Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Lovell, 28 October 1780

From James Lovell

ALS: American Philosophical Society; copies: American Philosophical Society, National Archives; transcript: National Archives

Octr. 28th. 1780

Honble. Sir

A Committee was appointed in Congress on the 6th. to draught a “Letter to our Ministers at the Courts of Versailles & Madrid to enforce the Instructions given by Congress to Mr. Jay by their Resolutions of the 4th. Instant and to explain the Reasons & principles on which the same are founded, that they may respectively be enabled to satisfy those Courts of the Justice and Equity of the Intentions of Congress.”5

That Comtee. reported a Draught of a Letter to Mr Jay “and that a Copy of it be communicated to Doctor Franklin together with the Resolution directing the Draught.”6

There is no member of the Comtee. of forgn. Affairs attending Congress but myself,7 nor have the Comtee. had a Secretary or Clerk since T Payne’s Resignation.8 I must entreat you therefore Sir to excuse the Œconomy of my Request that you would transmit to Mr. Jay all of the Papers which happen to reach you directed for him taking Copies of such as are left open for your Information. I persuade myself that you will readily communicate to Mr Adams what appears so much connected with his Commission, though it has not been specially ordered by the Report of the Comtee. upon the Draught.

I am Sir your most humble Servant

James Lovell

Honble Doctor Franklin

Addressed: Honble. / Doctor Franklin / France

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5JCC, XVIII, 908. The Oct. 4 instructions to Jay (ibid., pp. 900–2) directed him not to relinquish the rights of the United States to free navigation of the Mississippi.

6JCC, XVIII, 935n. On Oct. 17 Congress accepted the draft of a letter to Jay explaining the instructions (ibid., pp. 935–47). Copies of the Oct. 4 and 17 documents are with BF’s papers at the APS.

7Lovell’s colleague William Churchill Houston had signed with him the committee’s letters of July 11 printed above. Three weeks after the present letter was written Houston was in Philadelphia: Smith, Letters, XVI, 351.

8In January, 1779: XXIX, 47.

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