pure bonne volonte* 
des e'toffes pour Phabillement des troupes ame'ricaines, me 
demande aujourd'huy que je lui assure le remboursement en 
France des lettres de change que je lui ai promises sur le 
Congre"s, et dont je ne doute nullement qu'il y sera fait 
honneur. J'ai 1'honneur de mettre sous les yeux de votre 
Excellence la lettre que M. de Chaumont m'a e*crite a ce 
sujet, pour la supplier de m'aider s'il est possible a donner a 
M. de Chaumont les assurances qu'il me demande. 

Je suis avec respect, monseigneur, votre tres humble et 
tres obelssant serviteur, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



176 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 
1166. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, November 25. 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received the Honour of yours of the 17 Instant. 1 I was 
dissatisfied with Mr. Moylan's Proceedings in going on with 
so great & unexpected an Expence for the Ariel > & never 
giving me the least Notice of it till he drew upon me for the 
amount, near 100 thousand Livres, drawing, too, before send- 
ing the account ; and when the account on my demanding it 
was sent, it came only when the last Bills were presented 
and their Acceptance demanded, which I must either refuse 
or take the account as it stood without Examination, or a 
Possibility of Examination, the Vouchers not accompanying 
it. And if I accepted the Bills, it would be to little purpose 
afterwards to dispute the Articles I might object to. How- 
ever, on it being made to appear to me by Mr. Gourlade 
you had ordered the Things I objected to, & supposing that 
if I refused paying for them he would sue and embarras you, 
I sometime since accepted all his Bills. But tho' I suppose 
you thought it for the Good of the Service, as you say you did, 
to order that great Quantity of Medicines for the 74- Gun 
Ships, yet after I had written to you of my Difficulties, it 
still seems to me that you ought not to have done it without 
informing me and obtaining my Consent; and I have only 
to be thankful that you did not order all her other Stores, 
Sails, Rigging, Anchors, Powder, etc. I think you must be 
sensible on Reflection that with regard to me it was wrong, 

1 In A. P. S. In that letter Jones says the purchase of clothing for the 
Alliance was imperative as " there were near 400 Men almost naked then on 
Board that Ship." ED. 



1780] TO JOHN" ADAMS 177 

and that it ought not to be expected of me to be always 
ready & able to pay the Demands that every officer in the 
Service may think fit to saddle me with. This Affair, how- 
ever, is now done with, and I shall say and think no more 
about [it]. I understand from Mr. Moylan that the Arms 
must be left for cleaning. You can take on board some 
of the other Goods from his Stores in their Room. Your 
bread, too, he tells me, is damaged. I have no time to write 
to him by this Post, but leave it to him & you to supply that 
Loss in the frugalest Manner Possible. And I am, with 
sincerest Wishes for your Health, Honour, and Happiness, 
Dear Sir, your assured Friend and most obedient humble 
Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

1167. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, Nov. 30, 1780. 

SIR, 

I have had a severe fit of the gout which has confined me 
six weeks but it is now going off, and I flatter myself that it has 
done me a great deal of good. 

I have just received a letter from D* Ezra Stiles, of which 
the inclosed is an extract please to communicate it to M r 
Searle, and then give it to M. Dumas if you judge it proper 
for publication. I have also a large and particular account 
of Arnold's treachery. There is not time to transcribe it 
for this Post, but you shall have it for next. 
I have the honour to be with great esteem Sir 
Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

VOL. VIII N 



1 78 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1168. TO JAMES SEARLE 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Nov. 30, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of the 2oth, 2 and am very sen- 
sible of your Friendship. Arnold's Baseness and Treachery 

1 James Scarle (1730-1797), one of the signers of the "non-importation 
agreement" (1765)^ manager of the United States lottery (1776-1 778), and a 
member of the naval board. He was in the Continental Congress from Novem- 
ber, 1778, to July, 1780. He was sent to Europe as the agent of Pennsylvania 
(July, 1 780) " to negotiate a loan of ,20,000 in such countries or states as he 
should judge most likely to favour his views." 

2 In A. P. S. In this letter Searle wrote : " You will no doubt have seen 
before this letter reaches you the Apostacy of a miscreant American, I mean 
General ARNOLD. He has I find published (or somebody for him) an address 
to the People of America by way of Justification of his VILLAINY. I beg leave 
to offer you my sentiments on his base conduct and the motives for it. 

" I give not the least Credit to the account of his attempt or intention to 
Surrender, or to carry off by defection a considerable part of our Army. I have 
well grounded reason to believe that he coud not have even Ventured to hope 
for such an opportunity as he was Conscious he had lost all confidence in, as 
well as out of our Army by his unsoldierlike and ungentlemanlike Conduct 
long since ; and to my knowledge a very considerable and respectable part of 
our Army declared that let the consequence be what it woud they were deter- 
mined not to serve under him at any rate as they had no confidence in him. 
All the Militia of Pensylvania (& among others I had the honour also) had 
made the same declaration as well as the whole respectable line of that State. 

" Sir upon my honour I declare it as my opinion that the wretch has fled from 
the punishment which he well knew must soon overtake him for his numerous 
Crimes, & among others for the Crime of Forgery with which he had been 
charged by the Treasury board before I left Congress, the Evidences of which 
were arranging when I left America, & there were very few either in or out of 
Congress who doubted the horrid fact ; for my own part I thought the proof 
as clear as the noonday Sun. As this matter as well as others still hung over 
his head he has (it is my opinion) fled from the impending Storm. I must also 
mention that before I left America I had the honour of giving my assenting 
Voice to the confirmation of the Sentence of the Court Martial held on him 
for several charges of a very hienous nature especially in an officer of Rank. 

" The sentence was that he was to receive a public repremand at the head of 



1780] TO JAMES SEARLE 179 

is astonishing. I thank you for the Account you give me of 
his preceding Conduct, which I never knew before, and shall 
make a proper Use of. I have just received a very particular 
Account of his Plot, which is too long to transcribe by this 
Post, but you will see it by next. In the meantime Mr. 
Adams will communicate to you an Extract of a comfortable 
Letter to me from Newport. General Washington was at 
Bergen, near New York, the igth October. I hope your 
Fears that there may be Arnolds at Paris are groundless. 
But in such Time one cannot be too much on one's Guard, 
and I am obliged to you for the Caution. 
With great Esteem I have the Honour to be, Dear Sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

the Army from General Washington for a Conduct unworthy of his high Rank 
in the Army. 

" As it is by no means improbable this unhappy Man may go to England & 
will consequently be within reach of Holland where I shall be at the same 
time, I am the more ready to declare it my Opinion that he is a Miscreant of 
the deepest Tinge. 

" I wish you my dear Sir to have a transcript of so much of my letter as 
relates to this wretch in your pocket for the information of the Virtuous & 
good men with whom you converse; you are also at liberty to publish in any 
manner you please my opinion of him if you think fit provided you make No 
Secret of my name & Character when necessary to support the truth of my 
relation & I shall at all times be ready to answer for what I have said in the 
matter. 

May Heaven defend our Country from such Men, whether in America or 
Europe ; But oh ! my dear Sir I greatly fear there may be Arnolds Even in 
Paris, Natives of America. If there are any such, may your Attendant Angel 
keep them or drive them from your bosom, & from your Councils, that they 
may never tend to Cloud your Western Sun. And that the setting of that Sun 
may be protracted to a very late period with Glory & honour to yourself, and 
with advantage to your Country, is the sincere and ardent wish of your 
Affectionate fellow Citizen, Admirer & Friend." ED. 



i8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1169. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 2, 1780. 

SIR, 

The many mutual Advantages, that must arise from carry- 
ing into Execution the Proposition already communicated to 
Congress, of furnishing Provisions to the King's Forces in 
America, to be paid for here, have, I make no doubt, already 
induc'd them to begin that Operation. But, as the Propo- 
sition has lately been renew'd to me, on Occasion of my 
requesting farther Aids of Money, to answer the unexpected 
Drafts upon me, ordered by the Resolutions of May and 
August last, which Drafts it is absolutely necessary I should 
find Funds to pay; and as the Congress have long desired 
to have the Means of forming Funds in Europe, and an easier, 
cheaper, and safer Method cannot possibly be contrived; 
and as I see, by their Journals of February, that the several 
States were to furnish Provisions in Quantities, instead of 
Supplies in Money, whereby much will be in the Disposition 
of Congress; I flatter myself that they will not disapprove 
of my engaging in their Behalf with the Minister of the 
Finances here, that they will cause to be delivered for the 
King's Land and Sea Forces in North America such Provi- 
sions, as may be wanted from time to time, to the Amount 
of 400 thousand Dollars, Value of 5 Livres tournois per 
Dollar, the said Provisions to be furnish'd at the current 
prices, for which they might be bought with Silver Specie. 

I have constantly done my utmost to support the Credit 
of Congress, by procuring wherewith punctually to pay all 
their Drafts, and I have no doubt of their Care to support 



1780] TO JAMES LOVELL 181 

mine in this Instance by fulfilling honourably my Engage- 
ment ; in which Case, Receipts in due form should be taken 
of the Persons to whom the Provisions are delivered in the 
several States, and those Receipts sent to me here. With 

great respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. This value, 400,000 Dollars, is to be considered as 
exclusive of any Provisions already furnished; but the Re- 
ceipts for those should also be sent me, if not paid for there. 



1170. TO JAMES LOVELL (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Dec. 2, 1780. 

Sm, 

I duly received your several Favours of Aug* 15 & Sept. 
7 with the Resolves of Congress for drawing on me Bills 
extraordinary to the amount of near 300,000 Dollars. To 
keep up the Credit of Congress, I had already engaged for 
these drawn on Mr. Laurens. You cannot conceive how 
much these Things perplex & distress me. For the Practice 
of this Government being yearly to apportion the Revenue 
to the several expected Services, any after Demands made 
which the Treasury is not furnished to supply, meet with 
great Difficulty, and are very disagreable to the Ministers. 
To enable me to look these Drafts in the Face, I have agreed 
to a Proposal contained in the enclosed Letter to the Presi- 
dent, of Furnishing Provisions to the King's Forces in 
America, which proposal I hope will be approved and exe- 
cuted: and that the Congress will strictly comply with the 



1 82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

assurances you have given me, not to draw on me any more 
without first knowing that they have Funds in my Hands. 

I wrote to you more fully by Capt. Jones. He sailed some 
time since, in the Ariel, but met with a severe Storm, that 
entirely dismasted him, and obliged him to put back for 
France. He has been long refitting, but will sail again soon. 
Every thing goes well here. With great Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1171. TO REV. SAMUEL COOPER (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Dec r . 2. 1780. 

REVEREND AND DEAR SIR : I received your kind 
Letter of the 8th of September, 1 and am much obliged by 
the Intelligence it contain'd. Please make my Compliments 
of Congratulation acceptable to Mr. Hancock on his being 
chosen the first governor of his free Countrymen. 3 I am 
persuaded he will fill the Seat with Propriety & Dignity. 

Dr. Lee's accusation of Capt. Landais for Insanity was 
probably well founded ; as in my Opinion would have been 
the same Accusation, if it had been brought by Landais 
against Lee ; For tho' neither of them are permanently mad, 

UnA.P. S. ED. 

8 " Last Monday all the Towns of this State assembled for the Choice of a 
Governor, Lt. Governor and Senators, according to the new Constitution. In 
this town [Boston] Mr. S. Adams had I vote for Governor, Mr. Bowdoin 64, 
Mr. Hancock 853. ... It was argued in his Favor at the Elections that he 
took an early, open, and decided Part in the Opposition to the oppressive 
Measures of Britain, that in this he generously risqued his Life and Fortune ; 
and that it was expected that we should appear to be the same People we were 
when the Controversy began by giving our first Honors to those who distin- 
guished themselves at that Time and that a contrary Conduct would disappoint 
our Friends in Europe and gratify our Enemies." September 8, 1 780. ED. 



1780] TO CHARLES W, F. DUMAS 183 

they are both so at times ; and the Insanity of the Latter is 
the most Mischievous. 

Your little Grandson is a fine Boy, behaves genteelly, 
and takes his learning admirably. Mr. Adams being gone 
to Holland, has left him in my Care. He does not seem well 
satisfy'd with his School; and the Master and Mistress 
complain of his being turbulent & factious and having in 
him too much of the Insurgent. I give him occasionally my 
best Advice, and I hope those little unpleasantnesses will by 
Degrees wear off. I have paid his last Quarter. 

The English in a Late Memorial have threatened the Dutch 
with much Insolence. Some imagine it must produce a War. 
Others, relying on the Batavian Flegm and Patience think 
it will pass over. Holland has, however, at length acceded 
to the armed Neutrality. 

At the Request of the Abbe* de Raynal I send you the 
enclosed; and I wish you or Mr. Bowdoin would answer 
the Questions. 

I beg the Continuance of your useful Letters. I shall soon 
write to you more fully; remaining with the most perfect 

Esteem, dear sir, etc. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



1172. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Dec. 3, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have before me yours of the gth & i6th of November, 
which I think are the last I received from you. With regard 
to augmentation of your Salary, I would not have you place 



1 84 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

too great a Dependence on it, lest a Disappointment should 
thereby be rendered more afflicting. 

If a good Peace were once established, we should soon be 
richer, and better able to reward those that serve us. At 
present the Expence of the War hangs heavy on the United 
States, and we cannot pay like old & rich Kingdoms. Mr. 
[William] Lee has, as you observe, acted very imprudently 
in that affair ; but perhaps some Good may come of it. 

Mr. Adams has written to me for a Copy of a Letter I 
formerly wrote to &7 3,tf 3,657 > l If you have such a one please 
to give it to him. I imagine that he rather means a Letter 
I wrote to you, in which I represented our Girl as a jolly 
one, and who would be a good Fortune in time, &c. I have 
no copy of that. If you still have that Letter, please to give 
Mr. Adams a Copy of that also. 2 

I wish much to see the Answer, that their High Mighti- 
nesses will give to the insolent Memorial presented by Sir 
Joseph York. If they comply with it, & punish or censure 
the Pensionary of Amsterdam, I shall think it a Pierre de 
Touche for the Stadtholder, as well as for the King of Eng- 
land; and that neither Mr. Adams will be safe at Amster- 
dam, nor our Ships in any Port of Holland. Let me there- 
fore know, by the earliest Means, the Turn this Affair is 
like to take, that I may advertise our Government and our 
Merchants. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 That is "The Grand Pensionary " (Von Berckel). ED. 
8 Letter written by Franklin to Dumas, September 22, 1778 (A. P. S.) 
ED. 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 185 

1173. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec 3. 1780. 
SIR, 

I duly received the Letter your Excellency did me the 
honour of writing to me the i2th of July past, by Mr. Searle, 
and have paid the Bills drawn on me by Order of Congress, 
in favour of the President and Council of Pennsylvania, for 
1000 Sterling, which were presented by him. He is at 
present in Holland. 

The news of Mr. Laurens having been taken must have 
reached you long since. He is confined in the Tower, but 
of late has some more Liberty for taking Air and Exercise 
than first was allow'd him. Certain Papers found with him 
relating to the Draft of a Treaty propos'd in Holland, have 
been sent over to the Stadtholder, who laid them before their 
High Mightinesses, who communicated them to the Govern- 
ment of the City of Amsterdam which justify'd the Transac- 
tion. This has drawn from England a Memorial, deliver'd 
by Sir Joseph York, demanding, that the Pensionary and 
Magistrates of that City should be punish'd, and declaring, 
that the King will resent a Refusal of the States to comply with 
this Demand. What Answer will be given to this insolent 
Memorial, we do not yet know. But I hear it has produc'd 
much Displeasure in Holland ; and it is thought to have oc- 
casion'd a more prompt Accession to the Arm'd Neutrality, 
which had before met with Obstructions from the English 
Party there. 

We have met with a variety of unaccountable Delays and 
Difficulties in the Affair of shipping the Clothing and Stores. 



186 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

The Alliance went away without taking her Part. The Ariel 
sail'd, but met a Storm at sea, that dismasted her, and oblig'd 
her to return to France. She is nearly again ready to sail. 
Mr. Ross, with his Cargo of Cloths in the [Duke of Leinster], 
sail'd under Convoy of the Ariel, but did not return with her, 
and I hope may get safe to America. The great Ship we 
hired to come to L'Orient, and take in the rest of what we 
had to send, has been long unexpectedly detain'd at Bor- 
deaux. I am afraid the Army has suffered for want of the 
Clothes: But it has been as impossible for me to avoid, as 
it was to foresee, these Delays. 

The late Minister of the Marine here, M. de Sartine, is 
remov'd, and his Place supply'd by M. le Marquis de Cas- 
tries. But this Change does not affect the general System 
of the Court, which continues favourable to us. 

I have receiv'd a Copy of the Resolutions of Congress of 
the ipth of May, and the Qth, i5th, 23d, and 30th of August, 
directing Bills to be drawn on me for near 300,000 Dollars. 
I shall accept the Bills, hoping the Congress will approve of, 
and readily comply with the Proposition, contained in a letter 
to your Excellency, accompanying this, Dated the 2d instant. 
Probably an Answer may arrive here before many of those 
Bills shall become due, as few of them are yet arriv'd. If 
that Answer ratifies the agreement I have made, I shall have 
no Difficulty in finding means to pay the rest. If not, I 
shall scarce be able to bear the Reproaches of Merchants, 
that I have misled them to their Loss by my Acceptations, 
which gave a Promise of Payment, that, not being fulfill'd, 
has derang'd their Affairs; to say nothing of the Power I 
am told the Consul's Court here has over the Persons, even 
of Ministers, in the Case of Bills of Exchange. Let me, 



1780] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 187 

therefore, beg your Excellency to use your Endeavours with 
Congress, that this Matter may be immediately attended to. 

Mr. Jay, no doubt, has acquainted you with his Difficulties 
respecting the Drafts upon him. I am sorry I cannot extri- 
cate him, but I hope he will still find means. 

The Mars, an armed Ship belonging to the State of Massa- 
chusetts, in her Way to France, took and sent to New Eng- 
land a Portuguese ship bound to Cork, with Salt, belonging to 
some Merchants there. The Portuguese Captain, who is 
brought in here, complains heavily of ill Usage and Plundering 
besides taking his Vessel; and the Ambassador of that Na- 
tion has communicated to me these Complaints, together with 
all the Papers proving the Property of the Vessel, &c., repre- 
senting at the same time the good Disposition of the Queen 
towards our States, and his Wishes that nothing might lessen 
it, or tend to prevent or delay a compleat good Understanding 
between the two Nations. I advised, that the Owners should 
send over their Claim, and empower some Person to prosecute 
it, in which Case I did not doubt our Courts would do them 
Justice. I hope the Congress may think fit to take some 
Notice of this Affair, and not only forward a speedy Decision, 
but give Orders to our Cruisers not to meddle with neutral 
Ships for the future, it being a Practice apt to produce ill 
Blood, and contrary to the Spirit of the new League, which is 
approved by all Europe ; and the English Property found in 
such Vessels, will hardly pay the Damages brought on us 
by the irregular Proceedings of our Captains in endeavour- 
ing to get at such Property. With the greatest Respect, 
I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

1174. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Dec. 9, 1780 

DEAR SIR: I wrote to you per last Post, under Cover to 
Mr. Moylan. With this you will receive another Letter or 
two for America. I have just received yours of the 4th. I am 
sorry you waited for the Pacquets by Mr. Gourlade, as they 
only contained Newspapers; but you could not know that. 
A Gentleman who says he is to sail with you, sets off to- 
morrow, and will cany some more parcels of NewsPapers, 
which are too bulky for the Post. Be so good as to remember 
me affectionately to Mr. Wharton, and tell him I am still 
in his Gouty Shoes, which I have worn this Week past, and 
thank him for the Comfort of them. I wrote to him with the 
Letter to you that was lost, and fear his Letter was lost also. 
Once more I wish you a prosperous Voyage, being ever with 
great Esteem, dear sir, your most obedient & most humble 

servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1175. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, December 27. 1780. 

DEAR COUSIN: I received yours of the iQth, acquaint- 
ing me with your Draft in favour of M. de Chaumont for 
428,330 Ls. The Exigencies of his affairs had before induc'd 
me to give him, under a Guaranty of the Minister, a Credit 
with M. Grand for 400,000, payable quarterly in the ensuing 
year which M. G. discounted for him. I have also since the 



1780] QUERIES AND ANSWERS ON ELECTRICITY 189 

second Determination against him at Nantes accepted his 
Drafts on me for 200,000 Ls. on account of the Freight, on 
his Engagement to return me that Sum, if the Ship does not 
arrive at L'Orient, which Bills I suppose he has discounted 
likewise ; so he goes on paying his Acceptances of your Drafts. 
He is not naturally inclined to Chicanerys, but his Embarrass- 
ments have made him say and do things inconsistent with his 
Character, which I only mention as a Caution to you, never 
to go out of your Depth in Business, for the best Swimmer 
may be seiz'd with a Cramp. You have been reflected on a 
little for your Delay in sending the Invoice or amount of the 
Cloths; pray send the Charges as soon as possible. 

The English have declared War against Holland. There- 
fore miss no Opportunity of sending Advice of it to America. 

I am ever your affectionate Uncle, 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



1176. QUERIES ON ELECTRICITY, FROM DR. 
INGENHOUSZ; WITH ANSWERS BY DR. 
FRANKLIN 1 (L. c.) 

QUESTION I 

IF the electrical Fluid is truly accumulated on the Inside 
of a Leyden Phial, and expelled in the same Proportion from 
the other side, why are the Particles of Glass not all thrown 
outwards, when the Phial being overcharged breaks, or is 
perforated by a spontaneous Explosion? 

1 These are Answers to Queries in a letter in L. C. dated Brussels, May 3, 
1780. ED. 



190 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

ANSWER 

By the Circumstances that have appeared to me, in all the 
Jarrs that I have seen perforated at the time of their Explo- 
sion, I have imagined that the Charge did not pass by those 
Perforations. Several single Jarrs, that have broke while 
I was charging them, have shown, besides the Perforation 
in the Body, a Trace on both sides the Neck, wherein the 
Polish of the Glass was taken off the Breadth of a Straw; 
which prov'd that great Part at least of the Charge, probably 
all, had passed over that Trace. I was once present at the 
Discharge of a Battery containing 30 Jarrs, of which 8 were 
perforated and spoilt at the Time of the Discharge; yet the 
Effect of the Charge on the Bodies upon which it was intended 
to operate, did not appear to be diminished. Another Time 
I was present when twelve out of twenty Jarrs were broke at 
the Time of the Discharge; yet the Effect of the Charge, 
which pass'd in the regular Circuit, was the same as it would 
have been if they had remained whole. Were those Perfora- 
tions an Effect of the Charge within the Jarr forcing itself 
thro' the Glass to get at the Outside, other Difficulties would 
arise and demand Explanation, i. How it happens, that 
in 8 Bottles, and in 12, the strength to bear a strong Charge 
should be so equal, that no one of them would break before the 
rest, and thereby save his Fellows; but all should burst 
at the same Instant. 2. How it happens, that they bear the 
Force of the great Charge till the Instant that an easier 
Means of Discharge is offered them, which they make use of, 
and yet the Fluid breaks thro' at the same time ? 

My Conjecture is, that there has been, in the Place where 
the Rupture happens, some Defect in the Glass, some Grain 



1780] QUERIES AND ANSWERS ON ELECTRICITY 191 

of Sand perhaps, or some little Bubble in the Substance nearly 
void, where, during the charging of the Jarr, the Electric 
Fluid is forc'd in and confin'd till the Pressure is suddenly 
taken off by the Discharge, when not being able to escape so 
quickly, it bursts its way out by its elastic Force. Hence all 
the Ruptures happen nearly at the same Instant with the 
regular Discharge, tho' really a little posterior, not being 
themselves Discharges, but the Effects of a Discharge which 
pass'd in another Channel. 

QUESTION II 

When a strong Explosion is directed thro' a Pack of Cards 
or a Book, having a Piece of Tinfoil between several of its 
Leaves, the electrical Flash makes an Impression on some of 
those metalic Leaves, by which it seems as if the Direction 
of the electric Explosion had gone from the Outside towards 
the Inside, when, on the other metallic Leaves, the Impres- 
sion is in such a Direction, that it indicates the Current of 
Electrical Fire to have made its way from the Inside of the 
Phial towards the Outside; so that it appears to some 
Electricians, that, in the time of the Explosion of an electrical 
Phial, two Streams of electrical Fire rush at the same time 
from both Surfaces, and meet or cross one another. 

ANSWER 

These Impressions are not Effects of a moving Body, 
striking with Force in the Direction of its Motion; they are 
made by the Burs rising in the neighbouring perforated Cards, 
which rise accidentally, sometimes on one Side of a Card, 
sometimes on the other, in consequence of certain Circum- 
stances in the Form of their Surfaces or Substances or Situa- 



192 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1780 

tions. In a single Card, supported without touching others, 
while perforated by the passing Fluid, the Bur generally 
rises on both sides, as I once show'd to Mr. Symmer at his 
House. I imagine that the Hole is made by a fine Thread 
of El. Fluid first passing, and augmented to a bigger Thread 
at the Time of the Explosion, which, obliging the Parts of 
the Card to recede every way, condenses a Part within the 
Substance, and forces a Part out on each side, because there 
is least Resistance. 

QUESTION in 

When a Flash of Lightning happens to hit a flat Piece of 
Metal, the Metal has sometimes been pierced by several 
Holes, whose Edges were turn'd some the one way and some 
the other; so that it has appeared to some Philosophers, 
that several Streams of Electrical Fire had rush'd in one way, 
and some the opposite way. Such an Effect of Lightning 
has been published lately by Father Barletti. 

ANSWER 

This will be answer'd in my Remarks on M. Barletti's 
Book ; which Remarks, when finish'd, I will send you. 

QUESTION IV 

Tho', from the very Charging of the Leiden Phial, it 
seems clear, that the electrical Fluid does in reality not per- 
vade the Substance of Glass, yet it is still difficult to conceive 
how such a subtil Fluid may be forced out from one side of a 
very thick Pane of Glass, by a similar Quantity of electrical 
Fire thrown upon the other surface, and yet that it does not 
pass thro* any Substance of Glass, however thin, without 
breaking it. Is there some other Fact or Illustration besides 



1780] QUERIES AND ANSWERS ON ELECTRICITY 193 

those to be found in your Public Writings, by which it may 
be made more obvious to our Understanding, that electrical 
fire does not enter at all the very Substance of Glass, and yet 
may force from the opposite Surface an equal Quantity; 
or that it enters really the Pores of the Glass without breaking 
it? Is there any comparative Illustration or Example in 
Nature, by which it may be made clear, that a Fluid thrown 
upon one Surface of any Body, may force out the same Fluid 
from the other Surface without passing through the Substance ? 

ANSWER 

That the Electric Fluid, by its repulsive Nature, is capable 
of Forcing Portions of the same Fluid out of Bodies without 
entring them itself, appears from this Experiment. Approach 
an isolated Body with a rubb'd Tube of Glass ; the Side next 
the Tube will then be electrized negatively, the opposite 
positively. If a pair of Cork Balls hang from that opposite 
side, the Electrical Fluid forc'd out of the Body will appear 
in those Balls, causing them to diverge. Touch that opposite 
Side, and you thereby take away the positive Electricity. 
Then remove the Tube, and you leave the Body all in a 
negative State. Hence it appears, that the Electric Fluid 
appertaining to the Glass Tube did not enter the Body, 
but retir'd with the Tube, otherwise it would have supply'd 
the Body with the Electricity it had lost. 

With regard to Powder Magazines, my Idea is, that to 
prevent the Mischief which might be occasion'd by the Stones 
of their Walls flying about in case of accidental Explosion, 
they should be constructed in the Ground; that the Walls 
should be lin'd with Lead, the Floor Lead, all % Inch thick, 
and the Joints well solder'd ; the Cover Copper, with a little 

VOL. VIII O 



194 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Scuttle to enter the whole, in the Form of a Canister for Tea. 
If the Edges of the Cover-Scuttle fall into a Copper Channel 
containing Mercury, not the smallest particle of Air or Mois- 
ture can enter to the Powder, even tho' the Walls stood in 
Water, or the Whole was under Water. 



1177. TO BENJAMIN WATERHOUSE 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 18. 1781. 

SIR, 

I received your obliging Letter of the i6th past, enclosing 
one from my dear Friend, Dr. Fothergill. I was happy to 
hear from him, that he was quite free of the Disorder that 
had like to have remov'd him last summer. But I had soon 
after a Letter from another Friend, acquainting me, that he 
was again dangerously ill of the same Malady ; and the news- 
papers have since announced his Death ! 2 I condole with 
you most sincerely on this Occasion. I think a worthier 
Man never lived. For besides his constant Readiness to 

1 Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), nephew of Dr. Fothergill, had just 
taken his degree in medicine at Leyden at the time of the writing of this 
letter. He began to practise in Newport, and was Professor of Medicine at 
Harvard from 1783 to 1812. ED. 

2 Dr. Fothergill wrote to Franklin on Christmas Day, 1 780, and he died upon 
the following day. Benjamin Waterhouse wrote to Franklin January 10, 1781 
(A. P. S.), quoting from David Barclay an account of the disease from which 
Fothergill suffered. " That worthy man, thy Uncle, departed this life on the 
28 th inst. much lamented, his disorder yielding to no remedies. By his own 
desire his body was opened, when it appeared that a distended (or rather a 
thickened) bladder was the cause of his death, the prostate gland being en- 
creased to a monstrous size, & the faculty were of opinion that nothing could 
have been done to relieve him had they known the seat of his disorder." 
ED. 



1781] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 195 

serve his Friends, he was always studying and projecting 
something for the Good of his Country and of Mankind in 
general, and putting others, who had it in their Power, on 
executing what was out of his own reach ; but whatever was 
within it he took care to do himself; and his incredible In- 
dustry and unwearied Activity enabled him to do much more 
than can now be ever known, his Modesty being equal to his 
other Virtues. 

I shall take care to forward his Letter to Mr. Pemberton. 
Enclos'd is one I have just received under Cover from that 
Gentleman. You will take care to convey it by some safe 
Opportunity to London. 

With hearty Wishes for your Prosperity and Success in 
your Profession, and that you may be a good Copy of your 
deceas'd Relation, I am, Sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1178. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 18, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

Since my last I have been favoured by yours of Decem r 
i, 7, 14, 21, 25, and Jan r i, by which you have kept me 
constantly well inform'd of the state of Affairs. Accept my 
Thanks. You may depend on my mentioning your Dili- 
gence and Services to Congress in the manner they merit. 

Tho' I have been some Weeks free of the Gout, my Feet 
are still tender, and my Knees feeble ; so that going up and 
down Stairs is exceedingly difficult and inconvenient to me. 
This has prevented my going much out, so that I had not the 



196 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

honour I wished, of waiting on the Amb r when he was here, 
and paying the Respects I owe him ; and he returned suddenly. 

I much approve of the Step you took the i6th of Dec., 
before Messrs. Adams and Searle. I received the Copy. 
I wonder'd to find that you had not in Holland, on the 28th, 
received the Declaration of War, but have since learnt how 
it happen'd. Surely there never was a more unjust War; 
it is manifestly such from their own Manifesto. The Spirit 
of Rapine dictated it; and, in my Opinion, every Man in 
England who fits out a Privateer to take Advantage of it, has 
the same Spirit, and would rob on the Highway in his own 
Country, if he was not restrained by Fear of the Gallows. 
They have qualified poor Capt. Jones with the Title of Pirate, 
who was only at War with England ; but, if it be a good 
Definition of a pirate, that he is Hostis humani generis, 
they are much more Pirates than he, having already made 
great Progress towards being at War with all the World. 1 
If God governs, as I firmly believe, it is impossible such 
Wickedness should long prosper. 

You will receive this by Mr. Deane, who has a great Re- 
gard for you, and whom I recommend to your Civilities, tho' 
the Gentleman at present with you may be prejudiced against 
him ; Prejudices that Time will cause to vanish, by showing 
they were groundless. I enclose a Pacquet for Leiden, which 
I shall be glad to hear is delivered safe, and therefore desire 

your Care of it. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Jan. 20. Since writing the above, I have receiv'd 
yours of the i2th Inst. I am glad to hear that the Affairs 
of the Rep. have taken so good a Turn in Russia. If not 

1 See " Supplement to Boston Independent Chronicle." ED. 



1781] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 197 

inconvenient or improper I should be glad to know what 
pass'd relating to public Affairs while 67 was at your 31 and 
whether he saw 25, etc. With this you will receive three 
Letters for Mr. Laurens, which I request you would take care 
of and forward them to Mr. Adams. Be of good courage, 
and keep up your spirits. Your last letter has a melancholy 
turn. Do you take sufficient bodily exercise? Walking is 
an excellent thing for those whose employment is chiefly 
sedentary. [B. F.] 



1179. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Jan. 20, 1781. 
DEAR COUSIN, 

Since my last I made a Proposition to M. de Vergennes, 
that the Government should take the Bargain of the Vessel 
off our Hands with the Freight we had paid, transport in her 
our Effects, & fill her up with their own. He did not chuse 
to embarras himself with the Arrangement necessary to be 
made for this with different Offices, but kindly offer'd to 
lend us the Sum if we desir'd it. M r . 8 Cotin & Co. sent 
me by Mr. Grand an Engagement to sign for the Payment 
of 150,000 more, being the Price of the Ship, with a Menace 
that if I did not sign it we should not have her for that the 
Owners would oppose her Sailing till they were paid for her. 
I have refus'd to sign it, seeing no end to such Proceedings ; 
because all the other Creditors of M. de Chaumont as well 
as the Sellers of the Ship, may, as it seems to me, make 
the same Demand & Threat with equal Justice. You will 
inform yourself, whether having paid the Freight we cannot 



198 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

lay hold of the Vessel. If not, we must take our Chance of 
getting the Goods over this Summer as well as we can. At 
any Rate the present Winter will be nearly over before they 
can arrive. If the Vessel is not deliver'd to us according to 
Contract, the Account between M. de Chaumont and me will 
stand thus. I owe him on Account of the Cloth about 
28ooo"oo". 

He owes me, over-advance for Payment of his Accept" ab' ! 9,000 o o 

The Acceptations now paying ab' 92,000 O o 

The Freight advanc'd 200,000 o o 

The old Draft of yours accepted by him 50,000 o o 

351,000 o o 

Deduct 28,000 o o 

Remains 323,000 o o 

We have been grievously deceived in this Affair, and suffer'd 
great Damage in America by the Delays & Chicaneries we 
have met with. Think & give me your Opinion what is 
now best to be done. I am ever 

Yours affectionately 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



1180. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Jan. 22, 1781. 
DEAR JONATHAN, 

I have just received yours of the i6 th . Mr. Grand had been 
with me a few Minutes before, & had shown me your Letter 
to him of the same Date, advising of the Bills you had drawn 
on me for 25,000, in order to face M. de Chaumont's return'd 
Acceptances : I order'd the Payment of your Drafts, as I had 
before of all the unpaid Acceptances of the Bills you drew 
for Soldiers Clothing. H. S. (Habillement de Soldat). And 



1 78 r] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 199 

as those return'd to you can only be what you drew for H. O. 
(Habillement d' Officier) which M. de Chaumont had ordered 
on his own Account, & which as you wrote to me formerly 
you must take to yourself, if he did not pay your Bills, I 
desired M r . Grand to write to you to secure them for the 
Publick Officers Cloathing being a Part of their Grand 
Order, which had been omitted; thus the Public will be 
serv'd, and you will be eas'd. As the Bill 310, for the Pay- 
ment of which you have drawn on me & remitted your Bill 
to Mess" Courault freres, is probably one of those for H. S. 
which I had already ordered to be paid by Mr. Grand. 
The List is at his House, so that I cannot just now examine 
it. It will be proper for you to withdraw your Bill before it 
becomes due; otherwise I shall pay twice, for the same 
Object: And you will avoid making more such Drafts. 
M. de Chaumont writes me of yesterday from Versailles, 
that he has just received News & some Remittances from 
America, and that his Fortune there is employ'd in the Service 
of the Army ; The Receipts of the Army when he can produce 
them to Government here will be ready Money for him, and 
I wish they may come soon. On the whole I hope the De- 
struction of his Credit will do him no harm ; it may prevent 
his excessively numerous and hazardous Adventures: And 
if his Estate be as it is represented, he can sit down upon it 
& live without Trading. As to the Ship, I know not whether 
we shall have it or not. M 18 . Jauge & Cotin, as I wrote you 
before, threaten that we shall not, without advancing 1 50,000 
more, which I will not do. M. Jauge had also the Folly to 
intimate to me that I should also lose the Freight I had paid, 
viz. the 200,000 altho' M. de Chaumont had under his hand 
promis'd to refund it to me, if the Vessel did not arrive: 



200 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

For that Promise he said would bear a great deal of Discus- 
sion. I have no great Opinion of that Man's Honesty. 
Take Care of him. I am ever, 

Your affectionate Uncle 

B. F. 



1181. TO JOHN JAY (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 27. 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I believe my last to you was of the 2 d October. I was 
soon after laid up with a long & severe Fit of the Gout, 
which confin'd me for near 8 Weeks, and I have not quite 
recovered the free Use of my Feet. This put my Writing 
Business a good deal behind-hand, & has brought me much 
in Arrear with you; having since I wrote received your 
several Favours of Oct. 5, 25, 30, & Dec 1 25. which I will 
now endeavour to answer. 

I have not made any Use of your good King's offer'd Re- 
sponsibility here, where there has been no Chance of obtain- 
ing a considerable Loan, and one would not expose it for a 
Trifle. 

I sent you the Credit you desired in yours of the 25th of 
October, tho' I did not otherwise answer the Letter. Prince 
Massarano arrived here while I was ill, & came to see me. I 
have not been able to return his Civility & pay my Respects 
to him in Paris till yesterday. I took occasion to thank him 
& the Princess for their Civilities to my Country-folks at 
Madrid. They express'd much Esteem for you & M Jay 
and M r Carmichael. But I have not seen or heard any thing 
of the Duke de Crillon. 



1 78 1] TO JOHN- JAY 201 

I have been and am so continually obliged to make new 
Demands for more Money here, to answer Congress and other 
Drafts upon me, that I find it will be absolutely impossible 
for me to aid you with more than I mention'd in mine of 
Oct. 2. and I should be happy if you could do without that, 
as I apprehend I may have much Difficulty to pay honourably 
all my Acceptances. I accepted your Bill for 19,770 Livres, 
which I think it will be best to consider as part of the 25,000 
Dollars; the Credit for 26,459 // 2 // being according to my 
Reckoning the Ballance to compleat both your Salaries for 
one Year. Please to let me know if it agrees with your Ac- 
count. Perhaps you will find it best to continue drawing on 
me for the rest of the 25,000 Dollars. I know not what 
Method was propos'd by M T Grand to the Marquis d' 
Yranda. But it may be well to ask his Advice about it, & 
if any other Method will be more advantageous. M r Grand 
is sorry that there has not been a more free Communication 
between you & the Marquis, who he thinks has such Interest 
at Court as might be useful to your Affairs. The Marquis 
writes that you are rather reserv'd. I mention this; but at 
the same time think that you can there judge better for your- 
self what Connections to form & cultivate than any one here 
can judge for you. 

M r Deane is gone to Holland for a few Weeks, where M* 
Adams continues, but W Dana is return'd to Paris, I know 
not on what Account. W Searle is also just return'd hither 
from Holland. 

Our last Advices from America which come down to the 
Middle of November continue favourable. It is said that our 
Affairs in the South mend daily. That the new Paper Money 
keeps its Credit, and that much Silver & Gold now appear 



202 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

in common Currency. I received by some of the late Ships 
a Number of Letters & Packets for you, which I made up into 
two Parcels, & left at Versailles with M r de Renneval at the 
Bureau des Affaires Etrangeres, to be sent to you by the Court 
Courier, which I understood would go in 5 or 6 Days. This 
goes by a Courier of Prince Massarano's, who was so obliging 
as to acquaint me with the Opportunity. 

I was pleas'd to find by our last Dispatches from Congress 
that the Sentiments express'd in mine of Oct. 2 in respect to 
selling the River, happen'd to coincide with theirs. If your 
Court thinks of exacting such Sacrifices from us, & suffers the 
Bills drawn on you, however imprudently drawn, to go back 
protested, my great Opinion of Spanish Wisdom will be some- 
what diminished. For this is precisely their time to obtain 
and secure a firm & lasting Friendship with a near Neighbour, 
and not a tune to obtain little Advantages with a Risque of 
laying Foundations for future Quarrels. 

The English have got another War, and perhaps not the 
last, upon their Hands. They are making large Strides 
towards becoming what Pirates are said to be, Enemies to all 
Mankind. The Dutch, tho' slow, are seriously preparing to 
act with Vigour, being thoroughly provok'd by the Injustice 
of the Attack ; which has evidently been made for the sake of 
Plunder. 

Make my Respects acceptable to M rt Jay, & believe me, 
with sincere & great Esteem, 

Dear Sir, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1 78 1] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 203 

1182. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 27. 1781 

DEAR SIR, 

I have before me your Favours of Oct. 25. Nov. 5. & Dec. 
21. I do not know whether the Duke de Crillon whom you 
recommend, is come to Paris. That Letter came while I 
was ill, & I have not since heard any thing of him. But 
I will enquire for him of the Prince, to whom it was not till 
yesterday that I was able to pay my Respects, & to thank 
the Princess for their Civilities to my Compatriots at Madrid. 
You desire, as she had not the Print she requested, that I 
would show her the Original to Advantage. It happened 
unluckily otherwise, for by the Mistake of my Man who it 
seems had enquired for the Princess instead of the Prince, I 
was shown into a Dressing Room where a Lady was at her 
Toilet ; and not knowing at first who it was, & expecting the 
Prince, I was a little puzzled till he came. They speak of 
you with great Regard. 

I wish to know whether the Cloathing you mention in yours 
of Nov. 5. is gone, and what the Quantity. When I heard 
of the Taking of Clothing for 15000 Men by the combin'd 
Fleet, from the English, I thought our Friends had a fine 
Opportunity of supplying our Wants hi an essential not im- 
mediately necessary to themselves. I hope it was all sent to 
America. Reports are just now spread here, but I do not 
learn how they came, that M. Galvez has succeeded at Pensa- 
cola. This gives me the more Pleasure, as when Spain has 
done her own Business, in recovering Florida, she may 



204 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

perhaps think of helping us to recover Georgia & Caroline. 
But I own too, that my Expectations of great Aids from that 
Nation are not much stronger than yours. As yet they know 
us too little, and are jealous of us too much. Their long De- 
lay hi entring into Treaty with us, hi pursuance of the Secret 
Article, is to me a Mark of their not being very fond of a 
Connection with us, hi which I think they much mistake 
their true Intrest, and neglect securing great and permanent 
Advantages to their Country. 

I thank you for your Information relating to the Batteries 
opened against me in America. I since hear that a Motion 
has been made hi Congress by a Caroline Member for recall- 
ing me; but without Success; and that A. Lee has printed 
a Pamphlet against me. If my Enemies would have a little 
Patience they may soon see me remov'd without their giving 
themselves any Trouble, as I am now 75. I know not what 
they can mean by saying that I oppos'd the Settling of M* 
Dean's Acc u . I have no Interest to induce such Opposition; 
and no Opposition has been made. The Congress appointed 
M r Johnson of Nantes to audit them, he refus'd the Service, 
& M r Deane was till very lately absent. 

I am glad you have met with such Civility from the Mar- 
quis d'Yranda. From the Character M* Grand gives me of 
him I wish both you & M* Jay may cultivate his Friendship. 
He has conceived that M* Jay is too reserved towards him, 
qu'U pasait toujours fort boutonnt, was I think the Expression 
in a Letter M 1 " Grand read to me. Tho' I did not sooner 
answer M 1 Jay's & your Letters relating to your Appoint- 
ments, I took care immediately to order the Credit desired, 
and I have since accepted the Bill you mention, so that I 
hope you are now easy as to your particular Affairs, which I 



1781] TO MARQUIS DE CASTRIES 205 

wish you may always be, enjoying withal every other kind of 

Happiness. 

With great Esteem, I am ever, 

Your affectionate & most obedient 
humble Servant 

B FRANKLIN 

P. S. As I read Spanish a little, I wish you would send me 
the Gazette of Madrid by the Court Couriers, and any new 
Pamphlets that are curious. There is also a Book that I 
desire to have, but it being in two Volumes Folio, you cannot 
easily find an Opportunity of sending it ; It is the Bibliotheca 
Hispana Nicolai Antoni. 



1183. TO MARQUIS DE CASTRIES 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Jan. 28, 1781. 

SIR, 

Mr. Dana, late a Member of Congress, who will have the 
Honour of delivering this Line to your Excellency, desires 
to lay before you some Papers, relative to the Indemnification 
which his Majesty has had the Goodness to intend for the 
American Brigantine Fairplay, unhappily sunk by a Fort 
at Guadaloupe; to which Papers I request your Excellency 
would be pleased to afford a favourable attention. I am with 

Respect, 

Sir, 

Your Excellency's most 

obedient & most humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Charles-Eugene-Gabriel de la Croix, Marquis de Castries (1727-1801), 
succeeded M. de Sartine as minister of the Marine (1780). ED. 



206 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1184. TO DAVID BARCLAY 1 

Passy, Feb. 12, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I condole with you most sincerely on the loss of our dear 
friend, Dr. Fothergill. I hope that some one that knew him 
well, will do justice to his memory, by an account of his life 
and character. He was a great doer of good. How much 
might have been done, and how much mischief prevented, if 
his, your, and my joint endeavours, in a certain melancholy 
affair, had been a little more attended to. 2 With great respect 

and esteem, I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1185. TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM' 

Passy, February 12, 1781. 

SIR, 

I have received the letter you did me the honour of writing 
to me the i2th ultimo. 4 Enclosed with this, I send you the 
passport desired, which I hope will be respected and effectual. 
With great esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From Lettsom's " Life of Dr. Fothergill," p. 177. ED. 

2 The allusion is to the negotiation, which was attempted between Dr. 
Franklin, Dr. Fothergill, Mr. Barclay, and Lord Howe, a short time before 
Dr. Franklin left England. ED. 

From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," 1818, Vol. I, 
p. 71. Newenham expressed his gratitude for the passport in a letter dated 
March 2, 1781 (A. P. S.). ED. 

MnA. P. S. ED. 



1 78 1] TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM 207 



PASSPORT 

"To all Captains and Commanders of Vessels of War be- 
longing to the Thirteen United States of America, or 
either of them, or to any of the Citizens of the said States, 
or to any of the Allies thereof. 

"GENTLEMEN, 

"It being authentically represented to me, that the worthy 
citizens of Dublin, touched with the general calamities with 
which Divine Providence has thought fit lately to visit the 
West India Islands, have charitably resolved to contribute 
to their relief, by sending them some provisions and clothing ; 
and, as the principles of common humanity require of us to 
assist our fellow creatures, though enemies, when distressed 
by the hand of God, and by no means to impede the benevo- 
lence of those, who commiserate their distresses, and would 
alleviate them ; I do hereby earnestly recommend it to you, 
that, if the ship or vessel, in which the said charitable supplies 
will be sent to the said Islands, should by the fortune of war 
fall into any of your hands, and it shall appear to you by 
her authentic papers, that the cargo is bond fide composed of 
such beneficent donations only, and not of merchandise 
intended to be sold for the profit of the shippers, you would 
kindly and generously permit the said vessel to pass to the 
place of her destination ; in doing of which you will not only 
have the present and lasting satisfaction of having gratified 
your own humane and pious feelings as men and as Chris- 
tians, but will undoubtedly recommend yourselves to the 
favour of God, of the Congress, of your employers, and of 
your country. 



308 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

"Wishing you success in your cruises, I have the honour 
to be, Gentlemen, &c. "B. FRANKLIN, 

"Minister Plenipotentiary from the 

United States at the Court of France." 



1186. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (L. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 13, 1781. 

SIR, 

I have just received from Congress their Letter for the 
King, which I have the honour of putting herewith into the 
hands of your Excellency. I am charged, at the same time, 
to "represent, in the strongest Terms, the unalterable Resolu- 
tion of the United States to maintain their Liberties and 
Independence; and inviolably to adhere to the Alliance at 
every hazard, and in every Event ; and that the Misfortunes 
of the last Campaign, instead of repressing, have redoubled 
their Ardour; that Congress are resolved to employ every 
Resource in their Power to expel the Enemy from every 
Part of the United States, by the most vigorous and decisive 
Cooperation with Marine and other Forces of their illustrious 
Ally ; that they have accordingly called on the several States 
for a powerful Army and ample Supplies of Provisions ; and 
that the States are disposed effectually to comply with their 
Requisitions. That if, in Aid of their own Exertions, the 
Court of France can be prevailed on to assume a Naval 
Superiority in the American Seas, to furnish the Arms, 
Ammunition, and Clothing, specified in the Estimate here- 
tofore transmitted, and to assist with the Loan mentioned in 



1781] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 209 

the Letter, they flatter themselves, that, under the divine 
Blessing, the War must speedily be terminated, with Glory 
and Advantage to both Nations." 

By several Letters to me from intelligent Persons it appears, 
that the great and expensive Exertions of the last Year, by 
which a Force was assembled capable of facing the Enemy, 
and which accordingly drew towards New York, and lay long 
near that City, was rendred ineffectual by the Superiority 
of the Enemy at Sea ; and that their Success in Carolina had 
been chiefly owing to that Superiority, and to the want of 
the necessary Means for furnishing, marching, and paying 
the Expence of Troops sufficient to defend that Province. 
The Marquis de la Fayette writes to me, that it is impossible 
to conceive, without seeing it, the Distress the Troops have 
suffer'd for want of Cloathing ; and the following is a Para- 
graph of a Letter from General Washington, which I ought 
not to keep back from your Excellency, viz. "I doubt not 
you are so fully informed by Congress of our political and 
military State, that it would be superfluous to trouble you 
with any thing relative to either. If I were to speak on 
Topicks of the kind, it would be to shew that our present 
Situation makes one of two Things essential to us ; a Peace, 
or the most vigorous Aid of our Allies, particularly in the Ar- 
ticle of Money. Of their Disposition to serve us, we cannot 
doubt ; their Generosity will do every thing their Means will 
permit." They had in America great Expectations, I know 
not on what Foundation, that a considerable Supply of 
Money would be obtained from Spain ; but that Expectation 
has failed: And the Force of that Nation in those Seas 
has been employ'd to reduce small Forts in Florida, without 
rendring any direct Assistance to the United States; and 

VOL. VIII P 



2io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

indeed the long Delay of that Court, in acceding to the Treaty 
of Commerce, begins to have the Appearance of its not inclin- 
ing to have any Connection with us; so that, for effectual 
Friendship, and for the Aid so necessary in the present Con- 
juncture, we can rely on France alone, and in the Continu- 
ance of the King's Goodness towards us. 

I am grown old. I feel myself much enfeebled by my late 
long Illness, and it is probable I shall not long have any more 
Concern in these Affairs. I therefore take this Occasion to 
express my Opinion to your Excellency, that the present Con- 
juncture is critical ; that there is some Danger lest the Con- 
gress should lose its Influence over the people, if it is found 
unable to procure the Aids that are wanted; and that the 
whole System of the new Govern* in America may thereby be 
shaken ; that, if the English are suffer'd once to recover that 
Country, such an Opportunity of effectual Separation as the 
present may not occur again in the Course of Ages ; and that 
the Possession of those fertile and extensive Regions, and that 
vast SeaCoast, will afford them so broad a Basis for future 
Greatness, by the rapid growth of their Commerce, and Breed 
of Seamen and Soldiers, as will enable them to become the 
Terror of Europe, and to exercise with impunity that Insolence, 
which is so natural to their Nation, and which will increase 
enormously with the Increase of their Power. I am, with 
great respect, your Excellency's, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1781] TO JOHN ADAMS an 

1187. TO GIAMBATISTA BECCARIA 1 

Passy near Paris, Feb. 19, 1781. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received lately by your ambassador your various in- 
genious writings which you have honoured me in sending. 
I am at present so busy in public affairs, that I cannot give 
the attention that I would like to give to Philosophical things 
which used to give me so much satisfaction. I am sorry to 
hear of the long duration of your sickness. Science is suffer- 
ing much with you. Allow me to recommend the bearer of 
this, Mr. Steinsky to your courtesy. He is Professor of Physics 
at Prague. I have the honour to be with great and inalter- 
able esteem Rev. and dear sir, 

Your Most Obb. and Most Humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1188. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 22. 1781 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excell 7 did me honour of writing 
to me the i5th Inst. respecting Bills, presented to you for 
Acceptance drawn by Congress in favour of N. Tracey for 
10,000^ Sterling payable 90 Days Sight; and desiring to 
know if I can furnish Funds for the Payment. 

I have lately made a fresh & strong Application for more 
Money. I have not yet received a positive Answer. I have 

1 From " Memorie Istoriche intorno Gli Studi del Padre Giambatista 
Beccaria." Torino. MDCCLXXXIII. p. 152. ED. 



an THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

however two of the Christian Graces, Faith & Hope. But 
my Faith is only that of which the Apostle Speaks, the 
Evidence of things not seen. For hi Truth I do not see at 
present how so many Bills drawn at random on our Ministers 
in France, Spam & Holland, are to be paid. Nor that any- 
thing but omnipotent Necessity can excuse the Imprudence 
of it. Yet I think Bills drawn upon us by the Congress ought 
at all Risques to be accepted. I shall accordingly use my 
best Endeavours to procure Money for their honourable Dis- 
charge against they become due, if you should not in the mean- 
time be provided; and if those Endeavours fail, I shall be 
ready to break, run away, or go to prison with you, as it 
shall please God. 

Sir G. Grand has returned to me the remainder of the Book 
of Premisses, sign'd by us, which his House had not an Op- 
portunity of issuing. Perhaps the late Charge of Affairs hi 
that Country may open a way for them. If on consulting 
him you should be of that Opinion, I will send them to you. 
With great Respect, I have the honour to be 

Sir, B. FRANKLIN 

P.S. 

Late Advices from Congress men- 
tion that Col. Laurens is coming over 
as Envoy extraordinary to this Court 
& Col. Palfray as Consul General. 
They may be expected every day. 



1781] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 213 

1189. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (i. c.) 

Passy, March 6, 1781. 

SIR, 

By perusing the enclos'd Instructions to Col. Laurence and 
myself, your Excellency will see the Necessity I am under of 
being importunate for an Answer to the Application lately 
made for Aids of Stores and Money. As Vessels are about 
to depart for America, it is of the utmost Importance, that 
the Congress should receive Advice by some of them, of what 
may or may not be expected. I therefore earnestly entreat 
your Excellency to communicate to me, as soon as possible, 
the necessary Informations. With sincere and great Respect, 
I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1190. FROM FELIX NOGARET TO BENJAMIN 
FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

.- Les Francais (votre Excellence le scait) ont fait tous leurs efforts pour 
traduire ce vers latin ou 1'on vous read justice en si peu de mots : 

.18 "Eripuit ccelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis." 

Us ont paru aussi jaloux de transporter cet eloge dans leur langue qu'ils le 
sont de vous posseder. Cependant personne n'a reussi, et je crois qu' on ne 
reussira pas. Car de ces deux vers inseres comme des meilleurs dans 1'alman- 
ach des Musees de 1'annee derniere : 

Cet homme que tu vois, sublime en tous les temps 
Derobe aux dieux la foudre et le sceptre aux tyrans 

le premier est de trop . . . 

Le second vers du distique est passable. II serait bon si au lieu de derobe 

il y avait arrache, Mais ce seul vers ne suffit pas: le sens n'est pas plein; il 

faudrait un nom ou un pronom; et ni 1'un ni 1'autre n'y peut entrer; autre- 

ment le vers n'y serait plus. 



214 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Aurait-on a peu pres 1'equivalent du latin si 1'on disait? 
On fa vu desarmer lei tyrans et Us dieux 

Puisquc le laconisme est necessaire, voila ce que je proposerais au graveur. 
Les images du sceptre et de la foudre disparaissent en apparence dans cette 
traduction; mais je pense qu'elles n'echappent aux yeux de la reflexion. Des- 
armer Jupiter, c'est lui 3ter sa foudre etc. 

Ccelo dit beaucoup dans le latin. Cieux ne le rendrait point. J*y supplee 
par des Sires. Je ne dis pas que la physique y gagne, mais la poesie n'y perd 
pas. Si j'ai tort, votre Excellence en decidera. D'apres sa condamnation je 
laisse mon graveur exercer le talent de tous ceux qui veulent absolument que 
dans, jusque sur les quays memo le passant le moins instruit entende ce qu'on 
a dit et ce qu'on a du dire de vous. 



Vers pour mettre sous le portrait de 

M r . Franklin 

Franklin sut arrSter la foudre dans les airs, 
Et c'est le moindre bien qu'il fit a sa patric : 
Au milieu de climats divers, 
Ou dominoit la tyrannic, 
II fit regner les arts, les moeurs et le genie; 
Et voila le Heros que j'offre a 1'Univers. 

Felix Nogaret 

des academies d 'Angers et de 
A Versailles Marseille 

Le 2 Mars 1781. a 1'Hotel Girardin. 



1191. TO FELIX NOGARET 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, March 8, 1781. 

Sm, 

I received the Letter you have done me the honour of writ- 
ing to me the 2d instant, wherein, after overwhelming me 
with a Flood of Compliments, which I can never hope to 
merit, you request my Opinion of your Translation of a 
Latin Verse, that has been apply'd to me. If I were, which 

1 Francois Felix Nogaret (1740-1831), member of the Academies of 
Angers and of Marseilles, librarian of the Comtesse d'Artois, the Nestor of 
French literature, known as " the French Aristenetus." ED. 



1781] TO JOSEPH MATTHIAS DE RAYNEVAL 215 

I really am not, sufficiently skilled in your excellent Lan- 
guage, to be a proper Judge of its Poesy, the Supposition of 
my being the Subject, must restrain me from giving any 
Opinion on that Line, except that it ascribes too much to me, 
especially in what relates to the Tyrant ; the Revolution hav- 
ing been the work of many able and brave Men, wherein 
it is sufficient Honour for me if I am allowed a small Share. 
I am much obliged by the favourable Sentiments you are 
pleased to entertain of me; and I shall be glad to see your 
Remarks on Gay's Fan, as well as your own Poem on the 
same Subject. 1 With Regard, I have the Honour to be, Sir, 

&c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1192. TO JOSEPH MATTHIAS DE RAYNEVAL 2 

(L. C.) 
Passy, March u, 1781. 

SIR, 

I have examined the List of Supplies wanted in America, 
which I received yesterday from you, in order to mark, as 
desired, what may be most necessary to forward thither. 
As that List is of old Date, and I do not know what parts 
of it may have been already procured by other Channels, and 
I understand by my Letters that a new List has been made 
out, which is given to Col. Laurens, and, tho' mentioned to 
be sent to me also, is not yet come to my hands, I have thought 

1 Nogaret had criticised Gay whom he had read in Mme. Keralio's transla- 
tion. He censured him for extravagance, and lack of taste. Nogaret pre- 
sented many volumes of his own poems to Franklin, particularly two volumes 
dedicated to Buff on and constituting & galimatias on physics etc. ED. 

2 First secretary to the minister of foreign affairs. ED. 



216 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

it may be well for the present to order the making of a Quan- 
tity of Soldiers' and Officers' Clothing, equal to One Third 
Part of what has been demanded from page 31 to page 42 
inclusive ; and to collect and get ready also one Third of the 
other Articles mentioned in the said Pages, which I have 
marked with a red Line in the Margin, the whole to be sent 
by the first good Opportunity. 

I think it would be well also to send 5000 more good Fusils, 
with Fifty Tons of Lead, and 200,000 Flints for Fusils. 
If these could go with the Fleet, it would be of great Service. 
More Powder I imagine is not necessary to be sent at present, 
as there goes in the Marquis de la Fayette the remainder of 
the 2000 Barrels granted last Year, and also 200 Tons of 
Saltpetre, which they will make into Powder. For the other 
Articles that may be wanted, as Col. Laurens will come fully 
instructed, as well by the List given to him, as from his own 
Observation and Experience in the Army, and from the In- 
formation he will receive from Gen. Washington, with whom 
and the Marquis de la Fayette he was to consult before his 
Departure, I conceive it will be best to wait a little for his 
Arrival. 

I return the Lists, and, having by some unaccountable 
Accident mislaid and lost the Paper you gave me, containing 
what Count de Vergennes said to me yesterday, I must beg 
the Favour of you to repeat it, and send it by the Bearer. 
I am ashamed to give you this Trouble, but I wish to be 
exact in what I am writing of it to Congress. With the great- 
est Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1781] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 217 

1193. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, March. 12, 1781. 
SIR, 

I had the honour of receiving on the i3th of last month your 
Excellency's letter of the ist of January, 2 together with the 
instructions of November 28th and December 2yth, a copy 
of those to Colonel Laurens, and the letter to the King. 
I immediately drew a memorial, enforcing as strongly as I 
could the requests that are contained in that letter, and 
directed by the instructions, and I delivered the same with 
the letter, which were both well received ; but, the ministry 
being extremely occupied with other weighty affairs, and I 

1 An incomplete transcript only is in L. C. ED. 

2 In his letter of January ist, 1781, Huntingdon wrote to Franklin: 

" SIR, 

You will receive herewith enclosed a Letter addressed to his Most Chris- 
tian Majesty, also a Copy of the same for your Information, together with 
Instructions of the 28th of November and 2yth of December for your Govern- 
ment on the important Subject contained in the Letter to the King of France; 
likewise a copy of the instructions given to Col 1 . Laurens on the same Sub- 
ject, and a Copy of the Resolution of Congress respecting the Declaration of 
the Empress of Russia. 

By these Despatches you will be informed, that Colonel Laurens is coming 
to France, charged with a special Commission, with your Advice and Influ- 
ence, to solicit the Aids in Money and other Articles referred to in his Instruc- 
tions. It is probable he will sail from America in some fifteen or twenty 
Days from this Time. You will observe, nevertheless, that it is the Pleasure 
and Expectation of Congress, that you should not delay any Measures for 
obtaining the Aids requested, or wait for the Arrival of Mr. Laurens. 

An estimate of the Aids requested, except the 25,000,000 of Livres, you 
have already received the last Year; and no Time ought to be lost in for- 
warding such Aids as may be obtained. 

Your Wisdom, Prudence, and Zeal for the Prosperity of the United States, 
render it unnecessary for me to add any Persuasives on this important Sub- 
ject." ED. 



2i8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

obtaining for some time only general answers, that something 
would be done for us, &c., and Mr. Laurens not arriving, 
I wrote again, and pressed strongly for a decision on the sub- 
ject; that I might be able to write explicitly by this oppor- 
tunity, what aids the Congress were, or were not, to expect ; 
the regulation of their operations for the campaign depending 
on the information I should be enabled to give. 

Upon this, I received a note, appointing Saturday last for 
a meeting with the minister, which I attended punctually. 
He assured me of the King's good will to the United States; 
remarking, however, that, being on the spot, I must be 
sensible of the great expense France was actually engaged in, 
and the difficulty of providing for it, which rendered the 
lending us twenty-five millions at present impracticable. 
But he informed me, that the letter from the Congress, and 
my memorials, had been under his Majesty's consideration ; 
and observed, as to loans in general, that the sum we wanted 
to borrow in Europe was large, and that the depreciation 
of our paper had hurt our credit on this side of the water; 
adding, also, that the King could not possibly favour a loan 
for us in his dominions, because it would interfere with, and 
be a prejudice to, those he was under the necessity of obtain- 
ing himself to support the war; but that, to give the States 
a signal proof of his friendship, his Majesty had resolved to 
grant them the sum of six millions, not as a loan, but as a 
free gift. This sum, the minister informed me, was exclusive 
of the three millions, which he had before obtained for me, 
to pay the Congress drafts for interest, &c., expected in the 
current year. 

He added, that, as it was understood the clothing, &c., 
with which our army had been heretofore supplied from 



1 78 1] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 219 

France, was often of bad quality, and dear, the ministers would 
themselves take care of the purchase of such articles as should 
be immediately wanted, and send them over; and it was 
desired of me to look over the great invoice, that had been sent 
hither last year, and mark out those articles ; that, as to the 
money remaining after such purchases, it was to be drawn 
for by General Washington, upon M. d'Harvelay, Garde 
du Tre*sor Royal, and the bills would be duly honoured ; but 
it was desired they might be drawn gradually as the money 
should be wanted, and as much time given for the payment 
after sight as conveniently could be, that the payment might 
be more easy. 

I assured the minister, that the Congress would be very 
sensible of this token of his Majesty's continued goodness 
towards the United States; but remarked, that it was not 
the usage with us for the General to draw, and proposed that 
it might be our Treasurer, who should draw the bills for the 
remainder; but I was told, that it was his Majesty's order. 
And I afterwards understood, from the Secretary of the Coun- 
cil, that, as the sum was intended for the supply of the army, 
and could not be so large as we had demanded for general 
occasions, it was thought best to put it into the General's 
hands, that it might not get into those of the different boards 
or committees, who might think themselves under a necessity 
of diverting it to other purposes. There was no room to 
dispute on this point, every donor having the right of qualify- 
ing his gifts with such terms as he thinks proper. 

I took with me the invoice; and, having examined it, I 
returned it immediately with a letter, of which a copy is 
enclosed ; and I suppose its contents will be followed, unless 
Colonel Laurens on his arrival should make any changes. 



220 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

I hope he and Colonel Palfrey are safe, though, as yet, not 
heard of. 1 

After the discourse relating to the aid was ended, the 
minister proceeded to inform me, that the courts of Petersburg 
and Vienna had offered their mediation ; that the King had 
answered, that it would to him personally be agreeable, but 
that he could not yet accept it, because he had allies whose 
concurrence was necessary; and that his Majesty desired 
I would acquaint the Congress with this offer and answer, 
and urge their sending such instructions as they may think 
proper to their plenipotentiary, it being not doubted that 
they would readily accept the proposed mediation, from their 
own sense of its being both useful and necessary. I men- 
tioned, that I supposed Mr. Adams was already furnished 
with instructions relating to any treaty of peace, that might 
be proposed. 

I must now beg leave to say something relating to myself ; 
a subject with which I have not often troubled the Congress. 
I have passed my seventy-fifth year, and I find that the long 
and severe fit of the gout, which I had the last winter, has 
shaken me exceedingly, and I am yet far from having re- 
covered the bodily strength I before enjoyed. I do not know 
that my mental faculties are impaired; perhaps I shall be 
the last to discover that ; but I am sensible of great diminu- 
tion in my activity, a quality I think particularly necessary 
in your minister for this court. I am afraid, therefore, that 
your affairs may some time or other suffer by my deficiency. 
I find also, that the business is too heavy for me, and too 

1 Colonel William Palfrey, for some time paymaster-general of the Conti- 
nental army, had been appointed consul-general to France by Congress, but 
was lost at sea on his passage. S. 



1781] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 221 

confining. The constant attendance at home, which is 
necessary for receiving and accepting your bills of exchange 
(a matter foreign to my ministerial functions), to answer 
letters, and perform other parts of my employment, prevents 
my taking the air and exercise, which my annual journeys 
formerly used to afford me, and which contributed much 
to the preservation of my health. There are many other lit- 
tle personal attentions, which the infirmities of age render 
necessary to an old man's comfort, even in some degree 
to the continuance of his existence, and with which business 
often interferes. 

I have been engaged in public affairs, and enjoyed public 
confidence, in some shape or other, during the long term of 
fifty years, and honour sufficient to satisfy any reasonable 
ambition ; and I have no other left but that of repose, which 
I hope the Congress will grant me, by sending some person 
to supply my place. At the same time, I beg they may be 
assured, that it is not any the least doubt of their success 
in the glorious cause, nor any disgust received in their ser- 
vice, that induces me to decline it, but purely and simply 
the reasons above mentioned. And, as I cannot at present 
undergo the fatigues of a sea voyage (the last having been 
almost too much for me), and would not again expose myself 
to the hazard of capture and imprisonment in this time of 
war, I purpose to remain here at least till the peace ; perhaps 
may be for the remainder of my lif e ; and, if any knowledge 
or experience I have acquired here may be thought of use to 
my successor, I shall freely communicate it, and assist him 
with any influence I may be supposed to have, or counsel that 
may be desired of me. 

I have one request more to make, which, if I have served the 



321 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Congress to their satisfaction, I hope they will not refuse me ; 
it is, that they will be pleased to take under their protection 
my grandson, William Temple Franklin. I have educated 
him from his infancy, and I brought him over with an inten- 
tion of placing him where he might be qualified for the 
profession of the law ; but the constant occasion I had for his 
services as a private secretary during the time of the Com- 
missioners, and more extensively since their departure, has 
induced me to keep him always with me ; and indeed, being 
continually disappointed of the secretary Congress had at 
different times intended me, it would have been impossible 
for me, without this young gentleman's assistance, to have 
gone through the business incumbent on me. He has 
therefore lost so much of the time necessary for law studies, 
that I think it rather advisable for him to continue, if it may 
be, in the line of public foreign affairs; for which he seems 
qualified by a sagacity and judgment above his years, and 
great diligence and activity, exact probity, a genteel address, 
a facility in speaking well the French tongue, and all the 
knowledge of business to be obtained by a four years' con- 
stant employment in the secretary's office, where he may be 
said to have served a kind of apprenticeship. 

After all the allowance I am capable of making for the 
partiality of a parent to his offspring, I cannot but think he 
may in time make a very able foreign minister for Congress, 
in whose service his fidelity may be relied on. But I do not 
at present propose him as such, for though he is now of age, a 
few years more of experience will not be amiss. In the 
mean time, if they should think fit to employ him as a sec- 
retary to their minister at any European court, I am per- 
suaded they will have reason to be satisfied with his conduct, 



1 78 1] TO F. LEWIS AND BOARD OF ADMIRALTY 223 

and I shall be thankful for his appointment, as a favour to 
me. 

My accounts have been long ready for the examination 
of some person to be appointed for that purpose. Mr. 
Johnson having declined it, and Mr. Dana residing at present 
at Paris, I requested him to undertake it, and to examine 
at the same time those of Mr. Deane ; but he also declines it, 
as being unacquainted with accounts. If no fresh appoint- 
ment has been made by Congress, I think of desiring Mr. 
Palfrey to perform that service when he arrives, which I hope 
will be approved, for I am uneasy at the delay. With great 

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

B. FRANKLIN. 



1194. TO FRANCIS LEWIS 1 AND THE BOARD 
OF ADMIRALTY (L. c.) 

Passy, March 17, 1781. 

GENTLEMEN, 

I received the honour of yours, dated January 2, 2 contain- 
ing sundry Questions relating to the Ship Alliance, and the 
Expedition under the command of John Paul Jones. 

I apprehend, that the Letters and Papers sent by the Alli- 
ance, if they came to your Hands, and those which went in 
the Ariel, taken together, would pretty well inform you on 
most of the Particulars you enquire about; and the Defi- 

1 Francis Lewis (1713-1803), a member of the New York committee in 
the 1st Colonial Congress (1765), a member of the 1st Continental Congress 
(1775), signed the Declaration of Independence, and was appointed (1779) 
commissioner of the board of admiralty. 

2 InL. C. ED. 



224 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

ciencies might be supply'd by Captain Jones himself, and 
others, who were engag'd in the Expedition. But as I learn 
from Col. Lawrence, that his Arrival was not heard of at 
Boston the nth of February, tho' he sail'd the i8th of De- 
cember, and possibly he may have miscarried, I shall endeav- 
our to answer as well as I can your several Queries, and will 
hereafter send you Duplicates of the Papers that may be lost. 

But I would previously remark, as to the Expedition in 
general, that this Court, having, I suppose, some Enterprize 
in View, which Capt. Jones, who had signaliz'd his Bravery 
in taking the Drake, was thought a proper Person to conduct, 
had soon after that Action requested we would spare him to 
them, which was the more readily agreed to, as a Difference 
subsisted between him and his Lieutenant, which laid us under 
a Difficulty, that was by that means got over. Some time 
passed, however, before any Steps were taken to employ him 
in a manner agreable to him, and possibly the first Project 
was laid aside, many difficulties attending any Attempt of 
introducing a foreign Officer into the French Marine, as it 
disturbs the Order of their Promotions, &c., and he himself 
choosing to act rather under the Commission of Congress. 
However, a Project was at length formed of furnishing him 
with some of the King's Ships, the Officers of which were to 
have temporary American Commissions, which being pos- 
terior in date to his Commission, would put them naturally 
under his Command for the Time ; and the final Intention, 
after various Changes, was to intercept the Baltic Fleet. 

The Alliance was at that time under Orders to carry Mr. 
Adams back to America; but the Minister of the Marine, 
by a written Letter requesting I would lend her to strengthen 
the little Squadron, and offering a Passage for Mr. Adams 



1781] TO F. LEWIS AND BOARD OF ADMIRALTY 225 

in one of the King's Ships, I consented to the Request, 
hoping, that, besides obliging the Minister, I might obtain 
the Disposition of some Prisoners to exchange for our Coun- 
trymen in England. 

Question ist. "Whether the Ships with which the frigate 
Alliance-was concerted in an Expedition, of which Captain John 
Paul Jones had the Command, were the Property of private 
Persons, and if so, who were the Owners of those Ships?" 

Answer. The ships with which the Alliance was concerted, 
were, i, the Bon Homme Richard, bought and fitted by the 
King, on purpose for Capt. Jones; 2, the Pallas Frigate; 
3, the Vengeance, a Corvette; 4, the Cerf, a Cutter; all 
belonging to the King, and the Property of no private Person 
whatever, as far as I have ever heard or believe. 

Two Privateers, the Monsieur and the Grandville, were 
indeed with the little Squadron in going out ; I suppose to 
take advantage of its convoy ; but, being on their own Account 
and at their own Discretion, the Monsieur quitted Company 
on the Coast of Ireland, and the Grandville return'd about the 
same time to France. I have not heard, that the Monsieur 
ever claim'd any part of the Prizes. The Grandville has 
made some Claim, on Account, not only of what were taken 
while she was with the Squadron, but of the whole taken after 
her Departure, on this Pretence, that, some Prisoners being 
put on board her, and losing Company, she found herself 
obliged to go back with them, not having wherewith to main- 
tain them, &c. ; but this Claim is oppos'd by the other Ships, 
being regarded as frivolous, as she was not concerted. The 
Claim, however, is not yet decided, but hangs in the Courts. 
These Circumstances show, that those Vessels were not con- 
sidered as a Part of the Armement. But it appears more 

VOL. VIII Q 



226 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

plainly by the Concordat of the Captains, whereof I send you 
a Copy. Who the Owners were of those Privateers I have 
not heard. I suppose they may be Inhabitants of Bordeaux 
and Granville. 

Qu. 2. "Whether any agreement was made by you, or 
any Person in your behalf, with the Owners of the Ships con- 
certed with the Alliance in that Expedition, respecting the 
Shares they were severally to draw of the Prizes, which might 
be taken during said Expedition?" 

Answ. I never made any such Agreement, nor any Per- 
son in my Behalf. I lent the Vessel to the King simply at 
the Minister's Request, supposing it would be agreable to 
Congress to oblige their Ally, and that the Division, if there 
should be any thing to divide, would be according to the Laws 
of France, or of America, as should be found most equitable. 
But the Captains, before they sail'd, entered into an Agree- 
ment, called the Concordat above mentioned, to divide 
according to the Rules of America, as they acted under 
American Commissions and Colours. 

Qu. 3. "Whether the Serapis and Scarborough, and other 
Captures made during said Expedition, were divided among 
the Captors, and the Distribution made according to the 
Resolutions of Congress, and, if not, what Mode was pursued 
in making the Distribution?" 

Answ. No Division has yet been made of the Serapis 
and Scarborough. It is but lately that I have heard of the 
Money being ready for Division at L' Orient. I suppose 
the Mode will be that agreed on by the Captains. 

Qu. 4. "What were the neat Proceeds of the Serapis, 
Scarborough, and the other Prizes taken during the said 
Expedition?" 



1 78 1] TO F. LEWIS AND BOARD OF ADMIRALTY 227 

Answ. I have not yet heard what were the neat Proceeds 
of the Prizes, nor have seen any Account. As soon as such 
shall come to my hands, I will transmit it to you, and I will 
endeavour to obtain it speedily. No satisfaction has yet 
been obtained for the Prizes carried into Norway, and de- 
liver'd up by the King of Denmark. 

Qu. 5. "What Benefit the United States of America 
have received from the Prisoners made during said Expedi- 
tion?" 

Answer. 1 did expect to have had all the Prisoners taken 
by the Squadron, to exchange for Americans, in Considera- 
tion of my having lent the Alliance; and Captain Pearson 
engaged in Behalf of the British Government by a written 
Instrument, that those set on Shore in Holland should be 
considered as Prisoners of War to the United States, and 
exchanged accordingly. But I was, nevertheless, disappointed 
in this Expectation. For, an Exchange of all the Prisoners 
being proposed to be made in Holland, it was found neces- 
sary at that time by the Dutch Government, in order to 
avoid embroiling their State with England, that those Prison- 
ers should be considered as taken by France, and they were 
accordingly exchanged for Frenchmen, on the Footing of 
the French Cartel with England. This I agreed to on the 
Request of the French Ambassador at the Hague, and also 
to avoid the Risque of sending them by Sea to France (the 
English Cruising with several ships off the Texel to retake 
them), and as it would be more convenient and certain for 
us to have an equal Number of English delivered to me by 
France, at or near Morlaix, to be sent over in the Cartel. 
But the English Government afterwards refused, very un- 
justly, to give any Americans in Exchange for English, that 



228 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

had not been taken by Americans. So we did not reap the 
Benefit we hoped for. 

Qu. 6. "What Orders were given to Captain Landais?" 

Answ. That he should obey the Orders of Captain Jones. 

Qu. 7. "What was the Ground of Dispute between Cap- 
tain Jones and him?" 

Answ. That, when at Sea together, he refus'd to obey 
Capt. Jones's Orders. 

Qu. 8. "What were the Disbursements on the Alliance, 
from the time of her first Arrival in France, until she left that 
Kingdom?" 

Answ. The Disbursements on the Alliance, from the 
time of her first Arrival in France, till the Commencement 
of the Cruise under Capt. Jones, as appears by the Accounts 
of Mr. Schweighauser, Agent appointed by William Lee, 
Esq., amounted to , which I paid. The Disbursements 

on her Refit in Holland were paid by the King, as were also 
those on her second Refit after her Return to L'Orient, as 
long as she was under the Care of Capt. Jones. But Captain 
Landais, when he reassum'd the Command of her, tho't fit 
to take what he wanted of Mr. Schweighauser's Agent, to 
the amount of 31,668 livres, 125. 3d., for which, it being 
contrary to my Orders given to Mr. Schweighauser, on his 
asking them upon the Occasion, I refused to pay (my Corre- 
spondence with him on the Occasion will show you my 
Reasons), and of those paid by the King I have no 
Account. 

Qu. 9. "Why the Alliance lay so long at Port L'Orient, 
after her Arrival there from the Texel, and in general every 
Information in your Power respecting the Alliance and the 
Expedition referred to." 



1781] TO F. LEWIS AND BOARD OF ADMIRALTY 229 

Answ. Her laying so long at L' Orient was first occasioned 
by the mutinous Disposition of the Officers and Men, who 
refused to raise the Anchors till they should receive Wages and 
Prize Money. I did not conceive they had a right to demand 
Payment of Wages in a Foreign Country, or anywhere but at 
the Port they came from, no one here knowing on what Terms 
they were engag'd, what they had receiv'd, or what was due 
to them. The Prize Money I wish'd them to have ; but, as 
that could not soon be obtain'd, I thought it wrong in them 
to detain the Vessel on that Ace ; and, as I was inform'd 
many of them were in want of Necessaries, I advanced 
24,000 Livres on Ace*, and put it into Captain Jones's hands 
to relieve and pacify them, that they might go more willingly. 
But they were encourag'd by some meddling Passengers to 
persist. The King would have taken the Prizes and paid 
for them, at the Rate per Gun, 6c., as he pays for warlike 
Vessels taken by his Ships ; but they rais'd a Clamour at this, 
it being put into their Heads, that it was a Project for cheat- 
ing them, and they demanded a sale by Auction. The Minis- 
ter, who usually gives more when ships are taken for the King 
than they will produce by Auction, readily consented to 
this when I ask'd it of him ; but then this Method required 
time to have them inventoried, advertis'd in different Ports, 
to create a fuller Concurrence of Buyers, &c. Capt. Jones 
came up to Paris to hasten the Proceedings. In his Ab- 
sence, Capt. Landais, by the advice of Mr. Lee and Commo- 
dore Gillon, took Possession of the Ship and kept her long in 
writing up to Paris, waiting Answers, &c. 

I have often mention'd to Congress the Inconvenience of 
putting their Vessels under the Care of Persons living per- 
haps 100 Leagues from the Port they arrive at, which neces- 



230 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

sarily creates Delays, and of course enormous Expences; 
and, for a Remedy, I have as often recommended the Appoint- 
ment of Consuls, being very sensible of my own Insufficiency 
in maritime Affairs, which have taken up a vast deal of my 
time, and given me abundance of Trouble, to the hindrance, 
sometimes, of more important Business. I hope these In- 
conveniencies will now be soon removed by the Arrival of 
Mr. Palfrey. 

As the Ministry had Reasons, if some of the first Plans had 
been pursued, to wish the Expedition might be understood 
as American, the Instructions were to be given by me, and the 
Outfit was committed to M. de Chaumont, known to be one 
of our Friends, and well acquainted with such Affairs. M. le 
Marquis de la Fayette, who was to have been concerned in 
the Execution, can probably acquaint you with those Rea- 
sons. If not, I shall do it hereafter. It afterwards continued 
in the Hands of M. de Chaumont to the End. I never paid 
or receiv'd a farthing directly or indirectly on Ace* of the 
Expedition; and, the Captains having made him their 
Trustee and Agent, it is to him they are to apply for their 
Proportions of the Captures. There may be something, 
though I believe very little, coming to the United States from 
the Alliance's Share of a small Ransom made contrary to 
Orders. 

No Ace* has been render'd to me of that Ransom, therefore 
I cannot say how much ; but I will enquire about it and inform 
you hereafter. 

Most of the Colliers taken were either burnt or sunk. The 
Ships of War taken, I understand, belong wholly to the Cap- 
tors. If any particulars remain, on which you desire Infor- 
mation, be pleased to mention them. I think it my Duty 



1781] TO WILLIAM HODGSON 231 

to give you all the Satisfaction in my Power, and shall do it 
willingly. Being with great Regard, Gentlemen, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1195. TO WILLIAM HODGSON (L. c.) 

Passy, April i, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your respected Favour of the 2oth past, and am 
shock'd exceedingly at the Account you give me of Digges. 
He that robbs the Rich even of a single Guinea is a Villain ; 
but what is he who can break his sacred Trust, by robbing 
a poor Man and a Prisoner of Eighteen Pence given chari- 
tably for his Relief, and repeat that Crime as often as there 
are Weeks in a Winter, and multiply it by robbing as many 
poor Men every Week as make up the Number of near 600 ? 
We have no Name in our Language for such atrocious 
Wickedness. If such a Fellow is not damn'd, it is not worth 
while to keep a Devil. 1 

I am sorry you have been oblig'd to advance Money. I 
desired Mr. Grand, some time since, to order 200 to be paid 
you in London. If that is not done, draw on him for the 
Sum of 250, payable at 30 Days' sight, and your Bill shall 
be duly honoured. 

I inclose a Copy of Digges's last Letter to me, in which he 

1 Thomas Digges was said by Franklin to be " a Maryland merchant resid- 
ing in London." He made the acquaintance of A. Lee in London and was 
recommended by him to Congress. He pretended to have great concern for 
the American prisoners in England and drew upon Franklin in the winter of 
1780-81 for four hundred and ninety-five pounds sterling for their relief. 
About thirty pounds of the money he applied to legitimate uses and the 
remainder he embezzled. ED. 



232 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

acknowledges the Drafts made on me, (omitting one of 75,) 
and pretends, that he only draws as he is drawn upon by his 
Friends, who hand the Money to the Prisoners, and that those 
Friends are almost tired of the charitable Employment, but 
he encourages them, &c. Be so good as to let them know of 
this Letter. 

I wish, with you and with all good Men, for Peace; Pro- 
posals of Mediation have been made, but the Effect is yet 
uncertain. I shall be mindful of your Request, and you 
may depend on my doing any thing in my Power that may 
be serviceable to you. With sincere Esteem, I am, dear Sir, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1196. TO FRANCIS DANA 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, April 7, 1781. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you yesterday did me the honour of 
writing to me, 2 requesting my Opinion, in Writing, relative 
to the Conference you had with his Excellency the Comte de 
Vergennes, last Wednesday, I being present ; and also as to 
the Expediency of your Proceeding to St. Petersburg ; which 
Request I shall willingly comply with, as follows. 

Your first Question is: "Whether, on the whole, I con- 
ceived the Count to have any objections to the Mission 
itself?" 

1 Francis Dana (1743-1811), a native of Charlestown, Mass, and a graduate 
of Harvard College. He accepted in September 1779 the appointment of 
secretary to the commission on which John Adams was then appointed to 
negotiate for peace with Britain. In March, 1781, he was ordered to proceed 
as minister to Russia. ED. 

2 April 6, 1781. In L. C ED. 



178 1] TO FRANCIS DANA 233 

Answ. He did not make any such Objections, nor did he 
drop any Expression, by which it might be suppos'd he had 
any such in his Mind. 

Qu. 2. "Whether I considered his Reflections upon the 
Subject to be rather intended as Cautions and Advice to you, 
respecting the Conduct he wished you to hold in the Busi- 
ness?" 

Answ. His ExcelF expressed his Apprehensions, that if 
you went thither under a public Character before the Dispo- 
sition of the Court was known, and its Consent obtained, it 
might be thought improper, and be attended with Incon- 
venience ; and, if I remember right, he intimated the Propriety 
of your consulting the Prince Galitzin the Ambassador at 
the Hague. 

Qu. 3. "Whether I supposed him finally to make any 
real Objections to your going to Petersburgh in the Character 
only of a private American Gentleman, and there waiting 
the favourable Moment of opening your eventual Character?" 

Answ. His Objections were, that, tho' you should not 
avow your publick Character, yet, if known to be an Ameri- 
can, who had been in publick Employ, it would be suspected 
that you had such a Character, and the British Minister 
there might exert himself to procure you "quelques d&sagre- 
ments" that is, Chagrins or Mortifications ; and that, unless 
you appeared to have some other Object in visiting Russia, 
your being an American would alone give strong Grounds 
for such Suspicions. But, when you mentioned, that you 
might appear to have Views of Commerce, as a Merchant, 
or of Curiosity as a Traveller, &c. ; that there was a Gentle- 
man at Petersburgh with whom some in America had a 
Correspondence, and who had given Hints of the Utility 



234 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANK UN [1781 

there might be in having an American in Russia, who could 
give true Intelligence of the State of our Affairs, and prevent 
or refute Misrepresentations, &c. ; and that you could, per- 
haps, by means of that Gentleman, make Acquaintance, and 
thence procure useful Information of the State of Commerce, 
the Country, the Court, &c., he seem'd less to disapprove of 
your going directly. 

As to my own Opinion, which you require, though I have 
long imagined that we let ourselves down, in offering our 
Alliance before it is desired, and that it would have been better 
if we had never issued Commissions for Ministers to the 
Courts of Spain, Vienna, Prussia, Tuscany, or Holland, till 
we had first privately leamt, whether they would be received, 
since a Refusal from One is an actual Slight, that lessens our 
Reputation, and makes others less willing to form a Connec- 
tion with us; yet, since your Commission is given, and the 
Congress seem to expect, tho' I think they do not absolutely 
require, that you should proceed to Russia immediately, I 
conceive, that (assuming only a private Character for the 
present, as you propose,) it will be right for you to go, unless, 
on consulting Mr. Adams and Prince Gallitzin, you should 
find Reason to judge, that, under the present Circumstances 
of the propos'd Mediation, a Delay for some time would be 
more advisable. With great Esteem, and best Wishes for 
your Success, &c. 

B. FEANKLIN. 



1 78 1] TO JOHN ADAMS 235 

1197. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 7, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the 2gth past, enclosing one for the 
President of Congress, which I shall take Care to forward. 
I send you herewith a Sermon, which I fancy will give you 
Pleasure. Your last seemed to me to have been broke up 
and sealed again with a larger Seal than yours. I know not 
by what Conveyance it came, and I send you the Cover and 
Seal that you may judge of it. 

With great Esteem, I am, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Since Mr. Searle's return from Holland he has 
avoided all Communication with me. I cannot conceive 
the Reason. Can you? 



1198. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, April 7, 1781. 

SIR, 

Among the late intercepted Letters from London is one 
from the army agent there to the traitor Arnold by which it 
appears that his Bribe was 5000^ Sterling in bills drawn on 
Harley and Drummond who are the contractors for furnish- 
ing the Army with Money. Inclosed I send you a copy of 
that letter and shall send you others by next Post. 

The English papers tell us that you have succeeded in your 
Loan. Be so good as to tell me if it is true. It will give me 



236 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

great pleasure. I obtain'd here before Col. Laurens's 
Arrival a promise of 6,000,000 for our army, to which I hope 
his solicitation will make a considerable addition. The 
Marquis de la Fayette saiPd the 27 th past under Convoy of 
the Alliance with a fair Wind and a cargo for the Publick 
of Arms, Clothing etc valued at 1,000,000 Livres. 
With great respect, I am, Sir, 

Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1199. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (L. c.) 

Passy, April 12, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your Favour by M. Cabarrus, 1 and should 
have been glad if I could have rendered him any Service 
here. He appears an amiable Man, and expert in Affairs. 
I have also your obliging Letters of the 28th of February, and 
the 1 2th and 3th of March. I thank you much for your 
friendly Hints of the Operations of my Enemies, and of the 
means I might use to defeat them. Having in view at present 
no other Point to gain but that of Rest, I do not take their 
Malice so much amiss, as it may farther my Project, and per- 
haps be some advantage to you. Lee and Izard are open, 
and, so far, honourable Enemies; the Adams, if Enemies, 
are more covered. I never did any of them the least Injury, 
and can conceive no other Source of their Malice but Envy. 
To be sure, the excessive Respect shown me here by all 

1 A member of the firm of Cabarras & Co., Spanish bankers. ED. 



1781] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 237 

Ranks of People, and the little notice taken of them, was a 
mortifying Circumstance; but it was what I could neither 
prevent or remedy. Those who feel Pain at seeing others 
enjoy Pleasure, and are unhappy because others are happy, 
must meet daily with so many Causes of Torment, that I con- 
ceive them to be already in a State of Damnation; and, on 
that Account, I ought to drop all Resentment with regard to 
those two Gentlemen. But I cannot help being concern'd 
at the Mischief their ill Tempers will be continually doing in 
our publick Affairs, whenever they have any Concern in them. 
I remember the Maxim you mention of Charles V, Yo y 
el Tiempo; and have somewhere met with an Answer to it 
in this distich, 

" I and Time 'gainst any two, 
Chance and I 'gainst Time and you." 

And I think the Gentlemen you have at present to deal with, 
would do wisely to guard a little more against certain Chances. 
The price of the Bibliotheca Hispana 1 is too high for me. 
I thank you for the Gazettes you sent me by the Ambassador's 
Courier. I received none by the last. I shall be exceeding 
glad to receive the Memoirs of the Sociedad Econdmica, and 
the works on political (Economy of its Founder. 2 The 
Prince of Maceran, with several other Persons of his Nation, 
did me the honour of Breakfasting with me on Monday last, 
when I presented the Compliments you charg'd me with. 
Mr. Cumberland 3 has not yet arriv'd at Paris, as far as I 
have heard. 

1 See letter to Carmichael, January 27, 1780. ED. 

2 Don Pedro-Rodriguez, Conde de Campomanes (1723-1802), one of the 
most remarkable of Spanish statesmen the Turgot of Spain ! ED. 

3 Richard Cumberland (1732-181 1), the dramatist, succeeded John Pownall 
as secretary to the Board of Trade, and in 1 780 was sent on a secret mission 



238 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

The Discontents in our Army have been quieted. There 
was in them not the least Disposition of revolting to the 
Enemy. I thank you for the Maryland Captain's News, 
which I hope will be confirmed. They have heard something 
of it in England, as you will see by the Papers, and are very 
uneasy about it, as well as about their News from the East 
Indies. Yours affectionately, B FRANKLIN. 



1200. TO JOHN JAY (L. c.) 

Passy, April 12. 1781 

DEAR SIR, 

I have before me the several Letters you have honoured me 
with dated Feb. 21. March u. & April i. 

I was much pleas'd to learn that you have obtain'd a Prom- 
ise for 150,000 Dollars; your Reflection on the Consequence 
is just. As this Sum must be used in Payment of the Bills 
drawn upon you, and probably no Part of it can be apply'd 
to your Subsistance, I desire that you would draw upon me 
for half a Year of your Salaries immediately, at 30 Days 
sight ; and for the future, while I stay here, draw quarterly, 
until you receive Remittances or can obtain a disponible 
Grant or Loan. I mention this the first thing in my Letter, 
to make you as soon as possible easy on that head. 

I thank you for sending me the Copy of the Resolution 
relating to the Empress of Russia, tho' I had before receiv'd 
it and was already communicated to her imperial Majesty, 
who I am informed is much pleased with it. M* Dana, 

to Spain with Abbe Hussey. See " Memoirs of Richard Cumberland " (1807). 
The purpose of the mission was to persuade the Spanish government to agree 
to a separate treaty with England. ED. 



1 78 r] TO JOHN JAY 239 

lately Secretary to M* Adams, has receiv'd a Commission 
appointing him Minister to that Court. He is on his way 
thither incog. & proposes to appear in that Country merely 
as a Traveller till a proper time may arrive for avowing his 
Character. So you will please not to mention it. M 1 
Adams has I believe, receiv'd a Commission lately to supply 
the Place of M r Laurens in Holland. I know not whether 
he has yet declar'd it. He has some time since opened a 
Loan there at the House of Neufville for two millions of 
Florins, about 4 millions of Livres: I have not yet heard 
with what Success, but hope it will fill. 

I have always found M* Grand here, an able & hearty 
Friend in our Affairs. I am therefore glad that you are be- 
coming better acquainted with his Friend at Madrid, as to- 
gether they may on many Occasions be more serviceable to 
us. 

I thank you for communicating to me the Letter of the 
Secretary of Congress on our Finances. It gives Light which 
I had not be 'ore, & may be useful here. 

Negociations for Peace are talk'd of. You will see all I 
know of them, in a Letter of mine to Congress, which I leave 
open for your Perusal, and desire you to forward with your 
next Dispatches. I give you the Opportunity of perusing 
that Letter for another Reason; I have in it desired a Dis- 
mission from the Service, in Consideration of my Age, ( &c 
and I wish you to succeed me here. No Copy of the Letter 
is yet gone from France, & possibly this which I send you 
may arrive first ; nor have I mention'd my Intention to any one 
here : if therefore the Change would be agreable to you, you 
may write to your Friends in Congress accordingly. This 
Thought occurr'd to me; on hearing from the Princess 



240 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Masserano that you & M Jay did not pass your time 
agreably there, and I think you would find this People of a 
more sociable Turn, besides I could put you immediately 
into the Society I enjoy here of a Set of very amiable Friends. 
In this Case, M* Carmichael might succeed you in Spam. I 
purpose recommending these Changes my self in another 
Letter. 

Your Express arrived here on Sunday last, at 3 o Clock. 
I communicated your Letter that Evening to M* Laurens. 
We agreed in the Necessity of supporting the Credit of Congress 
by paying the Bills, tho' his Zeal for supplying the Army 
made him feel a Reluctance in diminishing the 6 million of 
Livres I had lately obtain'd for that purpose, and which was 
either to be laid out in Cloathing &c here or drawn for by 
General Washington, as you will see by my Letter to Congress. 
I have my self experienc'd too much of the same distress'd 
Situation you are in, not to pity you most sincerely. I have 
therefore this Day authoriz'd M r Grand in Writing, to pay 
the Bills of the Marquis d' Yranda that may be drawn to 
furnish you with the Sum of 142,220 Dollars. I confide that 
these Drafts will not come but by degrees as the Occasion calls, 
from your Acceptances between May & September. My Re- 
ceipts of Money being gradual; and it may be depended on 
that the Bills will be duly honoured. 

M' Laurens is worrying the Ministers for more Money, & 
we shall I believe obtain a farther Sum. But the necessary 
Supplies of military Stores will demand all & more than we 
shall get: I hope therefore that you will not relax in your 
Applications for Aids from Spam on Account of the Sums to 
be furnished you by me, since it will be hardly possible for 
me to assist you farther. 



1781] TO JOHN ADAMS 241 

My Grand son will execute with Pleasure your Commissions. 
Present my respectful Compliments to M r " Jay, and believe 
me ever, with sincere Esteem, & Attachment, 

Dear Sir, 

B. FRANKLIN. 
P. S. 

I inclose you Copies of a Number of Letters lately 
taken & brought hi here. I wish you could send Copies of 
them by different Conveyances, as the Contents of some are 
important. 



1201. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, April 29. 1781. 



I enclose you Extracts of two Letters ministerial, found in 
the same Pacquet with the former, written in the fond Belief 
that the States were on the Point of submitting, and caution- 
ing the Commissioners for Peace not to promise too much 
respecting the future Constitutions. They are indeed cau- 
tiously worded, but easily understood, when explain'd by 
two Court Maxims or Assertions, the one of Lord Granville's, 
late President of the Council, that the King is the Legislator 
of the Colonies; the other of the present Chancellor, when in 
the House of Commons, that the Quebec Constitution was 
the only proper Constitution for Colonies, ought to have been 
given to them all -when first planted, and what all ought now 
to be reduced to. We may hence see the Danger of listening 
to any of their deceitful Propositions, though piqu'd by the 
Negligence of some of those European Powers, who will be 

VOL. VIII R 



242 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

much benefited by our Revolution. I have the honour to be, 
Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1202. TO MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY 1 (L. c.) 

. . . Must now be next its End, as I have compleated 
my 75th Year I could wish to see my dear Friends of your 
Family once more before I withdraw, but I see no Prospect 
of enjoying that Felicity. Let me at least have that of hear- 
ing from you a little oftener. 

I do not understand the Coldness you mention of the 
Nights in the Desert. I never before heard of such an Obser- 
vation. If you have learnt what was the Degree of cold and 
how it was observed, and what Difference between the Night 
and the Day, you will oblige me by communicating it. I like 
to see that you retain a Taste for Philosophical Enquiries. 

I rec d also your very kind Letter by Mad* [illegible 

in Ms.], with whom and the Princess, her Mother, I am much 
pleased ; tho' I have not seen them so often as I wished, li ving 
as I do out of Paris. 

I am glad to hear that you all pass'd the summer so agreably 
in Wales, and I felicitate you as the French say, on the In- 
crease of your Brother's Family. 

Accept my Thanks for your Friendly Verses and good 
Wishes. How many Talents you possess ! Painting, Poetry, 
Languages, etc., etc. All valuable, but your good Heart is 
worth the whole. 

1 Of uncertain date, but written between January and May in 1781. Miss 
Shipley replied to it May 6, 1781 (A. P. S.)- It is printed from a letter press 
copy of L. S. in L. C. It is incomplete, lacking both beginning and ending. 
ED. 



1781] TO MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY 243 

Your mention of the Summer House brings fresh to my 
mind all the Pleasures I enjoyed in the sweet Retreat at 
Twyford: the Hours of agreable and instructive Conversa- 
tion with the amiable Family at Table ; with its Father alone ; 
the delightful Walks in the Gardens and neighbouring 
Grounds. Pleasures past and gone forever! Since I have 
had your Father's Picture I am grown more covetous of the 
rest; every time I look at your second Drawing I have 
regretted that you have not given to your Juno the Face of 
Anna Maria, to Venus that of Emily or Betsey, and to Cupid 
that of Emily's Child, as it would have cost you but little 
more Trouble. I must, however, beg that you will make me 
up a compleat Set of your little Profiles, which are more easily 
done. You formerly obliged me with that of the Father, an 
excellent one. Let me also have that of the good Mother, and 
of all the Children. It will help me to fancy myself among 
you, and to enjoy more perfectly in Idea, the Pleasure of 
your Society. My little Fellow-Traveller, the sprightly 
Hetty, with whose sensible Prattle I was so much entertained, 
why does she not write to me? If Paris affords any thing 
that any of you wish to have, mention it. You will oblige me. 
It affords everything but Peace I Ah ! when shall we again 
enjoy that Blessing! 

Next to seeing our Friends is the Pleasure of hearing 
from them, and learning how they live. Your Accounts of 
your Journies and how you pass your Summers please me 
much. I flatter myself you will like to know something of 
the same kind relating to me. I inhabit, a clean, well-built 
Village situate on a Hill, in a fine Air, with a beautiful Pros- 
pect, about 2 Miles [Incomplete.] 



244 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 



1203. FROM THE MARQUIS OF TURGOT TO 
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (u. OF p.) 

Paris ce 25 Avril 1781 
MONSIEUR, 

Je ferai rechercher suivant vos intentions la machine pour copier les 
lettres, ainsi que ses accessoires, je les ferai porter chez M. 1'Abbe Morellet. 
On vient de me remettre le livre que feu mon frere vous avait prSte. J'aurais 
une grace & vous demander, ce serait de vouloir bien me faire connattre la 
methods que vous avez employee pour enflamer la fumee et 1'employer utile- 
mcnt pour diminuer la consommation du hois dans une des cheminees de 
votre invention. Cette methode ne se trouve qu'enoncee dans la traduction 
que feu M. Dubourg a publiee de vos lettres : il dit que vous ne 1'avez point 
rendue publique parceque la reussite dependait d'attentions et de soins dont 
la plupart dcs domestiques sont incapables. J'avais pense que peut-fitre on 
pourrait 1'employer utilement dans nos cheminees de cuisine qui consomment 
une quantite de bois enorme presqu'en pure pcrte. 

J'ay 1'honneur d'etre avec une veneration et un respect bien sinceres, 

Monsieur, votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur. 

(Signed) TURGOT. 



1204. TO MARQUIS DE TURGOT (u. OF P.) 

Passy, May i, 1781. 

SIR, 

I did intend when in London to have published a Pamphlet 
describing the new Stove you mention, and for that purpose 
had a Plate engrav'd of which I send you an Impression. 
But I have since been too much engag'd in Affairs to execute 
that Intention. Its Principle is that of a Syphon reversed, 
operating on Air in a manner somewhat similar to the Opera- 
tion of the Common Syphon on Water. The Funnel of the 
Chimney is the longer Leg. The Vase is the shorter. And as 
in the common Syphon, the Weight of Water in the longer Leg 
is greater than that in the shorter Leg, and in thus descending 



1781] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 245 

permits the Water in the shorter Leg to rise, by the Pressure 
of the Atmosphere: So in the Aerial Syphon, the Levity 
of the Air in the longer Leg being greater than that in the 
Shorter, it rises & permits the Pressure of the Atmosphere 
to force that in the Shorter to descend. This causes the Smoke 
to descend also, & in passing through burning Coals, it is 
kindled into Flame, thereby heating more the Passages in 
the Iron Box whereon the Vase which contains the Coals is 
plac'd and retarding at the same time the Consumption of the 
Coals. On the left hand of the Engraving you see the Ma- 
chine put together and plac'd in a Niche built for it in a com- 
mon Chimney. On the right hand the Parts (except the 
Vase) are shown separately. If you should desire a more 
particular Explanation, I will give it to you viva voce, when- 
ever you please. I think with you that it is capable of being 
us'd to Advantage in our Kitchens, if one could overcome 
the Repugnance of Cooks to the using of new Instruments 
& new Methods. With great Respect, I have the honour to 
be, Sir, [B. F.] 

1205. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

DEAR SIR, Passy, May 4, 1781. 

It is so long since I heard from you, that I begin to fear you 
are ill. Pray write to me, and let me know the State of your 
Health. I enclose Morgan's Ace* of his Engagement with 
Tarleton. If he has not already received it, it may be 
agreable to our Friend the Gazetteer of Leiden. 1 Every 

thing goes well here, and I am ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Reinier Arrenberg, publisher of " Gazettier Franais de Leide." ED. 



246 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1206. TO COURT DE GEBELIN (L. c.) 

Passy, May 7, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I am glad the little Book 2 prov'd acceptable. It does not 
appear to me intended for a Grammar to teach the Language. 
It is rather what we call in English a Spelling Book, in which 
the only Method observ'd is, to arrange the Words according 
to their Number of Syllables, placing those of one Syllable 
together, then those of two Syllables, and so on. And it is 
to be observ'd, that Sa ki ma, for Instance, is not three 
Words, but one Word of three Syllables ; and the reason that 
Hyphens are not plac'd between the Syllables is, that the 
Printer had not enough of them. 

As the Indians had no Letters, they had no Orthography. 
The Delaware Language being differently spelt from the 
Virginian may not always arise from a Difference in the 
Languages; for Strangers who learn the Language of an 

1 Antoine Court de Gebelin, born at Nismes, in 1725, of a Protestant 
family, became a minister in that communion, first in the Cevennes, and next 
at Lausanne ; which, however, he quitted, together with the clerical function, 
for the profession of literature at Paris, where he acquired so great a reputa- 
tion as an antiquary and philologer, that he was appointed to superintend 
one of the museums. He lost much of his reputation, however, by his enthu- 
siastic zeal in favour of animal magnetism. He died at Paris, May ijth, 1784. 
His great work is entitled, "Monde Primitif, analyse et compare avec le 
Monde Moderne" nine volumes in quarto. The excellence of his character 
may be appreciated from the single fact, that on quitting Switzerland, he 
voluntarily gave to his sister the principal part of his patrimony, reserving 
little for himself, and depending for a maintenance upon the exercise of his 
talents. W. T. F. 

2 A vocabulary of the language of one of the Indian tribes in North America. 

ED. 



1781] TO COURT DE GEBELIN 247 

Indian Nation, finding no Orthography, are at Liberty in 
writing the Language to use such Compositions of Letters 
as they think will best produce the Sounds of the Words. I 
have observ'd, that our Europeans of different Nations, who 
learn the same Indian Language, form each his own Orthog- 
raphy according to the usual Sounds given to the Letters in 
his own Language. Thus the same Words of the Mohawk 
Language written by an English, a French, and a German 
Interpreter, often differ very much in the Spelling; and, 
without knowing the usual Powers of the Letters in the Lan- 
guage of the Interpreter, one cannot come at the Pronuncia- 
tion of the Indian Words. The Spelling Book in question 
was, I think, written by a German. 

You mention a Virginian Bible. Is it not the Bible of the 
Massachusetts Language, translated by Elliot, and printed 
in New England, about the middle of the last Century? I 
know this Bible, but have never heard of one in the Virginian 
Language. Your Observations of the Similitude - between 
many of the Words, and those of the ancient World, are in- 
deed very curious. 

This Inscription, which you find to be Phenician, is, I 
think, near Taunton (not Jannston, as you write it). There 
is some Account of it in the old Philosophical Transactions. 
I have never been at the Place, but shall be glad to see your 
Remarks on it. 

The Compass appears to have been long known in China, 
before it was known in Europe ; unless we suppose it known 
to Homer, who makes the Prince, that lent Ships to Ulysses, 
boast that they had a spirit in them, by whose Directions 
they could find their way in a cloudy Day, or the darkest 
Night. If any Phenicians arriv'd in America, I should rather 



248 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

think it was not by the Accident of a Storm, but in the Course of 
their long and adventurous Voyages; and that they coasted 
from Denmark and Norway, over to Greenland, and down 
Southward by Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, &c., to New 
England; as the Danes themselves certainly did some ages 
before Columbus. 

Our new American Society will be happy in the Corre- 
spondence you mention, and when it is possible for me, I 
shall be glad to attend the Meetings of your Society, 1 which 
I am sure must be very instructive. With great and sincere 

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

B. FJRANKLIN.] 



1207. TO JOHN ADAMS (if. H. s.) 

Passy, May u, 1781. 

SIR, 

I am honoured with your Excellency's Letter of the 2 7 th 
past, acquainting me with your appointment as Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the States General, on which please to 
accept my Compliments and best wishes for success in your 
negociations. We have just received Advice here that M. la 
Motte Piquet met with the English Convoy of Dutch Ships 
taken at St. Eustatia and has retaken twenty one of them. 
The men of War that were with them escaped ; after making 
the Signal for every one to shift for himself. 

A vessel is arriv'd at L'Orient from Philadelphia which 
brings letters for the Court down to the 25* of March; mine 
are not yet come up. M. de Renneval, from whom I had all 

1 L' Academic des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. ED. 



1781] TO JOHN HANCOCK 249 

the above Intelligence tells me they contain no News of 
Importance. 

I have the honour to be 

Sir Your most obedient 

and most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1208. TO JOHN HANCOCK (A. p. s.) 

Passy, May 14. 1781. 

SIR, 

Permit me to repeat my Congratulations on your Election 
to the Government of your Country, and my best Wishes for 
your Health & Happiness. 

A Privateer of this Country having taken an English Packet 
bound to New York, with her Dispatches, some of which it 
may be of particular Use to your State that your Excellency 
should see, as they relate to the Enemy's Posts and proposed 
Operations in its Neighborhood ; and others which tho' of a 
more general Nature, are interesting to Massachusetts-Bay } 
as a part of the whole United States, I have had Copies taken 
of them for you, which I enclose. Other Copies are gone by 
different Conveyances to Congress. 

With great & sincere Esteem & Respect, I have the honour 
to be, 

Sir, 

Your Excellency's most obedient 
and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



250 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1209. TO MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (L. c.) 

Passy, May 14. 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

You are a very good Correspondent, which I do not deserve, 
as I am a bad one. The Truth is, I have too much Business 
upon my hands, a great deal of it foreign to my Function as a 
Minister, which interferes with my writing regularly to my 
Friends. But I am nevertheless extremely sensible of your 
kindness in sending me such frequent and full Intelligence of 
the State of Affairs on your Side the Water, and in letting me 
see by your Letters, that your Health continues, as well as 
your Zeal for our Cause and Country. 

I hope, that by this time the Ship, which has the honour of 
bearing your Name, is safely arrived. She carries Clothing 
for nearly 20,000 Men, with Arms, Ammunition, &c., which 
will supply some of your Wants; and Colonel Laurens will 
bring a considerable Addition, if Providence favours his 
Passage. You will receive from him the Particulars, which 
makes my writing more fully by him unnecessary. 

Your good Lady was so kind as to make me a charming 
Visit, when I was laid up by the Gout last Winter and brought 
with her the sweet little Girl who prattles very prettily, and 
talks of you and General Washington. 

You mention my having Enemies in America. You are 
luckier, for I think you have none here, nor anywhere. Your 
Friends have heard of your being gone against the Traitor 
Arnold, and are anxious to hear of your Success, and that 
you have brought him to Justice. Enclos'd is a Copy of a 
Letter from his Agent in England, by which the Price of his 



iy8i] TO MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 251 

Treason may be guessed at. Judas sold only one Man, 
Arnold three Millions. Judas got for his one Man 30 Pieces 
of Silver, Arnold not a halfpenny a Head. A miserable 
Bargainer! Especially when one considers the Quantity of 
Infamy he has acquired to himself, and entail'd on his Family. 

The English are in a fair way of gaining still more Enemies ; 
they play a desperate Game. Fortune may favour them, as it 
sometimes does a drunken Dicer: But by their Tyranny in 
the East, they have at length roused the Powers there against 
them, and I do not know that they have in the West a single 
Friend. If they lose their India Commerce (which is one 
of their present great Supports), and one Battle at Sea, their 
Credit is gone, and their Power follows. Thus Empires, 
by Pride, Folly, and Extravagance, ruin themselves like 
Individuals. M. de la Motte Picquet has snatched from 
between their Teeth a good deal of their West India Prey, 
having taken 22 Sail of their homeward bound Prizes. One 
of our American Privateers has taken two more, and brought 
them into Brest, and two were burnt ; there were 34 in com- 
pany, with two Men-of-War of the Line and two Frigates, 
who sav'd themselves by Flight, but we do not hear of their 
being yet got in. 

I think it was a wise Measure to send Col. Laurens here, 
who could speak knowingly of the State of the Army. It 
has been attended with all the Success that perhaps could 
reasonably be expected, though not with all that was wished. 
He has fully justified your Character of him, and returns 
thoroughly possessed of my Esteem; but that cannot and 
ought not to please him so much, as a little more Money would 
have done for his beloved Army. This Court continues firm 
and steady in its Friendship, and does every thing it can for 



252 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

us. Can we not do a little more for ourselves? My Suc- 
cessor (for I have desired the Congress to send me one) will 
find it in the best Disposition towards us, and I hope he will 
take care to cultivate that Disposition. You, who know 
the leading People of both Countries, can perhaps judge better 
than any Member of Congress of a Person suitable for this 
Station. 

I wish you may be in a way to give your Advice, when the 
Matter is agitated in that Assembly. I have been long tired 
of the Trade of Minister, and wished for a little Repose 
before I went to sleep for good and all. I thought I might 
have held out till the Peace ; but, as that seems at a greater 
Distance than the End of my Days, I grow impatient. I 
would not, however, quit the Service of the Public, if I did 
not sincerely think that it would be easy for the Congress, 
with your counsel, to find a fitter Man. God bless you, and 
crown all your Labours with Success. With the highest 
Regard and most sincere Affection, I am, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1210. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (L. c.) 

Passy, May 14. 1781. 

SIR, 

I did myself the honour of writing to your Excellency 
pretty fully on the i2th of March, to which I beg leave to 
refer. Col. Laurens arriving soon after, we renew'd the 
Application for more Money. 

His indefatigable Endeavours have brought the good Dis- 
positions of this Court to a more speedy Determination of 
making an Addition, than could well have been expected so 



1 78 1] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 253 

soon after the former Grant. As he will have an Opportunity 
of acquainting you personally with all the Particulars of 
Importance, a circumstantial Account of the Transaction 
from me is unnecessary. \ would only mention, that, as it 
is the Practice here to consider early in the Year the probable 
Expences of the Campaign, and appropriate the Revenues 
to the several necessary Services, all subsequent and unex- 
pected Demands are extreamly inconvenient and disagree- 
able, as they cannot be answered without Difficulty, occasion 
much Embarrassment, and are sometimes impracticable. 
If, therefore, the Congress have not on this Occasion obtained 
all they wished, they will impute it to the right cause, and 
not suppose a want of Good Will in our Friends, who indeed 
are such, most firmly and sincerely. 

The whole Supply for the current Year now amounts to 
twenty Millions; but out of this are to be paid your usual 
Drafts for Interest Money, those in favour of M. de Beau- 
marchais, and those heretofore drawn on Mr. Jay and Mr. 
Laurens, which I have already either paid or engag'd for, 
with the Support of your several Ministers, &c. &c. ; which 
I mention, that the Congress may avoid the Embarrassing 
my Successor with Drafts, which perhaps he may not have 
the means in his Hands of honouring. Besides paying the 
second year's Salaries of Messrs. Adams and Dana, Jay and 
Carmichael, I have furnish'd Mr. Dana with 1500 Sterling 
Credit on Petersburgh, for which place I suppose he is now 
on his Way. 

You will receive from Holland Advices of the late Declara- 
tion of that Court, with regard to the English Refusal of its 
Mediation, and of the Assistance requested by the States-Gen- 
eral. I hope Mr. Dana will find it well dispos'd towards us. 



254 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

I have received no Answer yet to my Letters relating to the 
proposed Mode of lodging Funds here, by supplying the 
French fleet and Army. Having as yet heard nothing of 
Colonel Palfrey, and it being now more than 4 Months since 
he sail'd, there is great reason to fear he may be lost. If that 
should unhappily be the Case, the Congress cannot too soon 
appoint another Consul, such an officer being really necessary 
here. Your Minister Plenipotentiary has hitherto had all 
that sort of Business upon his Hands ; and, as I do not now 
speak for myself, I may speak more freely. I think he should 
be freed from the Burden of such Affairs, from all Concerns in 
making Contracts for furnishing Supplies, and from all your 
Bill of Exchange Business, &c. &c., that he may be more at 
liberty to attend to the duties of his political Function. 

The Prisoners in England are increasing by the late Prac- 
tice of sending our People from New York, and the Refusal 
of the English Admiralty to exchange any Americans for 
Englishmen not taken by American Armed Vessels. I would 
mention it for the Consideration of Congress, whether it 
may not be well to set apart 5 or 600 English Prisoners, and 
refuse them all Exchange in America, but for our Country- 
men now confin'd in England. 

Agreable to the Vote of Congress, and your Excellency's 
Letter of the 4th of January, I have requested the Assistance 
of this Court for obtaining the Release of Mr. President 
Laurens. It does not yet appear that the Thing is practicable. 
What the present situation is of that unfortunate Gentleman, 
may be gather'd from the enclos'd Letters. 1 

I hope the Alliance, with the ship Marquis de la Fayette 

1 The reference here is to the letters of Sir Grey Cooper and Mr. Charles 
Vernon. ED. 



1781] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 255 

under her Convoy, are by this time arrived, as they sail'd the 
2yth of March. I flatter myself, that the Supplies of Cloth- 
ing, &c., which they carry, will be found good of the kind, and 
well bought. I have by several late Opportunities sent Copies 
of the Government Letters taken in the New York Pacquet. 
Your Excellency will see, that they are written in the perfect 
Persuasion of our submitting speedily, and that the Com- 
missioners are caution'd not to promise too much, with regard 
to the future Constitutions to be given us, as many Changes 
of the old may be necessary, &c. One cannot read those 
Letters from the American secretary of state, and his under- 
secretary, Knox, without a Variety of Reflections on the 
State we should necessarily be in, if oblig'd to make the Sub- 
mission they so fondly hope for, but which I trust in God they 
will never see. Their Affairs in the East Indies, by the late 
Accounts, grow worse and worse; and 22 Ships of the Prey 
they made in the West are wrench'd out of their Jaws by the 
Squadron of M. de la Motte-Piquet. 

I mentioned in a former Letter, my purpose of remaining 
here for some time after I should be superseded. I mean it 
with the permission of Congress, and on the Supposition of 
no Orders being sent me to the contrary ; and I hope it will 
be so understood. With the greatest Respect, I have the 
honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



256 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

i2ii. TO SAMUEL COOPER (L. c.) 

Passy, May 15, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of February i, by Col. Jo- 
honnot. 1 Your Sentiments of the present State of our Affairs 
appear to me very judicious, and I am much oblig'd by your 
free Communication of them. They are often of Use here; 
for you have a Name and Character among us, that give 
Weight to your Opinions. 3 

It gives me great Pleasure to learn, that your new Consti- 
tution is at length settled with so great a Degree of Unanimity 
and general Satisfaction. 8 It seems to me upon the whole an 
excellent one ; and that if there are some Particulars, that one 
might have wish'd a little different, they are such as could not 
in the present state of things have been well obtained other- 
wise than they are, and, if by Experience found inconvenient 
will probably be chang'd hereafter. I would only mention 
at present one Article, that of maintenance for the Clergy. 
It seems to me, that, by the Constitution, the Quakers may 
be obliged to pay the Tax for that purpose. But, as the great 
End in imposing it is professedly the promotion of Piety, 

1 Son-in-law of Samuel Cooper. He served in the American army upon 
its first taking the field, as Lieutenant Colonel of the Marblehead Regiment. 
His health obliged him to leave the army, and he returned to business as a 
merchant. At this time he crossed the ocean to see his son, " whom," said 
Samuel Cooper, " we sent to France for part of his Education, and as a Pledge 
of our Affection to that Nation, and our Attachment to the general Views of 
the Alliance." (Cooper to F., Feb. I, 1781, A. P. S.) ED. 

* A paragraph is here omitted because it repeats what has been already 
said in the letter to Lafayette (May 14, 1781), about Laurens' mission. ED. 

* Constitution of Massachusetts. ED. 



1781] TO SAMUEL COOPER 257 

Religion, and Morality, and those People have found means 
of securing that End among themselves without a regular 
Clergy, and their Teachers are not allow'd to receive money ; I 
should think it not right to tax them, and give the Money to the 
Teacher of the Parish ; but I imagine, that, in the Laws to 
be made for levying Parish Taxes, this Matter may be regu- 
lated to their Contentment. 

1 am very sensible of the honour done me by the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences, in choosing me one of their 
Members. I wish I could be of some Utility in promoting 
the noble Design of their Institution. Perhaps I may, by 
sending them from time to time some of the best Publica- 
tions that appear here. I shall begin to make a collection for 
them. 

Your excellent Sermon * gave me abundance of Pleasure, 
and is much admired by several of my Friends who under- 
stand English. I propose to get it translated and printed at 
Geneva, at the End of a Translation of your new Constitution. 
Nothing could be happier than your Choice of a Text, 2 and 
your Application of it. It was not necessary in New England, 
where everybody reads the Bible, and is acquainted with 
Scripture Phrases, that you should note the Texts from which 
you took them ; but I have observed in England, as well as 
in France, that Verses and Expressions taken from the 
sacred Writings, and not known to be such, appear very 
strange and awkward to some Readers ; and I shall therefore, 

1 A sermon preached at the Inauguration of the new Government. ED. 

2 " Their Congregation shall be established before me : and their Nobles 
shall be of themselves, and their Governor shall proceed from the midst of 
them." xxxth Jeremiah, 20, 21 ver. ED. 

VOL. VIII S 



258 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

in my Edition, take the Liberty of marking the quoted Texts 
in the Margin. 

I know not whether a Belly- jutt has been given to anybody 
by the Picking of my Bones, but picked they now are, and I 
think it time they should be at rest. 1 I am taking measures 
to obtain that Rest for them ; happy if, before I die, I can 
find a few Days absolutely at my own Disposal. I often 
form pleasing Imaginations of the Pleasure I should enjoy 
as a private Person among my Friends and Compatriots in 
my native Boston. God only knows whether this Pleasure 
is reserv'd for me. With the greatest and most sincere 

Esteem, I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1212. TO FRANCIS LEWIS (L. c.) 

Passy, May 16, 1781. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the ist of January. The Bill for <\/\/\<\ Mexican Dolkrs > 
which you remitted to Mr. Schweighauser, being refus'd 
Payment by Mr. Jay, for want of a regular Indorsement by 
Mr. Laurens, in whose favour it was drawn, and which In- 
dorsement could not now be obtain'd, Mr. Schweighauser 
apply'd to me, informing me, that he should not send the 
things ordered by your Board, unless the Bill was paid ; and 
it appearing on the face of the Bill, that it was drawn for 
public Service, I concluded to take it up, on which he has 

1 Samuel Cooper wrote to F. May 13, 1778 (U. of P.): "You once told 
me in a letter, as you were going to France, the Public had had the eating 
your Flesh, & seemed resolved to pick your bones we all agree the nearer 
the bone the sweeter the meat." ED. 



1 78 1] TO JOHN LAURENS 259 

purchased the Things and ship'd them. Colonel Laurens 
has put on board some other Supplies for the Army, and I 
suppose the Vessel will now sail directly. 

The Drafts from Congress upon me for various Services, 
and those on Mr. Jay and Mr. Laurens, all coming upon me 
for Payment, together with the Expences on the Ships, &c. 
&c., have made it impracticable for me to advance more for 
loading the Active; but as we have obtain'd lately promises 
of a considerable Aid for this Year, I shall now try what I 
can do, as the Money comes in, towards supplying what is 
demanded in the Invoice you mention. You will receive, 
I hope, 28 Cannon, and a large Quantity of Powder and 
Saltpetre, by the Ship Marquis de la Fayette. 1 have, by 
several Opportunities, written in Answer to your Questions 
relative to the Ship Alliance. I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Please to present my Respects to the Board. 



1213. TO JOHN LAURENS (L. L.) 

Passy, May 17, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

Inclos'd is the Order you desire for another Hundred Louis. 
Take my Blessing with it, and my Prayers that God may send 
you safe & well home with your Cargoes. I would not 
attempt persuading you to quit the military Line, because I 

1 Col. John Laurens (1756-1782), son of Henry Laurens, was aide to Wash- 
ington, fought at Brandywine, Monmouth, and Germantown, and was sent by 
Washington to France to obtain supplies. ED. 



26o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

think you have the Qualities of Mind and Body that promise 
your doing great service & acquiring Honour in that Line. 
Otherwise I should be happy to see you again here as my 
Successor; having sometime since written to Congress re- 
questing to be reliev'd, and believing as I firmly do, that they 
could not put their Affairs in better Hands. I shall ever be 

Most affectionately yours 

B. FRANKLIN. 

[Addressed Hon ble Col. John Laurence 
Hotel d'Angleterre 
a Paris] 



1214. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, May 19, 1781 

SIR, 

I have with you no doubt, that America will be easily able 
to pay off not only the Interest, but the Principal, of all the 
Debt she may contract in this War. But whether Duties upon 
her Exports will be the best Method of doing it, is a Question 
I am not so clear in. England rais'd indeed a great Revenue 
by Duties on Tobacco. But it was by Virtue of a Prohibition 
of Foreign Tobaccos, and thereby obliging the internal Con- 
sumer to pay those Duties. If America were to lay a duty of 
5 pence Sterling per pound on the Exportation of her To- 
bacco, would any European Nation buy it? Would not the 
Colonies of Spain and Portugal, and the Ukraine of Russia, 
furnish it much cheaper? Was not England herself obliged, 
for such Reasons, to drop the Duty on Tobacco she furnish'd 
to France? Would it not cost an immense Sum in Officers, 



1 78 1] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 261 

&c., to guard our long coast against the smuggling of To- 
bacco, and running it out to avoid the Duty? And would 
not many even of those Officers be corrupted and connive at it ? 
It is possibly an erroneous Opinion, but I find myself rather 
inclin'd to adopt that modern one, which supposes it best for 
every Country to leave its Trade entirely free from all In- 
cumbrances. Perhaps no Country does this at present. 
Holland comes the nearest to it; and her Commercial 
Wealth seems to have increas'd in proportion. 

Your Excellency has done me the honour of announcing to 
me your Appointment. I hope soon to return the Compli- 
ment by informing you of my Dismission. I find the various 
Employments of Merchant, Banker, Judge of admiralty, 
Consul, &c. &c., besides my ministerial Function, too multi- 
farious and too heavy for my old Shoulders ; and have there- 
fore requested Congress that I may be reliev'd; for in this 
point I agree even with my Enemies, that another may easily 

be found who can better execute them. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1215. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, June 4. 1781. 

SIR, 

I beg leave to acquaint your Excellency that the purchases 
of clothing &c. for the troops made by Mf Laurens, or by his 
orders in Holland, will, as I understand amount to near a 
million, which he has left for me to pay. And that in con- 
sequence of his Majesty's late liberal grants in aid of the 
United States, I have, for the absolute necessary support of 
their credit, engaged to accept and pay their drafts on M* 



262 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN 1 FRANKLIN [1781 

President Laurens, those on Mf Jay in Spain, and those 
on MT Adams in Holland, which with those upon myself, 
exclusive of the Loan Office Interest Bills, will demand about 
three millions and an half more. 

I would therefore request that of the money proposed to 
be left subject to the drafts of General Washington, there may 
be retained here about five millions for the discharge of the 
above mention'd bills as they shall become due, and for other 
occasional demands. 

M* Jay and M* Adams have, as well as myself, remonstrated 
strongly to Congress against their Drawing any more upon 
either of us ; and we have reason to believe there is an end to 
that inconvenient practice. 

With great Respect, I am Sir, 

your Excellency's most 
obedient and most humble 

servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1216. TO MESSRS. D. WENDORP AND THOMAS 
HOPE HEYLIGER 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June 8. 1781. 
GENTLEMEN, 

I received the Letter you did me the Honour of writing to 
me on the 3ist past, relating to your Ship,* supposed to be 
retaken from the English by an American Privateer, and 
carried into Morlaix. I apprehend that you have been mis- 
informed, as I do not know of any American Privateer at 

1 Amsterdam merchants. Their letter of May 31, 1781 is in A. P. S. ED. 
* JonJkvrowe Maria Magdaltna, commanded by Maitre Jan Olhoff. ED. 



1781] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 263 

present in these Seas. I have the same Sentiments with you 
of the Injustice of the English, in their Treatment of your 
Nation. They seem at present to have renounced all Pre- 
tension to any other Honour, than that of being the first 
Piratical State in the World. There are three Employments, 
which I wish the Law of Nations would protect, so that they 
should never be molested or interrupted by Enemies even in 
time of War; I mean Farmers, Fishermen, and Merchants; 
because their Employments are not only innocent, but for the 
common Subsistence and Benefit of the human Species in 
general. As Men grow more enlightened, we may hope that 
this will in time be [the] Case. Till then we must submit, 
as well [as] we can, to the Evils we cannot remedy. I have 
the honour to be, Gentlemen, &c. TJ T ?nt 

i>. r RANKUN. 



1217. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

, Passy. June 10* 1781 

oIR, 

I received the letter your Excellency did me the honour of 
writing to me on the 8* Inst. in answer to mine of the 4** 

The state of M*. Laurens's transaction in Holland, as I 
understood it, is this. Capt. Gillon represented to him, that 
he had bought clothing &c. for the troops of South Carolina, 
to the value of io,ooo sterling, which were actually shipp'd 
in the Indienne; that he now wanted money to get his ship 
out, and therefore proposed to Mr Laurens to take those goods 
of him for the United States. MF Laurens agreed to take 
such as would suit their wants, and to pay for the same by 
Bills upon me at six months' sight ; and proposed to send in 
< her some other articles that could be bought in Holland. His 



264 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

motives were that this fine ship, if she could be got out, would 
be a safe conveyance; and that she would afterwards be 
useful to the Congress on our Coasts. He informed me that 
he had mentioned to your Excellency Capt. Gillon's proposal, 
and that you seem'd to approve of it. I accordingly consented 
to his ordering those drafts upon me; but this will not be 
any great addition to my difficulty, since in the term of 6 
months, I can probably receive from Congress the Power 
which you judge necessary for applying any part of the loan 
opened in Holland, to the discharge of those Bills. 

With regard to the drafts made by Congress on MT Jay, in 
expectation of a friendly loan from the Court of Spain, on 
M! Laurens and MT Adams in Holland, from assurances given 
by some People of that Country that a loan might be easily 
by them obtained there; and large drafts upon myself, 
exclusive of the Loan Office Interest Bills ; these all together 
occasion an embarrassment, which it is my duty to lay before 
your Excellency, and to acquaint you with the consequences 
I apprehend may attend their not being duly discharged. 
Those Bills were occasioned first by the sums necessary last 
year to assemble our army and put it in a condition to act 
vigorously with the King's Sea and Land Forces arrived and 
expected to arrive from France against New York, and to 
defend the Southern Colonies. Our main Army was accord- 
ingly put into such a condition as to face M! Clinton before 
New York all summer; but the additional forces expected 
from France not arriving, the project was not pursued, and 
the advantage hoped for from that exertion and expence 
was not obtained, tho' the funds of Congress were thereby 
equally exhausted. A second necessity for drawing those 
Bills, arose from the delay of five months in the sailing of 



1781] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 265 

M* de Chaumont's ship, occasioned by the distraction 
of his affairs, whereby the clothing for the army not arriv- 
ing in time before winter, the Congress were obliged to 
purchase the cloths taken by Privateers from the Quebec 
Fleet; and this could only be done by payment for the 
same in Bills. All these Bills were drawn by solemn 
resolutions of Congress; and it seems to me evident, 
that if no part of the aids lately resolved on by his Majesty 
can be applied to their discharge, with out an express 
order from Congress for that purpose, the Public Credit 
of the United States instead of being "re-animated" 
as his Majesty graciously intended, will be destroy'd; for 
the Bills unpaid, must, according to the usual Course be 
returned under protest, long before such order can be ob- 
tained, which protest will by our laws, entitle the Holders to a 
Damage of 20 p r cent, whereby the public will incur a net loss 
of one fifth of the whole sum drawn for ; an effect, that will be 
made use of by their Enemies to discredit their Government 
among the People, and must weaken their hands much more 
in that respect, than by the mere loss of so much money. 
On these considerations, and also from an opinion that a 
bill already drawn by order of Congress, was as good and 
clear a declaration of their will with regard to the disposition 
of so much of any funds they might have at their disposal in 
Europe, as any 'future order of theirs could be, I ventured to 
accept and to promise payment of all the Bills above mention'd. 
What I have requested of your Excellency in my late letter, 
and what I now beg leave to repeat, is only that so much of the 
intended aid maybe retained, as shall be necessary to pay those 
acceptances as they become due. I had not the least appre- 
hension that this could meet with any difficulty ; and I hope 



266 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

on reconsideration, your Excellency may still judge, that it 
will be for the advantage of the common cause if this request 
is granted. 

I have already paid most of the Bills drawn on M. Jay, 
which the Money furnish'd to him by the Court of Spain did 
not suffice to pay : I have also paid a part of those drawn on 
M* Laurens, MT Adams and myself : To do this I have been 
obliged to anticipate our funds, so that, as our Banker informs 
me, I shall by the end of this month owe him about 400,000 
Livres, tho' he has already rec d from M. D'Harvelay for the 
quarter of August. I have acted imprudently in making 
these acceptances and entering into these engagements with- 
out first consulting your Excellency and obtaining your 
explicit approbation ; but I acted as I thought for the best ; 
I imagined it a case of absolute necessity, and relying on 
assistance from the new aids intended us, and considering 
the fatal consequence of protests, I thought at the time that 
I acted prudently and safely. 

The supplies I shall want for the payment of these Bills will 
be gradual : If I cannot obtain them but by an order from 
Congress, I must not only stop payment of those not yet 
become due, but I apprehend that I shall be obliged to refuse 
acceptance of some of the interest Bills, having disabled my- 
self from paying them, by paying so many others. 

I therefore beg your Excellency would reconsider this im- 
portant affair. I am sorry to find myself under a necessity 
of giving you so much trouble. I wish rather to diminish your 
cares than to increase them; being with the most perfect Re- 
spect, Sir, Your Excellency's most 

obedient and most humble servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



1 78 1] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 267 

1218. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June n, 1781. 

SIR, 

I have lately done myself the Honour of writing largely 
to your ExcelF by divers Conveyances, to which I beg leave 
to refer. This is chiefly to cover the Copy of a Letter I have 
just received from the Minister, relative to the Disposition 
of the late Loans; by which will be seen the Situation I am 
in with respect to my Acceptances of the Quantities of Bills 
drawn by Congress on Mr. Jay, Mr. Laurens, Mr. Adams, 
and myself ; which I entered into, in the Expectation, which 
both Colonel Laurens and myself entertained, that a Part of 
these Loans might be apply'd to the Payment of these Bills, 
but which I am now told cannot be done without an express 
Order from Congress. 

I shall endeavour to change the Sentiments of the Court in 
this respect, but am not sure of succeeding. I must therefore 
request, that a Resolution of Congress may immediately be 
sent, impowering me to apply as much of those Loans as shall 
be necessary for the Discharge of all such Drafts of Con- 
gress, or for the Repayment of such Sums, as I may in 
the mean time be obliged to borrow for the Discharge of those 
Drafts. I have the honour to be, &c. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

1 A copy exists in L. L. in the handwriting of Elias Boudinot (Ford 
Collection). ED. 



268 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 



1219. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, June n, 1781. 

SIR, 

Mr. Grand has communicated to me a Letter from your 
Excellency to him, relating to certain Charges in your Ac- 
count, on which you seem to desire to have my Opinion. As 
we are all new in these Matters, I consulted, when I was 
making up my Accounts, one of the oldest Foreign Ministers 
here, as to the Custom in such Cases. He inform 'd me, that it 
was not perfectly uniform with the Ministers of all Courts, 
but that in general, where a Salary was given for Service and 
Expences, the Expences understood were merely those neces- 
sary to the Man, such as Housekeeping, Clothing, and Coach ; 
but that the Rent of the Hotel in which he dwelt, the Payment 
of Couriers, the Postage of Letters, the Salary of Clerks, the 
Stationery for his Bureau, with the Feasts and Illuminations 
made on publick Occasions, were esteemed Expences of the 
Prince, or State that appointed him, being for the Service or 
Honour of his Prince or Nation, and either entirely, or in 
great Part, Expences, that, as a private Man, he would have 
been under no Necessity of incurring. These, therefore, were 
to be charged in his Accounts. He remark'd, that it was 
true, that the Minister's Housekeeping as well as his House 
was usually, and in some sort necessarily more expensive, 
than those of a private Person; but this, he said, was con- 
sidered in his Salary, to avoid Trouble in Accounts: But 
that, where the Prince or state had not purchased or built a 



1781] TO JOHN ADAMS 269 

House for their Minister, which was sometimes the Case, 
they always paid his House Rent. 

I have stated my own Accounts according to these In- 
formations; and I mention them, that, if they seem to you 
reasonable, we may be uniform in our Charges, by your 
charging in the same Manner ; or, if objections to any of them 
occur to you, that you would communicate them to me for 
the same Reason. 

Thus you see my Opinion, that the Articles you mention, 
of Courtage, Commission, and Port de lettres, are Expences that 
ought to be borne, not by you, but by the United States. Yet 
it seems to me more proper, that you should pay them, and 
charge them with the other Articles above mentioned, than 
that they should be paid by me, who, not knowing the Cir- 
cumstances, cannot judge (as you can) of the Truth or Justice 
of such an Account when presented, and who, besides, have 
no Orders to pay more on your Account, than your net 
Salary. 

With Regard to that Salary, tho' your Receipts to Fitzeau 
and Grand, shown to me, might be quite sufficient to prove 
they had paid you the Sums therein mentioned, yet, as these 
are Vouchers for them, and which they have a Right to retain, 
I imagine that it will be clearest if you draw upon me, agre- 
able to the Order of Congress; and, if this is quarterly, it 
will be most convenient to me. With great Regard, I have 
the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 1 

1 See Mr. Adams's answer in the Diplomatic Correspondence (Sparks), Vol. 
Ill, p. 238. ED. 



270 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1220. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (A. p. s.) 

Passy, June 15. 1781. 

DEAR JONATHAN, 

You gave me a great Pleasure in informing me of the safe 
Delivery of your good Wife. I congratulate you both most 
cordially. 

As you make no Objection to M. de Segray's Account, I 
suppose it right, & return it with my Approbation as you 
desire. 

It is a vexatious thing to have Business to do which one 
does not understand. I had resolved to have nothing more 
to do with Ship Affairs; but I have lately been persuaded 
into two. The La Fayette has already given me a great deal 
of Trouble, and is like to give me more; for tho' I have 
advanced my Bills for the 200,000 Freight, I am now told 
that 150,000 more are necessary before she will be suffer'd 
to depart from L'Orient. M. de Chaumont's Affairs are so 
embarrass'd that he yesterday demanded tho' it cannot yet 
be due forty thousand Livres more on Ace* of Freight which 
he says her Tonnage will amount to. I have furnish'd him 
with four hundred thousand on Ace* of the Cloth; there 
remains on that Ace* about 28,000 unpaid : but then I had 
advanced him in September last to pay his Acceptances of 
your Bills 9 or 10,000 more than they amount to, which 
must be deducted ; and he still owes me for your Bill of 50,000 
accepted near two Years since. Besides this, hearing yester- 
day that some of his Acceptances of your Bills were in Suffer- 
ance, & that he could not go on paying them, I have been 
obliged to order Mr. Grand to take all up that you have drawn 



1781] TO WILLIAM JACKSON 271 

on Ace* of the States, which amount to about 92,000 yet 
unpaid. Young Mr. Chaumont told me last Night from his 
Father that you owe him about 40,000 livres. Is not this a 
Mistake? By some of your Letters I had conceived other- 
wise. I find that in these Affairs with him, a Bargain tho' 
ever so clearly express'd signifies nothing. One is no sooner 
engag'd by a tempting Proposition, but Changes begin to be 
propos'd in the Terms, & these follow one after another, till 
one is quite bewildered. I, in all these mercantile Matters, 
am like a Man walking in the Dark, I stumble often, and fre- 
quently get my Shins broke. Thus I am now advis'd to ad- 
vance the 12,000 Livres for the Mars, tho' she has taken but 
60 Tons, which I was to have advanc'd if she had taken 100 
Tons. I am told it is right, and it may be so ; but I do not 
like these Changes. I shall however accept the Bills when 
they appear. But I beg you will never more engage me in 
such Affairs. I am ever 

Your affectionate Uncle. 



1221. TO WILLIAM JACKSON * (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 28, 1781. 

SIR, 

Since my Acceptance of your Bills, I have apply'd to the 
Ministers for more Money to discharge the other Engage- 

1 William Jackson (1759-1828), lieutenant in the first South Carolina regi- 
ment, was aide to General Benjamin Lincoln (1779), and in 1781 accompanied 
Colonel Laurens to France as Secretary. He was sent to Holland to superin- 
tend the shipment of money and goods on public account in the frigate South 
Carolina commanded by Commodore Gillon. He was afterwards aide-de- 
camp to Washington. ED. 



272 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

ments I entred into for Payment of the Congress Bills drawn 
on Holland and Spain. I find so much Difficulty, and even 
Impossibility of obtaining it at this time, that I am under the 
absolute necessity of stopping the Cash that is in Holland, or 
of ruining all the Credit of the States in Europe, and even in 
America, by stopping Payment. 

This is therefore to order, that, in Case the said Cash 
has been delivered to you by Messrs. Fizeau & Grand, you 
would immediately return it into their Hands to remain there 
at my Disposal. I am sorry that this Operation is necessary, 
but it must be done, or the Consequences will be terrible. 
I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1222. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, June 30, 1781. 

SIR, 

This is to request that you will accept no more Bills with 
an expectation of my paying them till you have farther Advice 
from me. For I find that MT Laurens, who went away with- 
out informing me what he had done, has made so full a Dis- 
position of the six Millions granted at my Request before his 
Arrival, that unless the Specie he sent to Holland is stopt 
there, I shall not be in a condition to pay them. 
I have the honour to be Sir 

Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1781] TO JOHN JAY 273 

1223. TO DAVID HARTLEY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 30, 1781. 

I received my dear Friend's kind Letter of the i$th Instant, 
and immediately communicated your Request of a Passport 
to M. le Comte de Vergennes. His answer, which I have 
but just received, expresses an Apprehension that the Cir- 
cumstance of his granting a Passport to you, as you mention 
Purpose of your coming to be the discoursing with me on the 
Subject of Peace might considering your Character, occasion 
many inconvenient Reports & Speculations; but that he 
would make no Difficulty of giving it, if you assured me, that 
you were authoriz'd for such Purpose by your Ministers, 
which he does not think at all likely ; otherwise he judges it 
best that I should not encourage your coming. 

Thus it seems I cannot have at present the Pleasure you 
were so kind as to propose for me. I can only join with you 
in earnest Wishes for Peace, a Blessing which I shall hardly 
live to see. With the greatest Esteem and Respect, I am 

ever, dear Sir, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1224. TO JOHN JAY (L. c.) 

Passy, June 30. 81 

SIR, 

You acquaint me that Bills have appear'd drawn on you in 
March last, and ask very properly if this can be reconcil'd to 
the obvious Dictates of Prudence and Policy? It cannot. 
And if you are unable to pay them they must be protested. 



VOL. VIII T 



274 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

For it will not be in my Power to help you. And I see that 
nothing will cure the Congress of this Madness of Drawing 
upon the Pump at Aldgate, but such a Proof that its Well 

has a Bottom. 

I have the honour to be Sir 

Your Excellency's etc 
B. FRANKLIN 



1225. TO WILLIAM JACKSON (L. c.) 
Passy, July 5, 1781, at 6 in the Morning. 

SIR, 

I have this Instant received your Letter of the 2d, urging 
the Delivery of the Money. I must be short in my Reply, 
as your Express waits. 

Col. Laurens indeed obtained a Promise of Ten Millions 
to be raised from a Loan in Holland. I understood, while 
he was here, that that Loan was in Train, and that the 
Million and half to be sent with you was a part of it. I since 
learn, that nothing has yet been obtain'd in Holland, that the 
Success is uncertain, and that the Money in question is a 
Part of the Six Millions I had obtain'd before his Arrival, 
upon the Strength of which I accepted the Bills drawn on his 
Father, and on Mr. Jay, and without which Acceptances 
the Congress' Credit in America would have been ruined, and 
a Loss incurr'd of 20 per cent upon the Protests. I cannot 
obtain more Money here at present; and those Bills, being 
accepted, must be paid, as well as those I accepted on your 
earnest Request, for the great unexpected Purchase you made 
in Holland. 

Col. Laurens has carried Two Millions and a Half of that 



1781] TO WILLIAM JACKSON 275 

[six millions] with him, which will serve till the Loan in 
Holland produces a farther Supply. In the mean time I 
cannot suffer the Credit of our Country to be destroyed, if, 
by detaining this Money, it may be saved. And, if I were to 
consent to its going, our Banker would be obliged to arrest 
great Part of it as belonging to the States, he being in Advance 
for them, which would occasion much disagreable Noise, and 
have very ill consequences to our Credit in Europe. 

I find, by Mr. Viemerange's Account just received, that 
Mr. Laurens's Orders have more than absorb'd all the Money 
he did not take with him. I applaud the Zeal you have 
both shown in the Affair; but I see, that nobody cares how 
much I am distressed, provided they can carry their own 
Points. I must, therefore, take what care I can of mine, 
theirs and mine being equally intended for the Service of the 
Public. I am sorry to learn that the Ship is detain'd for this 
Express. I understood by your last, that she waited for 
Convoy. I heartily wish you a good Voyage, and am, with 

great Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1226. TO WILLIAM JACKSON (L.C.) 

Passy, July 5, 1781. 

SIR, 

I receiv'd your Letter of the 2d Instant, by your first Ex- 
press, this Morning at 6, answer'd it, and sent him away im- 
mediately. I have just now receiv'd your second Express, 
of the same Date, in which you threaten me with a Pro- 
ceeding, that I apprehend exceedingly imprudent, as it must 
occasion much Scandal, and be thereby very prejudicial 
to the Affairs of the Congress. 



276 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

But I cannot, therefore, consent to suffer their Bills, to 
the amount of more than a Million accepted and expected, 
to go back protested for want of this Money. I have nothing 
to change in the Answer above mentioned. You will however 
follow your own Judgment, (as I must follow mine) and you 
will take upon yourself the Consequences. I have the honour 

to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1227. TO WILLIAM JACKSON (L. c.) 

Passy, July 6, 1781. 

SIR, 

I receiv'd and answer'd two of your Expresses yesterday 
Morning, and in the Evening I received a third Letter from 
you, all dated the 2d Instant. 1 

In this last you tell me, "that I must be sensible I cannot 
have the Disposal of the Money, as it was obtained without 
either my Knowledge or Concurrence, by Colonel Laurens, 
appointed special Minister for that purpose." I do not 
desire to diminish the Merit of Colonel Laurens. I believe 
he would have been glad, if it had been in his Power, to have 
procured ten times the Sum; and that no Application or 
Industry on his Part for that purpose would have been want- 
ing. But I cannot let this injurious Assertion of yours pass, 
without expressing my Surprize, that you, who were always 
with that Gentleman, should be so totally ignorant of that 
Transaction. The Six Millions, of which he took with him 
Two and an half, of which one and an half was sent to Hol- 

1 All Mr. Jackson's letters on this subject are contained in the Diplomatic 
Correspondence (Sparks), Vol. Ill, p. 221-226. ED. 



1781] TO WILLIAM JACKSON 277 

land, and of which more than the Remainder is ordered in 
Stores from hence, was a free Gift from the King's Good- 
ness (not a Loan to be repaid with Interest), and was obtained 
by my Application, long before Colonel Laurens's Arrival. 

I had also given in a List of the Stores to be provided, tho 
on his coming I cheerfully gave up the further Prosecution of 
that Business into his Hands, as he was better acquainted with 
the particular Wants of the Army, than I could be, and it was 
one of the Purposes of his Appointment. 

Thus no Part of the Affair was done without my "Know- 
ledge and Concurrence," except the sending a Million and half 
of the Specie to Holland. This was indeed a Secret to me. I 
had heard of that Sum's being ready there to embark, but I al- 
ways, till lately, understood it to be a Part of the Dutch Loan, 
which I am about to mention, or I should certainly have 
oppos'd that Operation. What Col. Laurens really obtain'd, 
and a great Service I hope it will prove, was a Loan upon 
Interest of Ten Millions, to be borrowed on the Credit of 
this Court in Holland. I have not heard, that this Loan has 
yet produc'd any thing, and therefore I do not know that a 
single Livre exists, or has existed in Europe, of his procuring 
for the States. On the contrary, he and you have drawn from 
me considerable Sums, as necessary for your Expences, and 
he left me near 40,000 livres to pay for the Alliance; and, 
moreover, engag'd me in a Debt in Holland, which I under- 
stood might amount to about 1 5,000 sterling, and which 
you contriv'd to make ^50,000. 

When I mention'd to him the Difficulty I should find to pay 
the Drafts, he said, "You have the Remainder of the Six 
Millions." He gave me no account of the Dispositions he 
had made, and it is but lately I have learnt, that there is no 



278 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Remainder. To gratify you, and to get that Ship out, which 
could not have stirr'd without me, I have engag'd for the vast 
Sum above mentioned, which I am sure I shall be much dis- 
tressed to pay, and therefore I have not deserv'd at your 
Hands the Affront you are advis'd to menace me with. 

And since I find you make it a Point of Reflection upon me, 
that I want to apply Money to the Payment of my Engage- 
ments for the Congress, which was obtained by Colonel 
Laurens for other Purposes, I must request, that you would 
upon this better Information take occasion to correct that 
Error, if you have communicated it to any other Person. 

By the Letters you show'd me, that had pass'd between 
Mr. Adams and you, I perceiv'd he had imbibed an Opinion, 
that Col. Laurens had, as he expresses it, done more for the 
United States in the short time of his being in Europe, than 
all the rest of their Diplomatic Corps put together. I should 
never have disputed this, because I had rather lend a little 
Credit to a Friend, than take any from him, especially when 
I am persuaded he will make a good Use of it ; but, when 
his Friends will make such supposititious Credit a matter 
of Reproach to me, it is not right to continue silent. 

As to the Safety of the excellent Conveyance you mention, 
I must own, I have some doubts about it, and I fear I shall 
hear of the Arrival of that ship in England, before she sees 
America. Be that as it may, I am clear that no Use can pos- 
sibly be made of the Money in America for supporting the 
Credit of the States, equal in any degree to the Effect it must 
have for the same purpose, when apply'd to the payment of 
their Bills here, which must otherwise go back protested. 
And I am sure it will be exceedingly prejudicial to that 
Credit, if, by the rash Proceeding you threaten, this Situation 



1781] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 279 

of their Affairs becomes the subject of public Talk and 
Discussion in Europe. I am, &c. R FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I request you would read again, and consider well, 
my first letter to you on this Subject. The Reasons therein 
contained subsist still in their full force. 1 



1228. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 2 (P.A.E.E.U.) 

Passy, July 6, 1781. 

It seems to have been insinuated, either through mistake 
or ill will to the United States, 

1. That their merchants have combined to depreciate the 
bills drawn on France. 

2. That their trade with England is as great as before the 
war. 

I have known two instances wherein bills of exchange on 
England have fallen more than fifteen per cent lower than 
the present price of bills on France. 

1 Mr. Jackson sailed from Amsterdam with Commodore Gillon, who, after 
cruising four weeks in the North Sea and near the English Channel, put into 
Corufia. From that port, Mr. Jackson wrote to Dr. Franklin as follows : 

" I am sorry to inform you, that the event has verified your prediction in 
every particular. Mr. Gillon has violated his contract with Colonel Laurens in 
every instance. I beg leave to present you my most sincere and cordial 
thanks, as well for myself as my country, for your disposition of the money, 
which was to have been embarked on board this vessel, the event having 
fatally confirmed your opinion of this man. I conceive my country indebted 
to your prudence for the preservation of her property, as I do myself for my 
freedom at this instant ; for, I am assured, had not your precaution prevented 
the embarkation, I should at this hour have been a prisoner ; I need not say 
where." Corufia, September 26th, 1781. ED. 

2 In a memorandum, Dr. Franklin says : " The following paper was 
delivered to M. de Rayneval, to be by him communicated to Count de Ver- 
gennes, in order to correct some wrong ideas of that minister. " ED. 



28o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

The first was in 1739, when, an expedition being projected 
against Carthagena, the government of England ordered 
three thousand men to be raised in America, and transports 
with provisions to be furnished, for the amount of which 
expense, bills were ordered to be drawn on the treasury at 
London. This adventitious quantity of bills coming into 
market, and being more than the common course of the 
commerce required, occasioned the lowering of their price 
forty-two and a half per cent below the rate before accustomed. 

The like happened a few years after, when, on a prospect 
of short crops of corn in Europe, orders were received in 
America to purchase and send over vast quantities, and to 
draw bills and sell them in the country in order to raise money 
for the purchase. This sudden addition to the quantity of 
bills produced a fall of forty per cent in their price. And this 
must always happen in some proportion, when the quantity 
of any article in commerce exceeds the present demand. 

And when it is considered, that the merchants of America 
are numerous, and dispersed through thirteen different prov- 
inces, at great distance from each other, such a combination 
will appear as improbable, as that the farmers in France 
should combine to raise the price of wheat. 

With regard to the English commerce, there is none cer- 
tainly but what is contraband, and there can be no tempta- 
tions to such contraband, but for particular commodities 
that are cheaper there than in France. The quantity there- 
fore cannot be great. Such contraband is found difficult 
to prevent in all countries. It is carried on at this time 
between France and England. But there are many com- 
modities much cheaper in France, such as wines, silks, oil, 
modes, &c., which will be of great consumption in America ; 






1781] TO WILLIAM JACKSON 281 

and, when correspondencies are once settled, and the people 
there become acquainted with the manufactures of France, 
the demand for them will increase ; these manufactures will 
of course be improved in goodness and cheapness, and the 
trade continue to augment accordingly. 

It is difficult to change suddenly the whole current of 
connexions, correspondencies, and confidences, that subsist 
between merchants, and carry them all into a new channel; 
but time and a continuance of friendship will make great 

alterations. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1229. TO WILLIAM JACKSON (L. c.) 

Passy, July 10, 1781. 

SIR, 

Last Night I received your 4th Letter on the Same Subject. 
You are anxious to carry the Money with you, because it 
will reanimate the Credit of America. My Situation and 
long Acquaintance with affairs relating to the public Credit 
enables me, I think, to judge better than you can do, who are 
a Novice in them, what Employment of it will most conduce 
to that End ; and I imagine the retaining it to pay the Con- 
gress Drafts has infinitely the Advantage. You repeat that 
the Ship is detain'd by my Refusal. You forget your having 
written to me expressly that she waited for Convoy. You 
remind me of the great Expence the Detention of the Ship 
occasions. Who has given Orders to stop her? It was not 
me. I had no Authority to do it. Have you ? And do you 
imagine, if you had taken such Authority upon you, that the 
Congress ought to bear the Expence occasion'd by your Im- 



282 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

prudence? and that the Blame of detaining the necessary 
Stores the Ship contains will be excus'd by your fond Desire 
of carrying the Money? The Noise you have rashly made 
about this Matter, contrary to the Advice of Mr. Adams, 
which you ask'd and receiv'd, and which was to comply 
with my Requisition, has already done great Mischief to our 
Credit in Holland. Messrs. Fizeaux have declar'd they 
will advance to him no more Money on his Bills upon me 
to assist in paying the Congress Drafts on him. Your Com- 
modore, too, complains, in a Letter I have seen, that he finds 
it difficult to get Money for my Acceptances of your Drafts 
in order to clear his Ship, tho' before this Proceeding of 
yours Bills on me were, as Mr. Adams assures me, in as good 
Credit on the Exchange of Amsterdam as those of any Banker 
in Europe. I suppose the Difficulty mention'd by the Com- 
modore is the true Reason of the ship's Stay, if in fact the 
Convoy is gone without her. Credit is a delicate thing, 
capable of being blasted with a Breath. The public Talk 
you have occasion'd about my Stopping the Money, and the 
Conjectures of the Reasons or Necessity of doing it, have 
created Doubts and Suspicions of most pernicious Conse- 
quence. It is a Matter that should have pass'd in Silence. 
You repeat as a Reason for your Conduct, that the Money 
was obtain'd by the great Exertions of Col. Laurens. Who 
obtain'd the Grant is of no Importance, tho' the Use I propose 
to make of it is of the greatest. But the Fact is not as you 
state it. I obtain'd it before he came. And if he were here I 
am sure I could convince him of the Necessity of leaving it- 
Especially after I should haveinform'd him that you had made 
in Holland the enormous Purchase of 40,000 Sterling's worth 
of Goods over and above the 10,000 worth, which I had 



1781] TO WILLIAM JACKSON 283 

agreed should be purchased by him on my Credit, and that 
you had induc'd me to engage for the Payment of your Pur- 
chase by showing me a Paper said to contain his Orders to you 
for making it, which I then took to be his Handwriting, tho' 
I afterwards found it to be yours, and not sign'd by him. It 
would be an additional Reason with him, when I should re- 
mind him that he himself, to induce me to come into the 
Proposal of Commodore Gillon and the rest of the Holland 
Transaction, to which I was averse, assur'd me that he had 
mention'd it to the Minister, and that it was approv'd of: 
That on the contrary I find the Minister remembers nothing 
of it, very much dislikes it, and absolutely refuses to furnish 
any Money to discharge that Account. You finish your Letter 
by telling me that, "the daily Enhancement of Expence to the 
United States from these Difficulties is worthy the Attention 
of those whose Duty is to ceconomize the Public Money, and 
to whom the common Weal is intrusted without deranging 
the special Department of another." The Ship's lying there 
with 5 or 600 Men on board is undoubtedly a great daily 
Expence, but it is you that occasion it; and these Superior 
Airs you give yourself, young Gentleman, of Reproof to me, 
and Reminding me of my Duty do not become you, whose 
special Department and Employ in public Affairs, of which 
you are so vain, is but of yesterday, and would never have 
existed but by my Concurrence, and would have ended in the 
Disgrace if I had not supported your enormous Purchases by 
accepting your Drafts. The charging me with want of 
ceconomy is particularly improper in you, when the only 
Instance you know of it is my having indiscreetly comply'd 
with your Demand in advancing you 120 Louis for the 
Expence of your Journey to Paris and when the only Instance 



284 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

I know of your economizing Money is your sending me 
three Expresses, one after another, on the same Day, all the 
way from Holland to Paris, each with a Letter saying the 
same thing to the same purpose. This Dispute is as useless 
as it is unpleasant. It can only create ill Blood. Pray 
let us end it. I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 






1230. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (L. c.) 

(L. L.) 

Passy, July n, 1781. 

Sm, 

The Number of Congress Bills that have been drawn on 
the Ministers in Spain and Holland, which I am by my 
Acceptances obliged to pay, as well as those drawn upon 
myself, the extream importance of supporting the Credit of 
Congress, which would be disgrac'd in a political, as well as a 
pecuniary Light, thro' all the Courts of Europe, if those Bills 
should go back protested, and the unexpected Delays arising 
with regard to the intended Loan in Holland, all these 
Considerations have compell'd me to stop the 1,500,000 
Livres, which were to have been sent by way of Amsterdam. 
As soon as more Money can be furnished to me by this Court, 
I shall take care to replace that Sum, and forward with it as 
great an Addition as possible. I am now sollicking supplys 
of Clothing, Arms, Ammunition, &c., to replace what has 
been unfortunately lost in the Marquis de la Fayette; and 
hope to succeed. 

Capt. Jackson, who is truly zealous for the Service, has 
been exceedingly sollicitous and earnest with me to induce 



1 78 1] TO FELIX VICQ &AZYR 285 

me to permit the Money to go in this Ship ; but, for the reasons 
above mentioned, I find it absolutely necessary to retain it 
for the present, which I doubt not will be approv'd by Con- 
gress. With great Respect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1231. TO FELIX VICQ D'AZYR 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, July 20, 1781. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you some time since did me the Honour 
of writing to me, accompanied with a Number of the Pieces, 
that were distributed at the last publick Meeting of the 
Royal Society of Medicine. I shall take care to forward 
them to different Parts of America, as desired. Be pleased 
to present my thanks to the Society for the Copy sent me of 
the curious and useful Report relating to the Sepulture in 
the island of Malta. I should be glad of another Copy, if it 
can be spared, being desirous of sending one to each of the 
philosophical Societies in America. 

With respect to the length of time during which the Power 
of Infection may be contained in dead Bodies, which is 
considered in that Report, I would mention to you three 
Facts, which, though not all of equal Importance or weight, 
yet methinks it may be well to preserve a Memorandum of 
them, that such Observations may be made when Occasion 
offers, as are proper to confirm or invalidate them. 

1 Felix Vicq d'Azyr (1748-1794) was physician to the Queen of France, 
and celebrated for his skill in medicine and his knowledge of science. He 
founded the Royal Society of Medicine, and was its first perpetual Secretary. 
His works were published in six volumes. ED. 



286 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

While I resided in England, I read in a Newspaper, that 
in a Country Village at the Funeral of a Woman whose 
Husband had died of the SmallPox 30 years before, and 
whose Grave was dug so as to place her by his Side, 
the Neighbours attending the Funeral were offended with 
the Smell arising out of the Grave, occasioned by a 
Breach in the Husband's old Coffin, and 25 of them 
were in a few Days after taken ill with that Distemper, 
which before was not in that Village or its Neighbour- 
hood, nor had been for the Number of [years above men- 
tioned]. 

About the Years 1763 or 1764, several Physicians of Lon- 
don, who had been present from Curiosity at the Dissection 
of an Egyptian Mummy, were soon after taken ill of a malig- 
nant fever, of which they died. Opinions were divided on this 
Occasion. It was thought by some that the Fever was caused 
by Infection from the Mummy ; in which Case the Disease it 
died of must have been embalmed as well as the Body. 
Others who considered the Length of Time; at least 2000 
Years, since that Body died, and also that the Embalming 
must be rather supposed to destroy the Power of Infection, 
imagined the Illness of these Gentlemen must have had 
another Original. 

About the year 1773, the Captain of a Ship, which had been 
at the island of Tenneriffe, brought from thence the dried 
Body of one of the ancient Inhabitants of that Island, which 
must have been at least 300 years old, that custom of drying 
the Dead there having been so long discontinued. Two 
members of the Royal Society went to see that body. They 
were half an hour in a small close room with it, examining 
it very particularly. The next Day they were both affected 



1781] TO FELIX VICQ ETAZYR 287 

with a singularly violent cold* attended with uncommon 
circumstances, which continued a long time. On comparing 
together the Particulars of their Disorder, they agreed in 
suspecting that possibly some effluvia from the Body might 
have been the occasion of that Disorder in them both; per- 
haps they were mistaken. But as we do not yet know with 
Certainty how long the Power of Infection may in some 
Bodies be retained, it seems well in such Cases to be cautious 
till farther Light sh^ll be obtained. 

I wish it were in my Power to contribute more essentially 
in advancing the good Work the Society are so laudably 
engag'd in. Perhaps some useful Hints may be extracted 
from the enclosed Paper of Mr. Small's. 2 It is submitted to 
your Judgment; and, if you should find any thing in it 
worthy of being communicated to the Society, and of which 
the Extracts may be useful if printed in the Memoirs, it 
will be a Pleasure to me; who am, with great Esteem and 

Respect, Sir, &c. 

B. FEANKLIN 

P. S. July 24. Since writing the above, I have met with 
the following Article in the Courier de f Europe of the ijth 
mityi nt , viz. 

Extraitd'vtu Lettre fEdimboitrg, at date d yjtutt 

"Papprends par one penonne qri rieat de MoBtrose, qe h nevre fpfclf 
ntiqae qm s*est mnmfrstre fl y a qaelqae terns dans le Mearns, decde encore 
atqoonfhoi ce voisnage arec tant de vkJence qa'mn de ses amis a ete iartte i 
ascHter i qnaze enterremeats daas on seal jour. On dk qoe cette maladie 
doit SOB origine a la fofle carioski de qoelqaes paynns, qai, a la 
dcrnjere, eziuuBcrent qodqaes pecsones atoctes de la pfatf dans le 



1 &Um a general Nae prem by the Eagfish to afl Sorts of Rheams aad 
Catanhs. F. 

2 An artkk apo* Veatibtioa. ED. 



288 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

precedent, ct qu'on avoit enterrees dans le Moss de Arnhall. Ce qui est 
arrive a la famillc de M. Robert Aikenhead est singulierement malheureux ; 
vers le milieu du mois dernier il a etc attaque de cette contagion, et elle s'est 
communiquee au reste de sa famille, consistant en neuf personnes, dont deux 
sont mortes ainsi que lui, et le reste n'est pas sans danger." 



1232. TO ROBERT MORRIS (L. c.) 

Passy, July 26, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just received your very friendly Letter of the 6th 
of June past, announcing your Appointment to the Superin- 
tendence of our Finances. This gave me great Pleasure, as, 
from your Intelligence, Integrity, and Abilities, there is 
reason to hope every Advantage, that the Publick can possibly 
receive from such an Office. You are wise in estimating 
beforehand, as the principal Advantage you can expect, the 
consciousness of having done Service to your Country; 
for the Business you have undertaken is of so complex a 
Nature, and must engross so much of your Time and Atten- 
tion, as necessarily to injure your private Interests ; and the 
Publick is often niggardly, even of its Thanks, while you are 
sure of being censured by malevolent Criticks and Bug- 
writers, who will abuse you while you are serving them, and 
wound your Character in nameless Pamphlets; thereby 
resembling those little dirty stinking insects, that attack us 
only in the dark, disturb our Repose, molesting and wounding 
us, while our Sweat and Blood are contributing to their 
Subsistence. Every Assistance that my Situation here, as 
long as it continues, may enable me to afford you, shall cer- 
tainly be given; for, besides my Affection for the glorious 



1781] TO ROBERT MORRIS 289 

Cause we are both engaged in, I value myself upon your 
Friendship, and shall be happy if mine can be made of any 
Use to you. 

With great and sincere Esteem, I am ever, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1233. TO ROBERT MORRIS (L. c.) 

Passy, July 26, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have received the Letter you honoured me with, of the 
8th June past, 1 acquainting me, that as Superintendent of 
Finance, you have named Messrs. Couteulx & Co., at Paris, 
to receive from his Majesty's Ministers the Money granted to 
Congress, that they may be enabled to honour your Bills 
whenever they appear; and you intimate a Desire to be in- 
formed of the Responsability of that House. 

With Regard to the Six Millions given by the King in 
Aid of our Operations for the present Campaign, before the 
arrival of Mr. Laurens, 2,500,000 of it went in the same Ship 
with him, in Cash; Stores equivalent to 2,200,000 more 
of it were ordered by him, and are shipt; 1,500,000 sent to 
Holland, to go in the ship commanded by Commodore 
Gillon. Add to this, that Capt. Jackson, by his Orders, 
purchased Clothing and Stores in Holland, to the Value of 
about 50,000 Sterling, for which he has drawn Bills on me, 
which Bills I accepted, and also agreed to pay those drawn 
on Messrs. Laurens, Jay, and Adams ; expecting Aid from a 
projected Loan of 10,000,000 [Livres] for Our use in Holland. 

1 See Diplomatic Correspondence (Sparks), Vol. XI, p. 370. ED. 

VOL. VIII U 



290 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

But, this Loan meeting with unforeseen Difficulties, and its 
Success uncertain, I have found myself obliged to stop the 
Money in Holland, in order to be able to save the honour of 
the Congress Drafts, and to comply with my Engagements. 

By these Means you have really at present no Funds here 
to draw upon. I hope, however, that Messrs. Couteulx 
Co. will be enabled to honour your Drafts; but I trust in 
your Prudence, that you will draw no more till you have 
Advice of Funds provided. And, as the laying out so much 
Money in Holland instead of France is disapproved here, and 
the Payment will, therefore, not be provided for, I must 
earnestly request your Aid in remitting that Sum to me before 
December next, when my Acceptations will become due, 
otherwise I shall be ruined with the American Credit in 
Europe. 

With regard to the Wealth and Credit of the House of 
Le Couteulx & Co., I have never heard it called in question. 
But as Mr. Ferdinand Grand, Banker at Paris, and his 
Brother, Sir George Grand, Banker in Holland, have been 
our zealous and firm Friends ever since our Arrival in France, 
have aided us greatly by their personal Interest and sollicita- 
tions, and have often been 6 or 70x3,000 livres in Advance for 
us, and are Houses of unquestionable Solidity, I cannot but 
be concern'd at any Step for taking our Business out of their 
Hands, and wish your future Bills may be drawn on Mr. 
Ferdinand Grand ; for I think it concerns our public Reputa- 
tion to preserve the Character of Gratitude, as well as that of 
Honesty and Justice. The Commission hitherto charged to 
us by Mr. Grand for receiving and paying our Money is 
an half per cent, which, considering the Trouble given by the 
vast Number of small Drafts for Interest of the Loans, appears 



1 78 1] TO JOHN- ADAMS 291 

to me a moderate Consideration. With great and sincere 
Esteem, I have the honour to be, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1234. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, August 6, 1781. 

SIR, 

I some time since gave Orders, as you desired, to Mr. Grand, 
to furnish you with a Credit in Holland for the remainder of 
your Salary to November next. But I am now told, that, 
your Account having been mixt with Mr. Dana's, he finds it 
difficult to know the Sum due to you. Be pleased therefore 
to state your Account for two Years, giving Credit for the 
Sums you have received, that an Order may be made for the 
Ballance. Upon this Occasion, it is right to acquaint you, 
that I do not think we can depend on receiving any more 
Money here, applicable to the Support of the Congress 
Ministers. 

What Aids are hereafter granted, will probably be trans- 
mitted by the Government directly to America. It will, 
therefore, be proper to inform Congress, that Care may be 
taken to furnish their Servants by Remittances from thence. 
I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



292 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1235. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (L. c.) 

Passy, August 6, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have receiv'd several Letters from you lately, inclosing 
others for the President of Congress, and for Spain, all of 
which are sealed and forwarded, except the last for the Presi- 
dent, contain'd in yours of the 26th past, which shall go by 
the first Opportunity. The reading of those Letters gave me 
much Information, and therefore Pleasure; tho', since the 
fixing of Mr. Adams there, I do not attend so much to the 
Affairs of your Country as before, expecting indeed but little 
from it to our Advantage; for, tho' it was formerly in the 
same Situation with us, and was glad of assistance from other 
Nations, it does not seem to jeel for us, or to have the least 
Inclination to help us; it appears to want Magnanimity. 

Some Writer, I forget who, says, that Holland is no longer 
a Nation, but a great Shop; and I begin to think it has no 
other Principles or Sentiments but those of a Shopkeeper. 
You can judge of it better than I, and I shall be happy to 
find myself mistaken. You will oblige me, however, by con- 
tinuing the History either directly to me, or in your Letters 
to Congress ; but, when you enclose a sealed Letter in another 
to me, please to observe to place the second Seal on one Side, 
and not directly over the first ; because the Heat of the second 
is apt to deface the Impression of the first, and to attach the 
Paper to it, so as to endanger tearing the enclos'd in opening 
the Cover. With best Wishes for your Health and Pros- 
perity, I am ever, dear Sir, your affectionate Friend, & 
humble Servant, R FRANKLIN. 



1 78 1] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 293 

P.S. I pity the writer of the enclosed, though I have no 
other acquaintance with him, than having seen him once at 
Hanover, where he then seemed to live genteelly and in good 
credit. I cannot conceive what should reduce him to such a 
situation, as to engage himself for a soldier. If you can pro- 
cure him any friends among the philosophers of your country, 
capable of relieving him, I wish you could do it. If not, and 
he must go to the Indies, please to give him three or four 
guineas for me, to buy a few necessaries for his voyage. 



1236. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, August 10, 1781. 
DEAR SIR, 

Inclos'd I send you a late Paper receiv'd from Rhode 
Island. You will see in it the Advantages our Troops have 
gained in South Carolina. Late Advices directly from Phila- 
delphia say, that the Enemy have now nothing left in Georgia, 
but Savannah ; in South Carolina, but Charlestown ; nor in 
North Carolina, but Wilmington. They are, however, in 
Force in Virginia, where M. de la Fayette has not sufficient 
Strength to oppose them, till the Arrival of the Reinforce- 
ments, which were on their march to join him from Maryland 
and Pensilvania. 

In looking over my last to you, I apprehend I may have 
express'd myself perhaps a little too hardly of your Country ; 
I foresee you will tell me, that we have many Friends there ; 
I once thought so too ; but I was a little out of humour when 
I wrote, on understanding that no Loan could be obtained 
there for our Use, though the Credit of this Kingdom was 



294 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

offered to be engaged for assuring the Payment, and so much 
is lent freely to our Enemies. You can best tell the Reason ; 
it will be well not to let my Letter be seen. I am ever, dear 

Sir, your faithful Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1237. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (L. c.) 

Passy, Aug* 24, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

On looking over your Letters I am asham'd to find myself 
so much & so long in your Debt. I thank you for making 
me acquainted with M. Sonnerat. He appears a very amiable 
Man, and is full of Intelligence & Information. 

We are all much obliged to Count de Montmorin 1 for his 
friendly Assistance in our Affairs. Please to present him 
my thankful Acknowledgments. I thank you also for my 
being made known to M. Giusti ; I saw him often, and had 
much Satisfaction & Pleasure in his Conversation. 

The Congress have done me the honour to refuse accepting 
my Resignation, and insist on my continuing in their Service 
till the Peace. I must therefore buckle again to Business, and 
thank God that my Health & Spirits are of late improved. 
I fancy it may have been a double Mortification to those 
Enemies you have mentioned to me, that I should ask as a 
Favour what they hop'd to vex me by taking from me ; and 
that I should nevertheless be continued. But these sort of 
Considerations should never influence our Conduct. We 
ought always to do what appears best to be done, without 
much regarding what others may think of it. I call this 

1 French Ambassador in Spain. ED. 



1 78 1] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 295 

Continuance an Honour, & I really esteem it to be a greater 
than my first Appointment, when I consider that all the In- 
terest of my Enemies, united with my own Request, were not 
sufficient to prevent it. 

I have not yet received the Works of your Economical 
Society, 1 or those of its Founder. I suppose you have not met 
with an Opportunity of sending them. The Letter you pro- 
pose sending to our Philosophical Society will be very accept- 
able to them. I shall be glad to peruse the Copy you propose 
passing thro' my hands. 

M r Laurens's Business here was to solicit a large Aid 
in Money for the Army. It was thought that as he was a 
Witness of their Wants, he would be able to represent their 
Situation & Necessities more forcibly than I could do. He 
was indefatigable, while he staid, and took true Pains, but 
he brusqu'd the Ministers too much, and I found after he was 
gone that he had thereby given more Offence than I could 
have imagin'd. He obtain'd a Promise of a Loan of 10,- 
000,000 to be borrowed in Holland : But as that Borrowing 
has not succeeded, he in fact obtained nothing. The Offence 
he gave will I hope have no durable Effects, tho' it produc'd 
me some Mortifications. Good humour and a kind Dispo- 
sition towards us seems again to prevail. I had before his 
Arrival got the Grant of 6,000,000, and have since obtained 
more, or I could not have paid M r Jay's Bills. 

Who was the young American that Ask'd Leave to serve 
in the Duke de Crillon's Family. I honour him. 

If the "last Instructions" you mention, as not being an 

1 The Proceedings were in two portly volumes, too large for the usual 
couriers from Spain, and Carmichael was awaiting the discovery of some good- 
natured voyager who would undertake to transport them to Franklin. ED. 



296 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

authentic Copy, are those of Feb. 15. I have a Copy that is 
authentic, and will send it. 

The Loss of the Ship Marquis de la Fayette, is as you ob- 
serve a heavy one : I am soliciting to have the Goods replac'd, 
and have some Hopes of Success. The Alliance who lost 
her Company in a Storm some Days before she was taken, 
made a Cruise afterwards and took 6 Prizes, viz, two Jamaica 
Ships bound to London, two English Privateers, and two 
Royal arm'd Vessels, viz a Sloop and a Brig. By all which 
he made 400 Prisoners, whom he sent to Newfoundland to 
be exchanged, & brought his Prizes into Boston. 

I have accepted the Bill you last mentioned for 15,000 
Dollars I had before accepted the Bill for 1700 Louis, being 
(with 50 left in my hands) the Amount of your half Years 
Salaries, so that you are made easy on that head for the 
present ; but whether I shall have it in my Power to continue 
the Payments either to you or my self, is uncertain, and I 
would advise writing to Congress, as I shall do, for Remit- 
tances. 

With great Esteem & Affection, I have the honour to be 

Dear Sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. I have just receiv'd a Letter from M. de Vergennes 
acquainting me, that the replacing what was lost in the 
Marquis de la Fayette is granted. 

I have also just heard from Holland that the Affair of the 
Loan there is in good Train, & likely to succeed but this I 
do not depend on. 



1781] MICHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN DE CREVECOEUR 297 



1238. TO MICHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN DE 

CREVEOEUR 1 (L. c.) 

M. ST. JOHN, CHEZ M. LE MOZIER, MARCHAND, RUE ST. 
JEAN, A CAEN, NORMANDIE, 

Passy, Sept. 2. 1781 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of Writing to 
me the 27th past, relating to the 5 Americans who landed on 
your Coast from England. Please to accept my Thanks for 
your Kindness to them. There is no doubt of the Success 
of their Petition relating to their Boat, the same Case having 
happened several Times, and such Requests always readily 
comply'd with by the Goodness of the Due de Penthievre. I 
receiv'd a Letter from those Gentlemen some Days before 
yours came to hand, desiring my Advice how they were to 
proceed: I answer'd it immediately advising them to go to 
L'Orient, where they would find American Vessels, in which 
they might return home. They did not express any Want of 
Money, and therefore I suppos'd they had sufficient; but if 
it should have fallen short, and you have been put to Expence 
in supplying them with any Necessaries, I will readily pay 
the Ace*. I am much oblig'd by your Offer of continuing your 

1 Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecceur (1735-1813), known under the 
name of St. John, was a native of Caen, who became in 1764 a citizen of 
New York and later French consul in that city. He was the author of " Let- 
ters from an American Farmer" (London, 1782), published under the name 
of "J. Hector St. John," and of "Voyage dans le haute Pensylvanie et dans 
1'Etat de New- York, par un membre adoptif de la nation Oneida " (Paris, 
1801). 

See " Saint John de Crevecceur Sa Vie et ses Ouvrages " by Robert de 
Crevecceur, Paris, 1883. ED. 



298 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

kind Offices towards our People who may hereafter arrive in 
your Parts. The Congress lately sent out a Consul General 
for France, with Power of Appointing Sub-Consuls in the 
different Ports. The Vessel was unfortunately lost with all 
on board. But it is probable his Place will soon be supply'd. 
On his Arrival I shall acquaint him with your generous Propo- 
sition. With great Regard, I have the honour to be 

Sir B. FRANKLIN 



1239. TO WILLIAM NIXON 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 5, 1781. 
REV D SIR, 

I duly received the Letter you did me the Honour of writing 
to me the 25th past, together with the valuable little Book, 
of which you are the Author. 2 There can be no doubt, but 
that a Gentleman of your Learning and Abilities might make 
a very useful Member of Society in our new Country, and 

1 The writer, master of the endowed school of Youghal, and Principal of the 
Dublin Academy, had recently been ordained a Priest in the Church of Ireland 
" as by Law established." On his passage home from England he was taken 
by a privateer and brought into Cherbourg (August 15) and thence taken to 
Valogne, where he remained upon parole at the time of writing this letter. 
His letter of August 25"" is in A. P. S. In it he says " As honest Distress is 
always a Recommendation to the truely noble & being induced by the Amiable- 
ness of your private as well as publick character, I have taken the Liberty 
of submitting both my Situation & Wishes to your Excellency." ED. 

" Prosody made Easy," Cork, 1781. Reprinted Phila. 1786, with a dedi- 
cation to Franklin " In Remembrance of his Liberality in a Foreign Land." 
The above letter with slightly different phraseology is printed among the 
" recommendations." Nixon says he drew a bill on Franklin " in favour of 
the Commandant of Cherburg who immediately advanced its Contents." He 
did not ask his Excellency's permission to publish the above letter, "be- 
cause great Merit is generally accompanied with great Modesty, and Charity 
vaunteth not itself." ED. 



1781] TO ROBERT MORRIS 299 

meet with Encouragement there, either as an Instructor in 
one of our Universities, or as a Clergyman of the Church of 
Ireland. But I am not impowered to engage any Person to 
go over thither, and my Abilities to assist the Distressed are 
very limited. I suppose you will soon be set at Liberty in 
England by the Cartel for the Exchange of Prisoners. In the 
mean time, if Five Louis-d'ors may be of present Service to 
you, please to draw on me for that Sum, and your Bill shall 
be paid on Sight. Some time or other you may have an 
Opportunity of assisting with an equal Sum a stranger who has 
equal need of it. Do so. By that means you will discharge 
any Obligation you may suppose yourself under to me. 
Enjoin him to do the same on Occasion. By pursuing such 
a Practice, much Good may be done with little money. Let 
kind Offices go round. Mankind are all of a Family. I 
have the honour to be, Rev d Sir, &c. - 



1240. TO ROBERT MORRIS (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 12, 1781. 
DEAR SIR, 

I have received your Letters of July 13, 14, 19, and 21,* 
all at once, by way of L'Orient. . . . 

I have now the Pleasure to acquaint you, that I have 
obtained a Promise of the Sum I wanted, to pay the Bills 
I had accepted for the Purchases made in Holland ; so that 
your supplying me with Remittances for that purpose, which 
I requested, is now unnecessary, and I shall finish the Year 

1 See the letters here referred to in the Diplomatic Correspondence (Sparks), 
Vol. XI, pp. 370, 377, 383, 395, 396. ED. 



300 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

with Honour. But it is as much as I can do, with the Aid 
of the Sum I stopt in Holland ; the Drafts on Mr. Jay and on 
Mr. Adams much exceeding what I had been made to expect. 

I had been inform'd, that the Congress had promis'd 
to draw no more Bills on Europe, after the Month of March 
last, till they should know they had Funds here : But I learn 
from Mr. Adams, that some Bills have been lately presented 
to him, drawn June 22, on Mr. Laurens, who is in the Tower, 
which makes the Proceeding seem extraordinary. Mr 
Adams cannot pay these Bills, and I cannot engage for them ; 
for I see by the Minutes of Congress you have sent me, that, 
tho' they have stopt issuing Bills drawn on the Ministers at 
Madrid and the Hague, until they shall be assured that Funds 
are provided for paying them, they have left open to be sold 
those drawn on their Minister at Versailles, Funds or no 
Funds, which, in the Situation you will see I am in by the 
Letters of M de Vergennes, terrifies me ; for I have promised 
not to accept any Drafts made on me by Order of Congress, 
if such should be after the time above mentioned, unless I 
have Funds in my Hands, or in view, to pay them. After its 
being declar'd to me, that such Bills could not be provided 
for, and my Promise not to engage for them, it will be im- 
possible to ask for the Money, if I should accept them ; and 
I believe those bills of Mr. Ross must go back protested. 

The projected Loan in Holland has of late some appear- 
ances of Success. I am indeed told it is agreed to by the 
States ; but I do not yet think it so certain, as to venture, or 
advise the Venturing, to act in Expectation of it. The 
Instant it is assured, I will send you Advice of it by every 
Opportunity, and will, from time to time, send Parts of it in 
Cash by such Ships of War as can conveniently take it. 



1781] TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON 301 

I cannot write to you fully by this Opportunity. I will 
not, however, delay acquainting you, that, having the fullest 
Confidence in your Assurances of enabling me to pay them, 
I shall chearfully accept your Bills for 400,000 livres. Cap- 
tain Gillon has sail'd from Holland, without taking under his 
Convoy the two Vessels, that were freighted to carry the Goods 
purchased by Capt. Jackson in Holland. There has been 
terrible Management there : And from the Confusions in the 
Ship, before and when she sail'd, it is a question if she ever 
arrives in America. 

They are hard at work here, in providing the Supplies to 
replace those lost in the Marquis de la Fayette. With best 
Wishes of Success to you in your new Employment, and 
Assurances of every Aid I can afford you, I am, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1241. TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Sept. 13, 1781. 

SIR, 

I duly received the two Letters your Excellency did me 
the Honour of writing to me, both dated the Q th of June, 1 
together with the Letter addressed to the King and the three 
Commissioners, with the Instructions relative to the Negocia- 
tions for Peace. I immediately went out to Versailles and 
presented the Letter, which was graciously received. I 
communicated also to M. le Comte de Vergennes a Copy of 
your Instructions after having decyphered them. He read 
them while I was with him, and expressed Satisfaction with 
the unreserved Confidence plac'd in his Court by the Con- 
ilnA. P. S. ED. 



302 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

gress, assuring me that they would never have Cause to 
regret it, for that the King had the Honour of the United 
States at Heart, as well as their Welfare and Independence. 
Indeed this has already been manifested in the Negociations 
relative to the Preliminaries; and I have had so much Ex- 
perience of his Majesty's Goodness to us, in the Aids afforded 
us from time to time, and of the Sincerity of this upright and 
able Minister, who never promised me any thing which he did 
not punctually perform, that I cannot but think the confi- 
dence well and judiciously placed, and that it will have happy 
effects. 

I have communicated to Mr. Adams and to Mr. Jay the 
purport of your despatches. Mr. Adams already had re- 
ceived the same ; by the first safe conveyance, I shall acquaint 
the Congress with the steps, that have been taken in the 
negotiation. At present, I would only say, that the settling 
of preliminaries meets with difficulty, and will probably 
take much time, partly from the remoteness of the mediators ; 
so that any relaxation of our warlike preparations, in expec- 
tation of a speedy peace, will be imprudent, as it may be 
pernicious. 

I am extremely sensible of the honour done me by the 
Congress in this new appointment. I beg they would accept 
my thankful acknowledgments; and, since they judge I 
may be serviceable, though I had requested leave to retire, 
I submit dutifully to their determination, and shall do my 
utmost to merit in some degree the favourable opinion they 
appear to have of me. I am the more encouraged in this 
resolution, as within the last three months I find my health 
and strength considerably reestablished. 

I wish, however, that a consul-general may soon be ap- 



1781] TO DANIEL OF ST. THOMAS JENIFER 303 

pointed for this kingdom ; it would ease me of abundance of 
troublesome business, to which I am not equal, and which 
interferes with my own important functions. 

The King having graciously complied with my request, of 
replacing the supplies lost in the Marquis de Lafayette, 
many hands are employed in providing them, who work hard 
to have them ready and shipped, so that they may arrive 
before winter. With the highest respect, I have the honour 

to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. The copying machine for Mr. Secretary Thomson 
is in hand, and will soon be finished and sent to him. 



1242. TO DANIEL OF ST. THOMAS JENIFER 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 13, 1781. 

SIR, 

I received the very obliging Letter you did me the Honour 
of writing to me the 2oth of June last. It gave me great 
satisfaction to find, by the unanimous Choice you mention, 
that my Services had not been unacceptable to Congress; 
and to hear also that they were favourably dispos'd towards 
my Grandson. It was my Desire to quit public Business, 
fearing it might suffer in my Hands thro' the Infirmities in- 
cident to my Time of Life. But as they are pleas'd to think 
I may still be useful, I submit to their Judgment, and shall 
do my best. 

1 Member of Congress from Maryland (1778-1782). He was born in 
Maryland in 1723 and died there in 1790. ED. 



304 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

I immediately forwarded the Letter you inclos'd for Mr. 
Lowndes; 1 and if in any thing else I can do you Service or 
Pleasure here, please to command me freely. I have the 
Honour to be, with great Regard, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1243. TO RICHARD BACHE (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 13, 1781. 

DEAR SON, 

I received yours of June 20. It gave me great Pleasure, 
as it inform'd me of the Welfare of yourself and the dear 
Family. 

I am glad Ben's Profile got safe to hand. I assure you it is 
very like him. 

I have read Mr. Wharton's Pamphlet. The Facts, as 
far as I know them, are as he states them. Justice is, I 
think, on the side of those who contracted for the Lands. 3 
But moral and political Rights sometimes differ, and some- 
times are both subdu'd by Might. I received, and thank you 
for, several Copies of the Indian Spelling Book. I received 
also the German and English Newspapers. 

The Newton Pippin Grafts will be very welcome. As 
will some of the Apples, and a few of your white Walnuts and 
Chestnuts. 

Among my Papers in the Trunk, which I unhappily left 
in the Care of Mr. Galloway, were eight or ten quire or 
2-quire Books, of rough Drafts of my Letters, containing 

1 Rawlins Lowndes (1722-1800), president of the province of South 
Carolina in 1778. ED. 

* The Indiana Grant. ED. 



1781] TO RICHARD BACHE 305 

all my Correspondence, when in England, for near twenty 
years. I shall be very sorry, if they too are lost. Do not 
you think it possible, by going up into that Country, and 
enquiring a little among the Neighbours, you might possibly 
hear of, and recover some of them. I should not have left 
them in his Hands, if he had not deceived me, by saying, that, 
though he was before otherwise inclin'd, yet that, since the 
King had declar'd us out of his Protection, and the Parlia- 
ment by an Act had made our Properties Plunder, he would 
go as far in the Defence of his Country as any man; and 
accordingly he had lately with Pleasure given Colours to a 
Regiment of Militia, and an Entertainment to 400 of them 
before his House. I thought he was become a stanch Friend 
to the glorious Cause. I was mistaken. As he was a Friend 
of my Son's, to whom in my Will I had left all my Books and 
Papers, I made him one of my Executors, and put the Trunk 
of Papers into his Hands, imagining them safer in his House 
(which was out of the way of any probable March of the 
enemies' Troops) than in my own. It was very unlucky. 

I should be happy to see William. But I think a foreign 
Education for one of your sons sufficient. Give William at 
my Expence the best our Country can afford. I wish him 
however to learn French. You have at present Schools and 
Masters that teach it. Besides other usual things let him 
acquire a little Mathematics, and a perfect knowledge of 
Accounts. With these he will be able to bustle and make his 
Way. 

My love to Sally and the Children. I shall soon write to 
all my Friends. At present I am pinch'd in Time, and can 
only add, that I am ever your affectionate Father, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

VOL. VIII X 



306 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1244. TO FRANCIS HOPKINSON (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 13, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

1 have received your kind Letter of July 17,* with its 
Duplicate, enclosing those for Messrs. Brandlight and Sons, 2 
which I have forwarded. I am sorry for the Loss of the 
Squibs' Every thing of yours gives me Pleasure. 

As to the Friends and Enemies you just mention, I have 
hitherto, Thanks to God, had Plenty of the former kind; 
they have been my Treasure ; and it has perhaps been of no 
Disadvantage to me, that I have had a few of the latter. 
They serve to put us upon correcting the Faults we have, and 
avoiding those we are in danger of having. They counter- 
act the Mischief Flattery might do us, and their Malicious 
Attacks make our Friends more zealous in serving us and 
promoting our Interest. At present, I do not know of more 
than two such Enemies that I enjoy, viz. Lee and Izard. 
I deserved the Enmity of the latter, because I might have 
avoided it by paying him a Compliment, which I neglected. 
That of the former I owe to the People of France, who hap- 
pen'd to respect me too much and him too little; which I 
could bear, and he could not. They are unhappy, that they 
cannot make everybody hate me as much as they do ; and I 
should be so, if my Friends did not love me much more than 
those Gentlemen can possibly love one another. 

UnA.P. S. ED. 

2 Merchants in Amsterdam. ED. 

8 These political satires went out in the same vessel with President Laurens, 
and fell into the hands of the British. Hopkinson wrote (July 17): "They 
are heartily welcome to any performance of mine in that way. I wish the 
Dose was stronger & better for their sake." ED. 



1781] MI'CHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN DE CREVECCEUR 307 

Enough of this Subject. Let me know, if you are in 
possession of my Gimcrack Instruments, and if you have 
made any new Experiments. I lent, many years ago, a large 
Glass Globe, mounted, to Mr. Coombe, and an electric 
Battery of Bottles, which I remember; perhaps there were 
some other Things. He may have had them so long as to 
think them his own. Pray ask him for them, and keep 
them for me, together with the rest. 

You have a new Crop of Prose Writers. I see in your 
Papers many of their fictitious Names, but nobody tells me 
the real. You will oblige me by a little of your literary 
History. Adieu, my dear Friend, and believe me ever 

yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1245. TO MICHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN DE 

CREVECCEUR (L.C.) 

Passy, Sept. 21. 1781 
SIR, 

I should have answered sooner your Letter of the yth but 
that it happen'd to be mislaid. Inclos'd I send the Letter 
you desire for Gov r Hancock. I have now no Acquaintance 
left in New York Government, but its Delegates to Congress, 
to whom you mention being already known. 

Mad e la Comtesse d' Houdetot had warmly recommended 
to me a M. Crevecceur who had lived long in America. 
Please to inform me if you are the same Person. l 

1 Crevecceur wrote in reply (September 26, 1781), A. P. S. : "Yes, Sir, I am 
the Same Person whom Madame La Comtesse de Houdetot has been so kind as 
to mention to you The Reason of this mistake proceeds from the Singular- 
ity of ye French Customs which renders their Names, all most arbitrary, & 
often leads them to forget their Family ones." ED. 



308 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

The Person I mention'd as coming over to be Consul 
General was a Col. Palfrey, whom you have probably seen 
with our Army. 

I wish to know, if you please, what became of the Applica- 
tion for the Boat. 

I have the honour to be, with great Esteem, 

Sir, 

B. FRANKLIN 



1246. TO JOHN HANCOCK (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 21. 1781. 
SIR, 

Five Captains of Vessels from Boston who had been carried 
Prisoners into England, made their Escape from thence lately 
in an open Boat and arrived on the Coast of Normandy in 
France. 

Being Strangers there, destitute of all Acquaintance, they 
had the good Fortune to meet with M. St. John a French 
Gentleman, who had lived several Years in America. He 
took them kindly to his Father's Seat, procur'd them all the 
Assistance they had need of, & forwarded them to L' Orient. 

This Friendly & Hospitable Treatment of our People 
entitles this Gentleman to our Regard; and as he thinks it 
may be in your Excellency's Power to render him some 
Service in that Country, I take the Liberty to acquaint you 
with the above Fact, and that he is much esteemed by Per- 
sons of Consideration here. 

With great Respect, I have the honour to be 

Sir 

Your Excellency's etc. 

B. FRANKLIN 



1781] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 309 

1247. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 2, 1781 

It is a long time, my dear Friend, since I have had the 
Pleasure of writing to you. I have postpon'd it too often 
from a Desire of writing a good deal on various Subjects, 
which I could not find sufficient time to think of properly. 
Your Experiments on the Conducting of Heat was one Sub- 
ject ; the Finishing my Remarks on the Stroke of Lightning 
in Italy * was another. Then I was taken ill with a severe Fit 
of the Gout soon after you left us, which held me near three 
Months, and put my Business and Correspondence so far 
behind-hand, that I was long in getting it up again. Add 
to this, that I find Indolence increases with Age, and that I 
have not near the Activity I formerly had. But I cannot 
afford to lose your Correspondence, in which I have always 
found so much Pleasure and Instruction. I now force myself 
to write, & I fancy this Letter will be long. 

I have now before me your several Favours of Dec. 5, 1780, 
Feb. 7, April 7, May 23, and Aug. 29, 1781. I was glad to 
find by the first, that you enjoy'd a good State of Health, and 
that you had Leisure to pursue your Philosophical enquiries. 
I wish you that continued Success, which so much Industry, 
Sagacity & Exactness in making Experiments, have a right 
to expect. You will have much immediate Pleasure by that 
Success, and in time great Reputation. But for the present, 
the Reputation will be given grudgingly, & in as small a 

1 See "An Attempt to explain the Effects of Lightning on the Steeple of a 
Church in Cremona." ED. 



310 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Quantity as possible, mix'd too with some Mortification. 
One would think that a man so labouring disinterestedly for 
the Good of his Fellow Creatures, could not possibly by such 
means make himself Enemies; but there are Minds who 
cannot bear that another should distinguish himself even by 
greater Usefulness; and tho' he demands no Profit, nor any 
thing in Return but the Good Will of those he is serving, they 
will endeavour to deprive him of that, first by disputing the 
Truth of his Experiments, then their Utility; and, being 
defeated there, they finally dispute his Right to them, and 
would give the Credit of them to a Man that liv'd 3000 years 
ago, or at 3000 Leagues distance, rather than to a Neighbour 
or even a Friend. Go on, however, & never be discouraged. 
Others have met with the same Treatment before you, and 
will after you. And whatever some may think & say, it is 
worth while to do Men Good, for the Self-Satisfaction one 
has in the Reflection. 

Your Account of the Experiments you made with the Wires 
gave me a great deal of Pleasure. I have shown it to several 
Persons here, who think it exceedingly curious. If you should 
ever repeat those Experiments, I wish your Attention to one 
Circumstance. I think it possible, that in dipping them into 
the Wax, & taking them out suddenly, the Metal which 
attracts Heat most readily, may chill & draw out with it a 
thicker Coat of Wax; and this thicker Coat might in the 
Progress of the Experiment, be longer in melting. They 
should therefore be kept so long in the Wax, as to be all well 
and equally heated. Perhaps you may thus find the Progress 
of Heat in the Silver quicker and greater. I think also that 
if the hot Oil in which you dipt the Ends was not stagnant 
but in Motion, the Experiment would be more compleat: 



1781] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 311 

because the Wire which quickest diminishes the Heat of the 
Oil next to it, finds soonest the Difficulty of getting more Heat 
from the Oil farther distant, wh h depends on the Nature of 
Oil as a Conductor of Heat, that which is already cooled 
interfering between the hotter Oil & the Wire. In reversing 
the Experiment also, to try which of the Metals cools the 
fastest, I think the Wires should be dipt in running cold 
Water; for when stagnant, the hot Wires, by communicating 
Heat to the Water that is near them, will make it less capable 
of receiving more Heat ; and, as the Metals which communi- 
cate their Heat most freely & readily will soonest warm the 
Water round them, the Operation of such Metals may there- 
fore soonest stop, not because they naturally longer with- 
hold their Heat, but because the Water near them is not in 
a State to receive it. I do not know that these Hints are 
founded ; I suggest them only as meriting a little Considera- 
tion. Every one is surprized that the Progress of the Heat 
seems to have no connection with the Gravity or the Levity 
of the Metals. 

Those whom I have heard speak of your Book here, 1 
speak well of it. But I think it has not been so much talk'd 
of as might have been expected. This however is a Matter 
that is subject to Accidents. The Death of a Prince, a Battle, 
or any other important Event happening just on the Publica- 
tion of a new Book, tho' a very good one, occasion it to be little 
spoken of and for some time almost forgotten. We Printers 
& Booksellers are well acquainted with this. 

You ask for News from America, and particularly what 
Effects attended the Defection of Arnold, and what were his 
Motives. He tried to draw others after him, but in vain, 
1 " Experiments des Vegetaux" (1779). ED. 



312 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

not a Man followed him. We discovered his Motive by an 
intercepted Letter, a Copy of which I enclose which shews 
it was a Bribe of five thousand Pounds Sterling. This he 
received in Bills of Exchange on London, where the Money 
was put into the Funds on his Account. He lives cover'd 
with Infamy, & despis'd even by those who expected to be 
serv'd by his Treachery. You will see by a German Almanack 
which I send you, how his Effigies was treated at Philadelphia. 
And since you ask for American Newspapers, I will send you 
some German Ones. We have three in that Language pub- 
lished weekly at Philadelphia and Germantown, by which you 
may judge that the People with us who speak it are very 
numerous, and now that England can no longer monopolize 
our Commerce, the ancient Connection of those People with 
their Mother Country will be a means of opening a consid- 
erable American Trade with Germany by the North Seas, 
& by the Mediterranean. 

Never were Wars more unjustly and causelessly begun than 
those England is now engaged in with your Country & mine. 
If she persists in them she is ruined ; as she deserves to be. 
These Wars were evidently Wars of Rapine; they had no 
Provocation but the Hopes of Plunder. I think you us'd to 
have a better Opinion of that Nation than it deserv'd. It is 
extremely corrupted. 

MT le Begue de Presle is much out of Town, so that I 
wish you had among the French a Correspondent, who 
resides constantly at Paris. I imagine M. le Roy would suit 
you. The M. de Presle I believe will do what he can about 
your Publications. I shall be glad to see your Piece on the 
Electrophore when it is printed in English or French. I 
do not so easily read the German. 



1782] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 313 

I have never received a Line from M 1 Wharton since his 
arrival in America, and know nothing of his Affairs. I have 
desired D r Bancroft who corresponds with him to write to you 
about him. 

[Jan. 20. 1782] Not having yet finish'd my Letter begun 
so long since I have received yours of Dec. 8. I am sorry 
the Publication of your Book has been kept back for want 
of hearing from me. I did propose to finish my Paper relat- 
ing to the Weathercock of Pere Barletti, but had mislaid his 
Book & what I had written. I will now endeavour to do 
it ; but my Thoughts are so employ'd in Matters of a different 
kind, that I cannot easily fix them on philosophical Subjects. 
The Experiments you mention, of the dazzling Brightness of 
a certain Smoke, and the Burning of a Wire Cord are ex- 
treamly curious. I wish to be better acquainted with them. 

I grieve with you for the unhappy Situation of our Friend 
Sir John Pringle. 

[June 21. 1782] I have not till this Day had time to finish 
the little Paper above mentioned, which I now send you 
enclos'd. The Imperial Ambassador has had the Goodness 
two or three times to offer the Conveyance of Letters to you ; 
and I have as often promis'd to make Use of that Convey- 
ance, & fully intended it ; but something or other has always 
prevented it. I wonder at your Goodness that you continue 
Writing to so bad a Correspondent. I have a few days since 
receiv'd your Favour of April 24, thro' the Hands of M' Fave, 
who is so kind as to promise taking care of the Answer, & 
it is to his Care that I propose committing this. He has 
also delivered to me the German Edition of your Opuscule. 
There are several Pieces in it which I much desire to read ; 
but I will wait for the French, as that will be easier for me, 



3H THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

having for these many Years been but little accustomed to 
the German. I again regret that the Publication should 
have been delay'd on my Account. 

I am sorry that any Misunderstanding should arise between 
you and Dr. Priestley. The Indiscretions of Friends on 
both sides often occasion such Misunderstandings. When 
they produce public Altercation, the Ignorant are diverted 
at the Expence of the Learned. I hope, therefore, that you 
will omit the polemic Piece in your French Edition, and take 
no public Notice of the improper Behaviour of your Friend ; 
but go on with your excellent Experiments, produce Facts, 
improve Science, and do good to Mankind. Reputation 
will follow, and the little Injustices of cotemporary Labourers 
will be forgotten; my Example may encourage you, or else 
I should not mention it. You know, that, when my Papers 
were first published, the Abbe* Nollet, then high in Reputation, 
attack'd them in a Book of Letters. An Answer was expected 
from me, but I made none to that Book, nor to any other. 
They are now all neglected, and the Truth seems to be 
established. You can always employ your time better than 

in Polemics. 1 

^i 

M. Lavoisier the other Day showed an experiment at the 
Academy of Sciences, to the Comte du Nord, that is said to 
be curious. He kindled a hollow Charcoal, and blew into 
it a Stream of dephlogisticated Air. In this Focus, which 
is said to be the hottest fire human Art has yet been able to 
produce, he melted Platina in a few Minutes. 

Our American Affairs were [wear] a better Aspect now than 

1 A brief paragraph omitted in which Franklin declares that he knows not 
what to think of Wharton's conduct toward Ingenhousz. ED. 



1 782] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 315 

at any time heretofore. Our Councils are perfectly united ; 
our People all arm'd and disciplined. Much and frequent 
Service, as Militia, has indeed made them all Soldiers. 
Our Enemies are much diminish'd, and reduc'd to two or 
three Garrisons; our Commerce and Agriculture flourish. 
England at length sees the Difficulty of conquering us, and no 
longer demands Submission, but asks for Peace. She would 
now think herself happy to obtain a federal Union with us, and 
will endeavour it ; but, perhaps, will be disappointed, as it is 
the Interest of all Europe to prevent it. I last Year requested 
of Congress to release me from this Service, that I might 
spend the Evening of Life more agreably in philosophic 
Leisure; but I was refus'd. If I had succeeded, it was my 
Intention to make the Tour of Italy, with my Grandson, pass 
into Germany, and spend some time happily with you, 
whom I have always loved, ever since I knew you, with unin- 
terrupted Affection. 

We have lost our common Friend, the excellent Pringle. 
How many pleasing hours you and I have pass'd together 
in his Company ! I must soon follow him, being now in my 
77 th year; but you have yet a Prospect of many years of Use- 
fulness still before you, which I hope you will fully enjoy; 
and I am persuaded you will ever kindly remember your truly 
affectionate Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



316 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1248. TO JOHN ADAMS 1 

Passy, October 12, 1781. 

SIR, 

I received the letter your Excellency did me the honour of 
writing to me the 4th Instant. I have never known a peace 
made, even the most advantageous, that was not censured 
as inadequate, and the makers condemned as injudicious or 
corrupt. "BLESSED are the peace-makers" is, I suppose, to 
be understood in the other world; for in this they are fre- 
quently cursed. Being as yet rather too much attached to this 
world, I had therefore no ambition to be concerned in fabri- 
cating this peace, and know not how I came to be put into the 
commission. I esteem it, however, as an honour to be joined 
with you in so important a business ; and, if the execution of 
it shall happen in my time, which I hardly expect, I shall 
endeavour to assist in discharging the duty according to the 
best of my judgment. 

Immediately on the receipt of the commission of instruc- 
tions, I communicated them, as directed, to this court. The 
steps that have been taken in the mediation were verbally 
communicated to me, but as yet I have had no copies given 
me of the papers. I asked, if it was not proper to com- 
municate to the ministers of the mediating powers the com- 
mission of Congress, empowering us to accept their media- 
tion ; and was advised to postpone it a little. I will endeavour, 
on Tuesday next, to obtain for you a copy of the answer 
of the British court, which you desire, and will consult on 
the propriety of mentioning our commission in the public 
papers. 

1 Printed from Sparks. ED. 



1781] TO JOHN ADAMS 317 

I have heard nothing of Mr. Jefferson. I imagine the 
story of his being taken prisoner is not true. 1 From his 
original unwillingness to leave America, when I was sent hither, 
I think his coming doubtful, unless he had been made ac- 
quainted with and consented to the appointment. 

I hope your health is fully established. I doubt not but 
you have the advice of skilful physicians, otherwise I should 
presume to offer mine, which would be, though you find your- 
self well, to take a few doses of bark, by way of fortifying 
your constitution, and preventing a return of your fever. 
With the greatest respect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1249. FROM EDMUND BURKE TO BENJAMIN 
FRANKLIN (u. OF p.) 

DEAR SIR, 

I feel, as an honest man & as a good Citizen ought to feel, the Calamities 
of the present unhappy War. The only part however of these Calamities which 
personally affects myself is, that I have been obliged to discontinue my inter- 
course with you : But that misfortune I must consider as equivalent to many. 
I may indeed with great Truth assure you, that your friendship has always 
been an object of my Ambition ; & that if an high & very sincere Esteem for 
your Talents & Virtues could give me a Title to it, I am not wholly unworthy of 
that honour. 

I flatter myself, that your belief in the reality of these Sentiments will 
excuse the Liberty I take of laying before you a matter, in which I have no 
small concern. The application I make originates wholly from myself, & has 
not been suggested to me by any person whatsoever. I have lately been 
informed with great certainty, & with no less surprise, that the Congress 
have made an application for the return of my friend Gen! Burgoine to cap- 
tivity in America, at a time when the Exchange of almost all the rest of 
the convention officers has been compleated. It is true, that this requisition 
has been for the present withdrawn. But then it may be renewd at every 

1 It was rumoured that Jefferson had been taken prisoner by a party of 
horse in Virginia. ED. 



318 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Instant, & no arrangement had been made or proposed, which may prevent a 
thing on all accounts so very disagreeable as to see, the most opposite Inter- 
ests conspiring in the persecution of a man formed by the unparralleld Candour 
& Moderation of his Mind to unite the most discordant parties in his favour. 

I own this proceeding of the Congress fills me with astonishment. I am 
persuaded that some unusually artful management or very unexampled delu- 
sion has operated to produce an Effect which cannot be accounted for on any 
of the ordinary principles of Nature or of policy. 

I shall not enter into the particulars of the convention under which this 
claim is made; nor into the construction of it ; nor the execution. I am not 
perhaps capable of doing Justice to the Merits of the Cause ; & if I were I am 
not disposed to put them upon any Ground of argument. Because (What- 
ever others might & possibly ought to do) I am not pleading a point of strict 
right, but appealing to your known principles of honour & generosity with the 
freedom & priveleges of an old friendship. And as I suppose you perfectly 
acquainted with the whole History of the extraordinary treatment that 
Gen. Burgoine has met with, I am resolved not to shew so much distrust in 
so sound a Memory & so good a Judgment as yours, as to attempt to repeat 
the one, or to lead the other. 

I am ready to admit that Gen 1 . Burgoine has been, & (as far as what is left 
him will suffer) is, a very affectionate servant of the crown ; & that in America 
he acted as an officer of the King (so long as fortune favoured him) with great 
Abilities, & distinguished fidelity, activity & spirit. You, My dear Sir, who 
have made such astonishing exertions in the Cause which you espouse, & are 
so deeply read in human Nature & in human Morals, know better than any- 
body, that men will, & that sometimes they are bound to take very different 
Views & measures of their Duty from local & from professional Situation ; & 
that we may all have equal merit in extremely different lines of Conduct. You 
know, Sir, that others may deserve the whole of your admiration in a Cause, 
in which your Judgment leads you to oppose them. But whatever our opinions 
may be on the origin of this fatal War, I assure you that Gen 1 . Burgoine has 
the Merit of never having driven it on with violence, or fostered & kept it alive 
by Evil Arts, or aggravated any of its natural Mischiefs by any unnecessary 
rigours, But has behaved on all occasions with that Temper which becomes 
a great Military Character, that loves no thing so much in the profession as 
the means it so frequently furnishes of generosity & humanity. 

You have heard of the sacrifices he has made of his nice Sense of honour 
on this side of the Water sacrifices, far above the Just demands of the 
principle to which they were made. This has been of no advantage to the 
Country, where he was picqued to the resignation of so much rank and emollu- 
ment, both so justly earned. Shall America too, call for sacrifices which are 
still more severe, & of full as little advantage to those who demand them ? 
I know the rigour of political Necessity. But I see here as little of Necessity, 



i;8i] TO EDMUND BURKE 319 

or indeed of expedience, as of propriety. I know the respect which is due 
to all publick Bodies : But none of them are exempt from Mistake ; & the 
most disrespectful thing which can be done towards them, is to suppose them 
incapable of correcting an Errour. 

If I were not fully persuaded of your Liberal & manly way of thinking, 
I should not presume, in the hostile situation in which I stand, to make an 
application to you. But in this piece of experimental Philosophy, I run no 
risque of offending you. I apply, not to the Ambassador of America, but to 
Doctor Franklin the Philosopher; my friend ; & the lover of his species. 
In that light, whatever colour politicks may take, I shall ever have the 
honour to be, 

Dear Sir 

Your most faithful 

Charles Street & obed humble Serv*. 

Augs 4 . 15. 1781. EDM BURKE 



1250. TO EDMUND BURKE 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Oct. 15, 1781. 

SIR, 

I received but a few days since your very friendly letter 
of August last, on the subject of General Burgoyne. 

Since the foolish part of mankind will make wars from time 
to time with each other, not having sense enough otherwise 
to settle their differences, it certainly becomes the wiser part, 
who cannot prevent those wars, to alleviate as much as pos- 
sible the calamities attending them. Mr. Burke always stood 
high in my esteem; but his affectionate concern for his 
friend renders him still more amiable, and makes the honour 
he does me of admitting me of the number still more precious. 

I do not think the Congress have any wish to persecute 
General Burgoyne. I never heard, till I received your letter, 
that they had recalled him ; if they have made such a resolu- 
tion, it must be, I suppose, a conditional one, to take place in 
1 From a transcript in an unknown hand (L. C). ED. 



320 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

case their offer of exchanging him for Mr. Laurens should not 
be accepted; a resolution intended merely to enforce that 
offer. 

I have just received an authentic copy of the resolve con- 
taining that offer; and authorizing me to make it. As I 
have no communication with your ministers, I send it enclosed 
to you. 1 If you can find any means of negotiating this 
business, I am sure the restoring another worthy man to his 
family and friends will be an addition to your pleasure. With 
great and invariable respect and affection, I am, Sir, your 
most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 2 

1 "In Congress, June l^tk, 1781; Resolved, that the minister plenipoten- 
tiary from these United States at the court of Versailles be authorized and 
empowered to offer Lieutenant-General Burgoyne in exchange for the Hon- 
ourable Henry Laurens." ED. 

2 To this letter Burke replied, February 28, 1782 : 

"DEAR SIR, 

" Your most obliging letter demanded an early answer. It has not received 
the acknowledgment, which was so justly due to it But Providence has well 
supplied my deficiencies ; and the delay of the answer has made it much 
more satisfactory, than at the time of my receipt of your letter I dared to 
promise myself it could be. I congratulate you, as the friend of America ; I 
trust, as not the enemy of England ; I am sure, as the friend of mankind ; 
on the resolution of the House of Commons, carried by a majority of nineteen, 
at two o'clock this morning, in a very full house. It was the declaration of 
two hundred and thirty-four; I think it was the opinion of the whole. I 
trust it will lead to a speedy peace between the two branches of the English 
nation, perhaps to a general peace; and that our happiness may be an intro- 
duction to that of the world at large. I most sincerely congratulate you on 
the event. I wish I could say, that I had accomplished my commission. 
Difficulties remain. But, as Mr. Laurens is released from his confinement, 
and has recovered his health tolerably, he may wait, I hope, without a great 
deal of inconvenience, for the final adjustment of his troublesome business. 
He is an exceedingly agreeable and honourable man. I am much obliged to 
you for the honour of his acquaintance. He speaks of you as I do, and is per- 
fectly sensible of your warm and friendly interposition in his favour. I have 



1 78 1] TO W. T. FRANKLIN 321 

1251. TO W. T. FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Versailles, Oct. 23, 1781 
MY DEAR CHILD 

I receiv'd your Letter from Orleans, 1 and another since 
from Chaumont. 

The Major 2 has got his Pistols. 

Inclos'd I send you the last Paper from London by which 
you will see there has been an Action between the French & 
English Fleets off Chesapeak. It appears even by their own 
Account that the English have been drubb'd, and oblig'd to 
leave the French in Possession of the Bay, and at Liberty to 
carry on their Operations against Cornwallis. By other 
Accounts M. Rochambeau was near joining the M. de la 
Fayette ; so that if Cornwallis has not made the best of his 
Way into Carolina, he will probly (sic) be taken with his 
whole Force. 

We are all in high Joy here on the Birth of a Dauphin 
I enclose the Supplement to the Gazette. 

My best Respects to Mad 8 de Chaumont and my Love 
to the rest of the Family. Thanks to Mad e Foucault for her 

the honour to be, with the highest possible esteem and regard, dear Sir, your 
most faithful and obedient humble servant, 

"EDMUND BURKE. 

" P.S. General Burgoyne presents his best compliments to you, with his 
thanks for your obliging attentions towards him." ED. 

1 The letter is dated October 15, 1781, and is in A. P. S. It was fol- 
lowed by the letter from Chaumont sur Loire, dated October 18, also in 
A. P. S. 

2 Major Franks. ED. 

VOL. VIII Y 



322 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

kindness in sending me the Kiss. It was grown cold by the 
way. I hope for a warm one when we meet. 1 
I am ever, 

Your affectionate Grandfather 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1252. TO THOMAS M C KEAN J (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Nov. 5, 1781. 
Sffi, 

Herewith you will receive a Copy of my last ; since which 
I have been honoured with two Letters from the late Presi- 
dent, the one dated March 2, relating to Captain Jones's 
Cross of Merit, which I have communicated as directed; 
the other, dated July 5, respecting the Release and Exchange 
of Mr. Laurens. 

Having no direct Communication with the British Ministers, 
and Mr. Burke appearing by a Letter to me warmly interested 
in favour of his Friend, General Burgoyne to prevent his 
being recalTd, I have requested and impowered him to nego- 
ciate that Exchange, and I soon expect his Answer. The 
late Practice of sending to England Prisoners taken in America 
has greatly augmented the Number of those unfortunate 
Men, and proportionally increas'd the Expence of relieving 
them. The Subscriptions for that Purpose in England have 
ceased. The Allowance I have made to them of 6 pence 
each per Week during the Summer, tho' small, amounts to 

1 "All the family" (Chaumont) "send their Love to you, and the beautiful 
M e Foucault accompanys hers with an English kiss." W. T. F. ED. 

2 Thomas McKean (1734-1817), signer of the Declaration of Independence, 
and President of Congress. ED. 



1 78 1] TO THOMAS M^KEAN 323 

a considerable Sum; and during the Winter, I shall be 
obliged to double, if not treble it. The Admiralty there will 
not accept any English in Exchange, but such as have been 
taken by Americans, and absolutely refuse to allow any of 
the Paroles given to our Privateers by English prisoners 
discharged at Sea, except in one Instance, that of 53 Men 
taken in the Snake Sloop, by the Pilgrim & Rambler, which 
was a Case attended, as they say with some particular Cir- 
cumstances. I know not what the Circumstances were, but 
shall be glad to see the 53 of our People, whom they promised 
to send me by the first Cartel. I have above 500 other Paroles 
solemnly given in writing, by which the Englishmen promised, 
either to send our People in exchange, or to surrender them- 
selves to me in France, not one of which has been regarded, 
so little Faith and Honour remain in that corrupted Nation. 
Our Privateers, when in the European Seas, will rarely bring 
in their Prisoners when they can get rid of them at Sea. 
Some of our poor brave Countrymen have been in that Cruel 
Captivity now near four Years. I hope the Congress will 
take this Matter into immediate Consideration, and find 
some Means for their Deliverance, and to prevent the send- 
ing more from America. By my last Accounts, the Number 
now in the several Prisons amounts to upwards of 800. 

I request also some Direction from Congress (having never 
received any) respecting the Allowance to be made to them 
while they remain there. They complain that the Food 
given them is insufficient. Their Petition to the English 
Government, to have an equal allowance with French and 
Spanish Prisoners has been rejected, which makes the small 
pecuniary assistance I can send them more necessary. If 
a certain Number of English Prisoners could be set apart in 



324 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

America, treated exactly in the same Manner, and their 
Exchange refused till it should be agreed to set these at 
Liberty in Europe, one might hope to succeed in procuring 
the Discharge of our People. Those who escape and pass 
thro' France to get home, put me also to a very great Expence 
for their Land Journies which could be prevented if they could 
be exchanged, as they would be landed here in the Ports. 

The Ambassador of Venice told me, that he was charg'd 
by the Senate to express to me their grateful Sense of the 
Friendly Behaviour of Capt. Barry, Commander of the 
Alliance \ in rescuing one of the Ships of their State from an 
English Privateer, and setting her at Liberty; and he re- 
quested me to communicate their Acknowledgment to Con- 
gress. There is a Complaint from Holland against Capt. 
Jones, for having taken the Brigantine Berkenbosch and send- 
ing her to America, and I have been desired to lay before 
Congress the enclosed Depositions relating to that Capture, 
and to request their attention to it. 

The Ambassador of Portugal also frequently asks me, if I 
have received any Answer to their Complaint, long since sent 
over. I wish it was in my Power to give one of some kind or 
other. But none has yet come to my Hands. I need not 
mention the importance of attending to the smallest Com- 
plaints between Nations, the Neglect of them having some- 
times very serious Consequences. 

The Mediation proposed is not agreed to by England, who 
refuses to treat with our United States but as a Sovereign 
with Subjects ; and I apprehend, that a Change in that Reso- 
lution is only to be expected from Time, the growing insup- 
portable Expence of the war, or a Course of Misfortunes in 
the Progress of it. The Spirits of that Nation have been 



1 78 1] TO THOMAS M^KEAN 325 

continually kept up by the flattering Accounts sent over, of 
our being weary of the Contest, and on the point of Submis- 
sion. Their Ministers, as appears by their intercepted Letters, 
have been themselves so far deceived as to expect daily those 
Submissions, and to have the Pleasure of laying them before 
the King. We may perhaps be able to guess a little by the 
King's speech at the approaching new Session of Parliament, 
whether they still continue under this delusion. As long as it 
subsists, Peace is not to be expected. 

A Loan has been proposed to be obtained for us of the 
States of Holland on the Credit of this Government. All 
public Operations are slow in that Country; and tho' the 
Affair is at length said to be concluded, it is not yet executed. 
Considerable advances have, however, been made here in 
Expectation of being reimbursed by it. The last Aids 
granted us have been so absorbed by my Payment of the 
Drafts on Mr. Jay and Mr. Adams, and acceptance of those 
for the enormous unexpected Purchases in Holland, which 
were to have gone in Capt. Gillon's Ship, but left behind, that 
I shall have nothing to spare for Extraordinaries, unless 
some of the Holland Loan comes soon into my hands. I am 
now told, from Amsterdam, that the two Ships Freighted 
there to carry those Goods are detained, as their Contract 
was to sail under Convoy of South Carolina, which left them ; 
and they must now take more Men to defend them, and of 
Consequence claim a higher Freight, and to have it paid be- 
fore they sail, unless I will buy the Ships, and send them on 
account of Congress, neither of which is in my Power to do. 
It was with Reluctance I engaged in that affair, having little 
Confidence in Capt. Gillon's Management, and fearing some 
Embarrassment of our Credit. 



326 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

I consented, in fine, to engage for the Payment of io,ooo 
Sterling, being the Value of Goods suitable for Congress, 
said to be already shipt in that Vessel ; and as there was said 
to be still some Room, and she was thought a safe Conveyance, 
I concluded to furnish an additional Sum to fill that Sup- 
posed Vacancy, which I limited to 5000^ Sterling more. You 
will judge of my Surprise, when I saw the accounts of that 
additional Purchase, which amounted, instead of 5, to 50,000^ 
I at first absolutely refused to pay for them. But Capt. 
Jackson came to me from thence express; urged, that the 
Purchase was made by Order of Col. Laurens; that the 
Goods were on board ; that if I would not undertake to pay 
for them, they must be relanded, and returned or sold, which 
would be a public Disgrace to us ; that they were all articles 
exceedingly wanted in America, &c. &c. In fine, I was 
prevailed on, and accepted the Bills, and was obliged to go 
with this After-Clap to the Ministers, a Proceeding always 
disagreable, after the Dispositions of the Funds of the Year 
have been arranged ; and more so in this Case, as the Money 
was to be paid for the Manufactures of other Countries, and 
not laid out in those of this Kingdom, by whose Friendship 
it was furnished. This fresh Grant was at first absolutely 
refus'd; at length I obtained it, and I hoped the Difficulty 
was over. 

But after all, the Officers declare the Ship overloaded, 
that there was no room to lodge the People and Provision, 
nor to act in fighting her ; the Goods are turned out into two 
other Ships, those are left, and it is now proposed to me, 
either to buy them, or to advance a Freight nearly equal 
to their Value. I cannot make a new Demand for this 
Purpose ; and I shall not wonder if this Government, observ- 



1781] TO THOMAS MCKEAN 327 

ing how badly our Shipping and transporting the Supplies 
are managed, should take that Business for the future entirely 
into their own hands, as they have begun to do in the Case of 
Replacing the Cargo of the Marquis de la Fayette; and in- 
deed, till some active, intelligent Person, skill'd in maritime 
affairs, is plac'd here as Consul, I cannot but think it will be 
much better executed, and more for our advantage. Some 
considerable Parts of that new Cargo are already shipt, and 
the Rest I hear are in great Forwardness. 

The very Friendly Disposition of this Court towards us 
still continues, and will, [I] hope, continue for ever. From 
my own Inclination, as well as in Obedience to the Orders of 
Congress, every thing in my Power shall be done to cultivate 
that Disposition; but I trust it will be remembred, that the 
best Friends may be overburthened ; that by too frequent, 
too large, and too importunate Demands [upon it, the most 
cordial friendship may be wearied ; and, as nothing is more 
teasing than repeated, unexpected large demands for money,] 
I hope the Congress will absolutely put an End to the Practice 
of drawing on their Ministers, and thereby obliging them to 
worry their respective Courts for the means of Payment. 
It may have otherwise very ill Effects in depressing the Spirit 
of a Minister, and destroying that Freedom of Representa- 
tion, which on many Occasions it might be proper for him to 
make use of. 

I heartily congratulate you, Sir, on your being called to the 
honourable and important Office of President, and wish you 
every kind of Prosperity. 

Be pleased to present my dutiful Respects to the Congress 
and believe me to be, with great and sincere Esteem and 
Respect, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



328 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 



1253. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (P. c.) 

Passy, Nov. 8, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

It is long since I have had the Pleasure of hearing from 
you. I hope your Health continues. 

If M* Fox, 2 to whom I give this Line, should visit the Hague, 
I recommend him warmly to your Civilities. He is a Gentle- 
man of good Character, and for whom I have a great Regard, 
not only as an American and the Son of an old Friend, but 
for his personal Merit. 
With much Esteem, I am ever, Dear Sir, 

Your affectionate Friend 

and humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1254. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy. Nov. r 20, 1781. 

SIR, 

Your very obliging Letter communicating the News of the 
important Victory at York, gave me infinite Pleasure. The 
very powerful aid afforded by his Majesty to America this 
year, has rivetted the affections of that People, and the Success 
has made Millions happy. Indeed the King appears to me 
from this and another late Event, to be le plus grand Faiseur 

1 From the original in the autograph collection of Mr. Simon Gratz. ED. 
* George Fox, of Champlost, Philadelphia, to whom W. T. Franklin be- 
queathed the papers of Benjamin Franklin. ED. 



1781] TO MADAME DE BOHLEN 329 

d'heureux that this World affords. May God prosper him, 
his Family and Nation to the End of Time ! 
I am, with Respect Sir, 

Your Excellency's 

most obedient and 

most humble servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1255. TO MADAME DE BOHLEN 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Nov. 21, 1781. 

MADAM, 

I receiv'd the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the 26th of last Month; in answer to which I ought to 
inform you, that I was born in America, now near 76 Years 
since, that I never was in Ireland till the year 1773, which 
was for a few Weeks only, and I did not pass thence to America 
with any Person of my Name, but return'd to England ; nor 
had I ever any Knowledge of the John Franklin you mention. 
1 have exact Accounts of every Person of my Family since the 
year 1555, when it was established in England, and am cer- 
tain, that none of them but myself since that time were ever 
in Ireland. The Name of Franklin is common among the 
English of the two Nations, but there are a Number of differ- 
ent Families who bear it, and who have no Relation to each 

1 Anna Sophia Susanna de Bohlen (ne'e Franklin). Her letter from 
Konigsberg, October 26, 1781 (A. P. S.), stated that she was born in Berlin, 
and that her father was the eldest son of John Franklin and Anne Fitzgerald. 
He was born, 1715, at Woodhouse near Abingdon; invited by his uncle 
Thomas Fitzgerald he went to Potsdam and took service (1734 or 35) in the 
Prussian army. He married (1750) the widow of an officer. The writer 
said that she was the only child of that marriage. ED. 



330 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

other. It would be a Pleasure to me to discover a Relation 
in Europe, possessing the amiable Sentiments express'd 
in your Letter. I assure you I should not disown the mean- 
est. I should also be glad if I could give you a satisfactory 
Account of your Family ; but I really know nothing of them. 
I have therefore not the honour of being related to them, but 

I have that of being, Madam, yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1256. TO THOMAS POWNALL (L. c.) 

Passy, Nov. 23, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your Favour by Mr. Hobart. I caus'd an Appli- 
cation to be made to Almon in behalf of Mrs. Barry, but do 
not learn that it is like to meet with any Success. 1 As the 
Transaction was between yourself and him, no other Person 
but you can claim with Authority. I must therefore beg for 
the poor good Woman's Sake, that you would do something 
effectual in it. 

I also request that you would send the Copies you mention 
to me here, directed to the care of Mr. Bowen at Ostend ; and 
that the Plate may be pack'd with them. 

I wish most heartily with you, that this cursed War was at 
an end; but I despair of seeing it finished in my Time. 
Your thirsty Nation has not yet drank enough of our Blood. 
I am authoriz'd to treat of Peace whenever she is dispos'd 

1 Mrs. Barry was the daughter of Lewis Evans, who published a geograph- 
ical account of some parts of America, with an improved map. Mr. Evans 
had died, and his daughter, who was now at Tunis, was to receive the profits 
of the sale. Almon was the publisher. S. 



1781] TO JOHN ADAMS 331 

to it; but I saw Inconveniences in meeting and discoursing 
with you on the Subject, or with any one not avow'd by your 
Ministry; having already experienc'd such, in several 
Instances. Mr. Hobart appeared not fully acquainted with 
your Ideas, and, as he could not communicate them, I could 
make no Judgment of them. My best Wishes attend you, 
being with the old, long-continued Esteem, dear Sir, your 

most obedient, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1257. TO JOHN ADAMS (L. c.) 

Passy, Nov. 26, 1781 

SIR, 

I am honour'd with yours of the 19^ Ins* I received a 
Letter from Capt. Jackson dated at Bilboa the 12*? in which 
he mentions nothing of his departing thence for America, 
so that I should have continued to expect him here, if he had 
not written positively to you of that Intention. M r Barclay, 
the Consul, too, I thought would have been here before this 
time, & I know not what detains him at L'Orient ; thus the 
Affair of the Goods still remains upon our hands. You 
demand of me What is to be done with them ? The Owners 
of the Ships talk of a higher Freight, of selling the Ships, of 
Damages, & of detaining the Goods till the Damages are 
paid. If I were even informed what freight, what Price 
for the Ships, & what Damages they demand, I really could 
give no Advice on those Points, being totally ignorant of 
such Business : but I am furnished with none of the Data on 
which to found an Opinion ; and can only say with you, that 
I think they have no Right to Stop the Goods ; and I think 



332 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

also that the Keeping us out of Possession of 5o,ooo; Sterling's 
Worth of Goods for securing the Payment of a petty Demand 
for Damages, is not only ungenteel & dishonorable Treat- 
ment, but a monstrous Injustice. It seems to me that it is 
principally with M r Neufville we have to do; and tho' I 
believe him to be as much a Jew as any in Jerusalem, 1 I 
did not expect that with so many & such constant Professions 
of Friendship for the United States with which he loads all 
his Letters, he would have attempted to inforce his Demands 
(which I doubt not will be extravagant enough) by a Pro- 
ceeding so abominable. As it happens, my Informations 
from America assure me, that our Army was tolerably well 
cloathed and would in a short time be compleatly so, Advice 
being receiv'd of great quantities arriv'd at several Ports; 
Also much of the Cargo lost in the Marquis de la Fayette 
has already been replac'd & sent off from France, and will 
probably arrive, if it does arrive, before any that can now be 
sent from Holland ; and the rest is following ; so that if we 
could get rid of the Goods there at a moderate Loss, we might 
at the same time get rid of the Difficulty, our Necessity for 
having them speedily forwarded not being so great as M* 
Neufville imagines. However, I would propose this to him. 
Let the Goods first be deliver'd to you. Then let him make 
his Demand for Damages, which if you think reasonable I 
will pay ; if not, let them be settled by Arbitration. After 
this you will judge what measures may be necessary for 
transporting them. But I would not be compell'd to pay 
whatever he may please to demand, because he has our 
Goods in Possession. We have, you observe, our Hands in 
the Lyon's Mouth ; but if M* N. is a Lyon, I am a Bear, and 

1 See letter to John Adams, December 14, 1781. ED. 



1 78 1] TO JOHN ADAMS 333 

I think I can hug & gripe him till he lets go our Hands. He 
has bought Goods from us, and till he delivers them, he has 
no equitable right to be paid for them. Should he refuse to 
deliver them, tho' I have accepted Bills in his Favour to 
the Value, yet if you approve it, I will not pay one of them ; 
and let him keep his Goods & seek his Remedy where he 
can find it. I sent forward last Saturday some Pacquets 
and Letters for you, which I hope got to hand in time. Most 
heartily do I congratulate you on the glorious News ! * The 
infant Hercules in his Cradle has now strangled his second 
Serpent, and gives Hopes that his future History will be an- 
swerable. 

I inclose a Pacquet, which I have just received from General 
Washington, and which I suppose contains the Articles of 
Capitulation. It is a rare Circumstance, and scarce to be 
met with in History, that in one War two Armies should be 
taken Prisoners compleatly, not a Man in either escaping. 
It is another singular Circumstance, that an Expedition so 
complex, form'd of Armies of different Nations, and of Land 
and Sea Forces, should with such perfect Concord be as- 
sembled from different Places by Land and Water, form their 
Junction punctually, without the least Retard by cross Acci- 
dents of Wind or Weather, or Interruption from the Enemy ; 
and that the Army, which was their Object, should in the 
mean time have the Goodness to quit a Situation from whence 
it might have escaped, and place itself in another from 
whence an escape was impossible. 

General Greene has done Wonders too in Carolina. I 
hear that a Reinforcement was to be sent to him from the 
Army in Virginia, and that there are hopes of his Reducing 
1 The capitulation of Lord Cornwallis's army. ED. 



334 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Charlestown. You have probably in the enclos'd Pacquet the 
Account of his last great Action. Comte de Grasse sailed 
the 3oth with the Fleet and Part of the Land Forces. His 
Destination is not mentioned. 



The Seal of your last Letter has the same Appearance 
as the others. It may be well to change the Mode of Con- 
veyance, use another Seal sometimes & direct in a different 
Hand Writing. 

In speaking of De Neufville's Bills, & of my Refusing to 
pay them, I have said "*'/ y u approve it" because you can 
best judge whether my taking such a Step would have any 
bad Effect in your political Operations. If the Goods are 
delivered to you, and you find it necessary to sell a part of 
them, I wish you would make the Offer of the Part to him. 
He bought them, and knows what they are really worth : But 
I imagine you will find, that he will not take them off your 
hands at a Discount even of 10 P Cent, and I am curious to 
know what he would offer. His Proposition when I first 
saw him, of Terms on which he would borrow Money for 
us, Stampt his Character on my Mind with an Impression 
so deep that it is not yet effaced. If you do not know those 
Terms I will send you a Transcript of them. 

Mess r Fizeaux & Grand have sent me the enclos'd Account 
and desired my Approbation of it. Methinks it should be 
examined by you, with whom it was transacted; and I 
therefore send it. 

Your Excellency's etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I inclose a Letter to Mess Neufville which I re- 
quest you to deliver or suppress as you may think fit. 



1 78 1] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 335 

1258. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN (L. c.) 

Passy, December 4, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

Not remembering precisely the address of Mrs. Strange, 1 
I beg leave to request you would forward the Enclosed to her, 
which I received under my Cover from America. 

I formerly sent you from Philadelphia part of an Edition of 
"Tully on Old Age," to be sold in London; and you put the 
Books, if I remember right, into the Hands of Mr. Becket 
for that Purpose. Probably he may have some of them still 
in his Warehouse, as I never had an account of their being 
sold. I shall be much oblig'd by your procuring and sending 
me one of them. 2 

A strong Emulation exists at present between Paris and 

1 Wife of Robert Strange (1721-1792), the celebrated engraver. Their 
address was 52 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Strange was a 
most loyal Jacobite, fought at Prestonpans and Falkirk, and was present at 
Culloden. He married Isabella, daughter of William Lumisden (son of the 
bishop of Edinburgh). They were married in 1747 and went to live at 
Rouen with other Jacobites, Strange taking with him the prince's seal. 
He returned to England in 1765. He was knighted in 1787, the king saying 
to him, " Unless, Mr. Strange, you object to be knighted by the elector of 
Hanover." ED. 

2 Robert Strange wrote to Franklin, February 29, 1782 (A. P. S.)> to 
thank him for forwarding the letters from America, and added, " this morn- 
ing I called upon our acquaintance Mr. Strahan, as he had communicated to 
me your last letter wherein you desired him to send you your work on Cicero's 
" Cato Major." I herewith have the pleasure of transmitting it to you by 
our friend Mr. Alexander. Mr. Strahan is afraid it is not the edition you 
required, but it is such as he could procure for the present. I do believe he 
would have wrote you but you may suppose he has not recovered the defeat 
of this morning in the house of Commons, which, thank God, opens, at least, 
a prospect of terminating the calamities of this country and of America. I 
heartily congratulate with you on this occasion." ED. 



336 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Madrid, with regard to beautiful Printing. Here a M. Didot 
le jeune l has a Passion for the Art, and besides having pro- 
cured the best Types, he has much improv'd the Press. The 
utmost Care is taken of his Presswork; his Ink is black, 
and his Paper fine and white. He has executed several 
charming Editions. But the " Salust " and the " Don Quixote " 
of Madrid are thought to excel them. Didot however, 
improves every day, and by his zeal and indefatigable applica- 
tion bids fair to carry the Art to a high Pitch of Perfection. 
I will send you a Sample of his Work when I have an oppor- 
tunity. 

I am glad to hear that you have married your Daughter 
happily, 3 and that your Prosperity continues. I hope it 
may never meet with any Interruption having still, tho' at 
present divided by public Circumstances, a Remembrance 
of our ancient private Friendship. Please to present my 
affectionate Respects to Mrs. Strahan, and my Love to your 
Children. With great Esteem and Regard, I am, dear Sir, 

Your most humble and most obedient Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Francois- Ambroise Didot (1720-1804), eldest son of Francois Didot with 
whom the illustrious Didot family of Lorraine began to play its brilliant and 
remarkable part in the history of printing. Franklin visited the printing 
establishment of Didot the younger in 1 780. He took hold of one of the 
presses with an easy familiarity and printed off several sheets. To the 
printers, who showed their astonishment at the ambassador's knowledge of 
their craft, he said, "Do not be astonished, Sirs, it is my former business." 
8. F. Bache received instruction for six months from Didot in the art of 
printing. ED. 

8 She was married to John Spottiswoode, printer. Their son Andrew be- 
came member of Parliament for Colchester, and partner in the firm of Eyre 
& Spottiswoode, queen's printers. A grandson, William Spottiswoode, became 
President of the Royal Society. ED. 



1 78 1] TO JOHN ADAMS 337 

1259. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy Dec. 6, 1781 

Out} 

I am honour'd with your Excellency's Letters of the 22 nd 
and 26 th past. The proposal relating to the Goods was, you 
say, more unreasonable than you expected. It did not so 
much surprise me, who possess a former Sample exactly of 
the same Style and Sentiment, and I therefore think this to 
be of the same Author. His Professions of Disinterestedness 
with regard to his Shares, are in my opinion deceitful, and I 
think that the less we have to do with that Shark the better ; 
his jaws are too strong, his teeth too many and his appetite 
immensely voracious. 1 

The proposals of Ingraham and Bromfield 2 appear more 
reasonable. I have communicated them to M Barclay the 
Consul, who is arrived here with full powers to take into 
his care any property of the United States. He sets out to- 
day for Amsterdam in order to take care of those Goods and 
will have the honour of delivering to you this letter. You 
will, I am certain, afford him your Counsel and all the assist- 
ance in your Power: I begin to see more Daylight with 
regard to our Funds, and believe I may be able to furnish 
him with sufficient to disengage the Goods and pay their 
Freight. But if he judges a Part of them less immediately 
necessary, and that they may be sold without too much loss to 
raise the Money wanted, that Method will I think be 
preferable. 

1 John de Neufville. ED. 

2 Two merchants from Boston who had established a mercantile house in 
Amsterdam. ED. 



VOL. VIII Z 



338 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

I thank you for the copy of the Instructions. 1 I had re- 
ceived another, and communicated it to the Count de Ver- 
gennes. 

With great respect I have the honour to be Sir, 
Your most obedient and 
most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1260. TO FELIX NOGARET (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 10. 1781 

SIR, 

I received your friendly Note of the 6 th Inst. and am very 
sensible of your Kindness in not being angry with me, when 
my long Silence had given you so much apparent Reason. 
The Truth is, I intended calling on you from time to tune, but 
Something always happen'd to prevent it. At length I got 
my Grandson who writes the Language better than I do, to 
make a French Letter for me ; which I signed, but the send- 
ing of it was omitted, as I thought of seeing you the next 
Time I should go to Versailles. In this too I was disap- 
pointed by an Accident. On receiving your last, I promis'd 
myself the Pleasure of embracing you and M r * Nogaret to- 
morrow; but am just now advertis'd that the King does 
see to-morrow the foreign Ministers; which prevents my 
going to Versailles till the Week following; Therefore I 
write this English to you, of which I hope you may guess the 
Meaning, and I send enclos'd the old Letter. Permit me 

1 Instructions of Congress. They were communicated by Adams to the 
Duke de la Vauguyon, who said they were " tres bicn vues, tres bien com- 
binees." ED. 



1 78 1] TO MRS. CAROLINE EDES 339 

to repeat my Thanks for your elegant Present, which I very 
much admire. 

Collections of fine Prints are preserv'd for Ages ; and per- 
haps some of these Monuments which you have erected to the 
Memory of that excellent Woman, may subsist as long as 
those made in Marble. 

With sincere Esteem and Attachment, I have the honour to 
be 

Sir, 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant 

B F. 



1261. TO MRS. CAROLINE EDES 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Decem r 13. 1781. 

MADAM, 

I return enclos'd the Letter from my Friend, Mr. Bridgen, 
which I receiv'd from you last Night. You will be so good 
as to acquaint him, in answer to his first Question, if any 
Fund was established for the Support of Mr. Laurens, that, 
being informed about the Middle of last Month by a Friend 
in London of Mr. L.'s being in want of Money, I wrote on the 
1 9th to Mr. Hodgson, a Merchant in Coleman Street, in 
whose Hands I had lodg'd Cash for the Support of Prisoners, 
to hold 100 of it at the Disposition of Mr. Laurens; and 
I since hear, that, on a like Intimation to Mr. Adams in 
Holland, he has ordered another Hundred Pounds to be ap- 
plied to the same purpose. I have never heard that any Fund 

1 Dwelling at the house of M. Genet, " chef du Bureau des Affaires Etran- 
geres," at Versailles. ED. 



340 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

was established in America for the Use of that Gentleman ; 
probably it has not been known there, that he had Need of it. 

The second Question, if any Measures had been taken 
for his Relief, will be answered by acquainting Mr. B[ridgen], 
that the Congress pass'd a Resolution to offer the Exchange 
of General Burgoyne for him, and empowered me to make 
the Offer; that Mr. Burke, having written to me in favour 
of his Friend, Gen. Burgoyne, on a Supposition that the 
Congress intended to recall him, I sent a Copy of the Resolu- 
tion to Mr. Burke, and requested he would charge himself 
with the Negociation. I have since heard nothing, either 
from Mr. Hodgson or Mr. Burke ; and, as it is said a Packet 
was lately lost between Ostend and England, I begin to fear 
my Letters have miscarried, and shall by the first Post send 
Copies. I wish Mr. Bridgen would, however, apply to both 
those Gentlemen, learn what has been done, and thro' you 
acquaint me with it. I beg you would assure Mr. Bridgen 
of my best Wishes and affectionate Attachment. I hope 
his Affairs in Carolina have been settled to his Mind. With 
much Esteem, I have the honour to be, Madam, yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. About the beginning of the Year, having heard a 
Report, that Mr. Laurens was ill used, I wrote a little Re- 
monstrance to Sir Grey Cooper on the Occasion ; who reply'd, 
by acquainting me, that on Enquiry he found the Report to 
be groundless; and by sending me a Letter he had receiv'd 
from the Lieutenant of the Tower, which assur'd him, in the 
strongest Terms, that Mr. Laurens was perfectly satisfy'd 
with the Treatment he received, and frequently express'd 
his Thankfulness for the same. This made me easy, hearing 
nothing afterwards to the contrary, till lately. 



1 78 1] TO JOHN ADAMS 341 

1262. TO JOHN ADAMS (A. P. s.) 

Passy, Dec. 14, 1781. 

SIR, 

I duly received your Excellency's Favours of the ist and 
6th Instant. I wrote to you by Mr. Barclay, who went from 
hence some Days since, & I hope is with you by this time, 
and that he will, with your Assistance, be able to settle every 
thing relating to the Goods. I have received a long Letter 
from Messrs. Neufville, the Purport of which is, that they are 
willing for their Parts to deliver the Goods to you, but that 
they cannot controul the other Owners of the Ships, who have 
a Right, by the Laws and Customs of Holland, to detain the 
Goods for the Damage done by Captain Gillon's refusing 
to sign the Charter parties, etc., and hoping, that I will not, 
on Account of the Conduct of the other Owners, refuse to 
pay the Bills, especially as such a Refusal would be deroga- 
tory to the Honour of the United States, etc. 

I may be wrong, but my present Thoughts on the Subject 
are, that, if by the Laws of Holland our Goods may be detained 
in the Hands of the Ship Owners for the Fault of Mr. Gillon, 
by the same Laws the Property of one of these Owners may 
be detained in our Hands for the Fault of his Partners : And 
that it as much concerns the honour of Holland, that our 
Goods should be delivered to us, as it concerns the Honour 
of America, that we should pay for them when delivered. 
And I farther think, that, if a Merchant in Holland, happening 
to have of my Property in his Possession, may, by the Laws 
of his Country, detain the same till I pay him whatever he 
shall please to demand, as Indemnification for an Injury 



342 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

supposed to be done him by some other Person, Holland is 
by no means a safe Country for Americans to trade with, nor 
a Dutch Merchant a safe Depository for the Property of a 
Stranger, or to be the Consignee of Merchandise sent into his 
Country. 

You desire a Copy of the Terms on which he offered to 
borrow Money for us. At present, I only send you an Extract 
of the principal Points, much of the Writing being matter of 
Form. The first Proposition is, "That, for the Security of 
this Loan of Two Million Gilders, Holland Currency, we 
engaged and hypothequed (his Words) to said Mr. John de 
Neufville and Son, of Amsterdam or their Representatives, 
as we do engage and hypotheque to them in the Name of the 
whole Congress of the Thirteen United States of North Amer- 
ica, generally, all the Lands, Cities, Territories, and Posses- 
sions of the said Thirteen States, so which they may have 
and possess at present, as which they may have or possess 
in the future, with all their Income, Revenue, and Produce, 
until the entire Payment of this Loan and the Interests due 
thereon." My Observation upon this was, that it demanded 
an extravagant Security for a trifling Sum ; that it was lending 
little more than a Gilder on each Inhabitant's Estate, and 
that it was absurd to require a Mortgage on my Estate for the 
Loan of a Gilder. He answer'd, that this was usual in all 
Loans made in Holland to foreign States, and that the Money 
could not otherwise be obtain'd. 

The Second Proposition was (verbatim, as the first), 
"That out of the Produces again through all those Thirteen 
States of America, shall be sent over and shipp'd to Europe, 
and chiefly, or as much as possible, to the Port of Amsterdam, 
during the ten Years of this Loan, the Double of one Tenth 



1 78 1] TO JOHN ADAMS 343 

Part of this Loan to the Value of Four hundred Thousand 
Gilders, which, as far as is possible, they'll come to Amster- 
dam, shall be sold there by Mr. John de Neufville and Son, 
and what goes to other Ports, by their Correspondents, and 
the Money kept at their Disposal for the Use of Congress, 
at least during the first five Years; and, during the last five 
Years of this Loan, one half of this Money is to serve to dis- 
charge every Year one Tenth Part of the Money borrowed, 
engaging, that, before the End of the Tenth Year, there will 
be remitted in such a Manner, and left in the Hands of said 
John de Neufville & Son, of Amsterdam, a sufficient Sum of 
Money to discharge this whole Loan, with the Interest due 
thereon." 

You will observe, that this Article is obscurely express'd. 
I was oblig'd to demand an Eclaircissement in Conversation. 
The Conversation was also difficult to understand, M. de 
N.'s English not being then of the clearest. But from the 
whole, after much Discourse, I gathered that we were to send 
over every Year for the first Five Years in Tobacco, Rice, 
Indigo, Codfish, Oil, &c. &c., the Value of 400,00x3 Gilders, 
to be sold by Messrs. J. de N. and Son for our Use, on a Com- 
mission of Five per Cent, and that the Money was to remain 
in their Hands to enable them to pay off in the last 5 Years the 
Principal of the Loan, tho' one half of it was to remain in their 
Hands till the End of the Term. A subsequent Article 
the 6 th also provides that 100,000 Gilders more should be 
annually sent over in Produce to them, and sold, etc., to dis- 
charge the Interest. 

My Objections were, that, if we were able to purchase Prod- 
uce in Value Two Millions of Gilders to lodge in the Hands 
of Messrs, de N. and Son, we might use that Sum in our 



344 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

Affairs at home, and should have no Occasion to borrow it 
in Holland. That if we were to buy up this Value of Produce 
with the Money borrowed, and to lodge it in the Hands of 
those Gentlemen, it would be borrowing Money to give them 
the Use of it for a Number of Years without Interest, while 
we were paying Interest for it ourselves. 

One would think this Project, if it could take, might be 
sufficiently profitable for these Gentlemen; but in another 
Paper, part French, part English, proposed for me to sign, 
it was to be stipulated, that, after exchanging for the new 
Promises all those transacted by Messrs. Fizeaux and Grand 
to the amount of 40 or 50,000 gilders, which Exchange was to 
be made without Charge; "pour le Reste de cet emprunt il 
leur (Messrs, de N. et fils) sera alloue*, outre les condition 
d'Inte*rest, &c., contenus dans les Termes y stipule*es, i per 
cent. d'Int6rest, savoir, 10 per cent, une seule fois sur les 
Sommes qu'ils ne*gocieront ; et en outre 2 per cent, encore, 
y compris toutes les Allouances ordinaires et extraordinaires, 
fraix a faire, et toute Commission, sans qu'ils pourront 
jamais rien exiger de plus a ce Sujet." 

Very gracious Terms these! by which, after stopping a 
Tenth Part of the Sum borrowed, they would be content with 
two per cent upon the Rest to defray Charges. 

Besides this, I was led to understand, that it would be very 
agreable to these Gentlemen, if, in acknowledgment of their 
Zeal for our Cause and great Services in procuring this Loan, 
they would be made by some Law of Congress the general 
Consignee of America, to receive and sell upon Commission, 
by themselves and Correspondents in the different Ports and 
Nations, all the Produce of America, that should be sent by 
our Merchants to Europe. On my remarking the Extrava- 



1 78 1] TO JOHN ADAMS 345 

gance and Impossibility of this Proposition, it was modestly 
reduc'd to the following, wherein I am supposed to say and 
sign; 

" Je veux bien encore, pour les engager (Messrs, de N. et 
fils) a suivre avec le meme Zele qu'ils y ont employe* jusqu'ici 
pour les Interests de I'Ame'rique, appuyer de mes Recom- 
mandations leur Solicitations aupres du Congres, pour qu'il 
leur soit accorde* pour la Suitte le Titre de Commissioners 
for Trade and Navigation and Treasurers of General Con- 
gress, and every private State of the Thirteen United 
States of North America, through the Seven United Prov- 
inces; dont il leur sera alloue* les Commissions regulieres 
et usitees de Commerce, Payement, et Emprunt, tels que 
d'honne'tes Negotiants pourront les passer sans en pretendre 
jamais d'autre Appointement. Donne* a Passy, le, &c." 

By this time, I fancy, your Excellency is satisfy'd, that I 
was wrong in supposing J de Neufville as much a Jew as 
any in Jerusalem, 1 since Jacob was not content with any 
per cents, but took the whole of his Brother Esau's Birth- 
right, & his Posterity did the same by the Cananites, & cut 
their Throats into the Bargain; which, in my Conscience, 
I do not think Mr. J de Neufville has the least Inclination 
to do by us, while he can get any thing by our being alive. 
I am, with the greatest esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 See letter to John Adams, November 26, 1781. ED. 



346 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1263. TO WILLIAM ALEXANDER (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 15, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I thank you for informing me of your intended Journey. 1 
You know so well the prevailing Sentiments here, and mine 
in particular, that it is unnecessary for me to express them ; 
and, having never been believ'd on that side the Water, it 
would be useless. I will say, however, that I think the 
Language you mention very proper to be held, as it is the 
Truth ; tho' the Truth may not always be proper. 

Wishing you a good Voyage, and happy return to your 
Children, I am, with great Esteem, dear Sir, yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1264. TO DAVID HARTLEY 2 

Passy, December, 15, 1781. 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your favour of September 26th, 8 containing your 
very judicious proposition of securing the spectators in the 
opera and play houses from the danger of fire. 4 I com- 

1 To London. See Alexander to Franklin, December 15, 1781. "Diplo- 
matic Correspondence" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 50. ED. 

2 From "Diplomatic Revolutionary Correspondence" (Sparks), VoL II, 
p. 186. ED. 

InA. P. S. ED. 

* " The general idea is this, viz. to have a screen of fire plates where the 
green curtain hangs, to shut like a common scene upon any alarm of fire 
to put fire plates under the floor of the parterre & boxes, if hollow under- 
neath; and likewise over the cieling and sounding board. The other three 
sides of that space w* h contains the spectators are of course built of brick or 
stone impenetrable to fire." Hartley to Franklin, September 26, 1781. ED. 



1781] TO JOHN ADAMS 347 

municated it where I thought it might be useful. You will 
see by the enclosed, that the subject has been under con- 
sideration here. Your concern for the security of life, even 
the lives of your enemies, does honour to your heart and your 
humanity. But what are the lives of a few idle haunters of 
play houses, compared with the many thousands of worthy 
men, and honest industrious families, butchered and destroyed 
by this devilish war? Oh that we could find some happy 
invention to stop the spreading of the flames, and put an end 
to so horrid a conflagration ! Adieu, I am ever yours most 

affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1265. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, Dec. 17. 1781 

SIR 

I have received the Packet containing the correspondence 
relating to the Goods. I suppose that M* Barclay is there 
before this time, and the Affair in a way of Accommodation. 
Young M r Neufville is here; but I have thought it best not 
to give him as yet any Hopes of my paying the Bills unless 
the Goods are delivered. I shall write fully by next Post. 
This serves chiefly to acquaint you that I will endeavour 
to pay the Bills that have been presented to you drawn on 
M r Laurens. But you terrify me, by acquainting me that 
there are yet a great number behind. It is hard that I never 
had any information sent me of the Sums drawn, a Line of 
Order to pay, nor a Syllable of Approbation for having paid 
any of the Bills drawn on M r Laurens, M r Jay or yourself. 



348 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

As yet I do not see that I can go any further, and therefore 
can engage for no more than you have mention'd. 
With great Esteem, I have the honour to be Sir 
Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 



1266. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 19. 1781. 

DEAR SIR, 

I duly received yours of the yth, per young MT de Neuf ville, 
enclosing the Pamphlets, of which I gave one the next day 
to M. Beaudoin. It was so long since we had heard from 
you, that we feared you were sick. 

I enclose sundry American Newspapers, out of which per- 
haps something may be drawn for your Printers. There 
are the Orders of General Greene after the Battle of Eutaw 
Springs, by which it appears that the Militia behav'd to 
Satisfaction. There are also the Proceedings relating to 
Col. Isaac Hayne, which it may be well to publish, as probably 
we may soon hear that Gen. Greene, according to his Promise 
in his Proclamation, has hanged some of the British Officers 
in Retaliation ; and the knowledge of these Proceedings may 
operate in his Justification. In the German Paper there are 
two Dialogues, of which you can best judge, whether the 
printing of them in Germany may not have some little Effect 
in Opposition to Faucit's Recruiting* I suppose this Letter 

1 William Faucitt was the person employed by the British government to 
procure troops in Germany for the American service. S. 



1 78 1] FROM MADAME BRILLON TO B. FRANKLIN 349 

may find you at Amsterdam, and therefore I send it under 
Cover to Mr. Adams, with the usual Compliments of the 

approaching Season. 

I am ever, Dear Sir, 

Your etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1267. FROM MADAME BRILLON TO BENJAMIN 
FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Ce 1 1 D^cembre k Nice. 

Mon cher papa le voisin vous remettra ce petit mot; 
scavez vous pourquoi je ne vous e"cris qu'un petit mot bien 
petit c'est que je vous boude . . . oui Monsieur papa je 
vous boude. Comment ! vous prenez des arme'es entieres 
en Ame"rique, vous burgoinisez Cornwallis; vous prenez 
canons, vaisseaux, munitions, hommes, cheveaux etc, etc, 
vous prenez tout et de tout et la gazette seule Papprend a 
vos amis qui se grisent en buvant a votre sante", a celle de 
Washington, de Pinde'pendance, du roy de France, du Mar- 
quis de la Fayette, de M" de Rochambault, Chalelux etc, 
etc. tandis que vous ne leur donnez pas signe de vie; vous 
devez cependant e"stre un bon vivant a present, quoique cela 
vous manque rarement, vous e*tes surement rajeuni de 20 
ans par cette bonne nouvelle qui doit nous amener une paix 
durable a la suitte d'une guerre glorieuse . . . je vous boude 
done et vous bouderai jusqu'a ce que j'aye de vos nouvelles; 
en attendant cependant comme je ne veux pas la mort du 
pe*cheur je vous ferai une marche triomphalee, je vous Pen- 
voyerai, vous e*crirai, et vous aimerai mesme de tout mon 
cceur. 



3S o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKUN [1781 

1268. TO MADAME BRILLON (A. p. s.) 

A Passy,ce 25 Ddcf 1781. 

Vous me boude"s, ma chere amie, que je n'avois pas vous 
envoye" tout de suite 1'histoire de notre grande victoire. Je 
suis bien sensible de la magnitude de notre avantage et de 
ses possibles bonnes consequences, mais je ne triomphe pas. 
Scachant que la guerre est plein de varie'te' et d 'incertitudes ; 
dans la mauvaise fortune j'espere la bonne et dans la bonne 
je crains la mauvaise. Ainsi je joue a ce jeu avec presque 
la mme e*galit6 d'ame que vous m'avez vu jouer aux 6checs. 
Vous scavez que je ne renonce jamais k une partie avant 
qu'il est finie, espeYant toujours de gagner, ou au moins d'avoir 
un pas, et je me garde quand j'ai bonne partie centre la 
pre'somption qui est souvent tres nuisible et toujours tres 
dangereuse. Et quand j'ai de pre'somption je tache de le 
cacher pour e"viter la honte si la fortune change. Vous 
voyez pourquoi j'ai dit si peu de cette affaire et que j'ai 
seulement remarque" que rien ne pouvait me faire parfaite- 
ment heureux en certaines circonstances. 

Comme vous avez toujours eVite" de faire des connoissances 
nombreuses, vous ne pouvez pas imaginer le quantite* de 
gens qui s'inteVessent de votre biene"tre. Je rencontre toujours 
quelques uns en toutes les socie'te's, en toutes les parties de 
Paris et a Versailles, qui me demandent de vos nouvelles, de 
votre sante" et ceux qui m'aiment me disent quelques mots 
pour me consoler de votre absence que vous ame*liorer votre 
constitution, que vos nerfs seront fortifies, que vous vivrez 
plus longtemps, etc. tous parlent de vous avec respect, plu- 



1781] TO MADAME BRILLON 351 

sieurs avec affection et mme avec admiration. Cela est mu- 
sique pour mes oreilles et plus que compense ma perte des 
Noe'ls charmantes que la saison me fait souvenir. 

Je passe souvent devant la maison. Elle me paroit desole*e. 
Autrefois j'ai bris^ le commandement en la convoitant avec 
la femme de mon voisin. A cette heure je ne le convoite 
plus. Ainsi je suis moins pecheur. Mais par rapport a la 
femme je trouve toujours ces commandements bien incom- 
modes et je suis fache* qu'on s'est avise* de les faire. Si dans 
vos voyages vous vous trouvez chez le Saint Pre, demandez 
de lui de les rapeller, comme &ant donne"es seulement aux 
Juifs et trop genantes pour les bons Chretiens. 

Voila arrive" le jour de la Naissance du Dauphin du Ciel 
et jusqu'a present nous n'avions eu la moindre apparence 
d'hyver. J'ai dine" aujourd'huy a Chaillot, les portes et 
fenetres ouvertes comme en Etc*, et j'ai dit a moi-m^me, je ne 
crois pas qu'on a plus beau temps a Nice et j'e*tois pret a 
chanter 

Helas ! pourquoi chercher sur Tonde 
Le Bonheur qu'on trouvoit au port. 

Mais j'espere que tout sera pour le mieux. 

Quoique j'ai dit que je ne triomphe pas, je serai bien aise 
d'avoir la Marche que vous avez la bonte" de me promettre 
Mais je crois que je ne 1'entendrai bien joue avant votre 
retour. 

J'ai lu la petite Memoire de votre ami de Marseille. Elle 
est plein d 'intelligence et de bons sens. Je la communiquerai 
ou elle peut avoir quelque bonne effet. 

Dites quelques milliers de bonnes choses pour moi a 
chacun et chacune de votre heureuse soci^te*. 

[B. F.] 



352 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1781 

1269. TO MISS MARTHA LAURENS (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 29. 1781. 

MADAM, 

I received your very sensible Letter of the i4th past. 1 
Your Brother, Col. Laurens, being here when I received the 
former, I informed him of the Steps I had then taken re- 
specting your good Father, and requested him to answer your 
Letter for me. I did suppose he had done it ; but his great 
and constant Occupation while here might occasion his 
omitting it. The Purport was, that, on a Report of your 
Father's being harshly treated, I wrote in his Behalf to an 
old Friend, Sir Grey Cooper, Secretary of the Treasury, com- 
plaining of it. His Answer was, that he had enquired, and 
found the Report groundless; and he sent me enclosed a 
Letter he receiv'd from the Lieutenant of the Tower, assur- 
ing him, that Mr. Laurens was treated with great Kindness, 
was very sensible of it, thankful for it, and frequently ex- 
press'd his Satisfaction. On this, I became more easy on 
his Account. But a little before I received your Letter, I 
had one from Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, who is connected with 
the Family of Mr. Manning, which informed me, that Mr. 
Laurens was really in want of Necessaries; and desired to 
know if any Provision was made for his Subsistence. I wrote 
immediately to Mr. Hodgson, in whose Hands I had lodg'd 
some Money, requesting him to hold 100 of it at the Dispo- 
sition of Mr. Laurens, and to acquaint Mr. Vaughan with it. 

1 Original in A. P. S. She wrote, " Is it not a reflection on America that 
one of her ambassadors, a man of worth and credit, should in his Prison be so 
miserable as to want the common necessaries of Life and no notice taken of 
it." ED. 



1781] TO MISS MARTHA LAURENS 353 

About this Time I received two Letters; one from Mr. 
Burke, Member of Parliament, complaining that his Friend, 
Gen. Burgoyne, in England on his Parole, was reclaimed and 
recalPd by Congress, and requesting I would find some means 
of permitting him to remain. The other was from the Con- 
gress, inclosing a Resolve that impowered me to offer General 
Burgoyne in Exchange for Mr. Laurens. Perceiving by 
Mr. Burke's Letter, that he was very desirous of obtaining 
his Friend's Liberty, and having no immediate Intercourse 
with the British Ministry, I thought I could not do better 
than to enclose the Resolve in my Answer to his Letter, and 
request him to negociate the Exchange. When I received 
yours, I was in Expectation of having soon an Answer from 
Mr. Burke and Mr. Hodgson, which would enable me to 
give you more satisfactory Information. I, therefore, delay'd 
writing to you from Post to Post, till I should hear from them ; 
and, fearing from the length of time that my Letters had mis- 
carried, I sent copies of them. 

It is but yesterday that I received an Answer from Mr. 
Hodgson, dated the 2ist Instant, in which he writes me, 
"I received your favour of the i9th ultimo, and immediately 
acquainted Mr. Vaughan with your Directions concerning 
the Supplying Mr. Laurens. He has been acquainted there- 
with; but hitherto no Application has been made to me 
for the Money; whenever it is, you may be assured it shall 
be complied with." No Answer has come to my hands from 
Mr. Burke ; but I see, by a Newspaper Mr. Hodgson sends 
me, that he has endeavoured to execute the Commission. I 
enclose that Paper for your Satisfaction, together with a Copy 
of your father's Petition to Parliament, on which I do not 
find that they have yet come to any Result; but, observing 

VOL. VIII 2 A 



354 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

that he makes no Complaint in that Petition, of his being 
pinch'd in the Article of Subsistence, I hope that part of our 
Intelligence from London may be a Mistake. I shall, how- 
ever, you may depend, leave nothing undone, that is in my 
Power, to obtain his Release; and I assure you, that the 
Thought of the pleasure it must afford a Child, whose Mind 
is of so tender a Sensibility, and filled with such true filial 
Duty and Affection, will be an additional Spur to my En- 
deavours. I suppose Mr. Adams has inform'd you, that he 
has order'd another 100 Sterling to be paid Mr. Laurens; 
and I hope you will soon have the Happiness of hearing that 
he is at Liberty. With very great Regard, I have the Honour 

to be, Madam, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1270. TO MESSRS. HENRY ROYLE, THOMAS KELT, 
JOSEPH HEATHCOTE, JOHN ROWBOTHAM r 
AND JOHN SCHOEFIELD 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 4, 1782. 

GENTLEMEN: I received the Propositions you did me 
the Honour to address to me by the hand of Mr. Wild. 3 

There is no doubt but that a Body of sober, industrious, 
and ingenious Artisans, Men of honest and religious Principles, 
such as you and your Friends are describ'd to be, would be a 
valuable Acquisition to any Country ; and I am certain you 
would meet with a kind and friendly Reception in Pensyl- 
vania, and be put into Possession of all the Rights and Privi- 

1 Manufacturers at Hatherton, near Stockport, England. The auto. d. in 
L. C. is incomplete. ED. 

8 In a letter dated January 2, 1782 (A. P. S.), from Henry Wyld, "late 
from near Manchester, now in Paris." ED. 



1782] TO MESSRS. ROYLE, HELT, HEATHCOTE, ETC. 355 

leges of free Citizens: But neither that Government nor 
any other in America that I know of has ever been at any 
public Expence to augment the Number of its Inhabitants. 
All who are establish'd there have come at their own 
Charge. The Country affords to Strangers, a good 
Climate, fine, wholesome Air, plenty of Provisions, good 
Laws, just and cheap Government, with all the Liberties, 
civil and religious, that reasonable Men can wish for. These 
Inducements are so great, and the Number of People in all 
Nations of Europe who wish to partake of them is so con- 
siderable, that if the States were to undertake transporting 
People at the Expence of the Public, no Revenues that they 
have would be sufficient. Having therefore no Orders or 
Authority either from the Congress or the State of Pensilvania 
to procure Settlers or Manufacturers by engaging to defray 
them [sic], I cannot enter into the Contract proposed in your 
second Article. The other Articles would meet with no 
Difficulty. Men are not forc'd there into the Public Service, 
and a special Law might easily be obtain'd to give you a 
Property for seven Years in the useful Inventions you may 
introduce. 

You will do well to weigh maturely the following Considera- 
tions. If you can establish yourselves there during the War, 
it is certain that your Manufactures will be much more profit- 
able, as they sell at very high Prices now, owing to the Diffi- 
culty and Risque of Transporting them from Europe; but 
then your Passages also will be more expensive, and your 
Risque greater of having your Project ruined, by being 
taken, Stript, and imprisoned. If you wait till a Peace, you 
will pass much cheaper and more securely, and you have 
a better Chance of settling yourselves and Posterity in a 



3$6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

comfortable and happy Situation. On these Points your Pru- 
dence must determine. If I were to advise, I should think it 
rather most prudent to wait for a Peace ; and then to victual 
a Vessel in some Port of Ireland, where it can be done cheap, 
and to which you might easily pass from Liverpool. 1 There 
are, I understood, some apprehensions that your ministers 
may procure a law to restrain the emigration of manufac- 
turers; but I think that, weak and wicked as they are, and 
tyrannical as they are disposed to be, they will hardly venture 
upon an act that shall make a prison of England, to confine 
men for no other crime but that of being useful and industri- 
ous, and to discourage the learning of useful mechanic arts, by 
declaring that as soon as a man is master of his business he 
shall lose his liberty and become a prisoner for life, while they 
suffer their idle and extravagant gentry to travel and reside 
abroad at their pleasure, spending the incomes of their 
estates, racked from their laborious, honest tenants, in foreign 
follies, and among French and Italian whores and fiddlers. 
Such a law would be too glaringly unjust to be borne with. 
I wish you success in what you may resolve to undertake ; 
and you will find me ever your assured friend and humble 

servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1271. TO ROBERT MORRIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Jan? 9, 1782. 

SIR, 

I have long feared that by our continually worrying the 
Ministry here with successive afterclap Demands for more 

1 Here the draft in L. C. ends. The remainder of the letter is printed from 
Bigelow, " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin," Vol. VII, p. 345. ED. 



1782] TO JOHN" ADAMS 357 

and more money, we should at length tire out their Patience. 
Bills are still coming in Quantities drawn on Mr. Jay, Mr. 
Laurens, & Mr. Adams. Spain and Holland have afforded 
little towards Paying them ; and Recourse has therefore been 
had to me. You will see by the enclosed Letter the Situation 
I am at length brought into. With the Million mentioned, 
I shall be able to pay till the End of February when, if I 
can get no more Money, I must stop. I therefore give you 
this Notice, that Provision may be made in time for discharg- 
ing the Protests with Honour. The Friendly Disposition 
towards us continues, but we should take care not to impose 
too much upon Friendship. Let us exert vigorously our 
own Strength. I see yet no Prospect of Peace this Summer. 
The Expence of the War to France itself is heavy ; and we 
have had of her this last Year more than Twenty Millions. 
I am ever, with greatest Esteem, sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1272. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, Jan. u, 1782. 

SIR 

Your Excellency will see by the within the situation I am 
in, and will thence judge how far it may be proper for you 
to accept farther Drafts on M r Laurens, with any expectation 
of my enabling you to pay them, when I have not only no 
Promise of more Money, but an absolute Promise that I 
shall have no more. I shall use my Endeavours however, 
but am not sure of succeeding, as we seem to have done what 



358 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I long fear'd we should do, tir'd out our Friends by our 
endless Demands to pay Drafts unexpected and boundless. 
With the million mentioned I can continue paying to the end 
of February, and then, if I get no more I must shut up shop. 
I have the honour to be with great Respt, Sir, 
Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 



1273. TO DAVID HARTLEY (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, Jan? 15, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received a few Days since your Favour of the 2d Instant, 
in which you tell me, that Mr. Alexander had informed you, 
"America was disposed to enter into a separate Treaty with 
Great Britain." I am persuaded, that your strong Desire 
for Peace has misled you, & occasioned your greatly misun- 
derstanding Mr. Alexander ; as I think it scarce possible, he 
should have asserted a Thing so utterly void of Foundation. 
I remember that you have, as you say, often urged this on 
former Occasions, and that it always gave me more Disgust 
than my Friendship for you permitted me to express. But, 
since you have now gone so far as to carry such a Proposition 
to Lord North, as arising from us, it is necessary that I should 
be explicit with you, & tell you plainly, that I never had such 
an Idea ; and I believe there is not a Man in America, a few 
English Tories excepted, that would not spurn at the Thought 
of deserting a noble and generous Friend, for the sake of a 
Truce with an unjust and cruel Enemy. 



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 359 

I have again read over your Conciliatory Bill, with the 
Manuscript Propositions that accompany it, and am concerned 
to find, that one cannot give Vent to a simple Wish for Peace, 
a mere Sentiment of Humanity, without having it interpreted 
as a Disposition to submit to any base Conditions that may be 
offered us, rather than continue the War: For on no other 
Supposition could you propose to us a Truce of ten years, 
during which we are to engage not to assist France, while 
you continue the War with her. A Truce too wherein nothing 
is to be mentioned that may weaken your Pretensions to 
Dominion over us, which you may therefore resume at the 
End of the Term, or at Pleasure; when we should have so 
covered ourselves with Infamy, by our Treachery to our first 
Friend, as that no other Nation can ever after be disposed to 
assist us, [however cruelly you might think fit to treat us.] 
Believe me, my dear Friend, America has too much under- 
standing, and is too sensible of the Value of the World's 
good Opinion, to forfeit it all by such Perfidy. The Congress 
will never instruct their Commissioners to obtain a Peace 
on such ignominious Terms; and tho' there can be but few 
Things in which I should venture to disobey their Orders, yet 
if it were possible for them to give me such an Order as this, 
I should certainly refuse to act, I should instantly renounce 
their Commission, and banish myself for ever from so in- 
famous a Country. 

We are a little ambitious too of your Esteem; and, as I 
think we have acquired some Share of it by our Manner of 
making War with you, I trust we shall not hazard the Loss 
of it by consenting meanly to a dishonourable Peace. 

Lord North was wise in demanding of you some author- 
ised Acknowledgment of the Proposition from responsible 



360 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Persons. He justly thought it too improbable to be rely'd on, 
so as to lay it before the Privy Council. You can now inform 
him, that the whole has been a Mistake, and that no such 
Proposition as that of a separate Peace has been, is, or is 
ever likely to be made by me; & I believe by no other 
authorised Person whatever in behalf of America. You may 
further, if you please, inform his Lordship, that Mr. Adams, 
Mr. Laurens, Mr. Jay, and myself, have long since been 
impowered, by a Special Commission, to treat of Peace when- 
ever a negociation shall be opened for that Purpose. But it 
must always be understood that this is to be in Conjunction 
with our Allies, conformably to the solemn Treaties made 
with them. 

You have, my dear Friend, a strong Desire to promote 
Peace, and it is most laudable & virtuous Desire. Permit 
me then to wish, that you would, in order to succeed as a 
Mediator, avoid such invidious Expressions as may have 
an Effect in preventing your Purpose. You tell me that 
no Stipulation for our Independence must be in the Treaty, 
because you "verily believe, (so deep is the Jealousy between 
England and France) that England would fight for a Straw, 
to the last Man and the last Shilling, rather than be dictated 
to by France." And again, that "the Nation would proceed 
to every Extremity, rather than be brought to a formal 
Recognition of Independence at the haughty Command of 
France." My dear Sir, if every Proposition of Terms for 
Peace, that may be made by one of the Parties at War, is to 
be called and considered by the other as Dictating, and a 
haughty Command, and for that Reason rejected, with a 
Resolution of fighting to the last Man rather than agree to it, 
you see that in such Case no Treaty of Peace is possible. 



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 361 

In Fact we began the War for Independence on your 
Government, which we found tyrannical, & this before 
France had any thing to do with our Affairs ; the article in 
our Treaty, whereby the "two Parties engage, that neither 
of them shall conclude either Truce or Peace with Great 
Britain, without the formal Consent of the other first obtained ; 
and mutually engage, not to lay down his Arms until the 
Independence of the United States shall have been formally 
or tacitly assured, by the Treaty or Treaties, that shall termi- 
nate the War," was an Article inserted at our Instance, being 
in our Favour. And you see by the Article itself, that your 
great Difficulty may be easily got over, as a formal Acknow- 
ledgment of our Independence is not made necessary. But 
we hope by God's help to enjoy it; and I suppose we shall 
fight for it as long as we are able. 

I do not make any Remarks upon the other Propositions, 
because I think that unless they were made by Authority, 
the Discussion of them is unnecessary, and may be incon- 
venient. The Supposition of our being disposed to make a 
separate Peace I could not be silent upon, as it materially 
affected our Reputation & essential Interests. If I have 
been a little warm on that offensive Point, reflect on your 
repeatedly urging it, and endeavour to excuse me. Whatever 
may be the Fate of our poor Countries, let you and I die as 
we have lived, in Peace with each other. 

Assuredly I continue, with great and sincere Esteem, my 
dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



362 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

1274. TO JOHN JAY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Jan' 15, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

Mr. Grand tells me, that he hears from Madrid you are 
uneasy at my long Silence. I have had much Vexation & 
Perplexity lately with the Affair of our Goods in Holland. 
And I have so many Correspondences to keep up, that some 
of them at times necessarily suffer: I purpose writing fully 
to your Excellency by Saturday's Post. In the mean time 
I send the enclos'd for your Meditation. The cursed Bills, 
as you justly term them, do us infinite Prejudice; [but we 
must not be discouraged.] I am ever, with the greatest 

esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1275. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Jan? 18, 1782. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excellency did me the Honour 
of writing to me this Day, enclosing a Memorial, which 
relates to the Interests of some Subjects of the Emperor 
residing at Ostend, who allege that a Ship of theirs has been 
taken by an American Privateer, and carried into Boston, on 
Pretence that the Property was English, &c. I shall im- 
mediately transmit the Memorial to Congress, as desired: 
But there being Courts of Admiralty established in each of 
the United States, I conceive that the regular Steps to be taken 
by the Complainants would be an Application for Justice to 



1782] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 363 

those Courts by some Person on the Spot, duly authoris'd 
by them as their Agent, and in Case the Judgment of the 
Court is not satisfactory, that then they appeal to the Congress, 
which can not well take Cognisance of such Matters in the 
first Instance. 

The Merchants of Ostend may possibly not have as yet 
Correspondents established in all the States, but any Merchant 
of Credit, in the Country would transact such Business on 
receiving their Request, with the proper Power of Attorney ; 
or if his Imperial Majesty should think fit to appoint a Con- 
sul-General to reside in those States, such an Offer (sic) 
might at all times assist his Compatriots with his Counsels 
and Protection in any Affairs that they might have in that 
Country. I am the more particular in mentioning this to 
your Excellency, because I apprehend these Cases may here- 
after be frequent, and if the Complaints are to be addressed 
to you & to me, we are likely to have a great deal of Trouble, 
as I am informed that it is become a daily Practice for out- 
ward bound English Ships to put into Ostend, make a formal 
pretended Sale of Ship and Cargo to a Merchant of the Place, 
who furnishes Imperial Papers for the Voyage under his own 
Name, and receive a certain Sum per Cent, for the Operation. 

This is said to be a Branch of great Profit to the Flemish 
Merchants, and that a very great Number of English Ships 
are now at Sea with such Papers; and I suspect even from 
their own Manner of stating the Transaction that the Ship 
and Cargo reclaimed by the Complainants are of that kind. 
This seems to me an Abuse of the Neutrality; as these fic- 
titious Profits are added to the advantage of real Carriage for 
the belligerent Nations, they make it too much the Interest 
of neutral Neighbors to foment Wars and obstruct Peace that 



364 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

such Profits may continue. And if it is to be understood 
as a settled Point that such Papers are to protect English 
Property, the Fitters-out of Privateers from France, Spain, 
Holland, and America will in another Year be all ruined, 
for they will find none but Flemish Ships upon the Ocean. 

With the greatest Respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1276. TO JOHN JAY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Jan. 19, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

In mine of the i5th, I mention'd my Intention of writing 
fully to you by this Day's Post. But understanding since 
that a Courier will soon go from Versailles, I rather chuse 
that Conveyance. 

I received duly your Letter of November 21, but it found 
me in a very perplexed Situation. I had great Payments 
to make for the extravagant & very inconvenient Purchase 
in Holland, together with large Acceptances by Mr. Adams 
of Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens and himself, & I had no cer- 
tainty of Providing the Money. I had also a Quarrel upon 
my Hands with Messrs, de Neufville and others, Owners of 
two Vessels, hired by Gillon to carry the Goods he had con- 
tracted to carry in his own Ship. I had weary'd this friendly 
& generous Court with often repeated afterclap Demands, 
occasioned by these unadvised (as well as ill advis'd) & 
therefore unexpected Drafts, and was ashamed to show my 
Face to the Minister. In these Circumstances I knew not 
what Answer to make you. I could not encourage you to 
expect the Relief you desired; and having still some secret 



1782] TO JOHN JAY 365 

Hope I was unwilling to discourage you, & thereby occasion 
a Protest of Bills, which possibly I might find means of en- 
abling you to pay. Thus I delay'd writing, perhaps too long. 

But, to this Moment, I have obtained no Assurance of hav- 
ing it [in] my Power to aid you, tho' no Endeavours on my 
part have been wanting. We have been assisted with near 
20 Millions since the Beginning of last Year, besides a Fleet 
and Army; and yet I am oblig'd to worry [them] with my 
Sollicitations for more, which makes us appear insatiable. 

This Letter will not go before Tuesday, perhaps by that 
time I may be able to say explicitly, Yes or No. I am very 
sensible of your unhappy Situation, & I believe you feel as 
much for me. You mention my Proposing to repay the Sum 
you want in America. I had try'd that last year. I drew a 
Bill on Congress for a considerable Sum to be advanced me 
here, and paid in provisions for the French Troops. My Bill 
was not honoured ! 

I was in hopes the Loan in Holland, if it succeeded, being 
for 10 Millions, would have made us all easy. It was long 
uncertain. It is lately compleated. But unfortunately, it 
has most of it been eaten up by advances here. You see by 
the Letter of which I sent you a Copy, upon what Terms I 
obtain another Million of it. That, if I gel it, will enable 
me to pay till the End of February & among the rest to pay 
the 30,000 Dollars you have borrowed ; for we must not let 
your Friend suffer. What I am to do afterwards, God knows. 

I am much surprised at the dilatory reserved Conduct of 
your Court. I know not to what amount you have obtained 
Aids from it ; but if they are not considerable, it were to be 
wish'd you had never been sent there, as the Slight they have 
put upon our offer'd Friendship is very disreputable to us, 



366 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

and, of course, hurtful to our Affairs elsewhere. I think they 
are shortsighted & do not look very far into Futurity, or 
they would seize with Avidity so excellent an Opportunity of 
securing a Neighbour's Friendship, which may hereafter be 
of great consequence to their American Affairs. 

If I were in Congress, I should advise your being instructed 
to thank them for past Favours, and take your leave. As I 
am situated, I do not presume to give you such advice, nor 
could you take it, if I should. But I conceive there would be 
nothing amiss [in] your mentioning in a short Memoir, the 
Length of Time elaps'd since the Date of the secret Article, 
& since your Arrival, to urge their Determination upon it, 
and pressing them to give you an explicit, definitive, immediate 
Answer, whether they would enter into a Treaty with us or 
not, that you might inform Congress and, in case of Refusal, 
sollicit your Recall, that you may not continue from year to 
year, at a great Expence, in a constant State of Uncertainty 
with regard to so important a Matter. I do not see how they 
can decently refuse such an Answer. But their Silence, after 
the Demand made, should in my Opinion be understood as a 
Refusal, and we should act accordingly. I think I see a 
very good Use that might be made of it, which I will not ven- 
ture to explain in this Letter. 1 

... I know not how the account of your salary stands, 
but I would have you draw upon me for a quarter at present, 
which shall be paid ; and it will be a great pleasure to me, if 
I shall be able to pay up all your arrears. 

Mr. Laurens, being now at Liberty, perhaps may soon 
come hither, and be ready to join us, if there should be any 

1 A paragraph omitted in which certain correspondence between Franklin 
and Adams is repeated. ED. 



1782] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 367 

Negociations for Peace. In England they are mad for a 
separate one with us, that they may more effectually take 
Revenge on France & Spain. I have had several Overtures 
hinted to me lately from different Quarters, but I am deaf. 
The Thing is impossible. We can never agree to desert our 
first & our faithful Friend on any Consideration whatever. 
We should become infamous by such abominable Baseness. 
With great and sincere Esteem, I am ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1277. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (D. s. w.) 

Passy, Jan. 23, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, It is a long time since I have written to you ; 
but I am not the less sensible of your obliging attention in 
writing frequently to me. I have now before me your several 
Favours of Sept. 15, Oct. 23, Nov. 8, & Jan. u. Your Com- 
munications are always agreable, and I beg you would 
continue them, and continue also to excuse the Want of 
Punctuality in Correspondence of an old Man, who has been 
opprest with too much Business. The arrival of Mr. Bar- 
clay, 1 appointed Consul- General, will ease me of a good deal, 
and I hope for the future to be more exact. 

Mr. Boyeted 2 was so obliging as to call on me with one 
of your Letters, and has since sent me the Books, 3 which 
afford me a good deal of Information. I thank you very 

1 Thomas Barclay, merchant. ED. 

2 Consul-general for France in Spain. He had at this time resided forty 
years in Spain. ED. 

8 The Works of the Conde de Campomanes, and the Memorials published 
by the Society of the Friends of their country. ED. 



368 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

much for them. I expect soon some Copies of a new Volume 
of the Transactions of your American Society, of which I 
shall request M. de Campomanes to accept one. Be pleased 
to present my Respects to him. I see that he will be a great 
Benefactor to his Country. 

With regard to Money Matters, I am continually embar- 
rass'd by some means or other with fresh Difficulties. I was 
told that no more random Bills would be drawn after the 
Beginning of April last, and I flatter'd myself with being 
soon at ease by paying off those issued before ; but as they 
continue coming drawn not only on Mr. Jay, but on Mr. 
Adams, Mr. Laurens, & myself, I begin to suspect that the 
Drawing continues, and that the Bills are antedated. It is 
impossible for me to go on with Demands after Demands. 
I was never advis'd of the Amount of the Drafts, either upon 
myself, or upon any of the other Ministers. The Drafts 
themselves that are directed to me are indeed a Justification 
of my paying them ; but I never had any Orders to pay those 
drawn on others, nor have I ever received a Syllable of Appro- 
bation for having done so. Thus I stand charg'd with vast 
Sums which I have disburs'd for the public service without 
authority. In my present Situation I cannot encourage 
Mr. Jay to accept any more bills. I think, too, all things 
considered, that if some of them must go back protested, it 
had better be from either France or Holland. But I mill do 
my best if possible to prevent it. I wish with you that we had 
contented ourselves with such aids as this kind and generous 
Nation could afford us, & never sought to entangle ourselves 
with Obligations to any others. 

In writing to Mr. Jay I forgot to mention how much I was 
oblig'd by his permitting me to read his Dispatches sent by 



1782] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 369 

Major Franks. They are very full & satisfactory. I wonder 
at what you have heard that the Congress had for eight Months 
no Letters from Mr. Adams, as I think him the most diligent 
of all Correspondents, having seen in the Votes of Congress 
Mention made of the Dates of Letters receiv'd from him, 
by which it seem'd that he had written almost every Day, 
& sometimes twice a Day. My great Fault is writing too 
seldom; I should write oftener (and should be happy), if I 
had nothing else to do. 

I wrote to Mr. Jay on the iQth that I hop'd, before the 
following Tuesday to be able to say whether I should or should 
not have it again in my Power to aid him. I am still in the 
Dark, but I shall pay your Draft as well as his for a Quarter 
of your Salaries. I wish each of you would state an Account 
& send it to me of what has become due since the Commence- 
ment & what you have receiv'd; and if I can procure the 
Means I will pay the Ballances ; but it is necessary to write to 
Congress for a direct Provision hereafter. 

You do my little Scribblings too much honour in proposing 
to print them; but they are at your Disposition, except the 
Letter to the Academy of which having several English 
Puns in it, cannot be translated, and besides has too much 
grossibrdi to be borne by the polite Readers of these Nations. 1 
If you should print any of them you will conceal my name ! 

I see advised here, Spanish ink of a fine Black for writing. 
From this one would imagine that Spanish Ink had obtained 
a Character for Blackness. If there is any of it to be had at 
Madrid, I wish you would use it in writing your Letters; 

1 The " Essay on Perfumes," dedicated to the Academy of Brussels. The 
original is in L. C. It has occasionally been privately printed, and deserves 
no greater publicity than it has already attained. ED. 

VOL. VIII 2B 



370 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

for my Eyes not being very good, when the Ink & Paper 
are so nearly of a Colour I find it difficult to read them. 

Jan. 25. Since writing the above the Marquis de la Fayette, 
is arriv'd, to my great joy, as I am persuaded he will be very 
useful to our Affairs. I forward some Letters for Mr. Jay. 

Robert R. Livingston Esq. is appointed Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs & General Lincoln Secretary of War. Mr. 
Morris conducts the Finances to general Satisfaction and the 
Publick Credit is reviving. 

I this Day met Mr. Casas at Mr. Grand's, where we 
din'd, & he gave me a letter from you. I shall with Pleasure 
cultivate his Acquaintance, for which I am obliged to you. 

With great Esteem, I am ever, dear sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Please to give the enclosed Papers to Mr. Jay, which should 
have gone to him with my last. 



1278. TO JOHN BARRY 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 24, 1782. 

Sm, 

I received your Letter of the 17* with Pleasure, as it in- 
form'd me of your safe Arrival at Fort Louis. I shall see 
the Marquis de Lafayette to-day, and we will try what can 

1 John Barry (1745-1803) commanded the Lexington at the opening 
of the Revolution and made the first capture of a British war vessel 
{Edward). In February, 1781, he conveyed Colonel Laurens to England 
in the Alliance. At the time this letter was written he had recently arrived 
from America conveying Lafayette, Viscount de Noailles, Major General 
Duportail, and other French officers. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 



1782] TO SAMUEL COOPER JOHONNOT 371 

be done towards getting you some French Sailors; but I 
doubt they are too much wanted to be spared to us. You 
will find however a Number of Americans at L'Orient, who 
have lately escaped or been exchanged from the Prisons of 
England. Your desire of redeeming more of them is noble, 
and I heartily wish you success in it. Mr. Barclay, the 
Consul, to whom you should apply in Case of wanting any 
thing for your Ship, is now in Holland ; but I expect him in a 
few days. Let me know if, when you return to America, 
you can take any of the Congress Goods, which he will have 
to send. With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, 

&c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1279. TO SAMUEL COOPER JOHONNOT 1 

Passy, Jan. 25. 1782 
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, 

Inclosed are two letters for you which came under my 
Cover from Boston. 

I am glad to hear a good account of you from M r de 
Marignac. A Gentleman of Lyons has repeatedly wrote to 
my [sic], proposing to remove you to a school in his neigh- 
borhood, and tells me that you desire it. I hope he is 
mistaken in that. You are plac'd to the satisfaction of your 
Excellent grandfather, 2 who is a good judge of the Place and 
kind of Education that is best for you ; and I hope you will 
be content with it, make a good use of the advantages it 
affords you for Improvement and not indulge any Fancies of 

1 From the original in the Boston Public Library. ED. 

2 Rev. Samuel Cooper. ED. 



372 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Change. It is time for you to think of establishing a Charac- 
ter for manly steadiness, which you will find of great use to 
you in Life. The Proverb says wisely, a rolling Stone gathers 
no moss. So in frequent changing of schools much time is 
lost, before the Scholar can be well acquainted with new 
Rules and get into the use of them. And loss of Time will 
to you be a loss of Learning. If I had not a great Regard 
for you, I should not take the Trouble of advising you. 
I have paid M* de Marignac's bill for your expence school- 
ing to the Beginning of next month ; and desiring to hear 
from you I continue to be, 

Your affectionate Friend 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1280. TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BACHE 1 (p. c.) 

G. Pappa Passy, Jan. 25, 1782. 
B. F. B. Geneva 2 Feb. 1782. 

DEAR BENNY, 

I received your letter of Nov. 20. & another written on 
occasion of the New Year, together with the drawings, which 
please me, and I s have desired your Master to advance a 
Guinea in Books for you, as a Present from me in Return for 
those Drawings: But I expect you will improve; and that 
you will send me some every half Year that I may see how you 
improve. 

I inclose a Letter for you from your Mother which I have 
just received ; and another from your Friend Cochran. 

I am pleased that you keep an Account of your Expences. 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Arthur W. Peirce, of Franklin, 
Mass. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 373 

You will hereafter find it a great advantage, if you acquire 
the Habit of doing so, and continue the Practice thro' Life. 

I wish you would learn to write a fair round Hand. It is 
surprising what a Progress your Brother has made in such 
Writing, considering his Age. I have sent to London for 
some Copy Books of that Hand for you, which you will try 
to imitate. Fair legible Writing is of a great Importance, 
and I shall be much pleas'd to see you improve in it. 

Till you receive the Books above mentioned, you may 
request your Writing Master to give you a Copy of a Bill of 
Exchange for Twelve Livres Tournois to be drawn by you 
upon me in Favour of Mr. Marignac, the Value of which I 
have desired him to pay you for the Bill when it is written 
so well as to have his approbation, & I shall allow the arti- 
cle in his Account. 

Let me know whether you learn Arithmetick in your 
School. 

Present my Respects to Madam Cramer & your other 
Friends, & to Mrs. Montgomery, 1 whose Letter for Phila- 
delphia I have forwarded. 

I am ever, my dear Child, 

Your Affectionate Grandfather, 
B. FRANKLIN. 



1281. TO ROBERT MORRIS (D. s. w.) 
c Passy, Jan. 28, 1782. 

I wrote a few Lines to you this Morning, and understand- 
ing that the Courier is not yet gone off for Brest, I have time 

1 Mrs. Dorcas Montgomery, a lady of Philadelphia who, in 1781, brought 
her only son, aged eleven, to Europe for his education. ED. 



374 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

to acquaint you that our good Friend the Marquis, whom 
I have just now seen, has been at my Request with all the 
ministers, spent an hour with each of them, pressing with all 
the Arguments possible a further Supply of Money for the 
ensuing Campaign, and being better acquainted with Facts, 
he was able to speak with greater Weight than I could pos- 
sibly do. He finds that the general Determination had been 
not to furnish any more Money ; and tho' he thinks he has 
so far prevailed as that the Matter may be reconsidered and 
possibly some may be obtained, which, however, is far from 
being certain, he does not imagine it will be much, and that, 
therefore it will be best for us to act as if none were to be 
expected. I shall see M. de Vergennes tomorrow, and shall 
write you further by the first Opportunity. 

I will just add one short Reflection, that wrong Estimates 
are often made of a friend's Abilities ; and Borrowers are apt 
to say : Help me with such a Sum, 't is to a Man of your 
Wealth a Trifle. They are ignorant of the Demands con- 
stantly made upon him by the Course of the Expence he is 
necessarily engaged in, which may be equal to and perhaps 
exceed his Incomes. And it is grating to be pressed for Loans 
in a manner that obliges a Man either to seem unkind by 
refusing, or to disclose his own Inabilities. Let us be assured 
that if we do not obtain another Loan it is [not ?] for Want of 
Good-Will to us. 

With great Regard, I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1782] TO GUSTAVUS CONYNGHAM 375 

1282. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 28, 1782. 

SIR, 

I received, at the same time your several Letters of Oct. 
20, 24, & Nov. 26, which I purpose to answer fully by the 
Return of the Alliance. Having just had a very short notice 
of the Departure of this Ship, I can only at present mention 
the great Pleasure your Appointment gives me, and my 
Intention of corresponding with you regularly & frequently, 
as you desire. The Information contained in your Letters 
is full and clear; I shall endeavour that mine, of the State of 
Affairs here, may be as satisfactory. With great Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Having just learnt, that the Courier is not gone, I 
have time to enclose & forward two Letters from Holland, 
by which you will see something of the State of Affairs in 
that Country. Be pleas'd to present my dutiful Respects to 
Congress, and assure them of my most faithful Services. 



1283. TO GUSTAVUS CONYNGHAM (D. s. w.) 

Passy, February 6, 1782. 

SIR, 

I am to acknowledge the Receipt of two Letters from you 
since you were at Nantes. In the first you desired a Copy of 

1 Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813) was elected to the provincial assembly 
of New York and sent by that body as a delegate to the Continental Con- 
gress. He was one of the Committee of five to draft the Declaration of 



376 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

your Original Commission. I have caused search to be 
made for it, but can find no Trace of it ;' as at the time it was 
given to you the Commissioners were not yet in the Way of 
keeping Minutes of their Proceedings, and it is but a few 
Days since I have learnt from Dr. Bancroft that it was 
taken from you at Dunkirk, and sent up with other Papers 
to M. le Compte de Vergennes. The first time I go to Ver- 
sailles, I will enquire for it. If it is lost, I will send you a 
Certificate that such Commission did exist, tho' at present 
not to be found. 

In your second you desire to know what money Mr. 
Digges has charg'd as advanced to you. I never was able 
to obtain from him a regular Account of the Disposition of 
the money I put into his Hands from time to time for the 
Relief of Prisoners in England, but I think he mentions in 
one of his Letters he paid 50 or 6o for you. Probably this 
may not be true; for he is the greatest Villain I ever met 
with, having the last Winter drawn on me for 495^ for the 
Support of Prisoners, and apply'd but 30^ to their Use. 
However, he can have no Right to Demand any Repayment 
from you, having had the Money from me. With very 
great Esteem & best Wishes for your Prosperity, I have the 
honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Independence. He was the first Chancellor of New York, and administered 
the oath of office to George Washington on his inauguration as President of 
the United States. ED. 

1 See this certificate of Commission under date August 7, 1782. ED. 



1782] TO JOHN BARRY 377 

1284. TO JOHN BARRY (D. s. w.) 
Passy, February 10, 1782. 

SIR, 

I have been honour'd by yours of the 3ist past, and am 
glad to find you are willing to take over some of the public 
Goods. I should not desire it of you, if certain Circum- 
stances unforeseen had not rendered it necessary. The 
Goods are for the use of our Troops & Marine, and were 
collected at Brest, with an Intention of sending them in cer- 
tain Transports, which are prepared for that Purpose by 
the Government. The Loss of a Number of Transports, 
.taken by Kempenfeld's Squadron, which were carrying Stores 
for the King's Fleet and Army, making it necessary to replace 
those Stores & forward them immediately, it has been found, 
that there is no room for ours, and that sufficient new Trans- 
ports cannot readily be obtained. 

It has therefore been proposed to me, to put into your Ship 
what you can well receive, and to get Freight if I can for the 
rest, to go under your Convoy. Mr. Barclay, who is ac- 
quainted with such Business, is not yet returned, but I expect 
him daily. In the mean time I wish you would proceed 
to Brest immediately, where you will find Orders given to 
the Commissary to deliver so much of the Congress Stores 
to you as you shall think fit to receive. My Dispatches 
for America shall also meet you there ; and, as the quantity 
of goods may possibly render your ship less fit for sailing or 
fighting, it would perhaps be well if you concluded to sail 
with the King's ships, which convoy the transports, and who 
will probably depart by the middle of March. Though you 



378 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANK UN [1782 

have not, as you observe, any orders for this operation, I am 
persuaded that its utility and necessity, together with this 
letter, will be deemed a full justification. Endeavours are 
using to procure freight for the rest, to go under the same 
convoy, but perhaps it may not be possible to do it in time. 
If you can engage any from L'Orient, it will be doing great 
service. The goods in all will make about one thousand tons. 
With great esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1285. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 
Passy, February 12, 1782. 

SIR, I received the honour of yours dated the 7th inst., 
acquainting me with presentation of several more bills drawn 
on Mr. Laurens. I think you will do well to accept them, 
and I shall endeavour to enable you to pay them. I should 
be glad to see a complete list of those you have already ac- 
cepted. Perhaps from the series of numbers and the defi- 
ciencies one may be able to divine the sum that has been 
issued, of which we have never been informed, as we ought 
to have been. Ignorance of this has subjected me to the 
unpleasant task of making repeated demands, which displease 
our friends by seeming to have no end. The same is the 
case with bills on Mr. Jay and on myself. This has among 
other things made me quite sick of my Gibeonite office 
that of drawing water for the whole congregation of Israel. 
But I am happy to learn from our Minister of Finance that, 
after the end of March next, no further drafts shall be made 
on me, or trouble given me by drafts of others. 



1782] TO THOMAS BARCLAY 379 

The Duke de Vauguyon must be with you before this time. 
I am impatient to hear the result of your States on the demand 
you have made of a categoric answer, etc. I think with you 
that it may be wrong to interrupt or perplex their delibera- 
tions by asking aids during the present critical situation of 
affairs. 

I understood that the goods had all been delivered to Mr. 
Barclay, and I punctually paid all the bills. That gentle- 
man now writes me that those purchased of Gillon are 
detained on pretence of his debts. These new demands 
were never mentioned to me before. It has been and will be 
a villainous affair from beginning to end, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1286. TO THOMAS BARCLAY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, February 12, 1782. 

SIR: I received duly yours of the 3d inst., 1 and I am en- 
raged to find that after I had been informed the goods were 
delivered to you, and had in consequence paid punctually all 
the bills, Messrs, de Neufville should attempt to stop those 
bought of Gillon. These new demands have been artfully 
kept out of sight till now. There is more roguery, it seems, 
in that country than I imagined. Neither Colonel Laurens 
nor Captain Jackson left with me the contract made with 
Gillon; but the bills of exchange drawn in his favour by 
Jackson, and accepted and paid by me, are proofs of the goods 
having been paid for, as we had no other concern with Gillon's 
affairs. The value is near 10,000 sterling. 

. P. S. ED. 



380 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I know not what to say at present with regard to your 
proposition of my putting into your hands 150,000 livres at 
once. You give indeed a good reason for it, so far as relates 
to yourself, viz: "that you are really afraid that, from my 
situation and from the manner I am drawn upon from Amer- 
ica, my embarrassments in money matters may increase." 
You will allow that it is natural for me to have for the same 
reasons the same apprehensions, and to endeavour to avoid 
these embarrassments as much as possible by not complying 
with your request, more especially as I find by Mr. Morris' 
last letters that he imagines a sum in my disposition vastly 
greater than the fact, in consequence of which he has already 
given me orders far beyond my abilities to comply with. 
I submit it therefore to your consideration whether we had not 
better store those goods in Holland at present, acquaint him 
with their situation, and request him to send vessels for them, 
rather than put ourselves to the inconvenience of buying 
ships as you propose to carry them, which ships we may not 
be able to pay for. And, considering the quantities gone and 
going from this country, these goods will probably not be so 
much wanted, as that the delay will be greater prejudice to 
our affairs than my protesting Congress bills would occasion. 
In a few days I shall be able to write to you more explicitly 
on this head ; in the meantime I could wish you not to engage 
in the purchase of those ships, though you may be assured 
that I shall do all that I can find by any means in my power 
to aid you in your operations. With much esteem, I have 
the honour to be, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 381 

1287. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 

Passy, February 16, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your favour of the 24th past. You have taken 
pains to rectify a mistake of mine, relating to the aim of your 
letters. 2 I accept kindly your replication, and I hope you 
will excuse my error, when you reflect, that I knew of no 
consent given by France to our treating separately of peace, 
and that there have been mixed in some of your conversa- 
tions and letters various reasonings, to show, that, if France 
should require something of us that was unreasonable, we 
then should not be obliged by our treaty to join with her in 
continuing the war. As there had never been such requisi- 
tion, what could I think of such discourses? I thought, as 
I suppose an honest woman would think, if a gallant should 
entertain her with suppositions of cases, in which infidelity 
to her husband would be justifiable. Would not she naturally 
imagine, seeing no other foundation or motive for such con- 
versation, that, if he could once get her to admit the general 

1 From "Diplomatic Revolutionary Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. II, 
p. 21 8. ED. 

2 Hartley wrote to Franklin (January 24, 1 782) : 
"Mv DEAR SIR, 

"I received yours of the 1 5th instant this day. I must take the earliest op- 
portunity of setting you right in one mistake, which runs through your whole 
letter, and which to you, under that mistake, must be a very delicate point. 
You seem to apprehend, that America has been stated, in the proposition to 
Lord North, as ' disposed to enter into a separate treaty with Great Britain '; 
but you meet the condition, viz. in the words immediately following, ' and 
that their allies were disposed to consent to it.' There cannot possibly be any 
supposition of treachery to allies, in any proposition to which they may 
consent." ED. 



382 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

principle, his intended next step would be to persuade her, 
that such a case actually existed ? Thus, knowing your dis- 
like of France, and your strong desire of recovering America 
to England, I was impressed with the idea, that such an infi- 
delity on our part would not be disagreeable to you ; and that 
you were therefore aiming to lessen in my mind the horror 
I conceived at the idea of it. But we will finish here by 
mutually agreeing, that neither you were capable of propos- 
ing, nor I of acting on, such principles. 

I cannot, however, forbear endeavouring to give a little 
possible utility to this letter, by saying something on your case 
of Dunkirk. You do not see, why two nations should be 
deemed natural enemies to each other. Nor do I, unless 
one or both of them are naturally mischievous and insolent. 
But I can see how enmities long continued, even during a 
peace, tend to shorten that peace, and to rekindle a war; 
and this is, when either party, having an advantage in war, 
shall exact conditions in the treaty of peace, that are goading 
and constantly mortifying to the other. I take this to be the 
case of your "commissioner at Dunkirk." What would be 
your feelings, if France should take and hold possession of 
Portsmouth, or Spain of Plymouth, after a peace, as you 
formerly held Calais, and now hold Gibraltar? Or, on 
restoring your ports, should insist on having an insolent com- 
missioner stationed there, to forbid your placing one stone 
upon another by way of fortification ? You would probably 
not be very easy under such a stipulation. If therefore you 
desire a peace, that may be firm and durable, think no more of 
such extravagant demands. It is not necessary to give my 
opinion further on that point, yet I may add frankly, as this is 
merely private conversation between you and me, that I do 



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 383 

think a faithful ally, especially when under obligations for 
such great and generous assistance as we have received, should 
fight as long as he is able, to prevent, as far as his continuing 
to fight may prevent, his friends being compelled again to 
suffer such an insult. 

My dear friend, the true pains you are taking to restore 
peace, whatever may be the success, entitle you to the esteem 
of all good men. If your ministers really desire peace, me- 
thinks they would do well to empower some person to make 
propositions for that purpose. One or other of the parties 
at war must take the first step. To do this belongs properly 
to the wisest. America, being a novice in such affairs, has 
no pretence to that character ; and, indeed, after the answer 
given by Lord Stormont * (when we proposed to him some- 
thing relative to the mutual treatment of prisoners with 
humanity), that "the King's ministers receive no applications 
from rebels, unless when they come to implore his Majesty's 
clemency" it cannot be expected, that we should hazard the 
exposing ourselves again to such insolence. All I can say 
further at present is, that in my opinion your enemies do not 
aim at your destruction, and that if you propose a treaty you 
will find them reasonable in their demands, provided that on 
your side they meet with the same good dispositions. But 
do not dream of dividing us ; you will certainly never be able 
to effect it. With great regard and affection, I am ever, 
dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 See letters to Lord Stormont, February 23, 1777, and April 2, 1777. ED. 



384 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

1288. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 1 (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, March 3. 1782. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excellency did me the honour 
of writing to me the 26^ past, enclosing an Official Paper on 
the Part of the Danish Court, relating to the Burning of some 
English Vessels on the Coast of Norway, by three American 
Ships. I shall not fail to transmit the same immediately to 
the Congress, who will, I make no doubt, enquire into the 
Facts alledged, and do there-upon what shall appear to be 
just and right, it being their constant and earnest Desire to 
avoid giving any Offence to Neutral Nations, as will appear 
by their Instructions to all armed Vessels, of which I have the 
honour to present a Copy. 

In the mean time, as it is natural to expect, that those who 
exact a rigorous observation of the Law of Nations, when 
their own Interest or Honour seems affected, should be them- 
selves ready to show an Example of their own Regard for those 
Laws where the Interest of others is concerned, I cannot but 
hope the Court of Denmark will at length attend to a Demand 
long since made by me, but hitherto without Effect, that they 
would restore to the United States the Value of three Ves- 
sels amounting to Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling. 2 These 
Vessels were fair and good Prizes which had been made by 
our Ships of War, not on the Coast of Denmark but far 

1 This letter in P. A. E. E. U., tome 20, piece 118, folio 372, is indorsed 
" Reponse a 1'office du Dannemark au sujet des exces commis sur les c8tes de 
Norwege par 3 vaisseaux Americains." ED. 

8 Vessels captured by the squadron under Paul Jones. See Franklin's 
letter to Comte Bernstorff, December 22, 1779. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 385 

distant on the high Seas, and were sent into Bergen as into a 
Port truly neutral: but there, contrary to the Law of Hos- 
pitality as well as the other Laws of Nations, they were for- 
cibly wrested out of our Hands by the Governor of that 
Place, and delivered back to our Enemies. The Congress 
have not lost Sight of this Violence, but constantly expect 
Justice from the Equity and Wisdom of his Danish Majesty. 
I am, with greatest Respect, 
Sir, 

Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1289. TO ROBERT MORRIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 4, 1782. 

SIR : With this you will receive copies of my two letters 
dated January 28th and another dated the 3oth. Since which 
I have been continually in perplexity and uncertainty about 
our money affairs. I obtained a sketch of the account men- 
tioned in my last. You will see by letters I enclose that I 
endeavoured to correct it, and make it 2,216,000 livres more in 
our favour, but without success. I pressed to know whether 
we were to expect any pecuniary aids this year or not, our 
friend, the Marquis, assisted me much. The affair was some 
time in suspense. At length the minister told me we should 
be aided, but must not expect it to be in the same proportion 
as last year. Friday last he was so good as to inform me 
we should have six millions, paid quarterly, of which 1,500,000 



VOL. VIII 2 C 



386 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

livres would be ready for us at the end of this month. I shall 
now be able to face the loan-office and other bills, and my 
acceptances in favour of Mr. Beaumarchais, and I will do as 
much as I can out of the 6,000,000 towards fulfilling your 
orders of paying and depositing money in other hands. 
But when you observe that the Dutch loan, which you con- 
ceive might be entire with me and at your disposition, has 
suffered such large deductions, you will not expect much; 
and your hopes of twelve millions for the present year falling 
short by one half (as far as appears at present), you will 
arrange your affairs accordingly and prevail on our people, 
if possible, to do more for themselves. 

The supplies charged in the aperfu or sketch were part of 
them sent in king's transports in May and June last, and I 
understood the rest were to be forwarded in the same way; 
but the loss of a number of transports taken, which required 
replacing, has created a difficulty which I was but lately in- 
formed of; and I have had notice to provide ships for our 
goods, the king not having sufficient. Mr. Barclay being in 
Holland, I wrote to Nantes and L'Orient, but could obtain 
no freight there ; at the same time I sent orders to Capt. Barry 
to go to Brest, where the goods were assembled, and take in 
what he could. He was gone on a cruise before my letters 
reached him. On Friday I acquainted the Marquis de Cas- 
tries that I could not obtain any vessels, and entreated his 
assisting us, which he was kind enough to promise, as far 
as he was able. We have about 1,000 ton to send, and he 
supposes the Alliance may take 400 of it, in which case he 
will try to find place for the rest. 

Mr. Barclay, as I mentioned above, is still in Holland, 
endeavouring to ship the goods unhappily purchased there 



1782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 387 

last year. The whole were at first detained from us on pre- 
tence of damages due to the owners of the ships left behind 
by Gillon, who by agreement, should have taken them under 
his convoy. We at length recovered those purchased by 
Messrs, de Neufville, but those purchased of Gillon himself 
are stopped for his debt ; and though I accepted and paid the 
bills for the purchase, according to the agreement between 
him and Colonel Laurens, I just learn from Mr. Barclay 
that they are now not to be had without paying for them over 
again. If that man ever arrives in America, he should be 
immediately called to account for his conduct, but by his 
touching at Teneriffe, I fear he is gone elsewhere. I send 
you herewith one copy of our public accounts, and shall send 
another by the Marquis de Lafayette, who will probably go 
the beginning of next month. I propose to get Mr. Barclay, 
if I can, to examine them with the vouchers, but I send those 
copies at present that you may see what abundance of calls 
there are on me, of which, by your imagining so much in my 
hands, you appear to have had no idea. The expenditure 
of the sums here will be easily examined and ascertained. 
For those sums being always received in the first instance 
by our banker and he disbursing none but in payment of bills 
of exchange accepted by me, or on written orders expressing 
on what account the order is drawn, the inspectors will 
readily see whether the articles agree with those bills or orders 
and accounts. 

Relying on Captain Barry's complying with my orders to 
go to Brest, take in what he could of our goods, and sail 
with the convoy, which does not go till towards the end of this 
month, I delayed answering your letters fully till I should 
obtain some certainty relating to our money affairs. But I 



388 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

have just received a letter from him, acquainting me with 
his return from an unsuccessful cruise, and his resolution 
to depart for America immediately after the return of the 
post. It seems he had not, when he wrote, received my letter 
directing him to call at Brest. I write to him again to the 
same purpose; but as he may nevertheless determine to 
return directly, I cannot now add to this letter, but must refer 
you to what I shall write by the Marquis. With greatest and 
most sincere esteem, I have the honour to be, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. By the i5th of this month another million of the 
Dutch loan will be consumed in paying bills, etc., so that I 
fear it will be difficult for me to pay those in favour of Mr. 
Ross, but I will try. 



1290. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 4, 1782. 

SIR, 

Since I wrote the two short letters, of which I herewith send 
you copies, I have been honoured with yours, dated the i6th 
of December. 1 

Enclosed I send two letters from Count de Vergennes, 
relating to certain complaints from Ostend and Copenhagen 
against our cruisers. I formerly forwarded a similar com- 
plaint from Portugal, to which I have yet received no answer. 
The ambassador of that kingdom frequently teazes me for it. 
I hope now, that by your means this kind of affairs will be 

1 Ms. in D. S. W. See " Diplomatic Correspondence " (Wharton), Vol. V, 
p. 53. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 389 

more immediately attended to; ill blood and mischief may 
be thereby sometimes prevented. 

The Marquis de Lafayette was at his return hither received 
by all ranks with all possible distinction. He daily gains in 
the general esteem and affection, and promises to be a great 
man here. He is warmly attached to our cause ; we are on the 
most friendly and confidential footing with each other, and 
he is really very serviceable to me in my applications for 
additional assistance. 

I have done what I could in recommending Messieurs 
Duportail and Gouvion, 1 as you desired. I did it with pleas- 
ure, as I have much esteem for them. 

I will endeavour to procure a sketch of an emblem for the 
purpose you mention. This puts me in mind of a medal 
I have had a mind to strike, since the late great event you 
gave me an account of, representing the United States by 
the figure of an infant Hercules in his cradle, strangling the 
two serpents ; and France by that of Minerva, sitting by as 
his nurse, with her spear and helmet, and her robe specked 
with a few fleurs de Us. The extinguishing of two entire 
armies in one war is what has rarely happened, and it gives 
a presage of the future force of our growing empire. 2 

1 Louis Le Begue Duportail, brigadier-general in the American army, 
November 17, 1777. 

Jean Baptiste Gouvion (1747-1792), colonel in the American Army, 
November 17, 1777. ED. 

2 This medal was subsequently executed, under the direction of Dr. 
Franklin, with some variation in the device. On one side is an infant in his 
cradle strangling two serpents. Minerva, as the emblem of France, with her 
spear, helmet, and shield, is engaged in a contest with the British lion. The 
motto is, NON SINE Dns ANIMOSUS INFANS ; under which are the dates of the 
two victories at Saratoga and Yorktown, "17 Oct. 1777," and " 19 Oct. 1781." 
On the other side of the medal is a head of Liberty ; in the exergue, LIBERTAS 
AMERICANA, and the date of American independence, "4 Jul. 1776." S. 



390 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I thank you much for the newspapers you have been so 
kind as to send me. I send also to you, by every opportunity, 
packets of the French, Dutch, and English papers. Enclosed 
is the last Courier of Europe, wherein you will find a late 
curious debate on continuing the war with America, which the 
minister carried in the affirmative only by his own vote. It 
seems the nation is sick of it, but the King is obstinate. 
There is a change made of the American Secretary, and another 
is talked of in the room of Lord Sandwich. But I suppose 
we have no reason to desire such changes. If the King will 
have a war with us, his old servants are as well for us as any 
he is likely to put in their places. The ministry, you will see, 
declare, that the war in America is for the future to be only 
defensive. I hope we shall be too prudent to have the least 
dependence on this declaration. It is only thrown out to 
lull us ; for, depend upon it, the King hates us cordially, and 
will be content with nothing short of our extirpation. 

I shall be glad to receive the account you are preparing 
of the wanton damages done our possessions. I wish you 
could also furnish me with one, of the barbarities committed 
on our people. They may both be of excellent use on certain 
occasions. I received the duplicate of yours in cipher. 
Hereafter, I wish you would use that in which those instruc- 
tions were written, that relate to the future peace. I am 
accustomed to that, and I think it very good and more con- 
venient in the practice. 

The friendly disposition of this court towards us continues. 
We have sometimes pressed a little too hard, expecting and 
demanding, perhaps, more than we ought, and have used 
improper arguments, which may have occasioned a little 
dissatisfaction, but it has not been lasting. In my opinion, 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 391 

the surest way to obtain liberal aid from others is vigorously 
to help ourselves. People fear assisting the negligent, the 
indolent, and the careless, lest the aids they afford should be 
lost. I know we have done a great deal; but it is said, we 
are apt to be supine after a little success, and too backward in 
furnishing our contingents. This is really a generous nation, 
fond of glory, and particularly that of protecting the oppressed. 
Trade is not the admiration of their noblesse, who always 
govern here. Telling them, their commerce will be advan- 
taged by our success, and that it is their interest to help us, 
seems as much as to say, "Help us, and we shall not be obliged 
to you." Such indiscreet and improper language has been 
sometimes held here by some of our people, and produced no 
good effects. 

The constant harmony, subsisting between the armies of 
the two nations in America, is a circumstance, that has 
afforded me infinite pleasure. It should be carefully culti- 
vated. I hope nothing will happen to disturb it. The 
French officers, who have returned to France this winter, 
speak of our people in the handsomest and kindest manner; 
and there is a strong desire in many of the young noblemen 
to go over to fight for us ; there is no restraining some of them ; 
and several changes among the officers of their army have 
lately taken place in consequence. 

You must be so sensible of the utility of maintaining a 
perfect good understanding with the Chevalier de la Luzerne, 
that I need say nothing on that head. The affairs of a dis- 
tant people in any court of Europe will always be much af- 
fected by the representations of the minister of that court 
residing among them. 

We have here great quantities of supplies, of all kinds, 



392 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

ready to be sent over, and which would have been on their 
way before this time, if the unlucky loss of the transports, 
that were under M. de Guichen, 1 and other demands for 
more ships, had not created a difficulty to find freight for 
them. I hope however, that you will receive them with the 
next convoy. 

The accounts we have of the economy introduced by Mr. 
Morris begin to be of service to us here, and will by degrees 
obviate the inconvenience, that an opinion of our disorders 
and mismanagements had occasioned. I inform him by 
this conveyance of the money aids we shall have this year. 
The sum is not so great as we could wish; and we must so 
much the more exert ourselves. A small increase of industry 
in every American, male and female, with a small diminution 
of luxury, would produce a sum far superior to all we can 
hope to beg or borrow from all our friends in Europe. 

There are now near a thousand of our brave fellows prison- 
ers in England, many of whom have patiently endured the 
hardships of that confinement several years, resisting every 
temptation to serve our enemies. Will not your late great 
advantages put it in your power to do something for their 
relief ? The slender supply I have been able to afford, of a 
shilling a week to each, for their greater comfort during the 
winter, amounts weekly to fifty pounds sterling. An ex- 
change would make so many of our countrymen happy, add 
to our strength, and diminish our expense. But our priva- 
teers, who cruise in Europe, will not be at the trouble of 

1 Louis- Urbain du Bouexic, Comte de Guichen (1712-1790), was made 
grand cross of Saint Louis in 1781 and left Brest, December 10, 1781, with 
nineteen war vessels and many merchantmen, some of which were captured by 
Kempenfcldt. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT R, LIVINGSTON 393 

bringing in their prisoners, and I have none to exchange for 
them. 

Generals Cornwallis and Arnold are both arrived in Eng- 
land. It is reported, that the former, in all his conversations, 
discourages the prosecution of the war in America; if so, 
he will of course be out of favour. We hear much of audiences 
given to the latter, and of his being present at councils. 

You desire to know, whether any intercepted letters of 
Mr. Deane have been published in Europe? I have seen 
but one in the English papers, that to Mr. Wadsworth, 
and none in any of the French and Dutch papers, but some 
may have been printed that have not fallen in my way. 
There is no doubt of their being all genuine. His conversa- 
tion, since his return from America, has, as I have been in- 
formed, gone gradually more and more into that style, and 
at length come to an open vindication of Arnold's conduct ; 
and, within these few days, he has sent me a letter of twenty 
full pages, recapitulating those letters, and threatening to 
write and publish an account of the treatment he has received 
from Congress, &c. He resides at Ghent, is distressed both 
in mind and circumstances, raves and writes abundance, 
and I imagine it will end in his going over to join his friend 
Arnold in England. I had an exceeding good opinion of 
him when he acted with me, and I believe he was then sin- 
cere and hearty in our cause. But he is changed, and his 
character ruined in his own country and in this, so that I see 
no other but England to which he can now retire. He says, 
that we owe him about twelve thousand pounds sterling; 
and his great complaint is, that we do not settle his accounts 
and pay him. Mr. Johnston having declined the service, 
I proposed engaging Mr. Searle to undertake it; but Mr. 



394 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Deane objected to him, as being his enemy. In my opinion 
he was, for that reason, even fitter for the service of Mr. 
Deane; since accounts are of a mathematical nature, and 
cannot be changed by an enemy, while that enemy's testi- 
mony, that he had found them well supported by authentic 
vouchers, would have weighed more than the same testimony 
from a friend. 1 

With regard to negotiations for a peace, I see but little 
probability of their being entered upon seriously this year, 
unless the English minister has failed in raising his funds, 
which it is said he has secured; so that we must provide 
for another campaign, in which I hope God will continue to 
favour us, and humble our cruel and haughty enemies; a 
circumstance which, whatever Mr. Deane may say to the 
contrary, will give pleasure to all Europe. 

This year opens well, by the reduction of Port Mahon, and 
the garrison prisoners of war, and we are not without hopes, 
that Gibraltar may soon follow. A few more signal successes 
in America will do much towards reducing our enemies to 
reason. Your expressions of good opinion with regard to 
me, and wishes of my continuance in this employment, 
are very obliging. As long as the Congress think I can be 
useful to our affairs, it is my duty to obey their orders; but 
I should be happy to see them better executed by another, 
and myself at liberty, enjoying, before I quit the stage of life, 
some small degree of leisure and tranquillity. With great 
esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 See Deane to the President of Congress, May 15, 1781. "Diplomatic 
Correspondence," Vol. IV, p. 415. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 395 

1291. TO ROBERT MORRIS 1 (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 7, 1782. 

SIR : I have just received the letter you did me the honour 
of writing to me the yth of January, with the duplicates of 
sundry others. By this conveyance you will be pretty fully 
informed of the state of our funds here, by which you will be 
enabled so to regulate your drafts as that our Credit in Europe 
may not be ruined, and your friend killed with vexation. 

The cargo of the Marquis de la Fayette is all replaced, and 
at Brest; but the late loss of transports has occasioned a 
difficulty in conveying them. You will see by the enclosed 
letters the measures I have taken and my disappointment. 
Capt. Barry think [sic] himself too much confined by your 
orders at allow himself to go to Brest as I desired; and as 
the Minister of the Marine was pleased with my intention, of 
employing that ship in taking a part (he hoped 400 tons), he 
promised to endeavor to help us in forwarding the rest ; but 
when he sees that we will not help ourselves, but throw every 
burthen upon our friends, I fear it may put him out of humour. 
I find by experience that great affairs and great men are some- 
times influenced by small matters, and that it is not good to 
differ with or disoblige them or even their secretaries. I have 
apprehended that the little misunderstanding between two 
persons in Philadelphia, of which you gave me an account, 
together with the refusal of allowing the Virginia supply, had 
for some time an ill effect here. You will see on comparing 

1 From the " Records of the U. S. Legation, Paris, Letter Book, 1782." 
ED. 



396 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

my modest letter of the February, with the answer, that 
if I had replied, which I could easily have done, a dispute 
might have arisen out of it, in which, if I had got the better, 
I should perhaps have got nothing else. I have therefore 
pocketed several of the observations that are not well founded, 
and console myself for the present with 6,000,000 livres, 
relying on your promise that no more loan-office bills shall 
be drawn on me after the first of April. 

I shall, I believe, be able to pay in due time the drafts in 
favour of Messrs. Ross & Bingham. As to Mr. Holker, if the 
debt you mention as due to him is for clothes, etc., sent to him 
by Mr. Chaumont, it may as well remain unpaid, Mr. Chau- 
mont having refused to pay me about 70,000 livres on account 
of the neglect of Congress to discharge a demand he held 
against them, made by Mr. Holker, goods of his, delivered 
at Charlestown to General Lincoln, for the use of the troops, 
are mentioned by him as still unpaid for. 

I congratulate you on the success of the banks. I have 
written to Mr. Bache to interest me in a share. 

You will see by the English papers which I send to Mr. 
Secretary Livingston, that the sense of the nation is now fully 
against the continuance of the American war. The petitions 
of the cities of London and Bristol were unanimous against it ; 
Lord North mustered all his force, yet had a majority against 
him of nineteen. It is said there were but two who voted 
with him that are not placemen or pensioners, and that even 
these, in their private conversations, condemn the prosecu- 
tion of the war, and lay it all upon the king's obstinacy. 
We must not, however, be lulled by these appearances. 
That nation is changeable. And though somewhat humbled 
at present, a little success may make them as insolent as ever. 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 397 

I remember that, when I was a boxing boy, it was allowed, 
even after an adversary said he had enough, to give him a 
rising blow. Let ours be a douser. 

With great regard and esteem, I have the honour to be, 
sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Your fine boys * are well and just by me. 



1292. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 9, 1782. 

SIR, 

I have just received the honour of yours dated January the 
7th. Your communications of the sentiments of Congress, 
with regard to many points that may come under considera- 
tion in a treaty of peace, give me great pleasure, and the more, 
as they agree so perfectly with my own opinions, and furnish 
me with additional arguments in their support. I shall be 
more particular on this subject in my next; for, having 
notice from Captain Barry last night, that he will not go to 
Brest, as I expected, to take in some of our goods, but will 
sail immediately on the return of the post, which sets out 
to-day, I am obliged to be short. 

You will see in the enclosed newspapers the full debate in 
the House of Commons, on the subject of declining the war 
with North America. By private advices I learn, that the 
whole opposition, now become the majority, went up in a 

1 Robert and Thomas Morris, eldest sons of Robert Morris. They were sent 
to school in Europe, and conducted thither by Matthew Ridley. See letter in 
A. P. S. from Robert Morris to Franklin, October 14, 1781. ED. 



398 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

body with the address to the King, who answered, that he 
would pay a due regard to the advice of his faithful Commons, 
and employ his forces with more vigour against the ancient 
enemies of the nation, or to that purpose; and that orders 
were immediately given for taking up a great number of large 
transports, among which are many old India ships, whence 
it is conjectured, that they intend some great effort in the 
West Indies, and perhaps mean to carry off their troops and 
stores from New York and Charleston. I hope, however, 
that we shall not, in expectation of this, relax in our prepara- 
tions for the approaching campaign. I will procure the books 
you write for, and send them as soon as possible. 

Present my duty to the Congress, and believe me to be, with 
sincere esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1293. TO JOHN JAY (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 16, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have received your several favours of January 30, February 
n, & March i, and propose to write fully to you by the next 
Post. In the mean time this line may serve to acquaint you, 
that I paid duly all your former Bills drawn in favour of 
M. Cabarrus, 1 and that having obtained a Promise of Six 
Millions for this year, to be paid me quarterly, I now see that 
I shall be able to pay your Drafts for discharging the Sums 
you may be obliged to borrow for paying those upon you; 
in which however I wish you to give me as much time as you 
can, dividing them so that they may not come upon me at 
once. Interest should be allowed your friends who advance 

1 Cabarras & Co., Spanish bankers. ED. 



1782] JOSEPH-MATTHIAS GERARD DE RAYNEVAL 399 

for you. Please to send me a complete list of all the Bills 
you have accepted, their Numbers and Dates, marking which 
are paid and what are still to pay. 

I congratulate you upon the Change of Sentiments in the 
British Nation. It has been intimated to me from thence, 
that they are willing to make a separate Peace with us, 
exclusive of France, Spain, and Holland, which, so far as 
relates to France, is impossible; and I believe they will be 
content that we leave them the other two; but Holland is 
stepping towards us, and I am not without hopes of a second 
Loan there. And since Spain does not think our friendship 
worth cultivating, I wish you would inform me of the whole 
Sum we owe her, that we may think of some Means of paying 
it off speedily. With sincerest regard, I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1294. TO JOSEPH-MATTHIAS GERARD DE 

RAYNEVAL (P. A. E. E. u.) 

. Passy, March 22, 1782. 

SIR: With this I have the honour of sending you all the 
Letters I have received from or written to England on the 
Subject of Peace. M. de Vergennes should have seen them 
sooner, if I had imagined them of any Importance: for I 
have never had the least Desire or Intention of keeping such 
Correspondence secret. I was, as you will see, accidentally 
drawn into this, and, conceiving it of no Use, I have been 
backward in continuing it. 

I send you also some Papers which show the Attentive 
Care of the Congress respecting the Laws of Nations, and 



400 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

which were intended to accompany my Letter relating to 
Denmark, but then omitted. 

Herewith you will also receive the Vote of Congress em- 
powering the Commissioners to borrow Money. 

With great Esteem I have the Honour to be, sir, yours, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1295. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 23, 1782. 

DEAR JONATHAN, 

I have received yours of the iQth Inst., with the Account of 
the Duties you have paid. I do not comprehend the Policy 
of burthening their own Manufacturers, but the Laws of 
the Country we trade with must be observed. 

I have determin'd to rely on the Government entirely for 
the Transport of the Goods. I am instructed not to send 
them but under Convoy directly to Philadelphia, and I cannot 
trust myself in making Bargains for Ships, being too ignorant 
in such Matters. Particularly I will enter into no such Bar- 
gain with my Cousin. If it should prove a hard one for you, 
it would hurt my Feelings of Friendship ; and if a profitable 
one, I shall be reflected on as having given you a lucrative 
Jobb at the Expence of the Publick. I believe the Govern- 
ment would still take more Ships if offer'd soon, so that you 
may there find Employ for the Ships you propose to buy, if 
you like the Terms. Our Occasions are not so pressing as to 
justify my giving extravagant Freights. By advices from 
America it appears that our Army was provided with Cloth- 
ing for this Year ; that the Cargo of the Marquis de la Fayette 
was arrived at Philad* from St. Thomas, and lay upon the 



1782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 401 

Hands of the Importers; the arms taken with Cornwallis, 
and large Quantity arriv'd at Boston, put us at our ease on 
that article ; and we have therefore more than a Year before 
us to get our Goods over. Mr. Morris writes me that he is 
sorry the Purchase has been made, and wishes the Value had 
still remained in Money at our Disposal; so I can only 
thank you for your offer, and decline it. 

I hope the seeds will arrive soon, or the Season of Planting 
will be lost, and they become useless. Billy will send you 
the Paper and Ink powder. My Love to the good wife, and 

believe me ever 

Your affectionate Uncle, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. The St. Domingo Fleet, if it arrives, will furnish a 
good many Ships. 



1296. TO ROBERT MORRIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March 30, 1782. 

SIR, 

With this, if it comes to hand, you will receive copies 
of several preceding letters to you, which went by the Alli- 
ance, Captain Barry, who sailed the i$th, without taking any 
of our supplies, conceiving his vessel not fit for such service, 
and I am still uncertain whether any part can go by the 
convoy. If the St. Domingo fleet, which has long been ex- 
pected, were arrived, transports would not be so scarce. 
Captain Barry tells me there is abundance of arms and am- 
munition at Boston, and the capture of Cornwallis having 
furnished more, I hope those articles will not be much wanted. 
I have also been informed that the cargo of clothing sent by 

VOL. VIII 2 D 



402 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

the ship Marquis de la Fayette is arrived with you from neutral 
ports, and offered at a low price. If this be true, the unavoid- 
able delay of goods we have here on hand will not on the whole 
be so prejudicial to our affairs. We do not, however, rely 
on these informations, but press continually for the aid of 
government to get them transported safely. Mr. Barclay is 
still in Holland, endeavouring to ship the unfortunate pur- 
chase left there by Gillon ; and if his ships go safe, you will 
be furnished from thence with something considerable. 

Since my last I have paid in Holland a number of bills of 
exchange drawn in favour of Mr. Ross, amounting to 40,958 
bank florins, and by that means prevented their protest. 
No demand has been made on me by Mr. W" 1 ' Lee. I do 
not know where he is ; and I think he did so little for the 3,000 
guineas he received, that he may wait without much incon- 
venience for the addition. I have paid Captain Frey and 
taken the receipts you required. In the other dispositions 
you have ordered, I shall do the best I can. 

Before I was sufficiently assured myself, or could assure 
Mr. Jay of having wherewithal to assist him in discharging 
his acceptances, I heard he had begun to suffer some of them 
to be protested. As soon as I found it was possible for me to 
assist him, I wrote to him to draw upon me for the sum he 
wanted, being near thirty thousand pounds sterling, which 
will put a stop to those protestations, and enable him to pay 
honourably. 

By the newspapers I send to Mr. Secretary Livingston you 
will see the change of sentiment respecting us in the English 
nation. I do not know whether this will diminish your ex- 
pense for the coming campaign, because while they have an 
army in our country I do not think their proposed inactivity 



1 782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 403 

is to be trusted, though it is said that after such resolutions of 
Parliament no minister will dare to order offensive operations. 
Their papers say that orders are given both in England and 
Ireland to stop the embarkation of troops intended for North 
America; but what I rely on more, is some information I 
have just received from Germany, that the march of recruits 
there to the seaside is also countermanded. If from what 
it is their interest to do, one could conclude what they will do, 
I should imagine that, alarmed with the loss of St. Christopher, 
they would withdraw their troops from the Continent in 
order to defend their remaining islands. But this ministry 
have hitherto so constantly acted contrary to the true interest 
of their nation, and so inconsistently with common reason and 
judgement, that one cannot fairly draw such a conclusion. 
The goods for replacing the cargo of the Marquis de la Fayette 
had been purchased long before we knew that you could have 
wished it otherwise. I hope the invoice you sent me of goods 
to be bought by Messrs. Barclay and Ridley will be partly 
rendered unnecessary by the purchase, because I see no possi- 
bility of paying the sum required for the invoice, viz., near 
two millions, having received the most explicit and positive 
assurances that more money than I have mentioned cannot 
this year be obtained. 

Permit me to hope also, and for the same reason, that the 
bills you will find yourself obliged to draw on me may not 
amount to a very large sum. Hitherto I have accepted and 
paid all drafts upon myself, and enabled my colleagues to 
discharge those upon them, with punctuality and honour, 
the few above mentioned on Mr. Jay only excepted. I wish 
to finish this part of my employment with the credit I have 
hitherto supported both for myself and for my constituents. 



404 

I must in June next pay Mr. Beaumarchais near 2,500,000 
livres. I have often been in great distress and suffered much 
anxiety. I still dread at times the same situation ; but your 
promise that after this month no more bills shall be drawn 
on me keeps up my spirits and affords me the greatest satis- 
faction. 

I am extremely pleased with the various prudent measures 
you have with so much industry put in practice to draw forth 
our internal strength. I hope they will be attended with the 
success they merit, and I thank you for the communication. 

Our former friend, Mr. Deane, has lost himself entirely. 
He and his letters are universally condemned. He cannot 
well return hither, and I think hardly to America. I see no 
place for him but England. He continues, however, to sit 
croaking at Ghent, chagrined, discontented, and dispirited. 
You will see by the enclosed what Mr. Barclay says of his 
accounts. Methinks it would be well to have them ex- 
amined, and to give orders for the payment of what is found 
justly due to him. Whether the commission he charges on 
the purchases made by Mr. Beaumarchais comes under that 
description, I cannot say ; the Congress will judge. 

I will endeavour to send the books with the Marquis, who 
does not go yet for three or four weeks. I shall write further 
by that opportunity. At present I can only add that I am 
ever, with the sincerest esteem and respect, dear sir, your, 
etc., B. FRANKLIN. 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 405 

' 1 

1297. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, March, 30, 1782. 

SIR, 

In mine of the Qth instant, I acknowledged the receipt of 
yours of January 7th, 1 and I have not since received any of 
later date. The newspapers, which I send you by this con- 
veyance, will acquaint you with what has, since my last, 
passed in Parliament. You will there see a copy of the bill, 
brought in by the attorney-general, for empowering the King 
to make peace with the colonies. They still seem to flatter 
themselves with the idea of dividing us ; and, rather than name 
the Congress, they empower him generally to treat with any 
body or bodies of men, or any person or persons, &c. They are 
here likewise endeavouring to get us to treat separately from 
France, at the same time they are tempting France to treat 
separately from us, equally without the least chance of success. 
I have been drawn into a correspondence on this subject, 
which you shall have with my next. 

I send you a letter of Mr. Adams's, 2 just received, which 
shows also that they are weary of the war, and would get out 
of it if they knew how. They had not then received the 
certain news of the loss of St. Christopher's, which will 
probably render them still more disposed to peace. I see that 
a bill is also passing through the House of Commons for the 
exchange of American prisoners, the purport of which I do 
not yet know. 

In my last, I promised to be more particular with respect 

1 In D. S. W. Printed in " Diplomatic Correspondence " (Wharton), VoL 
V, p. 87. ED. 

3 Letter of March 22, 1782 (D. S. W.). ED. 



406 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

to the points you mentioned, as proper to be insisted on in the 
treaty of peace. My ideas on those points are, I assure you, 
full as strong as yours. I did intend to give you my reasons 
for some addition, and, if the treaty were to be held on your 
side of the water, I would do it ; otherwise, it seems on second 
thoughts to be unnecessary, and, if my letter should be inter- 
cepted, may be inconvenient. Be assured, I shall not will- 
ingly give up any important right or interest of our country, 
and, unless this campaign should afford our enemies some 
considerable advantage, I hope more may be obtained than is 
yet expected. 

I have purchased for you all the books you desired, except 
four, which we have sent for to England. I shall request our 
excellent friend, the Marquis de la Fayette, to take them under 
his care, and I hope they will get safe to hand. The others 
shall follow by the first opportunity after I receive them. 

Our affairs go on, generally, well in Europe. Holland has 
been slow, Spain slower ; but time will, I hope, smooth away 
all difficulties. Let us keep up, not only our courage, but 
our vigilance, and not be laid asleep by the pretended half 
peace the English make with us without asking our consent. 
We cannot be safe while they keep armies in our country. 

With great esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1298. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

\\j\\ ,/ ... !*i<n'iij.j -jHj ,flt)ii'')iri'U{ XU/J11 jr.iA lo 'jjjni:.'! ).'. ; 

Passy, March 31, 1782. 

Sm, 

I received yours of the loth instant, and am of opinion with 
you, that the English will evacuate New York and Charleston; 
as the troops there, after the late resolutions of Parliament, 



1 782] TO JOHN ADAMS 407 

must be useless, and are necessary to defend their remaining 
islands, where they have not at present more than three 
thousand men. The prudence of this operation is so obvious, 
that I think they can hardly miss it ; otherwise, I own, that, 
considering their conduct for several years past, it is not rea- 
soning consequentially to conclude they will do a thing, 
because the doing it is required by common sense. 

Yours of the 26th 1 is just come to hand. I thank you for 
the communication of Digges's message. He has also sent 
me a long letter, 2 with two from Mr. Hartley. I shall see 
M. de Vergennes to-morrow, and will acquaint you with 
every thing material that passes on the subject. But the minis- 
try, by whom Digges pretends to be sent, being changed, we 
shall, by waiting a little, see what tone will be taken by their 
successors. You shall have a copy of the instructions by the 
next courier. I congratulate you cordially on the progress 
you have made among those slow people. Slow however as 
they are, Mr. Jay finds his 3 much slower. By an American, 
who goes in about ten days to Holland, I shall send you 
a packet of correspondence with Mr. Hartley, though it 
amounts to little. 

With great esteem, I have the honour to be your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

UnD. S. W. ED. 

2 Mr. Digges said in his letter (March 22, 1782) that " a direct requisition 
from the ministry, through Lord Beauchamp, was made to Mr. R. Penn, to 
know if he could ascertain that any person or persons in Europe were commis- 
sioned by Congress to treat for peace, whether they were NOW willing to avail 
themselves of such commission, and of the sincere disposition in the ministry 
to treat, and whether they would receive an appointed commissioner to speak 
for a truce, and mention a place for their meeting." See " Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 269. ED. 

8 The Spaniards. ED. 



408 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 
1299. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 (p. H. s.) 

Passy, March, 31. 1782 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just received your Favours of March n & 12, for- 
warded to me by Mr. Digges, and another of the 2ist per Post. 
I congratulate you on the returning good Disposition of 
your Nation towards America, which appears in the resolu- 
tions of Parliam*, that you have sent me: and I hope the 
Change of your Ministry will be attended with salutary Effects. 
I continue in the same Sentiments express'd in my former 
Letters ; but as I am but one of five in the Commission, and 
have no Knowledge of the Sentiments of the others, what has 
pass'd between us is to be considered merely as private Con- 
versation. The five Persons are Messrs. Adams, Jay, 
Laurens, Jefferson and myself, and in case of the Death or 
Absence of any the Remainder have Power to act and conclude. 
I have not written to Mr. Laurens, having constantly expected 
him here ; but shall write to him next Post ; when I shall also 
write more fully to you, having now only time to add, that 
I am ever, with great Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir, your 
most obedient & most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1300. TO WILLIAM HODGSON (LANS.) 

Passy, March 31. 1782. 

Stt : It is long since I have been able to afford myself the 
Pleasure of writing to you, but I have had that of receiving 

1 From the original in the Dreer Collection (P. H. S.). ED. 



1782] TO M. DABBfi DE ST. FAVRE 409 

several Letters from you, and I sent you in Consequence a 
Credit for 300, which I hope you receiv'd. I am sorry that 
you had been obliged to advance. The trouble you so 
kindly take is sufficient. I just hear from Ireland that there 
are 200 of our People Prisoners there, who are destitute of 
every Necessary, and die daily in Numbers. You are about 
to have a new Ministry I hear. If a sincere Reconciliation 
is desired, Kindness to the Captives on both sides may pro- 
mote it greatly. I have no Correspondent in Ireland. Can 
you put me in a way of sending those poor Men some relief ? 
And if you think the new Ministry better dispos'd than the 
last, I wish you would lay before them the slighted Proposi- 
tion I formerly sent you, for the Exchange of Prisoners. 
I see in your Newspapers that an Act is passing through the 
House of Commons relative to that Subject. I beg you would 
send me a Copy of the Bill. Of the Dispositions on your side 
towards Peace or Continuance of War, you must know more 
than me. I can only assure you of mine to finish this devilish 
Contest as soon as possible ; & I have not lost sight of your 

Request. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1301. TO M. L'ABBE DE ST. FAVRE, PRIEUR DE 

ST. MARTIN 1 

Passy, March 31, 1782. 

SIR, I do not recollect that I have ever known or seen the 
person you mention ; and it is certain that I never knew or 
heard that M. de Beaumarchais was charged with the pay- 

1 In reply to a letter of the same date from the Abbe (A. P. S.) regarding 
a certain Chevalier D'uvet de Contour, an officer of the Marine. Printed 
from Bigelow. Vol. VII, p. 428. ED. 



410 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

ment of gratifications to those who had been prisoners of war, 
or that any such gratifications were allowed ; so that I could 
not have sent any person to that gentleman for such purpose. 
I honour the goodness of your heart, and I ought not to permit 
by my silence your being imposed on by these deceivers. 
Success might encourage this young impostor l to rely on such 
artifices for subsistence ; he might by practice become more 
expert, and become a pest to society. Such frauds are vastly 
more pernicious than simple thefts, for they wrong not only 
the person deceived of the sum obtained, but they create a 
diffidence which prevents the relief of persons whose misfor- 
tunes and distress are real. 

I have the honour to be, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1302. TO HENRY WYLD (A. P. s.) 

March 31, 1782. 

I have received yours of the i8th instant.* I omitted an- 
swering your former, being informed that your Bill had not 
been honoured, whence I conceived that you had imposed on 
me. I am glad to hear that it is otherwise. Since you were 
here I have received notice that no more such passports are 
to be granted, the traders having abused them. So that I 
must renew my first advice to you and your friends, not to 
attempt the voyage till a peace, which, by the good disposition 
that has lately appeared in your Parliament, I hope is not far 

1 He was from eighteen to twenty years old. ED. 

* A schoolmaster at Hatherlow near Manchester. ED. 

In A. P. S. ED. 



1782] TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 411 

off. You would, in my opinion, hazard too much, and act 
imprudently by going sooner. When you do go, you may 
depend on my doing you every service in my power, being 
really a friend and well wisher to all honest, industrious 
people, and desirous of promoting their happiness. 

[B- F.] 



1303. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON (L. c.) 

Passy, April 2, 1782. 

SIR, 

I received duly the honour of your letter, accompanying 
the capitulation of Gen. Cornwallis. All the world agree, 
that no expedition was ever better planned or better executed ; 
it has made a great addition to the military reputation you 
had already acquired, and brightens the glory that surrounds 
your name, and that must accompany it to our latest posterity. 
No news could possibly make me more happy. The infant 
Hercules has now strangled the two serpents * that attacked 
him in his cradle, and I trust his future history will be an- 
swerable. 

This will be presented to you by the Count de Se*gur. 7 
He is son of the Marquis de Se*gur, minister of war, and our 
very good friend; but I need not claim your regards to the 
young gentleman on that score ; his amiable personal quali- 

1 Alluding to the surrender of the two British armies under Burgoyne and 
Cornwallis, October 17, 1777, and October 19, 1781. ED. 

2 Louis-Philippe, Count de Segur (1753-1830), intended to accompany 
Lafayette and de Noailles to America in 1776, but was persuaded by his parents 
to remain in France. In 1782 he replaced de Noailles as Colonel ert second of 
Soissonnais. He left Rochefort, July 15, 1782, on the Gloire in company with 
de Broglie. Later he was for several years ambassador to Russia. Ep. 



413 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

ties, his very sensible conversation, and his zeal for the cause 
of liberty, will obtain and secure your esteem, and be better 
recommendation than any I can give him. 

The English seem not to know either how to continue the 
war, or to make peace with us. Instead of entering into a 
regular treaty for putting an end to a contest they are tired of, 
they have voted in Parliament, that the recovery of America by 
force is impracticable, that an offensive war against us ought 
not to be continued, and that whoever advises it shall be 
deemed an enemy to his country. 

Thus the garrisons of New York and Charlestown, if 
continued there, must sit still, being only allowed to defend 
themselves. The ministry, not understanding or approving 
this making of peace by halves, have quitted their places; 
but we have no certain account here who is to succeed them, 
so that the measures likely to be taken are yet uncertain; 
probably we shall know something of them before the Marquis 
de la Fayette takes his departure. There are grounds for 
good hopes, however; but I think we should not therefore 
relax in our preparations for a vigourous campaign, as that 
nation is subject to sudden fluctuations; and, though some- 
what humiliated at present, a little success in the West Indies 
may dissipate their present fears, recall their natural insolence, 
and occasion the interruption of negociation, and a continu- 
ance of the war. We have great stores purchased here for the 
use of your army, which will be sent as soon as transports 
can be procured for them to go under good convoy. 

My best wishes always have and always will attend you, 
being with the greatest and most sincere esteem and respect, 
Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble ser- 
vant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 413 

1304. TO DAVID HARTLEY (LANS.) 

Passy, April 5, 1782. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I wrote a few lines to you the 3ist past, and promised to 
write more fully. On perusing again your Letters of the 
n, 12, and 21, 1 do not find any notice taken of one from me, 
dated February the 16. I therefore now send you a copy 
made from it in the press. The uncertainty of free trans- 
mission discourages a free communication of sentiments on 
these important affairs ; but the inutility of discussion between 
persons, one of whom is not authorized but in conjunction 
with others, and the other not authorized at all, as well as 
the obvious inconveniences that may attend such previous 
handling of points, that are to be considered when we come to 
treat regularly, is with me a still more effectual discourage- 
ment, and determines me to waive that part of the corre- 
spondence. 

As to Digges, I have no confidence in him, nor in any thing 
he says, or may say, of his being sent by ministers. Nor will 
I have any communication with him, except in receiving and 
considering the justification of himself, which he pretends 
he shall be able and intends to make, for his excessive drafts 
on me, on account of the relief I have ordered to the prisoners, 
and his embezzlement of the money. 

You justly observe, in yours of the i2th, that the first object 
is, to procure a "meeting of qualified and authorized persons," 
and that you understand the ministry will be ready to pro- 
ceed towards opening a negotiation as soon as the bill shall 
pass, and therefore it is necessary to consult time and place, 



4H THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

and manner and persons, on each side. This you wrote while 
the old ministry existed. If the new have the same intentions, 
and desire a general peace, they may easily discharge Mr. 
Laurens from those engagements, which make his acting in the 
commission improper; and, except Mr. Jefferson, who re- 
mains in America, and is not expected here, we, the Com- 
missioners of Congress, can easily be got together ready to 
meet yours, at such place as shall be agreed to by the powers 
at war, in order to form the treaty. God grant, that there 
may be wisdom enough assembled to make, if possible, a 
peace that shall be perpetual, and that the idea of any na- 
tions being natural enemies to each other may be abolished, 
for the honour of human nature. 

With regard to those, who may be commissioned from your 
government, whatever personal preferences I may conceive in 
my own mind, it cannot become me to express them. I only 
wish for wise and honest men. With such, a peace may be 
speedily concluded. With contentious wranglers, the nego- 
tiation may be drawn into length, and finally frustrated. 

I am pleased to see, in the votes and Parliamentary speeches, 
and in your public papers, that in mentioning America, the 
word reconciliation is often used. It certainly means more 
than a mere peace. It is a sweet expression. Revolve in 
your mind, my dear friend, the means of bringing about this 
reconciliation. When you consider the injustice of your war 
with us, and the barbarous manner in which it has been 
carried on, the many suffering families among us from your 
burning of towns, scalping by savages, &c. &c., will it not 
appear to you, that though a cessation of the war may be a 
peace, it may not be a reconciliation ? Will not some volun- 
tary acts of justice, and even of kindness on your part, have 



1782] TO THE CHEVALIER DE CHASTELLUX 415 

excellent effects towards producing such a reconciliation? 
Can you not find means of repairing in some degree those 
injuries ? You have in England and Ireland twelve hundred 
of our people prisoners, who have for years bravely suffered 
all the hardships of that confinement, rather than enter into 
your service, to fight against their country. Methinks you 
ought to glory in descendants of such virtue. What if you 
were to begin your measures of reconciliation by setting them at 
liberty? I know it would procure for you the liberty of an 
equal number of your people, even without a previous stipu- 
lation; and the confidence in our equity, with the apparent 
good will in the action, would give very good impressions 
of your change of disposition towards us. Perhaps you have 
no knowledge of the opinions lately conceived of your King 
and country, in America; the enclosed copy of a letter will 
make you a little acquainted with them, and convince you how 
impossible must be every project of bringing us again under 
the dominion of such a sovereign. With great esteem, I am, 

dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1305. TO THE CHEVALIER DE CHASTELLUX 1 

Passy, April 6, 1782. 
DEAR SIR, 

It gave me great pleasure to hear by the officers returned last 
winter from your army, that you continued in good health. 
You will see by the public papers that the English begin to 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
I, P- 103. 

The Chevalier (afterwards the Marquis) de Chastellux (1734-1788) was at 
this time with the army of Rochambeau in America. ED. 



416 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

be weary of the war, and they have reason, having suffered 
many losses, having four nations of enemies on their hands, 
few men to spare, little money left, and very bad heads. 
The latter they have lately changed. As yet we know not 
what measures their new ministry will take. People gener- 
ally think they will be employed by the King to extricate 
him from his present difficulties, by obtaining a peace, and 
that then he will kick them out again ; they being all men 
that he abominates, and who have been forced upon him by 
the Parliament. 

The Commons have already made a sort of half peace with 
us Americans, by forbidding their troops on the Continent 
to act offensively; and by a new law they have empowered 
the King to complete it. As yet I hear nothing of the terms 
they mean to propose; indeed, they have had hardly time 
to form them. I know they wish to detach us from France ; 
but that is impossible. 

I congratulate you on the success of your last glorious cam- 
paign. Establishing the liberties of America will not only 
make that people happy, but will have some effect in dimin- 
ishing the misery of those, who in other parts of the world 
groan under despotism, by rendering it more circumspect, 
and inducing it to govern with a lighter hand. A philosopher, 
Stewed with those strong sentiments of humanity, that are 
manifested \V your excellent writings, must enjoy great satis- 
faction in having contributed so extensively by his sword, as 
well as by his peri, to the ]ilicitt publique. 1 

M. le Comte de'Sdgur has desired of me a line of recom- 
mendation to you. \ I consider his request rather as a com- 
pliment to me, than as asking what may be of use to him ; 

1 In allusion to his most celebrated work, " De la Felicite Publique." ED. 



1782] TOADS FOUND ENCLOSED IN STONE 417 

since I find that all who know him here esteem and love him, 
and he is certainly not unknown to you. 

Dare I confess to you, that I am your rival with Madame 

G P 1 I need not tell you, that I am not a dangerous 

one. I perceive that she loves you very much ; and so does, 

dear Sir, yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1306. AN ACCOUNT OF TOADS FOUND ENCLOSED 
IN SOLID STONE (L. c.) 

AT Passy, near Paris, April 6, 1782, being with M. de 
Chaumont, viewing his Quarry, he mention'd to me, that the 
Workmen had found a living Toad shut up in the Stone. On 
questioning one of them, he told us, they had found four in 
different Cells which had no Communication ; that they were 
very lively and active when set at Liberty ; that there was in 
each Cell some loose, soft, yellowish Earth, which appeared 
to be very moist. We asked, if he could show us the Parts 
of the Stone that form'd the Cells. He said, No ; for they 
were thrown among the rest of what was dug out, and he knew 
not where to find them. We asked, if there appear'd any 
Opening by which the Animal could enter. He said, No. 
We asked, if, in the Course of his Business as a Labourer in 
Quarries, he had often met with the like. He said, Never 
before. We asked, if he could show us the Toads. He said, 
he had thrown two of them up on a higher Part of the Quarry, 
but knew not what became of the others. 

He then came up to the Place where he had thrown the two, 
and, finding them, he took them by the foot, and threw them 

1 Mrs. Catherine Greene. ED. 

VOL. VIII 2 E 



418 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKUN [1782 

up to us, upon the Ground where we stood. One of them was 
quite dead, and appear'd very lean ; the other was plump and 
still living. The Part of the Rock where they were found, 
is at least fifteen feet below its Surface, and is a kind of Lime- 
stone. A part of it is filled with ancient Sea-Shells, and other 
marine Substances. If these Animals have remain'd in that 
Confinement since the Formation of the Rock, they are 
probably some thousands of Years old. We have put them 
in Spirits of Wine, to preserve their Bodies a little longer. 
The Workmen have promis'd to call us, if they meet with 
any more, that we may examine their Situation. Before a 
suitable Bottle could be found to receive them, that which was 
living when we first had them appeared to be quite dead and 
motionless ; but being in the bottle, and the Spirits pour'd over 
them, he flounced about in it very vigorously for two or three 
minutes, and then expir'd. 

It is observed, that Animals who perspire but little, can 
live long without Food ; such as Tortoises, whose Flesh is 
cover'd with [a thick shell, and snakes, who are covered with] 
scales, which are of so close a substance as scarcely to admit 
the Passage of perspirable Matter thro' them. Animals 
that have open Pores all over the Surface of their Bodies, and 
live in Air which takes off continually the perspirable Part of 
their substance, naturally require a continual Supply of Food 
to maintain their Bulk. Toads shut up in solid Stone, which 
prevents their losing any thing of their Substance, may per- 
haps for that reason need no Supply; and being guarded 
against all Accidents, and all the Inclemencies of the air and 
Changes of the Seasons, are, it seems, subject to no Diseases, 
and become as it were immortal. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1782] TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 419 

1307. TO MRS. CATHERINE GREENE 1 

Passy, April 7. 1782. 

MY DEAR OLD FRIEND: If the Comte de S6gur, son 
of the Minister of War, should happen to be in your neigh- 
borhood, I recommend him warmly to your civilities and 
friendship, and to those of the good governor. You will 
find him as amiable and deserving as any of the French 
officers whose good conduct you so much applauded last year. 
I continue as hearty and well as when you first knew me, 
which, I think, is near thirty years, though perhaps you will 
not care to own so much. Make my respectful compli- 
ments to Mr. Greene, give my love to my friend Ray, and be- 
lieve me ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1308. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON 2 

Passy, April 8, 1782. 

SIR, 

I did myself the honour of writing to you a few days since 
by the Count de Se*gur. This line is chiefly to present the 
Prince de Broglie 3 to your Excellency, who goes over to join 

1 From " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " (Bigelow), Vol. VII, 
p. 486. ED. 

2 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (i8i8),Vol. 
I, p. 105. ED. 

8 Victor-Claude, Prince de Broglie (1757-1794), went to America with the 
rank of mestre de Camp. He sailed on the same ship (Gloire) with the 
Comte de Segur. He was later marechal de Camp in the army of the Rhine, 
and was guillotined June 27, 1794. ED. 



420 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

the army of M. de Rochambeau. He bears an excellent 
character here, is a hearty friend to our cause, and I am per- 
suaded you will have a pleasure in his conversation. I take 
leave, therefore, to recommend him to those civilities, which 
you are always happy in showing to strangers of merit and 
distinction. 

I have heretofore congratulated your Excellency on your 
victories over our enemy's generals; I can now do the same 
on your having overthrown their politicians. Your late suc- 
cesses have so strengthened the hands of opposition in Par- 
liament, that they are become the majority, and have com- 
pelled the King to dismiss all his old ministers and their 
adherents. The unclean spirits he was possessed with are 
now cast out of him ; but it is imagined, that, as soon as he 
has obtained a peace, they will return with others worse than 
themselves, and, the last state of that man, as the Scripture 
says, shall be worse than the first. 

As soon as we can learn anything certain of the projects of 
the new ministry, I shall take the first opportunity of com- 
municating them. With the greatest esteem and respect, 

I am, Sir, your Excellency's, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1309. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 8, 1782. 
SIR, 

Since my last an extraordinary Revolution has taken place 
in the Court of England. All the old Ministers are out, and 
the Chiefs of the Opposition are in their places. The News- 
papers that I send will give you the names as correctly as 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 421 

we yet know them. Our last advices mention their kissing 
hands, but they had yet done nothing in their respective 
Offices, by which one might judge of their projected Measures ; 
as whether they will ask a Peace, of which they have great 
need, the Nation having of late suffered many losses, men 
grown extreamly scarce, and Lord North's new Taxes pro- 
posed as funds for the Loan meeting with great Opposition ; 
or whether they will strive to find new resources and obtain 
Allies to enable them to please the King and Nation by some 
vigorous Exertions against France, Spain, and Holland. 

With regard to America, having, while in Opposition 
carried the Vote for making no longer an offensive War with 
us, they seem to have tied their own hands from acting against 
us. Their Predecessors had been tampering with this Court 
for a separate Peace. The King's Answer gave me great 
pleasure. It will be sent to M. de la Luzerne, and by him 
communicated to Congress. None of their Attempts to divide 
us meet with the least Encouragement, and I imagine the 
present Set will try other measures. 

My Letters from Holland give pleasing Accounts of the 
rapid Progress our Affairs are making in that Country. The 
Packet from M. Dumas, which I forward with this, will give 
you the particulars. The Prince de Broglie will do me the 
favour of delivering this to you. He goes over to join the 
French Army with the more Pleasure, as it is employed in 
the Cause of Liberty, a Cause he loves, and in establishing the 
Interests of America, a Country for which he has much regard 
and affection. I recommend him earnestly to the Civilities 
and Services it may be in your Power to render him, and I 
request you would introduce him to the President of Congress, 
and to the principal Members, civil and military. 



422 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Our excellent Friend, the Marquis de la Fayette, will sail 
in about three Weeks. By that time we may have more 
interesting Intelligence from England, and I shall write you 

fully. With great Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1310. TO ROBERT MORRIS (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 8, 1782. 

SIR, 

The Bills accepted by Mr. Jay, and afterwards protested 
for nonpayment, are come and coming back to France and 
Holland, and I have ordered them to be taken up and dis- 
charged by our Banker; I hope none will be returned to 
America. 

There is a Convoy just going, and another it is said will 
follow in about three Weeks; by these two I hope the best 
part if not all our Goods will be got out. 

Since my last of the 3oth past, we hear, that the old Minis- 
try are all out to a Man, and that the new Ministry have 
kiss'd hands, and were about to enter upon their respective 
Functions ; as yet we know nothing of their Projects. They 
are all of them Men, who have in Parliament declared strongly 
against the American War, as unjust. Their Predecessors 
made various separate and private Essays to dispose us to quit 
France, and France to forsake us, but met with no Encourage- 
ment. Before our friend the Marquis sails, we shall probably 
receive some interesting Information, which I will take care 
to forward to you. 

Our public Affairs go on swimmingly in Holland, and a 
Treaty will probably soon be entered into between the two 



1782] TO HENRY LAURENS 423 

Republics. I wish I could give you as good news of our 
private Business ; Mr. Barclay is still detain'd by it, and I 
am deprived of his Assistance here. 

This will be delivered to you by M. le Prince de Broglie, 
who goes over to join the army of M. de Rochambeau. He 
bears an excellent Character here, is fond of America and its 
glorious Cause, and will have great satisfaction in fighting for 
the Establishment of Liberty. I recommend him earnestly 
to the Civilities, which I know you have a Pleasure in show- 
ing to Strangers of Merit and Distinction. 

Your two fine Boys continue well. They dine with me 
every Sunday, being at School in my Neighbourhood. I am, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1311. TO HENRY LAURENS 1 (LANS.) 

Passy, April 12, 1782. 

SIR, 

I should sooner have paid my respects to you by letter, 
if I had not till lately expected you here, as I understood it 
to be your intention. Your enlargement gave me great pleas- 
ure, and I hope, that the terms exacted by the late ministry 
will now be relaxed, especially when they are informed, that 
you are one of the Commissioners appointed to treat of peace. 
Herewith I send you a copy of the commission ; the purport of 
which you can communicate to the ministers, if you find it 
proper. If they are disposed to make peace with us and our 
allies at the same time, I will, on notice from you, send to 

1 A copy of this letter is in the Letter Book of the Records of the United 
States Legation in Paris, 1782 (D. S. W.). ED. 



424 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Mr. Jay, to prepare for meeting at such time and place as 
shall be agreed on. 

As to our treating separately, and quitting our present 
alliance, which the late ministry seemed to desire, it is im- 
possible. Our treaties and our instructions, as well as the 
honour and interest of our country, forbid it. I will com- 
municate those instructions to you, as soon as I have the 
pleasure of seeing you. If you have occasion for money, 
please to acquaint me with the sum you desire, and I will 
endeavour to supply you. With very great esteem and re- 
spect, I have the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1312. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 12, 1782. 

SIR, 

Being at Court on Tuesday, I learned from the Dutch Min- 
ister that the new English Ministry have offered, thro' the 
Ministers of Russia, a Cessation of Arms to Holland, and a 
renewal of the Treaty of 1674. M. de Berkenrode seemed 
to be of the Opinion, that the Offer was intended to gain time 
to obstruct the Concert of Operations with France for the 
ensuing Campaign, and to prevent the Conclusion of a 
Treaty with America. It is apprehended, that it may have 
some effect in strengthening the Hands of the English Party 
in that Country, and retard Affairs a little ; but it is hoped that 
the Proposal will not be finally agreed to. It would indeed 
render the Dutch ridiculous. A, having a Cane in his hand, 
meets his Neighbour B, who happens to have none, takes the 
Advantage, and gives him a sound Drubbing. B, having 



1 782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 425 

found a Stick and coming to return the Blows he received, 
A says, "My old friend, why should we quarrel? We are 
Neighbours ; let us be good ones, and live peaceably by each 
other, as we used to do." If B is so easily satisfied, and lays 
aside his Stick, the rest of the Neighbours, as well as A, will 
laugh at him. This is the Light in which I stated it. En- 
closed I send you a Copy of the Proposition. 

I see by the Newspapers, that the Spaniards, having taken 
a little Post called St. Joseph, pretend to have made a Con- 
quest of the Illinois Country. In what Light does this Pro- 
ceeding appear to Congress ? While they decline our offer'd 
Friendship, are they to be suffered to encroach on our Bounds, 
and shut us up within the Appalachian mountains ? I begin 
to fear they have some such Project. 

Having seen in the English Prints an Article from Lisbon, 
that two American Ships under French Colours, being 
arrived in that Port, were seized by the Government, I asked 
the Portuguese ambassador if it was true. He said he had no 
Advice of it, as he certainly should have had, if such a Thing 
had happened ; he therefore did not give the least Credit to 
it, and said, we might make ourselves perfectly easy; no such 
Treatment would in his Opinion be offer'd us in their Ports ; 
and he further observed, on the Falshood of English News- 
papers, their having lately asserted that the Congress had 
issued Letters of Marque for cruizing against the Portuguese. 
With great Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



426 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

1313. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, April 13. 1782. 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letter of the 23d of December. I re- 
joice always to hear of your and your good Mother's Welfare, 
tho' I can write but seldom, and safe Opportunities are scarce. 
Looking over some old Papers, I find the rough Draft of a 
Letter, which I wrote to you 15 Months ago, and which prob- 
ably miscarried, or your Answer miscarried, as I never re- 
ceiv'd any.- I enclose it, as the Spring is coming on, and the 
same Proposition will now again be in season, and easily 
executed, if you should approve of it. 

You mention Mr. Viny's being with you. What is his 
present situation? I think he might do well with his Wheel 
Business in this Country. By your Newspapers, Jacob seems 
to have taken it to himself. Could he not make up a good 
Coach, with the latest useful Improvements, and bring you 
all in it ? It would serve here as a Specimen of his Abilities, 
if he chose to stay, or would sell well, if he chose to return. 
I hope your Mother has got over her Lowness of Spirits 
about the Dropsy. It is common for aged People to have 
at times swell'd Ancles towards Evening ; but it is a tempo- 
rary Disorder, which goes off of itself, and has no Conse- 
quences. My tender Love to her. 

If you have an Opportunity of sending to Geneva, I like 
well enough your sending the Books thither for my grandson, 
who goes on well there. You do well to keep my Granddaugh- 
ter without Stays. God bless her and all of you. 

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



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 427 

You may imagine I begin to grow happy in my Prospects. 
I should be quite so, if I could see Peace and Good Will 
restored between our Countries ; for I enjoy Health, Compe- 
tence, Friends, and Reputation. Peace is the only Ingredient 
wanting to my Felicity. Adieu, my dear Friend, and believe 

me ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1314. TO DAVID HARTLEY (LANS.) 

Passy, April 13, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

Since mine of the 5th, I have thought further of the subject 
of our late letters. You were of opinion, that the late minis- 
try desired sincerely a reconciliation with America, and with 
that view a separate peace with us was proposed. It hap- 
pened, that, at the same time, Lord North had an emissary 
here to sound the French ministers with regard to peace, and 
to make them very advantageous propositions, in case they 
would abandon America. You may judge from hence, my 
dear friend, what opinion I must have formed of the inten- 
tions of your ministers. To convince you of the truth of this, 
I may acquaint you, that the emissary was a Mr. Forth ; and 
that the answer given him to carry back to the English minis- 
ters, was, "that the King of France is as desirous of peace 
as the King of England; and that he would accede to it as 
soon as he could with dignity and safety; but it is a matter 
of the last importance for His Most Christian Majesty to 
know, whether the court of London is disposed to treat on equal 
terms with the allies of France." 

Mr. Forth went off with this answer for London, but 



428 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

probably did not arrive till after the dismission of the ministers 
that sent him. You may make any use of this information, 
which you judge proper. The new ministry may see by it 
the principles that govern this court; and it will convince 
them, I hope, that the project of dividing us is as vain, as it 
would be to us injurious. I cannot judge what they will 
think or do in consequence of the answer sent by Mr. Forth, 
if they have seen it. If they love peace, as they have persuaded 
the English nation and all Europe to believe, they can be under 
no difficulty. France has opened a path, which in my 
opinion they may use, without hurting the dignity of their 
master, or the honour of the nation. If they do not choose it, 
they doubtless flatter themselves, that a war may still produce 
successes in favour of England, that have hitherto been with- 
held. The crowning or frustrating such hopes belongs to 
Divine Providence ; may God send us all more wisdom ! I 
am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 1 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1315. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, April 13, 1782. 

SIR, 

Enclosed with this, I send to your Excellency the packet of 
correspondence between Mr. Hartley and me, which I prom- 
ised in my last. You will see, that we held nearly the same 
language; which gives me pleasure. 

While Mr. Hartley was making propositions to me, with 
the approbation or privity of Lord North, to treat separately 

1 This letter is little more than a translation of a letter received by Franklin 
from M. de Kayncval, dated Versailles, April 12, 1782. See Sparks, Vol. IX, 
p. 204. ED. 



1782] TO DAVID HARTLEY 429 

from France, that minister had an emissary here, a Mr. 
Forth, formerly a secretary of Lord Stormont's, making pro- 
posals to induce this court to treat without us. I understand, 
that several sacrifices were offered to be made, and, among the 
rest, Canada to be given up to France. The substance of the 
answer appears in my last letter to Mr. Hartley. But there 
is a sentence omitted in that letter, which I much liked, viz. 
"that -whenever the two crowns should come to treat, his Most 
Christian Majesty would show how much the engagements 
he might enter into were to be relied on, by his exact observance 
of those he already had with his present allies." 

If you have received any thing in consequence of your 
answer by Digges, you will oblige me by communicating it. 
The ministers here were much pleased with the account given 
them of your interview by the ambassador. With great re- 
spect, I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1316. TO DAVID HARTLEY (LANS.) 

(B. M.) 
Passy, April 14. 1782. 

DEAR SIR, The Bearer having been detained here, I add 
this Line to suggest that if the new Ministry are disposed 
to enter into a general Treaty of Peace, Mr. Laurens, being 
set entirely at Liberty, may receive such Propositions as they 
shall think fit to make relative to Time, Place, or any other 
Particulars, and come hither with them. He is acquainted 
that we have full Powers to treat and conclude, and that the 
Congress promise in our Commission to ratify and confirm, 

etc. I am ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



430 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 



1317. TO MRS. STEVENSON AND MRS. HEWSON 1 

(p. c.) 

Paris, April 19, 1782. 

I WROTE to you, my dear dear friends, very lately, and di- 
rected my Letter to Cheem in Surrey. Mr. Whitefoord tells 
me, that you are removed to Kensington Square, and I fear that 
my Letter may therefore not find you. I sent it under Cover 
to Mr. William Hodgson, Merch*, in Coleman Street ; which I 
mention, that, in case it has not come to hand, you may there 
enquire for it, tho' it contains little worth the Trouble, as it 
only expresses what you always knew, that I love you both 
very much, and very sincerely. 

Mr. Whitefoord will inform you how I live, and that I am 
very well, as happy as the Situation of public Affairs will per- 
mit, only capable of being made more so, if you were here 
with me ; being ever your truly affectionate Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1318. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy April 21. 1782 

SIR 

I have just received the Honour of yours dated the i6 th 
Instant, acquainting me with the Interview between your 
Excellency and M* Laurens. I am glad to learn that his 
political sentiments coincide with ours; and that there is a 
Disposition in England to give us up Canada and Nova 
Scotia. I like your Idea of seeing no more Messengers that 

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



1782] TO JOHN ADAMS 431 

are not Plenipotentiaries but I can not refuse seeing again 
M* Oswald as the Minister here consider'd the Letter to me 
from Lord Shelburne as a kind of authentication given that 
Messenger and expects his Return with some explicit Propo- 
sitions. I shall keep you advised of whatever passes. 

The last act of Parliament for exchanging American 
Prisoners as prisoners of war according to the Laws of Nations 
anything in their Commitments notwithstanding seems to me 
a renunciation of the British Pretensions to try our People 
as Subjects guilty of High Treason and to be a kind of 
tacit acknowledgment of our Independency. Having taken 
this step, it will be less difficult for them to acknowledge it 
expressly. They are now preparing transports to send the 
Prisoners home. I yesterday sent the Passports desired of me. 

Sir George Grand shows me a letter from M r Fizeaux and 
in which he says, that if advantage is taken of the present 
Enthusiasm in favour of America, a Loan might be obtained 
in Holland of five or six Millions of j for America and if their 
House is impower'd to open it he has no doubt of Success, but 
that no time is to be lost. I earnestly recommend this matter 
to you, as extreamly necessary to the Operation of our finances. 
M r Morris who not knowing that the greatest Part of the 
Five Millions had been consumed by Purchases of Goods 
etc in Europe, writes me Advice of large drafts, that he may 
be obliged to make upon me this summer. This Court has 
granted us six Millions of Livres in the Current year; but 
it will fall vastly short of our Occasions, there being large 
bodies to fulfill, and near ten millions and one half to pay M. 
Beaumarchais, besides the Interest Bills etc. 

The House of Fizeaux and Grand is now appointed Banker 
for France by a special Commission from the King, and will 



432 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

on that as well as on other accounts be in my opinion the 
fitter for this Operation. Your Excellency being on the Spot 
can better judge of the terms etc. and manage with that 
House the whole Business, in which I would be glad to have 
no other concern than that of receiving assistance from it 
when press'd by the dreaded Drafts. 
With great respect, I am 

Sir 

Your Excellency's 

most obedient and most 

humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



1319. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, April 22, 1782 
SIR 

Mess Fizeaux and Grand have lately sent me two ac- 
counts of which they desire my approbation. As they relate 
to Payments made by those Gentlemen of your Acceptances 
of Bills of Exchange, your Approbation must be of more 
importance than mine, you having more certain knowledge 
of the Affair. I therefore send them enclos'd to you and 
request you would be pleas'd to compare them with your 
List of Acceptations, and return them to me with your opinion, 
as they will be my Justification for advancing the Money. 

I am very happy to hear of the rapid progress of your affairs. 
They fear in England that the States will make with us an 
alliance offensive and defensive, and the public Funds which 
they had puff'd up four or five per cent by the hope of a 
Separate Peace with Holland are falling again. They fill 



1782] TO JOHN JAY 433 

their papers continually with lies to raise and fall the Stocks. 
It is not amiss that they should thus be left to ruin one another, 
for they have been very mischievous to the rest of mankind. 
I send enclosed a paper, of the Veracity of which I have 
some doubt, as to the Form, but none as to the Substance, 
for I believe the Number of People actually scalp'd in this 
murdering war by the Indians to exceed what is mentioned 
in invoice, and that Muley Istmael (a happy name for a prince 
as obstinant as a mule) is full as black a Tyrant as he is 
represented in Paul Jones' pretended letter. These being 
substantial Truths the Form is to be considered as Paper and 
Packthread. If it were republish'd in England it might 
make them a little asham'd of themselves. 1 
I am very respectfully 

Your Excellency's 
most obedient and most 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1320. TO JOHN JAY 2 

Passy, April 22, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have undertaken to pay all the bills of your acceptance 
that have come to my knowledge, and I hope in God no more 
will be drawn upon us, but when funds are first provided. In 
that case, your constant residence at Madrid is no longer 
so necessary. You may make a journey either for health 

1 The paper referred to is " The Supplement to the Boston Independent 
Chronicle" Infra, p. 437. ED. 

8 From the " Life of John Jay," by William Jay, Vol. II, p. 94. ED. 

VOL. VIII 2 F 



434 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

or pleasure, without retarding the progress of a negotiation 
not yet begun. Here you are greatly wanted, for messengers 
begin to come and go, and there is much talk of a treaty pro- 
posed ; but I can neither make, nor agree to propositions of 
peace, without the assistance of my colleagues. Mr. Adams, 
I am afraid, cannot just now leave Holland. Mr. Jefferson 
is not in Europe, and Mr. Laurens is a prisoner, though abroad 
upon parole. I wish, therefore, that you would resolve upon 
the journey, and render yourself here as soon as possible. 
You would be of infinite service. Spain has taken four 
years to consider whether she should treat with us or not. 
Give her forty, and let us in the mean time mind our own busi- 
ness. I have much to communicate to you, but choose rather 
to do it vivA voce, than trust it to letters. I am ever, my dear 
friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1321. TO JOHN JAY 1 

Passy, April 24, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

The Prince de Massaran being so good as to desire carry- 
ing a letter to you, I sit down to write you a few lines, though 
I hope soon to see you. Enclosed I send a copy of one of 
Mr. Deane's letters ; I shall show you more when you come. 

In consequence of a proposition I sent over, the Parliament 
of Britain have just passed an act for exchanging American 
prisoners. They have near eleven hundred in the jails of 
England and Ireland, all committed as charged with high 

1 From the " Life of John Jay," by William Jay, Vol. II, p. 95. ED. 



1 782] TO LEOPOLDO M. M, CALDANI 435 

treason. The act is to empower the King, notwithstanding 
such commitments, to consider them as prisoners of war, 
according to the law of nations, and exchange them as such. 
This seems to be giving up their pretensions of considering 
us as rebellious subjects, and is a kind of acknowledgment of 
our independence. Transports are now taking up, to carry 
back to their country the poor, brave fellows, who have borne 
for years their cruel captivity, rather than serve our enemies, 
and an equal number of English are to be delivered in return. 
I have, upon desire, furnished passports for the vessels. 

Our affairs in Holland are en bon train; we have some pros- 
pect of another loan there ; and all goes well here. 

The proposal to us of a separate peace with England has 
been rejected in the manner you wish, and I am pretty cer- 
tain they will now enter into a general treaty. I wrote you 
a few lines by last post, and on the same day a few more by 
the court courier. They were chiefly to press your coming 
hither to assist in the affair. With great and sincere esteem, 
I am ever, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1322. TO LEOPOLDO M. M. CALDANI 1 (u. OFF.) 

Passy, April 26, 1782. 

SIR 

I am extreamly sensible of the Honour done me by your 
Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in admitting me one of its 
Foreign Members, and I beg they would accept my thankful 
Acknowledgements. I wish it may be in my Power in any 

1 President of the Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts at Padua. Printed 
from a rough draft in the Library of the University of Pennsylvania. Upon 



436 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

degree to promote the Design of their very laudable Institu- 
tion: I shall be able, however, to communicate to the new 
World the Lights they may furnish by the Publication of 
their Memoirs ; and if when I return thither I can be useful 
to any of the Members by Information, relating to our Natural 
History, or by sending Specimens, Seeds, etc. or in any other 
Manner, it will give me infinite Pleasure. With great Respect, 

I have the honour of being Sir, etc. 

[B. F.] 

it Franklin had written in lead pencil "Change for Answer to Orleans." 
Evidently a direction to his secretary. 

The Society sent to him a diploma, of which the following is a translation. 

" Padua, 20 December, 1781. 

" Zeal in promoting the increase of all kinds of useful knowledge naturally 
unites in a general society all those who consecrate their talents to so noble a 
purpose ; and the particular act of electing them into a learned assembly is 
properly but an acknowledgment of the original titles of their relationship. 
" Among these, Dr. Franklin having distinguished himself eminently, and 
rendered himself equally memorable in natural philosophy and in politics, the 
Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts of Padua conceive it to be honouring 
themselves, when they number him among the twenty-four illustrious strangers, 
who, by their constitution, are to be associated into their body. 

" The Society will be fully recompensed, if its labours in cooperating for the 
augmentation of science shall be such as that the eminent persons, whom it 
elects, may not regard among the smallest of literary honours, that which, on 
the part of the Society, is only a solemn act of adherence to its own judgment, 
and attention to the voice of fame. 

" LEOPOLDO M. M. CALDANI, President. 

"MATTEO STRANNOIA, Sec. for the Sciences. 

" MELCHIOR CKSAROTTI, Sec. for Literature" 



1782] SUPPLEMENT TO BOSTON CHRONICLE 437 



1323. NUMB. 705 

SUPPLEMENT TO THE BOSTON INDEPENDENT CHRONICLE 

The deception intended by this supposed " Supplement," (which was very 
accurately imitated with respect to printing, paper, the insertion of advertise- 
ments, &c.,) was, that, by transmitting it to England, it might actually be 
taken for what it purported to be. W. T. F. 

Franklin wrote to Dumas, May 3, 1782 (A. P. S.) : " Enclosed I send you 
a few copies of a paper that places in a striking Light the English barbarities 
in America, particularly those committed by the Savages at their Instigation. 
The form may perhaps not be genuine, but the substance is truth." This 
"Supplement" was written in April, 1782. See Letter to John Adams, 
April 22, 1782. Printed from copy in A. P. S. ED. 

Boston, March 12, 1782. 

Extract of a Letter from Captain Gerrish, of the New Eng- 
land Militia, dated Albany, March 7. 

THE Peltry taken in the Expedition [see the Account of the 
Expedition to Oswegatchie, on the River St. Laurence, in 
our Paper of the ist Instant,] will, as you see, amount to a 
good deal of Money. The Possession of this Booty at first 
gave us Pleasure; but we were struck with Horror to find 
among the Packages 8 large ones, containing SCALPS of our 
unhappy Country-folks, taken in the three last Years by the 
Senneka Indians from the Inhabitants of the Frontiers of 
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and 
sent by them as a Present to Col. Haldimand, governor of 
Canada, in order to be by him transmitted to England. 
They were accompanied by the following curious Letter to 
that Gentleman. 



438 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

"Teoga, Jan. 3d, 1782. 
"May it please your Excellency, 

"At the Request of the Senneka chiefs, I send herewith to 
your Excellency, under the Care of James Boyd, eight 
Packs of Scalps, cured, dried, hooped, and painted, with all 
the Indian triumphal Marks, of which the following is In- 
voice and Explanation. 

"No. i. Containing 43 Scalps of Congress Soldiers, killed 
in different Skirmishes; these are Stretched on black Hoops, 
4 Inches diameter; the Inside of the Skin painted red, with 
a small black Spot to note their being killed with Bullets. 
Also 62 of Farmers killed in their Houses; the Hoops red; 
the Skin painted brown, and marked with a Hoe; a black 
Circle all round, to denote their being surprised in the Night ; 
and a black Hatchet in the Middle, signifying their being 
killed with that Weapon. 

"No. 2. Containing 98 of Farmers killed in their Houses; 
Hoops red; Figure of a Hoe, to mark their Profession; 
great white Circle and Sun, to show they were surprised 
in the Daytime; a little red Foot, to show they stood 
upon their Defence, and died fighting for their Lives and 
Families. 

"No. 3. Containing 97 of Farmers; Hoops green, to 
shew they were killed in their Fields; a large white Circle 
with a little round Mark on it for the Sun, to shew that it was 
in the Daytime ; black Bullet-mark on some, Hatchet on others. 

"No. 4. Containing 102 of Farmers, mixed of the several 
Marks above; only 18 marked with a little yellow Flame, 
to denote their being of Prisoners burnt alive, after being 
scalped, their Nails pulled out by the Roots, and other Tor- 
ments ; one of these latter supposed to be a rebel Clergyman, 



1782] SUPPLEMENT TO BOSTON CHRONICLE 439 

his Band being fixed to the Hoop of his Scalp. Most of the 
Farmers appear by the Hair to have been young or middle- 
aged Men ; there being but 67 very grey Heads among them 
all; which makes the Service more essential. 

"No. 5. Containing 88 Scalps of Women; hair long, 
braided in the Indian Fashion, to shew they were Mothers; 
Hoops blue; Skin yellow Ground, with little red Tadpoles, 
to represent, by way of Triumph, the Tears of Grief occa- 
sioned to their Relations ; a black scalping-Knife or Hatchet 
at the Bottom, to mark their being killed with those Instru- 
ments. 17 others, Hair very grey; black Hoops; plain 
brown Colour; no Mark, but the short Club or Casse-ttte, 
to shew they were knocked down dead, or had their Brains 
beat out. 

"No. 6. Containing 193 Boys' Scalps, of various Ages; 
small green Hoops; whitish Ground on the Skin, with red 
Tears in the Middle, and black Bullet-marks, Knife, Hatchet, 
or Club, as their Deaths happened. 

"No. 7. 211 Girls' Scalps, big and little; small yellow 
Hoops; white Ground, Tears; Hatchet, Club, scalping- 
Knife, &c. 

"No. 8. This Package is a Mixture of all the Varieties 
above-mentioned; to the number of 122; with a Box of 
Birch Bark, containing 29 little Infants' Scalps of various 
Sizes; small white Hoops; white Ground; no Tears; and 
only a little black Knife in the Middle, to shew they were 
ript out of their Mothers' Bellies. 

"With these Packs, the Chiefs send to your Excellency the 
following Speech, delivered by Conejogatchie in Council, 
interpreted by the elder Moore, the Trader, and taken down 
by me in Writing. 



440 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Father, 

'We send you herewith many Scalps, that you may see 
we are not idle Friends. 

A Hue Belt. 
Father, 

We wish you to send these Scalps over the Water to the 
great King, that he may regard them and be refreshed ; and 
that he may see our faithfulness in destroying his Enemies, 
and be convinced that his Presents have not been made to 
ungrateful people. 

A blue and white Belt with red Tassels. 
Father, 

Attend to what I am now going to say ; it is a Matter of 
much Weight. The great King's Enemies are many, and 
they grow fast in Number. They were formerly like young 
Panthers; they could neither bite nor scratch; we could 
play with them safely ; we feared nothing they could do to us. 
But now their Bodies are become big as the Elk, and strong 
as the Buffalo; they have also got great and sharp Claws. 
They have driven us out of our Country for taking part in 
your Quarrel. We expect the great King will give us another 
Country, that our Children may live after us, and be his 
Friends and Children, as we are. Say this for us to the great 
King. To enforce it, we give this Belt. 

A great white Belt with blue Tassels. 
Father, 

We have only to say farther, that your Traders exact more 
than ever for their Goods ; and our hunting is lessened by the 
War, so that we have fewer Skins to give for them. This 
ruins us. Think of some Remedy. We are poor; and you 
have Plenty of every Thing. We know you will send us Pow- 



1782] SUPPLEMENT TO BOSTON CHRONICLE 441 

der and Guns, and Knives and Hatchets; but we also want 

Shirts and Blankets. 

A little white Belt. 

"I do not doubt but that your Excellency will think it 
proper to give some farther Encouragement to those honest 
People. The high Prices they complain of are the necessary 
Effect of the War. Whatever Presents may be sent for them, 
through my Hands, shall be distributed with Prudence and 
Fidelity. I have the Honour of being your Excellency's 

most obedient 

"And most humble Servant, 

JAMES CRAUFURD." 

It was at first proposed to bury these Scalps ; but Lieuten- 
ant Fitzgerald, who, you know, has got Leave of Absence to 
go to Ireland on his private Affairs, said he thought it better 
they should proceed to their Destination; and if they were 
given to him, he would undertake to carry them to England, 
and hang them all up in some dark Night on the Trees in 
St. James's Park, where they could be seen from the King and 
Queen's Palaces in the Morning; for that the Sight. of them 
might perhaps strike Muley Ishmael (as he called him) 
with some Compunction of Conscience. They were accord- 
ingly delivered to Fitz, and he has brought them safe hither. 
To-morrow they go with his Baggage in a Waggon for Boston, 
and will probably be there in a few Days after this Letter. 

I am, &c. 

SAMUEL GERRISH. 

Boston, March 20. 

Monday last arrived here Lieutenant Fitzgerald above 
mentioned, and Yesterday the Waggon with the Scalps. 



443 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Thousands of People are flocking to see them this Morning, 
and all Mouths are full of Execrations. Fixing them to the 
Trees is not approved. It is now proposed to make them up 
in decent little Packets, seal and direct them; one to the 
King, containing a Sample of every Sort for his Museum; 
one to the Queen, with some of Women and little Children ; 
the Rest to be distributed among both Houses of Parliament ; 
a double Quantity to the Bishops. 

[The following part appeared in a second edition from 
which certain advertisements which had been published in the 
first edition were omitted.] 

MR. WILLIS, 

Please to insert in your useful Paper the following Copy of 
a Letter from Commodore Jones, directed 

TO SIR JOSEPH YORK, AMBASSADOR FROM THE KING OF ENG- 
LAND TO THE STATES-GENERAL OF THE UNITED 
PROVINCES 

"Ipswich, New England, March 7, 1781. 
"SIR, 

"I have lately seen a memorial, said to have been presented 
by your Excellency to their High Mightinesses the States- 
general, in which you are pleased to qualify me with the 
title of pirate. 

"A pirate is defined to be hostis humani generis [an enemy 
to all mankind]. It happens, Sir, that I am an enemy to 
no part of mankind, except your nation, the English ; which 
nation at the same time comes much more within the defini- 
tion, being actually an enemy to, and at war with, one whole 
quarter of the world, America, considerable part of Asia 



1782] SUPPLEMENT TO BOSTON CHRONICLE 443 

and Africa, a great part of Europe, and in a fair way of being 
at war with the rest. 

"A pirate makes war for the sake of rapine. This is not 
the kind of war I am engaged in against England. Ours 
is a war in defence of liberty . . . the most just of all 
wars; and of our properties, which your nation would have 
taken from us, without our consent, in violation of our 
rights, and by an armed force. Yours, therefore is a war of 
rapine; of course, a piratical war; and those who approve 
of it, and are engaged in it, more justly deserve the name of 
pirates, which you bestow on me. It is, indeed, a war that 
coincides with the general spirit of your nation. Your 
common people in their ale-houses sing the twenty-four songs 
of Robin Hood, and applaud his deer-stealing and his 
robberies on the highway: those, who have just learning 
enough to read, are delighted with your histories of the pirates 
and of the buccaniers ; and even your scholars in the univer- 
sities study Quintus Curtius, and are taught to admire 
Alexander for what they call 'his conquests in the Indies.' 
Severe laws and the hangmen keep down the effects of this 
spirit somewhat among yourselves (though in your little 
Island you have nevertheless more highway robberies than 
there are in all the rest of Europe put together); but a 
foreign war gives it full scope. It is then that, with infinite 
pleasure, it lets itself loose to strip of their property honest 
merchants, employed in the innocent and useful occupation 
of supplying the mutual wants of mankind. Hence, having 
lately no war with your ancient enemies, rather than be with- 
out a war, you chose to make one upon your friends. In this 
your piratical war with America, the mariners of your fleets 
and the owners of your privateers were animated against 



444 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

us by the act of your Parliament, which repealed the law of 
God, 'Thou shalt not steal,' by declaring it lawful for them 
to rob us of all our property that they could meet with on the 
ocean. This act, too, had a retrospect, and, going beyond 
bulls of pardon, declared that all the robberies you had 
committed previous to the act should be deemed just and lawful. 
Your soldiers, too, were promised the plunder of our cities; 
and your officers were flattered with the division of our lands. 
You had even the baseness to corrupt our servants, the sailors 
employed by us, and encourage them to rob their masters 
and bring to you the ships and goods they were entrusted 
with. Is there any society of pirates on the sea or land, who, 
in declaring wrong to be right, and right wrong, have less au- 
thority than your parliament ? Do any of them more justly 
than your parliament deserve the title you bestow on me ? 

"You will tell me that we forfeited all our estates by our 
refusal to pay the taxes your nation would have imposed on 
us without the consent of our colony parliaments. Have 
you then forgotten the incontestable principle, which was the 
foundation of Hambden's glorious lawsuit with Charles the 
first, that 'what an English king has no right to demand, 
an English subject has a right to refuse'? But you cannot 
so soon have forgotten the instructions of your late honorable 
father, who, being himself a sound Whig, taught you certainly 
the principles of the Revolution, and that, 'if subjects might 
in some cases forfeit their property, kings also might forfeit 
their title, and all claim to the allegiance of their subjects.' 
I must then suppose you well acquainted with those Whig 
principles; on which permit me, Sir, to ask a few questions. 

"Is not protection as justly due from a king to his people, 
as obedience from the people to their king? 



1782] SUPPLEMENT TO BOSTON CHRONICLE 445 

"If then a king declares his people to be out of his protec- 
tion: 

"If he violates and deprives them of their constitutional 
rights : 

"If he wages war against them: 

"If he plunders their merchants, ravages their coasts, 
burns their towns, and destroys their lives : 

"If he hires foreign mercenaries to help him in their de- 
struction : 

"If he engages savages to murder their defenceless farmers, 
women, and children : 

"If he cruelly forces such of his subjects as fall into his 
hands, to bear arms against their country, and become exe- 
cutioners of their friends and brethren: 

"If he sells others of them into bondage, in Africa and the 
East Indies: 

"If he excites domestic insurrections among their servants, 
and encourages servants to murder their masters : 

"Does not so atrocious a conduct towards his subjects 
dissolve their allegiance? 

"If not, please to say how or by what means it can possibly 
be dissolved? 

"All this horrible wickedness and barbarity has been and 
daily is practised by the King, your master, (as you call him 
in your memorial,) upon the Americans, whom he is still 
pleased to claim as his subjects. 

" During these six years past, he has destroyed not less 
than forty thousand of those subjects, by battles on land or 
sea, or by starving them, or poisoning them to death, in the 
unwholesome air, with the unwholesome food of his prisons. 
And he has wasted the lives of at least an equal number of 



446 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

his own soldiers and sailors: many of whom have been 
forced into this odious service, and dragged from their families 
and friends, by the outrageous violence of his illegal press- 
gangs. You are a gentleman of letters, and have read history : 
do you recollect any instance of any tyrant, since the beginning 
of the world, who, in the course of so few years, had done so 
much mischief, by murdering so many of his own people? 
Let us view one of the worst and blackest of them, Nero. 
He put to death a few of his courtiers, placemen, and pen- 
sioners, and among the rest his tutor. Had George the Third 
done the same, and no more, his crime, though detestable, as 
an act of lawless power, might have been as useful to his 
nation, as that of Nero was hurtful to Rome ; considering the 
different characters and merits of the sufferers. Nero indeed 
wished that the people of Rome had but one neck, that he 
might behead them all by one stroke ; but this was a simple 
wish. George is carrying the wish as fast as he can into 
execution; and, by continuing in his present course a few 
years longer, will have destroyed more of the British people 
than Nero could have found inhabitants in Rome. Hence the 
expression of Milton, in speaking of Charles the First, that 
he was 'Nerone Neronior,' is still more applicable to George 
the third. Like Nero, and all other tyrants, while they lived, 
he indeed has his flatterers, his addressers, his applauders. 
Pensions, places, and hopes of preferment can bribe even 
bishops to approve his conduct: but when those fulsome, 
purchased addresses and panegyrics are sunk and lost in 
oblivion or contempt, impartial history will step forth, speak 
honest truth, and rank him among public calamities. The 
only difference will be, that plagues, pestilences, and famines 
are of this world, and arise from the nature of things; but 



1782] TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 447 

voluntary malice, mischief, and murder, are from hell; and 
this King will, therefore, stand foremost in the list of diabolical, 
bloody, and execrable tyrants. His base-bought parlia- 
ments too, who sell him their souls, and extort from the 
people the money with which they aid his destructive pur- 
poses, as they share his guilt, will share his infamy, par- 
liaments, who, to please him, have repeatedly, by different 
votes year after year, dipped their hands in human blood, 
insomuch that methinks I see it dried and caked so thick 
upon them, that, if they could wash it off in the Thames, 
which flows under their windows, the whole river would run 
red to the ocean. 

"One is provoked by enormous wickedness: but one is 
ashamed and humiliated at the view of human baseness. 
It afflicts me, therefore, to see a gentleman of Sir Joseph 
York's education and talents, for the sake of a red riband and 
a paltry stipend, mean enough to style such a monster his 
master, wear his livery, and hold himself ready at his com- 
mand even to cut the throats of fellow subjects. This makes 
it impossible for me to end my letter with the civility of 
a compliment, and obliges me to subscribe myself simply, 

"JOHN PAUL JONES, 
"Whom you are pleased to style a pirate" 



1324. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 1 

Passy, May 3, 1782. 

DEAR SIR: I received yours of the i$th past, and pe- 
rused the contents with great pleasure. I had before received 

1 From " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " (Bigelow), Vol. VII, 
p. 458. ED. 



448 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

your pacquet by Mrs. Boers, and forwarded it immediately. 
Enclosed I send you a few copies of a paper that places in a 
striking light, the English barbarities in America, particu- 
larly those committed by the savages at their instigation. 
The FORM may perhaps not be genuine, but the substance is 
truth; the number of our people of all kinds and ages, 
murdered and scalped by them being known to exceed that 
of the invoice. Make any use of them you may think proper 
to shame your Anglomanes, but do not let it be known 
through what hands they come. I am ever, 

Yours affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

My respects and congratulations to Mr. A . 



1325. TO JOHN THORNTON 1 

Passy, May 8, 1782. 

SIR, I received the letter you did me the honour of writing 
to me, and am much obliged by your kind present of a book. 
The relish for reading of poetry had long since left me, but 

1 "A merchant, a friend of ours (you will soon guess him), sent my Poems to 
one of the first philosophers, one of the most eminent literary characters, as 
well as one of the most important in the political world, that the present age 
can boast of. Now perhaps your conjecturing faculties are puzzled, and you 
begin to ask, ' who, where, and what is he ? speak out, for I am all impatience.' 
I will not say a word more, the letter in which he returned his thanks for the 
present shall speak for him." Cowper to Rev. William Unwin, May 27, 1782. 
John Thornton (1720-1790), a wealthy merchant, settled an annuity upon John 
Newton, and presented him with the living of St. Mary Woolnoth. Cowper 
describes him in " Charity." He was a director of the Russia Company. The 
letter above is printed in " The Correspondence of William Cowper " 
(Wright), Vol. I, p. 479. ED. 



1 782] TO WILLIAM HODGSON 449 

there is something so new in the manner, so easy, and yet 
so correct in the language, so clear in the expression, yet 
concise, and so just in the sentiments, that I have read the 
whole with great pleasure, and some of the pieces more than 
once. I beg you to accept my thankful acknowledgments, 
and to present my respects to the author. 

I shall take care to forward the letters to America, and shall 
be glad of any other opportunity of doing what may be agree- 
able to you, being with great respect for your character, 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 






1326. TO WILLIAM HODGSON (P. R. o. A. w. i.) 

Passy, May 27, 1782. 

DEAR SIR 

You mention that Administration have at your request 
given Directions to the Navy Agents at the several Ports of 
Embarkation to supply the Prisoners with Slops to the Value 
of 20 / each. Please to inform me whether this is the Good- 
ness of Government, or whether you have engaged to pay it ? 

I have been so incessantly occupied as not to be able to 
write by those Transports. Your Letters directed to Mr. 
Thomson, with a Copy of my Letter impowering you to make 
it, will be sufficient, and I have no doubt that the Congress 
part of the Engagement will be honourably executed. When 
you happen to see again those Friends of mine whom you 
mention, be so good as to assure them that I love them much, 
and wish the more for Peace as it may afford me another 
Opportunity before I die of enjoying their sweet Society. 
I hope you have received the *2oo that by mistake had fallen 

VOL. VIII 2G 



450 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

into the hands of your Namesake in Aldersgate Street. You 
may rely on my complying punctually with your request 
contained in yours of the 10 th Instant. 

You certainly merit from me everything that can afford 
you any kind of satisfaction. 

With great and Sincere Esteem, I am, etc 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1327. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 

Passy, June, 1782. 

I SEND you a few of your translations. I did not put your 
name as the translator (which I at first intended,) because I 
apprehended it might look like vanity in you ; and, as I shall 
otherwise make it known, I think the omitting it will look 
like modesty. 

Present my sincere love to your mother. Nothing would 
give me greater pleasure, than to see you both once more, 
well and happy. But you, who are truly sagacious and honest, 
and can give good advice, tell me frankly your sentiments, 
whether, in case of a peace, it will be prudent in me to visit 
England, before I return to America. I have no other call 
there, but the pleasure of seeing my friends, of whom I must 
again soon take leave ; and my appearing may perhaps exas- 
perate my enemies. If you think this not of serious conse- 
quence, tell me whether I may come right through London to 
Kensington, with the view of finding room in your house; 
or whether I should take a lodging in the city to return to. 
Do not let me in the least incommode you. 

1 From "The Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Sparks), Vol. IX, p. 224. 
ED. 



1782] TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY 451 

I forget whether I ever acknowledged the receipt of the 
prints of Mr. Hewson. I have one of them framed in my 
study. I think it very like. I believe I acquainted you with 
good Mr. Dubourg's death. He had enlarged his little 
piece, which you translated ; and, in respect for his memory, 
I have had it printed. I enclose a copy. 

I am sorry to learn the still unsettled state of Mr. 's 

family. Mrs. is undoubtedly well qualified to teach 

English here, but I cannot think it would be worth her while 
to come hither for that purpose. It is true, that our language 
is in vogue here, and many learn a little of it, but the instruc- 
tors are poorly paid, and the employ precarious and uncer- 
tain ; this observation is so general, as to have given rise to a 
proverb, Pauvre comme un mattre de tongues. Your affec- 
tionate friend, B. FRANKLIN. 



1328. TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (L. c.) 
Passy near Paris, June 7, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of the 7th of April, also one of 
the 3d of May. I have always great Pleasure in hearing 
from you, in learning that you are well, and that you continue 
your Experiments. I should rejoice much, if I could once 
more recover the Leisure to search with you into the Works 
of Nature ; I mean the inanimate, not the animate or moral 
part of them, the more I discover'd of the former, the more I 
admir'd them ; the more I know of the latter, the more I am 
disgusted with them. Men I find to be a Sort of Beings 
very badly constructed, as they are generally more easily 



452 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

provok'd than reconcil'd, more disposed to do Mischief to 
each other than to make Reparation, much more easily de- 
ceiv'd than undeceiv'd, and having more Pride and even Pleas- 
ure in killing than in begetting one another; for without a 
Blush they assemble in great armies at NoonDay to destroy, 
and when they have kill'd as many as they can, they exag- 
gerate the Number to augment the fancied Glory ; but they 
creep into Corners, or cover themselves with the Darkness 
of night, when they mean to beget, as being asham'd of a 
virtuous Action. A virtuous Action it would be, and a 
vicious one the killing of them, if the Species were really 
worth producing or preserving ; but of this I begin to doubt. 
I know you have no such Doubts, because, in your zeal for 
their welfare, you are taking a great deal of pains to save 
their Souls. Perhaps as you grow older, you may look upon 
this as a hopeless Project, or an idle Amusement, repent of 
having murdered in mephitic air so many honest, harmless 
mice, and wish that to prevent mischief, you had used Boys 
and Girls instead of them. In what Light we are viewed by 
superior Beings, may be gathered from a Piece of late West 
India News, which possibly has not yet reached you. A young 
Angel of Distinction being sent down to this world on some 
Business, for the first time, had an old courier-spirit assigned 
him as a Guide. They arriv'd over the Seas of Martinico, 
in the middle of the long Day of obstinate Fight between the 
Fleets of Rodney and De Grasse. When, thro* the Clouds 
of smoke, he saw the Fire of the Guns, the Decks covered with 
mangled Limbs, and Bodies dead or dying ; the ships sink- 
ing, burning, or blown into the Air; and the Quantity of 
Pain, Misery, and Destruction, the Crews yet alive were thus 
with so much Eagerness dealing round to one another; he 



1782] TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY 453 

turn'd angrily to his Guide, and said, "You blundering 
Blockhead, you are ignorant of your Business; you under- 
took to conduct me to the Earth, and you have brought me 
into Hell!" "No, Sir," says the Guide, "I have made no 
mistake ; this is really the Earth, and these are men. Devils 
never treat one another in this cruel manner; they have 
more Sense, and more of what Men (vainly) call Humanity" 

But to be serious, my dear old Friend, I love you as much 
as ever, and I love all the honest Souls that meet at the Lon- 
don Coffee-House. I only wonder how it happen'd, that 
they and my other Friends in England came to be such good 
Creatures in the midst of so perverse a Generation. I long 
to see them and you once more, and I labour for Peace with 
more Earnestness, that I may again be happy in your sweet 
society. 

I show'd your letter to the Duke de Larochefoucault, 
who thinks with me, the new Experiments you have made 
are extremely curious; and he has given me thereupon a 
Note, which I inclose, and I request you would furnish me 
with the answer desired. 

Yesterday the Count du Nord l was at the Academy of 
Sciences, when sundry Experiments were exhibited for his 
Entertainment ; among them, one by M. Lavoisier, to show 
that the strongest Fire we yet know, is made in a Charcoal 
blown upon with dephlogisticated air. In a Heat so produced, 
he melted Platina presently, the Fire being much more power- 
ful than that of the strongest burning mirror. Adieu, and 
believe me ever, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Grand Duke of Russia, afterward the Emperor Paul the First. ED. 



454 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1782 

1329. TO JONATHAN SHIPLEY (L. c.) 

Passy, June 10, 1782. 

I RECEIVED and read the Letter from my dear and much 
respected Friend with infinite Pleasure. After so long a 
Silence, and the long Continuance of its unfortunate Causes, 
a Line from you was a Prognostic of happier Times approach- 
ing, when we may converse and communicate freely, without 
Danger from the malevolence of Men enrag'd by the ill 
success of their distracted Projects. 

I long with you for the Return of Peace, on the general 
Principles of Humanity. The Hope of being able to pass a 
few more of my last Days happily in the sweet Conversations 
and Company I once enjoy'd at Twyford, is a particular 
Motive that adds Strength to the general Wish, and quickens 
my Industry to procure that best of Blessings. After much 
Occasion to consider the Folly and Mischiefs of a State of 
Warfare, and the little or no Advantage obtain'd even by 
those Nations, who have conducted it with the most Success, 
I have been apt to think, that there has never been, nor ever 
will be, any such thing as a good War, or a bad Peace. 

You ask if I still relish my old Studies. I relish them, but 
I cannot pursue them. My Time is engross'd unhappily 
with other Concerns. I requested of the Congress last Year 
my Discharge from this publick Station, that I might enjoy 
a little Leisure in the Evening of a long Life of Business; 
but it was refus'd me, and I have been obliged to drudge 
on a little longer. 

You are happy as your Years come on, in having that 



1782] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 455 

dear and most amiable Family about you. Four Daughters ! 
how rich! I have but one, and she, necessarily detain'd 
from me at 1000 leagues distance. I feel the Want of that 
tender Care of me, which might be expected from a Daughter, 
and would give the World for one. Your Shades are all 
plac'd in a Row over my Fireplace, so that I not only have 
you always in my Mind, but constantly before my Eyes. 

The Cause of Liberty and America has been greatly oblig'd 
to you. I hope you will live long to see that Country flourish 
under its new Constitution, which I am sure will give you 
great Pleasure. Will you permit me to express another Hope, 
that, now your Friends are in Power, they will take the first 
Opportunity of showing the sense they ought to have of your 
Virtues and your Merit? 

Please to make my best Respects acceptable to Mrs. Ship- 
ley, and embrace for me tenderly all our dear Children. With 
the utmost Esteem, Respect, and Veneration, I am ever, my 

dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1330. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, June 13, 1782. 

MY DEAR CHILD, 

I received your pleasing Letter of the ist of May, thro' 
the hands of Mr. Hodgson, and one since by Mr. Oswald. 
You cannot be more pleas'd in talking about your Children, 
your Methods of Instructing them, and the Progress they 
make, than I am in hearing it, and in finding, that, instead of 
following the idle Amusements, which both your Fortune 

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



45 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

and the Custom of the Age might have led you into, your 
Delight and your Duty go together, by employing your Time 
in the Education of your Offspring. This is following Nature 
and Reason, instead of Fashion ; than which nothing is more 
becoming the Character of a Woman of Sense and Virtue. 

We have here a Female Writer on Education, who has 
lately publish'd three Volumes, that are much talked of. I 
will send them to you by the first Opportunity. They are 
much prais'd and much censur'd. The Author, Madame la 
Comtesse de Genlis, is made, in consequence of her writing 
that Work, governess of the Children of the Due de Chartres, 
who is Son of the Duke of Orleans. Perhaps you may not 
find much in it, that can be of use to you, but you may find 
something. 

I enclose another Piece on the same Subject, written by 
another Comtesse, Madame de Forbach, 1 who does me the 
honour of calling me her Friend, by which means I have a 
copy, it not being publish'd. When you have Leisure, I 
shall like to see your Remarks. 

Do not send any Books to Geneva. The Troubles of that 
City have driven the School and my Boy out of it, and I 
have thoughts of sending for him home. Perhaps I may 
put him for a while under your Care, to recover his English 
in the same School with your Sons. 

I hope with you, that there may be a Peace, and that we 
may once more meet. Remember me kindly to Mr. and 
Mrs. Vining. I do not at present want a Carriage. Embrace 
your good Mother for me with much Affection, and believe 
me to be, my dear Friend, yours ever, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 See note to letter to Prince des Deuxponts, June 14, 1783. ED. 



1782] TO RICHARD PRICE 457 

_ i 

1331. TO RICHARD PRICE (L. c.) 

Passy, June 13, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I congratulate you on the late revolution in your public 
affairs. Much good may arise from it, though possibly not 
all, that good men and even the new ministers themselves 
may have wished or expected. The change, however, in the 
sentiments of the nation, in which I see evident effects of your 
writings, with those of our deceased friend Mr. Burgh, 1 and 
others of our valuable Club, should encourage you to proceed. 

The ancient Roman and Greek orators could only speak to 
the number of citizens capable of being assembled within the 
reach of their voice. Their writings had little effect, because 
the bulk of the people could not read. Now by the press we 
can speak to nations ; and good books and well written pam- 
phlets have great and general influence. The facility, with 
which the same truths may be repeatedly enforced by placing 
them daily in different lights in newspapers, which are every- 
where read, gives a great chance of establishing them. And 
we now find, that it is not only right to strike while the iron is 
hot, but that it may be very practicable to heat it by continu- 
ally striking. 

1 " The death of this amiable and excellent person had happened a few 
weeks before the writing of this letter. He had long been the intimate friend 
of Dr. Price, and one of the principal members of his congregation at New- 
ington Green. He was the author of several valuable works on moral and 
political subjects, and in all of them proved himself the steadfast friend of 
virtue and liberty. His last publication, under the title of ' Political Disquisi- 
tions,' abounds with the most important information on the extreme defective- 
ness of the national representation, and cannot fail to be admired by all who 
wish to restore the constitution to its original purity." MORGAN'S Life of 
Price, p. 96. ED. 



45 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I suppose all may now correspond with more freedom, and 
I shall be glad to hear from you as often as may be convenient 
to you. Please to present my best respects to our good old 
friends of the London Coffee-House. I often figure to myself 
the pleasure I should have in being once more seated among 
them. With the greatest and most sincere esteem and 
affection, I am, my dear friend, yours ever, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1332. TO MISS ALEXANDER 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June 24, 1782. 

I AM not at all displeas'd, that the Thesis and Dedica- 
tion, with which we were threatned, are blown over, for I 
dislike much all sorts of Mummery. The Republic of Letters 
has gained no Reputation, whatever else it may have gain'd, 
by the Commerce of Dedications ; I never made one, and I 
never desir'd, that one should be made to me. When I 
submitted to receive this, it was from the bad Habit I have 
long had of doing every thing that Ladies desire me to do; 
there is no refusing any thing to Madame la Marck, nor 
to you. I have been to pay my Respects to that amiable 
lady, not merely because it was a Compliment due to her, 
but because I love her; which induces me to excuse her not 
letting me in; the same Reason I should have for excusing 
your faults, if you had any. 

I have not seen your Papa since the Receipt of your pleas- 
ing Letter, so could arrange nothing with him respecting the 

1 Daughter of William Alexander and sister of Mrs. Jonathan Williams. 
ED. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 459 

Carriage. During seven or eight days, I shall be very busy ; 
after that you shall hear from me, and the Carriage shall be 
at your Service. How could you think of writing to me about 
Chimneys and Fires, in such Weather as this ! Now is the 
time for the frugal Lady you mention to save her Wood, 
obtain plus de Chaleur, and lay it up against Winter, as people 
do Ice against Summer. Frugality is an enriching Virtue; 
a Virtue I never could acquire in myself ; but I was once lucky 
enough to find it in a Wife, who thereby became a Fortune to 
me. Do you possess it? If you do, and I were 20 Years 
younger, I would give your Father 1,000 Guineas for you. 
I know you would be worth more to me as a Mtnagtre, but 
I am covetous, and love good Bargains. Adieu, my dear 
Friend, and believe me ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



*333- 



FROM MARCH 2IST TO JULY 1ST, 1782 (D. S. W.) 

Passy, May 9, 1782. 

As, since the Change of Ministry in England, some seri- 
ous Professions have been made of their Disposition to Peace, 
and of their Readiness to enter into a general Treaty for that 
purpose ; and as the Concerns and Claims of five Nations are 
to be discuss'd in that Treaty, which must therefore be in- 
teresting to the present Age and to Posterity, I am inclin'd 
to keep a Journal of the Proceedings, as far as they come 
to my Knowledge ; and, to make it more compleat, I will first 
endeavour to recollect what has already past. Great Affairs 



460 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [17:.: 

sometimes take their rise from small Circumstances. My 
good Friend and Neighbour, Madame Brillon, being at 
Nice all last winter for her Health, with her very amiable 
Family, wrote to me, that she had met with some English 
Gentry there, whose acquaintance prov'd agreable; among 
them she nam'd Lord Cholmondely, who she said had prom- 
is'd to call in his Return to England, and drink Tea with us 
at Passy. He left Nice sooner than she suppos'd, and came 
to Paris long before her. On the 2ist of March, I receiv'd 
the following Note. 

" Lord Cholmondely's compliments to Dr. Franklin; he sets out for London 
to-morrow Evening, and should be glad to see him for Five Minutes before he 
went. L 1 C will call upon him at any time in the morning he shall please to 
appoint. 

" Thursday ev*t. Hbtel de CAartres." 

I wrote for Answer, that I should be at home all the next 
Morning, and glad to see his Lordship, if he did me the 
honour of calling upon me. He came accordingly. I had 
before no personal Knowledge of this Nobleman. We 
talk'd of our Friends whom he left at Nice, then of Affairs 
in England, and the late Resolutions of the Commons on 
Mr. Conway's Motion. He told me, that he knew Lord 
Shelburne had a great Regard for me, that he was sure his 
Lordship would be pleas'd to hear from me, and that if I 
would write a Line he should have a Pleasure in carrying it. 
On which I wrote the following. 

TO LORD SHELBURNE 1 (P. R. O.) 

"Passy, March 22, 1782. 

"Mv LORD, 

"Lord Cholmondeley having kindly offer'd to take a 
Letter from me to your Lordship, I embrace the Opportunity 
* Copy in D. S. W. ED. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 461 

of assuring the Continuance of my ancient Respect for your 
Talents and Virtues, and of congratulating you on the return- 
ing good Disposition of your Country in favour of America, 
which appears in the late Resolutions of the Commons. I 
am persuaded it will have good Effects. I hope it will tend 
to produce a General Peace, which I am sure your L p , with all 
good Men, desires, which I wish to see before I die, and to 
which I shall, with infinite Pleasure, contribute every thing in 
my Power. 

"Your Friends, the Abbe* Morellet and Madame Helve'tius, 
are well. You have made the latter very happy by your 
Present of Gooseberry Bushes, which arriv'd in five Days, 
and in excellent Order. With great and sincere Esteem, I 

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

"B. FRANKLIN." 

Soon after this we heard from England, that a total Change 
had taken Place in the Ministry, and that Lord Shelburne 
was come in as Secretary of State. But I thought no more 
of my Letter, till an old Friend and near Neighbour of mine 
many years in London appear'd at Passy, and introduc'd a 
Mr. Oswald, whom, he said, had a great desire to see me, 
and Mr. Oswald, after some little Conversation, gave me 
the following Letters from Lord Shelburne and Mr. Laurens. 

FROM LORD SHELBURNE TO B. FRANKLIN 1 (P. R. O.) 

" London, 6 April, 1782. 
"DEAR SIR, 

" I have been favour'd with your Letter and am much oblig'd by your 
remembrance. I find myself returned nearly to the same Situation, which you 
remember me to have occupied nineteen years ago ; and I should be very 
glad to talk to you as I did then, and afterwards, in 1767, upon the means of 
promoting the Happiness of Mankind, a Subject much more agreeable to my 

1 Copy in D. S. W. ED. 



462 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

nature, than the best concerted Plans for spreading Misery and Devastation. 
I have had a high Opinion of the Compass of your Mind, and of your Fore- 
sight. I have often been beholden to both, and shall be glad to be so again, 
as far as is compatible with your Situation. Your letter, discovering the same 
disposition, has made me send to you Mr. Oswald. I have had a longer acquaint- 
ance with him, than even I have had the pleasure to have with you. I 
believe him an Honest Man, and, after consulting some of our common Friends, 
I have thought him the fittest for the purpose. He is a pacifical man, and 
conversant in those negotiations, which are most Interesting to Mankind. 
This has made me prefer him to any of our Speculative Friends, or to any 
person of higher Rank. He is fully appriz'd of my Mind, and you may give 
full credit to every thing he assures you of. At the same time, if any other 
channel occurra to you, I am ready to embrace it. I have few or no Secrets. 
I wish to retain the same Simplicity and Good Faith, which subsisted between 
us in Transactions of less Importance. I beg my Compl" to Madame Helve- 
tius. I have the honour to be, &c. 

" SHELBURNE." 



FROM HENRY LAURENS TO B. FRANKLIN 

" London, 7* April, 1782. 
"DEAR SIR, 

" Richard Oswald, Esq., who will do me the honour of delivering this, is a 
Gentleman of the strictest candour and integrity. I dare give such assurances 
from an experience little short of thirty Years, and to add, you will be perfectly 
safe in conversing freely with him on the business which he will introduce, a 
Business, which Mr. Oswald has disinterestedly engaged in from motives of 
benevolence ; and from the choice of the Man a persuasion follows, that the 
Electors mean to be in earnest. 

" Some people in this Country, who have too long indulg'd themselves in 
abusing every thing American, have been pleas'd to circulate an opinion, that 
Dr. Franklin is a very cunning Man ; in answer to which, I have rcmark'cl to 
Mr. Oswald, ' Dr. Franklin knows very well how to manage a Cunning Man ; 
but, when the Doctor converses or treats with a man of candour, there is no 
man more candid than himself.' I don't know whether you will ultimately 
agree on political Sketches but I am sure as gentlemen, you will part very well 
pleas'd with each other. Should you, Sir, think proper to communicate to me 
your sentiments and advice on our Affairs, the more amply, the more acceptable 
and probably the more serviceable, Mr. Oswald will take charge of your dis- 
patches, and afford a secure means of conveyance. 

" To this Gentleman I refer you for general Information of a Journey, which 
I am immediately to make, partly in his Company, at Ostend, to file off for the 
Hague. I feel a willingness, infirm as I am, to attempt doing as much good 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 463 

as can be expected from such a Prisoner upon Parole. As General Burgoyne 
is certainly Exchanged, (a circumstance, by the by, which possibly might have 
embarrassed us, had your late proposition been accepted,) may I presume at 
my return to offer another Lieutenant-General, now in England, a Prisoner 
upon Parole, in Exchange, or what shall I offer in Exchange for myself, a thing 
in my own estimation of no great value ? I have the honour to be, with great 
Respect, and, permit me to add, great Reverence, Sir, &c. 

"HENRY LAURENS." 



I enter'd into Conversation with Mr. Oswald. He was 
represented in the Letter as fully appriz'd of Lord Shel- 
burne's Mind, and I was desirous of knowing it. All I could 
learn was, that the new Ministry sincerely wish'd for Peace ; 
that they considered the Object of the War to France and 
America as obtain'd. That if the Independence of the 
United States was agreed to, there was no other Point in 
Dispute, and therefore nothing to hinder a Pacification. 
That they were ready to treat of Peace, but intimated that if 
France should insist upon Terms too humiliating to England, 
they could still continue the War, having yet great Strength 
and many Resources left. I let him know, that America 
would not treat but in Concert with France, and that my 
Colleagues not being here, I could do nothing of Importance 
in the Affair; but that if he pleas'd, I would present him to 
M. de Vergennes, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He 
consenting, I wrote and sent the following letter. 

TO COUNT DE VERGENNES 

"Passy, April 15, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"An English Nobleman, Lord Cholmondely, lately re- 
turning from Italy, called upon me here, at the time when we 
received the News of the first Resolutions of the House of 



464 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Commons relating to America. In Conversation he said, 
that he knew his Friend, Lord Shelbume, had a great Regard 
for me, that it would be pleasing to him to hear of my Welfare, 
and receive a Line from me, of which he, Lord Cholmondely, 
should like to be the Bearer, adding, if there should be a 
Change of Ministry, he believed Lord Shelburne would be 
employ'd. I thereupon wrote a few Lines, of which I enclose 
a Copy. This Day I receiv'd an Answer, which I also enclose, 
together with another Letter from Mr. Laurens. They both, 
as your Excellency will see, recommend the Bearer, Mr. 
Oswald, as a very honest, sensible Man. I have had a little 
Conversation with him. He tells me, that there has been a 
Desire of making a separate Peace with America, and con- 
tinuing the War with France and Spain, but that now all 
wise People give up that Idea as impracticable ; and it is his 
private Opinion, that the Ministry do sincerely desire a 
General Peace, and that they will readily come into it, pro- 
vided France does not insist upon Conditions too humiliating 
for England, in which case she will make great and violent 
Efforts, rather than submit to them, and that much is still 
in her Power, &c. 

"I told the Gentleman, that I could not enter into Par- 
ticulars with him, but in concert with the Ministers of this 
Court. And I propos'd introducing him to your Excellency, 
after communicating to you the Letters he brought me, in 
case you should think fit to see him, with which he appear'd 
to be pleas'd. I intend waiting on you to-morrow, when 
you will please to acquaint me with your Intentions, and 
favour me with your Counsels. He had heard nothing of 
Forth's Mission, and imagines the Old Ministry had not 
acquainted the New with that Transaction. Mr. Laurens 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 465 

came over with him in the same Pacquet Boat, and went from 
Ostend to Holland. With great Respect, I am, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

The next day, being at Court with the foreign Ministers, 
as usual on Tuesdays, I saw M. de Vergennes, who acquainted 
me that he had caus'd the Letters to be translated, had con- 
sidered the Contents, and should like to see Mr. Oswald. 
We agreed that the Interview should be on Wednesday at 
10 o'Clock. Immediately on my Return home, I wrote to 
Mr. Oswald, acquainting him with what had passed at 
Versailles, and proposing that he should be with me at \ past 
8 the next Morning, in order to proceed thither. I receiv'd 
from him the following Answer. 

"Paris, 1 6* April. 1782. 

"SIR, 

" I have the honour of yours by the Bearer, and shall be sure to wait on 
you to-morrow, at half past Eight, and am, with much Respect, &c. 

" RICHARD OSWALD." 

He came accordingly, and we arriv'd at Versailles punc- 
tually. M. de Vergennes receiv'd him with much Civility. 
Mr. Oswald not being ready in speaking French, M. de 
Rayneval interpreted. The Conversation continued near an 
Hour. Mr. Oswald at first thought of sending an Express, 
with an Account of it, and was offered a Passport, but finally 
concluded to go himself; and I wrote the next day to Lord 
Shelburne the Letter following. 

"Passy, Ap 1 18, 1782. 
"MY LORD/ 

"I have received the Letter your Lordship did me the 
Honour of writing to me on the 6th Instant. I congratulate 

1 P. R. O. F. O. Var. 321, handwriting of W. T. F. ED. 

VOL. VIII 2 H 



466 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

you on your new Appointment to the honourable and im- 
portant Office you formerly filled so worthily, which must be 
so far pleasing to you, as it affords you more Opportunities 
of doing Good, and of serving your Country essentially in its 
great Concerns. 

"I have conversed a good deal with Mr. Oswald, and am 
much pleased with him. He appears to me a Wise and honest 
Man. I acquainted him, that I was commission'd, with 
others, to treat of and conclude a Peace. That full Powers 
were given us for that purpose, and that the Congress prom- 
ised in good Faith to ratify, confirm, and cause to be faith- 
fully observed, the Treaty we should make; but that we 
would not treat separately from France, and I proposed in- 
troducing him to the Count de Vergennes, to whom I com- 
municated your Lordship's Letter containing Mr. Oswald's 
Character, as a Foundation for the Interviews. He will 
acquaint you, that the Assurance he gave of His Britannic 
Majesty's good Dispositions towards Peace was well received, 
and Assurances returned of the same good Dispositions in 
His Most Christian Majesty. 

"With regard to Circumstances relative to a Treaty, 
M. de Vergennes observed, that the King's Engagements were 
such, that he could not treat without the Concurrence of 
his Allies; that the Treaty should, therefore, be for a general, 
not a Partial Peace; that, if the Parties were disposed to 
finish the War speedily by themselves, it would perhaps 
be best to treat at Paris, as an Ambassador from Spain was 
already there, and the Commissioners from America might 
easily and soon be assembled there. Or, if they chose to 
make use of the proposed Mediation, they might treat at 
Vienna ; but that the King was so truly willing to put a speedy 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 467 

End to the War, that he would agree to any Place the King 
of England should think proper. 

"I leave the rest of the Conversation to be related to your 
Lordship by Mr. Oswald; and, that he might do it more 
easily and fully, than he could by Letter, I was of Opinion 
with him, that it would be best he should return immediately 
and do it vivA voce. Being myself but one of the four Per- 
sons now in Europe, commission'd by the Congress to treat 
of Peace, I can make no Propositions of much Importance 
without them. I can only express my Wish, that, if Mr. 
Oswald returns hither, he may bring with him the Agree- 
ment of your Court to treat for a General Peace, and the 
Proposal of Place and Time, that I may immediately write 
to Messrs. Adams, Laurens, and Jay. I suppose, that in 
this Case, your Lordship will think it proper to have Mr. 
Laurens discharged from the Engagements he enter'd into, 
when he was admitted to bail. I desire no other Channel of 
Communication between us, than that of Mr. Oswald, which 
I think your Lordship has chosen with much Judgment. 
He will be Witness of my acting with all the Simplicity and 
good Faith, which you do me the honour to expect from me ; 
and, if he is enabled, when he returns hither, to communicate 
more fully your Lordship's Mind on the Principal Points 
to be settled, I think it may contribute much to expedite the 
blessed Work our Hearts are engaged in. 

"By the Act of Parliament relative to American Prisoners, 
I see the King is empowered to exchange them. I hope those 
you have in England and Ireland may be sent home soon to 
their Country, in Flags of Truce, and exchanged for an equal 
Number of your People. Permit me to add, that I think it 
would be well, if some Kindness were mix'd in the transaction, 



468 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

with regard to their comfortable accommodation on shipboard ; 
as these poor unfortunate People have been long absent from 
their Families and Friends, and rather hardly treated. With 
great and sincere respect, I have the honor to be, my Lord, 
Your Lordship's most obedient etc. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

To the Account, contain'd in this Letter, of what pass'd 
in the Conversation with the Minister, I should add his frank 
Declaration, that, as the Foundation of a good and durable 
Peace should be laid in Justice, whenever a Treaty was 
enter'd upon, he had several Demands to make of Justice 
from England. Of this, says he, I give you previous Notice. 
What these Demands were he did not particularly say. 
One occur'd to me, viz. Reparation for the Injury done in 
Taking a Number of French Ships by surprize, before the 
Declaration of the preceding War, contrary to the Law of 
Nations. Mr. Oswald seem'd to wish to obtain some Propo- 
sitions to carry back with him; but M. Vergennes said to 
him, very properly, "There are four Nations engag'd in the 
War against you, who cannot till they have consulted and 
know each other's Minds, be ready to make Propositions. 
Your Court being without Allies and alone, knowing its 
own Mind, can express it immediately. It is therefore more 
natural to expect the first Propositions from you." 

On our Return from Versailles, Mr. Oswald took occasion 
to impress me with Ideas, that the present Weakness of the 
Government in England, with regard to continuing the War, 
was owing chiefly to the Division of Sentiments about it. 
That in case France should make Demands too humiliating 
for England to submit to, the Spirit of the Nation would be 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 469 

rous'd, Unanimity would prevail, and Resources would not 
be wanting. He said there was no Want of Money in the 
Nation; that the chief Difficulty lay in the finding out new 
Taxes to raise it; and perhaps those Difficulties might be 
avoided by shutting up the Exchequer, stopping the Payment 
of the Interest of the Public Funds, and applying that Money 
to the Support of the War. I made no reply to this; for I 
did not desire to discourage their Stopping Payment, which 
I considered as cutting the Throat of their Public Credit, 
and a Means of adding fresh Exasperation against them with 
the Neighbouring Nations: Such Menaces were besides an 
Encouragement with me, remembring the Adage, that they 
who threaten are afraid. 

The next Morning, when I had written the above Letter 
to Lord Shelburne, I went with it to Mr. Oswald's Lodgings, 
and gave it him to read before I seal'd it; that in case any 
thing might be in it with which he was not satisfied, it might 
be corrected : but he express'd himself much pleased. 

In going to him, I had also in View the Entering into a 
Conversation, which might draw out something of the Mind 
of his Court on the Subject of Canada and Nova Scotia. 
I had thrown some loose Thoughts on Paper, which I intended 
to serve as Memorandums for my Discourse, but without a 
fix'd Intention of showing them to him. On his saying that 
he was oblig'd to me for the good Opinion I had expressed of 
him to Lord Shelburne in my Letter, and assuring me that he 
had entertain'd the same of me, I observ'd, that I perceiv'd 
Lord S. plac'd great Confidence in him, and as we had happily 
the same in each other, we might possibly by a free Commu- 
nication of Sentiments, and a previous settling of our own 
Minds on some of the important Points, be the Means of 



470 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

great Good, by impressing our Sentiments on the Minds of 
those with whom they might have Influence, and where their 
being received might be of Importance. 

I then remarked, that his Nation seem'd to desire Recon- 
ciliation with America ; that I heartily wish'd the same thing, 
that a mere Peace would not produce half its Advantages if 
not attended with a sincere Reconciliation; that to obtain 
this the Party which had been the Aggressor and had cruelly 
treated the other, should show some Mark of Concern for 
what was past, and some Disposition to make Reparation; 
that perhaps there were things, which America might de- 
mand by way of Reparation, and which England might 
yield, and that the Effect would be vastly greater, if they ap- 
peared to be voluntary, and to spring from returning Good 
will; that I therefore wish'd England would think of offer- 
ing something to relieve those who had suffer'd by its Scalp- 
ing and Burning Parties. Lives indeed could not be restored 
nor compensated, but the Villages and Houses wantonly 
destroy'd might be rebuilt, &c. I then touch'd upon the 
Affair of Canada, and as in a former Conversation he had 
mention'd his Opinion, that the giving up of that Country 
to the English at the last Peace had been a politic Act in France, 
for that it had weaken'd the Ties between England and her 
Colonies, and that he himself had predicted from it the late 
Revolution, I spoke of the Occasions of future Quarrel that 
might be produc'd by her continuing to hold it; hinting at 
the same time but not expressing too plainly that such a Situa- 
tion, to us so dangerous, would necessarily oblige us to culti- 
vate and strengthen our Union with France. He appear'd 
much struck with my Discourse, and as I frequently 
look'd at my Paper, he desir'd to see it. After some little 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 471 

Delay, I allowed him to read it; the following is an exact 
Copy. 

"NOTES FOR CONVERSATION. 

"To make a Peace durable, what may give Occasion for 
future Wars should if practicable be removed. 

"The Territory of the United States and that of Canada, 
by long extended Frontiers, touch each other. 

"The Settlers on the Frontiers of the American Provinces 
are generally the most disorderly of the People, who, being 
far removed from the Eye and Controll of their respective 
Governments, are more bold in committing Offences against 
Neighbours, and are for ever occasioning Complaints and 
furnishing Matter for fresh Differences between their States. 

"By the late Debates in Parliament, and publick Writings, 
it appears, that Britain desires a Reconciliation with the 
Americans. It is a sweet Word. It means much more than 
a mere Peace, and what is heartily to be wish'd for. Nations 
make a Peace whenever they are both weary of making War. 
But, if one of them has made War upon the other unjustly, 
and has wantonly and unnecessarily done it great Injuries, 
and refuses Reparation, though there may, for the present, 
be Peace, the Resentment of those Injuries will remain, and 
will break out again in Vengeance when Occasions offer. 
These Occasions will be watch'd for by one side, fear'd by the 
other, and the Peace will never be secure ; nor can any Cor- 
diality subsist between them. 

"Many Houses and Villages have been burnt in America 
by the English and their Allies, the Indians. I do not know 
that the Americans will insist on reparation; perhaps they 
may. But would it not be better for England to offer it? 



472 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Nothing could have a greater Tendency to conciliate, and 
much of the future Commerce and returning Intercourse 
between the two Countries may depend on the Reconcilia- 
tion. Would not the advantage of Reconciliation by such 
means be greater than the Expence? 

"If then a Way can be proposed, which may tend to efface 
the Memory of Injuries, at the same time that it takes away 
the Occasions of fresh Quarrel and Mischief, will it not be 
worth considering, especially if it can be done, not only 
without Expence, but be a means of saving? 

"Britain possesses Canada. Her chief Advantage from 
that Possession consists in the Trade for Peltry. Her Ex- 
pences in governing and defending that Settlement must be 
considerable. It might be humiliating to her to give it up 
on the Demand of America. Perhaps America will not 
demand it ; some of her political Rulers may consider the fear 
of such a Neighbour, as a means of keeping 13 States more 
united among themselves, and more attentive to Military 
Discipline. But on the Minds of the People in general 
would it not have an excellent Effect, if Britain should volun- 
tarily offer to give up this Province ; tho' on these Conditions, 
that she shall in all times coming have and enjoy the Right of 
Free Trade thither, unincumbred with any Duties whatsoever; 
that so much of the vacant Lands there shall be sold, as will 
raise a Sum sufficient to pay for the Houses burnt by the 
British Troops and their Indians; and also to indemnify 
the Royalists for the Confiscation of their Estates? 

"This is mere Conversation matter between Mr. O. and 
Mr. F., as the former is not impower'd to make Propositions, 
and the latter cannot make any without the Concurrence of 
his Colleagues." 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 473 

He then told me, that nothing in his Judgment could be 
clearer, more satisfactory and convincing, than the Reason- 
ings in that Paper; that he would do his utmost to impress 
Lord Shelburne with them; that as his Memory might not 
do them Justice, and it would be impossible for him to express 
them so well, or state them so clearly as I had written them, 
he begg'd I would let him take the Paper with him, assuring 
me that he would return it safely into my hands. I at length 
comply'd with this Request also. We parted exceeding good 
Friends, and he set out for London. 

By the first Opportunity after his Departure, I wrote the 
following Letter to Mr. Adams, and sent the Papers therein 
mentioned, that he might fully be appriz'd of the Proceed- 
ings. I omitted only the Paper of Notes for Conversation 
with Mr. Oswald, but gave the Substance as appears in the 
Letter. The Reason of my omitting it was, that on Reflec- 
tion, I was not pleas'd with my having hinted a Reparation to 
the Tories for their forfeited Estates ; and I was a little asham'd 
of my Weakness in permitting the Paper to go out of my hands. 

TO JOHN ADAMS 

"Passy, April 20, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"I hope your Excellency received the Copy of our Instruc- 
tions, which I sent by the Courier from Versailles some 
Weeks since. I wrote to you on the i3th, to go by Captain 
Smedley, and sent a Packet of Correspondence with Mr. 
Hartley. Smedley did not leave Paris so soon as I expected ; 
but you should have it by this time. 

"With thislsend afresh Correspondence, which I have been 
drawn into, viz. i, A Letter I sent to Lord Shelburne before 



474 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

he was Minister. 2, His Answer since he was Minister, by 
Mr. Oswald. 3, A Letter from Mr. Laurens. 4, My Letter 
to M. de Vergennes. 5, My Answer to Lord Shelburne. 
6, My Answer to Mr. Laurens. 7, Copy of Digges Report. 
These papers will inform you pretty well of what pass'd 
between me and Mr. Oswald, except that in a Conversation 
at Parting, I mentioned to him, that I observ'd they spoke 
much in England of obtaining a reconciliation with the 
Colonies ; that this was more than a Peace ; that the latter 
might possibly be obtain'd without the former; that the 
cruel Injuries constantly done us by burning our Towns, &c. 
had made deep Impressions of Resentment, that would long 
remain; that much of the Advantage to the Commerce of 
England from a Peace would depend on a Reconciliation; 
that the Peace without Reconciliation would probably not be 
durable; that after a Quarrel between Friends, nothing 
tended so much to conciliate, as Offers made by the Aggressor 
of Reparation for Injuries done by him in his Passion. And 
I hinted, that, if England should make us a voluntary Offer 
of Canada, expressly for that purpose, it might have a good 
Effect. 

"Mr. Oswald lik'd much the Idea, and said they were too 
much straitned for Money to make us pecuniary Reparation, 
but he should endeavour to persuade their doing it this Way. 
He is furnish'd with a Passport to go and return by Calais, 
and I expect him back in ten or twelve Days. I wish you and 
Mr. Laurens could be here when he arrives ; for I shall much 
want your Advice, and cannot act without your Concurrence. 
If the present Crisis of your Affairs prevents your coming, 
I hope, at least, Mr. Laurens will be here, and we must 
communicate with you per Expresses, for your Letters to me 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 475 

by post are generally opened. I shall write per next Post, 
requesting Mr. Jay to be here also as soon as possible. 

"I received your Letter advising of your Draft on me for 
a Quarter's Salary, which will be duly honour'd. With 
great Esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

Supposing Mr. Laurens to be in Holland with Mr. Adams, 
I, at the same time, wrote to him the following Letter, viz. 

TO HENRY LAURENS 

" Passy, April 20, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"I received, by Mr. Oswald, the Letter you did me the 
honour of writing to me the ;th Instant. He brought me 
also a Letter from Lord Shelburne, which gave him the 
same good Character that you do, adding, 'He is fully ap- 
priz'd of my Mind, and you may give full Credit to every 
thing he assures you of.' Mr. Oswald, however, could give 
me no other Particulars of his Lordship's Mind, but that 
he was sincerely dispos'd to Peace. As the message seem'd 
therefore rather intended to procure or receive Propositions 
than to make any, I told Mr. Oswald that I could make none 
but in Concurrence with my Colleagues in the Commission, 
and that, if we were together, we should not treat but in 
Conjunction with France ; and I propos'd introducing him to 
M. de Vergennes, which he accepted. 

"He made to that Minister the same Declaration of the 
Disposition of England to Peace; who reply'd, that France 
had assuredly the same good Dispositions; that a Treaty 
might be immediately begun, but it must be for a general. 



476 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

not a particular Peace. That as to the place, he thought 
Paris might be the most convenient, as Spain had here already 
an Ambassador, and the American Commissioners could 
easily be assembled here; this, upon the Supposition of the 
Parties treating directly with each other without the Interven- 
tion of Mediators; But if the Mediation was to be used it 
might be at Vienna. The King his Master however was so 
truly dispos'd to Peace, that he would agree to any Place that 
the King of England should chuse, and would, at the Treaty, 
give proofs of the Confidence that might be plac'd in any 
Engagements he should then enter into, by the Fidelity and 
Exactitude with which he should observe those he already 
had with his present Allies. 

"Mr. Oswald is return'd with these general Answers by 
the Way of Calais, and expects to be here again in a few Days. 
I wish it might be convenient for you and Mr. Adams to be 
here at the same time : But if the present critical Situation of 
Affairs there, makes his being in Holland necessary just now, 
I hope you may nevertheless be here, bringing with you his 
Opinion and Advice. I have propos'd to Lord Shelburne to 
discharge you from the Obligations you enter'd into at the 
time of your Enlargement, that you may act more freely hi 
the Treaty he desires. 

"I had done myself the Honour of writing to you a few 
Days before the Arrival of Mr. Oswald. My Letter went by 
Mr. Young, your secretary, and inclos'd a Copy of your Com- 
mission, with an Offer of Money if you had Occasion for 
any. Hoping that you will not return to England before you 
have been at Paris, I forbear enlarging on the State of our 
Affairs here and in Spain. M. de Vergennes told me, he 
should be very glad to see you here. I found Mr. Oswald 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 477 

to answer perfectly the Character you gave me of him, and 
was much pleas'd with him. I have the honour to be, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

Just after I had dispatch'd these Letters, I received the 
following from Mr. Adams. 

FROM JOHN ADAMS TO B. FRANKLIN 

"Amsterdam, April 16 th , 1782. 
" SIR, 

" Yesterday noon, Mr. William Vaughan, of London, came to my House 
with Mr. Laurens, the Son of the President, and brought me a Line from the 
latter, and told me the President was at Haerlem, and desired to see me. I 
went to Haerlem and found my old Friend at the Golden Lion. He told me, 
he was come partly for his Health and the Pleasure of seeing me, and partly 
to Converse with me, and see if he had at present just Ideas and Views of 
Things, at least to see if we agreed in Sentiment, and having been desired by 
several of the New Ministry to do so. I asked him if he was at Liberty ? He 
said, No; that he was still under Parole, but at liberty to say what he pleas'd 
to me. I told him, that I could not communicate to him, being a Prisoner, 
even his own Instructions, nor enter into any Consultation with him as one of 
our Colleagues in the Commission for Peace ; that all I should say to him 
would be as one private Citizen conversing with another; but that, upon all 
such Occasions, I should reserve a Right to communicate whatever should 
pass to our Colleagues and Allies. 

" He said, that Lord Shelburne, and others of the new Ministers, were 
anxious to know whether there was any Authority to treat of a separate Peace, 
and whether there would be an Accommodation upon any Terms short of 
Independence ; that he had ever answer'd them, that nothing short of an 
express or tacit Acknowledgment of our Independence, in his Opinion, would 
ever be accepted, and that no Treaty ever would or could be made separate 
from France. He asked me, if his Answers had been right. I told him I was 
fully of that Opinion. He said that the new Ministers had received Digges's 
Report, but his Character was such that they did not chuse to depend upon 
it ; that a Person by the name of Oswald, I think, sett off for Paris to see 
you, about the same time he came away to see me. 

" I desir'd him, between him and me, to consider, without saying any thing 
of it to the Ministry, whether we could ever have a Real Peace, with Canada 
or Nova Scotia in the hands of the English ; and whether we ought not to 
insist at least upon a Stipulation, that they should keep no standing Army, or 
regukr Troops, nor erect any Fortifications, upon the Frontiers of either. 



478 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

That, at present, I saw no Motive that we had to be anxious for a Peace; and, 
if the Nation was not ripe for it upon proper Terms, we might wait patiently 
till they should be so. 

" I found the old Gentleman perfectly sound in his System of Politicks. 
He has a very poor Opinion, both of the Integrity and Abilities of the new 
Ministry, as well as the old. He thinks they know not what they are about ; 
that they are spoiled by the same Insincerity, Duplicity, Falsehood and Cor- 
ruption with the former. Lord Shelburne still flatters the King with Ideas of 
Conciliation and a separate Peace, &c. ; yet the Nation and the best men in 
it are for universal Peace and an express acknowledgment of American Inde- 
pendence, and many of the best are for giving up Canada and Nova Scotia. 
His Design seemed to be solely to know how far Digges's Report was true. 
After an hour or two of conversation, I returned to Amsterdam, and left him 
to return to London. 

" These are all but Artifices to raise the Stocks ; and, if you think of any 
Method to put a stop to them, I will chearfully concur with you. They now 
know sufficiently that our Commission is to treat of a general Peace, and with 
Persons vested with equal Powers ; and if you agree to it, I will, never to 
see another Messenger that is not a Plenipotentiary. 

" It is expected that the seventh Province, Guelderland, will this day 
acknowledge American Independence. I think we are in such a Situation 
now, that We ought not upon any Consideration to think of a Truce, or any 
thing short of an express Acknowledgment of the Sovereignty of the United 
States. I should be glad, however, to know your Sentiments upon this point. 
I have the honour to be, &c. 

"JOHN ADAMS." 

To the above, I immediately wrote the following Answer. 

TO JOHN ADAMS 

"Passy, April 20, 1782. 

"Sm, 

"I have just received the Honour of yours, dated the 16 
instant, acquainting me with the Interview between your 
Excellency and Mr. Laurens. I am glad to learn, that his 
political Sentiments coincide with ours, and that there is a 
Disposition in England to give us up Canada and Nova Scotia. 

"I like your Idea of seeing no more Messengers, that are 
not Plenipotentiaries: But I cannot refuse seeing again Mr. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 479 

Oswald, as the Ministers here consider 'd the Letter to me 
from Lord Shelburne as a kind of Authentication given that 
Messenger, and expect his Return with some explicit Propo- 
sitions. I shall keep you advis'd of whatever passes. 

"The late Act of Parliament, for exchanging American 
Prisoners as Prisoners of War, according to the Law of Na- 
tions, any thing in their Commitments notwithstanding, 
seems to me a Renunciation of their Pretensions to try our 
People as Subjects guilty of High Treason, and to be a kind 
of tacit Acknowledgment of our Independency. Having 
taken this Step, it will be less difficult for them to acknowledge 
it expressly. They are now preparing Transports to send 
the Prisoners home. I yesterday sent the Passports desired 
of me. 

"Sir George Grand shows me a letter from Mr. Fizeaux 
in which he says, that if advantage is taken of the present 
Enthusiasm in favour of America, a Loan might be obtain'd in 
Holland, of Five or Six Millions of Florins for America, and, 
if their House is impower'd to open it, he has no doubt of 
Success; but that no time is to be lost. I earnestly recom- 
mend this Matter to you, as extremely necessary to the 
Operations of our Financier, Mr. Morris, who not knowing 
that the greatest Part of the last Five Millions had been con- 
sumed by Purchase of Goods, &c., in Europe, writes me 
Advice of large Drafts, that he shall be oblig'd to make upon 
me this Summer. 

"This Court has granted us 6 Millions of Livres for the 
current Year; but it will fall vastly short of our Occasions, 
there being large Orders to fulfill and near two Millions and 
an half to pay M. Beaumarchais, besides the Interest, Bills, 
&c. The house of Fizeaux and Grand is now appointed 



480 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Banker for France, by a special Commission from the King, 
and will on that as well as other Accounts be in my Opinion 
the fittest for this Operation. Your Excellency being on the 
Spot, can better judge of the Terms, &c., and manage with 
that House the whole Business, in which I should be glad to 
have no other Concern than that of receiving Assistance from 
it, when press'd by the dreaded Drafts. With great Respect, 

I am, Sir, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

In Reply to this, Mr. Adams wrote to me as follows. 
[FROM JOHN ADAMS TO B. FRANKLIN] 

"Amsterdam, May ?*, 1782. 
" SIR, 

"lam honour' d with your favour of the zoth April, and Mr. Laurens's Son 
proposes to carry the Letter to his Father forthwith. The Instructions by the 
Courier from Versailles came safe, as all other Dispatches by that Channel no 
doubt will do. The Correspondence with Mr. Hartley I receiv'd by Capt 
Smedley, and will take the first good Opportunity by a private Hand to return 
it, as well as that with the E[arl] of S[helburne]. 

" Mr. Laurens and Mr. Jay will I hope be able to meet at Paris; but when 
it will be in my Power to go I know not. Your present Negotiation about 
Peace falls in very well to aid a Proposition, which I am instructed to make, 
as soon as the Court of Versailles shall judge proper, of a triple or quadruple 
Alliance. This Matter, the Treaty of Commerce, which is now under Deliber- 
ation, and the Loan, will render it improper for me to quit this Station, unless 
in Case of Necessity. If there is a real Disposition to permit Canada to accede 
to the American Association, I should think there would be no great diffi- 
culty in adjusting all things between England and America, provided our 
Allies are contented too. In a former Letter I hinted that I thought an 
express Acknowledgment of our Independence might now be insisted on ; 
but I did not mean, that we should insist upon such an Article in the Treaty. 
If they make a Treaty of Peace with the United States of America, this is 
Acknowledgment enough for me. 

"The affair of a Loan gives me much Anxiety and Fatigue. It is true I 
may open a Loan for five Millions ; but I confess I have no hopes of obtain- 
ing so much. The Money is not to be had. Cash is not infinite in this 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 481 

Country. Their Profits by Trade have been ruined for two or three Years ; 
and there are Loans open for France, Spain, England, Russia, Sweden, Den- 
mark, and several other Powers, as well as their own national, provincial and 
collegiate Loans. The Undertakers are already loaded with Burthens 
greater than they can bear ; and all the Brokers in the Republic are so 
engag'd, that there is scarcely a Ducat to be lent, but what is promised. 

" This is the true Cause why we shall not succeed ; yet they will seek a 
hundred other Pretences. It is considered such an Honour and such an 
Introduction to American Trade to be the House, that the Eagerness to obtain 
the Title of the American Banker is prodigious. Various Houses have Pre- 
tentions, which they set up very high ; and let me chuse which I will, I am 
sure of a Cry and a Clamour. 

" I have taken some Measures to endeavour to calm the Heat, and give 
general Satisfaction, but have as yet small hopes of Success. I would strike 
with any House that would insure the Money, but none will undertake it, now 
it is offered, altho' several were very ready to affirm that they could, when it 
began to be talked of. Upon enquiry, they do not find the Money easy to 
obtain, which I could have told them before. It is to me perfectly indifferent 
which is the House ; and the only Question is, which will be able to do best 
for the Interest of the United States. This Question however simple is not 
easy to answer. But I think it clear, after very painful and laborious Enquiries 
for a Year and a half, that no House whatever will be able to do much. 
Enthusiasm at some times and in some Countries, may do a great deal ; but 
there has as yet been no Enthusiasm in this Country for America, strong 
enough to untie many Purses. Another Year, if the War continues, perhaps 
we may do better. I have the honour to be, &c. 

"JOHN ADAMS." 

During Mr. Oswald's Absence, I receiv'd the following 
from Mr. Laurens. 

FROM HENRY LAURENS TO B. FRANKLIN 

" London, 20*, April 1782. 
"SIR, 

M I wrote to you on the 7th Instant, by Mr. Oswald, since which, that is to 
say, on the 28th, I was honour'd by the Receipt of your Letter of the I2th, 
inclosing a Copy of the Commission for treating for Peace, by the hands of 
Mr. Young. The Recognizance exacted from me by the late Ministry, has 
been vacated and done away by the Present ; these have been pleas'd to 
enlarge me without formal Conditions ; but, as I would not consent that the 
United States of America should be outdone in generosity, however late the 
marks appear'd on this side, I took upon me to assure Lord Shelburne, in a 

VOL. VIII 21 



482 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKUN [1782 

Letter of acknowledgement for the part, which his Lordship had taken for 
obtaining my release, that Congress would not fail to made a just and ade- 
quate return. The only return, in my View, is Lieut-General Lord Cornwallis. 
Congress were pleased to offer some time ago, a British Lieut ''-General for my 
Ransom ; and as I am inform'd a special Exchange of Lord Cornwallis for the 
same Subject was lately in contemplation, it would afford me very great satis- 
faction to know that you will join me in cancelling the debt of honor, which 
we have impliedly incurred, by discharging His Lordship from the obligations 
of his Parole. 

" For my own part, tho' not a bold adventurer, I think I shall not commit 
myself to the risque of censure, by acting conjunctly with you in such a bar- 
gain. I intreat you Sir, at least to reflect on this matter ; I shall take the 
liberty of requesting your determination when I reach the Continent, which 
will probably happen in a few days. 

" Lord Cornwallis, in a late conversation with me, put the following Case. 
' Suppose,' said his Lordship, ' it shall have been agreed, in America, that Lord 
Cornwallis should be offer'd in exchange for Mr. Laurens, don't you think, al- 
though you are now discharged, I ought to reap the intended benefit ? ' A 
Reply from the Feelings of my Heart, as I love fair Play, was prompt ; ' Un- 
doubtedly, my Lord, you ought to be, and shall be in such case discharg'd, 
and I will venture to take the Burthen upon myself.' Certain legal Forms I 
apprehend rend'red the discharge of me, without Condition unavoidable, but 
I had previously refused to accept of myself for nothing, and what I now aim 
at was understood as an adequate return ; tis not to be doubted, His Lord- 
ship's Question was built on this ground. 

" I had uniformly and explicitly declared to the People here, People in the 
first Rank of importance, that nothing short of Independence, in terms of our 
Treaty of Alliance, could induce America to treat for Truce or Peace, and that 
no Treaty could be had without the consent of our Ally first obtained ; in a 
word, if you mean to have Peace, you must seek for a general Peace. The 
doctrine was ill relish'd, especially by those whose power only could set the 
machine in motion ; but having, since my return from Haerlem, asserted 
in very positive terms, that I was confirm'd in my former opinions, the late 
obduracy has been more than a little softned, as you will soon learn from the 
worthy friend, by whom I address'd you on the yth, who, two days ago, set 
out on his return to Passy and Versailles, with, (as I believe,) a more per- 
manent Commission than the former. 

" Accept my thanks, Sir, for the kind offer of a supply of Money. I know 
too well, how much you have been harassed for that Article ; and too well, 
how low our American finances in Europe are ; therefore, if I can possibly 
avoid it, I will not further trouble you, nor impoverish them, or not till the last 
extremity. Hitherto I have supported myself without borrowing from any- 
body, and I am determined to continue living upon my own Stock while it 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 483 

lasts ; the Stock is indeed small ; my expences have been and shall be in a 
suitably modest Stile. I pray God to bless you, and I have the honour to be, 
&c. " HENRY LAURENS. 

" P. S. I judg'd it proper, not only to shew the Peace Commission to Lord 
Shelburne, but to give His Lordship a Copy of it, from an opinion that it 
would work no Evil, being shewn elsewhere." 

On the 4th May, Mr. Oswald return'd, and brought me 
the following Letter from Lord Shelburne. 

FROM LORD SHELBURNE TO B. FRANKLIN (p. R. O.) 
"Shelburne House, April 28, 1782. 

"DEAR SIR, 

" I have rec'd much satisfaction in being assured by you, that the qualifica- 
tions of Wisdom and Integrity, which induced me to make choice of Mr. 
Oswald as the fittest Instrument for the renewal of our friendly intercourse, 
have also recommended him so effectually to your approbation and esteem. 
I most heartily wish that the influence of this first communication of our 
mutual Sentiments may be extended to a happy conclusion of all our public 
differences. 

" The Candor with which the Mon r de Vergennes expresses his Most Chris- 
tian Majesty's Sentiments and wishes, on the subject of a speedy Pacification, 
is a pleasing Omen of its accomplishment. His Majesty is not less decided in 
the same sentiments and wishes, and it confirms his Maj J " Ministers in their 
intention to act in like Manner, as most consonant to the true dignity of a 
great Nation. In consequence of these reciprocal advances, Mr. Oswald is 
sent back to Paris, for the purpose of arranging and settling with you the pre- 
liminaries of Time and Place ; and I have the pleasure to tell you, that Mr. 
Laurens is already discharged from those engagements, which he entered into 
when he was admitted to bail. 

"It is also determined, that Mr. Fox, from whose department that com- 
munication is necessarily to proceed, shall send a proper person, who may con- 
fer and settle immediately with Mon r de Vergennes the further measures and 
proceedings, which may be judged proper to adopt towards advancing the 
prosecution of this important business. 

" In the mean time, Mr. Oswald is instructed to communicate to you my 
thoughts upon the principal objects to be settled. Transports are actually 
preparing for the purpose of conveying your Prisoners to America, to be there 
exchanged ; & we trust, that you will learn, that due attention has not been 
wanting to their Accommodation and good treatment. 

" I have the honor to be, with very sincere respect, dear Sir, your very 
faithful and obedient humble servant, " SHELBURNE." 



484 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Having read the Letter, I mention'd to Mr. Oswald the 
Part which refers me to him for his Lordship's Sentiments. 
He acquainted me, that they were very sincerely dispos'd 
to Peace; that the whole Ministry concurr'd in the same 
Disposition; that a good deal of Confidence was plac'd in 
my Character for open, honest dealing; that it was also 
generally believ'd, I had still remaining some Part of my 
ancient Affection and Regard for Old England, and it was 
hoped it might appear on this Occasion. He then show'd 
me an Extract from the Minutes of Council, but did not leave 
the Paper with me. As well as I can remember, it was to this 
Purpose. 

"At a Cabinet Council, held April 27th, 1782, Present 
Lord Rockingham, Lord Chancellor, Lord President, Lord 
Camden, &c. &c., to the Number of 15 or 20, being all 
Ministers, and great Officers of State. 

"It was propos'd to represent to his Majesty, that it would 
be well for Mr. Oswald to return to Doctor Franklin and 
acquaint him, that it is agreed to treat for a general Peace, 
and at Paris ; and that the principal Points in Contemplation 
are, the allowing of American Independence, on condition 
that England be put into the same Situation, that she was 
left in by the peace of 1763." 

Mr. Oswald also inform'd me, that he had conversed with 
Lord Shelburne on the Subject of my Paper of Notes, relating 
to Reconciliation. That he had shown him the Paper, and 
had been prevail'd on to leave it with him a Night; but it 
was on his Lordship's solemn Promise of returning it, which 
had been comply'd with, and he now return'd it to me. 
That it seem'd to have made an Impression, and he had 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 485 

reason to believe that matter might be settled to our Satisfac- 
tion towards the end of the Treaty ; but in his own Mind he 
wish'd it might not be mention'd at the Beginning. That his 
Lordship indeed said, he had not imagin'd Reparation would 
be expected, and he wonder'd I should not know whether it 
was intended to demand it. Finally Mr. Oswald acquainted 
me, that as the Business now likely to be brought forward more 
particularly appertain'd to the Department of the other 
Secretary, Mr. Fox, he was directed to announce another 
Agent coming from that Department, who might be expected 
every Day, viz. the hon blc Mr. Grenville, Brother of Lord 
Temple, and Son of the famous Mr. George Grenville, for- 
merly Chancellor of the Exchequer. I immediately wrote 
the following Note to le Com tc de Vergennes. 
:; .;' :ri^.';.! ( !>rv;jsv :;' vr;*/r fd anv i -i\-'\y>\ :<, '! w )'.'' *A iui 
1C. DE VERGENNES 

"Passy, May 4, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr. 
Oswald is just return'd, from London, and is now with me. 
He has deliver'd me a Letter from Lord Shelburne, which I 
enclose for your perusal, together with a Copy of my Letter, 
to which it is an Answer. He tells me, that it has been agreed 
in Council to treat at Paris, and to treat of a general Peace; 
and that as it is more particularly in the Department of 
Mr. Fox to regulate the Circumstantials, a Gentleman, (Mr. 
Grenville,) to be sent by him for that purpose, may be daily 
expected here. Mr. Oswald will wait on your Excellency 
whenever you shall think fit to receive him. I am, with 
Respect, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 



486 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 
And the next Day I receiv'd the following answer. 

FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN 

Translation 

Versailles, 5 May, 1782. 
"Sin, 

" I have received the letter, which you did me the honour to write to me 
the 4th instant, as also those which accompanied it I will see you with your 
friend, with pleasure, at eleven o'clock to-morrow morning. I have the 
honour to be, &c. 

" DK VERGENNBS." 

Accordingly, on Monday Morning I went with Mr. Oswald 
to Versailles, and we saw the Minister. Mr. Oswald ac- 
quainted him with the Disposition of his Court to treat for a 
general Peace, and at Paris ; and he announced Mr. Grenville, 
who, he said, was to set out about the same time with him, 
but as he would probably come by way of Ostend, might be a 
few days longer on the Road. Some general Conversation 
pass'd, agreable enough, but not of Importance. 

In our return Mr. Oswald repeated to me his Opinion, that 
the affair of Canada would be settled to our satisfaction, and 
his Wish that it might not be mention'd, till towards the End 
of the Treaty. He intimated, too, that it was apprehended, 
the greatest obstructions in the Treaty might come from the 
Part of Spain ; but said, if she was unreasonable, there were 
means of bringing her to Reason. That Russia was a Friend 
to England, had lately made great discoveries on the back of 
North America, and made Establishments there, and might 
easily transport an Army from Kamsckatka to the Coast of 
Mexico, and conquer all those Countries. This appear'd to 
me a little visionary at present ; but I did not dispute it. 

On the whole I was able to draw so little from Mr. O[swald] 
of the Sentiments of Lord Sfhelburne] who had mention'd 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 487 

him as intrusted with the Communication of them, that I 
could not but wonder at his being sent again to me, especially 
as Mr. Grenville was so soon to follow. 

On Tuesday I was at Court, as usual on that Day. M. de 
Vergennes asked me, if Mr. Oswald had not opened himself 
farther to me ? I acquainted him with the sight I had had of 
the Minute of Council, and of the loose Expressions contain'd 
in it, of what was in Contemplation. He seem'd to think it 
odd, that he had brought nothing more explicit. I supposed 
Mr. Grenville might be better furnish'd. The next Morning 
I wrote the following Letter to Mr. Adams. 

TO JOHN ADAMS 

"Passy, May 8 th , 1782. 

"SiR, 

"Mr. Oswald, whom I mention'd in a former Letter, which 
I find you have receiv'd, is return'd, and brought me another 
Letter from Lord Shelburne, of which the above is a Copy. 
It says Mr. Oswald is instructed to communicate to me his 
Lordship's Thoughts. He is however very sparing of such 
Communication. All I have got from him is that the Min- 
istry have in Contemplation the allowing Independence to 
America, on Condition of Britain's being put again into the 
State she was left in by the Peace of 1763, which I suppose 
means being put again in Possession of the Islands France has 
taken from her. This seems to me a Proposition of selling 
to us a Thing that is already our own, and making France pay 
the Price they are pleas'd to ask for it. 

"Mr. Grenville, who is sent by Mr. Fox, is expected here 
daily. Mr. Oswald tells me that Mr. Laurens will soon be 
here also. Yours of the ad Instant is just come to hand. 



488 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I shall write to you on this Affair hereafter by the Court 
Couriers, for I am certain your Letters to me are opened 
at the PostOffice, either here or in Holland, and I suppose 
mine to you are treated in the same Manner. I enclose the 
Cover of your last, that you may see the seal. With great 

respect, I am, Sir, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

I had but just sent away this Letter, when Mr. Oswald came 
in, bringing with him Mr. Grenville, who was just arriv'd. 
He gave me the following Letter from Mr. Secretary Fox. 

. 1.1^,1 >;t.iw<.tt.>i >n: -JIST,; I 

FROM CHARLES J. FOX TO B. FRANKLIN 

"St. James's, I May, 1782. 

"SIR, 

"Though Mr. Oswald will, no doubt, have informed you of the nature 
of Mr. Grenville's Commission, yet I cannot refrain from making use of 
the opportunity his going offers me, to assure you of the esteem and 
Respect which I have borne to your character, and to beg you to believe, that 
no change in my situation has made any in those ardent wishes for reconcilia- 
tion, which I have invariably felt from the very beginning of this unhappy 
Contest 

" Mr. Grenville is fully acquainted with my sentiments upon this subject, 
and with the sanguine hopes, which I have conceived, that those with whom 
we are contending are too reasonable to continue a contest, which has no 
longer any object, either real or even imaginary. I know your liberality of 
mind too well to be afraid, lest any prejudices against Mr. Grenville's Name 
may prevent you from esteeming those excellent qualities of heart and head, 
which belong to him, or from giving the fullest credit to the sincerity of his 
wishes for Peace, in which no Man in either Country goes beyond him. I am, 
with great truth and regard, &c. 

" C. J. Fox." 

I imagined the Gentleman had been at Versailles, as I 
suppos'd Mr. Grenville would first have waited on M. de 
Vergennes before he called on me. But finding in Conversa- 
tion that he had not, and that he expected me to introduce 



1 782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 489 

him, I immediately wrote to the Minister, acquainting him, 
that Mr. G[renville] was arrived, and desired to know when 
his Excellency would think fit to receive him, and I sent an 
Express with my Letter. 

I then entered into Conversation with him on the subject 
of his Mission, Mr. Fox having refer'd me to him, as being 
fully acquainted with his Sentiments. He said that Peace 
was really wished for by everybody, if it could be obtain'd 
on reasonable Terms; and as the Idea of subjugating 
America was given up, and both France and America 
had thereby obtain'd what they had in View originally, it was 
hoped, that there now remain'd no Obstacle to a Pacification. 
That England was willing to treat of a general Peace with 
all the Powers at War against her, and that the Treaty 
should be at Paris. 

I did not press him much for farther particulars, supposing 
they were reserved for our Interview with M. de Vergennes. 
The Gentlemen did me the honour of staying to Dinner with 
me, on the supposition which I urg'd, that my Express might 
be back before we parted. This gave me an Opportunity of 
a good deal of general Conversation with Mr. Grenville, 
who appear'd to me a sensible, judicious, intelligent, good- 
temper'd and well-instructed young Man, answering well the 
Character Mr. Fox had given me of him. 

They left me however about six o'Clock, and my Messenger 
did not return till near nine. He brought me the Answer 
of M. le Comte de Vergennes, that he was glad to hear of 
Mr. Grenville's arrival, and would be ready to receive us 
to-morrow, at \ past 10 or n o'Clock. I immediately in- 
clos'd his Note in one to Mr. Grenville, requesting him to be 
with me at Passy by 8, that we might have time to breakfast 



490 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

before we set out. I have preserved no Copy of these three 
last Notes, or I should have inserted them, as I think, that 
tho' in themselves they seem of almost too trifling a nature, 
they however serve usefully sometimes to settle Dates, 
authenticate Facts, and show something of the Turn and 
Manner of thinking of the Writers on particular Occasions. 
The Answer I receiv'd was as follows. 

" Mr. Grenville presents bis Compliments to Mr. Franklin, and will cer- 
tainly do himself the honour of waiting upon Mr. Franklin to-morrow morning 
at eight o'clock. (L.C) 

'}'' . 'll . ' . i i I. > I 'j ' " 'j i ' 

u Hue de Richelieu, Wednesday night." [" May 8 the Day of his Arrival." 
B. F.] 

We set out accordingly the next Morning in my coach 
from Passy, and arrived punctually at Count de Vergennes's, 
who receiv'd Mr. Grenville in the most cordial and friendly 
manner, on account of the Acquaintance and Friendship, 
that had formerly subsisted between his Uncle and the Count 
de Vergennes, when they were Ambassadors together at 
Constantinople. 

After some little agreable Conversation, Mr. Grenville 
presented his Letter from Mr. Secretary Fox, and another I 
think from the Duke of Richmond. When these were read, 
the Subject of Peace was entred on. What my memory 
retains of the Discourse amounts to little more than this, that, 
after mutual Declarations of the good Dispositions of the 
two Courts, Mr. Grenville having intimated that in Case 
England gave America Independence, France it was expected 
would return the Conquests she had made of British Islands, 
receiving back those of Miquelon and St. Pierre. And, the 
Original Object of the War being obtained, it was supposed 
that France would be contented with that. The Minister 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 491 

seem'd to smile at the propos'd Exchange, and remark'd 
that the offer of giving Independence to America amounted 
to little : "America," says he, "does not ask it of you : There 
is Mr. Franklin, he will answer you as to that Point." "To 
be sure," I said, "we do not consider ourselves as under any 
Necessity of bargaining for a Thing that is our own and which 
we have bought at the Expence of much Blood and Treasure, 
and which we are in full Possession of." "As to our being 
satisfied with the original Object of the War," continued he, 
"look back to the Conduct of your Nation in former Wars. 
In the last War, for Example, what was the Object ? It was 
the disputed Right to some waste Lands on the Ohio and 
the Frontiers of Nova Scotia. Did you content yourselves 
with the Recovery of those Lands? No, you retain'd at the 
Peace all Canada, all Louisiana, all Florida, Grenada, and 
other West India Islands, the greatest Part of the northern 
Fisheries, with all your Conquests in Africa and the East 
Indies." Something being mentioned of its not being reason- 
able, that a Nation after making an unprovok'd unsuccessful 
War upon its Neighbours, should expect to sit down whole, 
and have every thing restor'd, which she had lost in such a 
War, I think Mr. Grenville remark'd, the war had been pro- 
vok'd by the Encouragement given by France to the Ameri- 
cans to revolt. On which M. de Vergennes grew a little 
warm, and declar'd firmly, that the Breach was made, and 
our Independence declar'd, long before we receiv'd the least 
Encouragement from France ; and he defy'd the World to give 
the smallest Proof of the contrary. "There sits," says he, 
" Mr. Franklin, who knows the Fact, and can contradict me 
if I do not speak the Truth." 
He repeated to Mr. Grenville what he had before said to 



492 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Mr. Oswald, respecting the King's Intention of treating fairly, 
and keeping faithfully the Conventions he should enter into ; 
of which Disposition he would give at the Treaty convincing 
Proofs by the Fidelity and Exactitude, with which he should 
observe his Engagements with his present Allies, and added 
that the Points which the King had chiefly in View were 
Justice and Dignity; these he could not depart from. He 
acquainted Mr. Grenville, that he should immediately write 
to Spain and Holland, communicate to those Courts what 
had passed, and request their Answers; that in the mean 
time he hoped Mr. Grenville would find means of amusing 
himself agreably, to which he should be glad to contribute, 
that he would communicate what had pass'd to the King, 
and he invited him to come again the next day. 

On our return, Mr. G. expressed himself as not quite satis- 
fy'd with some part of the Count de Vergennes's Discourse, 
and was thoughtful. He told me, that he had brought two 
State Messengers with him, and perhaps after he had had 
another interview with the Minister, he might dispatch one of 
them to London. I then requested leave to answer by that 
Opportunity the Letters I had receiv'd from Lord Shelburne 
and Mr. Fox, and he kindly promis'd to acquaint me in time 
of the Messenger's Departure. He did not ask me to go with 
him the next day to Versailles, and I did not offer it. 

The coming and going of these Gentlemen was observed, 
and made much Talk at Paris ; and the Marquis de la Fayette, 
having learnt something of their Business from the Ministers, 
discoursed with me about it. Agreable to the Resolutions 
of Congress, directing me to confer with him, and take his 
Assistance in our Affairs, I communicated to him what had 
pass'd. He told me that during the Treaty at Paris for the 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 493 

last Peace, the Duke de Nivernais had been sent to reside in 
London, that this Court might thro' him, state what was from 
time to time transacted in the Light they thought best, to 
prevent Misrepresentations and Misunderstandings. That 
such an Employ would be extremely agreable to him on many 
Accounts; that as he was now an American Citizen, spoks 
both Languages, and was well acquainted with our Interests, 
he believ'd he might be useful in it ; and that as Peace was 
likely from Appearances to take Place, his Return to America 
was perhaps not so immediately necessary. I lik'd the Idea, 
and encouraged his proposing it to the Ministry. He then 
wish'd I would make him acquainted with Messrs. Oswald 
and Grenville, and for that End propos'd meeting them at 
Breakfast with me, which I promis'd to contrive if I could, and 
endeavour to engage them for Saturday. 

Friday morning, the loth of May, I went to Paris, and visited 
Mr. Oswald. I found him in the same friendly Dispositions, 
and very desirous of Good, and seeing an End put to this 
ruinous War. But I got no farther Light as to the Sentiments 
of Lord S[helburne] respecting the Terms. I told him the 
Marquis de la Fayette would breakfast with me to-morrow, 
and as he, Mr. Oswald, might have some Curiosity to see a 
Person who had in this War render'd himself so remarkable, 
I propos'd his doing me the same Honour. He agreed to it 
chearfully. I came home intending to write to Mr. Gren- 
ville, whom I supposed might stay and dine at Versailles, 
and therefore did not call on him. But he was return'd, 
and I found the following note from him. 

" Paris, 10 May. 

" Mr. Grenville presents his Compliments to Mr. Franklin ; he proposes 
sending a Courier to England at 10 o'clock to-night, and will give him in 
charge any letters Mr. Franklin may wish to send by him." 



494 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I sat down immediately, and wrote the two short Letters 
following, to the two Secretaries of State, viz. 

TO CHARLES J. FOX (L. C.) 

"Passy, May 10, 1782. 

"Sm, 

"I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me by Mr. Grenville, whom I find to be a very sensible, 
judicious, and amiable Gentleman. The Name, I assure you, 
does not with me lessen the Regard his excellent Qualities 
inspire. I introduced him as soon as possible to M. de Ver- 
gennes ; he will himself give you an Account of his Reception. 
I hope his coming may forward the blessed Work of Pacifica- 
tion, in which, for the sake of Humanity, no time should 
be lost, no reasonable Cause as you observe existing at 
present for the continuance of this abominable War. Be 
assured of my Endeavours to put an end to it. 

"I am much flatter'd by the good Opinion of a Person I 
have long highly esteem'd, and I hope it will not be lessen'd 
by my Conduct in the Affair, that has given Rise to our Cor- 
respondence. With great Respect, I have the honour to be, 

&c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

TO LORD SHELBURNE (P. R. O.) 

"Passy, May 10, 1782. 

"Mv LORD, 

"I have received the honour of your Lordship's Letter, 
dated the 28th past, by Mr. Oswald, informing me, that he is 
sent back to settle with me the Preliminaries of Time and 
Place. Paris, as the place, seem'd to me Yesterday to be 
agreed on, between Mr. Grenville and M. de Vergennes, 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 495 

and is perfectly agreable to me. The Time cannot well be 
settled till this Court has received answers from Madrid, and 
the Hague, and untill my Colleagues are arrived. I expect 
daily Messrs. Jay and Laurens. Mr. Adams doubts whether 
he can be here, but that will not hinder our Proceeding. 

"It gave me great Pleasure to hear Mr. Laurens is dis- 
charged entirely from the Obligations he had entred into. 
I am much obliged by the Readiness with which your Lord- 
ship has confer'd that Favour. Please to accept my thankful 
Acknowledgments. 

"I am happy too, in understanding from your Letter, 
that Transports are actually preparing to convey our Prison- 
ers to America, and that Attention will be paid to their 
Accommodation and good Treatment. Those People on 
their return will be dispersed thro' every Part of America, and 
the accts they will have to give of any Marks of Kindness 
received by them under the present Ministry, will lessen much 
the Resentment of their Friends against the Nation, for the 
Hardships they suffer'd under the past. 

"Mr. Oswald rests here awhile by my Advice, as I think his 
Presence likely to be useful. With great, and sincere Respect, 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

And I sent them to Mr. Grenville with the following Note. 

"Mr. Franklin presents his Compliments to Mr. Grenville, 
and Thanks for the Information of his Courier's Departure, 
and his kind Offer of forwarding Mr. F.'s Letters; he accepts 
the Favour and encloses two. 

"The Marquis de la Fayette and Mr. Oswald will do Mr. 
Franklin the honour of breakfasting with him to-morrow, 



496 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

between 9 and 10 o'clock. Mr. Franklin will be happy to 
have the Company of Mr. Grenville if agreable to him. He 
should have waited on Mr. Grenville to-day at Paris, but he 
imagin'd Mr. Grenville was at Versailles. 
"Passy, Friday evening, May 10." 

To which Mr. Grenville sent me this Answer. 

" Mr. Grenville presents his Compliments to Mr. Franklin, and will, with 
great pleasure, do himself the honour of breakfasting with Mr. Franklin to- 
morrow between 9 and 10 o'Clock. Mr. Grenville was at Versailles to-dav, 
and should have been sorry if Mr. Franklin should have given himself the 
trouble of calling at Paris this Morning. The Courier shall certainly take 
particular care of Mr. Franklin's Letters. 

" Paris, Friday, May io/*." 

The gentlemen all met accordingly, had a good deal of 
Conversation at and after Breakfast, staid till after One 
o'Clock, and parted much pleas 'd with each other. 

The Monday following, I calPd to visit Mr. Grenville. 
I found with him Mr. Oswald, who told me he was just 
about returning to London. I was a little surpriz'd at the 
Suddenness of the Resolution he had taken, it being, as he 
said, to set out the next Morning early. I conceiv'd the 
Gentlemen were engaged in Business, so I withdrew, and went 
to write a few Letters, among which was the following to 
Lord Shelburne, being really concerned at the Thoughts 
of losing so good a Man as Mr. Oswald. 

TO LORD SHELBURNE (P. R. O.) 

"Passy, May 13, 1782. 
"MY LORD, 

"I did myself the honour of writing to your Lordship a 
few days since, by Mr. Grenville's Courier, acknowledging 
the Receipt of yours of the 28th past, by Mr. Oswald. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 497 

"I then hoped that Gentleman would have remain 'd here 
some time, but his Affairs, it seems, recall him sooner than 
he imagin'd. I hope he will return again, as I esteem him 
more, the more I am acquainted with him, and believe his 
Moderation, prudent Counsels, and sound Judgment may 
contribute much, not only to the speedy Conclusion of a 
Peace, but to the framing such a Peace as may be firm and 
long-lasting. With great Respect, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

I went in the Evening to Mr. Oswald's Lodgings with my 
Letters, when he inform'd me his Intention was to return 
immediately hither from England; and, to make the more 
Dispatch in going and returning he should leave his Carriage 
at Calais, as the embarking and debarking of Carriages in the 
Packet Boats often occasion a Tide's Delay. I did not en- 
quire the Reason of this Movement. We had but little 
Conversation, for Mr. Grenville coming in, I soon after 
wished him a good Journey and retired, that I might not 
interrupt their Consultations. 

Since his Departure, Mr. Grenville has made me a Visit; 
and entered into a Conversation with me, exactly of the same 
Tenor with the Letters I formerly receiv'd from Mr. Hartley, 
stating Suppositions that France might insist on Points totally 
different from what had been the Object of our Alliance, and 
that in such Case he should imagine we were not at all bound 
to continue the War to obtain such Points for her, &c. I 
thought I could not give him a better Answer to this kind 
of Discourse, than what I had given in two Letters to Mr. 
Hartley ; and therefore calling for those Letters, I read them 
to him. He smil'd, and would have turned the Conversa- 
tion : But I gave a little more of my Sentiments on the general 

VOL. VIII 2 K 



498 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Subject of Benefits, Obligations, and Gratitude. I said I 
thought People had often imperfect Notions of their Duty 
on those Points, and that a State of Obligation, was to many 
so uneasy a State, that they became ingenious in finding out 
Reasons and Arguments to prove that they had been laid 
under no Obligation at all, or that they had discharg'd it, 
and that they too easily satisfied themselves with such 
Arguments. 
To explain clearly my Ideas on the Subject, I stated a Case. 

A, a Stranger to B, sees him about to be imprison 'd for a Debt 
by a merciless Creditor; he lends him the sum necessary to 
preserve his Liberty. B then becomes the Debtor of A, and, 
after some time repays the Money. Has he then discharg'd 
the Obligation? No. He has discharg'd the Money Debt, 
but the Obligation remains, and he is a Debtor for the Kind- 
ness of A, in lending him the Sum so seasonably. If B 
should afterwards find A in the same Circumstances, that he, 

B, had been in when A lent him the Money, he may then dis- 
charge this Obligation or Debt of Kindness in part, by lend- 
ing him an equal Sum. In part, I said, and not wholly, 
because, when A lent B the Money, there had been no prior 
Benefit received to induce him to it. And therefore if A 
should a second time need the same Assistance, I thought B, 
if in his Power, was in duty bound to afford it to him. 

Mr. Grenville conceiv'd that it was carrying Gratitude very 
far, to apply this Doctrine to our Situation in respect to France, 
who was really the Party serv'd and oblig'd by our Separa- 
tion from England, as it lessened the Power of her Rival and 
relatively increas'd her own. 

I told him, I was so strongly impress 'd with the kind Assist- 
ance afforded us by France in our Distress, and the generous 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 499 

and noble manner in which it was granted, without exacting 
or stipulating for a single Privilege, or particular Advantage 
to herself in our Commerce, or otherwise, that I could never 
suffer myself to think of such Reasonings for lessening the 
Obligation ; and I hoped, and, indeed, did not doubt, but my 
Countrymen were all of the same Sentiments. 

Thus he gain'd nothing of the point he came to push ; we 
parted, however, in good humour. His Conversation is 
always polite, and his Manner pleasing. As he express 'd a 
strong desire to discourse with me on the Means of a Recon- 
ciliation with America, I promised to consider the Subject, 
and appointed Saturday the first day of June for our Con- 
versation, when he propos'd to call on me. The same Day 
I receiv'd another letter from my old Friend, Mr. Hartley. 
Our former Correspondence on the Subject of Peace since 
the Beginning of this Year, I have kept by itself, as it pre- 
ceded this, was in the time of the old Ministry, and con- 
sisted wholly of Letters unmix'd with personal Conversation. 
This being the first Letter from him under the new Ministry, 
and as it may be follow'd by others, which may relate to the 
Negociation, I insert it here, with my Answer, and shall 
continue to insert the future Letters I may receive from him 
relative to the same Subject. 

FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 

"London, 3 May, 1782. 
"Mv DEAR FRIEND, 

" I write to you only one line, just to inform you, that a general order is 
issued by our government for the release of all the American prisoners every- 
where. I have had this from Lord Shelburne, who informed me, that the order 
was not partial or conditional, but general and absolute. I heartily congratu- 
late you upon this first step towards sweet reconciliation. I hope other things 
will follow. I had a long conversation with Lord Shelburne relating to 
America, in which he expressed himself in most favorable terms. I shall have 



500 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

the honor of seeing and conversing with you again. But at present, as you 
know, certain matters are depending from your side of the water. 

" Mr. Laurens is entirely at liberty. I see him very frequently, and when 
you see him he will tell you many things from me, which have occurred to me 
in my poor endeavours to promote the cause of peace. Da paccm, Domine, 
in diebus nostris. Your affectionate, &c. 

"D. HARTLEY." 

TO DAVID HARTLEY 

"Passy, May 13, 1782. 

"MY DEAR FRIEND, 

"I have just received your Favour of the 3d Instant. 
I thank you much for the good News you give me, that 'an 
Order is issued by your Government for the Release of all 
the American Prisoners everywhere, an Order not partial or 
conditional, but general and absolute.' I rejoice with you in 
this Step, not only on account of the unhappy Captives, who 
by it will be set at Liberty and restor'd to their Friends and 
Families, but as I think it will tend greatly towards a Recon- 
ciliation, on which alone the hope of a durable Peace can be 
founded. I am much indebted to your good Brother for a 
very kind and obliging Letter, which was mislaid when it 
should have been answered. I beg you would present to him 
my thankful Acknowledgments and my very sincere Respects. 
I join with you most heartily in the Prayer that ends your 
Letter, Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris I I am ever, my 

dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

X k ... T f < * f , | 

Our Business standing still at present, till the Return of 
Mr. Oswald, gives me a Void, that I may fill up with two or 
three Circumstances, not at present connected with this 
intended Treaty, but which serve to show something of the 
Disposition of Courts who have, or may have, a Concern in it. 

Mr. Jay had written to me from time to time of the unac- 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 501 

countable Delays he had met with since his Residence at the 
Court of Spain, and that he was now no nearer in the Business 
he had been charg'd with, than when he first arriv'd. Upon 
the first coming of Mr. Oswald, and the apparent Prospect 
of a Treaty, I wrote to press his coming hither, and, being a 
little out of Humour with that Court, I said, they have taken 
four Years to consider whether they should treat with us, 
give them forty, and let us mind our own Business; and I 
sent the Letter under Cover to a Person at Madrid, who I 
hop'd would open and read it. 

It seems to me that we have in most Instances, hurt our 
Credit and Importance, by sending all over Europe, begging 
Alliances, and soliciting Declarations of our Independence. 
The Nations perhaps from thence seem to think, that our 
independence is something they have to sell, and that we 
don't offer enough for it. Mr. Adams has succeeded in 
Holland, owing to their War with England ; and a good deal 
to the late Votes in the Commons towards a Reconciliation; 
but the Ministers of the other Powers refus'd, as I hear, to 
return his Visits, because our Independence was not yet 
acknowledg'd by their Courts. I had heard here, by good 
Luck, that the same Resolution was taken by several of them 
not to return the Visits I should make them (as they suppos'd) 
when I was first receiv'd here as Minister Plenipotentiary, 
and I disappointed their Project by Visiting none of them. 
In my private Opinion, the first Civility is due from the old 
Resident to the Stranger and New comer. My Opinion 
indeed is good for nothing against Custom, which I should 
have obeyed, but for the Circumstances, that rendred it more 
prudent to avoid Disputes and Affronts, tho' at the hazard of 
being thought rude or singular. 



503 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIff FRAtfKUN [1782 

While I am writing, something ridiculous enough on this 
head has happen'd to me. The Count du Nord, who is son 
to the Empress of Russia, arriving at Paris, order'd, it seems, 
Cards of Visit to be sent to all the foreign Ministers. One of 
them, on which was written, "Le Comte du Nord et le Prince 
Bariaiinski," was brought to me. It was on Monday Even- 
ing last. Being at Court the next Day, I enquir'd of an old 
Minister, my Friend, what was the Etiquette, and whether 
the Count receiv'd Visits. The Answer was, "Non; on 
se fait ecrire; voilb tout" This is done here by passing the 
Door, and ordering your Name to be writ in the Porter's book. 
Accordingly on Wednesday I pass'd the House of Prince 
Bariatinski, Ambassador of Russia, where the Count lodg'd, 
and left my Name on the List of each. I thought no more of 
the Matter: But this Day, May 24, comes the Servant who 
brought the Card, in great Affliction, saying he was like to be 
ruin'd by his Mistake in bringing the Card here, and wishing 
to obtain from me some Paper, of I know not what kind, for 
I did not see him. 

In the Afternoon came my Friend, M. Le Roy, who is also 
a Friend of the Prince's, telling me how much he, the Prince, 
was concern'd at the Accident, that both himself and the 
Comte had great personal Regard for me and my Character, 
but that our Independence not yet being acknowledg'd by 
the Court of Russia, it was impossible for him to permit 
himself to make me a Visit as Minister. I told M. Le Roy 
it was not my Custom to seek such Honours, tho* I was very 
sensible of them when conferr'd upon me ; that I should not 
have voluntarily intruded a Visit, and that in this Case I had 
only done what I was infonn'd the Etiquette requir'd of me : 
But if it would be attended with any Inconvenience to Prince 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 503 

Bariatinski, whom I much esteem'd and respected, I thought 
the Remedy was easy; he had only to erase my Name out 
of his Book of Visits receiv'd, and I would burn their Card. 

All the Northern Princes are not asham'd of a little Civility 
committed towards an American. The King of Denmark 
travelling in England under an assumed Name, sent me a 
Card expressing in strong Terms his Esteem for me, and 
inviting me to dinner with him at St. James's. And the Am- 
bassador from the King of Sweden lately ask'd me, whether I 
had Powers to make a Treaty of Commerce with their King- 
dom, for, he said, his Master was desirous of such a Treaty 
with the United States, had directed him to ask me the Ques- 
tion, and had charg'd him to tell me, that it would flatter him 
greatly to make it with a Person whose Character he so much 
esteem'd, &c. Such Compliments might probably make me 
a little proud, if we Americans were not naturally as much so 
already as the Porter, who, being told he had with his Bur- 
then jostled the Great Czar Peter (then in London, walking 
the Street) : "Pohl" says he, "we are all Czars here." 

I did not write by Mr. Oswald to Mr. Laurens, because from 
some Expressions in his last to me, I expected him here, and 
I desir'd Mr. Oswald, if he found him still in London, or 
met him on the Road, to give him that Reason. I am dis- 
appointed in my Expectation, for I have now receiv'd (May 
25) the following Letter from him, viz. 

[FROM HENRY LAURENS TO B. FRANKLIN] 

"Ostend, i;" 1 May, 1782. 
" SIR, 

" I had the honour of addressing you under the 3Oth Ulto by Post, a dupli- 
cate of which will accompany this, in order to guard against the Effect of a 
Miscarriage in the first Instance, and I beg leave to refer to the contents. 



504 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

" On the loth Current and no sooner, your very obliging favour of the zoth 
preceding rcach'd me in London. Being then on the point of leaving that 
Place, I defer'd a Reply until my Arrival on this side. This happen'd yester- 
day, too late to catch the Post of the day, except by a single Letter, put into 
my hands, I believe, by Dr. Price, which I sent forward. 

" I sincerely and heartily thank you, Sir, for the cordial contents of your 
last letter ; but, from the most mature reflection, and taking into consideration 
my present very infirm state of health, I have resolved to decline accepting 
the honor intended me by Congress, in the Commission for treating with 
Great Britain, and I find the less difficulty in coming to this determination, 
from a persuasion in my own mind that my assistance is not essential, and that 
it was not the view or expectation of our Constituents, that every one named 
in the Commission should act. I purpose to repair to, or near to Mr. Adams, 
and inquire of him, whether I may yet be serviceable under the Commission 
to which I had been first appointed, that for borrowing Money for the Use of 
the United States. If he speaks in the Affirmative, I shall, tho' much against 
my own grain, as is well known at our little Court, proceed in the Mission 
with diligence and fidelity ; otherwise, I shall take a convenient opportunity 
of returning to give an account there, of having in the course of two Years and 
upwards done nothing, excepting only, the making a great number of Rebels 
in the enemy's Country, and reconciling thousands to the Doctrine of absolute 
and unlimited Independence ; a Doctrine, which I asserted and maintain'd 
with as much freedom in the Tower of London, as I ever had done in the State 
House at Philadelphia ; and having contentedly submitted to the loss of my 
Estate, and being ready to lay down my life in support of it, I had the satis- 
faction of perceiving the coming in of Converts every day. I must not, how- 
ever, conclude this head without assuring you, that should you think proper to 
ask questions respecting American Commerce, or the Interest of any particular 
State, I will answer with Candour and the best Judgment I am possess'd of ; 
but of that judgment I sincerely protest I have the utmost diffidence. God 
prosper your proceedings in the great work ; you shall be called blessed by 
all the grateful of the present Generation, and your name will be celebrated 
by Posterity. I feel myself happy in reflecting that, in the great outlines for 
a Treaty, our opinions exactly coincide, that we shall not want the countenance 
and assistance of our great and good Ally, and that you have so honest a Man 
as Mr. Oswald to deal with for preliminaries. I know him to be superior to 
chicanery, and am sure he will not defile his mind by attempting any dirty 
thing. 

" I intreat you, Sir, to present my humble respects to M. de Vergennes, and 
thank his Excellency for his polite Expressions respecting me, and be so good 
as to say all that shall appear necessary in excuse for my non-appearance at 
his Court 

" Lord Cornwallis call'd on me the day before I left London, and was, as 
you may suppose, very anxious to know when he might probably hear from me 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 505 

on the subject of his Release ; let me, therefore, request your opinion in Answer 
to what I had the honor of writing in my last concerning that affair. I wish 
it may prove satisfactory to His Lordship, by enabling me, with your consent 
and concurrence, to cancel a debt, which does not sit easy upon me, and 
which cannot with honour to our Country remain unpaid. I think we shall 
not, 'tis impossible we should, incur displeasure by doing an act of common 
justice, and our authority may be fairly implied. 

" His Lordship declares he has no intention of returning to America, but 
desires to be reinstated in his Legislative and Military Characters in his own 
country, and I am of opinion, that in the former Station he will rather be 
friendly to us than otherwise. For my own part, if the War continues, I should 
not be uneasy if his Lordship were to go to the Chesapeake again. 

" I have a thousand Compliments and good wishes to present to you from 
Friends in England, where, Males and Females, I am sure you have at least 
so many ; your own remembrance will lead you to individuals of your old 
acquaintance. 

" To-morrow I intend to proceed to Brussels, and thence probably to Hague 
and Amsterdam. My movements must, unavoidably, be as slow as Water 
Carriage. My weak under limbs cannot bear continual thumping on the Pave- 
ment in the Rough Machines of this Country, and the feebleness of my pocket 
will not admit the indulgence of a more convenient vehicle. I beg, Sir, you 
will write to me at the house of Mr. Edward Jennings, or under the protection 
of any other friend in that City, that will be at the trouble of finding out a 
voyager, who is, at all times, and in all places, with the highest Esteem and 
Respect, Sir, &c. " HENRY LAURENS." 

To the above, I wrote the following Answer. 



"Passy, May 25, 1782. 
"SiR, 

"I am now honour'd with yours of the lyth. I had before 
received one of the 7th, which remain'd unanswer'd, because 
from the Words in it, ' when I reach the Continent, which will 
probably happen in a few days,' I flatter'd myself with the 
Pleasure of seeing you here. That Hope is disappointed by 
your last, in which you tell me, you are determin'd not to 
act in the Commission for Treating of Peace with Britain. 



506 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I regret your taking this Resolution, principally because I 
am persuaded your Assistance must have been of great Service 
to our Country. But I have besides some private or particular 
Reasons, that relate to myself. 

"To encourage me in the arduous Task, you kindly tell 
me I shall be called Blessed, &c. I have never yet known of 
a Peace made, that did not occasion a great deal of popular 
Discontent, Clamour, and Censure on both sides. This is, 
perhaps, owing to the usual Management of the Ministers 
and Leaders of the contending Nations, who to keep up the 
Spirits of their People for continuing the War, generally 
represent the State of their own Affairs in a better Light, and 
that of the Enemy in a Worse, than is consistent with the 
Truth ; hence the Populace on each Side expect better Terms 
than really can be obtained, and are apt to ascribe their 
Disappointment to Treachery. Thus the Peace of Utrecht, 
and that of Aix-la-Chapelle, were said in England to have been 
influenc'd by French Gold, and in France by English Guineas. 
Even the last Peace, the most advantageous and glorious for 
England that ever she made, was, you may remember, vio- 
lently decry'd, and the Makers as violently abused. So that 
the Blessing promis'd to Peacemakers, I fancy relates to the 
next World, for in this they seem to have a greater Chance of 
being curst. And as another Text observes, that in 'the 
Multitude of Counsellors there is Safety,' which I think may 
mean Safety to the Counsellors as well as to the Counselled, 
because, if they commit a Fault in Counselling, the Blame 
does not fall on one or a few, but is divided among many, and 
the Share of each is so much the lighter, or perhaps because 
when a Number of honest Men are concern'd, the suspicion 
of their being biassed is weaker, as being more improbable ; 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 507 

or because dejendit Numerus; for all these Reasons, but 
especially for the Support your establish'd Character of In- 
tegrity would afford me against the Attacks of my Enemies, 
if this Treaty take place, and I am to act in it, I wish for your 
presence, and the Presence of as many of the Commissioners 
as possible, and I hope you will reconsider and change your 
Resolution. 

"In the mean time, as you have had Opportunities of 
conversing with the new Ministers, and other leading People 
in England, and of learning their Sentiments relating to Terms 
of Peace, &c., I request you would inform me by Letters of 
what you think important : Letters from you will come safer 
by the Court Courier than by Post, and I desire you would, 
if you should continue determin'd not to act, communicate to 
me your Ideas of the Terms to be insisted on, and the Points 
to be attended to, respecting Commerce, Fisheries, Boundaries, 
and every other material Circumstance, that may be of Im- 
portance to all or any of the United States. 

"Lord Shelburne having written to me on the Subject of 
the wish'd for Peace, I acquainted him in my Answer, sent 
by our Friend, Mr. Oswald, that you were one of the Com- 
missioners, appointed by Congress to treat with Britain, and 
that I imagin'd his Lordship would therefore think it proper 
to discharge you entirely from the Obligations you enter'd 
into, when you were admitted to Bail, that you might be at 
Liberty to act freely in the Commission. He wrote to me in 
Reply, that you were accordingly discharged immediately. 
His Lordship mention'd nothing of any Exchange being ex- 
pected for you. Nevertheless, I honour your Sensibility on 
the Point, and your Concern for the Credit of America, that 
she should not be outdone in Generosity by Britain, and will 



So8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANK UN [1782 

chearfully join with you in any act, that you may think proper 
to discharge in Return the Parole of Lord Cornwallis, as far 
as in our Power may lie. As we have no express Authority 
for that purpose, and the Congress may possibly in the mean 
time have made some other Arrangement relative to his 
exchange, I conceive that our Act should contain a Clause, 
reserving to Congress the final Approbation or Disallowance 
of the Proceeding ; and I have some doubt whether Lord Corn- 
wallis will think himself well freed from his Engagements, 
and at liberty to exercise his military Employments, by virtue 
of any Concession in his favour made by Persons, who are not 
vested with Authority for that purpose. So that, on the 
whole, perhaps the best and surest way will be, our writing 
immediately to Congress, and strongly recommending the 
measure. However, I will do what you shall think best. 

"I heartily wish you Success in any Endeavours you may use 
in Holland for raising a Loan of Money. We have press'd 
rather too hard on this Court, and we still want more than they 
can conveniently spare us. But I am sorry that too scrupu- 
lous a Regard to our Wants and Difficulties should induce 
you, under the present Infirmity of your lower limbs, to deny 
yourself the necessary Comfort of an easy Carriage, rather 
than make any use of the public Assistance, when the public 
must be much in your Debt. I beg you would get over that 
Difficulty, and take of me what you may have occasion for. 

"The Letter you forwarded to me was from America's 
constant Friend, the good Bishop of St. Asaph. He speaks 
of you in Terms of the highest Esteem and Respect. 

"Mr. Oswald is gone back again to London, but intended 
to return immediately. Mr. Grenville remains here, and 
has receiv'd power to Treat, but no further Steps can be taken 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 509 

till Spain and Holland have impower'd Ministers for the 
same purpose. 

"I shall inform you and Mr. Adams (if he does not come) 
of the Proceedings from time to time, and request your 
Counsels in Cases of any Difficulty. I hope you will not think 
of hazarding a Return to America before a Peace, if we find 
any hopes of its being soon obtained. And that if you do not 
find you can be useful in the manner you wish in Holland, you 
will make me happy by your Company and Counsels here. 

With great and sincere Esteem, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

May 26th, I received the following from Mr. Hartley. 1 

FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 

" London, 13 May, 1782. 
" MY DEAR FRIEND, 

"I wrote you a long letter dated May 1st, 2 by Mr. Laurens, who left Lon- 
don on Saturday last, but I will add a few lines now by a conveyance, which I 
believe will overtake him, just to tell you two or three things, which I believe 
I omitted in my last. Perhaps they may not be of any consequence, but, as 
they relate to my own conduct, I could wish to have you understand them. 

" After several conferences with the late ministry, I gave in the paper, called 
the Breviate? on the 7th of February, but I never received any answer from 
them. They resigned on the 2Oth of March. x Upon the accession of the new 
ministry, I heard nothing from them upon the subject, nor indeed did I apply 
to them. I did not know whether that paper would not come into their hands 
by succession, and I doubted whether it might not be more proper for me to 
wait till I heard from them. While I remained doubtful about this, I received 
your letters, which determined me to go to Lord Shelburne. This was about 
the beginning of the present month. I communicated to him some extracts, 
such as those about the prisoners, &c., and likewise the whole of your letter of 
April 1 3th, containing the offer of the late ministry, the King of France's 
answer, together with your reflections in the conclusion respecting peace. As 

1 Not in Ms. Journal. ED. 

2 See "Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. Ill, p. 343. ED. 
* Ibid. p. 351. ED. 



Sio THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

you had given me a general permission, I left with him a copy of the whole 
letter. 

44 Upon the occasion of this interview, Lord Shelburne told me, that he had 
made much inquiry in the offices for the correspondence and papers, which 
had passed between the late ministry and me, but that he could not meet with 
them. He expressed a regret, that he had not conversed with me at an earlier 
day, with many civilities of that kind. In short, I had been backward to in- 
trude myself, and he expressed regret that he had not sent for me. 

" Upon this opening on his part, I stated to him the substance of what 
passed between the late ministry and myself, and I left a copy of the Brniate 
with him. He gave me very attentive audience, and I took that opportunity 
of stating my sentiments to him, as far as I could, upon every view of the 
question. Upon his expressing his regret that he had not seen me sooner, I 
told him that I always had been, and always should be, most ready to give any 
assistance in my power towards the work of peace. I say the same to you. 

" I do not believe that there is any difference of sentiment between you and 
me, personally, in our own minds upon independence, &c. &c. But we belong 
to different communities, and the right of judgment, and of consent and dis- 
sent, is vested in the community. Divide independence into six millions of 
shares, and you should have been heartily welcome to my share from the 
beginning of the war. Divide Canada into six millions of shares, I could find 
a better method of disposing of my share, than by offering it to France to 
abandon America. Divide the Rock of Gibraltar into six millions of pieces, I 
can only answer for one portion. Let Reason and Justice decide in any such 
case, as universal umpires between contending parties, and those, who wish 
well to the permanent peace of mankind, will not refuse to give and to receive 
equal justice. 

" I agree with you, that the equitable and the philosophical principles of 
politics can alone form a solid foundation of permanent peace ; and the con- 
traries to them, though highly patronized by nations themselves, and their 
ministers, are no better than vulgar errors ; but nations are slow to convictions 
from the personal arguments of individuals. They are ' jealous in honor, 
seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth.' But until a con- 
firmed millennium, founded upon wiser principles, shall be generally established, 
the reputation of nations is not merely a bubble. It forms their real security. 

"To apply all this, in one word, let all nations agree, with one accord, to 
beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, or 
give me wooden walls to Great Britain ! I have nothing further to add. My 
reason for writing this was just to communicate to you in what position I had 
delivered over my conferences and arguments with the late ministry into the 
hands of the present. And I will conclude with your own words, may God 
send us all more wisdom. I am ever, most affectionately, yours, &c. 

" D. HARTLEY." 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 511 

" P. S. May 1 7//4. Since writing the above, I have likewise left a copy 
of the enclosed preliminaries with Lord Sheiburne." 

[PRELIMINARIES 

"May, 1782. 

" I. That the British troops shall be withdrawn from the Thirteen Provinces 
of North America, and a truce made between Great Britain and the said 
Provinces, for years. (Suppose ten or twenty years.) 

" 2. That a negotiation for peace shall bonafidc be opened between Great 
Britain and the Allies of America. 

" 3. If the proposed negotiation between Great Britain and the allies of 
America should not succeed so far as to produce peace, but that war should 
continue between the said parties, that America should act, and be treated, as 
a neutral nation. 

" 4. That, whenever peace shall take place between Great Britain and 
the allies of America, the truce between Great Britain and America shall be 
converted into a perpetual peace, the independence of America shall be 
admitted and guarantied by Great Britain, and a commercial treaty settled 
between them. 

" 5. That these propositions shall be made to the court of France, for com- 
munication to the American Commissioners, and for an answer to the court 
of Great Britain."] 

The same day Mr. Grenville visited me. He acquainted 
me that his Courier was return'd, and had brought him full 
Powers in form to treat for a Peace with France and her allies. 
That he had been to Versailles, and had shown his Power to 
M. de Vergennes, and left a Copy with him. That he had 
also a Letter of Credence, which he was not to deliver till 
France should think fit to send a Minister of the same kind 
to London; that M. de Vergennes had told him, that he 
would lay it before the King, and had desired to see him 
again on Wednesday. That Mr. Oswald had arrived in Lon- 
don, about an hour before the Courier came away. That 
Mr. Fox in his Letter had charg'd him to thank me for that 
which I had written, and to tell me he hop'd I would never 
forget, that he and I were of the same Country. 

I answer'd, that I should always esteem it an Honour to 



512 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

be own'd as a Countryman by Mr. Fox. He had requested 
me, at our last Interview that if I saw no Impropriety in doing 
it, I would favour him with a Sight of the Treaty of Alli- 
ance between France and America. I acquainted him that 
it was printed, but that if he could not readily meet with a 
Copy, I would have one written for him. And as he had not 
been able to find one, I this day gave it to him. 

He lent me a London Gazette, containing Admiral Rodney's 
Account of his Victory over M. de Grasse, and the accounts 
of other Successes in the East Indies, assuring me however 
that these Events made not the least Change in the sincere 
desires of his Court to treat for Peace. 

In the afternoon the Marquis de la Fayette call'd upon me. 
I acquainted him with what Mr. Grenville had told me 
respecting his Credential Letter, and the Expectation that a 
Person on the Part of this Court would be sent to London 
with a Commission similar to his. The Marquis told me 
he was on his Way to Versailles, and should see M. de Ver- 
gennes. We concluded that it would now be proper for him to 
make the Proposition we had before talked of, that he should 
be the Person employ'd in that Service. 

On Monday, the 27, I received a Letter from Mr. Jay, 
dated the 8th, acquainting me that he had receiv'd mine of 
the 2ist and 22d past, and had concluded to set out for Paris 
about the ipth, so that he may be expected in a few days. 

I din'd this day with Count d'Estaing, and a Number of 
brave Marine Officers, that he had invited. We were all a 
little dejected and chagrin'd with the News. I mention'd, 
by way of Encouragement, the Observation of the Turkish 
Bashaw, who was taken with his Fleet at Lepanto by the 
Venetians. "Ships," says he, "are like my Master's Beard; 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 513 

you may cut it, but it will grow again. He has cut off from 
your Government all the Morea, which is like a Limb which 
you will never recover." And his Words prov'd true. 

On Tuesday I din'd at Versailles with some Friends, so 
was not at home when the Marquis de la Fayette call'd to 
acquaint me, that M. de Vergennes had inform'd him, that 
the full Power receiv'd by Mr. Grenville from London, and 
communicated by him, related to France only. The Marquis 
left for me this Information, which I could not understand. 
On Wednesday I was at Court, and saw the Copy of the 
Power. It appear'd full with regard to treating with France, 
but mentioned not a Word of her Allies. And as M. de Ver- 
gennes had explicitly and constantly, from the Beginning 
declared to the several Messengers, Mr. Forth, Mr. Oswald, 
and Mr. Grenville, that France could only treat in Concert 
with her Allies, and it had in consequence been declared on 
the Part of the British Ministry, that they consented to treat 
for a general Peace, and at Paris, the sending this partial 
Power appear'd to be insidious, and a mere Invention to occa- 
sion Delay, the late Disaster to the French fleet having prob- 
ably given the Court of England fresh Courage and other 
Views. 

M. de Vergennes said he should see Mr. Grenville on Thurs- 
day, and would speak his mind to him, on the Subject very 
plainly. "They want," said he, "to treat with us for you. 
But this the King will not agree to. He thinks it not con- 
sistent with the Dignity of your State. You will treat for 
yourselves : And every one of the Powers at War with Eng- 
land will make its own Treaty. All that is necessary to be 
observ'd for our Common Security is, that the Treaties go 
hand in hand, and are sign'd all on the same day." 

VOL. VIII 2 L 



514 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Prince Bariatinski, the Russian Ambassador, was particu- 
larly civil to me this Day at Court, apologiz'd for what had 
pass'd relating to the Visit, express'd himself as extreamly 
sensible of my Friendship in covering the Affair, which might 
have occasion'd to him very disagreable Consequences, &c. 
The Comte du Nord came to M. Vergennes, while we were 
drinking Coffee after Dinner. He appears lively and active, 
with a sensible, spirited Countenance. There was an Opera 
at Night for his Entertainment. The House being richly 
finish'd with abundance of Carving and Gilding, well Illu- 
minated with Wax Tapers, and the Company all superbly 
drest, many of the Men in Cloth of Tissue, and the Ladies 
sparkling with Diamonds, form'd altogether the most splendid 
Spectacle my Eyes ever beheld. 

I had some little Conference to-day with Messrs. Berken- 
rode, Vanderpierre, and Boeris, the Ambassador of Holland 
and the Agents of the Dutch East India Company. They 
inform 'd me, that the second Letter of Mr. Fox to the Medi- 
ating Minister of Russia, proposing a separate Peace with 
Holland, made no more Impression than the first, and no 
Peace would be made but in Concurrence with France. 

The Swedish Minister told me he expected orders from his 
Court relative to a Treaty, &c. 

I had, at our last Interview, given Mr. Grenville a Rendez- 
vous for Saturday Morning, and, having some other Engage- 
ments for Thursday and Friday, tho' I wish'd to speak with 
him on the Subject of his Power, I did not go to him, but waited 
his coming to me on Saturday. On Friday, May 3ist, Mr. 
Oswald call'd on me, being just return'd, and brought me 
the following Letters from David Hartley, and two letters 
from Lord Shelburne, the first of which had been written 
before his arrival. 






1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 515 

FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 

"London, 25 May, 1782. 
"Mv DEAR FRIEND, 

" Yours of the I3th instant I received by Mr. Oswald. I did not doubt 
but that the news of a general and absolute release of the American prisoners, 
which Lord Shelburne was so good as to communicate to me, in answer to that 
part of your letter of the fth of April, in which you speak so pathetically of 
sweet reconciliation, would give you much sincere and heartfelt pleasure. 
God send, that it may be the happy omen of final reconciliation and durable 
peace. I should be very happy to hear that good news from you, and in any 
way to contribute to it. Having on that subject communicated the prelimi- 
naries, dated May, 1782, to Lord Shelburne, you may be assured that I have no 
reservations upon that head respecting America, in any circumstances or con- 
dition whatever. You know all my thoughts upon that subject, and the prin- 
ciples upon which they are founded, and, therefore, that they are not changeable. 

" It would give me the greatest pleasure, if I could hope for any opportu- 
nity of seeing you. I could say many things, which are otherwise incom- 
municable, and which perhaps would contribute to facilitate the road to peace. 
I think I see in many parts much matter to work with, out of which a peace, 
honorable to all parties and upon durable principles, might be established. 
No degrading or mortifying conditions to shorten peace and rekindle war. 
Perhaps I might not say too much if I were to add, that simply the adoption of 
reason among nations, and the mere rectification of obsolete and gothic 
absurdities, which carry no gratification, would afford a fund of remuneration 
to all parties for renouncing those objects of mutual contention, which, in the 
eye of reason, are no better than creatures of passion, jealousy, and false pride. 
Until the principles of reason and equity shall be adopted in national trans- 
actions, peace will not be durable amongst men. 

" These are reflections general to all nations. As to the mutual concerns 
between Great Britain and North America, reconciliation is the touchstone to 
prove those hearts, which are without alloy. If I can be of any assistance 
to you, in any communications or explanations conducive to peace, you may 
command my utmost services. Even if a French minister were to overhear 
such an offer, let him not take it in jealous part. Zealously and affectionately 
attached to my own country and to America, I am nevertheless most perfectly 
of accord with you, that justice and honor should be observed towards all 
nations. Mr. Oswald will do me the favour to convey this to you. I heartily 
wish him success in his pacific embassy. Yours ever, most affectionately, 

" D. HARTLEY." 



Si6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

FROM THE EARL OF SHELBURNE TO B. FRANKLIN (p. R. O.) 

"Whitehall, 21* May, 1782. 

"SIR, 

" I am honored with your Letter of the loth instant, and am very glad to 
find that the conduct, which the King has empowered me to observe towards 
Mr. Laurens, and the American Prisoners, has given you Pleasure. I have 
signified to Mr. Oswald his Majesty's pleasure, that he shall continue at Paris 
till he receives Orders from hence to return. In the present State of this 
Business, there is nothing for me to add, but my sincere Wishes for a happy 
issue, and to repeat my Assurances, that nothing shall be wanting on my part 
which can contribute to it. I am, etc. 

" SHELBURNE." 

FROM THE EARL OF SHELBURNE TO B. FRANKLIN (P. R. O.) 

"Whitehall, 25 May, 1782. 
" SIR, 

44 1 have the honour to receive your letter of the I3th of May, by Mr. 
Oswald. It gives me great pleasure to find my Opinion of Moderation 
prudence, and judgment of that Gentleman confirmed by your Concurrence 
For I am glad to assure you, that we likewise concur in hoping that those 
Qualities may enable him to contribute to the speedy conclusion of a Peace, 
and such a Peace as may be firm and long lasting. In that hope, he has the 
King's orders to return immediately to Paris, and you will find him, I trust, 
properly instructed to cooperate in so desirable an object. I have the honor 
to be, &c. 

" SHELBURNE." 

I had not then time to converse much with Mr. Oswald, 
and he promis'd to come and breakfast with me on Monday. 

Saturday, June ist. Mr. Grenville came according to 
appointment. Our Conversation began by my acquainting 
him, that I had seen the Count de Vergennes, and had perus'd 
the Copy left with him of the Power to treat. That after 
what he, Mr. Grenville, told me of its being to treat with 
France and her Allies, I was a little surpriz'd to find in it no 
mention of the Allies, and that it was only to treat with the 
King of France and his Ministers : That at Versailles there 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 517 

was some Suspicion of its being intended to occasion Delay ; 
the profess'd Desire of speedy Peace being perhaps abated in 
the British Court since its late Successes ; but that I imagin'd 
the Words relating to the Allies might have been accidentally 
omitted in transcribing, or that, perhaps, he had a special 
Power to treat with us distinct from the other. 

He answer'd, that the Copy was right, and that he had no 
such special Power in form, but that his Instructions were full 
to that purpose, and that he was sure the Ministry had no 
Desire of Delay, nor any of excluding us from the Treaty, 
since the greatest Part of those Instructions related to treating 
with me. That to convince me of the Sincerity of his Court 
respecting us, he would acquaint me with one of his In- 
structions, tho' perhaps the doing it now was premature, and 
therefore a little inconsistent with the Character of a Poli- 
tician, but he had that confidence in me that he should not 
hesitate to inform me (tho' he wish'd that at present it should 
go no further,) he was Instructed to acknowledge the Indepen- 
dence of America, previous to the Commencement of the Treaty. 
And he said he could only account for the Omission of 
America in the POWER, by supposing that it was an Old 
Official Form copied from that given to Mr. Stanley, when 
he came over hither before the last Peace. Mr. Grenville 
added that he had immediately after his Interview with 
M. de Vergennes, dispatch'd a Courier to London, and hop'd, 
that with his Return the Difficulty would be remov'd : That 
he was perfectly assur'd their late Successes had made no 
Change in the Dispositions of his Court to Peace, and that he 
had more Reason than M. de Vergennes to complain of 
Delay, since five Days were spent before he could obtain a 
Passport for his Courier, and then it was not to go and return 



Si8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

by Way of Calais, but to go by Ostend, which would occasion 
a Delay of five days longer. Mr. Grenville then spoke much 
of the high opinion the present Ministry had of me, and their 
great Esteem for me, their Desire of a perfect Reconcilia- 
tion between the two Countries, and the firm and general 
Belief in England, that no Man was so capable as myself of 
proposing the proper Means of bringing about such a Recon- 
ciliation; adding that if the Old Ministers had formerly 
been too little attentive to my Counsels, the present were very 
differently dispos'd, and he hop'd that in treating with them, 
I would totally forget their Predecessors. 

The Time has been when such flattering Language as 
from great Men might have made me vainer, and had more 
Effect on my Conduct, than it can at present, when I find 
myself so near the End of Life as to esteem lightly all personal 
Interests and Concerns, except that of maintaining to the 
last, and leaving behind me the tolerably good Character 
I have hitherto supported. 

Mr. G. then discoursed of our Resolution not to treat without 
our Allies. "This," says he, "can properly only relate to 
France, with whom you have a Treaty of Alliance, but you 
have none with Spain, you have none with Holland. If 
Spain and Holland, and even if France should insist on un- 
reasonable Terms of Advantage to themselves, after you have 
obtain 'd all you want, and are satisfied, can it be right that 
America should be dragg'd on in a War for their Interests 
only?" He stated this Matter in various Lights and press 'd 
it earnestly. 

I resolv'd from various Reasons, to evade the Discussion 
and therefore answer'd, that the intended Treaty not being 
yet begun, it appear'd unnecessary to enter at present into 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 519 

Considerations of that kind. The Preliminaries being once 
settled and the Treaty commenc'd, if any of the other Powers 
should make extravagant Demands on England, and insist 
on our continuing the War till those were comply'd with, it 
would then be time enough for us to consider what our Obli- 
gations were, and how far they extended. The first thing 
necessary was for him to procure the full Powers, the next for 
us to assemble the Plenipotentiaries of all the belligerent 
Parties, and then Propositions might be mutually made, 
received, considered, answer'd, or agreed to. In the mean 
time I would just mention to him, that, tho' we were yet 
under no Obligations to Spain by Treaty, we were under 
Obligations of Gratitude for the Assistance she had afforded 
us ; and as Mr. Adams had some Weeks since commenc'd 
a Treaty in Holland, the Terms of which I was not yet ac- 
quainted with, I knew not but that we might have already 
some Alliance and Obligations contracted there. And per- 
haps we ought, however, to have some Consideration for 
Holland on this Account, that it was in Vengeance for the 
friendly Disposition shown by some of her People to make a 
Treaty of Commerce with us, that England had declared the 
War against her. 

He said, it would be hard upon England, if having given 
reasonable Satisfaction to one or two of her four Enemies, 
she could not have Peace with those till she had comply'd 
with whatever the others might demand, however unreason- 
able, for so she might be oblig'd to pay for every Article four- 
fold. I observ'd, that when she made her propositions, the 
more advantageous they were to each, the more it would be 
the Interest of each to prevail with the others to accept those 
offered to them. We then spoke of the Reconciliation; but 



520 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

his full Power not being yet come, I chose to defer entering 
upon that Subject at present. I told him, I had thoughts of 
putting down in Writing the Particulars that I judg'd would 
conduce to that end, and of adding my Reasons, that this 
requir'd a little time, and I had been hinder'd by Accidents ; 
which was true, for I had begun to write, but had postpon'd 
it on Account of his defective Power to treat. But I promis'd 
to finish it as soon as possible. He press M me earnestly to 
do it, saying an Expression of mine in a former Conversation, 
that there still remain 'd Roots of Good will in America towards 
England, which if properly taken care of might produce a 
Reconciliation, had made a great Impression on his Mind, 
and given him infinite Pleasure, and he hop'd I would not 
neglect furnishing him with the Information of what would 
be necessary to nourish those Roots, and could assure me, that 
my Advice would be greatly regarded. 

Mr. Grenville had shown me at our last Interview a letter 
from the Duke of Richmond to him, requesting him to prevail 
with me to disengage a Capt. M c Leod, of the Artillery, from 
his Parole, the Duke's brother, Lord George Lenox, being 
appointed to the Command of Portsmouth, and desiring to 
have him as his Aid-de-Camp. I had promis'd to consider 
of it, and this Morning I sent him the following Letter. 

TO MR. GRENVILLE 

"Passy, May 31, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"I do not find, that I have any express Authority to absolve 
a Parole given by an English Officer in America : But desi- 
rous of Complying with a Request of the Duke of Richmond 
as far as may be in my Power, and being confident, that the 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATION'S FOR PEACE 521 

Congress will be pleased with whatever may oblige a Person- 
age they so much respect, I do hereby consent, that Capt. 
M c Leod serve in his military Capacity in England only, till 
the pleasure of the Congress is known, to whom I will write 
immediately, and who, I make no doubt, will discharge him 
entirely. I have the honour to be, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

America has been constantly befriended in Parliament by 
the Duke of Richmond, and I believ'd the Congress would 
not be displeas'd, that this Opportunity was taken of obliging 
him, and that they would by their Approbation supply the 
Deficiency of my Power. Besides, I could not well refuse it, 
after what had pass'd between Mr. Laurens and me, and 
what I had promis'd to do for the Satisfaction of that Gentle- 
man. 

Sunday, June 2d. The Marquis de la Fayette call'd and 
din'd with me. He is uneasy about the Delay, as he cannot 
resolve concerning his Voyage to America, till some Certainty 
appears of there being a Treaty or no Treaty. This Day I 
wrote the following Letter to Mr. Adams. 

[TO JOHN ADAMS] 

"Passy, June 2, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"Since mine of May 8, I have not had any thing material 
to communicate to your Excellency. Mr. Grenville indeed 
arriv'd just after I had dispatch 'd that Letter, and I introduc'd 
him to M. de Vergennes; but as his Mission seem'd only a 
Repetition of that by Mr. Oswald, the same Declarations of 
the King of England's sincere Desire of Peace, and willing- 
ness to treat of a general Pacification with all the Powers at 



5 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

War, and to treat at Paris, which were answer'd by the same 
Declarations of the good Dispositions of this Court, and that 
it could not treat without the concurrence of its Allies, I 
omitted writing till something should be produc'd from a 
kind of Agreement, that M. de Vergennes would acquaint 
Spain and Holland with the Overture, and Mr. Grenville 
would write for full Powers to treat, and make Propositions : 
nothing of Importance being in the mean time to be transacted. 

"Mr. Grenville accordingly dispatch'd a Messenger for 
London, who return 'd in about 12 days. Mr. G. call'd on 
me, after having been at Versailles, and acquainted me, 
that he had received the Power, and had left a Copy of it 
with M. de Vergennes, and that he was thereby authorized 
to treat with France and her Allies. The next time I went to 
Versailles, I desir'd to see that Copy, and was surpriz'd to 
find in it no mention of the Allies of France, or any one of 
them, and, on speaking with M. de Vergennes about it, I 
found he began to look upon the whole as a piece of Artifice 
to amuse us, and gain Time ; since he had uniformly declar'd 
to every Agent who had appear'd here, viz. to Forth, Oswald, 
and Grenville, that the King would not treat without the 
Concurrence of his Allies, and yet England had given a Power 
to treat with France only, which show'd she did not intend to 
treat at all, but meant to continue the War. 

"I had not till yesterday an Opportunity of talking with 
Mr. Grenville on the Subject, and expressing my Wonder, 
after what he told me, that there should be no mention made 
of our States in his Commission : He could not explain this 
to my satisfaction; but said he believ'd the omission was 
occasion 'd by their Copying an old Commission given to 
Mr. Stanley at the last Treaty of Peace, for that he was sure 



1 782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 523 

the intention was, that he should treat with us, his Instruc- 
tions being full to that purpose. I acquainted him that I 
thought a special Commission was necessary, without which 
we could not conceive him authoriz'd, and therefore could not 
treat with him. I imagine there is a Reluctance in their 
King to take this first Step, as the giving such a Commission 
would itself be a kind of acknowledgment of our Indepen- 
dence. Their late Success against Comte de Grasse may 
also have given them hopes, that, by delay and more Suc- 
cesses, they may make that Acknowledgment and a Peace 
less necessary. 

"Mr. Grenville has written to his Court for further In- 
structions. We shall see what the Return of his Courier 
will produce. If full Power to treat with each of the Powers 
at War against England does not appear, I imagine the Nego- 
tiation will be broken off. Mr. G., in his Conversation 
with me, insists much on our being under no Engagements 
not to make a Peace without Holland. I have answer'd 
him, that I know not but that you may have enter'd into 
some, and that if there should be none, a general Pacification, 
made at the same time, would be best for us all, and that I 
believ'd neither Holland nor we could be prevaiPd on to 
abandon our Friends. What happens farther shall be im- 
mediately communicated. 

" Be pleased to present my Respects to Mr. Laurens, to 
whom I wrote some Days since. Mr. Jay, I suppose, is on 
his Way hither. With great Respect, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

On Monday the 3d, Mr. Oswald came according to Ap- 
pointment. He told me he had seen and had Conversations 



524 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

with Lord Shelburne, Lord Rockingham, and Mr. Fox. 
That their Desire of Peace continued uniformly the same, 
tho' he thought some of them were a little too much elated 
with the late Victory in the West Indies ; and when observing 
his Coolness, they ask'd him if he did not think it a very good 
thing; "yes," says he, "if you do not rate it too high." He 
went on with the utmost Frankness to tell me, that Peace was 
absolutely necessary for them. That the Nation had been 
foolishly involv'd in four Wars, and could no longer raise 
Money to carry them on, so that if they continu'd, it would be 
absolutely necessary for them to stop Payment of the Interest 
Money on the Funds, which would ruin their future Credit. 
He spoke of stopping on all sums above 1000, and con- 
tinuing to pay on those below; because the great Sums 
belong'd to the Rich, who could better bear the Delay of 
their Interest, and the Smaller Sums to poorer Persons, who 
would be more hurt, and make more Clamour, and that the 
Rich might be quieted by promising them Interest upon their 
Interest. All this look'd as if the Matter had been seriously 
tho't on. 

Mr. Oswald has an Air of great Simplicity and Honesty, 
yet I could hardly take this to be merely a weak Confession 
of their deplorable State, and tho't it might be rather in- 
tended as a kind of Intimidation, by showing us they had 
still that Resource in their Power, which he said could furnish 
five Millions a Year. But he added, our Enemies may now 
do what they please with us ; they have the Ball at their Foot, 
was his Expression, and we hope they will show their Modera- 
tion and their Magnanimity. He then repeatedly mention 'd 
the great Esteem the Ministers had for me, that they, with all 
the considerate People of England, look'd to, and depended 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 525 

on me for the Means of extricating the Nation from its 
present desperate Situation ; that perhaps no single Man had 
ever in his Hands an Opportunity of doing so much Good 
as I had at this present, with much more to that purpose. 
He then show'd me a Letter to him from Lord Shelburne, 
partly, I suppose, that I might see his Lordship's Opinion 
of me, which as it has some Relation to the Negotiation, is 
here inserted. He left it with me, requesting that I would 
communicate it to Mr. Walpole. 



FROM THE EARL OF SHELBURNE TO RICHARD OSWALD 

" Whitehall, 21" May, 1782. 
" SIR, 

" It has reached me, that Mr. Walpole esteems himself much injured by 
your going to Paris, and that he conceives it was a measure of mine, intended 
to take the present Negotiation [with the court of France] out of his hands, 
which he conceives to have been previously commenced through his Channel, 
by Mr. Fox. I must desire that you will have the Goodness to call upon Mr. 
Walpole, and explain to him distinctly, how very little Foundation there is for 
so unjust a Suspicion, as I knew of no such Intercourse. Mr. Fox declares, 
he consider'd what had pass'd between him and Mr. Walpole, of a mere private 
Nature, not sufficiently material to mention to the King or the cabinet, and will 
write to Mr. Walpole to explain this distinctly to him. 

" But if you find the least Suspicion of this kind has reach'd Dr. Franklin, 
or M. le Comte de Vergennes, I desire this Matter may be clearly explained to 
both. I have too much Friendship for Dr. Franklin, and too much Respect 
for the Character of M. le O* de Vergennes, with which I am perfectly ac- 
quainted, to be so indifferent to the good Opinion of either, as to suffer them to 
believe me capable of an Intrigue, where I have both profess'd and observ'd 
a direct opposite Conduct. In Truth I hold it in such perfect Contempt, 
that, however proud I may be to serve the King in my present Station, or in 
any other, and however anxious I may be to serve my Country, I should not 
hesitate a Moment about retiring from any Situation which requir'd such Ser- 
vices. But I must do the King the Justice to say, that his Majesty abhors 
them, and I need not tell you, that it is my fix'd Principle, that no Country in 
any moment can be advantaged by them. I am, with great truth and Regard, 
&c. " SHELBURNE." 



526 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

In speaking further of the ministry's Opinion of the great 
Service it might be in my Power to render, Mr. Oswald said 
he had told them in one of his Conversations, that nothing 
was to be expected of me but Consistence, nothing unsuit- 
able to my Character, or inconsistent with my Duty to my 
Country. I did not ask him the particular Occasion of his 
saying this, but thought it look'd a little as if something 
inconsistent with my Duty had been talk'd of or propos'd. 
Mr. Oswald also gave me a Copy of a Paper of Memoran- 
dums, written by Lord Shelburne, viz. 

" I. That I am ready to correspond more particularly with Dr. Franklin, if 
wished. 

" 2. That the Enabling Act is passing, with the Insertion of Commissioners 
recommended by Mr. Oswald ; and on our part Commissioners will be named, 
or any Character given to Mr. Oswald, which Dr. Franklin and he may judge 
conducive to a final Settlement of Things between G[reat] B[ritain] and 
America ; which Dr. Franklin very properly says, requires to be treated in a 
very different manner from the Peace between G[reat] B[ritain] and France, 
who have been always at Enmity with each other. 

" 3. That an Establishment for the Loyalists must always be upon Mr. 
Oswald's mind, as it is uppermost in Lord Shelburne's, besides other steps in 
their Favour to influence the several States to agree to a fair Restoration or 
Compensation for whatever Confiscations have taken place. 

" 4. To give Lord Shelburne's Letter about Mr. Walpole to Dr. Franklin." 

On perusing this Paper, I recollected that a Bill had been 
some time since propos'd in Parliament, To enable his Majesty 
to conclude a Peace or Truce with the revo ted Provinces in 
America, which I supposed to be the Enabling Bill mention 'd, 
that had hitherto slept; and not having been pass'd, was 
perhaps the true Reason why the Colonies were not mention'd 
in Mr. Grenville's Commission. Mr. Oswald thought it 
likely, and said that the Words, "insertion of Commissioners, 
recommended by Mr. Oswald," related to his advising an 
express mention in the Bill of the Commissioners appointed 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 527 

by Congress to treat of Peace, instead of the vague Denomi- 
nation of any Person or Persons, &C. in the first Draft of 
the Bill. 

As to the Loyalists, I repeated what I had said to him when 
first here, that their Estates had been confiscated by Laws 
made in particular States where the Delinquents had resided, 
and not by any Law of Congress, who indeed had no power, 
either to make such Laws or to repeal them, or to dispense 
with them, and, therefore, could give no Power to their 
Commissioners to treat of a Restoration for those People: 
That it was an Affair appertaining to each State. That if 
there were Justice in compensating them, it must be due from 
England rather than America ; but, in my Opinion, England 
was not under any very great Obligations to them, since it 
was by their Misrepresentations and bad Counsels, she had 
been drawn into this miserable War. And that if an Account 
was brought against us for their Losses, we should more than 
ballance it by an Account of the Ravages they had committed 
all along the Coasts of America. 

Mr. Oswald agreed to the Reasonableness of all this, and 
said he had, before he came away, told the Ministers, that 
he thought no Recompense to those People was to be ex- 
pected from us. That he had also, hi consequence of our 
former Conversation on that Subject, given it as his Opinion, 
that Canada should be given up to the United States, as it 
would prevent the Occasions of future Difference, and as the 
Government of such a Country was worth nothing, and of no 
Importance, if they could have there a free Commerce ; that 
the Marquis of Rockingham and Lord Shelburne, tho' they 
spoke reservedly, did not seem very averse to it; but that 
Mr. Fox appear'd to be startled at the Proposition. He 



528 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKUN [1782 

was, however, not without Hopes that it would be agreed 
to. 

We now came to another Article of the Note, viz. "on our 
part Commissioners will be named, or any Character given to 
Mr. Oswald, which Dr. Franklin and he may judge conducive 
to a final Settlement of things between Great Britain and 
America." 

This he said was left entirely to me, for he had no Will in 
the Affair; he did not desire to be farther concern 'd, than to 
see it en train; he had no personal Views either of Honour or 
Profit. He had now seen and convers'd with Mr. Grenville, 
thought him a very sensible young Gentleman, and very 
capable of the Business ; he did not therefore see any farther 
Occasion there was for himself; but if I thought otherwise, 
and conceiv'd he might be farther Useful, he was content 
to give his Time and Service, in any Character or manner I 
should think proper. I said his Knowledge of America, 
where he had lived, and with every Part of which and of its 
Commerce and Circumstances he was well acquainted, made 
me think, that in persuading the Ministry to things Reason- 
able relating to that Country, he could speak or write with 
more Weight than Mr. Grenville, and therefore I wish'd him 
to continue in the Service; and I ask'd him, whether he 
would like to be join'd in a general Commission for treating 
with all the Powers at War with England, or to have a special 
Commission to himself for treating with America only. He 
said he did not chuse to be concern'd in treating with the 
foreign Powers, for he was not sufficiently a Master of their 
Affairs, or of the French Language, which probably would be 
used in treating ; if, therefore, he accepted of any Commission, 
it should be that of treating with America. I told him I 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 529 

would write to Lord Shelburne on the Subject; but Mr. 
Grenville having some time since dispatch 'd a Courier, partly 
on account of the Commission, who was not yet return'd, 
I thought it well to wait a few Days, till we could see what 
Answer he would bring, or what Measures were taken. This 
he appro v'd of. 

The truth is, he appears so good and so reasonable a Man, 
that tho' I have no Objection to Mr. Grenville, I should be 
loth to lose Mr. Oswald. He seems to have nothing at heart 
but the Good of Mankind, and putting a Stop to Mischief; 
the other a young Statesman, may be suppos'd to have natu- 
rally a little Ambition of recommending himself as an able 
Negotiator. 

In the afternoon, M. Boeris, of Holland, call'd on me, and 
acquainted me, that the Answer had not yet been given to the 
last Memorial from Russia, relating to the Mediation; but 
it was thought it would be in respectful Terms, to thank her 
Imperial Majesty for her kind Offers, and to represent the 
Propriety of their Connection with France in Endeavours 
to obtain a general Peace, and that they conceiv'd it would be 
still more glorious for her Majesty to employ her Influence 
in procuring a general, than a particular Pacification. M. 
Boeris farther inform'd me, that they were not well satisfy'd 
in Holland with the Conduct of the Russian Court, and 
suspected Views of continuing the War for particular 
purposes. 

Tuesday, June 4. I receiv'd another Packet from Mr. 
Hartley. It consisted of Duplicates of the former Letters 
and Papers already inserted, and contained nothing new 
but the following Letter from Colonel Hartley, his Brother, 
viz. 

VOL. VIII 2 M 



530 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

FROM W. H. HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN 

"Soho Square, May 24, 1782. 

"DEAR SIR, 

" It is with the greatest pleasure I take up my pen to acknowledge your 
remembrance of me in yours to my Brother, and to thank you for those 
expressions of regard which I can assure you are mutual. My brother has 
desired me to copy some letters and papers, by way of sending you Duplicates, 
I am particularly happy at the employment, because the greatest object of my 
Parliamentary life has been to cooperate with him in his endeavours to put a 
period to this destructive War, and forward the blessed work of peace. I hope 
to see him again in that situation, where he can so well serve his Country with 
credit to himself ; and while I have the honour of being in Parliament, my 
attention will be continued to promote the effects, which will naturally flow 
from those principles of freedom and Philanthropy you have both so much 
supported. While I copy his words, my own feelings and judgment are truly 
in unison, and I have but to add the most ardent wish, that peace and happi- 
ness may crown the honest endeavours towards so desirable an end. I am 
dear Sir, with the greatest respect and esteem, yours sincerely, 

44 W. H. HARTLEY." 

Wednesday, June 5. Mr. Oswald call'd again to acquaint 
me, that Lord Cornwallis, being very anxious to be discharg'd 
from his Parole as soon as possible, had sent a Major Ross 
hither to sollicit it, supposing Mr. Laurens might be here with 
me. Mr. Oswald told me, what I had not heard before, that 
Mr. Laurens, while Prisoner in the Tower, had propos'd 
obtaining the Discharge of Lord Cornwallis in exchange 
for himself, and had promis'd to use his utmost Endeavours 
to that purpose, in case he was set at Liberty, not doubting 
of the Success. I communicated to Mr. Oswald what had 
already pass'd between Mr. Laurens and me respecting 
Lord Cornwallis which appears in the preceding Letters; 
and told him I should have made less difficulty about the 
Discharge of his Parole, if Mr. Laurens had inform'd me 
of his being set at Liberty in consequence of such an Offer 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 531 

and Promise ; and I wish'd him to state this in a Letter to me, 
that it might appear for my Justification in what I might 
with Mr. Laurens do in the Affair, and that he would procure 
for me from Major Ross a Copy of the Parole, that I might be 
better acquainted with the Nature of it. He accordingly 
in the Afternoon sent me the following Letter. 

[FROM RICHARD OSWALD TO B. FRANKLIN] 

,, SIR) "Paris, 5* June, 1782. 

" While Mr. Laurens was under Confinement in England, he promised, 
that, on condition of his being liberated upon his parole, he would apply to 
you for an Exchange in favour of Lord Cornwallis, by a discharge of his Lord- 
ship's Parole granted upon the Surrender of his Garrison at the Village of 
York in Virginia ; and, in case of your being under any difficulty in making 
such Exchange, he undertook to write to the Congress, and to request it of 
that Assembly : making no doubt of obtaining a favorable answer, without 
loss of time. 

" This Proposal, signed by Mr. Laurens's hand, I carried and delivered, I 
think, in the Month of December last, to his Majesty's then Secretaries of 
State. Which was duly attended to; and in consequence thereof, Mr. Laurens 
was soon after set at full liberty. And though not a prisoner under Parole, 
yet it is to be hoped, a variation in the mode of discharge will not be supposed 
of any essential difference. 

" And with respect to Mr. Laurens, I am satisfied he will consider himself 
as much interested in the success of this application, as if his own discharge 
had been obtained under the form as proposed by the Representation which I 
delivered to the Secretaries of State, and, I make no doubt, will sincerely join 
my Lord Cornwallis in an acknowledgment of your favour and good offices, in 
granting his Lordship a full discharge of his Parole above mentioned. I have 
the honor to be, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 

" RICHARD OSWALD." 

" P. S. Major Ross has got no copy of L d C' Parole. He says it was in 
the common form, as in like Cases. 

" Since writing the above, I recollect I was under a mistake, as if the pro- 
posal of exchange came first from Mr. Laurens ; whereas, it was made by his 
Majesty's secretaries of state to me, that Mr. Laurens should endeavour to 
procure the exchange of Lord Cornwallis, so as to be discharged himself. 
Which proposal I carried to Mr. Laurens, and had from him the obligation 
above mentioned, upon which the mode of his discharge was settled. 

"R. O." 



532 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 
To this I wrote the following answer. 

TO RICHARD OSWALD 

"Passy,June6*i782. 

"I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me, 
respecting the Parole of Lord Cornwallis. You are acquainted 
with what I wrote some time since to Mr. Laurens. To- 
morrow is Post day from Holland, when possibly I may re- 
ceive an Answer, with a paper drawn up by him for the 
purpose of discharging that Parole, to be signed by us jointly. 
I suppose the being at Paris another day will not be very in- 
convenient to Major Ross, and if I do not hear to-morrow 
from Mr. Laurens, I will immediately, in complyance with 
your request, do what I can towards the Liberation of Lord 
Cornwallis. I have the honor to be, with great Respect, 
Sir, your most obedient humble Servant, 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

Friday, June jth. Major Ross calPd upon me, to thank me 
for the favourable Intentions I had express'd in my Letter 
to Mr. Oswald, respecting Lord Cornwallis, and to assure 
me, that his Lordship would for ever remember it with Grati- 
tude, &c. I told him it was our Duty to alleviate as much 
as we could the Calamities of War ; that I expected Letters 
from Mr. Laurens, relating to the Affair, after the Receipt 
of which I would immediately compleat it. Or if I did not 
hear from Mr. Laurens, I would speak to the Marquis de la 
Fayette, get his Approbation, and finish it without further 
Writing. 

Saturday, June &th. I receiv'd some Newspapers from 
England, hi one of which is the following Paragraph. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 533 



Extract from the London Evening Post, of May 30, 1782 

" If reports on the spot speak truth, Mr. Grenville, in his first visit to Dr. 
Franklin, gained a considerable point of information, as to the powers America 
had retained for treating separately with Great Britain, in case her claims, or 
demands, were granted. 

"The treaty of February 6, 1778, was made the basis of this conversation ; 
and, by the spirit and meaning of this treaty, there is no obligation on America 
not to treat separately for peace, after she is assured England will grant her 
independence, and a free commerce with all the world. 

" The first article of that treaty engages America and France to be bound 
to each other, as long as circumstances may require ; therefore, the granting 
America all she asks of England is breaking the bond, by which the circum- 
stances may bind America to France. 

" The second article says, the meaning and direct end of the alliance is, to 
insure the freedom and independence of America. Surely, then, when free- 
dom and independence are allowed by Britain, America may, or may not, as 
she chooses, put an end to the present war between England and America, 
and leave France to war on through all her mad projects of reducing the 
power and greatness of England, while America feels herself possessed of 
what she wishes. 

" By the eighth article of the Treaty, neither France or America can con- 
clude Peace without the assent of the other ; and they engage not to lay down 
their arms until the independence of America is acknowledged, but this article 
does not exclude America from entering into a separate Treaty for peace with 
England, and evinces, more strongly than the former articles, that America 
may enter into a separate Treaty with England, when she is convinced that 
England has insured to her all that she can reasonably ask" 

I conjecture that this must be an Extract from a Letter 
of Mr. Grenville's : But it carries an appearance as if he and 
I had agreed in these imaginary Discoveries of America's 
being at Liberty to make Peace without France, whereas 
my whole Discourse in the strongest Terms declar'd our 
Determinations to the contrary, and the Impossibility of our 
acting, not only contrary to the Treaty, but the Duties of 
Gratitude and Honour, of which nothing is mention 'd. This 
young Negotiator seems to value himself on having obtain'd 
from me a Copy of the Treaty. I gave it him freely, at his 



534 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Request, it being not so much a secret as he imagin'd, having 
been printed, first in all the American Papers soon after it 
was made, then at London in Almon's Remembrancer, which 
I wonder he did not know; and afterwards in a Collection 
of the American Constitutions, publish 'd by Order of Con- 
gress. As such imperfect Accounts of our Conversations 
find their Way into the English Papers, I must speak to this 
Gentleman of its Impropriety. 

Sunday, June gth. Dr. Bancroft being intimately ac- 
quainted with Mr. Walpole, I this day gave him Lord Shel- 
burne's Letter to Mr. Oswald, requesting he would com- 
municate it to that Gentleman. Dr. Bancroft said, it was 
believ'd both Russia and the Emperor wish the continuance 
of the War, and aim'd at procuring for England a Peace 
with Holland, that England might be better able to continue 
it against France and Spain. 

The Marquis de la Fayette having propos'd to call on me 
to-day, I kept back the Discharge of Lord Cornwallis, which 
was written and ready, desiring to have his Approbation to 
it, as he had in a former Conversation advis'd it. He did 
not come, but late in the Evening sent me a Note, acquaint- 
ing me, that he had been prevented, by accompanying the 
Great Duke to the Review, but would breakfast with me 
to-morrow Morning. 

This day I received a Letter from Mr. Dana, dated at St. 
Petersburgh, April 29, in which is the following Passage. 
"We yesterday received the News, that the States- General 
had on the ipth of this month, (N. S.) acknowledged the 
Independence of the United States. This Event gave a Shock 
here, and is not well receiv'd, as they at least profess to have 
flatter'd themselves, that the Mediation would have prevented 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 535 

it, and otherwise bro't on a partial Peace between Britain 
and Holland. This Resentment will not be productive of 
any ill Consequences to the Dutch Republick." It is true, 
that while the War continues, Russia feels a greater Demand 
for her Naval Stores, and perhaps at a higher Price. But is 
it possible, that, for such petty Interests Mankind can wish to 
see their Neighbours destroy each other ? Or has the Project, 
lately talk'd of, some Foundation, that Russia and the Em- 
peror intend driving the Turks out of Europe ; and do they 
therefore wish to see France and England so weaken 'd, as 
to be unable to assist those People? 

Monday, June 10. The Marquis de la Fayette did not 
come till between n and 12. He brought with him Major 
Ross. After Breakfast, he told me (Major Ross being gone 
into another Room), that he had seen Mr. Grenville lately, 
who asked him when he should go to America. That he had 
answer'd, "I have staid here longer than I should otherwise 
have done, that I might see whether we were to have Peace 
or War ; but, as I see that the Expectation of Peace is a Joke, 
and that you only amuse us without any real Intention of 
Treating, I think to stay no longer, but set out in a few Days." 
On which Mr. Grenville assur'd him that it was no Joke; 
that they were very sincere in their Proposal of Treating, and 
that four or five Days would convince the Marquis of it. 

The Marquis then spoke to me about a Request of Major 
Ross's in Behalf of himself, Lord Chewton, a Lieut.- Colonel, 
and Lieut. Haldane, who were Aids-de-Camp to Lord Corn- 
wallis, that they too might be set at Liberty with him. I 
told the Marquis, that he was better acquainted with the 
Custom in such Cases than I, and being himself one of the 
Generals to whom their Parole had been given, he had more 



536 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Right to discharge it than I had, and that if he judg'd it a 
thing proper to be done, I wish'd him to do it. He went into 
the Bureau, saying he would write something, which he ac- 
cordingly did ; but it was not, as I expected, a Discharge that 
he was to sign, it was for me to sign. And the Major not 
liking that which I had drawn for Lord Cornwallis, because 
there was a Clause in it, reserving to Congress the Approbation 
or Disallowance of my act, went away without taking it. 
Upon which I the next morning wrote the following Letter 
to Mr. Oswald. 

[TO] R. OSWALD, ESQ. 

"Passy, June n, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"I did intend to have waited on you this morning to enquire 
after your Health, and deliver the enclosed Paper relating to 
the Parole of Lord Cornwallis, but being oblig'd to go to 
Versailles, I must postpone my Visit till to-morrow. 

"I do not conceive that I have any Authority in Virtue of 
my office here, to absolve that Parole in any degree ; I have 
therefore endeavoured to found it as well as I could on the 
express Power given me by Congress to Exchange General 
Burgoyne for Mr. Laurens. A Reservation is made of Con- 
firmation or Disapprobation by Congress, not from any 
Desire in me to restrain the entire Liberty of that General, 
but because I think it decent and my Duty to make such 
Reservation, and that I might otherwise be blamed as assum- 
ing a Power not given me, if I undertook to discharge ab- 
solutely a Parole given to Congress, without any Authority 
from them for so doing. With great Esteem and Respect, 

&c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 537 

I have receiv'd no Answer from Mr. Laurens. The 
following is the Paper mentioned in the above Letter. 

The Discharge of Lord Cornwallis from his Parole 

"The Congress having, by a resolution of the i4th of June 
last, empowered me to offer an exchange of General Burgoyne 
for the Honorable Henry Laurens, then a prisoner in the 
Tower of London, and whose liberty they much desire to 
obtain, which exchange, though proposed by me, according 
to the said resolution, had not been accepted or executed, 
when advice was received, that General Burgoyne was ex- 
changed in virtue of another agreement; and Mr. Laurens 
thereupon having proposed another lieutenant-general, viz. 
Lord Cornwallis, as an exchange for himself, promising, 
that, if set at liberty, he would do his utmost to obtain a con- 
firmation of that proposal ; and Mr. Laurens being soon after 
discharged, and having since urged me earnestly, in several 
letters, to join with him in absolving the parole of that general, 
which appears to be a thing just and equitable in itself; 
and for the honour therefore of our country, I do hereby, as 
far as in my power lies, in virtue of the above resolution, or 
otherwise, absolve and discharge the parole of Lord Corn- 
wallis, given by him in Virginia ; setting him at entire liberty 
to act in his civil or military capacity, until the pleasure of 
Congress shall be known, to whom is reserved the confirma- 
tion or disapprobation of this discharge, in case they have 
made, or shall intend to make, a different disposition. 

"Given at Passy, this Qth day of June, 1782. 

"B. FRANKLIN, 

"Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States 
of America to the Court of France" 



538 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

I did not well comprehend the Major's Conduct in refusing 
this Paper. He was come express from London, to solicit 
the Discharge of Lord Cornwallis's Parole. He had said 
that his Lordship was very anxious to obtain that Discharge, 
being unhappy in his present Situation. One of his Objec- 
tions to it was, that his Lordship, with such a limited Dis- 
charge of his Parole, could not enter into foreign Service. 
He declar'd it was not his Lordship's Intention to return to 
America. He would not accept the Paper, unless the Reser- 
vation was omitted. I did not chuse to make the Alteration, 
and so he left it, not well pleas 'd with me. 

This day, Tttesday, June i ilh, I was at Versailles, and had a 
good deal of Conversation with M. de Rayneval, Secretary to 
the Council. I show'd him the Letters I had receiv'd by 
Mr. Oswald from Lord Shelburne, and related all the conse- 
quent Conversation I had with Mr. Oswald. I related to him 
also the Conversation I had had with Mr. Grenville. We con- 
cluded that the Reason of his Courier's not being return'd, 
might be the Formalities occasioning Delay in Passing the 
Enabling Bill. 

I went down with him to the Cabinet of M. de Vergennes, 
where all was repeated and explain 'd. That Minister seem'd 
now to be almost persuaded that the English Court was 
sincere in its Declaration of being desirous of Peace. We 
spoke of all its Attempts to separate us, and of the Prudence 
of our holding together and treating in Concert. I made one 
Remark, that as they had shown so strong a Desire of Disunit- 
ing us, by large Offers to each particular Power, plainly in the 
View of dealing more advantageously with the rest, and had 
reluctantly agreed to make a general Treaty, it was possible, 
that after making a Peace with all, they might pick out one of 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 539 

us to make War with separately. Against which Project I 
thought it would not be amiss, if, before the Treaties of Peace 
were signed, we who were at War against England should 
enter into another Treaty, engaging ourselves, that in such 
Case we should again make it a common Cause, and renew 
the general War; which he seem'd to approve of. He read 
Lord Shelburne's Letter relating to Mr. Walpole, said that 
Gentleman had attempted to open a Negociation thro' the 
Marquis de Castries, who told him he was come to the wrong 
House, and should go to M. de Vergennes. But he never had 
appear'd. That he was an Intriguer, knew many People 
about the Court, and was accustom'd to manage his Affairs 
by hidden and roundabout Ways ; but, says he, "When people 
have any thing to propose, that relates to my Employment, 
I think they should come directly to me; my Cabinet is the 
Place where such Affairs are to be treated." On the whole 
he seem'd rather pleas 'd that Mr. Walpole had not come to 
him, appearing not to like him. 

I learnt that Mr. Jay had taken leave the 17 th [sic] past, 
of the Spanish Ministers, in order to come hither, so that he 
may be daily expected. But I hear nothing of Mr. Laurens 
or Mr. Adams. 

Wednesday, June i2th. I visited Mr. Oswald this Morn- 
ing. He said he had received the Paper I had sent him, 
relating to the Parole of Lord Cornwallis, and had by con- 
versing with Major Ross con vine 'd him of his Error in refus- 
ing it. That he saw I had done every thing that could be 
fairly desired of me, and said every thing in the Paper that 
could give weight to the temporary Discharge, and tend to 
prevail with the Congress to confirm and compleat it. Major 
Ross coming in made an Apology for not having accepted it 



540 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

at first, declar'd his perfect Satisfaction with it, and said he 
was sure Lord Cornwallis would be very sensible of the 
Favour. He then mention 'd the Custom among military 
People, that in discharging the Parole of a General, that of his 
Aids was discharg'd at the same time. I answer'd that I 
was a Stranger to the Customs of the Army, that I had made 
the most of the Authority I had for Exchanging General 
Burgoyne, by extending it as a Foundation for the Exchange 
of Lord Cornwallis, but that I had no Shadow of Authority 
for going farther; that the Marquis de la Fayette, having 
been present when the Parole was given, and one of the Gen- 
erals who receiv'd it, was I thought more competent to the 
Discharge of it than myself: and I could do nothing in it. 
He went then to the Marquis, who in the Afternoon, sent me 
the Drafts of a limited Discharge, which he should sign, but 
requested my Approbation of it, of which I made no Difficulty, 
tho' I observ'd he had put into it that it was by my Advice. 
He appears very prudently cautious of doing any thing 
that may seem assuming a Power that he is not vested with. 
Friday, the i^th. M. Boeris call'd again, wishing to know 
if Mr. Grenville's Courier was return'd, and whether the 
Treaty was like to go on. I could give him no Information. 
He told me that it was intended in Holland, in answer to the 
last Russian Memorial, to say, that they could not now enter 
into a particular Treaty with England, that they thought it 
more glorious for her Imperial Majesty to be the Mediatrix 
in a general Treaty, and wish'd her to name the Place. 
I said to him, "As you tell me their H[igh] Mightinesses] 
are not well satisfied with Russia, and had rather avoid her 
Mediation, would it not be better to omit the Proposition, 
at least of her Naming the Place, especially as France, Eng- 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 541 

land, and America have already agreed to treat at Paris ? " 
He replied, it might be better, but, says he, "we have no 
Politicians among us." I ad vis 'd him to write and get that 
omitted, as I understood it would be a Week before the An- 
swer was concluded on. He did not seem to think his Writ- 
ing would be of much Importance. I have observ'd, that 
his Colleague, M. Vanderpierre, has a greater Opinion by 
far of his own Influence and Consequence. 

Saturday, the i$th June. Mr. Oswald came out to Break- 
fast with me. We afterwards took a Walk in the Garden, 
when he told me, that Mr. Grenville's Courier return'd 
last Night : that he had receiv'd by him a Letter from Mrs. 
Oswald, but not a line from the Ministry, nor had he heard a 
Word from them since his Arrival. Nor had he heard of 
any News brought by the Courier. That he should have gone 
to see Mr. Grenville this Morning, but had omitted it, that 
Gentleman being subject to Morning HeadAchs, which pre- 
vented his Rising so early. I said I supposed he would go 
to Versailles, and call upon me in his Return. We had but 
little farther Discourse, having no new Subject. 

Mr. Oswald left me about Noon, and soon after Mr. Gren- 
ville came, and acquainted me with the Return of his Courier, 
and that he had brought the full Powers. That he, Mr. G., 
had been at Versailles, and left a Copy with M. de Vergennes. 
That the Instrument was in the same Terms with the former, 
except that, after the Power to treat with the King of France, 
or his Ministers, there was an Addition of Words importing 
a Power to treat with the Ministers of any other Prince or 
State whom it might concern. That M. de Vergennes had at 
first objected to these general Words, as not being particular 
enough, but said, he would lay it before the King, and 



543 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

communicate it to the Ministers of the Belligerent Powers, and 
that Mr. Grenville should hear from him on Monday. Mr. 
Grenville added, that he had farther inform'd M. de Ver- 
gennes of his being now instructed to make a Proposition as a 
Basis for the intended Treaty, viz. the Peace of 1763. That 
the Proposition intended to be made under his first Power, 
not being then receiv'd, was now Changed, and instead of 
proposing to allow the Independence of America on condition 
of England's being put into the Situation she was in at the 
Peace of 1763, he was now authoriz'd to declare the Indepen- 
dence of America previous to the Treaty, as a voluntary Act, 
and to propose separately as a Basis the treaty of '63. This 
also M. de Vergennes undertook to lay before the King, and 
communicate to me. 

Mr. Grenville then said to me, he hop'd all Difficulties 
were now remov'd, and that we might proceed in the Good 
Work. I ask'd him if the Enabling Bill was pass'd? He 
said, No. It had passed the Commons, and had been com- 
mitted in the House of Lords, but was not yet compleated. 
I remark'd, that the usual Time approach'd for the Proroga- 
tion of Parliament, and possibly this Business might be 
omitted. He said there was no Danger of that, the Parlia- 
ment would not rise this year till the middle of July ; the India 
Affairs had put back other Business which must be done, and 
would require a Prolongation of the Session till that time. 
I then observ'd to him : That tho' we Americans considered 
ourselves as a distinct independent Power, or State, yet as 
the British Government had always hitherto affected to con- 
sider us only as rebellious Subjects ; and as the Enabling Act 
was not yet pass'd, I did not think it could be fairly suppos'd, 
that his Court intended by the general Words, any other 



1 782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 543 

Prince or State, to include a People whom they did not allow 
to be a State; and that therefore I doubted the Sufficiency 
of his Power as to treating with America, tho' it might be 
good as to Spain and Holland. He reply'd, that he himself 
had no doubt of the Sufficiency of his Power, and was willing 
to act upon it. I then desir'd to have a Copy of the Power, 
which he accordingly promis'd me. 

He would have enter'd into Conversation on the Topic of 
Reconciliation, but I chose still to waive it, till I should find 
the Negociation more certainly commenc'd; and I show'd 
him the London Paper containing the Article above tran- 
scrib'd, that he might see how our Conversations were misrep- 
resented, and how hazardous it must be for me to make any 
Propositions of the kind at present. He seem'd to treat 
the Newspaper lightly, as of no Consequence; but I ob- 
serv'd, that before he had finish'd the reading of the Article, 
he turn'd to the Beginning of the Paper to see the Date, which 
made me suspect that he doubted whether it might not have 
taken its rise from some of his Letters. 

When he left me, I went to dine with M. de Chaumont, 
who had invited me to meet there Mr. Walpole, at his Re- 
quest. We shook hands, and he observ'd, that it was near 
two years since we had seen each other. Then stepping 
aside, he thanked me for having communicated to him Lord 
Shelburne's Letter to Mr. Oswald, thought it odd that Mr. 
O. himself had not spoken to him about it ; said he had re- 
ceived a Letter from Mr. Fox upon the Affair of St. Eustatia, 
in which there were some general Words, expressing a Desire 
of Peace; that he had mentioned this to M. le Marquis de 
Castries, who had refer'd him to M. de Vergennes, but he did 
not think it a sufficient Authority for him to go to that 



544 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Minister. It was known that he had Business with the Minis- 
ter of the Marine on the other Affair, and, therefore, his going 
to him was not taken Notice of; but if he had gone to M. de 
Vergennes, Minister of Foreign Affairs, it would have oc- 
casion'd Speculation and much Discourse; that he had there- 
fore avoided it till he should be authoriz'd, and had written 
accordingly to Mr. Fox; but that in the mean time Mr. Os- 
wald had been chosen upon the Supposition, that he, (Mr. 
Walpole), and I were at Variance. He spoke of Mr. Oswald 
as an odd kind of Man, but that indeed his nation were gener- 
ally odd People, &c. We din'd pleasantly together with the 
Family, and parted agreably, without entring into any Par- 
ticulars of the Business. Count d'Estaing was at this Dinner, 
and I met him again in the Evening at Madame Brillon's. 
There is at present among the People much Censure of Comte 
de Grasse's Conduct, and a general Wish that Comte d'Es- 
taing had the Command in America. I avoid meddling, 
or even Speaking on the Subject, as improper for me, tho' 
I much esteem that Commander. 

Sunday, the i6th. I heard nothing from Versailles. I 
receiv'd a Letter from Mr. Adams, acquainting me he had 
drawn upon me for a Quarter's Salary, which he hop'd would 
be the last, as he now found himself in the way of getting 
some Money there, tho' not much. But he says not a Word 
in Answer to my late Letters on publick Affairs, nor have I 
any Line from Mr. Laurens, which I wonder at. I receiv'd 
also a Letter from Mr. Carmichael, dated June 5th, at 
Madrid. He speaks of Mr. Jay being on his Journey, and 
supposes he would be with me before that Letter, so that 
I may expect him daily. We have taken Lodgings for him 
at Paris. 









1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 545 

Monday, the i^th. I received a Letter from Mr. Hodgson, 
acquainting me that the American Prisoners at Portsmouth, 
to the Number of 330, were all embark'd on board the Trans- 
ports, that each had received 20 /. worth of Necessaries at the 
Expence of Government, and went on board in good Humour. 
That contrary Winds had prevented the Transports arriving 
in Time at Plymouth, but that the whole Number now 
there of our People, amounting to 700, with those arriv'd 
from Ireland, would soon be on their way home. 

In the Evening the Marquis de la Fayette came to see me, 
and said he had seen M. de Vergennes, who was satisfied 
with Mr. Grenville's Powers. He asked me what I thought 
of them, and I told him what I had said to Mr. Grenville 
of their Imperfection with respect to us. He agreed in 
Opinion with me. I let him know that I proposed waiting 
on M. de Vergennes to-morrow. 

He said he had sign'd the Paper relating to Major Ross's 
Parole, and hoped Congress would not take it amiss, and 
added, that in Conversation with the Major, he had ask'd him 
why England was so backward to make Propositions. "We 
are afraid," says the Major, "of offering you more than you 
expect or desire." I find myself in some perplexity with 
regard to these two Negociators. Mr. Oswald appears to 
have been the Choice of Lord Shelburne, Mr. Grenville that 
of Mr. Secretary Fox. Lord Shelburne is said to have lately 
acquired much of the King's Confidence. Mr. Fox calls 
himself the Minister of the People, and it is certain his Popu- 
larity is lately much Increased. Lord S. seems to wish to 
have the Management of the Treaty; Mr. Fox seems to 
think it in his Department. I hear that the Understanding 
between these Ministers is not quite perfect. Mr. Grenville 

VOL. VIII 2N 



546 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

is clever, and seems to feel Reason as readily as Mr. Oswald, 
tho' not so ready to own it. Mr. Oswald appears quite plain 
and sincere; I sometimes a little doubt Mr. Grenville. Mr. 
Oswald, an old Man, seems now to have no desire but that of 
being useful in doing Good. Mr. Grenville, a young Man, 
naturally desirous of acquiring Reputation, seems to aim at 
that of being an able Negotiator. Oswald does not solicit 
to have any share in the Business, but submitting the Matter 
to Lord S. and me, expresses only his willingness to serve if 
we think he may be useful, and is equally willing to be ex- 
cus'd, if we judge there is no occasion for him. Grenville 
seems to think the whole Negociation committed to him, and 
to have no Idea of Mr. Oswald's being concern 'd in it, and is, 
therefore, willing to extend the Expressions in his Commis- 
sion, so as to make them comprehend America, and this 
beyond what I think they will bear. I imagine we might, 
however, go on very well with either of them, tho' I should 
rather prefer Oswald; but I apprehend Difficulties if they 
are both employ'd, especially if there is any misunderstanding 
between their Principals. I must, however, write to Lord 
S., proposing something in consequence of his Offer of vesting 
Mr. Oswald with any Commission, which that Gentleman 
and I should think proper. 

Tuesday \ the i8th. I found myself much indispos'd with 
a sudden and violent Cold, attended with a Feverishness and 
Headach. I imagin'd it to be an Effect of the Influenza, 
a Disorder now reigning in various Parts of Europe. This 
prevented my going to Versailles. 

Thursday, zoth. Weather excessively hot, and my Disorder 
continues, but is lessen 'd, the Headach having left me. I am, 
however, not yet able to go to Versailles. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 547 

Friday, 2i5/. I received the following note from the Mar- 
quis de la Fayette. 

FROM THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE TO B. FRANKLIN 

"Versailles, Thursday morning, 20 June, 1782. 
" MY DEAR SIR, 

" Agreeably to your desire, I have waited upon the Count de Vergennes, 
and said to him what I had in command from your Excellency. He intends 
taking the King's orders this morning, and expects he will be able to propose 
to Mr. Grenville a meeting for to-morrow, when he will have time to explain 
himself respecting France and her allies, that he may make an official com- 
munication both to the King and the allied ministers. What Count de Ver- 
gennes can make out of this conversation will be communicated by him to 
your Excellency, in case you are able to come. In the other case I shall wait 
upon you to-morrow evening with every information I can collect. I have the 
honour to be, very respectfully, &c. 

" LAFAYETTE." 

In the Ev'ning the Marquis call'd upon me, and acquainted 
me, that Mr. Grenville had been with Comte de Vergennes, 
but could not inform me what had pass'd. 

Saturday, the 22d. Messrs. Oswald and Whitefoord came 
and breakfasted with me. Mr. O had receiv'd no Letters 
or Instructions. I told him I would write to Lord Shelburne 
respecting him, and call on him on Monday morning to 
breakfast, and show him what I propos'd to write, that it 
might receive such Alterations as he should judge proper. 

Sunday, the 2$d. In the Afternoon Mr. Jay arriv'd, to 
my great Satisfaction. I propos'd going with him the next 
Morning to Versailles, and presenting him to M. de Vergennes. 
He inform'd me, that the Spanish Ministers had been much 
struck with the News from England, respecting the Resolu- 
tions of Parliament to discontinue the War in America, &c., 
and that they had since been extremely civil to him, and he 
understood intended to send Instructions to their Ambassador 
at this Court, to make the long talk'd of Treaty with him here. 



548 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

Monday, the 24th. Wrote a Note of Excuse to Mr. Oswald, 
promising to see him on Wednesday, and went with Mr. Jay 
to Versailles. M. de Vergennes acquainted us, that he had 
given to Mr. Grenville the Answer to his Propositions, who 
had immediately dispatch 'd it to his Court. He read it to 
us, and I shall endeavour to obtain a Copy of it. M. de 
Vergennes informing us that a Frigate was about to be dis- 
patch 'd for America, by which we might write, and that the 
Courier who was to carry down the Dispatches would set off 
on Wednesday Morning, we concluded to omit coming to 
Court on Tuesday, in order to prepare our Letters. M. de 
Vergennes appeared to have some doubts about the Sincerity 
of the British court, and the Bonne foi of Mr. Grenville: 
but said the Return of Mr. Grenville's Courier might give 
Light. I wrote the following Letters to Mr. Secretary Living- 
ston and Mr. Morris. 

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 

"Passy, June 25, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"I have received your respective letters of January 26th 1 
and February i3th. The first was accompanied with a form 
of a convention for the establishment of consuls. Mr. Bar- 
clay having been detained these six months in Holland, though 
in continual expectation of returning hither, I have yet done 
nothing in that business, thinking his presence might be of use 
in settling it. As soon as he arrives I shall move the com- 
pletion of it. 

"The second enforces some resolutions of Congress, sent 
me with it, respecting a loan of twelve millions of livres, to be 
1 See "Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. Ill, p. 294. ED. 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 549 

demanded of France for the current year. I had already 
received the promise of six millions, together with the clearest 
and most positive assurances, that it was all the King could 
spare to us, that we must not expect more, that, if drafts and 
demands came upon me beyond that sum, it behoved me to 
take care how I accepted them, or where I should find funds 
for the payment, since I could certainly not be further assisted 
out of the royal treasury. Under this declaration, with what 
face could I ask for another six millions? It would be say- 
ing, you are not to be believed, you can spare more ; you are 
able to lend me twice the sum if you were but willing. If 
you read my letter to Mr. Morris of this date, I think you 
will be convinced how improper any language, capable of such 
a construction, would be to such a friend. I hope, however, 
that the loan Mr. Adams has opened in Holland for three 
millions of florins, which it is said is likely to succeed, will 
supply the deficiency. 

" By the newspapers I have sent, you will see, that the general 
disposition of the British nation towards us had been changed. 
Two persons have been sent here by the new ministers, to 
propose treating for peace. They had at first some hopes 
of getting the belligerent powers to treat separately, one after 
another; but, finding that impracticable, they have, after 
several messengers sent to and fro, come to a resolution of 
treating with all together for a general peace, and have 
agreed, that the place shall be Paris. Mr. Grenville is now 
here with full powers for that purpose, (if they can be reckoned 
full with regard to America, till a certain act is completed for 
enabling his Majesty to treat, &c., which has gone through 
the Commons, and has been once read in the House of 
Lords.) I keep a very particular journal of what passes 



550 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

every day in the affair, which is transcribing, to be sent to you. 
I shall, therefore, need to say no more about it in this letter, 
except, that though I still think they were sincere at first in 
their desire of peace, yet, since their success in the West 
Indies, I imagine, that I see marks of their desiring rather to 
draw the negotiations into length, that they may take the 
chance of what the campaign shall produce in their favour; 
and, as there are so many interests to adjust, it will be prudent 
for us to suppose, that even another campaign may pass 
before all can be agreed. Something, too, may happen 
to break off the negotiations, and we should be prepared for 
the worst. 

"I hoped for the assistance of Mr. Adams and Mr. Laurens. 
The first is too much engaged in Holland to come hither, and 
the other declines serving; but I have now the satisfaction 
of being joined by Mr. Jay, who happily arrived here from 
Madrid last Sunday. The Marquis de Lafayette is of great 
use in our affairs here, and, as the campaign is not likely to be 
very active in North America, I wish I may be able to prevail 
with him to stay a few weeks longer. By him you will receive 
the journal above mentioned, which is already pretty volumi- 
nous, and yet the negotiations cannot be said to be opened. 

"Ireland, you will see, has obtained all her demands tri- 
umphantly. I meet no one from that country, who does not 
express some obligations to America for their success. 

"Before I received your just observations on the subject, 
I had obtained from the English ministers a resolution to 
exchange all our prisoners. They thought themselves obliged 
to have an act of Parliament about it for authorizing the King 
to do it, this war being different from others, as made by an 
act of Parliament declaring us rebels, and our people being 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 551 

committed for high treason. I empowered Mr. Hodgson, 
who was chairman of the committee that collected and dis- 
pensed the charitable subscriptions for the American prison- 
ers, to treat and conclude on the terms of their discharge; 
and, having approved of the draft he sent me of the agree- 
ment, I hope Congress will see fit to order a punctual execu- 
tion of it. I have long suffered with those poor brave men, 
who with so much public virtue have endured four or five 
years hard imprisonment, rather than serve against their 
country. I have done all I could afford towards making their 
situation more comfortable ; but their numbers were so great, 
that I could do but little for each, and that very great villain, 
Digges, defrauded them of between three and four hundred 
pounds, which he drew from me on their account. He lately 
wrote me a letter, in which he pretended he was coming to 
settle with me, and to convince me, that I had been mistaken 
with regard to his conduct; but he never appeared, and I 
hear he is gone to America. Beware of him, for he is very 
artful, and has cheated many. I hear every day of new roguer- 
ies committed by him in England. 

"The ambassador from Sweden to this court applied to me 
lately to know, if I had powers that would authorize my mak- 
ing a treaty with his master in behalf of the United States. 
Recollecting a general power, that was formerly given to me 
with the other Commissioners, I answered in the affirmative. 
He seemed much pleased, and said the King had directed 
him to ask the question, and charged him to tell me, that he 
had so great esteem for me, that it would be a particular 
satisfaction to him to have such a transaction with me. 
I have perhaps some vanity in repeating this ; but I think, 
too, that it is right that Congress should know it, and judge 



552 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

if any use may be made of the reputation of a citizen for the 
public service. In case it should be thought fit to employ me 
in that business, it will be well to send a more particular power 
and proper instructions. The ambassador added, that it 
was a pleasure to him to think, and he hoped it would be 
remembered, that Sweden was the first power in Europe, 
which had voluntarily offered its friendship to the United 
States without being solicited. This affair should be talked 
of as little as possible till completed. 

"I enclose another complaint from Denmark, which I 
request you will lay before Congress. I am continually pes- 
tered with complaints from French seamen, who were with 
Captain Conyngham in his first cruise from Dunkirk; from 
others who were in the Lexington, the Alliance, &c., being 
put on board prizes that were retaken, were never afterwards 
able to join their respective ships, and so have been deprived 
of the wages, &c. due to them. It is for our national honour, 
that justice should be done them, if possible ; and I wish you 
to procure an order of Congress for inquiring into their 
demands, and satisfying such as shall be found just. It may 
be addressed to the consul. 

"I enclose a note from M. de Vergennes to me, accom- 
panied by a memoir relating to a Swiss, who died at Edenton. 
If you can procure the information desired, it will much 
oblige the French ambassador in Switzerland. 

"I have made the addition you directed to the cipher. 
I rather prefer the old one of Dumas, perhaps because I am 
more used to it. I enclose several letters from that ancient and 
worthy friend of our country. He is now employed as secre- 
tary to Mr. Adams, and I must, from a long experience of his 
zeal and usefulness, beg leave to recommend him warmly to 






1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 553 

the consideration of Congress, with regard to his appointments, 
which have never been equal to his merit. As Mr. Adams 
writes me the good news, that he shall no longer be obliged 
to draw on me for his salary, I suppose it will be proper to 
direct his paying that, which shall be allowed to M. Dumas. 
Be pleased to present my duty to the Congress, and believe 
me to be, with great esteem and regard, 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

TO ROBERT MORRIS 

"Passy, June 25, 1782. 

"Si*, 
" For what relates to war and peace, I must refer you 



to Mr. Livingston, to whom I write fully. I will only say, that, 
though the English a few months since seemed desirous of 
peace, I suspect they now intend to draw out the negotiation 
into length, till they can see what this campaign will produce. 
I hope our people will not be deceived by fair words, but be 
on their guard, ready against every attempt that our insidious 

enemies may make upon us. I am, &c. 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

Wednesday, 26th. I sent away my Letters, and went to see 
Mr. Oswald. I show'd him the Draft of a Letter to be ad- 
dress'd to him instead of Lord S., respecting the Commission, 
or publick Character, he might hereafter be vested with. 
This Draft was founded on Lord Shelburne's Memorandums, 
which Mr. Oswald had shown to me, and this Letter was 
intended to be communicated by him to Lord Shelburne. 
Mr. Oswald lik'd the Mode, but rather chose that no mention 
should be made of his having shown me Lord S.'s Memoran- 
dums, tho' he thought they were given to him for that purpose. 



554 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

So I struck that part out, and new modelled the Letter, which 
I sent him next day, as follows. 

TO RICHARD OSWALD 

"Passy, June 27, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"The Opinion I have of your Candour, Probity, and good 
Understanding, and Good will to both Countries, made me 
hope you would have been vested with the Character of 
Plenipotentiary to treat with those from America. When 
Mr. Grenville produced his first Commission, which was only 
to treat with France, I did imagine that the other to treat with 
us was reserved for you, and kept only till the Enabling Bill 
should be passed. Mr. Grenville has since received a second 
Commission, which as he informs me, has additional Words, 
impowering him to treat with the Ministers of any other 
Prince or State whom it may concern ; and he seems to under- 
stand that those general Words comprehend the United States 
of America. There may be no doubt that they comprehend 
Spain and Holland; but as there exist various public acts 
by which the Government of Britain denies us to be States, 
and none in which they acknowledge us to be such, it seems 
hardly clear that we could be intended at the time that 
Commission was given, the Enabling Act not being then passed. 
So that tho' I can have no Objection to Mr. Grenville, nor 
right to make it if I had any, yet as your long Residence in 
America has given you a Knowledge of that Country, its 
People, Circumstances, Commerce, &c., which, added to your 
Experience in Business, may be useful to both Sides in facili- 
tating the Negociation, I cannot but hope, that it is still 
intended to vest you with the Character above mentioned, 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 555 

respecting the Treaty with America, either separately or in 
Conjunction with Mr. Grenville, as to the Wisdom of your 
Ministers may seem best. Be it how it may, I beg you would 
accept this Line as a Testimony of the sincere Esteem and 
Respect with which I have the honour to be, Sir, etc., 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

Friday, 2&th June. M. de Rayneval calFd upon me, and 
acquainted me, that the Ministers had receiv'd Intelligence 
from England, that besides the Orders given to General 
Carleton to propose Terms of Reunion to America, artful 
Emissaries were sent over to go thro' the Country and stir up 
the People to call on the Congress to accept those Terms, they 
being similar to those settling with Ireland. That it would, 
therefore, be well for Mr. Jay and me to write and caution the 
Congress against these Practices. He said M. de Vergennes 
wish'd also to know what I had written respecting the Nego- 
tiation, as it would be well for us to hold pretty near the same 
Language. I told him I did not apprehend the least Danger 
that such Emissaries would meet with any Success, or that the 
Congress would make any Treaty with General Carleton. 
That I would, however, write as he desired; and Mr. Jay, 
coming in, promis'd the same. He said the Courier would 
go to-morrow. I accordingly wrote the following Letter to 
Mr. Secretary Livingston, [and to my friend Dr. Cooper.] 

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 

" Passy, June 28, 1782. 
"SIR, 

"In mine of the 25th instant, I omitted mentioning, that, 
at the repeated, earnest instances of Mr. Laurens, who had 
given such expectations to the ministry in England, when his 



556 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

parole or securities were discharged, as that he could not 
think himself at liberty to act in public affairs, till the parole 
of Lord Cornwallis was absolved by me in exchange, I sent 
to that general the paper, of which the enclosed is a copy; 
and I see, by the English papers, that his Lordship, imme- 
diately on the receipt of it, appeared at court, and has taken 
his seat in the House of Peers, which he did not before think 
was warrantable. My authority for doing this appeared 
questionable to myself; but Mr. Laurens judged it deducible 
from that respecting General Burgoyne, and, by his letters 
to me, seemed so unhappy till it was done, that I ventured it, 
with a clause, however, as you will see, reserving to Congress 
the approbation or disallowance of it. 

"The Enabling Act is now said to be passed, but no copy 
of it is yet received here, so that, as the bill first printed has 
suffered alterations in passing through Parliament, and we 
know not what they are, the treaty with us is not yet com- 
menced. Mr. Grenville expects his courier in a few days, 
with the answer of his court to a paper given him on the part 
of this. That answer will probably afford us a clearer un- 
derstanding of the intentions of the British ministry, which for 
some weeks past have appeared somewhat equivocal and 
uncertain. It looks as if, since their late success in the West 
Indies, they a little repented of the advances they had made 
in their declarations respecting the acknowledgment of our 
independence; and we have pretty good information, that 
some of the ministers still flatter the King with the hope of 
recovering his sovereignty over us, on the same terms as are 
now making with Ireland. However willing we might have 
been, at the commencement of this contest, to have accepted 
such conditions, be assured we can have no safety in them at 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 557 

present. The King hates us most cordially. If he is once 
admitted to any degree of power and government among us, 
however limited, it will soon be extended by corruption, arti- 
fice,, and force, till we are reduced to absolute subjection, 
and that the more easily, as, by receiving him again for our 
King, we shall draw upon us the contempt of all Europe, who 
now admire and respect us, and shall never again find a 
friend to assist us. 

"There are, it is said, great divisions in the ministry on 
other points as well as this, and those who aim at engrossing 
the power, flatter the King with this project of reunion, 
and, it is said, have much reliance on the operations of private 
agents sent into America to dispose minds there in favour of it, 
and to bring about a separate treaty there with General Carle- 
ton. I have not the least apprehension, that Congress will 
give in to this scheme, it being inconsistent with our treaties, 
as well as with our interest; but I think it will be well to 
watch the emissaries, and secure, or banish immediately, 
such as shall be found tampering and stirring up the people 
to call for it. 

"The firm, united resolution of France, Spain, and Hol- 
land, joined with ours, not to treat of a particular, but a 
general peace, notwithstanding the separate tempting offers 
to each, will in the end give us the command of that peace. 
Every one of the other powers sees clearly its interest in this, 
and persists in that resolution. The Congress, I am per- 
suaded, are as clear-sighted as any of them, and will not de- 
part from the system, which has been attended with so much 
success, and promises to make America soon both great and 
happy. 

"I have just received a letter from Mr. Laurens, dated 



558 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

at Lyons, on his journey into the south of France for his 
health. Mr. Jay will write also by this opportunity. With 
great esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

" B. FRANKLIN." 

TO SAMUEL COOPER 

"Passy, June 28, 1782. 

" Our public affairs are in a good situation here. 

England, having tried in vain to make a separate peace with 
each of the powers she is at war with, has at length agreed to 
treat for a general peace with them all together; and at 
Paris. If we all continue firm in the resolution not to sepa- 
rate, we shall command the terms. I have no doubt of this 
steadiness here; and though we are told, that endeavours 
are making on your side the water to induce America to a 
reunion, on the terms now granting to Ireland, and that 
powers are sent to General Carleton for that purpose, I am 
persuaded the danger of this project will appear so evident, 
that, if offered, it will be immediately rejected. We have no 
safety but hi our independence; with that we shall be re- 
spected, and soon become great and happy. Without it, 
we shall be despised, lose all our friends, and then either be 
cruelly oppressed by the King, who hates, and is incapable 
of forgiving us, or, having all that nation's enemies for ours, 
shall sink with it. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most 

affectionately, 

"B. FRANKLIN." 

M. de Rayneval, (who is Secretary to the Council of State,) 
calling again in the Evening, I gave him Copies of the pre- 
ceding Letters to peruse and show to M. de Vergennes, to 



1782] JOURNAL OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE 559 

convince him that we held no underhand dealings here. I 
own I had, at the same time, another View in it, which was, 
that they should see I have been order'd to demand further 
Aids, and had forborne to make the Demand, with my 
Reasons; hoping that if they could possibly help us to more 
Money, they might be indue 'd to do it. 

I had never made any Visit to Count d'Aranda, the Spanish 
Ambassador, for reasons before mention'd. M. de Rayneval 
told Mr. Jay and me this Morning, that it would be well for 
us to wait on him, and he had Authority to assure us, we should 
be well receiv'd. We accordingly concluded -to wait on his 
Excellency the next Morning. 

Saturday, June 29. We went together to the Spanish 
ambassador's, who receiv'd us with great Civility and Polite- 
ness. He spoke with Mr. Jay on the Subject of the Treaty 
they were to make together, and mentioned in General, as 
a Principle, that the two Powers should consider each other's 
Conveniency, and accommodate and compensate each other 

* 

as well as they could. That an exact Compensation might 
perhaps not be possible, but should be approach 'd as nearly 
as the Nature of Things would admit. "Thus," says he, 
"if there is a certain Thing which would be convenient to 
each of us, but more convenient to one than to the other, it 
should be given to the one to whom it would be most con- 
venient, and Compensation made by giving another thing to 
the other, for the same reason." I suppose he had in View 
something relating to Boundaries or Territories, because, 
he added, we will sit down together with Maps in our hands, 
and by that means shall see our Way more clearly. I learnt 
from him, that the Expedition against Providence had sailed, 
but no Advice was yet receiv'd of its Success. At our going 



560 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

out, he took pains himself to open the folding doors for us, 
which is a high Compliment here : And he told us he would 
return our Visit (rendre son devoir), and then fix a day with 
us for dining with him. I din'd with Mr. Jay and a Com- 
pany of Americans at his Lodgings. 
Sunday, July ist. Mr. Grenville call'd on me. 1 



1334. TO HENRY LAURENS 3 

Passy, July 2, 1782. 

Snt, 

I received the letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me from Lyons, the 24th past. 

I wonder a little at Mr. not acquainting you whether 

your name was in the Commission or not. I begin to sus- 
pect, from various circumstances, that the British ministry, 
elated perhaps too much by the success of Admiral Rodney 
are not in earnest to treat immediately, but rather wish delay. 
They seem to hope, that further successes may enable them 
to treat more advantageously ; or, as some suppose, that cer- 
tain propositions to be made to Congress by General Carleton 
may render a treaty here with us unnecessary. A little bad 
news, which it is possible they may yet receive from the same 
quarter, will contribute to set them right ; and then we may 
enter seriously upon the treaty; otherwise I conjecture it 
may not take place till after another campaign. Mr. Jay 
is arrived here. Mr. Grenville and Mr. Oswald continue here. 

1 Here the Journal abruptly ends. ED. 

* From " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 590. ED. 






1782] TO JAMES HUTTON 561 

Mr. Oswald has yet received no commission; and that of 
Mr. Grenville does not very clearly comprehend us, accord- 
ing to British ideas ; therefore it requires explication. When 
I know more, you shall have further information. 

Not having an immediate answer to what I wrote you, 
concerning the absolution of Lord Cornwallis's parole, and 
Major Ross coming over hither from him to press it, I gave 
him the discharge you desired. Enclosed I send you a 
copy. I hear it has proved satisfactory to him; I hope it 
will be so to you. Believe me to be, with great esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1335- TO JAMES HUTTON (L. c.) 

Passy, July 7, 1782. 
MY OLD AND DEAR FRIEND, 

A Letter written by you to M. Bertin, 1 Ministre d'Etat, 
containing an Account of the abominable Murders com- 
mitted by some of the frontier People on the poor Moravian 
Indians, has given me infinite Pain and Vexation. The 
Dispensations of Providence in this World puzzle my weak 
Reason. I cannot comprehend why cruel Men should have 
been permitted thus to destroy their Fellow Creatures. 
Some of the Indians may be suppos'd to have committed 
Sins, but one cannot think the little Children had committed 
any worthy of Death. Why has a single Man in England, 
who happens to love Blood and to hate Americans, been 
permitted to gratify that bad Temper by hiring German 
Murderers, and joining them with his own, to destroy in a 

1 Henri-Leonard- Jean-Baptiste Bertin (1719-1792), "contrdleur general 
des finances." ED. 



VOL. VIII 2O 



562 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

continued Course of bloody Years near 100,000 human Crea- 
tures, many of them possessed of useful Talents, Virtues 
and Abilities to which he has no Pretension ! It is he who 
has furnished the Savages with Hatchets and Scalping Knives, 
and engages them to fall upon our defenceless Farmers, 
and murder them with their Wives and Children, paying for 
their Scalps, of which the account kept in America already 
amounts, as I have heard, to near two Thousand! 

Perhaps the people of the frontiers, exasperated by the 
Cruelties of the Indians, have been induced to kill all Indians 
that fall into their Hands without Distinction; so that even 
these horrid Murders of our poor Moravians may be laid to his 
Charge. And yet this Man lives, enjoys all the good Things 
this World can afford, and is surrounded by Flatterers, who 
keep even his Conscience quiet by telling him he is the best of 
Princes ! I wonder at this, but I cannot therefore part with 
the comfortable Belief of a Divine Providence; and the 
more I see the Impossibility, from the number & extent of 
his Crimes, of giving equivalent Punishment to a wicked 
Man in this Life, the more I am convinc'd of a future State, 
in which all that here appears to be wrong shall be set right, 
all that is crooked made straight. In this Faith let you & I, 
my dear Friend, comfort ourselves; it is the only Comfort, 
in the present dark Scene of Things, that is allow'd us. 

I shall not fail to write to the Government of America, 
urging that effectual Care may be taken to protect & save 
the Remainder of those unhappy People. 

Since writing the above, I have received a Philadelphia 
Paper, containing some Account of the same horrid Transac- 
tion, a little different, and some Circumstances alledged as 
Excuses or Palliations, but extreamly weak & insufficient. 



1782] 710 DAVID HARTLEY 563 

I send it to you inclos'd. With great and sincere Esteem, I 
am ever, my dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1336. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 1 

Passy, July 9, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

Mr. Grenville has been with me in his return from Versailles. 
He tells me, that, Lord Rockingham being dead, Lord Shel- 
burne is appointed First Lord of the Treasury, and that 
Mr. Fox has resigned; so that both the secretaryships are 
vacant ; that his communication to Count de Vergennes was 
only, that no change was thereby made in the dispositions of 
that court for peace, &c., and he expects another courier, 
with fuller instructions, in a few days. As soon as I hear 
more, I shall acquaint you with it. I am ever, with great 
respect and affection, your most obedient humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1337. TO DAVID HARTLEY 3 

Passy, July 10, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your favour of the 26th past by Mr. Young, and 
am indebted to you for some preceding. I do not know why 
the good work of peace goes on so slowly on your side. Some 

1 From " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
State*" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 603. ED. 

2 Ibid., p. 605. ED. 



564 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

have imagined that your ministers, since Rodney's success, 
are desirous of trying fortune a little further before they con- 
clude the war ; others, that they have not a good understand- 
ing with each other. What I have just heard seems to coun- 
tenance this opinion. It is said, Mr. Fox has resigned. We are 
ready here, on the part of America, to enter into treaty with 
you in concurrence with our allies, and are disposed to be 
very reasonable; but, if your plenipotentiary, notwithstand- 
ing that character, is upon every proposition obliged to send 
a courier and wait an answer, we shall not soon see the happy 
conclusion. It has been suspected, too, that you wait to 
hear the effect of some overtures, sent by General Carleton 
for a separate peace with America. A vessel just arrived 
from Maryland brings us the unanimous resolutions of their 
Assembly, for continuing the war at all hazards, rather than 
violate their faith with France. This is a sample of the 
success to be expected from such a measure, if it has really 
been taken, which I hardly believe. 

There is methinks a point that has been too little considered 
in treaties, the means of making them durable. An honest 
peasant, from the mountains of Provence, brought me the 
other day a manuscript he had written on the subject, and 
which he could not procure permission to print. It appeared 
to me to have much good sense in it ; and therefore I got some 
copies to be struck off for him to distribute where he may 
think fit. I send you one enclosed. This man aims at no 
profit from his pamphlet or his project, asks for nothing, 
expects nothing, and does not even desire to be known. He 
has acquired, he tells me, a fortune of near one hundred and 
fifty crowns a year (about eighteen pounds sterling), with 
which he is content. This you may imagine would not 



1782] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 565 

afford the expense of riding to Paris, so he came on foot; 
such was his zeal for peace, and the hope of forwarding and 
securing it, by communicating his ideas to great men here. 
His rustic and poor appearance has prevented his access to 
them, or his obtaining their attention ; but he does not seem 
yet to be discouraged. I honour much the character of this 
veritable philosophe. 

I thank you much for your letters of May the ist, i3th, and 
2 $th, with your proposed preliminaries. It is a pleasure to 
me, to find our sentiments so concurring on points of im- 
portance ; it makes discussions as unnecessary as they might 
between us be inconvenient. I am, my dear Sir, with great 
esteem and affection, yours ever, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1338. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (LANS.) 

Passy, July u, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, 

In mine of yesterday, which went by Mr. Young, I made no 
mention of yours of May nth, it not being before me. I have 
just found it. 

You speak of a "proposed dependent State of America, 
which you thought Mr. Oswald would begin with." As yet, 
I have heard nothing of it. I have all along understood 
(perhaps I have understood more than was intended), that 
the point of dependence was given up, and that we are to be 
treated with as a free people. I am not sure that Mr. Oswald 
has explicitly said so, but I know that Mr. Grenville has, and 
that he was to make that declaration previous to the commence- 



566 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

ment of the treaty. It is now intimated to me from several 
quarters, that Lord Shelburne's plan is, to retain the sov- 
ereignty for the King, giving us otherwise an independent 
Parliament, and a government similar to that of late intended 
for Ireland. If this be really his project, our negotiation for 
peace will not go very far. The thing is impracticable and 
impossible, being inconsistent with the faith we have pledged, 
to say nothing of the general disposition of our people. 
Upon the whole I should believe, that, though Lord Shel- 
burne might formerly have entertained such an idea, he had 
probably dropped it before he sent Mr. Oswald here; your 
words above cited do however throw a little doubt in my mind, 
and have, with the intimations of others, made me less free 
in communication with his Lordship, whom I much esteem 
and honour, than I should otherwise have been. I wish, there- 
fore, you would afford me what you can of tclaircissement. 

This letter, going by a courier, will probably get to hand 
long before the one preceding in date, which went by Mr. 
Young, who travels on foot. I therefore enclose the copy 
of it, which was taken in the press. You may return it to 
me when the other arrives. 

By the return of the courier, you may oblige me, by com- 
municating what is fairly communicable, of the history of 
Mr. Fox's and Lord J. Cavendish's resignation, with any 
other changes made or likely to be made. With sincere 
esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 






1782] TO RICHARD OSWALD 567 



1339. TO RICHARD OSWALD (P. R. o.) 

(L. C.) 
Passy, July 12, 1782. 

SIR, 

I inclose a Letter for L d Shelburne, to go by your Courier, 
with some others, of which I request his Care. They may 
be put into the Penny Post. I have received a Note inform- 
ing me, that "some Opposition given by his Lordship to 
Mr. Fox's decided Plan of unequivocally acknowledging 
American Independency, was one cause of that Gentleman's 
Resignation;" this, from what you have told me, appears 
improbable. It is further said, that "Mr. Grenville thinks 
Mr. Fox's Resignation will be fatal to the present Negocia- 
tion." This perhaps is as groundless as the former. Mr. 
Grenville's next Courier will probably clear up Matters. 
I did understand from him, that such an Acknowledgment 
was intended previous to the Commencement of the Treaty ; 
and until it is made, and the Treaty formally begun, Propo- 
sitions and Discussions seem, in Consideration, to be untimely ; 
nor can I enter into particulars without Mr. Jay, who is now 
ill with the Influenza. My Letter, therefore, to his Lordship 
is merely complimentary on his late Appointment. I wish a 
Continuance of your Health, in that at present sickly City, 
being with sincere esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most 

humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I send you enclos'd the late Resolutions of the State 
of Maryland, by which the general Disposition of People in 
America may be guess 'd respecting any Treaty to be propos'd 
by Gen. Carleton, if intended, which I do not believe. 



568 THE WRITINGS OP BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 
1340. TO THE EARL OF SHELBURNE (P. R. o.) 

Passy, July 12, 1782. 

MY LORD, 

Mr. Oswald informing me, that he is about to dispatch a 
Courier, I embrace the Opportunity of congratulating your 
Lordship on your Appointment to the Treasury. It is an 
Extension of your Power to do Good, and in that view, if in 
no other, it must encrease your Happiness, which I heartily 
wish. Being with great and sincere Respect, my Lord, your 

Lordship's, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1341. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 1 

Passy, July 18, 1782. 

Sot, 

I received the letter your Excellency did me the honour of 
writing to me this day, enclosing a memorial, which relates 
to the interests of some subjects of the Emperor, residing at 
Ostend, who allege, that a ship of theirs has been taken by an 
American privateer, and carried into Boston, on pretence that 
the property was English, &c. I shall immediately transmit 
the memorial to Congress, as desired. But, there being courts 
of admiralty established in each of the United States, I con- 
ceive, that the regular steps to be taken by the complainants 
would be an application for justice to those courts by some 
person on the spot, duly authorized by them as their agent; 

1 From " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 609. ED. 



1782] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 569 

and, in case the judgment of the court is not satisfactory, that 
then they appeal to the Congress, which cannot well take 
cognizance of such matters in the first instance. 

The merchants of Ostend may possibly not have as yet 
correspondents established in all the States; but any mer- 
chant of credit in the country would transact such business on 
receiving their request, with the proper power of attorney; 
or, if his Imperial Majesty should think fit to appoint a consul- 
general to reside in those States, such an officer might at all 
times assist his compatriots with his counsels and protection, 
in any affairs that they might have in that country. I am the 
more particular in mentioning this to your Excellency, be- 
cause I apprehend these cases may hereafter be frequent; 
and, if the complaints are to be addressed to you and me, we 
are likely to have a great deal of trouble, as I am informed, 
that it has become a daily practice for outward bound Eng- 
lish ships to put into Ostend, and make a formal pretended 
sale of ship and cargo to a merchant of the place, who furnishes 
Imperial papers for the voyage under his own name, and re- 
ceives a certain sum per cent for the operation. 

This is said to be a branch of great profit to the Flemish 
merchants, and that a very great number of English ships 
are now at sea with such papers ; and I suspect, even from 
their own manner of stating the transaction, that the ship and 
cargo reclaimed by the complainants are of that kind. This 
seems to me an abuse of the neutrality; as these fictitious 
profits are added to the advantage of real carriage for the bel- 
ligerent nations, they make it too much the interest of neutral 
neighbours to foment wars and obstruct peace, that such profits 
may continue. And, if it is to be understood as a settled 
point, that such papers are to protect English property, the 



574 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

acquaints me that his Lands on the Sound in Cape Fear 
River, with his Negroes & Debts owing to Bridgen & Waller 
have by virtue of some late Laws of your Province been all 
Confiscated. I have not seen those Laws, but I would hope 
there may be some Exception in them favouring the Property 
of our Friends, as it would grieve me to See those suffer as 
Enemies, who have from the Beginning of our Difference with 
England, uniformily, openly & firmly espoused the Interests 
of our Country, which to my certain Knowledge is the Case 
of M ' Bridgen. I therefore beg leave to request your Ex- 
ceilencye's Protection & Interposition in favour of that Gentle- 
man, that so, if by no Construction of the Laws as they stand 
his Estates may be exempted, he may however obtain a 
subsequent Law to set aside the Confiscation & restore his 
Property, an Indulgence which it appears to me his Conduct 
has justly merited. I give with Pleasure this voluntary 
Testimony in favour of a very worthy Man, but it will afford 
me infinitely more if it may be of some Utility to him. With 
great Respect I have the honour to be, 
Sir, Your Excellencye's most obedient and most humble 

Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1346. CERTIFICATE OF COMMISSION GRANTED 
TO CAPTAIN GUSTAVUS CONYNGHAM (L. c.) 

I DO hereby certify whom it may concern that the Com- 
missioners of the United States of America at the Court of 
France did issue on the first day of March, one thousand 
seven hundred and seventy-seven, to Captain Gustavus 



1782] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 575 

Conyngham, a commission of Congress appointing him a 
captain in the navy of the said States, and to command a 
vessel then fitting out at Dunkerque, on their account, to 
cruise against their enemies, in which vessel he took the English 
packet boat going from Harwich to Holland ; but there being 
no war at that time between France and England, and the 
clandestine equipment of an armed vessel in a French port 
to cruise against the English being therefore an unjustifiable 
proceeding, he was apprehended by order of the French 
government, and his papers seized, among which was the 
said commission, which was never restored and cannot now 
be found. It is therefore that at the request of the said 
Captain Conyngham, and to ascertain the fact that such a 
commission was issued to him, I give this certificate at Passy, 

this yth day August, 1782 

B. FRANKLIN 

Minister Plenipotentiary from 
the United States of America at the Court of France. 1 



1347. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES* 

Passy, August 8, 1782. 

SIR, 

Yesterday Mr. Oswald communicated to Mr. Jay and me 
a paper he had just received from his court, being a copy 
of the King's order to the attorney or solicitor general, to 

1 Endorsement on back in handwriting of Charles Thomson : 
" Read October n, 1783 

Referred to Mr. Lee, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Ellery." ED. 

2 From " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 651. ED. 



57 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

my hands this afternoon ; and I return them directly, without 
waiting till our interview to-morrow morning, because I 
would not give a moment's delay to the delivery of those 
directed to other persons. 

The situation of Captain Asgill and his family afflicts me, 
but I do not see what can be done by any one here to relieve 
them. 1 It cannot be supposed, that General Washington 
has the least desire of taking the life of that gentleman. His 
aim is to obtain the punishment of a deliberate murder, com- 
mitted on a prisoner in cold blood, by Captain Lippencot. 
If the English refuse to deliver up or punish this murderer, 
it is saying, that they choose to preserve him rather than 
Captain Asgill.* It seems to me, therefore, that the applica- 
tion should be made to the English ministers for positive 
orders, directing General Carleton to deliver up Lippencot ; 
which orders, being obtained, should be despatched immedi- 
ately by a swift-sailing vessel. I do not think any other 
means can produce the effect desired. The cruel murders 
of this kind, committed by the English on our people, since 
the commencement of the war, are innumerable. The 
Congress and their generals, to satisfy the people, have often 

1 Sir Charles Asgill (1762-1823), captain in the first foot guards, served in 
the United States under Cornwallis and was included in the surrender at York- 
town. Captain Joseph Huddy of the New Jersey Line had been hanged upon 
a false charge which implicated him in the death of Philip White, a Tory. 
Washington was authorized by Congress to select by lot an officer of equal 
rank to be executed in retaliation. Asgill was chosen, but the execution was 
postponed pending a British investigation of the cause of Captain Huddy's 
execution. Asgill was finally liberated in consequence of the appeal of the 
King and Queen of France. ED. 

* Captain Lippincott was tried by a court martial and acquitted on the 
ground that the guilt of the act rested mainly on the board of associated 
loyalists at New York, the president of which had ordered Lippincott to 
execute the prisoner. ED. 



1782] TO ALEXANDER MARTIN 573 

threatened retaliation, but have always hitherto forborne to 
execute it ; and they have been often insultingly told by their 
enemies, that this forbearance did not proceed from humanity, 
but fear. General Greene, though he solemnly and publicly 
promised it in a proclamation, never made any retaliation 
for the murder of Colonel Haynes, and many others in Caro- 
lina ; and the people, who now think, if he had fulfilled his 
promise, this crime would not have been committed, clamour 
so loudly, that I doubt General Washington cannot well 
refuse what appears to them so just and necessary for their 
common security. I am persuaded that nothing I could say 
to him on the occasion would have the least effect in chang- 
ing his determination. 

Excuse me, then, if I presume to advise the despatching a 
courier immediately to London, proposing to the consideration 
of ministers the sending such orders to General Carleton 
directly. They would have an excellent effect in other views. 
The post goes to-morrow morning at ten o'clock ; but, as 
nine days have been spent in bringing the letters here by that 
conveyance, an express is preferable. With sincere esteem, 

I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1345. TO ALEXANDER MARTIN 1 

Passy, Aug? 5, 1782. 

Sra, 

M' Edward Bridgen, Merchant of London, a particular 
Friend of mine and a zealous one of the American Cause, 

1 From the original in the John Nicholas Brown Library, Providence, 
Rhode Island. Alexander Martin was governor of North Carolina from 1782 
to 1785. ED. 



574 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

acquaints me that his Lands on the Sound in Cape Fear 
River, with his Negroes & Debts owing to Bridgen & Waller 
have by virtue of some late Laws of your Province been all 
Confiscated. I have not seen those Laws, but I would hope 
there may be some Exception in them favouring the Property 
of our Friends, as it would grieve me to See those suffer as 
Enemies, who have from the Beginning of our Difference with 
England, uniformily, openly & firmly espoused the Interests 
of our Country, which to my certain Knowledge is the Case 
of M Bridgen. I therefore beg leave to request your Ex- 
cellencye's Protection & Interposition in favour of that Gentle- 
man, that so, if by no Construction of the Laws as they stand 
his Estates may be exempted, he may however obtain a 
subsequent Law to set aside the Confiscation & restore his 
Property, an Indulgence which it appears to me his Conduct 
has justly merited. I give with Pleasure this voluntary 
Testimony in favour of a very worthy Man, but it will afford 
me infinitely more if it may be of some Utility to him. With 
great Respect I have the honour to be, 
. Sir, Your Excellencye's most obedient and most humble 

Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1346. CERTIFICATE OF COMMISSION GRANTED 
TO CAPTAIN GUSTAVUS CONYNGHAM (L. c.) 

I DO hereby certify whom it may concern that the Com- 
missioners of the United States of America at the Court of 
France did issue on the first day of March, one thousand 
seven hundred and seventy-seven, to Captain Gustavus 



1782] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 575 

Conyngham, a commission of Congress appointing him a 
captain in the navy of the said States, and to command a 
vessel then fitting out at Dunkerque, on their account, to 
cruise against their enemies, in which vessel he took the English 
packet boat going from Harwich to Holland ; but there being 
no war at that time between France and England, and the 
clandestine equipment of an armed vessel in a French port 
to cruise against the English being therefore an unjustifiable 
proceeding, he was apprehended by order of the French 
government, and his papers seized, among which was the 
said commission, which was never restored and cannot now 
be found. It is therefore that at the request of the said 
Captain Conyngham, and to ascertain the fact that such a 
commission was issued to him, I give this certificate at Passy, 

this yth day August, 1782 

B. FRANKLIN 

Minister Plenipotentiary from 
the United States of America at the Court of France. 1 



-,'<:: :;:/ 'MM- , rr-s >rmn<v> :,i\l {<; 

1347. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES' 

Passy, August 8, 1782. 

SIR, 

Yesterday Mr. Oswald communicated to Mr. Jay and me 
a paper he had just received from his court, being a copy 
of the King's order to the attorney or solicitor general, to 

1 Endorsement on back in handwriting of Charles Thomson : 
" Read October ir, 1783 

Referred to Mr. Lee, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Ellery." ED. 

2 From " The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 651. ED. 



5?6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

prepare a commission to pass the great seal, appointing him to 
treat with us ; and he showed us a letter from Mr. Secretary 
Townshend, which expresses his concern, that the commission 
itself could not be sent by this courier, the officers who were 
to expedite it being in the country, which would occasion a 
delay of eight or ten days ; but that its being then sent might 
be depended on, and it was hoped the treaty might, in the 
mean time, be proceeded on. Mr. Oswald left with me a copy 
of the paper, which I enclose for your Excellency's considera- 
tion, and am, with great respect, Sir, your Excellency's, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1348. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, August 12, 1782. 

Snt, 

I have lately been honoured with your several letters, of 
March pth, and May 22d, and 30th. 1 The paper, containing 
a state of the commerce in North America, and explaining 
the necessity and utility of convoys for its protection, I have 
laid before the minister, accompanied by a letter, pressing 
that it be taken into immediate consideration; and I hope 
it may be attended with success. 

The order of Congress, for liquidating the accounts between 
this court and the United States, was executed before it 
arrived. All the accounts against us for money lent, and 
stores, arms, ammunition, clothing, &c., furnished by govern- 
ment, were brought in and examined, and a balance received, 
which made the debt amount to the even sum of eighteen 

1 See " Diplomatic Correspondence " (Sparks), Vol. Ill, pp. 315, 357. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 577 

millions, exclusive of the Holland loan, for which the King 
is guarantee. I send a copy of the instrument to Mr. Morris. 
In reading it, you will discover several fresh marks of the 
King's goodness towards us, amounting to the value of near 
two millions. These, added to the free gifts before made to 
us at different times, form an object of at least twelve millions, 
for which no returns but that of gratitude and friendship are 
expected. These, I hope, may be everlasting. The constant 
good understanding between France and the Swiss Cantons, 
and the steady benevolence of this crown towards them, 
afford us a well grounded hope that our alliance may be as 
durable and as happy for both nations; there being strong 
reasons for our union, and no crossing interests between us. 
I write fully to Mr. Morris on money affairs, who will doubt- 
less communicate to you my letter, so that I need say the less 
to you on that subject. 

The letter to the King was well received ; the accounts of 
your rejoicings on the news of the Dauphin's birth gave pleas- 
ure here; as do the firm conduct of Congress in refusing to 
treat with General Carleton, and the unanimous resolutions 
of the Assemblies of different States on the same subject. 
All ranks of this nation appear to be in good humour with us, 
and our reputation rises throughout Europe. I understand 
from the Swedish ambassador, that their treaty with us will 
go on as soon as ours with Holland is finished ; our treaty 
with France, with such improvements as that with Holland 
may suggest, being intended as the basis. 

There have been various misunderstandings and misman- 
agements among the parties concerned in the expedition of 
the Eon Homme Richard, which have occasioned delay in 
dividing the prize money. M. de Chaumont, who was 

VOL. VIII 2 P 



578 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

chosen by the captains of all the vessels in the expedition as 
their agent, has long been in a state little short of bankruptcy, 
and some of the delays have possibly been occasioned by 
the distress of his affairs. He now informs me, that the money 
is in the hands of the minister of the marine. I shall in a 
few days present the memorial you propose, with one relating 
to the prisoners, and will acquaint you with the answer. Mr. 
Barclay is still in Holland ; when he returns he may take into 
his hands what money can be obtained on that account. 

I think your observations respecting the Danish complaints 
through the minister of France perfectly just. I will receive 
no more of them by that channel, and will give your reasons 
to justify my refusal. 

Your approbation of my idea of a medal, to perpetuate the 
memory of York and Saratoga victories, gives me great 
pleasure, and encourages me to have it struck. I wish you 
would acquaint me with what kind of a monument at York 
the emblems required are to be fixed on ; whether an obelisk 
or a column ; its dimensions ; whether any part of it is to be 
marble, and the emblems carved on it, and whether the work 
is to be executed by the excellent artists in that way which 
Paris affords ; and, if so, to what expense they are to be limited. 
This puts me in mind of a monument I got made here 
and sent to America, by order of Congress, five years since. 
I have heard of its arrival, and nothing more. It was admired 
here for its elegant antique simplicity of design, and the various 
beautiful marbles used in its composition. It was intended to 
be fixed against a wall in the State House of Philadelphia. 
I know not why it has been so long neglected; it would, 
methinks, be well to inquire after it, and get it put up some- 
where. Directions for fixing it were sent with it. I enclose a 



1782] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 



579 



print of it. The inscription in the engraving is not on the 
monument ; it was merely the fancy of the engraver. There 
is a white plate of marble left smooth to receive such inscrip- 
tion as the Congress should think proper. 1 

Our countrymen, who have been prisoners hi England, are 
sent home, a few excepted, who were sick, and who will be 
forwarded as soon as recovered. This eases us of a very 
considerable charge. 

I communicated to the Marquis de Lafayette the paragraph 
of your letter which related to him. He is still here, and, as 
there seems not so much likelihood of an active campaign 
in America, he is probably more useful where he is. His 
departure, however, though delayed, is not absolutely laid 
aside. 

The second changes in the ministry of England have occa- 
sioned, or have afforded, pretences for various delays in the 
negotiation for peace. Mr. Grenville had two successive 
imperfect commissions. He was at length recalled, and 
Mr. Fitzherbert is now arrived to replace him, with a com- 
mission in due form to treat with France, Spain, and Holland. 
Mr. Oswald, who is here, is informed by a letter from the 
new Secretary of State, that a commission, empowering him to 
treat with the Commissioners of Congress, will pass the seals, 
and be sent him in a few days ; till he arrives, this court will 
not proceed in its own negotiation. I send the Enabling 
Act, as it is called. Mr. Jay will acquaint you with what 
passes between him and the Spanish ambassador, respecting 

1 This was probably the monument ordered by Congress to be erected to 
the memory of General Montgomery. Dr. Franklin was directed to procure 
it in Paris, at an expense not exceeding three hundred pounds sterling. See 
Journals of Congress, January 2$tk, 1776. The monument was placed in the 
portico of St. Paul's Church, in the city of New York. S. 



58o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

the proposed treaty with Spain. I will only mention, that 
my conjecture of that court's design to coop us up within 
the Allegany Mountains is now manifested. I hope Con- 
gress will insist on the Mississippi as the boundary, and the 
free navigation of the river, from which they could entirely 
exclude us. 

An account of a terrible massacre of the Moravian Indians 
has been put into my hands. I send you the papers, that you 
may see how the fact is represented in Europe. I hope 
measures will be taken to secure what is left of those unfor- 
tunate people. 

Mr. Laurens is at Nantes, waiting for a passage with his 
family to America. His state of health is unfortunately very 
bad. Perhaps the sea air may recover him, and restore him 
well to his country. I heartily wish it. He has suffered 
much by his confinement. Be pleased, Sir, to present my 
duty to the Congress, and assure them of my most faithful 
services. With great esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1349. TO ROBERT MORRIS 1 

Passy, August 12, 1782. 
Sm, 

I have received (many of them at the same time) your sun- 
dry letters of March the 23d, April 8th and iyth, May lyth, 
i8th, two of the 23d and 29th. I would be a satisfaction to 
me, if you would likewise mention from time to time the dates 
of those you receive from me. 

1 From "The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States" (Wharton), Vol. V, p. 657. ED. 



1782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 581 

Most of your letters press my obtaining more money for the 
present year. The late losses suffered in the West Indies, and 
the unforeseen necessary expenses the reparation there and 
here must occasion, render it more difficult, and I am told, 
impossible ; though the good disposition of the court towards 
us continues perfect. All I can say on the head of money, 
more than I have said in preceding letters, is, that I confide 
you will be careful not to bankrupt your banker by your 
drafts ; and I will do my utmost, that those you draw shall 
be duly honoured. 

The plan you intimate for discharging the bills in favour of 
Beaumarchais, though well imagined, was impracticable. 
I had accepted them, and he had discounted them, or paid 
them away, or divided them amongst his creditors. They 
were, therefore, in different hands, with whom I could not 
manage the transactions proposed. Besides, I had paid them 
punctually when they became due, which was before the 
receipt of your letter on that subject. That he was furnished 
with his funds by the government here, is a supposition of 
which no foundation appears ; he says, it was by a company 
he had formed ; and, when he solicited me to give up a cargo 
in part of payment, he urged, with tears in his eyes, the distress 
himself and associates were reduced to, by our delay of re- 
mittances. I am glad to see that it is intended to appoint a 
commissioner to settle all our public accounts in Europe. 
I hope he will have better success with M. Beaumarchais than 
I have had. He has often promised solemnly to render an 
account in two or three days. Years have since elapsed, and 
he has not yet done it. Indeed, I doubt whether his books 
have been so well kept as to make it possible. 

You direct me, in yours of May i yth, to pay over into the 



582 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

hands of Mr. Grand, on your account, such moneys belonging 
to the United States as may be in Europe, distinct from those 
to be advanced for the current year. I would do it with pleas- 
ure, if there were any such. There may be, indeed, some in 
Holland, raised by the new loan, but that is not in my dis- 
position, though I have no doubt that Mr. Adams will, on 
occasion, apply it in support of your credit. As to all the aids 
given by the crown, all the sums borrowed of it, and all the 
Dutch loans of ten millions, though the orders to receive have 
been given to me, the payments from the Trtsor Royal have 
all been made on my orders in favour of Mr. Grand, and the 
money again paid away by him on my drafts for public ser- 
vices and expenses, as you will see by his accounts ; so that I 
never saw or touched a livre of it, except what I received from 
him in discharge of my salary, and some disbursements. He 
has even received the whole six millions of the current year, 
so that I have nothing in any shape to pay over to him. On 
occasion of my lately desiring to know the state of our funds, 
that I might judge whether I could undertake to pay what 
you were directed to pay to Mr. William Lee, by vote of Con- 
gress, as soon as the state of public finances would admit, 
Mr. Grand wrote me a note, with a short sketch of their then 
supposed situation, which I enclose. You will probably 
have from him, as soon as possible, a more perfect account ; 
but this will serve to show, that I could not prudently comply 
with your wish, of making that payment to Mr. Lee, and I 
have accordingly declined it; the less unwillingly, as he is 
entitled by the vote to interest. 

I send herewith the accounts of the supplies you have 
received in goods, which I promised in my last. 

The sum of their value is included in the settlement made 



1 782] TO ROBERT MORRIS 583 

with this court, mentioned in a former letter. Herewith I 
also send a copy of the contract, which has been long in hand, 
and but lately completed. The term of the first yearly pay- 
ment we are to make was readily changed at my request, 
from the first to the third year after the peace; the other 
marks of the King's bounty towards us will be seen in the 
instrument. The interest already due and forgiven, amounts 
to more than a million and a half. What might become due 
before the peace is uncertain. The charges of exchange, 
commissions, brokerage, &c., of the Dutch loan amount to 
more than five hundred thousand livres, which is also given, 
so that we have the whole sum net, and are to pay for it but 
four per cent. This liquidation of our accounts with the 
court was completed before the vote of Congress directing it 
came to hand. Mr. Grand examined all the particulars, and 
I have no doubt of its being approved. 

Mr. Grand, to whom I have communicated your letter of 
April i yth, will soon write to you fully. We shall observe the 
general rule you give respecting the fifth, sixth, seventh, and 
eighth bills. The attention, care, and pains necessary to 
prevent (by exact accounts of those accepted, and an exami- 
nation of those offered,) impositions, which are often attempted 
by presenting at a distant time, the second, third, &c., are 
much greater than I could have imagined. Much has been 
saved by that attention, of which, of late, we keep an account ; 
but the hazard of loss by such attempts might be diminished, 
together with the trouble of examination, by making fewer 
small bills. 

Your conduct, activity, and address as a financier and pro- 
vider for the exigencies of the state, are much admired and 
praised here, their good consequences being so evident, 



584 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1782 

particularly with regard to the rising credit of our country 
and the value of bills. No one but yourself can enjoy your 
growing reputation more than I do. 

Mr. Grand has undertaken to pay any balance, that may 
b