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President of the State of Pennsylvania.


Passy, March 19, 1780."

I have just received the pamphlet you did me the honour to send me by M. Gérard, and have read it with pleasure; not only as the clear state of facts, it does you honour, but as it proves the falsehood of a man, who also showed no regard to truth in what he said of me, "that I approved of the propositions he carried over." The truth is this, his brother, Mr. Pultney, came here with those propositions; and after stipulating that if I did not approve of them, I should not speak of them to any person, he communicated them to me. I told him frankly, on his desiring to know my sentiments, that I DID NOT approve of them, and that I was sure they wOULD NOT be accepted in America. But I said there are two other Commissioners here. I will, if you please, show your propositions to them, and you will hear their opinions. I will also show them to the ministry here, without whose knowledge and concurrence we can take no step in such affairs. No, said he; as you do not approve of them, it can answer no purpose to show them to any body else the reasons that weigh with you will also weigh with them: therefore, I now pray that no mention may be made of my having been here, or my business. To this I agreed, and therefore nothing could be more astonishing to me, than to see in an American newspaper,


This letter is inserted here out of its place, as elucidating the foregoing one.

that direct lie, in a letter from Mr. Johnstone, joined with two other falsehoods, relating to the time of the treaty, and to the opinion of Spain !

In proof of the above, I inclose a certificate of a friend of Mr. Pultney's, the only person present at our interview; and I do it the rather at this time, because I am informed that another calumniator (the same who formerly in his private letters to particular members, accused you, with Messrs. Jay, Duanes, Langdon, and Harrison, of betraying the secrets of Congress in a correspondence with the ministry) has made this transaction with Mr. Pultney, an article of accusation against me, as having approved the same propositions. He proposes, I understand, to settle in your government. I caution you to beware of him; for in sowing suspicions and jealousies, in creating misunderstandings and quarrels among friends, in malice, subtilty, and indefatigable industry, he has, I think, no equal.

I am glad to see that you continue to preside in our new State, as it shows that your public conduct is approved by the people. You have had a difficult time, which required abundance of prudence; and you have been equal to the occasion. The disputes about the constitution seem to have subsided. It is much admired here and all over Europe, and will draw over many families of fortune to settle under it, as soon as there is a peace. The defects that may on seven years' trial be found in it, can be amended, when the time comes for considering them. With great and sincere esteem and respect, I have the honour to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

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I do hereby certify whom it may concern, that I was with Mr. Pultney and Dr. Franklin at Paris, when in a conversation between them on the subject of certain propositions for a reconciliation with America, offered by Mr. Pultney, Dr. Franklin said he did not approve of them, nor did he think they would be approved in America, but that he would communicate them to his col

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leagues and the French ministry, This Mr. Pultney opposed, saying, that it would answer no good end, as he was persuaded that what weighed with Dr. Franklin would weigh also with them; and therefore desired that no mention might be made of his having offered such propositions, or even of his having been here, on such business; but that the whole might be buried in oblivion, agreeable to what had been stipulated by Mr. Pultney, and agreed to by Dr. Franklin, before the propositions were produced, which Dr. Franklin accordingly promised.

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I send you adjoined, the certificate you desire; and am perfectly convinced from conversations I have since had with Mr. Pultney, that nobody was authorized to hold the language which has been imputed to him on that subject; and as I have a high opinion of his candour and worth, I know it must be painful to him to be brought into question in matters of fact with persons


he esteems. I could wish that this matter may receive

no farther publicity than what is necessary for your justifi-
cation. I am, &c.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Versailles.


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Passy, April 24, 1778.03

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Mr. Hartley, member of parliament, an old acquaintance of mine, arrived here from London on Sunday last. He is generally in the opposition, especially on American questions, but has some respect for Lord North. In conversation he expressed the strongest anxiety for peace with America, and appeared extremely desirous to know my sentiments of the terms which might probably be acceptable if offered; whether America would not, to obtain peace, grant some superior advantages in trade to Britain, and enter into an alliance offensive and defensive; whether, if war should be declared against France, we had obliged ourselves by treaty to join with her against England. My answers have been, That the United States were not fond of war, and with the advice of their friends would probably be easily prevailed with to make peace on equitable terms, but we had no terms committed to us to propose, and I did not chuse to mention any. That Britain having injured us heavily by making this unjust war upon us, might think herself well off, if on reparation of those injuries, we admitted her to equal advantages with other nations in commerce; but certainly she had no reason to expect superior. That her known fondness for war, and the many instances of her readiness to engage in wars on frivolous occasions, were probably sufficient to cause an immediate rejection of

every proposition for an offensive alliance with her. >> Andi that if she made war against France on our accounty a peace with us at the same time was impossible; for that having met with friendship from that generous nation when we were cruelly oppressed by England, we were under ties stronger than treaties could form, to make common cause, which we should certainly do to the utmost of our power. Here has also been with me a Mr. Chapman, who says he is a member of the parliament of Ireland, on his way home from Nice, where he had been for the recovery of his health. He pretended to call on me only from motives of respect for my character, &c. But after a few compliments he entered on a similar discourse, urging much to know what terms would satisfy America, and whether on having peace and independence granted to us, we should not be willing to submit to the Navigation Act, or give equivalent privileges in trade to Britain. The purport of my answer to him was, in short, that peace was of equal value to England as to us, and independence we were already in possession of: that therefore England's offer to grant them to us, could not be considered as proposing any favour, or as giving her a right to expect peculiar advantages in commerce. By his importunity I found his visit was not so occasional as he represented it and from some expressions I conjectured he might be sent by Lord Shelburne, to sound me, and collect some information. On the whole, I gather from these conversations, that the opposition, as well as the ministry, are perplexed with the present situation of affairs, and know not which way to turn themselves, whether it is best to go backward or forward, or what steps


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