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CORRESPONDENCE, P A R T THIRD;
comprising LETTERS PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL, FROM
THE BEGINNING OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION To
THE END OF THE AUTHOR'S MISSION TO FRANCE.
1775 – 1785.
TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.
State of America on Dr. Franklin's Arrival there.
Philadelphia, 16 May, 1775. DEAR FRIEND,
You will have heard, before this reaches you, of a march stolen by the regulars into the country by night, and of their expedition back again. They retreated twenty miles in six hours.” The governor had called the Assembly to propose Lord North's pacific plan, but, before the time of their meeting, began cutting of throats. You know it was said he carried the sword in one hand, and the olive branch in the other; and it seems he chose to give them a taste of the sword first.
He is doubling his fortifications at Boston, and hopes to secure his troops till succour arrives. The place mdeed is naturally so defensible, that I think them in no danger. All America is exasperated by his conduct, and more firmly united than ever. The breach between the two countries is grown wider, and in danger of becoming irreparable.
I had a passage of six weeks, the weather constantly so moderate that a London wherry might have accompanied us all the way. I got home in the evening, and the next morning was unanimously chosen by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, a delegate to the Congress now sitting.
* Alluding to the affair at Lexington and Concord.
In coming over, I made a valuable philosophical discovery, which I shall communicate to you when I can get a little time.” At present, I am extremely hurried. Yours most affectionately,
TO MRS. JANE MECOM.
His Return from England. — Chosen a JMember of the Continental Congress. Philadelphia, 26 May, 1775. DEAR SISTER, I have just now heard by Mr. Adams, that you are come out of Boston, and are at Warwic, in Rhode Island. I suppose it must be at good Mr. and Mrs. Greene's, to whom present my affectionate respects. I write this line just to let you know, that I am returned well from England, and that I found my family well; but have not found the repose I wished for, being the next morning after my arrival delegated to the Congress by our Assembly. I wish to hear from you, and to know how you have left your affairs in Boston; and whether it would be inconvenient for you to come hither, or you wish rather that I should come to see you, if the business I am engaged in will permit. Let me know if you want any assistance, and what is become of cousin Williams and his family, and other friends. Jonathan was at Paris when I left England, but to return in a week or two. I am ever, my dear sister, your very loving brother,
* Alluding to his experiments with a thermometer in crossing the Gulf Stream. See Wol. VI. pp. 487, 498.
To william STRAHAN.” Philadelphia, 5 July, 1775. MR. STRAHAN, You are a member of Parliament, and one of that majority, which has doomed my country to destruction. You have begun to burn our towns, and murder our people. Look upon your hands, they are stained with the blood of your relations ! You and I were long friends; you are now my enemy, and I am,
TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.
Proceedings of the British Government render Conciliation hopeless. – Conduct of General Gage in Boston. — Franklin's Occupations.
Philadelphia, 7 July, 1775. DEAR FRIEND,
The Congress met at a time when all minds were
so exasperated by the perfidy of General Gage, and
his attack on the country people, that propositions for
* A French editor takes this letter in serious part, and laments that political causes should produce such a breach in a long and cordial friendship. But in truth, it was meant to be nothing more than a pleasantry, as is evident from the tone of the subsequent correspondence between Franklin and Strahan, which continued through life. A copy of the letter was procured from Mr. Strahan, and it was printed in the English newspapers soon after it was received.