Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Arthur Lee, 3 January 1779

From Arthur Lee

LS:4 American Philosophical Society

Chaillot Janry. 3d. 1779


I enclose you a letter received Yesterday from Dr. Berkenhout, the Author of those which were communicated to you the Year before last on the same Subject.5 If you think any use can be made of it for the public Good, I shall be glad to be informed of it.

One of those, which I sent you before with the Answer I proposed giving to it, I have searched for and cannot find among my papers. Tho’ I think you returned it; yet I shall be obliged to you for looking over your papers for it, as perhaps it may be among them.

I am with great Respect, Sir Your Most obt. Servan

Arthur Lee

[In Arthur Lee’s hand:] Dr Franklin will have the goodness to return the enclosd by Mr. Ford.
The Hon. Benjamin Franklin. Passi.

Addressed: To the Honble / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / at / Passi

Endorsed: Mr Lee about Dr Berkenhout

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4In Hezekiah Ford’s hand.

5In August, 1777, Lee’s old school friend and a British agent, Dr. John Berkenhout, had contacted him in an unsuccessful attempt to initiate American-British negotiations (XXIV, 554). On Dec. 25, 1778, he wrote Lee again, claiming, “I hate all your bloody minded rogues on both sides the question. Peace, everlasting peace is my hobbyhorse . . .” (Harvard University Library; reproduced in Lee Family Papers, reel 5, frames 546–7). He then suggested that the two meet somewhere on the European continent; Lee turned over a copy of the letter to Vergennes (Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, III, 7–8) as he had done in 1777.

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