Benjamin Franklin Papers

Franklin and Silas Deane to Arthur Lee, 12 February 1777

Franklin and Silas Deane to Arthur Lee

Copy:8 University of Virginia Library

Paris Feby. 12th: 1777

Dear Sir

We inclose this to Care of Messrs. Delaps hoping it will find you safe arrived in that City.9 Nothing material has occurr’d since your leaving Us; Long Island is repossess’d by the Provincials, but we have not learned the Particulars. One thought we take this Opportunity of suggesting, should you be able to procure a sum of Money either on Loan, or otherways. To remove any Objection that may be made about the mode of supply, there need only to have an Order pass’d to Our Freind in Amsterdam, to hold such a sum at Our disposal, who will instantly advance it.1 Or as Our Freind may not be known to those with whom you are to treat, or possibly the same Cautious mode may be pursued by them as by some others, There need only a Letter to the Spanish Ambassador at the Hague directing him to order Our Freind to advance the Sum agreed for. The Money if obtained must be raised in that Quarter, and No one can effect it with greater Secrecy or dispatch. We most heartily wish you may not be under the Necessity of having any Cover for what is so much for the Interest and honor of those you are to deal with to have transacted openly, but We have not the Choice of the mode, and the Object is so important that We must if possible obtain it by any means not dishonorable to Us. Wishing you a prosperous Journey We are Dear Sir your most Obedient and Very Humble servants

B Franklin
Silas Deane

Hon Arthur Lee Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8In Deane’s hand.

9I.e., Bordeaux. Lee had planned to start on his mission to Spain on Feb. 7; he reached Nantes on the 11th, and expected to leave on the 14th and be in Bordeaux by the 17th: the commissioners to the committee of secret correspondence above, Feb. 6, and Lee to BF and Deane below, Feb. 13.

1The friend was Georges Grand: Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 722. He was still in Paris, and may have suggested this way of handling a clandestine Spanish loan.

Index Entries