Benjamin Franklin Papers

Thomas Mifflin to the American Peace Commissioners, 15 January 1784

Thomas Mifflin to the American Peace Commissioners

Copy: National Archives

Annapolis January 15th.2 1784


This day nine States being represented in Congress viz. Massachusets, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, together with one Member from New Jersey and One from New Hampshire, The Treaty of Peace was ratified by the unanimous Vote of the Members. This being done, Congress by an unanimous vote ordered a proclamation to be issued enjoyning the strict and faithful Observance thereof; and published an earnest recommendation to the several States in the very words of the fifth Article—3 They have likewise resolved, “That a triplicate of the ratification of the definitive Treaty be sent to our Ministers plenipotentiaries by Lieutenant Colonel David S. Franks” who has directions to proceed with all possible dispatch to Paris—4 We are in hope that Colonel Harmar who is charged with the first instrument of the ratification, and who left this place yesterday, in order to take his passage in the L’Orient Packet at New York, will arrive at Paris before the 3d of March or if he should not, that Colonel Franks may be so fortunate as to effect it—5 A Duplicate was sent last Evening to the Care of Mr. Morris at Philadelphia to be forwarded by him—6

I beg leave to recommend Colonel Franks to you as a very deserving Citizen and am with the greatest Respect and esteem. Gentlemen Your Obedient Servant7

Thomas Mifflin

The Honorable Benjamin Franklin John Adams and John Jay Esqrs.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The dateline of this copy is problematic. There can be no doubt that the letter was written on Jan. 15, but its opening phrase “This day” refers to the day before. The first two sentences, in fact, were copied verbatim from Mifflin’s Jan. 14 letter, above; surely, the secretary should have changed the first word to “Yesterday.” When BF and Jay acknowledged receiving the present letter, they referred to its date as Jan. 14: BF and Jay to Mifflin, April 16, 1784 (National Archives).

3Up to this point, the text had been copied from Mifflin’s letter of Jan. 14; see the previous note.

4The resolution instructed Franks to sail “from any port eastward of Philadelphia, for France or any port in the channel, in which neither of the instruments of the ratification, already forwarded, may be sent, provided such vessel shall sail before the 3 day of February next.” JCC, XXVI, 34–5.

5Harmar boarded the Courier de l’Amérique at New York on Jan. 19, but due to weather and various mishaps the ship did not sail for France until Feb. 21. Franks, also in New York, sailed for London around the same time on the British ship Edward: Morris Papers, IX, 81n; Dwight L. Smith, “Josiah Harmar, Diplomatic Courier,” PMHB, LXXXVII (1963), 424–5. The deadline for exchanging ratified copies was March 3.

6Morris, in turn, entrusted it to Capt. Samuel Gerrish on Feb. 2, with instructions to forward it from New York or Boston: Morris Papers, IX, 79.

7On Jan. 23, Mifflin asked Annapolis merchant Charles Wallace to send a copy of the present letter to his business partner Joshua Johnson in London, to be forwarded to Ferdinand Grand’s address: Smith, Letters, XXI, 283n.

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