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By these despatches you will be informed, that Colonel Laurens is coming to France, charged with a special commission, with your advice and influence, to solicit the aids in money and other articles referred to in his instructions. It is probable he will sail from America in some fifteen or twenty days from this time. You will observe, nevertheless, that it is the pleasure and expectation of Congress, that you should not delay any measures for obtaining the aids requested, nor wait for the arrival of Mr. Laurens.
An estimate of the aids requested, except the twentyfive millions of livres, you have already received the last year; and no time ought to be lost in forwarding such aids as may be obtained.
Your wisdom, prudence, and zeal for the prosperity of the United States, render it unnecessary for me to add any persuasives on this important subject. I have the honor to be, &c.
FROM M. DE MARBois To B. FRANKLIN.”
Evertions of Dr. Franklin's Daughter in procuring Supplies of Clothing for the American Soldiers.
Translation. Philadelphia, 4 January, 1781. SIR, I have desired Colonel Laurens to recall me particularly to your recollection, and I have no doubt he will faithfully do so. Still I cannot help wishing, for my own satisfaction, to say a few words to you of persons here, whom I know to be very dear to you. Mr. and Mrs. Bache and their children are in excellent health. Mrs. Bache does not yet give up the hope of going to see you in France, and I urge her much to make the voyage. If there are in Europe any women, who need a model of attachment to domestic duties, and love for their country, Mrs. Bache may be pointed out to them as such. She passed a part of the last year in exertions to rouse the zeal of the Pennsylvania ladies; and she made on this occasion such a happy use of the eloquence, which you know she possesses, that a large part of the American army was provided with shirts, bought with their money, or made by their hands. In her applications for this purpose, she showed the most indefatigable zeal, and the most unwearied perseverance, and a courage in asking, which surpassed even the obstinate reluctance of the Quakers in refusing. Rivington tried to turn her zeal into ridicule. Her patriotism, he called superstition and foolish fanaticism; he pretended, that her officiousness went beyond all bounds. In a word, she could not have been praised more skilfully.” This honest Rivington made a fairer hit, in publishing lately a number of intercepted letters. You will see them in the English papers; therefore I will not anticipate the reflections they will lead you to make. Congress was wise enough to take no notice of them. The English may find there new proofs of the wants of the allies, but they can see neither discouragement, nor despondency, nor disaffection, nor the least trace of coldness between these allies, nor the shadow of a desire to draw nearer to themselves; and that is certainly what they would most desire to find. I am, with great respect, Sir, &c.
* M. de Marbois was Secretary to the French Legation in the United States.
* See two letters from General Washington to Mrs. Bache and other ladies on this subject, in Washington's Writings, Vol. VII. pp. 376,408.
P. S. The Chevalier de la Luzerne begs to present you his respectful compliments. Have the goodness also to remember us to your grandson.
To BENJAMIN waterHouse.”
I received your obliging letter of the 16th past, enclosing one from my dear friend, Dr. Fothergill. I was happy to hear from him, that he was quite free of the disorder that had like to have removed him last summer. But I had soon after a letter from another friend, acquainting me, that he was again dangerously ill of the same malady; and the newspapers have since announced his death. I condole with you most sincerely on this occasion. I think a worthier man never lived. For, besides his constant readiness to serve his friends, he was always studying and projecting something for the good of his country and of mankind in general, and putting others, who had it in their power, on executing what was out of his own reach; but whatever was within it he took care to do himself; and his incredible industry and unwearied activity enabled him to do much more than can now be ever known, his modesty being equal to his other virtues.
I shall take care to forward his letter to Mr. Pem
* At this time a student of medicine at Leyden. WOL. VIII. 34
berton. Enclosed is one I have just received under cover from that gentleman. You will take care to convey it by some safe opportunity to London. With hearty wishes for your prosperity and success In your profession, and that you may be a good copy of your deceased relation, I am your friend and humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.
TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS.
Since my last I have been favored by yours of De cember 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st, 25th, and January 1st, by which you have kept me constantly well informed of the state of affairs. Accept my thanks. You may depend on my mentioning your diligence and services to Congress in the manner they merit.
Though I have been some weeks free from the gout, my feet are still tender, and my knees feeble; so that going up and down stairs is exceedingly difficult and inconvenient to me. This has prevented my going much out, so that I had not the honor I wished, of waiting on the ambassador when he was here, and paying the respects I owe him; and he returned suddenly.
I much approve of the step you took the 16th of December, before Messrs. Adams and Searle. I received a copy. I wondered to find that you had not in Holland, on the 28th, received the declaration of war, but have since learnt how it happened. Surely there never was a more unjust war; it is manifestly such from their own manifesto. The spirit of rapine dictated it; and, in my opinion, every man in England who fits out a privateer to take advantage of it, has the same spirit, and would rob on the highway in his own country, if he was not restrained by fear of the gallows. They have qualified poor Captain Jones with the title of pirate, who was only at war with England; but, if it be a good definition of a pirate, that he is hostis humani generis, they are much more pirates than he, having already made great progress towards being at war with all the world. If God governs, as I firmly believe, it is impossible such wickedness should long prosper. You will receive this by Mr. Deane, who has a great regard for you, and whom I recommend to your civilities, though the gentleman at present with you may be prejudiced against him; prejudices that time will cause to vanish, by showing they were groundless. I enclose a packet for Leyden, which I shall be glad to hear is delivered safe, and therefore desire your care of it. I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
P. S. January 20th. — Since writing the above, I have received yours of the 12th instant. I am glad to hear that the affairs of the republic have taken so good a turn in Russia. With this you will receive three letters for Mr. Laurens, which I request you would forward to Mr. Adams. Be of good courage, and keep up your spirits. Your last letter has a melancholy turn. Do you take sufficient bodily exercise? Walking is an excellent thing for those whose employment is chiefly sedentary.