Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Lovell, 15 May 1778

From James Lovell

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

York May 15th. 1778


Your favour of Decr. 21st. I read in Congress that it might have the Operation which you benevolently generously and honourably intended.7 But really Sir, when you say you “perceive he (Mr. D———) has Enemies”, I am not inclined to determine that you form your Opinion upon the Proceedings of Congress alone, to which you refer in the Beginning of your Letter.

You can have no adequate Idea of the bold Claims and even Threats which were made against Congress inducing the Necessity of disavowing Mr. D’s Agreements and the consequent more disagreable Necessity of recalling him. You will have seen by past Letters of the Committee how formidable some here thought the Enmity of disappointed foreign Officers would prove both to Mr. D——— and to these States. That Gentleman’s Embarrassments have always been considered as Apologies for his Compliances; and you may rely upon it that imagined, if not real Necessity alone has governed the Decissions of Congress in respect to him; and that he will find he commands general Regard for the Manner in which he has conducted our Affairs abroad. He is exceedingly wanted here to explain some Things; especially the Connexion with Mr. Beaumarchais; and in my Opinion, he may return with renewed Honour in Commission to Holland.

Folgier is to be dismissed, with his Expences.8 I wish some Explanation may procure him a Gratuity. I am Sir Your most humble Servant

James Lovell

Honble Doctor Franklin

Notation: J. Lovel May 15. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The letter was BF’s testimonial to Silas Deane: above, XXV, 329–30. Lovell himself had been one of Deane’s chief critics: Rakove, Beginnings of National Politics, p. 250.

8John Folger had been detained after the discovery that dispatches had been stolen from him, and was released when a committee found no evidence of his complicity: above, XXV, 49; JCC, XI, 482.

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