Benjamin Franklin Papers

Henry Laurens to the Other American Peace Commissioners, 10 June 1783

Henry Laurens to the Other American Peace Commissioners4

Copies: Massachusetts Historical Society, Library of Congress

Tuesday Morning, 4 oClock 10. June 1783.


This Moment landed—5 As a Boat is going over to Calais, the inclosed Proclamation may possibly arrive new to you. To me it wears the Aspect of one Part of a commercial Treaty.6 I shall not wonder, should I see our Friend, D. H. in London this Week.7 I purpose Lodging there to night. There & every where, I shall be as I am, Your faithful However feeble Aid & obedient Servant.

(signed) Henry Laurens

To His Exy. Dr. Franklin, &c.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Laurens was on his way to London in the vain hope of raising a private loan for the United States, a venture he proposed after the commissioners received Ferdinand Grand’s May 10 warning about the dire state of American finances (XXXIX, 587–9). He delayed his departure on account of the stalled negotiations with Hartley but finally left Paris on June 7 with the consent of his colleagues: Laurens Papers, XVI, 207n, 210–11.

5At Dover; see his next letter of June 17.

6Laurens enclosed a copy of the king’s Order in Council of June 6. This permitted importation into Britain of American masts, naval stores, and indigo carried aboard British or American ships. It also restored the American tobacco trade to its former footing, with only a small duty being due on American tobacco being re-exported. The latter part of this order was not merely a concession to America but also served British plans to recapture the American tobacco trade from France: Harlow, Second British Empire, I, 472n; Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 732–3.

7On May 26 the London press announced that Hartley had completed a commercial treaty and would soon return home: the Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, Public Advertiser, and Parker’s General Advertiser of that date. On June 3 Parker’s reported that Laurens was expected and would probably travel with Hartley.

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