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more certainty. I beg you to present my duty to Congress, and assure them of my most faithful endeavors in their service.
With the sincerest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.,
FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE TO BENJAMIN
Baltimore, January 1st, 1777.
Congress relying on your wisdom and integrity, and well knowing the importance of the case, have appointed you their Commissioner to negociate 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.,
TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.
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.We are to wait upon him to-morrow 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 seems well disposed towards us, and will forward copies of our memorials to his Court, which will act, he says, in perfect concert with this.
Their fleets are said to be in fine order, manned and fit for sea. The cry of this nation is for us, but the Court it is thought, views an approaching war with reluctance. The press continues in England.
* See the Secret Journals of Congress, vol. 2, pp. 38, 41, 42.
As soon as we can receive a positive answer from these Courts, we shall despatch an express with it. I am, gentlemen, &c.,
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
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.,
TO THE COUNT D'ARANDA, SPANISH AMBASSADOR TO THE COURT OF
Passy,* April 7th, 1777.
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 hands of your Excellency, the propositions contained in a resolution of Congress, dated December 30th, 1776, viz:
6 That if his Catholic Majesty will join with the United States in a war against Great Britain, they will assist in reducing to the
* 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.
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.”
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 twenty-four 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,
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
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 foreign officers, fearing that you may be troubled with more than you can
provide for, or employ to their and your own satisfaction. When particular cases seem to have a claim to such letters, I hope you will excuse my taking the liberty. I give no expectations to those who apply for them ; I promise nothing, I acquaint them that their being placed when they arrive is a great uncertainty, and that the voyage being long, expensive, and hazardous, I counsel them not to undertake it. This honest gentleman's zeal is not to be discouraged by such means; he determines to go and serve as a volunteer, if he cannot be employed immediately as an officer ; but I wish and hope that your Excellency may find a better situation for him, and that he will be a useful officer. He has the advantage of understanding English, and will soon speak it intelligibly. He also speaks German, and some other European languages, and the Latin. With the truest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.,
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Paris, June 13th, 1777. Sir, The person who will have the honor of delivering this to your Excellency, is Monsieur le Baron de Frey, who is well recommended to me as an officer of experience and merit, with a request that I would give him a letter of introduction. I have acquainted him, that you are rather overstocked with officers, and that his obtaining employment in your army is an uncertainty ; but his zeal for the American cause is too great for any discouragements I can lay before him, and he goes over at his own expense, to take his chance, which is a mark of attachment that merits our regard. He will show your Excellency the commissions and proofs of his military service hitherto, and I beg leave to recommend him to your notice.
With the sincerest esteem and respect, P FRANKLIN
M. DUBOURG TO B. FRANKLIN.
Paris, September 8th, 1777.