FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.  Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan regarding the terms of the peace agreement between the US and Great Britain,

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Lot 12
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.
Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan regarding the terms of the peace agreement between the US and Great Britain,

Sold for US$ 187,812 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

15 Dec 2021, 12:00 EST

New York

AMERICANA
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.
Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan regarding the terms of the peace agreement between the US and Great Britain, 2 pp recto and verso, legal folio, Passy, July 11, 1782, with integral autograph address leaf with red wax seal, leaf creased, mildly toned, loss to address leaf from seal, very fine.
Provenance: Lord Shelburne (1737 – 1805); by descent; sold, Important Autograph Letters from the Historical Archives at Bowood House, Christies, London, October 12, 1994, lot 22.

FRANKLIN ASSERTS THE PRIMACY OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE IN NEGOTIATING THE TREATY OF PARIS: "I HAVE ALL ALONG UNDERSTOOD ... THAT THE POINT OF DEPENDENCE WAS GIVEN UP, AND THAT WE WERE TO BE TREATED WITH AS A FREE PEOPLE."

After 6 long years of war, Great Britain and the United States began the process of negotiating a peace settlement in April of 1782. Franklin, from his lodgings in Passy, joined with John Jay, and John Adams to hammer out the terms of American independence. Representing Great Britain were David Hartley and Richard Oswald. At the table also were France and Spain, all (except Spain) eager for the war to end. A preliminary Treaty was agreed to in November of 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the final treaty was signed by Franklin, Jay, Adams and David Hartley, recognizing the independence of the United States and greatly expanding the young country's footprint.

With preliminary negotiations stalled in late spring 1782, Franklin writes to his old friend Benjamin Vaughan, who Franklin had come to know along with commissioners Hartley and Oswald during his time in Paris (see lot 14). Because of Vaughan's friendship to the incoming British Prime Minister Lord Shelburne, he became an important go-between in the tense negotiations of 1782. In a masterfully crafted piece of diplomacy, Franklin here responds forcefully, yet amicably, to suggestions in Paris that Great Britain will retain sovereignty over its former colony, as it has with Ireland:

"If this be really his [Shelburne's] Project, our Negociation for Peace will not go very far; the thing is impracticable and impossible, being inconsistent with the Faith we have pledg'd, to say nothing of the general Disposition of our People."

Franklin's strong relationships with the French diplomats such as Vergennes, and the English commissioners proved invaluable, and his amity proved an effective foil to the hard-line negotiation of Adams and Jay. In fact, soon after this letter, Lord Shelburne abandoned the notion of a colonial America, but throughout the Summer Jay refused to treat with Oswald, whose commission from the King was still worded to allow him to negotiate "certain Colonies in North America." In the fall negotiations resumed with British recognition of American independence, as "the United States of North America," and on November 30, 1782, a preliminary agreement was signed by Oswald and the Americans.
Contacts
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.  Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan regarding the terms of the peace agreement between the US and Great Britain,
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.  Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan regarding the terms of the peace agreement between the US and Great Britain,
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