« ZurückWeiter »
the Alliance as a convoy, and ordered her to Nantes accordingly. They did not choose to accept that of. fer, knowing, as I suppose, her weakness, but sailed for Brest, to go with the French convoy, without waiting her arrival, and would probably have been gone long before she could have been fitted for sea, if contrary winds had not prevented. I wish your information were true, that she is manned, and fit for such service; it must be from some person who is unacquainted with the facts, perhaps Mr. Ford. I must suppose the merchants are satisfied with the convoy they have put their ships under, as I do not learn that they have applied for one more suitable. I would readily have solicited such an application, if I had understood it to be necessary, being equally desirous with you of their arriving safe, and sensible of the importance of it. But I have not received a line from any of them to any such purpose; and Captain Landais has assured me, that my supposition of his having men enough to fight his ship on occasion, in going home, though not enough to man prizes on a cruise, was a great mistake in my informer; he then wanted one hundred and fifty men, and I have not since heard of her having recruited more than forty, with the exchanged Americans from England. Mr. Ford may probably be accommodated in the same frigate that will take Mr. Adams. I have the honor to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
P. S. I am glad to hear from you, that the supplies necessary for Virginia are shipped.
TO THOMAS WIN.Y. Passy, 4 May, DEAR SIR, assy y, 1779 I received with great pleasure your kind letter, as I learned by it that my hospitable friend still exists, and that his friendship for me has not abated. We have had a hard struggle, but the Almighty has favored the just cause; and I join most heartily with you in your prayers, that he may perfect his work, and establish freedom in the new world, as an asylum for those of the old, who deserve it. I find that many worthy and wealthy families of this continent are determined to remove thither and partake of it, as soon as peace shall make the passage safer; for which peace I do also join your prayers most cordially, as I think the war a detestable one, and grieve much at the mischief and misery it occasions to many; my only consolation being, that I did all in my power to prevent it. When all the bustle is over, if my short remainder of life will permit my return thither, what a pleasure will it be to me to see my old friend and his children settled there! I hope he will find vines and figtrees there for all of them, under which we may sit and converse, enjoying peace and plenty, a good government, good laws, and liberty, without which men lose half their value. I am with much esteem, dear friend, yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
To MRs. PATIENCE wright.”
I received your favor of the 14th of March past, and, if you should continue in your resolution of returning to America, through France, I shall certainly render you any of the little services in my power; but there are so many difficulties at present in getting passages hence, particularly safe ones for women, that methinks I should advise your stay till more settled times, and till a more frequent intercourse is established.
As to the exercise of your art here, I am in doubt whether it would answer your expectations. Here are two or three who profess it, and make a show of their works on the Boulevards ; but it is not the taste for persons of fashion to sit to these artists for their portraits; and both house rent and living at Paris are very expensive.
* Mrs. Patience Wright was altogether a very extraordinary woman. She was the niece of the celebrated John Wesley, but was born at Philadelphia, in which city her parents settled at an early period. Mrs. Wright was greatly distinguished as a modeller in wax; which art she turned to a remarkable account in the American war, by coming to England, and exhibiting her performances. This enabled her to procure much intelligence of importance, which she communicated to Dr. Franklin and others, with whom she corresponded during the whole war. As soon as a general was appointed, or a squadron begun to be fitted out, the old lady found means of access to some family where she could gain information, and thus, without being at all suspected, she contrived to transmit an account of the number of the troops, and the place of their destination to her political friends abroad. She at one time had frequent access to Buckingham House; and used, it was said, to speak her sentiments very freely to their Majesties, who were amused with her originality. The great Lord Chatham honored her with his visits, and she took his likeness, which appears in Westminster Abbey Mrs. Wright died very old in February, 1786. – W. T. F.
I thought that friendship required I should acquaint you with these circumstances; after which you will use your discretion. I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
P. S. My grandson, whom you may remember when a little saucy boy at school, being my amanuensis in writing the within letter, has been diverting me with his remarks. He conceives, that your figures cannot be packed up without damage from any thing you could fill the boxes with to keep them steady. He supposes, therefore, that you must put them into postchaises, two and two, which will make a long train upon the road, and be a very expensive conveyance; but, as they will eat nothing at the inns, you may the better afford it. When they come to Dover, he is sure they are so like life and nature, that the master of the packet will not receive them on board without passes; which you will do well therefore to take out from the Secretary’s office, before you leave London; where they will cost you only the modest price of two guineas and sixpence each, which you will pay without grumbling, because you are sure the money will never be employed against your country. It will require, he says, five or six of the long wicker French stagecoaches to carry them as passengers from Calais to Paris, and a ship with good accommodations to convey them to America; where all the world will wonder at your clemency to Lord N—; that, having it in your power to hang, or send him to the lighters, you had generously reprieved him for transportation.
TO DAVID HARTLEY.
Relative to Propositions for a Peace. Passy, 4 May, 1779. DEAR SIR, I received your several favors, viz. one of April the 10th, one of the 20th, and two of the 22d, all on the same day, but by different conveyances. I need not repeat, what we have each of us so of— ten repeated, the wish for peace. I will begin, by frankly assuring you, that, though I think a direct, immediate peace, the best mode of present accommodation for Britain, as well as for America, yet, if that is not at this time practicable, and a truce is practicable, I should not be against a truce; but this is merely on motives of general humanity, to obviate the evils men devilishly inflict on men, in time of war, and to lessen as much as possible the similarity of earth and hell. For with regard to particular advantages, respecting the States I am connected with, I am persuaded it is theirs to continue the war, till England shall be reduced to that perfect impotence of mischief, which alone can prevail with her to let other nations enjoy “Peace, Liberty, and Safety.” I think, however, that a short truce, which must, therefore, be an armed truce, and put all parties to an almost equal expense with a continued war, is by no means desirable. But this proposition of a truce, if made at all, should be made to France at the same time it is made to America. . . They have each of them too much honor, as well as too much sense, to listen separately to any propositions which tend to separate them from each other. I will now give you my thoughts on your ideas of