Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Baron Grantham, 27 July 1782

From Baron Grantham7

LS (draft): Public Record Office

Whitehall: 27t: July 1782


As the first Object of my Wishes, is to contribute to the Establishment of an honourable & lasting Peace, I address myself without Ceremony to you, upon the Conviction that you agree with me in this Principle. If I was not convinced that it was also the Real System of the Ministers of this Country, I should not now be cooperating with them. The Step they had already taken in sending Mr Grenville to Paris is a Proof of their Intentions; & as that Gentleman does not return to his Station there, I trust that the immediate Appointment of a Person to Succeed him will testify my Agreement with the Principles upon which he was employed. I therefore beg leave to recommend Mr. Fitzherbert to your Acquaintance who has the King’s Commands to repair to Paris.8

As I have not the Advantage of being known to you, I can claim no Pretense for my Application to you, but my publick Situation, & my Desire to merit your Confidence upon a Subject of so much Importance as a Pacification between the Parties now engaged in a Calamitous War.

I have the Honour to be with great Regard Sir. Your most obedt humble servant


B. Franklin Esqr.—
Drat [Draft]
Drat. to Dr. Franklin. July 27t: 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham, was a former ambassador to Spain. He succeeded Fox as secretary of state for foreign affairs on July 17: DNB; Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 367; Sir F. Maurice Powicke and E. B. Fryde, comps., Handbook of British Chronology (2nd ed., London, 1961), p. 116. Contrasting assessments of his abilities are in H. M. Scott, British Foreign Policy in the Age of the American Revolution (Oxford, 1990), p. 322, and Andrew Stockley, Britain and France at the Birth of America: the European Powers and the Peace Negotiations of 1782–1783 (Exeter, 2001), pp. 120, 147–50, and passim.

8Alleyne Fitzherbert (1753–1839) was the former minister plenipotentiary at Brussels. Replacing Grenville, he became minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary at the French court and later participated in the negotiations with the Spaniards and Dutch, a role for which he also received full powers. Charles Ritcheson describes him as “a man of cool and uncommon good sense.” DNB; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 162, 167, 177–8; Charles R. Ritcheson, “Britain’s Peacemakers, 1782–1783: ‘To an Astonishing Degree Unfit for the Task’?” in Hoffman and Albert, eds., Peace and the Peacemakers, p. 74. Among BF’s papers at the Library of Congress, there is a copy (in Latin) of Fitzherbert’s July 24 commission to negotiate with the French court. For his July 27 instructions see Giunta, Emerging Nation, I, 475–9.

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