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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...
DS : Library of Congress; ADS (draft): Library of Congress Whereas the Snow Dickenson with her Cargoe, which was the property of the Congress of the United States of America, was by an Act of Piracy, in some of her Crew, carried into the port of Bristol in England, and there as we are informed, was converted to the use of the Government of Great Britain; and the perpetrators of so base and...
ALS and copy: National Archives Since Our last We have received the inclosed Intelligence from London, which we take the earliest Opportunity of forwarding, in hopes it may be received with Our other Letters by Nantes. A Vessel from So: Carolina, loaded by that state, which sailed the 20th December, is arrived at L’Orient with Rice and Indigo. As We were particular in Our last which was sent...
DS : Yale University Library Jacques Boux had achieved an eminence in the French navy remarkable for one who was not of noble birth. The government had called on him in 1771 for advice in reorganizing naval administration, and the following year had promoted him to capitaine de vaisseau. In 1776, however, a new minister shelved his suggested reforms and substituted others. Boux, annoyed at...
Copy: National Archives; draft: American Philosophical Society; transcript: National Archives Franklin presumably approved this commitment to the three Frenchmen, and to La Radière four days later; but he soon came to regret the whole business. “I was concerned in sending the 4 Engineers,” he wrote eight months afterward, “and in making the Contract with them: but before they went, I had...
ALS : Connecticut Historical Society I arrivd here the night before last, and shall proceed tomorrow. Your Dispatches I receivd from Mr. Montandouine, and they will go on board this day with the others, as the Ship is to sail tomorrow. Mr. Williams has purchasd another Ship, I think the Ct. Vergennes, of three hundred tons, which he expects to dispatch in three weeks. The demand we made upon...
ALS : The Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, Tulsa, Okla. We have the honor of inclosing the Declaration of the Independancy of the United States of North America, with the Articles of their Confederation; which we desire you to take the earliest Opportunity of laying before his Majesty, the King of Prussia; At the same time We wish he may be assured of the earnest desire of the United States to...
ALS : American Philosophical Society Since my last, I have been informd of an agreement made between Mr. Morris and the Farmers general, by which he stipulates to let them have all the Tobacco which shall arrive in France during the war, on the account of the Congress, at seventy Livres a hundred. The ratification of this bargain they knew on the 30th of last month, which I think was about the...
AD (draft) : American Philosophical Society Whereas le Sr. Laradiere Major du Corps Royal du genie, in the Service of his most Christian Majesty, not having obtain’d his Leave of Absence when the Agreement between us and Messieurs le Chevalier du Portal, de Laumoy, and Gouvion, was concluded, viz. on the 13th of this Instant, could not become a Party by signing the said Agreement, but having...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I thank you for your Letter of the 12th. I wish the news may be true. I found a Letter here from London of the 2d. which says, that Ships are actually sent for the ten thousand Germans, which with three thousand british they expect to have very early in America. That they hope for great advantages from dissentions in Pensylvania. That Burgoyne’s destination...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society Yours of the 13th: is before Us. Mr. Deane wrote you on the subject of Arms &c. belonging to Mr. Montieu in Nantes we wish you to send Us as early as possible an Acct. of your survey and your Estimate of the value of the Whole on the best Information You can Obtain. Also supposing the Fusils whose Barrels may answer for further Use in the Continental Army...
ALS : Connecticut Historical Society I arrivd here this day and shall pursue my journey to-morrow, and as the march is as regular as the Sun, it is agreed that the Voiturier shall place me in Madrid, in 13 days. By Mr. Delap’s account the Imports from America, I mean from the United States, amounted last year to fifty five thousand pounds Sterling. He expects soon to have an exact list of the...
AL (draft): Library of Congress Captain Wickes of the Reprisal Frigate, belonging to the United States of America, has now in his Hands near 100 British Seamen, Prisoners. He desires to know whether an Exchange may be made with him for an equal Number of American Seamen now Prisoners in England? We take the Liberty of proposing this Matter to your Lordship; and of requesting your Opinion if...
D : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères We have ordered no Prizes into the Ports of France, nor do we know of any that have entered, for any other purpose than to provide themselves with necessaries untill they could sail for America, or some Port in Europe, for a Market. We were informed this was not inconsistent with the Treaty between France and Great Brittain, and that it would...
Incomplete (?) copy: Connecticut Historical Society Your first we did not receive till eight days after it was dated, your last of the 19th last Evening. We wish to know if the Captns. who have so little regard to their Parole sighnd a written parole or not. If they did we advise you to show it to the Intendant and desire they may be obligd to live up to it. We have applied to the British...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society In answer to yours respecting the Fusils &c. we inform you that an offer being made by Mr. Montieu of the whole of his stock at Nantes at 200 and forty thousand livres made us think it worth inquiring into. Your answer and stating is particular. You say there are 15400 gun barrels for infantry 8200 ditto for Rampart Fusils &c. afterwards 7700 Rampart...
AD (draft): American Philosophical Society Les Plenipotentiares du Congrés, apres une Deliberation maturée, ne peuvent pas accepter le Prix offert par les Fermiers Generaux, ni faire aucune autre changement dans leur derniere Propositition. In reply to the farmers’ communication of the previous day. In BF ’s hand.
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: Morristown National Historical Park I am thus far safe on my journey, which by the spur of six pistoles more I am to finish two days sooner than was at first agreed. Therefore if no accident happens, I shall reach my destination on the 6th. of next month. In the Committee’s Letter of the 23d Ocr. to me, it is said we are to negotiate with other...
Copy: Yale University Library This letter was written to a man already committed to betraying the commissioners. Their letter to Nicholson above, January 26, instructed him to buy a cutter at Boulogne or Calais and send her to Le Havre; if he failed to find a suitable one he was to try Dover or Deal. He went instead to London, met his friend Hynson there, and obtained a cutter, which was...
AD : American Philosophical Society Les amis du Congrès proposent a ses deputés en france d’expedier touttes les semaines un paquebot de 60 tonneaux au moins pour Boston pour porter leurs depesches et la personne a qui ils les confieront. Les deputés seront libres de charger dans chasque Paquebot vingt tonneaux de Marchandises qui seront estimés 80000 l.t. et pour lesquels ils payront 10% de...
AD : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères In the several Memoires which Mr: Deane had the honor of presenting previous to the arrival of his Colleagues, the history of the dispute between the United States of America and Great Brittain was brought down to the Time of presenting the Memoires, the situation and resources of the United States justly stated; and Conjectures as to the...