Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

past, and if you should continue in your resolution of returning to America, through France, I shall certainly render you any of the little services in my power: but there are so many difficulties at present in getting passages hence, particularly safe ones for women, that methinks I should advise your stay till more settled times, and till a more frequent intercourse is established.

As to the exercise of your art here, I am in doubt whether it would answer your expectations. Here are two or three who profess it, and make a show of their works on the Boulevards; but it is not the taste for persons of fashion to sit to these artists for their portraits and both house-rent and living at Paris are very expensive.

I thought that friendship required I should acquaint you with these circumstances; after which you will use your discretion.

I am, &c.

B. FRANKLin.

[Written in the envelope of the above.]

P.S. My grandson, whom you may remember

ley, but was born at Philadelphia, in which city her parents settled at an early period. Mrs. Wright was greatly distinguished as a modeller in wax; which art she turned to a remarkable account in the American war, by coming to England and exhibiting her performances. This enabled her to procure much intelligence of importance, which she communicated to Dr. Franklin and others, with whom she corresponded during the whole war. As soon as a general was appointed, or a squadron begun to be fitted out, the old lady found means of access to some family where she could gain information, and thus, without being at all suspected, she contrived to transmit an account of the number of the troops, and the place of their destination to her political friends abroad. She at one time had frequent access to Buckingham-House; and used, it was said, to speak her sentiments very freely to their ma

when a little saucy boy at school, being my amanuensis in writing the within letter, has been diverting me with his remarks. He conceives that your figures cannot be packed up, without damage from any thing you could fill the boxes with to keep them steady. He supposes, therefore, that you must put them into post-chaises, two and two, which will make a long train upon the road, and be a very expensive conveyance; but as they will eat nothing at the inns, you may the better afford it. When they come to Dover, he is sure, they are so like life and nature, that the master of the packet will not receive them on board without passes; which you will do well therefore to take out from the secretary's office before you leave London, where they will cost you only the modest price of two guineas and sixpence each, which you will pay without grumbling, because you are sure the money will never be employed against your country. It will require, he says, five or six of the long wicker French stage coaches to carry them as passengers from Calais to Paris, and a ship with good accommodations to convey them to America, where all the world will wonder at your clemency to Lord N--; that having it in your power to hang or send him to the lighters, you had generously reprieved him for transportation.

SIR,

TO GENERAL BECKWITH.

Passy, May, 17, 1779. Having assured you verbally that I had no authority to treat or agree with any military person, of any

jesties, who were amused with her originality. The great Lord Chatham honored her with his visits, and she took his likeness, which appears in Westminster Abbey. Mrs. Wright died very old in February, 1786.

rank whatever, to go to America, I understand your expressions, that "you will take your chance, if I think you may be useful," to mean that will you go over without making any terms with me, on a supposition, which you also mention, that my recommendation will be regarded by the congress, and that you shall thereupon be employed in our armies.

Whoever has seen the high character given of you by Prince Ferdinand (under whom you served) to Lord Chatham, which I saw when in London, must think that so able an officer might have been exceedingly useful to our cause, if he had been in America at the beginning of the war. But there is a great difficulty at this time in introducing one of your rank into our armies, now that they are all arranged and fully officered; and this kind of difficulty has been found so great, and the congress has been so embarrassed with numbers of officers from other countries, who arrived under strong recommendations, that they have been at above 100,000 livres expense to pay the charges of such officers in coming to America, and returning to Europe, rather than hazard the discontent, the placing them to the prejudice of our own officers who had served from the beginning, would have occasioned. Under these circumstances, they have not merely left me without authority, but they have in express terms forbid me to agree with, or encourage by any means, the going over of officers to America in expectation of employment. As to my recommendation, whatever weight it might have had formerly, it has in several instances been so improperly employed through the too great confidence I had in recommendations from others, that I think it would at present be of no im

portance if it were necessary; but after that above mentioned of so great a general, and so good a judge of military merit as Prince Ferdinand, a character you from me would be impertinence.

of

Upon the whole, I can only say, that if you choose to go over and settle in our land of liberty, I shall be glad to find you there on my return as a fellow-citizen, because I believe you will be a very good one, and respected there as such by the people. But I cannot advise or countenance your going thither with the expectation you mention.

SIR,

With great esteem,

I have the honor to be, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM, BART., DUBLIN.

Passy, May 27, 1779. I received some time since a letter from a person at Belfast, informing me that a great number of people in those parts were desirous of going to settle in America, if passports could be obtained for them and their effects, and referring me to you for future information. I shall always be ready to afford every assistance and security in my power to such undertakings, when they are really meant, and are not merely schemes of trade with views of introducing English manufactures into America, under pretence of their being the substance of persons going there to settle.

I admire the spirit with which I see the Irish are at length determined to claim some share of that freedom of commerce, which is the right of all mankind, but which they have been so long deprived of by the abominable selfishness of their fellow-sub

[blocks in formation]

jects. To enjoy all the advantages of the climate, soil, and situation in which God and nature have placed us, is as clear a right as that of breathing, and can never be justly taken from men but as a punishment for some atrocious crime.

The English have long seemed to think it a right which none could have but themselves. Their injustice has already cost them dear, and if persisted in, will be their ruin.

I have the honor to be, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.

DEAR SIR,

TO GENERAL GATES.

Passy, June 2, 1779. I received your obliging letter by the Chevalier de Ramondis, who appears extremely sensible of the civilities he received at Boston, and very desirous of being serviceable to the American cause. His wound is not yet right, as he tells me there is a part of the bone still to be cut off but he is otherwise well and cheerful, and has a great respect for you.

The pride of England was never so humbled by any thing as by your capitulation of Saratoga :* they have not yet got over it, though a little elevated this spring by their success against the French commerce. But the growing apprehension of having Spain too upon their hands has lately brought them down to an humble seriousness that begins to appear even in ministerial discourses, and the papers of ministerial writers. All the happy effects of that transaction for America are not generally known: I may some

* Oct. 17, 1777.

« AnteriorContinuar »