Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Ralph Izard, 30 March 1778

To Ralph Izard

AL (draft): American Philosophical Society; copy and two transcripts: National Archives; copy: South Carolina Historical Society6

Passy, March 30. 1778


From the Account you give me of the Man who pretends to be of Carolina, as well as from my own Observation, of his Behaviour, I entertain no good Opinion of him, and shall not give him the Pass he desires.

Much and very important Business has hitherto prevented my giving you the Satisfaction you desired, but you may depend on my endeavouring to give it you as soon as possible.

An Answer was written to your Letter of the 5th of this Month, and sign’d by us all, which I thought had been sent to you, till Mr. Lee inform’d me that having communicated to you the Contents, you told him it would not be satisfactory, and desir’d it might be reconsider’d; and he had accordingly stopt it for that purpose. We have not since had an Opportunity of reconsidering it. And as the End of it is now answered by the Communication of the Treaties, perhaps it is not necessary.7

I condole with you sincerely on the great Loss sustained in Charlestown by the Fire in January last, said to have destroyed 600 Houses, valued with the Goods at a Million Sterling.8 I have the honour to be, with great Respect, Sir Your most obedient humble Servant


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The copies and transcripts include a long note that Izard must have made on the missing ALS. Lee promised him, the note says, that he would eventually have the treaties. “This appeared to me very extraordinary. From what I had already seen in the Article of Molasses I was apprehensive that the Gentlemen principally concerned in framing the Treaties had reasons for concealing other parts of them from me.” He therefore asked Lee to have the matter reconsidered and the treaties shown to him, as Lee thought they should have been long ago. “They were not communicated to me till 30th. March.”

7The communication of the treaties, that is, to Izard. Izard’s note just cited, and his reply to this letter on the 31st, make clear that BF enclosed copies. He no longer had reason to withhold the commercial treaty, which had been announced to the British; the treaty of alliance, however, was still supposedly a secret from all but the commissioners to France; see BF to William Lee above, March 24.

8For the conflagration see Izard to the commissioners below, April 29, and Smith, Letters, IX, 127, 187, 191.

Index Entries