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Extract: reprinted from Richard Henry Lee, Life of Arthur Lee ... (2 vols., Boston, 1829), I , 216–18. When Franklin was elected agent for the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the autumn of 1770, it was over the opposition of a faction led by James Otis and Samuel Adams. Their candidate was Arthur Lee, and they succeeded in having him named as alternate, to serve if Franklin were...
When I sit down to sollicit your patronage; I trust more to your goodness, than to any claim I can have on your favor from merit or acquaintance. Having understood, that it is probable the Assembly will revive the Agency-bill; I take the liberty of entreating your vote & interest, in being appointed. Knowing what influence you very justly possess; I shall greatly depend for success, on your...
AL : Historical Society of Pennsylvania Mr. Lee’s Compliments to Dr. Franklin. The Gentleman who deliverd him the inclosd Letter, having informd him, that the Bearer of it from Mr. Cushing was under an express injunction to deliver it to Dr. Lee in the absence of Dr. Franklin, as the Contents requird immediate attention; Mr. L. took the Liberty of opening it. The Contents however appear to Mr....
Summary of DS : House of Lords Library In late March three petitions against the bill, from Americans in London and a few Englishmen with American connections, were presented to the three branches of the legislature. All were the handiwork of Arthur Lee, and Franklin was a signer. The first was delivered to the House of Commons on the 25th, the second to the Lords on the 28th, and the third to...
Summary of DS : House of Lords Library In March a group of Americans in London had petitioned against the Boston Port Bill, and in May much the same group protested against the two coercive measures that followed. It was Arthur Lee, we assume, who again drafted separate petitions to the King, Lords, and Commons; and Franklin again signed them all. They were as fruitless as the signers, after...
ALS : Princeton University Library; draft: Library of Congress When four of the seven agents to whom the Congress had entrusted its petition refused to have anything to do with it, the three representatives of Massachusetts faced the problem of how to deliver it; and they decided to depart from their instructions and not put it directly into the hands of the King. The “regular Official...
I and II: printed in The Whitehall Evening Post , respectively January 19–21 and 14–17, 1775; III: printed in The Public Advertiser , January 20, 1775. Once Dartmouth informed the Massachusetts agents on December 24 that the King had received the petition from the Congress and would lay it before Parliament, they had to decide when it might properly be published. As soon as it had been...
LS : Library of Congress Our last Letter informed you, that the King had declared his Intention of laying the Petition before his two Houses of Parliament. It has accordingly been laid before each House, but undistinguished among a Variety of Letters and other Papers from America. A Motion made by Lord Chatham, to withdraw the Troops from Boston, as the first Step towards a conciliating Plan,...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I write to you more to prove my remembrance of you, than for the importance of any thing I have to communicate. The two defeats near Boston seem to have made little impression on the Ministry. They still talk of great things to be expected from their Generals and Troops when united. One of your judgment will draw more information from the single word Rebels...
AL : National Archives; copies: National Archives; copy: University of Virginia Library This is the first time that we have printed a letter addressed to Franklin but not meant for him. Our reason is that he eventually received it, contrary to the writer’s intent. The whole episode remains to this day, thanks to the character of Arthur Lee, in Winston Churchill’s phrase “a riddle wrapped in a...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères We beg Leave to acquaint your Excellency, that we are appointed and fully impowered by the Congress of the United States of America, to propose and negotiate a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and the said States. The just and generous Treatment their Trading Ships have received, by a free Admission into the Ports of this Kingdom,...
ALS : Archivo Historico Nacional; draft: Harvard University Library We wish to inform your Excellency, that we are directed by the United States of America, to cultivate the Friendship of the Court of Spain, with that of France. For that purpose, as well as to pay our personal Respects to your Excellency, we purpose to wait upon you to-morrow, or on any other Day that will be more convenient,...
Copy: the Marquess of Abergavenny, Eridge Castle, Sussex (1955) When the Ancestors of the present Inhabitants of the United States of America first settled that Country, they did it entirely at their own expence; The public of England never granted one Shilling to aid in their Establishment. Georgia is an exception for which public grants have been made. Had any such grants been ever made they...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Harvard University Library. On Sunday, January 5, the commissioners went to Versailles. That evening they sent a brief note to Vergennes asking for an audience on Monday morning. Such an interview in the spotlight of the court would have been quite different from the previous clandestine meeting in Paris, but the idea never seems to...
AL : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères Dr. Franklin, Mr. Dean, and Mr. Lee, present their most respectful Complimts. to the Count de Vergennes; and request an audience of his Excellency, to-morrow morning, at such hour as he shall be pleas’d to appoint. Notation: 1777. Janvier 5. In BF ’s hand according to Stevens ( Facsimiles , VI , no. 613), but actually in Arthur Lee’s. We have...
D : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères The situation of the United-states, require an immediate supply of Stores of various sorts, of which a proportion of Military for the opening and supporting the coming Campaign. Vessels or Ships belonging to the United-States cannot be procured, and if they could, the Danger and Risque would be very great. Diffuculties have arose at the...
(I) D : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: American Philosophical Society; incomplete copy, Harvard University Library. (II) AD (draft): American Philosophical Society On January 9 the commissioners met with a committee of the farmers general to begin negotiations for a tobacco contract. The agenda of that meeting, or the product of it, was written questions from the farmers...
Copy: University of Virginia Library This letter of appointment is the only dated record of one of the most bizarre schemes to which the commissioners ever lent themselves. A considerable amount of material about the plan is extant among Franklin’s papers in the American Philosophical Society: two letters from the Baron to the commissioners, a proposed agreement between him and Franklin, and a...
D : American Philosophical Society 1. M. de Portal demands to be at the Head of the Corps d’Ingenieurs in America: and under the Orders only of the General, or the Commander in chief in the Place where he may be. 2. He demands a Rank superior to that he enjoys at present, which is Major in the marine Infantry. 3. He proposes to take two Captains of the same Professions with him: to whom should...
AL : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Harvard University Library The commissioners are here acknowledging, on the surface, the King’s message that Gérard had transmitted to them the day before. Their gratitude, however, had little to do with the message, which offered them nothing beyond a vague promise, at the end, of help in purchasing supplies. What they are in fact...
LS and two copies: National Archives; copy: South Carolina Historical Society We joined each other at this place on the 22d. of December and on the 28th. had an Audience of his Excellency the Count De Vergennes, one of his most Christian Majesty’s principal Secretarys of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs. We laid before him our Commission with the Articles of the proposed Treaty of...
ADS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères We the underwritten, Ministers plenipotentiary from the Congress of the United States of America, do hereby acknowledge, that we have received of Mons. Micaut d’Harvelay, Garde du Tresor Royal, the Sum of Five Hundred Thousand Livres, Money of France. Witness our Hands, The loan discussed in the preceding letter. Joseph Micault d’Harvelay...
Copy: Library of Congress We are very much obligd to you for the information containd in yours of the 21st. Mr. Williams’s good sense will prevent him from being materially embarrassd by any manouvre employd to make him counteract our Instructions. We cannot so entirely comprehend the obligation we have to the Mayor and Aldermen of your City, as to know in what terms to return it. As it is...
AL : Library of Congress We have expected some Remittances from you to our credit, in consequence of the sales which have been made at Nantes. You must be sensible how very unbecoming it is of the situation we are in, to be dependent on the credit of others. We therefore desire that you will remit with all possible expedition the Sum allotted by the Congress for our expences. Notation: Mr. T....
AL : Library of Congress You are directed to proceed to Boulogne, and there purchase, on as good Terms as possible a Cutter suitable for the purpose of being sent to America; on the purchase being made dispatch the Vessel to Havre du Grace to the Care of Monsr: Limozin, and agree in the Bargain to have her delivered at said Port at the risque and expence of the Original Owner, at which...
Copy: National Archives; copy: University of Virginia Library; AL (draft): Library of Congress We are inform’d that the Cargoes at Nantes, have been disposed of some time past, yet we are still without any remittance from you. The Congress directed you to pay Mr. Dean for the purposes of our Embassy the sum of ten Thousand pounds; this you must consider as the first and most Important...
ADS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Harvard University Library This memorandum, most of it in Franklin’s hand, marks a distinct departure from the position that he generally maintained. He “was from the first averse to warm and urgent solicitations with the Court of France,” Silas Deane remarked years later. “His age and experience, as well as his philosophical temper,...
(I) DS and draft DS (incomplete); (II) ADS : all University of Pennsylvania Library The context of these resolutions is the commissioners’ memorandum to Vergennes of February 1, in which they urged France to enter the war. Their instructions gave them almost no practical leverage for achieving that end, and they were considering how far they could stretch the instructions. Congress had...
LS and copy: National Archives; copy: Harvard University Library Since our last, a Copy of which is enclosed Mr. Hodge is arrived here from Martinique, and has brought safely the Papers he was charged with. He had a long Passage and was near being starved. We are about to employ him in a Service, pointed out by you, at Dunkirk or Flushing. He has delivered us three sets of the Papers we...
ALS and copy: National Archives This will be delivered to you by M. de Coudray, an Officer of great Reputation here, for his Talents in general, and particularly for his Skill and Abilities in his Profession. Some accidental Circumstance, I understand, prevented his going in the Amphitrite; but his Zeal for our Cause, and earnest Desire of promoting it, have engag’d him to overcome all...