Papers of Benjamin Franklin
After the signing of the definitive peace treaty on September 3, 1783, Franklin's official duties as minister plenipotentiary diminished. Great Britain refused to negotiate a commercial agreement, and Congress failed to act on the draft treaties of commerce with Denmark and Portugal that Franklin had sent them the previous summer. In the six months after the peace was settled, Franklin's sole diplomatic achievement was a draft consular convention with France. With his welcome leisure time, however, Franklin eagerly followed scientific developments (witnessing the first balloon ascensions in Paris), advised the French government on schemes for civic improvement, and wrote three of his most remarkable pieces about what it meant to be American.
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