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one, and her thirst for a gainful monopoly, as a commercial one, (none of them legitimate causes of war,) will all join to hide from her eyes every view of her true interests, and continually goad her on in those ruinous distant expeditions, so destructive both of lives and treasure, that must prove as pernicious to her in the end, as the crusades formerly were to most of the nations of Europe.

I have not the vanity, my Lord, to think of intimidating by thus predicting the effects of this war; for I know it will in England have the fate of all my former predictions, not to be believed till the event shall verify it.

Long did I endeavour, with unfeigned and unwearied zeal, to preserve from breaking that fine and noble China vase, the British empire; for I knew, that, being once broken, the separate parts could not retain even their share of the strength or value that existed in the whole, and that a perfect reunion of those parts could scarce ever be hoped for. Your Lordship may possibly remember the tears of joy that wet my cheek, when, at your good sister's in London, you once gave me expectations that a reconciliation might soon take place. I had the misfortune to find those expectations disappointed, and to be treated as the cause of the mischief I was laboring to prevent. My consolation under that groundless and malevolent treatment was, that I retained the friendship of many wise and good men in that country, and, among the rest, some share in the regard of Lord Howe.

The well-founded esteem, and, permit me to say, affection, which I shall always have for your Lordship, makes it painful to me to see you engaged in conducting a war, the great ground of which, as expressed in your letter, is “the necessity of preventing the American trade from passing into foreign channels.". To me it seems, that neither the obtaining or retaining of any trade, how valuable soever, is an object for which men may justly spill each other's blood; that the true and sure means of extending and securing commerce is the goodness and cheapness of commodities; and that the profit of no trade can ever be equal to the expense of compelling it, and of holding it, by fleets and armies.

I consider this war against us, therefore, as both unjust and unwise; and I am persuaded, that cool, dispassionate posterity will condemn to infamy those who advised it; and that even success will not save from some degree of dishonor those, who voluntarily engaged to conduct it. I know your great motive in coming hither was the hope of being instrumental in a reconciliation; and I believe, when you find that impossible on any terms given you to propose, you will relinquish so odious a command, and return to a more honorable private station.

With the greatest and most sincere respect, I have the honor to be, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient humble servant,


* Colonel William Palfrey, paymaster-general of the American army, went on board Lord Howe's vessel, July 30th, 1776, to make some arrangement for an exchange of prisoners, who had been captured at seu. He was accompanied by Mr. Nathaniel Tracy, who carried with him the above letter from Dr. Franklin to Lord Howe. In a letter to President Hancock, written the next day, Colonel Palfrey says;

“Mr. Tracy delivered the letter from Dr. Franklin, which he (Lord Howe) read. I watched his countenance, and observed him often to exhibit marks of surprise. When he had finished reading it, he said his old friend had expressed himself very warmly ; that, when he had the pleasure of seeing him in England, he made him acquainted with his sentiments respecting the dispute between Great Britain and the colonies, and with his earnest desire that a reconciliation might take place, equally honorable and advantageous to both. Possessed of these sentiments, and the most ardent desire to be the means of effecting this union, he had accepted the honor the King had done him in appointing him one of the commissioners; and that unfortunately a long passage prevented his arriving here before the declaration of independence. I told him he had now a fair opportunity to mention to his friend, Dr. Franklin, in a private letter, his design in coming out, and what his expectations from America were. This he declined, saying, that the Doctor had grown too warm, and, if he expressed his sentiments fully to him, he should only give him pain, which he would wish to avoid.”


Eagle, off Staten Island, August 16th, 1776. I am sorry, my worthy friend, that it is only on the assurances you give me of my having still preserved a place in your esteem, that I can now found a pretension to trouble you with a reply to your favor of the

20th past.

I can have no difficulty to acknowledge, that the powers I am invested with were never calculated to negotiate a reunion with America, under any other description than as subject to the crown of Great Britain. But I do esteem those powers competent, not only to confer and negotiate with any gentlemen of influence in the colonies upon the terms, but also to effect a lasting peace and reunion between the two countries, were the temper of the colonies such as professed in the last petition of the Congress to the King. America would have judged in the discussion how far.the means were adequate to the end, both for engaging her confidence and proving our integrity. Nor did I think it necessary to say more in my public declaration; not conceiving it could be understood to refer to peace on any other conditions but those of mutual interest to both countries, which could alone render it permanent. But, as I perceive, from the tenor. of your letter, how little I am to reckon upon the advantage of your assistance, for restoring that permanent union which has long been the object of my endeavours, and which, I flattered myself when I left England, would be in the compass of my power; I will only add, that, as the dishonor, to which you deem me exposed by my military situation in this country, has effected no change in your sentiments of personal regard towards me, so shall no difference in political points alter my desire of proving how much I am your sincere and obedient humble servant,

The first article in this volume contains Dr. Franklin's narrative of his attempted negotiation, just before he left England, to effect a reconcihation between the two countries, in which Lord Howe took a part.EDITOR.


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"In Congress, September 20, 1776. Congress being informed that General Sullivan, who was taken prisoner on Long Island, was come to Philadelphia with a message from Lord Howe,

“Ordered, that he be admitted, and heard before Congress.

“General Sullivan being admitted, delivered the verbal message he had in charge from Lord Howe, which he was desired to reduce to writing, and withdrew.

September 3d. General Sullivan having reduced to writing the verbal message from Lord Howe, the same was laid before Congress and read as follows.

“That, though he could not at present treat with Congress, as such, yet he was very desirous of having a conference with some of the members, whom he would consider for the present only as private gentlemen, and meet them himself as such, at such place as they should appoint.

"• That he, in conjunction with General Howe, had full powers to compromise the disputes between Great Britain and America on terms advantageous to both, the obtaining of which delayed him near two months in England, and prevented his arrival at this place before the declaration of independence took place.

That he wished a compact might be settled at this time, when no decisive blow was struck, and neither party could say they were compelled to enter into such agreement.

“That, in case Congress were disposed to treat, many things, which they had not as yet asked, might and ought to be granted to them; and that, if, upon the conference, they found any probable

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ground of an accommodation, the authority of Congress must be afterwards acknowledged, otherwise the compact could not be complete.'

September 5th. Resolved, that General Sullivan be requested to inform Lord Howe, that this Congress, being the representatives of the free and independent States of America, cannot, with propriety, send any of its members to confer with his Lordship in their private characters, but that, ever desirous of establishing peace on reasonable terms, they will send a committee of their body to know whether he has any authority to treat with persons authorized by Congress for that purpose on behalf of America, and what that authority is, and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting the same.

Ordered, that a copy of the foregoing resolution be delivered to General Sullivan, and that he be directed immediately to repair to Lord Howe.

September 6th. Resolved, that the committee to be sent to know whether Lord Howe has any authority to treat with persons authorized by Congress for that purpose, on behalf of America, and what that authority is, and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting the same,' consist of three.

“Congress then proceeded to the election, and, the ballots being taken, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Rutledge were elected."


Eagle, off Bedlow's Island, September 10th, 1776. LORD Howe presents his compliments to Dr. Franklin, and according to the tenor of his favor of the 8th, will attend to have the pleasure of meeting him and Messrs. Adams and Rutledge to-morrow morning, at the house on Staten Island opposite to Amboy, as early as the few conveniences for travelling by land on Staten Island will admit. Lord Howe, upon his arrival at the place appointed, will send a boat (if he can procure it in time), with a flag of truce, over to Amboy; and requests the Doctor and the other gentlemen will postpone their intended favor of passing over to meet him, until they are informed as above of his arrival to attend them there.

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