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LIFE AND WRITINGS
LL.D. F.R.S. &c.
MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AT THE COURT OF FRANCE, AND FOR THE TREATYSOF TEACE
AND INDEPENDENCE WITH GREAT BRITAIN, ETC. ETC.
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF TO A LATE PERIOD,
AND CONTINUED TO THE TIME OF HIS DEATH
BY HIS GRANDSON,
WILLIAM TEMPLE FRANKLIN.
AND HIS SELECT
POLITICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, AND MISCELLANEOUS WORKS,
IN SIX VOLUMES.
13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. PART IV.
After a very pleasant passage of about six weeks, Dr. Franklin arrived at the Capes of Delaware, was landed at Chester, and thence proceeded by land to Philadelphia, where every mark of respect, attachment, and veneration, was shown him by his fellow-citizens; and the very day after his arrival he was elected by the legislature of Pennsylvania, a delegate to congress. In short, his public services met with the most flattering rewards that a patriot could possibly desire.
Shortly after his arrival, he thus notices the then state of the colonies, in a letter of May 16, 1775, to a friend in London.
"You will have heard, before this reaches you,
VOL. II. A
of a march stolen by the British troops into the country by night, and of their expedition back again. They retreated twenty miles in six hours.1
"The governor of Massachusetts 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 fii\st. He is doubling his fortifications at Boston, and hopes to secure his troops till succor 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."
And to the same friend he wrote some weeks after:
"The congress met at a time when all minds were so exasperated by the perfidy of General Gage, and his attack on the country people, that propositions for attempting an accommodation were not much relished; and it has been with difficulty that we have carried in that assembly, 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
1 The affair of Lexington.
think she has not sense enough to embrace, so I conclude she has lost them for ever."1
1 Never was a prediction more completely verified. The following is a copy of the petition referred to by Dr. Franklin, and to which an answer was refused to be given.
TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We your Majesty's faithful subjects of the colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, in behalf of ourselves, and the inhabitants of these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general congress, entreat your Majesty's gracious attention to this our humble petition.
The union between our mother-country and these colonies, and the energy of mild and just government produced benefits so remarkably important, and afforded such an assurance of their permanency and increase, that the wonder and envy of other nations were excited, while they beheld Great Britain rising to a power the most extraordinary the world had ever known.
Her rivals, observing that there was no probability of this happy connexion being broken by civil dissensions, and apprehending its future effects, if left any longer undisturbed, resolved to prevent her receiving such continual and formidable accessions of wealth and strength, by checking the growth of those settlements from which they were to be derived,
Iii the prosecution of this attempt, events so unfavorable to the design took place, that every friend to the interest of Great Britain and these colonies, entertained pleasing and reasonable