Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to George Washington, 2 April 1777

To George Washington

LS and AL (draft): Library of Congress

Paris, April 2. 1777.


As I see that the Congress has resolved upon raising 3000 Horse for the ensuing Campaign I hope M. de Cenis2 the bearer of this Letter, may be of great Use in forming some of the Troops, as he is acquainted with that Service, having been a Captain of Dragoons. He goes over at his own Expence, without the least Encouragement or Promise from me, which indeed I have no Authority to give. This shews a Zeal for our Cause, which has considerable Merit. I cannot speak of the Gentleman from my own knowledge but I send you inclosed the Recommendation I have received of him from Monsr. Turgot, late Comptroller of the Finances, and one of the most respectable Characters of this Nation: I refuse every day Numbers of Applications for Letters in favour of Officers who would go to America, as I know you must have more upon your Hands already than you can well employ; but M. Turgot’s Judgement of Men has great Weight with all that have the honour of knowing him, and I am confident that an Officer of his recommending will be a valuable Acquisition to our Army.3 With the most sincere Wishes for your Prosperity and Happiness, I have the Honour to be Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Excelly. Genl. Washington

Notation: from Doctor Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Crénis. Congress had decided the previous November to raise the cavalry: JCC, VI, 992.

3Washington, in his reply, professed respect for Turgot but urged BF not to give countenance to any volunteers: below, Aug. 17, 1777. BF usually discouraged such offers, as mentioned in the introduction, and we assume made this exception because of Turgot. But he made another at about the same time, for a German who seems to have had no prominent sponsor; see the note on Burdett to BF below, April 5.

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