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TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.
Introducing M. Houdon, the rfrtist.
Philadelphia, 20 September, 1785.
Dear Sir, I am just arrived from a country, where the reputation of General Washington runs very high, and where everybody wishes to see him in person; but, being told that it is not likely he ever will favor them with a visit, they hope at least for a sight of his perfect resemblance by means of their principal statuary, M. Houdon, whom Mr. Jefferson and myself agreed with to come over for the purpose of taking a bust, in order to make the intended statue for the State of Virginia. He is here, but, the materials and instruments he sent down the Seine from Paris not being arrived at Havre when we sailed, he was obliged to leave them, and is now busied in supplying himself here. As spon as that is done, he proposes to wait on you in Virginia, as he understands there is no prospect of your coming hither, which would indeed make me very happy; as it would give me an opportunity of congratulating with you personally on the final success of your long and painful labors, in the service of our country, which have laid us all under eternal obligations. With the greatest and most sincere esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir, &,c.
* M. Houdon went to Mount Vernon, where he remained three week*, and modelled a bust of General Washington, as exact in all its lineaments as his skill could make it. From this model was executed the statue of Washington, which was procured by the State of Virginia, and placed in the Capitol at Richmond. See Sparks's Life of Washington, p. 390.
TO WILLIAM GREENE, GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND, AND MRS. GREENE.
Philadelphia, 20 September, 1785.
I seize this first opportunity of acquainting my dear friends, that I have once more the great happiness of being at home in my own country, and with my family, because I know it will give you pleasure. I shall be glad to hear of your welfare, also, and beg you to favor me with a line, and let me know particularly how my young friend Ray does.
I enjoy, thanks to God, as much good health as can reasonably be expected at my time of life; and am ever, with sincere esteem, my dear friends, yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
FROM M. DE MARROIS TO R. FRANKLIN.
Congratulates him on his Return to America.
New York, 21 September, 1785.
Sir, It is with the greatest satisfaction, that I have the honor to congratulate you on your happy return to your own country. As a Frenchman, it is with some degree of pain, that I reflect on the necessity, which has caused you again to join your fellow citizens, who have desired to see you among them; but the six years that I have passed in this country, and the ties I have formed here,* have made me so much an American, that I participate most sincerely in the joy, which all the world is expressing at your return.
• M. de Marbois had married an American lady of Philadelphia.
Vol. x. 29
I am on the point of departing for St . Domingo, and am extremely sorry, that the short time remaining before that event deprives me of the pleasure of paying my respects to you in person at Philadelphia. I shall sail in three or four days, and shall be happy to execute any orders with which you may favor me. I am, &.c De Marbois.
TO JOHN JAY AND MRS. JAY.*
Philadelphia, 21 September, 1785.
I received your very kind letter of the 16th, congratulating me on my safe arrival with my grandsons; an event that indeed makes me very happy, being what I have long ardently wished, and, considering the growing infirmities of age, began almost to despair of. I am now in the bosom of my family, and find four new little prattlers, who cling about the knees of their grandpapa, and afford me great pleasure. The affectionate welcome I met with from my fellow citizens was far beyond my expectation.
I bore my voyage very well, and find myself rather better for it, so that I have every possible reason to be satisfied with my having undertaken and performed it . When I was at Passy, I could not bear a wheel carriage; and, being discouraged in my project of descending the Seine in a boat, by the difficulties and tediousness of its navigation in so dry a season, I accepted the offer of one of the King's litters, carried by large mules, which brought me well, though in walking slowly, to Havre. Thence I went over in a packet-boat to Southampton, where I stayed four days, till the ship came for me to Spithead. Several of my London friends came there to see me, particularly the good Bishop of St. Asaph and family, who stayed with me to the last. In short, I am now so well as to think it possible, that I may once more have the pleasure of seeing you both perhaps at New York, with my dear young friends (who I hope may not have quite forgotten me); for I imagine, that on the sandy road between Burlington and Amboy I could bear an easy coach, and the rest is water. I rejoice to hear that you continue well, being with true and great esteem and affection your most obedient servant,
* As soon as Mr. Jay heard of Dr. Franklin's arrival, he wrote to him as follows.
"Dear Sir; I had this moment the satisfaction of seeing, in a Pennsylvania newspaper, an account of your safe arrival with your grandions at Philadelphia. Accept Mrs. Jay's and my sincere and cordial congratulations on this happy event; and our best wishes, that the same kind Providence, which has restored you to your country, may long bless you with health and prosperity in it." — Atic York, September lfJtt,
FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO R. FRANKLIN.
Mount Vernon, 25 September, 1785.
Dear Sir, Amid the public gratulations on your safe return to America, after a long absence and the many eminent services you have rendered it, for which as a benefited person I feel the obligation, permit an individual to join the public voice in expressing a sense of them; and to assure you, that, as no one entertains more respect for your character, so no one can salute you with more sincerity or with greater pleasure, than I do on the occasion. With the highest regard and greatest consideration, I am, dear Sir, &c.
a good voyage; it is our constant toast every day at dinner. I was quite provoked with myself, when I got to Southampton, that I had not thought of something to leave with you, that might have been useful during the voyage, to remind you of me. You produced a housewife; possibly you had no pincushion; how happy would it have made me to have given you one. Did you ever taste the ginger cake, and think it had belonged to your fellow traveller? In short, I want some excuse for asking, whether you ever think about me.
We are for ever talking of our good friend; something is perpetually occurring to remind us of the time spent with you. We never walk in the garden, without seeing Dr. Franklin's room, and thinking of the work that was begun in it.* I have sincerely wished you a good voyage, but since the completion of that work depends on its length, I cannot wish it may be short. I had a letter from Emily the night after I got home, to inquire whether your stay at Southampton would allow time for her coming to see you. Bessy regretted much that she lost that happiness. I have written to dear Georgiana a long account of you, for I know every circumstance will be interesting to her.f Indeed, my dear Sir, from my father and mother down to their youngest child, we all respect and love you. I have not sent the verses, because I intend to make them an excuse for troubling you with another letter. Believe me, my dear good friend, most affectionately yours, Catherine Louisa Shipley.
* It was in this room that Dr. Franklin wrote the first part of the Memoirs of his life, in the year 1771.
f Georgiana Shipley was married to a Mr. Hare, and was at this time residing in Italy.