<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0002

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Committee of Secret Correspondence
Recipient: Benjamin Franklin

Honble. Sir

Congress relying on your wisdom and integrity, and well knowing the great
importance of the case, have appointed you their Commissioner to
negotiate a treaty of friendship & commerce with the Court of
Spain. The idea of Congress on this subject you will find in the
instructions of Congress sent by this opportunity to yourself and the
other Commissioners at the Court of France. Your Commission for this
special service we have now the honor to inclose
you.1

We are with great Respect & Esteem, Honble. Sir, Yr. most obedt. &
very huml Servts.
Benja Harrison
Jno Witherspoon
Richard Henry Lee
Will Hooper

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania. In
a clerical hand, and signed by Harrison, Hooper, Lee, and
Witherspoon.

1 Franklin did not go to Spain, however, because the American commissioners,
Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, had already delegated this
duty to Lee. When Congress learned of the commissioners’ decision,
they appointed Lee commissioner to Spain on May 1, 1777. See Wharton,
Diplomatic Correspondence, 2:264, 289; and JCC, 7:8, 10, 318. For
Lee’s frustrating experience with the Spanish government, see his
reports from Spain in Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, 2:280,
292 – 96, and Buchanan P. Thomson, Spain: Forgotten Ally of the
American Revolution (North Quincy, Mass.: Christopher Publishing
House, 1976), pp. 48 – 56.