Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee, 3 April 1778

To Arthur Lee

AL (draft):6 American Philosophical Society

Passy, April 3: 1778


It is true I have omitted answering some of your Letters.7 I do not like to answer angry Letters. I hate Disputes. I am old, cannot have long to live, have much to do and no time for Altercation. If I have often receiv’d and borne your Magisterial Snubbings and Rebukes without Reply, ascribe it to the right Causes, my Concern for the Honour and Success of our Mission, which would be hurt by our Quarrelling,8 my Love of Peace, my Respect for your good Qualities, and my Pity of your Sick Mind, which is forever Tormenting itself, with its Jealousies, Suspicions and Fancies that others mean you ill, wrong you, or fail in Respect for you. If you do not cure your self of this Temper it will end in Insanity, of which it is the Symptomatick Forerunner, as I have seen in several Instances. God preserve you from so terrible an Evil: and for his sake pray suffer me to live in quiet. I have the honour to be very respectfully, Sir, Your most humble Servant

Hon. A. Lee Esq.

Notation: BF. to Arthur Lee Ap. 3. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6One of the three draft letters to Lee that we believe were not sent; see our note on the one above of April 1.

7Presumably in answer to Lee’s complaint in his of the day before. BF’s much longer answer to that letter is printed under the 4th.

8The clause from “my Concern” to this point was written in the margin, deleted, and then marked “stet.”

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