« ZurückWeiter »
lately showing 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 have received, eight months after their date, the instructions of Congress relating to a new article for guarantying the fisheries. The expected negotiations 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 Chevalier de Fleury, has been delivered to his order here, he being gone to America. The others, for Brigadier-General Wayne and Colonel Stewart, I shall send by the next good opportunity.
The two thousand pounds I furnished to Messrs. Adams and Jay, agreeably 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 pub lie credit, the holders of those bills threatening otherwise to protest them. Messrs. de Neufville of Amsterdam had accepted some of them. I have promised those gentlemen to provide for the payment before they become due, and to accept such others as shall be presented 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 favor 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 desired an answer. I gave no expectation, that it was likely you would agree to such a proposal; but, being pressed to send it to you, it went with some of my former letters.
M. Fouquet, who was employed by Congress to instruct people in making gunpowder, is arrived 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 proposal, by Russia, of an armed neutrality for protecting the 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 cruisers 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 Charleston. 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 North 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 Seventeenth Regiment, taken prisoner at Stony Point, July 15th, 1779, and confined 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 believe me to be, with great respect, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
P. S. A similar application has been made to me in favor of Richard Croft, lieutenant in the Twentieth 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.
TO JAMES LOWELL,
Passy, 10 August, 1780. SIR,
I received on the 12th of June, 1780, copies of your several favors of April the 29th, 1779, June the 13th, 1779, July the 9th and 16th, August and September the 16th, 1779. You will see by this what delays our correspondence sometimes meets with. I have lately received two of fresher date, viz. February the 24th, and May the 4th. 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 despatches 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, extracted 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 17th of October, and the 16th of March, and have sent duplicates, some of which I hope got to hand. You mention receiving one of September the 30th, and one of December 30th, but not that of October the 17th. The cipher you have communicated, either from some defect in your explanation, or in my comprehension, is not yet of use to me; for I cannot understand by it the little specimen you have written in it. If you have that of M. Dumas, which I left with Mr. Morris, we may correspond by it when a few sentences are required only to be written in cipher, but it is too tedious for a whole letter.
I send herewith copies of the instruments annulling the eleventh and twelfth articles of the treaty.* The treaty printed here by the court omitted them, and numbered the subsequent articles accordingly.
I write fully to the President. The frequent hinderances 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 addressed to the President, till further orders.
I send you enclosed some more of Mr. Hartley's letters. He continues passionately to desire peace with
• See Diplomatic Correspondence, Vol. I. p. 432.
America, but wishes we could be separated from France. With great esteem, &c.
TO JOHN PAUL JONES.
Passy, 12 August, 1780.
I received yours by the Count de Vauban, and I send by him my public despatches, 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. I could not write so, because I never had such a 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 expedition was at the expense and under the direction of the King, which it was not proper or necessary for him to know. The expression I used was, that the concerned had destined the squadron for another service. These words, the concerned, he and the counsellor have interpreted to mean, the owners of a privateer.
I shall send by the 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,