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J beg you will do me the favor to communicate these par ticulars to lord George Germaine as soon as convenient. I have the honor to be, dear sir, &c.
To Sir Edward Newenham, Bart., Durlin.
Passport for provisions and clothing sent to the West Indies.
Sir, Passy, Feb. 12, 1781.
I have received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 12th ult. Enclosed with this, I send you the passport desired, which 1 hope will be respected and effectual. With great esteem, I have the honor to be,
sir, 8cc. B. Franklin.
To all captains and commanders of vessels of war belonging to the thirteen United States of America, or either of them, or to any of the citizens of the said states, or to any of the allies thereof.
It being authentically represented to me, that the worthy citizens of Dublin, touched with the general calamities with which divine Providence has thought fit lately to visit the West India islands*
to Mr. Burke, who presented it in that state to the house. In this petition, dated Dec. 7,1781, he expressly states: "That he was captured on the American coast, and committed to the Tower on the 6th of October, 1780, being then dangerously ill: that in the mean time he has in many respects, particularly by being deprived (with very little exception)of the visits and consolations of his children and other relations and friends, suffered under a degree of rigor, almost, if not altogether, unexampled in modern British history.
"That from long confinement,and the want of proper exercise, and other obvious causes, his bodily health is greatly impaired, and that he is now in a languishing state," &c. &c. (See Dodsley's Annual Register for 1781 and 1783.
have charitably resolved to contribute to their relief, by sending.them some provisions and clothing; and as the principles of common humanity require of us to assist our fellow-creatures, though enemies, when distressed by the hand of God, and by no means to impede the benevolence of those who commiserate their distresses, and would alleviate them; I do hereby earnestly recommend it to you, that if the ship or vessel in which the said charitable supplies will be sent to the said islands, should by fortune of war fall into any of your hands, and it shall appear to you by her authentic papers that the cargo is bond fide composed of such beneficent donations only, and not of merchandise intended to be sold for the profit of the shippers, you would kindly and generously permit the said vessel to pass to the place of her destination: in doing of which, you will not only have the present and lasting satisfaction of having gratified your own humane and pious feelings as men and as Christians, but will undoubtedly recommend yourselves to the favor of God, of the congress, of your employers, and of your country. Wishing you success in your cruises, I have the honor to be,
Gentlemen, &c. B. Franklix,
Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States at the Court of France.
To MONS. NoGARET.
Respecting the French translation of a Latin line, complimentary to Dr. Franklin. '' i»' . S i R, Passy, March 8, 17 81.
I received the letter you have done me the honor of writing to me the 2d instant, wherein, after overwhelming me with a flood of compliments, which I can never hope to merit, you request my opinion of your translation of a Latin verse, that has been applied to me.' If 1 were, which I really am
1 Eripuit Coelo Fulmen, Sceptrumque Tyrannis;
TnOS tRANSLAtED BY D'AlEMBERt:
"Tu vois le sage courageux,
not, sufficiently skilled in your excellent language to be a proper judge of its poesy, the supposition of my being the subject must restrain me from giving any opinion on that line, except that it ascribes too much to me, especially in what relates to the tyrant; the revolution having been the work of many able and brave men, wherein it is sufficient honor for me if I am allowed a small share.
I am much obliged by the favorable sentiments you are pleased to entertain of me; and I shall be glad to see your Tern arks on Gay's Fan, as well as your own poem on the same subject. . : ...
With regard, I have the honor to be, sir,: .
Extract Of A Letter Prom Dr. Franklin To The President Of Congress. •
Requests being recalled,—and, some appointment for his t. , grandson, W. Temple Franklin.
.; .::'••.•,. r 'Passy, March 12, 1781.
/, !. • i.,i, • . - 441 must now beg leave to say something relating to myself, a subject with which 1 have not often troubled the congress. 1 have passed my seventy-filth year, and I find that the long and severe fit of the gout which I had the last winter, has shaken me exceedingly; and I am yet far from having recovered the bodily strength 1 before enjoyed. 1 do not know that my mental faculties are impaired. Perhaps I shall be the last to discover that; but 1 am sensible of great diminution in my activity, a quality I think particu
English Translation 6y James Elminstok:
u He snatcht the bolt from Heaven's aveDging hand,'
larly necessary in your minister at this court. 1 am afraid therefore, that your affairs may some time or other suffer by my deficiency. I find also that the business is too heavy for me, and too confining. The constant attendance at home which is necessary for receiving and accepting your bills of exchange, (a matter foreign to my ministerial functions) to answer letters, and perform other parts of my employment, prevent my taking the air and exercise which my annual journies formerly used to afford me, and which contributed much to the preservation of my health. There are many other little personal attentions which the infirmities of age render necessary to an old man's comfort, even perhaps in some degree to the continuance of his existence, and with which business often interferes. I have been engaged in public affairs, and enjoyed public confidence in some shape or other during the long term of fifty years, an honor sufficient to satisfy any reasonable ambition, and I have now no other left but the repose which I hope the congress will grant me by sending some person to supply my place. At the same time I beg they may be assured, that it is not any the least doubt of their success in the glorious cause, nor any disgust received in their service, that induces me to decline it, but purely and simply the reasons above mentioned; and as I cannot at present undergo the fatigues of a sea voyage, (the last having been almost too much for me) and would not again expose myself to the hazard of capture and imprisonment in this time of war, I purpose to remain here at least till *he peace; perhaps it may be for the remainder of my life; and if any knowledge or experience I have acquired here, may be thought of use to my successor, I shall freely communicate it, and assist him with any influence I may be supposed to have, or counsel that may be desired of me. I have one request more to make, which, if I have served
the congress to their satisfaction, I hope they will not refuse me. It is this; that they will be pleased to take under their protection my grandson, William Temple Franklin. I have educated him from his infancy, and I brought him over with an intention of placing him where he might be qualified for the profession of the law, but the constant occasion I had for his services as a private secretary, during the time of the commissioners, and more extensively since their departure, has induced me to keep him always with me; and indeed being continually disappointed of the secretary congress had at different times intended me, it would have been impossible for me, without this young gentleman's assistance, to have gone through the business incumbent on me: he has thereby lost so much of the time necessary to law studies, that I think it rather advisable for him to continue, if it may be, in the line of public foreign affairs for which he seems qualified by a sagacity and judgment above his years. Great diligence and exact probity, a genteel address, a facility in speaking well the French tongue, and all the knowledge of business to be obtained by a four years' constant employment in the secretary's office, where he may be said to have served a kind of apprenticeship. After all the allowance I am capable of making for the partiality of a parent to his offspring, I cannot but think he may in time make a very, able foreign minister for the congress, in whose service his fidelity may be relied on; but I do not at present propose him as such, as a few years more of experience will not be amiss. In the mean time, if they shall think fit to employ him as a secretary to ibeir minister at any European court, I am persuaded tbev will have reason to be satisfied with his conduct, and I shall be thankful for his appointment as a favor to m«."