Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Hancock, 14 May 1781

To John Hancock

LS:1 American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress

Passy, May 14. 1781


Permit me to repeat my Congratulations on your Election to the Government of your Country,2 and my best Wishes for your Health & Happiness.

A Privateer of this Country having taken an English Packet bound to New York, with her Dispatches, some of which it may be of particular Use to your State that your Excellency should see, as they relate to the Enemy’s Posts and proposed Operations in its Neighbourhood; and others which tho’ of a more general Nature, are interesting to Massachusetts-Bay, as a Part of the whole United States, I have had Copies taken of them for you, which I enclose. Other Copies are gone by different Conveyances to Congress.3

With great & sincere Esteem & Respect, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant,

B Franklin

His Excelly. John Hancock, Esqr.

1In Mumford’s hand except for the last eight words of the complimentary close, which are in BF’s hand.

2BF already had asked Samuel Cooper to convey his congratulations to Gov. Hancock: XXXIV, 96.

3BF also sent extracts or copies of intercepted letters to JA (XXXIV, 580) and to Huntington, above, May 3. Those of particular interest to Hancock probably included one of March 7, 1781, from Secretary of State Germain to Gen. Clinton encouraging him to undertake military operations in the Casco Bay region of Massachusetts (now in Maine): Pennsylvania Gazette, July 25, 1781. Another may have been one of Feb. 7 from Germain to Clinton discussing the strategic importance of Vermont: K.G. Davies, ed., Documents of the American Revolution 1770–1783 (21 vols., Shannon, Ire., 1972–81), XIX, 37.

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