Front Page Titles (by Subject) BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO JAY. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO JAY. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 1 (1763-1781).
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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO JAY.
Passy, June 13th, 1780.
Yesterday, and not before, is come to hand your favour of April 14th, with the packets and despatches from Congress, etc., which you sent me by a French gentleman to Nantes.
Several of them appear to have been opened, the paper around the seals being smoked and burnt, as with the flame of a candle used to soften the wax, and the impression defaced. The curiosity of people in this time of war is unbounded. Some of them only want to see news, but others want to find (through interested views) what chance there is of a speedy peace. Mr. Ross has undertaken to forward the letters to England. I have not seen them; but he tells me they have all been opened. I am glad, however, to receive the despatches from Congress, as they communicate to me Mr. Adams’s instructions, and other particulars of which I have been long ignorant.
I am very sensible of the weight of your observation, “that a constant interchange of intelligence and attentions between the public servants at the different courts, is necessary to procure to their constituents all the advantages capable of being derived from their appointment.” I shall endeavour to perform my part with you, as well as to have the pleasure of your correspondence, as from a sense of duty. But my time is more taken up with matters extraneous to the functions of a minister, than you can possibly imagine. I have written often to the Congress to establish consuls in the ports, and ease me of what relates to maritime and mercantile affairs; but no notice has yet been taken of my request.
A number of bills of exchange, said to be drawn by order of Congress on Mr. Laurens, are arrived in Holland. A merchant there has desired to know of me, whether, if he accepts them, I will engage to reimburse him. I have no orders or advice about them from Congress; do you know to what amount they have drawn? I doubt I cannot safely meddle with them. . . .
Mrs. Jay does me much honour in desiring to have one of the prints that have been made here of her countryman. I send what is said to be the best of five or six engraved by different hands, from different paintings. The verses at the bottom are truly extravagant. But you must know that the desire of pleasing by a perpetual rise of compliments in this polite nation, has so used up all the common expressions of approbation, that they are become flat and insipid, and to use them almost implies censure. Hence music, that formerly might be sufficiently praised when it was called bonne, to go a little farther they called it excellente, then superbe, magnifique, exquise, celeste, all which, being in their turns worn out, there only remains divine; and when that is grown as insignificant as its predecessors, I think they must return to common speech and common sense; as from vying with one another in fine and costly paintings on their coaches, since I first knew the country, not being able to go farther in that way, they have returned lately to plain carriages, painted without arms or figures, in one uniform colour.
The league of neutral nations to protect their commerce is now established. Holland, offended by fresh insults from England, is arming vigorously. That nation has madly brought itself into the greatest distress, and has not a friend in the world.
With great and sincere esteem,
I am, dear sir,