Arthur Lee to Franklin and John Adams
LS:2 American Philosophical Society
Chaillot Feb. 10th. 1779—
I perceive by the letter you have sent me that Mr. Deane’s claim is ascertaind by marks, and therefore have signd the letter.3 But I think enquiry shoud be made after those goods which were bought with the public Money in Holland, and which those now given up were supposd to be.
I am unwilling to sign the Letter to Capn. Jones,4 because it does not contain the whole of the facts on that subject, & gives an opinion which in my humble judgment belongs to Congress only to give after an examination into the whole of that officers conduct.
I have proposd to Capn. Jones that we shoud certify upon His commission, that it is still in force & he remains in the american Service. This as I conceive will relieve us from What may be hereafter embarrassing the entering into a question which will probably come before a proper Court of enquiry; & at the same time will silence those who report he is dismissd from the american Service.
I have to complain to you, that I have receivd a very indecent Letter from Dr. Bancroft telling me of my having made “By letter a direct & personal opposition to his appointment”—and demanding to have a Copy of my letter to you, “that he may judge whether any particular opposition to him arises from a regard for the public Good, or from personal Enmity.—”5 That A communication of the dissent of any particular Commissioner to the person affected by it, cannot but have the effect of exposing that Commissioner to the abuse & malevolence of that Individual, you must be sensible; & that such communications must put an end to all confidence among the Commissioners, and make it impossible to carry on the business of the public.
I have the honor to be Gentlemen your Mo obt. Hble Servt.
Honbl. Benja. Franklin & John Adams Esqrs.
Addressed: The Honble / B. Franklin & John Adams. Esqr. / Ministers Plenipotentiary / at Passi 777
2. In Ford’s hand.
3. The commissioners to JW of Feb. 9.
4. BF and JA’s letter to Jones, Feb. 10.
5. See Lee’s letters to BF and JA of Feb. 7.