From Samuel Vaughan3
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Montego Bay Jamaica 24 June 1775
My dear Sir,
I most sincerely congratulate you and your country, upon your safe arrival in America. After many years watchful attention to its interest and when you could render it no further service at home, You are at length arrived to the only Asylum and at the most critical juncture to take your place and to display your distinguished abilities among a sett of Worthies (whose fame will be immortal) strugling for the preservation of the small remains of British Liberty, now banished from its once happy Isle, to America, the last place of its resort. God grant you success, equal to the justice and importance of your Cause, and that it may flourish there until the end of time.
I should have fulfilled my intention of making the tour of North America with my Son, had not the sword been drawn; had I went, I could not (with my quick sensibility) have refrained taking an active part, tho’ without power to render adequate service, being unknown there, without acquaintance or natural interest to give me influence, and the certain consequence would have been, sequestration of all my property in this Island. I therefore thought it more prudent to continue here until the spring, in hopes by that time to have a more favourable prospect, for laying a plan for throwing my small mite with advantage into the public weal.
I have not had the favour of an answer from Messrs. Welleng’s, or from Mr. Yates, whose character and conduct I truly revere;4 their Virtue will be transmitted with its native lustre to Posterity. Should the times permit a few moments thought from more public concerns, may I hope you will bear in mind and procure if in Your power, proper settlements for my Sons John and Charles, for whom I will pledge my self, that they will not disgrace even your recommandation. My Son is at present in Hanover, or he would not have failed to have done himself the pleasure of writing You by this conveyance,5 as I am sure he is equally with my self, Dear Sir Your affectionate and most obedient humble Servant
Doctor Benjn Franklin
Addressed: To / Doct[or] Benjn. Franklin / Philadel[phia]
Endorsed: S. Vaughan
3. For Vaughan and his projected American tour, mentioned in the second paragraph, see above, XXI, 441–2.
4. “Welling’s” was undoubtedly Thomas Willing, of Willing, Morris & Co., for whom see the DAB and Thomas W. Balch, “Thomas Willing of Philadelphia (1731–1821),” PMHB, XLVI (1922), 1–14. Yates may well have been Richard Yates, a New York merchant who had Philadelphia connections and traded with the West Indies: John A. Stevens, Jr., Colonial New York: Sketches Biographical and Historical . . . (New York, 1867), p. 172.
5. Vaughan had eleven children, most of whom grew to maturity and many of whom were remarkable for longevity; see John H. Sheppard, “Reminiscences and Genealogy of the Vaughan Family,” New England Hist. and Geneal. Register, XIX (1865), 355. John (1756–1841) and Charles (1759–1839) were young enough so that neither of them was likely to have been on his own in Hanover. That son was doubtless either Benjamin (1751–1835) or William (1752–1850), and we suspect the former because of his connection with BF. The family went to America after the war, and four of the children settled there: Sarah P. Stetson, “The Philadelphia Sojourn of Samuel Vaughan,” PMHB, LXXIII (1949), 459–74.