Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Loring Austin, 12 July 1779

From Jonathan Loring Austin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

July 12th. 1779


I have only now to acknowledge the foregoing to be Copy of my last,3 & to congratulate your Excellency upon the repulse given the British Troops the 14 may by Genl moultrie at Charlestown South Carolina,4 we have been impatiently waiting for particulars of this glorious Event authenticated by Congress, but some Accident, or a Desire to compleat the Advantage by the Capture of the whole, has hindred— this Defeat will its probable frustrate the Designs of this Campaign; their chief aim at present appears to be to distress us by burning & ravaging defenceless Towns, the Effect has & I imagine will have a different Tendency from what they designed, it rather exasperates than intimidates, & possibly these cruel wanton Barbarities will so entirely disaffect, as to exclude to Eternity all Intercourse with such Savages unless ample reperation is made, should they continue their Depredations much longer as they have lately done at Newhaven &c,5 we must of Consequence be ever sworn Enemies.

I beg leave to refer your Excellency to the Newspapers I have the Honor to forward by this Opportunity, & to the Letter directed to Mr Adams provided he should not be in France,6 we understand here he is coming out in the Alliance, his Freinds however hope its only report—

I have the Honor to be, with my Compliments to Mr Franklin, with all due Respect Your Excellencys most Obedient and very humble Servant

Jon Loring Austin

His Excellency Dr Franklin

Addressed: Son Excellence / Monsieur Dr. Franklin / Ministre plenipotentiare de l’Amerique / a la Cour de France— / Passy / pres Paris / per favor Mr Knox7

Notation: J.L. Austin June 10. 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Austin opened the present letter with a copy of his previous one, dated Boston, June 10: XXIX, 656–7. These were the first letters from Austin since his return from Europe.

4See our annotation of Digges to BF, July 14.

5The British had recently raided New Haven and several other Connecticut towns; see the committee for foreign affairs to BF, July 16.

6Austin to JA of July 7: Adams Papers, VIII, 96–8. JA had sailed for America aboard the French frigate Sensible on June 17: XXIX, 490n.

7William Knox (1756–c. 1795), the younger brother of Gen. Henry Knox, who spent a year in Europe: North Callahan, Henry Knox: George Washington’s General (New York and Toronto, 1958), pp. 17, 166, 358. Knox also carried Austin’s letter of July 27, Jonathan Williams, Sr.’s of July 29, and Elizabeth Temple’s of July 30, all below.

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