Abbildungen der Seite

Whoever has seen the high character given of you by Prince Ferdinand (under whom you served) to Lord Chatham, which 1 saw when in London, must think that so able an officer might have been exceedingly useful to our cause, if he hd been in America at the beginning of the war. But there is a great difficulty at this time in introducing one of your rank into our armies, now that they are all arranged and fully officered; and this kind of difficulty has been found so great, and the congress has been so embarrassed with numbers of officers from other countries, who arrived under strong recommendations, that they have been at above 100,000 livres expense to pay the charges of Bnch officers in coming to America and returning to Europe, rather than hazard the discontent, the placing them to the prejudice of Mr own officers who had served from the beginning, would have occasioned. Under these circumstances, they have not merely left me without authority, but they have in-express terms forbid me to agree with, or encourage by any means, the going over of officers to America in expectation of employment. As to my recommendation, whatever weight it might have had formerly, it has in several instances been so improperly employed through the too great confidence I had in recommendations from others, that I think it would at present be of no importance if it were necessary; but after that above mentioned of so great a general, and so good a judge of military merit as Prince Ferdinand, a character of you from me would be impertinence.

Upon the whole, 1 cat) only say, that if you choose to go over and settle in our land of liberty, I shall be glad to find you there on my return as a fellow-citizen, because I believe you will be a very good one, and respected there as such by the people. But I cannot advise or countenance your going thither with the expectation you mention.

With great esteem,

I have the honor to be, Sic.

B. Franklin.

To Sir Edward Newenham, Bart. Dublin.
Respecting Irish emigration- to iha United States.

Sir, Pussy, May 27, 1779

I should sooner have sent this passport, but that I hoped to have had the other from this court in nme to send with it. Jf you should stay- a few days in England, and will let me know how it may be directed to you, I can send it tayou per post. , .

I received some time since a letter from a person at Bellast, informing me that a great number of people in those parts were desirous of going to settle in America, if passports could be obtained for them and their effects, and referring me to you for future information. I shall always be ready to afford every assistance and security in my power to such undertakings, when they are really meant, and are not merely schemes of trade with views of introducing English manufactures into America, under pretence of their being the substance of persons going there to settle.

I admire the spirit. with which I see the Irish are at length determined to claim some share of that freedom of commerce, which is the right of all mankind, but which they have been so long deprived of by the abominable selfishness of their fellow-subjects. To enjoy all the advantages of the climate, soil, and situation in which God and nature have placed us, is as clear a right as that of breathing; and can never. be justly. taken. from men but as a punishment for some atrocious crime.

The English have long seemed to think it a right which none could have but themselves. Their injustice has already cost them dear, and if persisted in, will be their ruin. I-have the honor to be, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. Franklin.

To General Gates.

Chevalier de RamondisCapitulation of Saratoga—Dtssensions in America.

Dear Sir, Passy, June 2, 1779.

I received your obliging letter by the Chevalier de Ramondis, who appears extremely sensible of the civilities he received at Boston, and very desirous of being serviceable to the American cause: his wound is not yet right, as he tells me there is a part of the bone still to be cut off. But he is otherwise well and cheerful, and has a great respect for you- . .. .

The pride of England was never so humbled by any thing as by your capitulation of Saratoga : 1 they have not yet got over it, though a little elevated this spring by their success against the French commerce. But the growing apprehension of having Spain too upon their hands, has lately brought them down to an humble seriousness that begins to appear even in ministerial discourses, and the papers of ministerial writers. All the happy effects of that transaction for America, are not generally known: I may some time or other acquaint the world with some of them. When shall we meet again in cheerful converse, talk over our adventures, and finish with a quiet game of chess?

The little dissensions between particular stater in America

1 Oct. 17, 1777.

are much magnified in England, and they once had great hopes from them. I consider them with you as the effects of apparent security, which do not affect the grand points of independence, and adherence to treaties; and which will vanish at a renewed appearance of danger. This court continues heartily our friend, and the whole nation are warm in our favor; excepting only a few West Indians, and merchants in that trade, whose losses make them a little uneasy. With sincere and great esteem and affection, I am ever, dear Sir, your most obedient,

and most humble servant, , B. Franklin.

Extract Of A Letter To Richard Bache, Esg. (Dr. Franklin's son-in-law.)

Respecting his enemies in AmericaHis grandsons, Sfc.

Passy, June 2, 1779. I am very easy about the efforts Messrs. L. and * * * are using (as you tell me) to injure me on that side of the water. I trust in the justice of the congress that they will listen to no accusations against me, that 1 have not first been acquainted with, and had an opportunity of answering. I know those gentlemen have plenty of ill-will to me, though 1 have never done to either of them the smallest injury, or given the least just cause of offence. But my too great reputation and the general good-will this people have for me, the respect they show me, and even the compliments they make me, all grieve those unhappy gentlemen; unhappy indeed in their tempers, and in the dark uncomfortable passions of jealousy, anger, suspicion, envy, and malice. It is enough for good minds to be affected at other people's misfortunes; but they that are vexed at every body's good luck, can never be happy: I take no other revenge of such enemies, than to let them remain in the miserable situation in which their malignant natures have placed them, by endeavoring to support an estimable character; and thus by continuing the reputation the world has hitherto indulged me with, 1 shall continue them in their present state of damnation; and I am not disposed to reverse my conduct for the alleviation of their torments.

I am surprised to hear that my grandson, Temple Franklin, being with me, should be an objection against me, and that there is a cabal for removing him. Methinks it is rather some merit that I have rescued a valuable young man from the danger of being a tory, and fixed him in honest republican whig principles; as I think from the integrity of his disposition, his industry, his early sagacity, and uncommon abilities for business, he may in time become of great service to his country. It is enough that I have lost my ton,1 would they add my grandson? An old man of seventy, 1 undertook a winter voyage at the command of the congress, and for the public service, with no other attendant to take care of me. I am continued here in a foreign country, where, if I am sick, his filial attention comforts me, and, if I die, I have a child to close my eyes and take care of my remains. His dutiful behavior towards me, and his diligence and fidelity in business, are both pleasing and useful to me. His conduct as my private secretary has beeu unexceptionable, and I am confident the congress will never think of separating us- i - - ^ y

i have had a great deal of pleasure in Ben1 too, Tis a good honest lad, and will make, I think, a valuable man. He had made as much proficiency in his learning as the boarding

1 Governor Franklin. * Mr. Bache's eldest son.

« ZurückWeiter »