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Copy: Connecticut Historical Society The matter-of-fact tone of this letter, and of the virtually identical one to Wickes that follows, conceals the fact that the commissioners had sustained a major defeat. Conyngham’s cruise infuriated Whitehall: on August 19 Stormont delivered a demand that Wickes’s squadron leave port, and Vergennes expected a British declaration of war. Naval patrols were...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society We conclude by this orders are recd. for permitting you to depart for America on condition of not cruising in these Sea’s nor returning into the Ports of France with the reprisal. We therefore desire you to put your ship into the proper state for sailing, and to supply her with the Provisions necessary for the Voyage. We must wait to know from you what...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society Having obtained permission for the Dolphin to sail for america on condition of her not Cruising in these sea’s nor returning again to the Ports of France you will equip her for sailing with all the Expedition Possible. We have agreed to appoint Capt. Brown to the Command of her, if agreable to him, let him take the Charge of her and put her in a proper...
DS and draft: American Philosophical Society To all Persons in Authority in any of the United States of America. The Ship Harmony of Bordeaux, Francis Barboutin Captain and M. Duler Supercargo being bound to the Continent of North America with Merchandize, and uncertain under the present Circumstances what Port she may be able to make; we hereby request that you would Favour the said M. Duler...
Copies: British Library, Harvard University Library, National Archives (three) It is long since we had a Line from you, the last received being of the Date of [ blank in MS ] per Mr. Reed. We suppose from the same Causes which have occasioned your hearing so seldom from us, the Difficulty of finding safe Conveyances, and sometimes the Loss of the Dispatches by the Way. Mr. Lee informs you, we...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society Yours informing us of your being ready for sea we recd. and by Capt. Bell advise you to settle your accts. of Disbursements and give Bills on us for the amount forwarding to us at the same time copies thereof, after which you are to take the first favourable opportunity to go for America endeavouring to make either the Port of Portsmouth in New Hampshire or...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society We recd. yours informing of your being ready for sea and that orders had been recd. for your leaving the Port. We hope this by Capt. Bell who goes express will find you still at St. Maloes. We send by him Dispatches for America which you will take the Charge of and have them ready for being sunk in case of accident. We advise your settling the Bills for...
ALS : Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, früher Preussischer Staatsbibliothek, Berlin; copy: Connecticut Historical Society We have directed Capt. Johnson to draw on Us for the Amount of the Sums furnished by you for his Disbursements, which Bills will be duly honored. In Answer to Yours, to Doct. Franklin, We have to assure You that We have ever had the fullest Confidence in Your...
DS with alterations: New York Public Library; copy (?) with alteration: British Library To the Commanders of Ships of War or other armed Vessels belonging to the United States of North America, or to any of the Subjects of said States, This Certifies, That the Ship Elizabeth [ altered from : Richard Penn, Isaac All] at present Commander or whoever may command her for the time being is owned by...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; LS : Archivo Historico National This memorandum, under its calm surface, conveys a sense of depression; and the commissioners had reason to be depressed. They seem to have become suddenly aware that they were in deep financial trouble, because they had made commitments that they did not have the money to honor and that Congress could not....
Attested copy: Harvard University Library; copies: British Library (incomplete), National Archives (three), Sheffield City Library (two), South Carolina Historical Society We received duly your Dispatches by Mr. McCrery, and Capt. Young, dated May 20 and 30. June 13, 18, and 26 and July 2. The Intelligence they contain is very particular and Satisfactory. It rejoices us to be informed that...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society We have recd. several letters from you written in a menacing Stile, as if we had failed in the fulfilment of our engagements with you; you must be sensible we never were privy to any Contract with you nor accountable for any thing you had contracted for. But the sole motive of our paying the Ballance due Messrs. Delaps was as well to extricate you, as to...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society Yours of the 6th. is before us. When the Private Letter referred to and the situation of the Frigates shall be communicated to us we shall be in a Situation for forming a judgment and writing you more particularly. Meantime we inclose a Letter for Capt. Thompson which we take the Liberty to ask you to deliver to him. We must rely on your assisting these...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society We recd. from Messrs. Gourlad &c. an acct. of your arrival and were informed that you had a Private Letter for us which we have not yet recd. Conclude it must Come to hand in the Course of this week. Mean time we desire you would inform us in a Letter under Cover of Messrs. Gourlade &c. what is the situation of your Vessels and what their destination, as...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: Harvard University Library We have consider’d your Proposition of Returning in case of the Accident you mention on this Coast, and approve of the same: You will therefore act accordingly. We wish you a good Voyage, and are Sir, Your humble Servants Addressed: To Captn. / John Folger / To Care of Mr. Jno. Moylan / Merchs / Havre du Grace In BF ’s...
Reprinted from Richard Henry Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, LL.D., Joint Commissioner of the United States to the Court of France, and Sole Commissioner to the Courts of Spain and Prussia, during the Revolutionary War . . . (2 vols., Boston, 1829), I , 343–6. Having some conversation with Dr. F. upon the present state of things, he seemed to agree with me in thinking that France and Spain mistook...
AL (draft): Library of Congress We learn with much surprise from your Letter to Dr. Franklin of the 27th of Octr. that you have remaind at the Court of Berlin apparently in a public character. It is our duty to inform you, that acting under a public character without being authorizd, is criminal; and we therefore advise and enjoin you to desist from any such conduct in future at Berlin or...
AL : University of Virginia Library Mr. Lee presents his Compliments to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Dean. He has been prevented from waiting upon them this morning as he intended, but will do it this Evening having a Letter to communicate. The Bearer Mr. Floyd will wait to carry Dispatches, if the Gentlemen think it necessary; if not he is sollicitous to go off this Evening, and wants an advance of 7...
DS and draft : American Philosophical Society We cannot explain this document. It is among Franklin’s papers, he and his colleagues signed it, and he endorsed it; but we can find no trace of the Cadiz merchant with whom it was supposedly made, or of cannon bought from any Spanish suppliers at this time. One of the central points of this agreement, furthermore, is to barter tobacco for guns;...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. A. Lee presents his Compts. to Dr. Franklin and begs to have the Papers he mentiond to Dr. Franklin, namely Count Vergennes’s Letter, the last Memoire to him, the last Letter to the Committee, and the list of Stores shipt from Marsailles. Mr. L. sends a Newspaper, which Mr. Izard borrowd and desird him to return. Addressed: The Honble / Benjamin Franklin...
AL : American Philosophical Society On November 4 the commissioners learned that the King of Spain, enraged by an American capture of goods belonging to his subjects, had canceled a loan to the United States. Vergennes suggested, according to Arthur Lee’s journal, that a letter to Madrid from the commissioners would doubtless be effective; the King was as quick to forgive as he was to take...
AL (draft): Library of Congress We had the honor of receiving in due time your Letters of the 30th. of Octr. last, together with the Papers annexd. It gives us much concern to find that any persons belonging to America shoud be chargeable with having acted with such violence and injustice. But as it appears they have sent with the Vessel the Papers which will prove the illegality of their...
Copies: Connecticut Historical Society, University of Virginia Library Yours by Capt. Nicholson are before us. Mr. Deanes Lettres of yesterday proposed passing a Sale of the Lyon and sending her out as french Property, that is that she go down the River as commanded by the french Captain, and that Captain Nicholson instead returning to Nantes go directly to meet her at the mouth of the River...
ALS : University of Virginia Library; copy and transcript: National Archives What elicited this letter, as witness the second notation, was one from Dr. John Berkenhout, a shadowy figure who hoped to be Whitehall’s emissary for exploring peace terms, and had initiated a correspondence with Lee on that subject the previous August. Berkenhout’s letter is unsigned and undated, though it refers to...
Two copies: National Archives This circular letter was a companion piece to the commissioners’ memorandum to the French and Spanish courts below, November 23, and had been equally long under consideration. Lee presented his draft of the letter to his colleagues on the 9th. An argument developed over how to interpret the old maxim that free ships make free goods: Lee’s draft had apparently...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society We are informed that the Ship Portsmouth, which left Bourdeaux a few days since, made Prize of a Vessel from Cork entering the River, with a Pilot onboard and after she had got into the Passage of Grave. This is the Captain’s Story, on which his complaint is founded. We ask you to enquire into the particulars of this Transaction and send us the Pilots...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society You are desired to get from Capt. Adams a particular Account of his being taken, in which he must ascertain as exact as is in his Power at what distance he was from the Coast of France when he was first Chased and when he was actually taken. He must make oath to his narration and send it up to us by the first Courier. If you have knowledge of other Vessels...
DS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères, Archivo General de Simancas; DS (draft ): Princeton University Library; copy: Archivo Historico Nacional This memorandum had been in preparation for more than a fortnight. On the 8th Franklin had made the original draft, now lost, and Lee had suggested changes that his colleagues accepted; on the 9th the document was ready to be copied and...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society We received yours of the 18th and observe the Contents. We shall this Week transmit to America the Papers relative to your Vessel taken and write on the Subject as we proposed in our last Letter; at the same Time as there is danger of the Packets being intercepted, it will be proper for you to send Duplicates to your Correspondent in St. Eustatia from...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society Yours of the 18th. under Cover of Messrs. F & A Dubbledemuts We received, are obliged to you for your offers of Correspondence and for Accots. of the Price of Sundry Articles of American Produce at your Port. Please to inform us if the Indigo you mention at 50 to 70 Stuyvers per lb. is Carolina growth or other, and what the Difference if any between that...