Benjamin Franklin Papers

Franklin and Silas Deane to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 16 January 1778

Franklin and Silas Deane to the Committee for Foreign Affairs2

ALS:3 South Carolina Historical Society

Paris Jany. 16th: 1778.


This will be delivered to you by Mr. Carmichael to whom we have committed our dispatches for Congress, and who becoming Acquainted with Mr. Deane soon after his arrival at Paris, travelled to Berlin through Holland and Hambourgh at the desire and Appointment of Mr. Deane and on his Journey rendered very Considerable Services to the United States by turning the Attention of many persons of Consequence in different places to the American Cause and by procuring much useful intelligence.4 After his return he Continued to render Us his best Services occasionally assisting Mr. Deane as his Secretary, and transacting Business for Us at Havre, and at Dunkirk. In all these Concerns We have had Occasion to place great Confidence in this Gentleman and he has ever appeared to Us deserving of it.5 For these his Services We have made him no adequate reward having paid him only the expences of his Journies on the public Business, and a small part of his expences in Paris. This however has happened not from any want of Inclination in Us but from his own desire of being as little Burthensome as possible to the United States. It is incumbent on Us therefore through You to recommend Mr. Carmichael to the favor and Attention of Congress as a Gentleman who has deserved Well of his Country, and as one Capable of rendering it important Services. He will be able to inform You of many particulars respecting our Situation and Transactions here. We have the honor to remain with the Utmost respect Gentlemen your most Obedient and Very Humble Servants

B Franklin
Silas Deane

The honble: Committee for Foreign Affairs

Addressed: To / The honble / The Committee for / Foreign Affairs / of the United States / North America

Notations: Jan: 16th. 1778: B. Franklin & S. Deane to the Comtee. for forgn. Affairs recd. June 13th. / Janry. 16th. / recd. June 13th

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2We normally treat such a letter as being from the commissioners, on the premise that the absence of Lee’s signature has no particular significance. But in this case it seems unlikely, in the light of his letter to BF and Deane above of Jan. 7, that he would have endorsed Carmichael.

3In Deane’s hand.

4For this mission see above, XXIII, 381 n and XXIV, 18 n.

5Deane’s confidence, at least, was badly misplaced; and Carmichael’s conduct in general had not always been above question. See above, XXIII, 622 n; XXIV, 243–4; and the headnote in this volume, Jan. 4, on Stevenson’s exchange with the commissioners.

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