« ZurückWeiter »
General Burgoyne, on a supposition that the congress intended to recal him, I sent a copy of the resolution to Mr. Burke, and requested he would charge himself with the negociation. I have since beard nothing, either from Mr. Hodgson or Mr. Burke ; aud as it is said a packet was lately lost between Ostend and England, I begin to fear my letters have miscarried, and shall by the first post send copies. I wish Mr. Bridgen would however apply to both those gentlemen, learn what has been done, and through you acquaint me with it. I beg you would assure Mr. Bridgen of my best wishes and affectionate attachment. I hope his affairs in Carolina have been settled to his mind. With much esteem, I have the bonor to be, madam,
P.$. About the beginning of the year, having heard a report that Mr. Laurens was ill-used, I wrote a little remonstrance to Sir Grey Cooper on the occasion; who replied, by acquainting me that on inquiry he found the report to be groundless ; and by sending me a letter he had received from the lieutenant of the Tower, which assured him in the strongest terms, that Mr. Laurens was perfectly satisfied witli the treatment he received, and frequently expressed his thankfulness for the same; this made me easy, hearing nothing afterwards to the contrary till lately.
To Miss LAURENS.
Relative to her father's situation. MADAM,
Passy, Dec, 29, 1781. I received your very sensible letter of the 14th past. Your brother, Colonel Laurens, being here when I received the former, I informed bim of the steps I had then taken,
respecting your good father, and requested him to answer your letter for me. I did suppose he had done it; but his great and constant occupation while here, might occasion his omitting it. The purport was, that on a report of your father's being harshly treated, I wrote in his behalf to an old friend, Sir Grey Cooper, secretary of the treasury, complaining of it. His answer was, that he had inquired, and found the report groundless; and he sent me enclosed a letter be received from the lieutenant of the Tower, assuring him that Mr. Laurens was treated with great kindness, was very sensible of it, thankful for it, and frequently expressed his satisfaction : on this I became more easy on his account; but a little before I received your letter, I had one (from Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, who is connected with the family of Mr. Manning) which informed me that Mr. Laurens was really in want of necessaries; and desired to know if any provision was made for his subsistence. I wrote immediately to Mr. Hodgson, in whose hands I had lodged some money, requesting him to hold 100l. of it at the disposition of Mr. Laurens, and to acquaint Mr. Vaughan with it. About this time I received two letters; one from Mr. Burke, member of parliament, complaining that his friend, General Burgoyne, (in England on his parole) was reclaimed and recalled by congress, and requesting I would find some means of permitting him to remain. The other was from the congress, enclosing a resolve that impowered me to offer General Burgoyné in exchange for Mr. Laurens. Perceiving by Mr. Burke's letter, that he was very desirous of obtaining his friend's liberty, and having no immediate intercourse with the British ministry, I thought I could not do better than to enclose the resolve in my answer to his letter, and request him to negociate the exchange. When I received yours,
I was in expectation of having soon an answer from Mr. Burke
OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
and Mr. Hodgson, which would enable me to give you more satisfactory information. I therefore delayed writing to you from post to post till I should hear from them; and fearing from the length of time that my letters had miscarried, I sent copies of them. It is but yesterday that I received an answer from Mr. Hodgson, dated the 21st instant, in which he writes me: “I received your favor of the 19th ultimo; I im. mediately acquainted Mr. Vaughan with your directions concerning the supplying Mr. Laurenş. He has been acquainted therewith; but hitherto no application has been made to me for the money: whenever it is, you may be assured it shall be complied with.” No answer is come to my hands from Mr. Burke; but I see by a newspaper Mr. Hodgson sends me, that he has endeavored to execute the commission. I enclose that paper for your satisfaction, together with a copy of your father's petiçou to parliament, on which I do not find that they have yet come to any result: but observing that he makes no complaint in that petition, of his being pinched in the article of subsistence, I hope that part of our intelligence from London may be a mistake. I shall, however, you may depend, leave nothing undone that is in my power, to obtain his release, and assure you that the thought of the pleasure it must afford a child, whose mind is of so tender a sensibility, and filled with such true filial duty and affection, will be an additional spur to my endeavors: I suppose Mr. Adams has informed you that he has ordered another 100l. sterling to be paid Mr. Laurens ; and I hope you will soon have the happiness of hearing that he is at liberty. With very great regard, I have the honor to be, madam, &c.
LETTER TO ******
Containing advice to certain manufacturers intending to
emigrate to America. GENTLEMEN,
Passy, Jan. 4, 1782. I received the propositions you did me the honor to address to me, by the hand of Mr. : There is no doubt but that a body of sober, industrious, and ingenious artisans, men of honest and religious principles, such as you and your friends are described to be, would be a valuable acquisition to any country; and I am certain you would meet with a kind and friendly reception in Pennsylvania, and be put into possession of all the rights and privileges of free citizens; but neither that government, nor any other in America that I know of, has ever been at any public expense to augment the number of its inhabitants. AN who are established there, have come at their own charge. The country affords to strangers a good climate, fine wholesome air, plenty of provisions, good laws, just and cheap government; with all the liberties, civil and religious, that reasonable meu can wish for. These inducements are so great, and the number of people in all the nations of Europe, who wish to partake of them, is so considerable, that if the states were to undertake transporting people at the expense of the public, no revenue that they have would be sufficient. Having therefore no orders or authority, either from the congress or the state of Pennsylvania, to procure settlers or manufacturers, by engaging to defray them, I cannot enter into the contract proposed in your second article. The other articles would meet with no difficulty. Men are not forced there into the public service, and a special law. might be easily obtained to give you a property for seven years in the useful inventions you may introduoe.
You will do well to weigh seriously the following considerations :- If you can establish yourselves there during the war, it is certain that your manufactures will be much more profitable, as they sell at very high prices now, owing to the difficulty and risk of transporting them from Europe. But then your passages also will be more expensive, and your risk greater of having your project ruined, by being taken, stripped, and imprisoned. If you wait till a peace, you will pass much cheaper ænd more securely, and you have a better chance of settling yourselves and posterity in a comfortable and happy situation. On these points your prudence must determine. If I were to advise, I should think it rather most prudent to wait for a peace, and then to victual a vessel in some port of Ireland, where it can be done cheap, to which you might easily pass from Liverpool. There are, I understand, some apprehensions that your ministers may procure a law to restrain the emigration of manufacturers. But I think that, weak and wicked as they are, and tyrannical as they are disposed to be, they will hardly venture upon an act that shall make a prison of England to confine men for no other crime than that of being useful and industrious; and to discourage the learning of useful mechanic arts, by declaring, that as soon as a man is master of his business, he shall lose bis liberty, and become a prisoner for life; while they suffer their idle and extravagant gentry to travel and reside abroad at their pleasure, spending the incomes of their estates, racked from their laborious honest stenants, in foreign follies, and among French and Italian whores and fiddlers. Such a law would be too glaringly Sunjust to be borne with. 1. I wish you success in what you may resolve to undertake ; and you will find me ever your assured friend and humble servant,