Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Oswald: Unsent Draft, 26 June 1782

To Richard Oswald: Unsent Draft8

AL (draft): Library of Congress

Passy, June 26. 1782

Dear Sir,

In the Note that you show’d me9 it is said, that “Mr Oswald may be vested with any Character or Commission that he and Dr F. shall think proper;” or to that purpose: and you desire my Sentiments.— We should be willing to treat with such Persons as the King may think fit to appoint.— I am however very sensible of the Kindness that appears in Lord Shelburne’s offering me any Appearance of Influence in that Choice, and I esteem it as a Proof of his sincere Desire of making with us a good Peace.— I can have no Objection to Mr Grenville, who is already appointed to treat with the King of France or his Ministers, or the Ministers of any other Prince or State whom it may concern; as he informs me:1 And as soon as the Enabling Act is pass’d, and the States of America are acknowledg’d to be such,2 I suppose the Words of that Commission may be clearly interpreted to mean & include those States, in the Understanding of your Government, with those of Spain & Holland. At present it seems dubious. And as your long Residence in America has given you a Knowledge of that Country its People, Circumstances, Commerce, &c. which added to your Experience in Business may be useful to both sides, in facilitating & expediting the Negociation, I cannot but wish that you may be join’d with Mr Grenville in the Commission, at least for the Part which relates to America; or if that Should seem in any Respect inconvenient, than that you might be, in a distinct Commission, named as Plenipotentiary to treat with the Plenipotentiaries of America particularly. This is what occurs to me. With great and sincere Esteem, I have the honour to be, Dear Sir, Your This Draft being shown to Mr Oswald & he not Chusing that his Showing me Lord S’s Note should be mention’d, I first cros’d it out, but afterwards new model’d the whole3 the Draft is in red Ink

R Oswald Esqe

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8As BF explains in the postscript and in his journal of the peace negotiations (June 26 entry), he rewrote this letter after consulting Oswald. The final version is dated June 27 (below).

9On June 3; see the entry of that date in BF’s journal. The note was from Shelburne, to whom BF wanted this letter communicated.

1See the June 15 entry in BF’s journal.

2The Enabling Act used the expression “colonies or plantations” rather than “states”: XXXVI, 688n.

3BF initially bracketed and crossed out the first three sentences of this letter and deleted the fourth (except for the portion in italics).

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