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too much for me; so I sit down to write to a few friends by way of farewell.
I congratulate you on the departure of your late troublesome neighbours. I hope your country will now for some time have rest, and that care will be taken so to fortify Boston, as that no force shall be able again to get footing there. Your very kind letter of November 13th, enclosing Lord Chatham's and Lord Camden's speeches, I duly received. I think no one can be more sensible than I am of the favors of corresponding friends, but I find it impossible to answer as I ought. At present I think you will deem me inexcusable, and therefore I will not attempt an apology. But if you should ever happen to be at the same time oppressed with years and business, you may then extenuate a little for your old friend.
The notes of the speeches taken by your son, whose loss I shall ever deplore with you, are exceedingly valuable, as being by much the best account preserved of that day's debate.*
You ask, "When is the Continental Congress by general consent to be formed into a supreme legislature; alliances, defensive and offensive, formed; our ports opened; and a formidable naval force established at the public charge 1" I can only answer at present, that nothing seems wanting but that "general consent." The novelty of the thing deters some, the doubt of success, others, the vain hope of reconciliation, many. But our enemies take continually every proper measure to remove these obstacles, and their endeavours are attended with success, since every day furnishes us with new causes of increasing enmity, and new reasons for wishing an eternal separation; so that there is a rapid increase of the formerly small party, who were for an independent government.
* Notes of Speeches made by Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, and others, in the British House of Lords, January 20th, 1775. See Life of Josiah Quincy, Junior, pp. 318, 335.
Your epigram on Lord Chatham's remark has amply repaid me for the song. Accept my thanks for it, and for the charming extract of a lady's letter, contained in your favor of January 22d. I thought, when I sat down, to have written by this opportunity to Dr. Cooper, Mr. Bowdoin, and Dr. Winthrop, but I am interrupted. Be so good as to present my affectionate respects to them, and to your family. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
/ TO PHILIP SCHUYLER.
Journey from Moony to New York.
New York, 27 May, 1776.
Dear General, We arrived here safe yesterday evening, in your postchaise driven by Lewis. I was unwilling to give so much trouble, and would have borrowed your sulkey, and driven myself; but good Mrs. Schuyler insisted on a full compliance with your pleasure, as signified in your letter, and I was obliged to submit, which I was afterwards very glad of, part of the road being very stony and much gullied, where I should, probably, have overset and broken my own bones, all the skill and dexterity of Lewis being no more than sufficient. Through the influence of your kind recommendation to the innkeepers on the road, we found a great readiness to supply us with a change of horses. Accept our thankful acknowledgments; they are all we can at present make.
We congratulate you on the very valuable prize made at Boston. They threaten us with a mighty force from England and Germany. I trust that, before the end of the campaign, its inefficacy will be apparent to all the world, our enemies become sick of their projects, and the freedom of America be established on the surest foundation, its own ability to defend it. May God bless, and preserve you, for all our sakes as well as for that of your dear family. Mr. Carroll joins me in every hearty wish for prosperity and felicity to you and yours. With the highest esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO THE COMMISSIONERS IN CANADA.*
Prize carried into Boston. — German Auxiliaries. — JVew Governments advised by Congress. — His HI Health.
New York, 27 May, 1776.
Dear Friends, We arrived here safe yesterday evening, having left Mrs. Walker with her husband at Albany, from whence we came down by land. We passed him on Lake Champlain; but he returning overtook us at Saratoga, where they both took such liberties, in taunting at our conduct in Canada, that it came almost to a quarrel. We continued our care of her, however, and landed her safe in Albany with her three wagon loads of baggage, brought thither without putting her to any expense, and parted civilly, though coldly. I think
• Dr. Franklin's ill state of health compelled him to leave Canada before the other Commissioners, and he returned in company with the Reverend Mr. Carroll.
they both have an excellent talent at making themselves enemies, and, I believe, live where they will, they will never be long without them.
We met yesterday two officers from Philadelphia, with a letter from the Congress to the Commissioners, and a sum of hard money. I opened the letter, and sealed it again, directing them to carry it forward to you. I congratulate you on the great prize carried into Boston. Seventy-five tons of gunpowder are an excellent supply, and the thousand carbines with bayonets, another fine article. The German auxiliaries are certainly coming. It is our business to prevent their returning. The Congress have advised the erecting new governments, which has occasioned some dissension in Philadelphia, but I hope it will soon be composed.*
I shall be glad to hear of your welfare. As to myself, I find I grow daily more feeble, and think I could hardly have got along so far, but for Mr. Carroll's friendly assistance and tender care of me. Some symptoms of the gout now appear, which makes me think my indisposition has been a smothered fit of that disorder, which my constitution wanted strength to form completely. I have had several fits of it formerly.
God bless you and prosper your counsels, and bring you safe again to your friends and families. With the greatest esteem and respect, I am, &c.
• It was resolved in Congress, "That it be recommended to the respective Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient for the exigencies of their affairs has been hitherto established, to adopt such form of government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general."—Journals, May 10th.
TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.
Contrivance for destroying the Enemy's Ships.
Philadelphia, 22 July, 1776.
Sir, The bearer, Mr. Joseph Belton, some time since petitioned the Congress for encouragement to destroy the enemy's ships of war by some contrivances of his invention. They came to no resolution on his petition; and, as they appear to have no great opinion of such proposals, it is not easy, in the multiplicity of business before them, to get them to bestow any part of their attention on his request. He is now desirous of trying his hand on the ships that are gone up the North River; and, as he proposes to work entirely at his own expense, and only desires your countenance and permission, I could not refuse his desire of a line of introduction to you, the trouble of which I beg you to excuse. As he appears to be a very ingenious man, I hope his project may be attended with success. With the sincerest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &.c. . .
TO HORATIO GATES.
Resolves of Congress for distributing Papers among the Hessian Troops. — Prizes taken at Sea. — Dr. Price's Pamphlet. — Jldvices from England.
Philadelphia, 28 August, 1776.
Dear Sir, The Congress being advised, that there was a probability that the Hessians might be induced to quit