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a fripon. It will be strange, if, being at Madrid, he did not address himself to you. With great and unalterable regard, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,




Paris, 15 December, 1783.


I have just received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 25th past. I did indeed receive your former letter of July, but, being totally a stranger to the mentioned proceedings of Mr. Montgomery, and having no orders from Congress on the subject, I knew not how to give you any satisfactory answer, till I should receive further information; and I communicated your letter to Mr. Jay, minister of the United States for Spain, in whose district Mr. Montgomery is, and who is more at hand than I am for commencing that negotiation.


Mr. Jay, who is at present in England, has possibly written to you, though his letter may have miscarried, to acquaint you, that Mr. Montgomery had probably no authority from Congress to take the step he has done, and that it was not likely, that they, desiring to make a treaty with the Emperor, would think of putting his Majesty to the trouble of sending a person to Paris to receive and conduct their minister, since they have ships, and could easily land him at Cadiz, or present him at one of the Emperor's ports. We have, however, written to Congress, acquainting them with what we had been informed of, the good and favorable disposition of his Imperial Majesty to enter into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States; and

we have no doubt but that, as soon as their affairs are a little settled, which, by so severe a war carried on in the bowels of their country by one of the most powerful nations of Europe, have necessarily been much deranged, they will readily manifest equally good dispositions, and take all the proper steps to cultivate and secure the friendship of a monarch, whose character I know they have long esteemed and respected. I am, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


American Commissioners. Signing of the Definitive Treaties. British Court. - American Constitutions published in the French Language. Treaties with European Powers. Paul Jones.

Passy, 25 December, 1783.


Not having heard of the appointment of a new secretary for foreign affairs, I take the liberty of addressing this despatch directly to your Excellency. I received by Captain Barney a letter from the late President, directed to the Commissioners, dated November the 1st, with a set of instructions, dated the 29th of October, a resolution of the same date respecting Hamburg, and another of the 1st of November, relating to Captain Paul Jones, all which will be duly regarded.

Captain Jones, in passing through England, communicated these papers to Mr. Adams, then at London. Mr. Adams, disappointed in not finding among them the commission we had been made to expect, empowering us to make a treaty of commerce with England, wrote to me, that he imagined it might be contained in a packet that was directed to me, and requested to

be immediately informed; adding, that, in case no such commission was come, he should depart directly for Holland; so I suppose he is now there. Mr. Laurens is gone to England, with an intention of embarking soon for America. Mr. Jay is at Bath, but expected here daily. The English ministers, the Duke of Manchester and Mr. Hartley, are both at present in Parliament. As soon as either of them returns, we shall endeavour to obtain an additional article to the treaty, explaining that mentioned in the instructions.

The affairs of Ireland are still unsettled. The Parliament and volunteers are at variance; the latter are uneasy, that, in the late negotiations for a treaty of commerce between England and America, the British ministers had made no mention of Ireland, and they seem to desire a separate treaty of commerce between America and that kingdom.

It was certainly disagreeable to the English ministers, that all their treaties for peace were carried on under the eye of the French court. This began to appear towards the conclusion, when Mr. Hartley refused going to Versailles, to sign there with the other powers our definitive treaty, and insisted on its being done at Paris, which we in good humor complied with, but at an earlier hour, that we might have time to acquaint Count de Vergennes before he was to sign with the Duke of Manchester.

The Dutch definitive treaty was not then ready, and the British court now insists on finishing it either at London or the Hague. If, therefore, the commission to us, which has been so long delayed, is still intended, perhaps it will be well to instruct us to treat either here or at London, as we may find most convenient.

The treaty may be conducted, even there, in concert and in the confidence of communication with the

ministers of our friends, whose advice may be of use

to us.

With respect to the British court, we should, I think, be constantly upon our guard, and impress strongly upon our minds, that, though it has made peace with us, it is not in truth reconciled either to us, or to its loss of us, but still flatters itself with hopes, that some change in the affairs of Europe, or some disunion among ourselves, may afford them an opportunity of recovering their dominion, punishing those who have most offended, and securing our future dependence. It is easy to see by the general turn of the ministerial newspapers (light things, indeed, as straws and feathers, but like them they show which way the wind blows), and by the malignant improvement their ministers make, in all the foreign courts, of every little accident or dissension among us, the riot of a few soldiers at Philadelphia, the resolves of some town meetings, the reluctance to pay taxes, &c., all which are exaggerated, to represent our government as so many anarchies, of which the people themselves are weary, and the Congress as having lost its influence, being no longer respected; I say it is easy to see from this conduct, that they bear us no good will, and that they wish the reality of what they are pleased to imagine. They have, too, a numerous royal progeny to provide for, some of whom are educated in the military line. In these circumstances we cannot be too careful to preserve the friendships we have acquired abroad, and the union we have established at home, to secure our credit by a punctual discharge of our obligations of every kind, and our reputation by the wisdom of our councils; since we know not how soon we may have a fresh occasion for friends, for credit, and for reputation.



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The extravagant misrepresentations of our political state in foreign countries, made it appear necessary to give them better information, which I thought could not be more effectually and authentically done, than by publishing a translation into French, now the most general language in Europe, of the book of Constitutions, which had been printed by order of Congress. This I accordingly got well done, and presented two copies, handsomely bound, to every foreign minister here, the one for himself, the other more elegant for his Sovereign. It has been well taken, and has afforded matter of surprise to many, who had conceived mean ideas of the state of civilization in America, and could not have expected so much political knowledge and sagacity had existed in our wilderness. And from all parts I have the satisfaction to hear, that our constitutions in general are much admired. I am persuaded, that this step will not only tend to promote the emigration to our country of substantial people from all parts of Europe, by the numerous copies I shall disperse, but will facilitate our future treaties with foreign courts, who could not before know what kind of government and people they had to treat with. As, in doing this, I have endeavoured to further the apparent views of Congress in the first publication, I hope it may be approved, and the expense allowed. I send herewith one of the copies.

Our treaties with Denmark and Portugal remain unfinished, for want of instructions respecting them from Congress, and a commission empowering some minister or ministers to conclude them. The Emperor of Morocco, we understand, has expressed a disposition to make a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States. A Mr. Montgomery, who is a merchant settled at Aicant, has been, it seems, rather forward in pro

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