Franklin’s Notes for a Dispatch
AD:7 University of Pennsylvania Library
These jottings are beyond question an early step in formulating the dispatch below, November 30, to the committee for foreign affairs. They afford the first insight we have had into Franklin’s approach to the drafting of such a document, and also into his determination to dabble in French even when preparing notes in English.8 The list can be assigned only a terminal date. The commissioners met on November 27 to discuss their dispatch, as explained in our annotation of it, and the next day Franklin had ready the draft that his colleagues subsequently accepted and sent. Here he is listing topics that might be included. Perhaps they came up at the meeting on the 27th, although Lee’s account of it says nothing of such a discussion; more probably Franklin talked them over with Deane. In either case they preceded the draft, which was finished by the 28th; the heading on the verso, “Minutes du derniere depeche,” he obviously added later.
[Before November 28, 1777]
|Sale du Vaissau en Holland||Convoy|
|Difficulté avec le Lion|
|Confiscation des Prises|
—Dedommagement promis en partie
Conduct d’Hollande d’Espagne
Harangue du Parliamt.
M. Morris—Bills etc. [In pencil:] Amphitrite
Complaints d’Espagne et Hollande
Mesures recommended a donner Satisfaction.
Ordres que nous avons données.
Vacillation du Cour
Promesses de l’Argent
Monument fini pour M. Montgomery
[Deleted: Mr. Holcker]
lost 4 going and coming
Enquiries Support of Commissaires. Secretaire.
Inconveniences en amenant des Prizes en France
Infinis des Applications pour aller en Amerique
Minutes du derniere depeche
7. BF has drawn vertical lines through most of the items on the list, but not all; the great majority of those listed went into the final dispatch. On the other half of the sheet is a brief, undated note in Chaumont’s hand, forwarding the report of a battle outside Philadelphia on Sept. 21, in which 3,000 were killed on each side; the Quakers then betrayed the city, and Washington put them to the sword. BF has partly overwritten a note in another hand, that an artillery lieutenant by the name of Peyrelongue has leave to go to America. This young man reappears below in an inquiry of June 25, 1778, from his mother, Mme. Dauber de Peÿrelongue, who promotes him to a captain.
8. The dabbling illustrates his difficulty with French genders, which he never outgrew. They had been bothering him for sixty years, he wrote in 1782, and he hoped to be released from them in heaven. To Mme. Brillon, January 6, 1782 (APS).