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pleased with what I saw of his conduct as an officer, when on supposed occasions we made preparation for engagement, the good order and readiness with which it was done, being far beyond my expectations, and I believe equal to anything of the kind in the best ships of the king's fleet. He seems to have also a very good set of officers under him. I hope they will all in good time be promoted. He met and took two prizes, brigantines, one belonging to Cork, laden with staves, pitch, tar, turpentine, and claret; the other to Hull, with a cargo of flaxseed and brandy. The captains have made some propositions of ransom, which, perhaps, may be accepted, as there is yet no means of condemning them here, and they are scarce worth sending to America. The ship is yet in Quiberon Bay, with her prizes.' I came hither from thence, seventy miles, by land. I am made extremely welcome here, where America has many friends. As soon as I have recovered strength enough for the journey, which I hope will be in a very few days, I shall set out for Paris. My letter to the President will inform you of some other particulars. With great esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.


P. S. December 10th. I have just learnt that eighty pieces of cannon, all brass, with carriages, braces, and everything fit for immediate service, were embarked in a frigate from Havre, which is sailed; the rest were to go in another frigate of thirtysix guns.



Baltimore, January 1st, 1777. - Sir, Congress, relying on your wisdom and integrity, and well knowing the importance of the case, have appointed you their Commissioner to negotiate a treaty of friendship and commerce with the Court of Spain.* The idea of Congress on this subject you will find in the instructions sent by this opportunity to yourself, and the other Commissioners, at the Court of France. Your commission for this special service we have now the honor to enclose you.

We are, with great respect and esteem, honorable Sir, yours, &c.

R. H. LEE,


Paris, January 4th, 1777. Gentlemen, I arrived here about two weeks since, where I found Mr Deane. Mr Lee has since joined us from London. 'We have had an audience of the Minister, Count de Vergennes, and were respectfully received. We left for his consideration a sketch of the proposed treaty.t We are

* Sec the Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. II. pp. 38, 41, 42. + See this sketch in the Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. II. p. 7.


to wait upon him tomorrow with a strong memorial, requesting the aids mentioned in our instructions. By his advice, we have had an interview with the Spanish Ambassador, Count d’Aranda, who seeins well disposed towards us, and will forward copies of our memorials to his Court, which will act, he says, in perfect concert with


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



Paris, January 20th, 1777. Dear Sir, The bearer, Captain Balm, is strongly recommended to me as a very able officer of horse, and capable of being extremely useful to us, in forming a body of men for that service. As he has otherwise an excellent character, I take the liberty of recommending him to my friends as a stranger of merit, worthy of their civilities, and to the Congress as an officer, who if employed may greatly serve a cause, which he has sincerely at heart. With great respect, &c.




Passy,* April 7th, 1777. Sir, I left in your Excellency's hands, to be communicated, if you please, to your Court, a duplicate of the commission from Congress, appointing me to go to Spain as their Minister Plenipotentiary. But, as I understand, that the receiving such a Minister is not at present thought convenient, and I am sure the Congress would have nothing done that might incommode in the least a Court they so much respect, I shall therefore postpone that journey till circumstances may make it more suitable. In the mean time, I beg leave to lay before his Catholic Majesty, through the bands of your Excellency, the propositions contained in a resolution of Congress, dated December 30th, 1776, viz.

“That if His Catholic Majesty will join with the United States in a war against Great Britain, they will assist in reducing to the possession of Spain the town and harbor of Pensacola; provided the inhabitants of the United States shall have the free navigation of the Mississippi, and the use of the harbor of Pensacola ; and will, (provided it shall be true, that his Portuguese Majesty has insultingly expelled the vessels of these States from his ports, or has confiscated any such vessels,) declare war against the said King, if that measure shall be agreeable to, and supported by, the Courts of France and Spain.”

* Passy is a small town about three miles from Paris, on the banks of the Seine. Dr Franklin lived here during the whole of his residence in France.

It is understood, that the strictest union subsists between those two Courts; and in case Spain and France should think fit to attempt the conquest of the English sugar islands, Congress have further proposed to furnish provisions to the amount of two millions of dollars, and to join the fleet employed on the occasion, with six frigates of not less than twentyfour guns each, manned and fitted for service; and to render any other assistance which may be in their power, as becomes good allies; without desiring for themselves the possession of any of the said islands.

These propositions are subject to discussion, and to receive such modification as may be found proper.

With great respect, I have the honor to be your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant,



Paris, June 13th, 1777. Sir, The bearer, M. le Comte Kotkouski, a Polish officer, is recommended to me by several persons of worth here, as a man of experience in military affairs, and of tried bravery. He has lost his family and estate in Poland, by fighting there in the cause of liberty, and wishes, by engaging in the same cause, to find a new country and new friends in America. Count Pulaski, who was a General of the confederates in Poland, and who is gone to join you, is esteemed one of the greatest officers in Europe. He can give you the character of this M. Kotkouski, who served under him as Lieutenant Colonel.

It is with regret that I give letters of introduction to

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