Benjamin Franklin Papers
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The American Commissioners to the President of Congress, 7 November 1778: résumé

The American Commissioners to the President of Congress1

LS:2 National Archives; copies: Massachusetts Historical Society, South Carolina Historical Society, National Archives (two); two transcripts: National Archives

<Passy, November 7, 1778: We enclose copies of our declaration concerning articles 11 and 12 of the Treaty of Commerce, correspondence with M. de Sartine on rescues and recaptures, and correspondence regarding negotiations with the Barbary States, which we are unable to pursue.3 We will pay the interest on loan office certificates as long as our funds last, but we must inform Congress that due to our great expenses for prisoners we are in the utmost anxiety about paying our bills and beg assistance as soon as possible. For want of funds we are unable to send the supplies of arms, ammunition, and clothing requested by Congress, and we have not been informed whether Beaumarchais will execute his agreement with you.4 We send copies of our correspondence with the Sicilian ambassador5 and at first opportunity will forward a valuable manuscript on naval affairs given us by Mr. Ridley.6 Although there are no limits to British hostility, we see no possibility of their finding an ally in all Europe. We expect Spain and the Netherlands eventually to join against them. We recommend an attack on the British whale fishery off Brazil7 and include duplicates of earlier correspondence, newspapers, and 47 receipts from escaped American prisoners to whom we have lent money.>

1This letter to Henry Laurens is published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 196–200.

2In Gellée’s hand.

3For the declaration (copied by WTF) see above, XXVII, 330–2. The other correspondence is described in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 199n and, except for a Sept. 21 letter from Sartine to Vergennes, is published above: XXVII, 312–13, 382, 412, 415, 440, 467, 468, 481–2, 663.

4For the continued delivery of military supplies through his company, Rodrigue Hortalez & Cie.: JCC, X, 316–21.

5XXVII, 518–19, 525–6.

6See ibid., 471.

7For the proposed attack see ibid., 64–5, 659–60.

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