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ALS and copy: National Archives We send you herewith the Draught of a Frigate, by a very ingenious Officer in this service, which appears to Us peculiarly suitable for Our purpose, and We are in hopes of being able to ship Cordage and Sail Cloth, and Anchors &c. sufficient for Five or Six such Frigates, by the Time you can have them built. Though deprived of any intelligence from you since the...
AL : American Philosophical Society I have been desird to stop here which is half way to Madrid, in order to negotiate with more secrecy. There appears more timidity here than with you. What I shall be able to do, I cannot yet determine, but I am told that if I proceed to Madrid it will be likely to prevent the execution of those good intentions there may be towards us. I beg you will write me...
LS : National Archives; L : British Library; copy: National Archives It is now more than 4 Months since Mr. Franklin’s Departure from Philadelphia, and not a Line from thence written since that time has hitherto reached either of your Commissioners in Europe. We have had no Information of what passes in America but thro’ England, and the Advices are for the most part such only as the Ministry...
AD : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères While Great Brittain engross’d the Commerce of the United States, merchandize imported from thence into France was considered as British, and Consequently subject to the same duties, Customs &c, as if imported direct from the Islands of Great Brittain or Ireland. Since the separation of those States from Brittain it is presumed their...
ALS : American Philosophical Society In my return to this place, I receivd the joyful intelligence which I enclose; and in which I congratulat you a thousand and a thousand times. The Congress had removd to Baltimore, and General Putnam was providing for the defence of Philadelphia, before this happy change in the posture of the hostile Army. It is said that the cruelties exercised in the...
D : American Philosophical Society MM. Les plenipotentiaires du Congrès ont propose de livrer aux fermiers généraux dans le courant de cette année 4000 B. de Tabacs rendus dans les ports de france au prix de 8 s. la livre de Tabac net poids de Marc. Ils ont demandé qu’il leur fut avancé par les fermiers generaux La Somme de Deux millions de Livres, dont moitié seroit remise dans trois mois et...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I have receivd an answer from the Court, thro the Duke de Grimaldi, to this effect. That the reasons for wishing me not to come to Madrid are insuperable. That the States may depend on the sincere desire of Spain to see their Liberties establishd and to assist them as far as his own situation will permit. For this purpose I had only to direct the House of...
AD (draft): American Philosophical Society Messrs. Franklin and Deane, having considered the Proposition of the F G dated the 15th Inst. and willing to serve and oblige them, will agree to the Articles proposed with this Addition, viz. Article 7. If the Tobacco in America can be purchased at such a Rate, as that with the Addition of all Charges and Losses in purchasing and transporting it to...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Archivo Historico Nacional On March 14 the commissioners received their first dispatches from America. Among them was the letter above of December 30 from the committee of secret correspondence, enclosing the Congressional authorization to offer Versailles territorial inducements to enter the war. Deane promptly informed Vergennes that...
Copy: University of Pennsylvania Library Nous soussignés tant en notre nom que comme fondés des pouvoirs des colonies unies de l’Amérique Septentrionale prions M. De St. Marc Receveur général des fermes du Roy à Paris de payer au Trente May préfix à M. Grand Banquier demeurant à Paris que nous avons à cet effet choisi et désigné la somme d’un million de Livres pour le premier terme convenu et...
Copy: Library of Congress; copy: National Archives In the light of the previous negotiations, this is a remarkable document for the commissioners to have signed. It passed over in silence two main points on which they had been seeking concessions: insurance and transportation; by agreeing to deliver the tobacco in France they tacitly assumed the risks of the sea and responsibility for shipment...
AD : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Harvard University Library On the 19th of November, the Congress resolved, That 100 brass Cannon 3 pounders 50 6 pounders 50 12 pounders 13 18 pounders 13 24 pounders
ADS : New York Public Library; DS and AD (draft): American Philosophical Society Conventions de Messieurs Frankelin et Dean et Lee deputés du Congrès des etats unis d’amerique avec le Sr. Leray de Chaumont. Le Dit Sieur de Chaumont equipera tous les mois a compter du mois de may prochain pendant un an, un pacquebot ou vaisseau propre a porter les Depesches des Dits Srs. Deputes de france en...
ALS : the Johns Hopkins University Library; AL (draft): Library of Congress; copy: Public Record Office. We did ourselves the Honour of writing some time since to your Lordship on the Subject of Exchanging Prisoners. You did not condescend to give us any Answer, and therefore we expect none to this. We however take the Liberty of sending you Copies of certain Depositions, which we shall...
Printed in The London Chronicle , November 4–6, 1777. In answer to a letter which concerns some of the most material interests of humanity, and of the two nations, Great Britain, and the United States of America, now at war, we received the enclosed indecent paper, as coming from your Lordship, which we return, for your Lordship’s more mature consideration. The paper was the reply, written on...
ALS : Haus-, Hoff-, und Staatsarchiv, Vienna; draft: Library of Congress By direction of the Congress of the United States of America, we have the Honour of informing your Excellency, that they purpose to send a Minister to your respected Court, with all convenient Expedition, properly impower’d to treat upon Affairs of Importance. In the mean time we beg the Favour of your Excellency to...
Copy: National Archives; two copies: Harvard University Library We received the letter which you did us the honour to write to us of the 15th Ultimo and should earlier have replied particularly thereto, but from the daily expectation we had of recieving orders from Congress of the United States on this important subject. We have their commands to inform his Prussian Majesty’s Ambassador here,...
ALS : Public Record Office You are directed to call on Capt. Wicks on your return, and inform him that We have pursuant to his proposal, ordered the Lexington, under your Command to proceed with him on the Cruise on which he is bound; you will agree with Capt. Wicks, on the place of your Rendevouz, your Signals &c. which you are to take in writing, and carefully attend to. You will also follow...
AL (draft): Library of Congress; copies: Library of Congress, British Library The Congress of the United States of America have seen with Concern in the Public Newspapers an Edict of the late King of Portugal dated at the Palace of Ajuda: the 4th of July 1776 wherein the said States are spoken of in Terms of Contumely, and all Ships belonging to their People then in the Ports of Portugal are...
LS and draft: Library of Congress The Congress of the United States of America have seen a paper purporting to be an Edict of his Portuguese Majesty, dated at the Palace of Ajuda, the 4th. of July, 1776. in which the said States are treated with Contumely, their Ships however distress’d, forbidden to enter any Port in his Dominions; and his Subjects every where forbidden to afford them the...
Copy: Harvard University Library We wrote to you pretty fully on the State of Affairs here, in ours of the 12th of March and 19th of this Month, since which there has been little Alteration. There is yet no Certainty of a sudden Declaration of War, but the Preparations go on vigorously both here and in Spain, the Armies of france drawing towards the Sea Coasts, and those of Spain to the...
Copy: Library of Congress With this, you will receive Dispatches; with which you are to sail with all possible expedition. You will enclose the Dispatches in a Box with Lead, and have it always ready to sink, shoud you be in unavoidable danger of falling into the Enemies hands. To prevent this misfortune, you will constantly keep a good look-out, and be very cautious how you approach any...
Copy and transcript: National Archives; copy: Harvard University Library The commissioners had been plagued from the start by the lack of regular and reliable communication with America. On April 1 they had signed a contract with Chaumont for establishing a packet service; now, a month later, the service was ready to start as soon as the first packet arrived from Morlaix and took on her cargo....
LS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; AL (draft) and copy: Harvard University Library The Commissioners from the United States of America desire to represent to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, that they have received Intelligence of a Vessel belonging to the States having been taken by the Culloden, an English Ship of War, close on the Coast of France; and that the same...
(I) AL (draft): University of Virginia Library; (II) two copies: University of Virginia Library; (III) copy: Harvard University Library The first fruit of Gustavus Conyngham’s cruise in the Surprize was the capture of the Prince of Orange , the packet from Harwich to the Netherlands. She yielded some two thousand letters, dispatches, and bills of credit, which were forwarded to Franklin. Some...
D : University of Pennsylvania Library The commissioners’ correspondence with Baron von Schulenburg, the Prussian Minister, had encouraged them to send one of their number to Berlin to promote commercial relations. Lee agreed to go. He wrote Schulenburg on May 8 to apologize for his delay in setting out; on the 13th he informed the committee of secret correspondence that he was leaving with...
ALS and copy: National Archives; two copies: British Library Agreeable to what we mentioned in ours of March 14 and April the 9th (a third Copy of which we send herewith) Mr. Lee tarry’d here some Weeks after his Return from Spain. No News arriving (tho’ we received Letters from you) of any Commissioner being actually appointed for Prussia, and the Necessity of a good Understanding with that...
ALS and copy: National Archives The Navy of the United States increasing in the Number of its Ships and Force, it is of the utmost importance to direct the Cruises of the Shipps of War which belong either to the States or individuals so as to annoy and alarm the Enemy the most effectually, and at the same Time to encourage Our brave Officers and Seamen by the Value of prizes. The West India...
Three copies: National Archives I reached this three days from Munich and in expectation of hearing from you to Morrow shall not proceed till the 29th. Dresden will be my next Stage. There is a Cold tranquillity here, that bodes us no good. On ne peut pas echauffer la froi deur alle magne [froideur allemande]. From what I learn we need be under no apprehensions from Russia. I hope you will not...
Two copies and transcript: National Archives The post in and nothing from you. I therefore shall proceed to Morrow and hope to reach my destination in eight days. The chief purpose for giving Money in my memorial was to pay the Interest of our Loans and Support our funds. I added the paying the Ship we were obliged to build in Holland in lieu of those requested. To these purposes therefore...
DS : American Philosophical Society <Charleville, May 30, 1777, in French: Mercier will engage at least forty qualified workmen to come to Nantes as soon as possible. He will contract with each of them at a fixed price, not to exceed 2 l.t. 2 sols for each gun that needs to be dismantled, cleaned, and reassembled; any new work will be done as cheaply as possible. He will obtain parts from the...
Two copies: National Archives We refer the Committee to ours to You of the 26 ulto. of which we sent Duplicates, should either arrive, but apprehensive of the Contrary we send you the Substance in this. The Brittish Commerce in Europe, especially in the North, is unguarded, the Greenland Whale Fishery and the Hudsons Bay Shipps in particular. Could two or three of our frigates accompanied by...
Copy: British Library In February, 1777, Congress sent a large order for military supplies, including 40,000 uniforms and cloth for as many more, which the commissioners acknowledged in late April. They then moved rapidly. Although they signed no contract before this one, they placed orders many weeks earlier. On April 27 they agreed with Chaumont and Jean Holker, one of the inspectors general...
Copy and transcript: National Archives Lee reached Berlin on June 4, and soon discovered that his mission would encounter major obstacles. He announced his arrival to Count Schulenburg, the Prussian Minister, and sent him detailed suggestions about how trade might be established between Prussian and American ports. Out of the correspondence that ensued in the next three weeks the central...
It has been with uncommon Satisfaction that I have seen you in a situation, in which I long agoe hoped you wou’d be, if we were forced to dispute the great question which in my own Judgement I was satisfied wou’d happen—I never forgot your declaration when I had the pleasure of being at your House in 1768 that you was ready to take your Musket upon your Shoulder, whenever your Country call’d...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères To his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, Minister for Foreign Affairs We the underwritten, Commissioners from the Congress of the United States of N. America, beg leave to represent to your Excellency, that Captain Burnel, Commander of an armed Vessel commissioned by the said States, did lately take Refuge in the Port of Cherburgh with his...
Copy: Harvard University Library; copy and transcript: National Archives; extracts with added paragraph: Harvard University Library, National Archives I have not yet receivd a line from you. It is not easy to divine the reason of so long a silence. There is for sale here and deliverable in any port in France, fourteen thousand weight of brass Cannon at 6 Guineas the Quintal, and Six thousand...
Copy: Harvard University Library; three copies, one incomplete: National Archives We have appointed Mr. Williams to take the Direction of such affairs at Nantes as are more particularly within our Department and accordingly advise you to address yourself to him for any assistance You stand in want off in the Disposition of your prizes or your other Concerns. You will give directions to Capts....
Copy and copy of a second version: Harvard University Library; copy and transcript of the second version: National Archives In my last of the 28 June I mentiond my having been robbd of my Papers, and having retreivd them in a few hours. Whether in that time they were read I cannot ascertain, but I think if they who had them, had examind them, they woud on no account have restord them. In my...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copies with variations: Harvard University Library, National Archives (two) We are very sensible of the Protection afforded to us and to our Commerce since our Residence in this Kingdom, agreeable to the Goodness of the King’s gracious Intentions, and to the Law of Nations; and it gives us real and great Concern, when any Vessels of War,...
Copy: University of Virginia Library Yours of the 24th we received and have wrote M. Morris requiring a Copy of his Commission. This with the Steps you have taken is all that at Present, appears necessary. You may take Capt. Thompson’s Paper; But make no Discount; and Hold it in your hands untill further Orders. As to the Duc de Chartres We submit the Price of her to your Judgement which must...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères Capt. Wicks when he left France on his last Cruise was ordered not to return if he could possibly avoid it, but to intercept some of the Irish Linnen Ships, and proceed with them for America where the Article was much wanted. Unfortunately he miss’d those Shipps, and having giv’n The Alarm, he had no way to avoid being taken but by sheltering...
ALS : Public Record Office Your Letter of the 18th: We received, as We gave Our Orders generally to Com: Wickes, we omitted writing in particular to You. We are sensible of Your Spirit, and gallant Behavior as an Officer, and of Your Attachment to your Country as an Americain, and shall with pleasure do justice to your Character in Our Letters to the Congress, who we doubt not will pay due...
AL (draft ): Library of Congress; two copies: National Archives The Hope of obtaining previously by means of Mr. Ross, a clear State of Mr. Morris’s Proceedings in the Commercial Affairs of the Congress, which was our Inducement to advise your Stay here for some time, being vanished, we now think it prudent and right for you to proceed to Nantes as soon as possible, and there take such...
AL (draft): Library of Congress Mr. Wm. Lee, who has been prudentially detain’d here some time by certain Circumstances relative to the commercial Affairs of the Congress, sets out now to join you at Nantes, being appointed by the Committee to act with you in those Affairs. We make no doubt but you will immediately communicate to him a full and clear State of them, and proceed in your...
AL (draft ): Library of Congress The Marquis de la Fayette, a young Nobleman of great Expectations and exceedingly belov’d here, is by this time probably with you. By some Misapprehension in his Contract with the Merchants of Bordeaux he was prevented from using the Produce of the Cargo he carried over, and so was left without a Supply of Money. His Friends here have sent him over about £500...
LS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Harvard University Library After Wickes’s squadron was sequestered on July 15 and Conyngham sailed from Dunkirk two days later, the commissioners’ relations with Versailles might have been expected to improve. Instead they grew worse, largely because Conyngham disobeyed his orders and took prizes. When one was recaptured, and most of...
AL (draft ): Library of Congress This letter was almost unquestionably not sent. It was to be in answer to a now missing one of the 16th, in which Lee and Morris claimed, according to Arthur Lee, that the powers given to Jonathan Williams to handle prizes were incompatible with their own agency and should be withdrawn. Deane and Franklin were ready to do so, as they say here, but proposed to...
ALS (draft): Library of Congress The Prize of Capt. Wickes, which we ordered into your Hands, we desire you will deliver up to the Disposal of Mr. Lee; and are Your humble Servants Notation: Letter to Mr Williams This is also in BF ’s hand and was clearly intended to accompany the preceding letter; like it, we assume, it was not sent.
AL (draft): Library of Congress On August 21 Vergennes answered the commissioners’ letter of the 12th by a note to Grand. They would be well advised, the Minister said, to write him about Hodge and the retention of the American privateers. Franklin did not know what to say in the letter, he remarked to Lee three days later, because he had had no part in the business of Conyngham, which had...