Benjamin Franklin Papers

Franklin and Silas Deane to Arthur Lee, 26 February 1778

Franklin and Silas Deane to Arthur Lee

AL (draft):7 American Philosophical Society; copy: Harvard University Library; two copies: National Archives; three copies: University of Virginia Library

Passy 26. Feb. 1778


The greater the public Consequences that may flow from the Return of our Dispatches, the more necessary it seem’d that the Court should be immediately acquainted with it that the miscarriage might as soon as possible be repair’d. It was near nine at Night when the News arriv’d; and Mr. Deane set out immediately. If we could have imagin’d it necessary to have a Consultation with you on so plain a Case, it would necessarily have occasion’d a Delay of that important Business till the next Day. He has been at Versailles and obtain’d an Order for another and larger Frigate,8 and an Express to be immediately sent off carrying that Order, that she may be ready: We think Mr. Deane deserves your Thanks, and that neither of us deserve your Censure. We are at present both engag’d in copying the Treaties, which will employ us closely till Sunday.9 After they are gone we shall be ready to enter into the Consultation you propose relating to our being publicly acknowledg’d here. We have the honour to be, with great Respect Sir, Your most obedient humble Servants

Notation: BF & SD. to Arthur Lee 26. Feb. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7In BF’s hand. The letter was presumably sent the next day, for all the copies bear that date.

8Only slightly larger: the Sensible had 28 guns as against the Belle-Poule’s 26: Dull, French Navy, p. 356.

9March 1, when Silas Deane said that his brother Simeon would depart that evening or the next morning: Deane Papers, II, 385.

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