William Lee to the Commissioners
Frankfort sur le Main 9th. Decr. 1778
Conformable to the resolution of Congress, of which a Copy is inclosed,1 I have drawn on you the 4th instant for Twenty four Thousand Livres at One Months date payable to Mr. Grand, which you will please to pay due honor to, by acceptance and payment when at maturity, and place the same to the Account of Congress.
’Tis generally beleived that a Congress will be held in the course of the Winter, between Ministers from the Courts of Versailles and Petersburg to endeavor at a reconciliation between the Emperor and King of Prussia;2 I am assured that G. Britain has prevail’d on the Court of Petersburg to take advantage of this opportunity to negotiate also an accommodation between France and G. Britain. It is to be proposed to France to relinquish her Treaties and engagements with America, but what advantages G. Britain means to offer as an inducement to France I have not yet properly learnt. I have no doubt that France will reject with disdain Such an ignominious attempt upon her Honor, even if her solid and substantial interests were out of the question, but still I think it adviseable to give you the information that you may act as you think proper on the occasion.
I have the Honor to be with very great Regard Gentlemen Your most Obedt. & most Humble Servant
RC with one enclosure (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Hon. Wm. Lee Ans Jany 13 1779.”
1. Lee enclosed the third paragraph of the resolution of 7 May 1778, which empowered commissioners at other courts to draw bills of exchange for their expenses on the Commissioners at Paris (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 11:473).
2. Lee’s report of the Franco-Russian intervention to reconcile Austria and Prussia over the question of Bavarian succession, which resulted in the Peace of Teschen, was accurate, but his reference to a Russian effort to mediate between France and Great Britain was premature (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution description begins Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution: The Foundations of American Diplomacy, 1775–1823, New York and London, 1935. description ends , p. 73–74).