Through it all, Franklin remained sanguine about the possibility of spies in his midst, even though, shortly after his arrival, he had been warned to be wary by a Philadelphia woman then living in Paris. “You are surrounded with spies who watch your every movement,” she wrote. With an eye more to extolling his virtues than addressing the problem, he sent what became a famous response:
I have long observed one rule which prevents any inconveniences from such practices. It is simply this: to be concerned in no affairs I should blush to have made public, and to do nothing but what spies may see and welcome. When a man’s actions are just and honorable, the more they are known, the more his reputation is increased and established. If I was sure, therefore, that my valet de place was a spy, as he probably is, I think I should probably not discharge him for that, if in other respects I liked him.