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By the way, how goes on the Unitarian church in Essex Street? And the honest minister of it, is he comfortably supported? Your old colleague, Mr. Radcliff, is he living? And what became of Mr. Denham?
My grandson, who will have the honor of delivering this to you, may bring me a line from you; and I hope will bring me an account of your continuing well and happy.
I jog on still, with as much health, and as few of the infirmities of old age, as I have any reason to expect. But, notwithstanding the decay of my constitution, my regard for my old friends remains firm and entire. You will always have a good share of it, for I am ever with great and sincere esteem, dear Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
FROM JAMES MCHENRY TO B. FRANKLIN.t
The Marquis de Lafayette. The Adjournment of Congress, and Dissolution of the Committee of the States.
Baltimore, 24 August, 1784.
As it may be a satisfaction to the friends of the Marquis de Lafayette to learn, that his visit to this country has been extremely flattering to its citizens, and that his reception has been marked by every circumstance expressive of gratitude and respect, I thought it would give pleasure to you, of whom I have often heard him express the liveliest regard, to have it in
† Mr. McHenry was at this time a delegate in Congress from Maryland. He afterwards served for several years as Secretary of War, during the administrations of Washington and Adams.
your power to convey to them this information. is now with our late general at Mount Vernon, and is expected in this town about the first of next month.*
I imagine your official information from this country must be very imperfect, and may continue so for some time, unless Mr. Jay, who has arrived, accepts the Department of Foreign Affairs. You know, I suppose, that Congress left a committee of the States; but this committee is, in effect, at an end, without the form of an adjournment. I went down to Annapolis on the 20th instant, to relieve Mr. Chase (a delegate from this State), but I might as well have remained at home, for Mr. Dana and Mr. Blanchard had the day before signified their intention to return to their States. There being only nine members present, a motion was made by General Hand to fix the dissolution on those gentlemen, which would have been entered on the journals, had not Mr. Blanchard withdrawn just as the yeas and nays were about to be called. This put an end to the committee, as he did not choose to return.
Owing to this circumstance, we shall have no visible federal sovereignty before the meeting of Congress at Trenton. I dare say our enemies in Europe will construe this event into a proof of a spirit of disorder and disunion among the States, not distinguishing between the States and their fluctuating representatives, who cannot be always wise, always moderate men. The truth is, the eastern delegates did not think a committee of the States necessary, and went into it merely because, that, without one, they could not have obtained the adjournment to Trenton. The passions and sentiments of Congress descending to the com
*The Marquis de Lafayette had been making a tour through various parts of the United States, and was now about to return to Europe. · See Sparks's edition of Washington's Writings, Vol. IX. pp. 55, 74, 77.
mittee terminated in its dissolution, as might have been foreseen. The States, however, have been at no time in greater harmony with each other. North Carolina has adopted the five per cent impost. Several of them have passed acts to vest Congress with a power to regulate commerce, previous to our recommendation on that subject, while Rhode Island alone resists the impost.
Your name has been often of late mentioned in Congress, and your letters alluded to, in which you press for leave to retire; but your friends have as often hoped, that you would serve this country a little longer. We have made treaties, but we want to be certain that we are at peace. With the greatest respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
FROM THE COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.
Versailles, 27 August, 1784.
You have communicated to me an extract from the instructions, which Congress addressed to you on the 11th of May last, which imports, that the United States will in no case treat any other nation with respect to commerce more advantageously than the French. This disposition is much the wisest, as it will prevent those misunderstandings, which might arise from the equivocal terms in which the 2d article of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed February 6th, 1778, is conceived. But that the resolution of Congress on this subject may be clearly stated, it would be best, Sir, that you furnish me with it in the form of a declaration, or at least in an official note, signed by your
self. I have no doubt that you will adopt one of these two forms. I have the honor to be, &c. DE VERGENNEs.
TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.
Passy, 3 September, 1784.
I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency, by order of Congress, a resolution of theirs, dated the 11th of May last, which is in the words following, viz.
Resolved, That Dr. Franklin be instructed to express to the court of France, the constant desire of Congress to meet their wishes; that these States are about to form a general system of commerce, by treaties with other nations; that, at this time, they cannot foresee what claim might be given to those nations by the explanatory propositions from the Count de Vergennes, on the second and third articles of our Treaty. of Amity and Commerce with His Most Christian Majesty, but that he may be assured it will be our constant care to place no people on more advantageous ground than the subjects of his Majesty."
With great respect, I am, &c.
TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN.
Introducing Count Mirabeau.
Passy, 7 September, 1784.
MY DEAR FRIEND, This will be delivered to you by Count Mirabeau; son of the Marquis of that name, author of L'Ami des
The same who afterwards so eminently distinguished himself by his eloquence in the early part of the French Revolution.-W. T. F.
Hommes. This gentleman is esteemed here, and I recommend him to your civilities and counsels, particularly with respect to the printing of a piece he has written on the subject of hereditary nobility, on occasion of the order of Cincinnati lately attempted to be established in America, which cannot be printed here. I find that some of the best judges think it extremely well written, with great clearness, force, and elegance. If you can recommend him to an honest, reasonable bookseller, that will undertake it, you will do him service, and perhaps some to mankind, who are too much bigoted in many countries to that kind of imposition. I had formerly almost resolved to trouble you with no more letters of recommendation; but I think you will find this gentleman to possess talents, that may render his acquaintance agreeable. With sincere esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours
FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.
Versailles, 9 September, 1784.
I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write me on the 3d instant. You there declare in the name of Congress, that the United States will be careful not to treat any other nation, in matters of commerce, more advantageously than the French nation. This declaration, founded on the treaty of the 6th of February, 1778, has been very agreeable to the King; and you, Sir, can assure Congress, that the United States shall constantly experience a perfect reciprocity in France. I have the honor to be, very sincerely, Sir, &c.