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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 endeavors in their service
With the sincerest esteem and respect,
To the Secret Committee of Congress.
Nantes, December 8, 1776. GENTLEMEN, 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 flaxseed 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 thence, 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 the cannon, all brass, with carriages, braces, and every thing fit for immediate service, were embarked in a frigate from Havre, which is sailed : the rest were to go in another frigate of thirty-six guns.
To the same.
Paris, January 4, 1777. GENTLEMEN, 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 Vergemnes, 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 his 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 feets 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, views 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.
- To John Hancock, President of Congress.
Paris, January 20, 1777. DEAR SIR, THE bearer, captain Balm, is strongly recommended to me as a very able officer of horse, and capable of being extremely useful to us in forming a body of men for that service. As he has otherwise an excellent character, I take the liberty of recommending him to my friends as a stranger of merit worthy of their civilities, and to the congress as an officer, who if employed, may greatly serve a cause, which he has sincerely at heart. With great respect, &c. '
. B. FRANKLIN.
To General G. Washington.
. Paris, June 13, 1777.
THE bearer M. le Conte Kotkouski, a Polish officer, is recommended to me by several persons of worth here, as a man of experience in military affairs, and of tried bravery, he has lost his family and estate in Poland, by fighting there in the cause of liberty; and wishes by engaging in the same cause to find a new country and new friends in America; count Pulaski, who was a general of the confederates in Poland, and who is gone to join you, is esteemed one of the greatest officers in Europe. He can give you the character of this M. Kotkouski, who served under him as lieutenant colonel. It is with regret that I give letters of introduction to foreign officers, fearing you may be troubled with more than you can provide for, or employ to their and your own satisfaction. When particular cases seem to have a claim to such letters, I hope you will excuse mýs taking the liberty :-I give no expectations to those who apply for them, I promise nothing, I acquaint them that their being placed, when they arrive, is a great uncertainty, and that the voyage being long, expensive, and hazardous, I counsel them not to undertake it. This honest gentle
man's zeal is not to be discouraged by such means, he determines to go and serve as a volunteer, if he cannot be employed immediately as an officer: but I wish and hope your excellency may find a better situation for him, and that he will be an useful officer. He has the advantage of understanding English, and will soon speak it intelligibly. He also speaks German and some other European languages, and the Latin. • With the truest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c. .,
To the same.
Paris, June 13, 1777. Sir, THE person who will have the honor of delivering this to your excellency, is Monsieur le baron de Frey, who is well recommended to me as an officer of experience and merit, with a request that I would give him a letter of introduction. I have acquainted him that you are rather overstocked with officers, and that his obtaining employment in your army is an uncertainty, but his zeal for the American cause is too great for any discouragements I can lay before him, and he goes over at his own expense, to take his chance, which is a mark of attachment that merits our regard. He will shew your excellency the commissions and proofs of his military service hitherto, and I beg leave to recommend him to your notice.
With the sincerest esteem and respect, &c.
. B. FRANKLIN.
To Richard Peters, Esq.*
Passy, near Paris, September 12, 1777. Sir, · THE bearer Monsieur Gerard is recommended to me by M. Dubourg, a gentleman of distinction here, and a
* Mr. Peters now judge Peters, was secretary to the board of war.
hearty friend to our cause. I enclose his letter that you may see the favorable manner, in which he speaks of Mr. Gerard. I thereupon take the liberty of recommend. ing the young gentleman to your civilities and advice, as he will be quite a stranger there, and to request that you would put him in the way of serving as a volunteer in our armies.
I am, Sir, &c.
. B. FRANKLIN.
Paris, September 8, 1777. MY DEAR SIR, I SHOULD be much obliged to you if you would be so good as to give a letter of recommendation to some one of the chiefs of your army, in favor of a young man full of courage, and also of distinguished talents, who is at Bour. deaux, ready to embark for America, where he proposes to settle himself in Pennsylvania, after having served in quality of volunteer, or otherwise, during the war. His name is Gerard. He carries with him a little adventure, sufficient for supporting him some years, and afterwards, if it is there customary, his father will make over to him his portion. I interest myself particularly in his favor, because he is the brother-in-law of one of our honestest commissaries.
I have the honor to wish you a good day, and to reiterate the assurances of my inviolable attachment.
James Lovell, Esq.
Paris, December 21, 1777. SIR, I SEE in a vote of congress, shewn me by captain Franval, that Mr. Deane is disowned in some of his agreements