« ZurückWeiter »
Extract Of A Letter From His Excellency John Jay, American Minister At The Court Of Madrid, To The President Of Conguess,
On the subject of Dr. Franklin's requests.
Madrid, April 21,1781. "By the letter from Dr. Franklin, herewith endosed, and which he was so obliging as to leave open for my perusal, I find he has requested permission to retire, on account of his age, infirmities, &c. How far his health may he impaired I know not. The letters I have received from him bear no marks of age, and there is an acuteness and sententious brevity in them, which do not indicate an understanding injured by years. 1 have many reasons to think our country much indebted to him, and I confess it would mortify my pride as an American, if his constituents should be the only people to whom his character is known, that should deny his merit and services the testimony given them by other nations. Justice demands of me to assure you, that his reputation and respectability are acknowledged, and have weight here, and that I have received from him all that uniform attention and aid which was due to the importance of the affairs committed to me.
The affectionate mention he makes of his only descendant, on whom the support of his name and family will devolve, is extremely amiable, and flows in a delicate manner from that virtuous sensibility by which nature kindly extends the benefits of parental affection to a period beyond the limits of our lives; this is an affectionate subject, and minds susceptible of the finer sensations are insensibly led at least to wish that the feelings of an ancient patriot, going in the evening of a long life early devoted to the public, to enjoy repose in the bosom of philosophic retirement, may be gratified by seeing some little sparks of the affection of his country rest on the only support of his age and hope of his family. Such are the effusions of my heart on this occasion, and I pour them into yours from a persuasion that they will meet with a hospitable reception from congenial emotions."
Colonel John Laurens,' To Dn. Franklin.
On Dr. Franklin's wish to retire—His grandson.
Extract. — Leagues W. of Orlrgal, June 9, 1781.
"I snatch a moment to pay my last respects to jrour excellency, and to mention a matter which has occurred to me since my being on board. I have frequently reflected upon the mention which your excellency has made of retiring from your present important station, and have never varied the opinion whioh I took the liberty of giving you once at the Count de Vergennes', viz. that the best arrangement would be to give your excellency an active intelligent secretary of the embassy, who might relieve you from the drudgery of office; and that your country should not be deprived of the advantages of your wisdom and influence. The difficulty hitherto has been to find a person properly qualified. The advantages which your grandson derives from his knowledge of the language and manners of the people, and his having been so long in your office, and with your excellency, are very great. The prejudices which have been entertained against him (owing to his father's politics and situation) may be removed by a personal introduction to congress, especially
1 Son of President Laurens, and employed in a secret military mission to France.
if it is combined with rendering a popular service. I take the liberty therefore," &c.
To Colonel Laurens.
Extract. Answer to the foregoing.
Dear Sir, Passy, Nov. 8, 1781.
"I received your very kind letter written at sea off the coast of Spain. I thank you for the friendly hint contained in it respecting my grandson: I see that what you propose for him might have a good effect; but 1 have too much occasion for his assistance, and cannot spare him to make the voyage. He must take his chauce, and I hope he will in time obtain, as well as merit, the consideration of our government." B. Franklin.
To The Marquis De La Fayette.
Respecting Dr. Franklin's enemies in America—The
Extract. Passy, March 14,1781.
"You mention my having enemies in America. You are luckier, for I think you have none here, nor anywhere. Your friends have heard of your being gone against the traitor Arnold, and are anxious to hear of your success, and that you have brought him to justice. Enclosed is a copy of a letter from his agent in England, by which the price of his treason may be nearly guessed at. Juilas sold only one man, Arnold three millions; Judas got for his one man SO pieces of silver, Arnold not a halfpenny a head. A miserable bargainer! Especially when one considers the quantity of infamy he has acquired to himself, and entailed on his family. . . «
The English are in a fair way of gaining still more enemies; they play a desperate game. Fortune may favor them as it sometimes does a drunken dicer. But by their tyranny in the east they have at length roused the powers there agaiust them; and I do not know that they have in the west a single friend. If they lose their India commerce, which is one of their present great supports, and one battle at sea, their credit is gone and the power follows. Thus empires by pride, and folly, and extravagance, ruin themselves like individuals. M. La Motte Piquet has snatched from between their teeth, a good deal of their West India prey, having taken 22 sail of their homeward bound prizes; one of our American privateers has taken two more, and brought them into Brest; and two were burnt. There were 34 in company, with two men of war of the line and two frigates, who saved themselves by flight, but we do not hear of their being yet got in.
To Mr. Hodgson, London.
Abominable conduct of a Mr. Digges—Peace—Proposals of mediation.
Dear Sir, Passy, April 1, 1781.
I received your respected favor of the 20th past, and am shocked exceedingly at the account you give me of Digges. He that robs the rich even of a single guinea is a villain, but what is he who can break his sacred trust, by robbing a poor man and a prisoner of eighteen-pence given charitably for his relief, and repeat that crime as often as there are weeks in a winter, and multiply it by robbing as many poor men every week as make up the number of near 600? We have no name in our language for such atrocious wickedness. If such a fellow is not damned, 'tis not worth while to keep a devil.1
I am sorry you have been obliged to advance money. I desired Mr. Grand some time since to order £00/. to be paid, you in London. If that is not done, draw on him for the sum of 250/. payable at SO days' sight, and your bill shall be duly honored.
1 enclose a copy of Digges's last letter to me, in which he acknowledges the drafts made on me, (omitting one of 75/.) and pretends that he only draws as he is drawn upon, by his friends who hand the money to the prisoners, and that those friends are almost tired of the charitable employment, but he encourages them, 8cc. Be so good as to let them know of this letter. I wish with you and with all good men for peace: proposals of mediation have been made, but the effect is yet uncertain. I shall be mindful of your request, and you may depend on my doing any thing in my power that may be serviceable to you. With sincere esteem, I am, dear sir, &c.
1 Extract Of A Letter From Dr. Franklin To J. Jay, Esq.
Pussy, Aug. 20,1781. "Digges, a Maryland merchant residing in London, who
pretended to be a zealous American, and to have much concern for our poor people in the English prisons, drew upon me for their relief at different times last winter to the amount of 495/. sterling, which he said had been drawn for upon him by the gentlemen at Ports* mouth and Plymouth, who had the care of the distribution. To my utter astonishment I have since learnt, that the villain had not applied above 30/. of the money to that use, and that he has failed and absconded."