Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

as astonished, and appear to be angry, that you have no answer to a letter you wrote me on the 11th of December, which you are sure was delivered to me.

In exculpation of myself, I assure you that I never received any letter from you of that date. And indeed, being then but four days landed at Nantes, I think you could scarce have heard so soon of my being in Europe.

But I received one from you of the 8th of January, which I own I did not answer. It may displease you, if I give you the reason; but, as it may be of use to you in your future correspondences, I will hazard that for a gentleman to whom I feel myself obliged, as an American, on account of his good will to our cause.

Whoever writes to a stranger should observe three points. 1. That what he proposes be practicable. 2. His propositions should be made in explicit terms, so as to be easily understood. 3. What he desires should be in itself reasonable. Hereby he will give a favorable impression of his understanding, and create a desire of further acquaintance. Now it happened that you were negligent in all these points; for, first, you desired to have means procured for you of taking a voyage to America “ avec sureté; which is not possible, as the dangers of the sea subsist always, and at present there is the additional danger of being taken by the English. Then you desire that this may be sans trop grandes dépenses,” which is not intelligible enough to be answered, because, not knowing your ability of bearing expenses, one cannot judge what may be trop grandes. Lastly, you desire letters of address to the Congress and to General Washington ; which it is not reasonable to ask of one who knows no more of you, than that your name is Lith, and that you live at Bayreuth.

[merged small][ocr errors]

In your last you also express yourself in vague terms, when you desire to be informed whether you may expect “d’être reçu d'une maniére convenable” in our troops. As it is impossible to know what your ideas are of the maniére convenable, how can one answer this? And then you demand, whether I will support you by my authority in giving you letters of recommendation. I doubt not your being a man of merit; and, knowing it yourself, you may forget that it is not known to everybody; but reflect a moment, Sir, and you will be convinced, that, if I were to practise giving letters of recommendation to persons of whose character I knew no more than I do of yours, my recommendations would soon be of no authority at all. I thank you, however, for your kind desire of being serviceable to my countrymen; and I wish in return, that I could be of service to you in the scheme you have formed of going to America. But numbers of experienced officers here have offered to go over and join our army, and I could give them no encouragement, because I have no orders for that purpose, and I know it extremely difficult to place them when they arrive there. I cannot but think, therefore, that it is best for you not to make so long, so expensive, and so hazardous a voyage, but to take the advice of your friends, and “stay in Franconia.” I have the

honor to be, Sir, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

TO COUNT D'ARANDA, SPANISH AMBASSADOR TO THE

COURT OF FRANCE. Communicating the Propositions of the United States in Regard to Spain.

Passy, 7 April, 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 hands 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 harbour of Pensacola; provided the inhabitants of the United States shall have the free navigation of the Mississippi, and the use of the harbour 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 them. selves 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, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

TO SAMUEL COOPER.
The American Cause popular in Europe.

Paris, 1 May, 1777. I thank you for your kind congratulations on my safe arrival here, and for your good wishes. I am, as you supposed, treated with great civility and respect by all orders of people; but it gives me still greater satisfaction to find, that our being here is of some use to our country. On that head I cannot be more explicit at present.

I rejoice with you in the happy change of affairs in America last winter. I hope the same train of success will continue through the summer. Our enemies are disappointed in the number of additional troops they purposed to send over. What they have been able to muster will not probably recruit their army to the state it was in the beginning of last campaign ; and ours I hope will be equally numerous, better armed, and better clothed, than they have been heretofore.

All Europe is on our side of the question, as far as applause and good wishes can carry them. Those who live under arbitrary power do nevertheless approve of liberty, and wish for it; they almost despair of recovering it in Europe; they read the translations of our separate colony constitutions with rapture; and there are such numbers everywhere, who talk of removing to America, with their families and fortunes, as soon as peace and our independence shall be established, that it is generally believed we shall have a prodigious addition of strength, wealth, and arts, from the emigrations of Europe; and it is thought, that, to lessen or prevent such emigrations, the tyrannies established there must relax, and allow more liberty to their people. Hence it is a common observation here, that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own. It is a glorious task assigned us by Providence; which has, I trust, given us spirit and virtue equal to it, and will at last crown it with success. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. FRANKLIN.

TO JOHN WINTHROP.

So

Dr. Price. Conduct of the German Princes in sending Troops to America.

Paris, 1 May, 1777. DEAR SIR, I received your kind letter of February 28th, which gave me great pleasure. I forwarded your letter to Dr. Price, who was well lately; but his friends, on his account, were under some apprehensions from the violence of government, in consequence of his late ex

« ZurückWeiter »