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I have the above intelligence) had the folly to demand Mr. Deane to be delivered up, but were refused..
Our voyage though not long was rough, and I feel myself weakened by it, but I now recover strength daily, and in a few days shall be able to undertake the journey to Paris. I have not yet taken any public character, thinking it prudent first to know whether the court is ready and willing to receive ministers publicly from the congress; that we may neither embarrass her on the one hand, nor subject ourselves to the hazard of a disgraceful refusal on the other, I have dispatched an express to Mr. Deane, with the letters I had for him from the committee and a copy of our commission, that he may immediately make the proper inquiries, and give me information, In the mean time, I find it is generally supposed here, that I am sent to negociate, and that opinion appears to give great pleasure, if I can judge by the extreme civilities I meet with from numbers of the principal people who have done me the honour to visit me. I have desired Mr. Deane, by some speedy and safe means, to give Mr. Lee notice of his appointment. I find several vessels here laden with military stores for America, just ready to sail; on the whole there is the greatest prospect that we shall be well provided for another campaign, and much stronger than we were the last. A Spanish fleet has sailed, with seven thousand land forces, foot, and some horse, their destination not known, but supposed against the Portuguese in Brasil. Both France and England are preparing strong fleets, and it is said that all the powers of Europe are preparing for war, apprehending a general one cannot be very distant. When I arrive at Paris, I shall be able to write with more certainty. I beg you to
present my duty to the congress, and assure them of my most faithful endeavours in their service. With the sincerest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.
- To the Secret COMMITTEE OF Congress.
: Same Subject as the preceding. GENTLEMEN, - Nantes, Dec. 8, 1776...
After a short but rough passage of thirty days, we anchored in Quiberon Bay, the wind not suiting to enter the Loire. Captain Wickes did every thing in his power to make the voyage comfortable to me; and I was much pleased with what I saw of his conduct as an officer, when on supposed occasions we made preparation for engagement, the good order and readiness with which it was done, being far beyond my expectations, and I believe equal to any thing of the kind in the best ships of the king's fleet. He seems to have also a very good set of officers under him ; I hope they will all in good time be promoted. He met and took two prizes, brigantines, one belonging to Cork, laden with staves, pitch, tar, turpentine, and claret; the other to Hull, with a cargo of faxseed and brandy. The captains have made some propositions of ransom, which, perhaps, may be accepted, as there is yet no means of condemning them here, and they are scarce worth sending to America. The ship is yet in Quiberon bay, with her prizes. I came hither from thenice, seventy miles, by land. I am made extremely welcome here, where America has many friends. As soon as I have recovered strength enough for the journey, which I hope will be in a very few days, I shall set out
for Paris. My letter to the President will inform you of some other particulars. With great esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. ;
· P.S. December 10th. I have just learnt that eighty pieces of cannon, all brass, with carriages, braces, and every thing fit for immediate service, were enibarked in a frigate from Havre, which is sailed : the rest were to go in another frigate of thirty-six guns.
cnn, To the same.. . Gentlemen,
Paris, Jun. 4, 1777. 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 bis advice we 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, view's an approaching war with reluctance. The press continues in England. As soon as we can receive a positive answer from these courts, we shall dispatch an express with it. I am, gentlemen, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
James LOVELL, Esq.
American Commissioners.-Anecdote of Lord Stor-
Passy, July 22, 1778. [EXTRACTS.] “ I received your favor of May 15, and was glad to find that mine of December 21, had come to hand. Mr. Deane's brother writes that it was not signed, which was an accidental omission. Mr. Deane himself is I hope with you long before this time, and I doubt not but every prejudice against him is removed. It was not alone upon the proceedings of congress I formed my opinion that such prejudices existed. I am glad to understand that opinion was groundless, and that he is like to come back with honor, in the commission to Holland, where matters are already so ripe for his operations, that he cannot fail (with his abilities) of being useful.
There has been some inaccuracy in sending us the last dispatches of the committee, two copies of the contract with Mr. Francy and the invoices came by the same vessel, Captain Niles. And though one of your letters mentions sending enclosed a resolution of congress, relative to two articles of the treaty, that resolution is not come to hand. There are circumstances in the affair of those articles, that make them in my opinion of no consequence if they stand, while the proposing to abrogate them bas au unpleasing appearance, as it looks like a desire of having it in our power to make that commercial kind of war, which
no honest state can begin, which no good friend or neighhour ever did or will begin, which has always been considered as an act of hostility that provoked as well as justified reprisals, and has generally produced such as have rendered the first project as unprofitable as it was injust. Commerce among nations as well as between private persons should be fair and equitable, by equivalent exchanges, and mutual supplies ; the taking unfair advantage of a neighbour's necessities, though attended with a temporary success, always breeds ill blood; to lay duties on a commodity exported which our friends want, is a knavish attempt to get something for nothing. The statesman who first invented it, had the genius of a pickpocket, and would have been a pickpocket, if fortune had suitably placed him; the nations who have practised it have suffered for it fourfold, as pickpockets ought to suffer. Savoy by a duty on exported wines lost the supplying of Switzerland, which thenceforth raised its own wine, and (to wave other instances) Britain, by her duty on exported tea, has lost the trade of her colonies. But as we produce no commodity that is peculiar to our country, and which may not be obtained elsewhere, the discouraging ours by duties on exportation, and thereby encouraging a rivalship from other nations in the ports we trade to, is absolute folly; which indeed is mixed more or less with some knavery. For my own part, if ny protest were of any consequence, I should protest against our ever doing it, even by way of reprisal. It is a meaniness with which I would not dirty the conscience or character of my country. The objections stated against the last of the two articles, 'had all been made, considered here, and avere sent hence, I imagine, by one who is offended that