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defend our coast, notwithstanding its great extent; that we have already a small squadron of armed vessels to protect our coasting trade, who have had some success in taking several of the enemy's cruisers, and some of their transport vessels and store ships. This little naval force we are about to augment, and expect it may be more considerable in the next summer. We have hitherto applied to no foreign power. We are using the utmost industry in endeavouring to make saltpetre, and with daily increasing success. Our artificers are also everywhere busy in fabricating small arms, casting cannon, &c.; yet both arms and ammunition are much wanted. Any merchants, who would venture to send ships laden with those articles, might make great profit; such is the demand in every colony, and such generous prices are and will be given; of which, and of the manner of conducting such a voyage, the bearer, Mr. Story, can more fully inform you; and whoever brings in those articles is allowed to carry off the value in provisions, to our West Indies, where they will probably fetch a very high price, the general exportation from North America being stopped. This you will see more particularly in a printed resolution of the Congress. We are in great want of good engineers, and wish you could engage and send us two able ones, in time for the next campaign, one acquainted with field service, sieges, &c., and the other with fortifying of seaports. They will, if well recommended, be made very welcome, and have honorable appointments, besides the expenses of their voyage hither, in which Mr. Story can also advise them. As what we now request of you, besides taking up your time, may put you to some expense, we send you for the present, enclosed, a bill for one hundred pounds sterling, to defray such expenses, and desire you to be assured that your services will be considered, and honorably rewarded, by the Congress. We desire, also, that you would take the trouble of receiving from Arthur Lee, agent for the Congress in England, such letters as may be sent by him to your care, and of forwarding them to us with your despatches. When you have occasion to write to him to inform him of any thing, which it may be of importance that our friends there should be acquainted with, please to send your letters to him, under cover, directed to Mr. Alderman Lee, merchant, on Tower Hill, London; and do not send it by post, but by some trusty shipper, or other prudent person, who will deliver it with his own hand. And when you send to us, if you have not a direct safe opportunity, we recommend sending by way of St. Eustatia, to the care of Messrs. Robert and Cornelius Stevenson, merchants there, who will forward your despatches to me. With sincere and great esteem and respect, I am, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
TO HIS MOST SERENE HIGHNEss, DON GABRIEL OF BOURBON.
On receiving his Version of Sallust.
Philadelphia, 12 December, 1775. ILLUSTRIous PRINCE, I have just received, through the hands of the ambassador of Spain, the much esteemed present your most Serene Highness hath so kindly sent me, of your excellent version of Sallust.”
* The famous Latin and Spanish edition of Sallust, printed in 1772, by Ibarra, at the Royal Press in Madrid. This edition, which is an imperial quarto, is considered by bibliographers as a master-piece of typography. Dibden remarks, that it “is very rare, as the Prince, Don Gabriel, reserved all the copies for presents.”
I am extremely sensible of the honor done me, and beg you would accept my thankful acknowledgments I wish I could send hence any American literary production worthy of your perusal; but as yet the Muses have scarcely visited these remote regions. Perhaps, however, the proceedings of our American Congress, just published, may be a subject of some curiosity at your court. I therefore take the liberty of sending your Highness a copy, with some other papers, which contain accounts of the successes wherewith Providence has lately favored us. Therein your wise politicians may contemplate the first efforts of a rising state, which seems likely soon to act a part of some importance on the stage of human affairs, and furnish materials for a future Sallust. I am very old, and can scarce hope to see the event of this great contest; but, looking forward, I think I see a powerful dominion growing up here, whose interest it will be, to form a close and firm alliance with Spain, (their territories bordering,) and who, being united, will be able, not only to preserve their own people in peace, but to repel the force of all the other powers in Europe. It seems, therefore, prudent on both sides to cultivate a good understanding, that may hereafter be so useful to both; towards which a fair foundation is already laid in our minds, by the well founded popular opinion entertained here of Spanish integrity and honor. I hope my presumption in hinting this will be pardoned. If in any thing on this side the globe I can render either service or pleasure to your Royal Highness, your commands will make me happy. With the utmost esteem and veneration, I have the honor to be your Serene Highness's most obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.
To chARLEs LEE.”
Saltpetre and Powder. — Use of Bows and Arrows in War. — Polydore Virgil. — Acceptable Terms of Conciliation not expected from England.
Philadelphia, 11 February, 1776. DEAR SIR,
The bearer, M. Arundel, is directed by the Congress to repair to General Schuyler, in order to be employed by him in the artillery service. He proposes to wait on you in his way, and has requested me to introduce him by a line to you. He has been an officer in the French service, as you will see by his commissions; and, professing a good will to our cause, I hope he may be useful in instructing our gunners and matrosses. Perhaps he may advise in opening the nailed cannon. I received the enclosed, the other day, from an officer, Mr. Newland, who served in the two last wars, and was known by General Gates, who spoke well of him to me when I was at Cambridge. He is desirous now of entering into your service. I have advised him to wait upon you at New York.
They still talk big in England, and threaten hard; but their language is somewhat civiler, at least not quite so disrespectful to us. By degrees they come to their senses, but too late, I fancy, for their interest.
We have got a large quantity of saltpetre, one hundred and twenty tons, and thirty more expected. Powder-mills are now wanting. I believe we must set to work and make it by hand. But I still wish, with you, that pikes could be introduced, and I would add bows and arrows. These were good weapons, not wisely laid aside; 1st. Because a man may shoot as truly with a bow as with a common musket. 2dly. He can discharge four arrows in the time of charging and discharging one bullet. 3dly. His object is not taken from his view by the smoke of his own side. 4thly. A flight of arrows, seen coming upon them, terrifies and disturbs the enemies’ attention to their business. 5thly. An arrow striking in any part of a man puts him hors du combat till it is extracted. 6thly. Bows and arrows are more easily provided everywhere than muskets and ammunition. Polydore Virgil, speaking of one of our battles against the French in Edward the Third’s reign, mentions the great confusion the enemy was thrown into, sagittarum nube, from the English; and concludes, Est res profecto dictu mirabilis, ut tantus ac potens exercitus a solis fere Anglicis sagittariis victus fuerit; adeo Anglus est sagittipotens, et id genus armorum valet. If so much execution was done by arrows when men wore some defensive armour, how much more might be done now that it is out of use. I am glad you are come to New York, but I also wish you could be in Canada. There is a kind of suspense in men's minds here at present, waiting to see what terms will be offered from England. I expect none that we can accept; and, when that is generally seen, we shall be more unanimous and more decisive. Then your proposed solemn league and covenant will go better down, and perhaps most of your other strong measures will be adopted. I am
* General Lee now had the command in New York, and was engaged in constructing works of defence. See Sparks's Life of Gouverneur Morris, Vol. I. pp. 75–88; and Washington's Writings, Vol. III. pp. 230, 273, 292.