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son was appointed to succeed him as minister pleni-
Before the treaty was completed, he began to prepare for returning to America. He had resided
Washington spoke of this treaty in terms of high commendation. In a letter to Count de Rochambeau he said; "The treaty of amity, which has lately taken place between the King of Prussia and the United States, marks a new era in negotiation. It is the most liberal treaty, which has ever been entered into between independent powers. It is perfectly original in many of its articles; and, should its principles be considered hereafter as the basis of connexion between nations, it will operate more fully to produce a general pacification, than any measure hitherto attempted amongst mankind.” — July 31st, 1786.
eight years and a half in France. During that period he had been constantly engaged in public affairs of the greatest importance. As the champion of liberty he was known everywhere, and as a philosopher and sage he was revered throughout Europe. No man had received in larger measure the homage of the wise and great, or more affectionate kindness from numerous personal friends. His departure was anticipated with regret by them all. One after another they took their leave of him. The principal personages of the court testified their respect and their good wishes. "I have learned with much concern," said Count de Vergennes, "of your retiring, and of your approaching departure for America. You cannot doubt but that the regrets, which you will leave, will be proportionate to the consideration you so justly enjoy. I can assure you, Sir, that the esteem the King entertains for you does not leave you any thing to wish, and that his Majesty will learn with real satisfaction, that your fellow citizens have rewarded, in a manner worthy of you, the important services that you have rendered them. I beg, Sir, that you will preserve for me a share in your remembrance, and never doubt the sincerity of the interest I take in your happiness." The Marquis de Castries, minister of marine, wrote to him; "I was not apprized, until within a few hours, of the arrangements you have made for your departure. Had I been informed of it sooner, I should have proposed to the King to order a frigate to convey you to your own country, in such a manner as would mark the consideration which you have acquired by your distinguished services in France, and the particular esteem which his Majesty entertains for you."
His bodily infirmities were such, that he could not
bear the motion of a carriage. He left Passy on the 12th of July, in the Queen's litter, which had been kindly offered to him for his journey to Havre de Grace. This vehicle was borne by Spanish mules, and he was able to travel in it without pain or fatigue. He slept the first night at St. Germain. Some of his friends accompanied him. On the journey he passed one night at the chateau of the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, and another in the house of M. Holker at Rouen; and he received civilities and complimentary visits from many of the inhabitants at different places. The sixth day after leaving Passy he arrived at Havre de Grace.*
From that port he passed over in a packet-boat to Southampton. Here he was met by Bishop Shipley and his family, Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, Mr. Alexander, and other friends whom he had known in England. He also found here his son, William, whom he had not seen for more than nine years. In the Revolution he had taken the side of the loyalists, and thus estranged himself from his father. He was now residing in England, where he spent the remainder of his life. Dr. Franklin continued at Southampton four days, till July 27th, when he embarked on board the London Packet, a Philadelphia vessel, commanded by Captain Truxtun. After a voyage of forty-eight days, without any remarkable incident, he landed at Philadelphia, on the 14th of September. M. Houdon, the artist, whom he and Mr. Jefferson had employed to make a statue of Washington for the State of Virginia, was a passenger on board the same vessel.
Dr. Franklin filled up his leisure during the passage by writing a long paper on Improvements in Naviga
See an account of the journey in the APPENDIX, No. VI.
tion, and another on Smoky Chimneys, the former addressed to M. Le Roy, and the latter to Dr. Ingenhousz. They were both read a few weeks afterwards to the American Philosophical Society, and were published in a volume of the Society's Transactions. They contain many ingenious hints and practical remarks, founded on philosophical principles, and illustrated with drawings and appropriate explanations. He also repeated his experiments for ascertaining the temperature of the sea in the Gulf Stream. He supported the inconveniences of the voyage better than he had expected, and without any apparent injury to his health. When he landed at Market-Street wharf, he was greeted by a large concourse of the inhabitants, who attended him with acclamations to his own door. The joy of the people was likewise testified by the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon.
Receives congratulatory Letters and Addresses. - Chosen President of Pennsylvania, and holds the Office three Years.- His private Circumstances. Appointed a Delegate to the Convention for framing the Constitution of the United States. His Speeches in the Convention. -His Religious Opinions. Extracts from Dr. Cutler's Journal, describing an Interview with him. - President of the Society for Political Inquiries. Neglect of Congress to examine and settle his Accounts. Various Pieces written by him during the last Year of his Life. His Illness and Death. - Funeral Ceremonies. - Tribute of Respect paid to him by Congress and other Public Bodies. - Con
As soon as his arrival was known, letters of congratulation were sent to him from all parts of the country. General Washington and Mr. Jay were among the first to welcome him on this occasion. The Assembly of Pennsylvania was then in session, and, the day after he landed, an address was presented to him by that body, in which they congratulate him, in the most cordial manner, on his safe return. "We are confident," they observe, "that we speak the sentiments of this whole country, when we say, that your services, in the public councils and negotiations, have not only merited the thanks of the present generation, but will be recorded in the pages of history, to your immortal honor. And it is particularly pleasing to us, that, while we are sitting as members of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, we have the happiness of welcoming into the State a person, who was so greatly instrumental in forming its free constitution." This was followed by similar addresses from the American Philosophical Society, and the Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. To all of them he returned brief and appropriate answers.