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CHA PTE R XI.

Franklin chosen Delegate to the Second Continental Congress—His Expedition to Canada — Discouragements and Return — Declaration of Independence—Chosen President of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention—John Thompson's Sign.

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To Joseph YoU will have heard, before this reaches :*:::::::: you, of a march stolen by the regulars into phia, 16 May, the country by night, and of their expedition 1775. back again. They retreated twenty miles in six hours.” The governor had called the Assembly to propose Lord North's pacific plan, but, before the time of their meeting, began cutting of throats. You know it was said he carried the sword in one hand, and the olive branch in the other; and it seems he chose to give them a taste of the sword first. He is doubling his fortifications at Boston, and hopes to

* Barely two weeks previous to Franklin's arrival, the battles of Lexington and Concord, precipitated by the orders of General Gage to burn some colonial stores, had been fought, and eighty-three Americans killed, wounded, and missing, against two hundred and seventy-three, in the same category, on the other side. The war of independence, though not yet declared, had begun.—ED. 29# 341

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* That co-o-e-ta: Corgress which met on the zoth of May, 1775, which corer: dated the armies of the colonies, which placed George Washington in command of them which issued the first continental currency, and which accepted the respons.booty of conducting the resistance of the colonies to the infatuated tyranny of the English Government.—ED.

+ Boston, where his sister had resided, was in a state of siege, and she appears to have found a refuge with Franklin's old friend, Mrs. Greene. —ED.

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your affairs in Boston ; and whether it would be inconvenient for you to come hither, or you wish rather that I should come to see you, if the business I am engaged in will permit. Let me know if you want any assistance, and what is become of cousin Williams and his family, and other friends.

To William MR. STRAHAN, Strahan, da- ted Philadel- You are a member of Parliament, and one

phia, 5 July, of that majority, which has doomed my coun1775. try to destruction. You have begun to burn our towns, and murder our people. Look upon your hands, they are stained with the blood of your relations ! You and I were long friends; you are now my enemy, and I

am, yours.

To Joseph The Congress met at a time when all minds :*::::::: were so exasperated by the perfidy of General phia, 7 July, Gage, and his attack on the country people, 1775. that propositions for attempting an accommodation were not much relished; and it has been with difficulty that we have carried another humble petition to the crown, to give Britain one more chance, one opportunity more, of recovering the friendship of the colonies; which, however, I think she has not sense enough to embrace, and So I conclude she has lost them for ever. She has begun to burn our seaport towns; secure, I sup

pose, that we shall never be able to return the outrage in kind. She may doubtless destroy them all ; but, if she wishes to recover our commerce, are these the probable means? She must certainly be distracted ; for no tradesman out of Bedlam ever thought of increasing the number

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secure his troops till succour arrives. The place indeed is naturally so defensible, that I think them in no danger. All America is exasperated by his conduct, and more firmly united than ever. The breach between the two countries is grown wider, and in danger of becoming irreparable.

I had a passage of six weeks, the weather constantly so moderate that a London wherry might have accompanied us all the way. I got home in the evening, and the next morning was unanimously chosen by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, a delegate to the Congress now sitting. *

In coming over, I made a valuable philosophical discovery, which I shall communicate to you when I can get a little tl me.

To Mrs. Jane I have just now heard by Mr. Adams, that joi... you are come out of Boston,f and are at Warphia, 26 May, wic, in Rhode Island. I suppose it must be 1775. at good Mr. and Mrs. Greene's, to whom present my affectionate respects. I write this line just to let you know, that I am returned well from England, and that I found my family well; but have not found the repose I wished for, being the next morning after my arrival delegated to the Congress by our Assembly. I wish to hear from you, and to know how you have left

* That Continental Congress which met on the 10th of May, 1775, which consolidated the armies of the colonies, which placed George Washington in command of them, which issued the first continental currency, and which accepted the responsibility of conducting the resistance of the colonies to the infatuated tyranny of the English Government.—Ed.

f Boston, where his sister had resided, was in a state of siege, and she appears to have found a refuge with Franklin's old friend, Mrs. Greene. —ED.

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your affairs in Boston ; and whether it would be inconvenient for you to come hither, or you wish rather that I should come to see you, if the business I am engaged in will permit. Let me know if you want any assistance, and what is become of cousin Williams and his family, and other friends.

To william MR. STRAHAN, :"... You are a member of Parliament, and one phia, 5 July, of that majority, which has doomed my coun1775. try to destruction. You have begun to burn our towns, and murder our people. Look upon your hands, they are stained with the blood of your relations ! You and I were long friends; you are now my enemy, and I

am, yours.

To Joseph The Congress met at a time when all minds ... were so exasperated by the perfidy of General phia, 7 July, Gage, and his attack on the country people, 1775. that propositions for attempting an accommodation were not much relished ; and it has been with difficulty that we have carried another humble petition to the crown, to give Britain one more chance, one opportunity more, of recovering the friendship of the colonies; which, however, I think she has not sense enough to embrace, and so I conclude she has lost them for ever. She has begun to burn our seaport towns; secure, I suppose, that we shall never be able to return the outrage in kind. She may doubtless destroy them all; but, if she wishes to recover our commerce, are these the probable means? She must certainly be distracted ; for no tradesman out of Bedlam ever thought of increasing the number

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