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and comparatively small remittances from America, they were enabled to refit public vessels, purchase military supplies for the army and navy of the United States, contribute to the relief of American prisoners in England, and pay the drafts of Congress. In all these transactions Dr. Franklin found an able, zealous, and active coadjutor in Mr. Adams. *

Both Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams had represented to Congress the inexpediency of employing three com

Dr. Franklin was subject to visits and calls from all descriptions of persons, making applications and inquiries without number. The following is the journal of a day.

Passy, December 13th, 1778. "A man came to tell me he had invented a machine, which would go of itself, without the help of a spring, weight, air, water, or any of the elements, or the labor of man or beast, and with force sufficient to work four machines for cutting tobacco; that he had experienced it; would show it me if I would come to his house, and would sell the secret of it for two hundred louis. I doubted it, but promised to go to him in order to see it.

A Monsieur Coder came with a proposition in writing, to levy six hundred men, to be employed in landing on the coast of England and Scotland, to burn and ransom towns and villages, in order to put a stop to the English proceedings in that way in America. I thanked him, and told him I could not approve it, nor had I any money at command for such purposes; moreover, that it would not be permitted by the government here.

"A man came with a request that I would patronize, and recommend to government, an invention he had, whereby a hussar might so conceal his arms and habiliments, with provision for twenty-four hours, as to appear a common traveller; by which means a considerable body might be admitted into a town, one at a time, unsuspected, and, after wards assembling, surprise it. I told him I was not a military man, of course no judge of such matters, and advised him to apply to the Bureau de la Guerre. He said he had no friends, and so could procure no attention. The number of wild schemes proposed to me is so great, and they have heretofore taken so much of my time, that I begin to reject all, though possibly some of them may be worth notice.

"Received a parcel from an unknown philosopher, who submits to my consideration a memoir on the subject of elementary fire, containing experiments in a dark chamber. It seems to be well written, and is in English, with a little tincture of French idiom. I wish to see the experiments, without which I cannot well judge of it."

This "unknown philosopher" was ascertained to be Marat, afterwards

missioners in a service, the duties of which might be discharged with equal facility and at less expense by one. In conformity with this suggestion, Dr. Franklin was appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of France on the 14th of September. The commission was dissolved, and Mr. Adams returned to America. Mr. Lee stayed some time longer, holding nominally a commission to Spain, but never going to that court. It is not the design of this narrative, nor is it possible within the limits prescribed, to write a history of the public transactions in which Dr. Franklin was concerned. Some of the more prominent incidents, and those of a personal nature, are all that can be introduced. But justice to his memory, as well as gratitude for the great services he rendered to country, require, that some of the particulars should be stated in regard to the means that were used to embarrass his proceedings and injure his character.


Among those, who took upon themselves this unworthy task, the most active and persevering was Mr. Arthur Lee. This gentleman was a Virginian by birth, a brother of Richard Henry Lee. A few years before the war broke out, he went to London, studied law in the Temple, and commenced practice. His talents and attainments were respectable, he was a good writer, and supported the cause of his country with ardor and a uniform consistency. But his temper was restless and vehement. Jealous of his rivals and distrustful of everybody, he involved himself, and those connected with him, in a succession of disputes and difficulties.

of notorious memory. At this time he was devoted to philosophical studies, and he wrote several treatises on light, heat, and electricity, which are praised by his biographers for their matter and style. He occasionally invited Dr. Franklin, and other men of science, to see his experiments.

His hostility to Franklin showed itself at an early date. It has been seen above, that, when Dr. Franklin was appointed agent for Massachusetts at the court of London, Mr. Lee was nominated to be his successor whenever he should retire. Circumstances detained him longer in England than he had expected. Mr. Lee grew impatient, and fearing, as he said, that Dr. Franklin would never depart "till he was gathered to his fathers," he resorted to the dishonorable artifice of writing letters to one of the principal members of the Massachusetts legislature, filled with charges against him in regard to his official conduct, as destitute of foundation in point of fact, as they were of candor and propriety. This was the more reprehensible, as Dr. Franklin consulted him on proper occasions respecting the affairs of the colony, treated him as a friend and considered him as such, and spoke favorably of him in his correspondence. It is true, that these charges did not then produce the effect desired by Mr. Lee; yet they gave rise to suspicions, which long existed in the minds of the prominent men of Massachusetts, and which were utterly without any just cause.

Before Dr. Franklin's arrival in France, Mr. Lee had fallen into a quarrel with Mr. Deane. Some months previously, Beaumarchais had consulted him in London with respect to the best mode of forwarding secret aids to the United States. A plan was partly matured, in which Mr. Lee supposed he was to be a principal actor. But, when Mr. Deane appeared in Paris, as an agent from Congress, the plan was changed, and Beaumarchais completed his arrangements directly with him, because he was the only person in Europe authorized by Congress to enter into contracts on their account. Mr. Lee, hearing of this change, has

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tened over to Paris, accused Mr. Deane of interfering in his affairs, and endeavoured to stir up a contention. between him and Beaumarchais. Failing in this attempt, he returned to London, vexed at his disappointment and angry with Mr. Deane.

Such was the disposition of Mr. Lee towards his associates, when the commissioners met in Paris. For seven or eight months there was an apparent harmony, for Mr. Lee was absent the most of the time in Spain and Germany, and the business was transacted by Franklin and Deane. But no sooner had he again joined his colleagues, than his suspicious temper and aspiring ambition raised up new troubles, and he began to foment discords both in Europe and America, which ultimately threatened alarming consequences to the foreign affairs of the United States. He was dissatisfied with all that his colleagues had done, found fault with their contracts, and more than insinuated that they had been heedlessly extravagant, partial to friends, and indulgent to themselves, in the expenditure of public money. This was not the worst. His letters to members of Congress teemed with charges and insinuations, which, although they were not sustained by any positive evidence, could not fail to produce impressions as erroneous, as they were unjust to those, whom he chose to consider his enemies, and whom he believed to stand in his way.

As early as October, 1777, his designs were unfolded in letters to his brothers, and to Samuel Adams, who were then members of Congress. He represents the American affairs in France to be in the utmost disorder and confusion, by the negligence and faithlessness of his associate commissioners, who would pay no regard to his counsels and admonitions, and whom it was impossible for him to control; and he




then begs his friends to remember, that, if there should be a question in Congress about his destination, he should "prefer being at the court of France," for he had discovered that court to be "the great wheel," by which all the others were moved. He recommended that Dr. Franklin should be sent to Vienna, and Mr. Deane to Holland. "In that case," said he, "I should have it in my power to call those to an account, through whose hands I know the public money has passed, and which will either never be accounted for, or misaccounted for, by connivance between those, who are to share in the public plunder. If this scheme can be executed, it will disconcert all the plans at one stroke, without an appearance of intention, and save both the public and me." These hints and insinuations require no comment.

He continued the same manœuvres for several months. At one time he intimated, that Dr. Franklin had sent out a public vessel on a "cruising job,” in the profits of which he was to share; and, at another, that he and the American banker in Paris, were in a league to defraud the public, and to put money into their own pockets. It is needless to say, that there was not one word of truth in these charges, nor any grounds for them, except in Mr. Lee's heated passions, distempered imagination, and ambitious hopes. He did not succeed in his schemes, but he was not the less pertinacious in pursuing them. His letters produced a mischievous influence, fanning the flame of party, and exciting suspicions of almost every public agent abroad, whom he did not regard as subservient to his views. It is scarcely too much to say, that the divisions and feuds, which reigned for a long time in Congress, with respect to the foreign affairs

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