Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel Huntington, 5 July 1781

From Samuel Huntington

LS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Library; copies: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, National Archives

Philadelphia July 5. 1781


In my Letter of the 4th of January last I had the Honor to transmit to you Sir the Resolve of Congress of the 21st of December signifying their Desire that you should apply to the Court at which you reside to use Means for the Release & Exchange of the honorable Henry Laurens, Copies of which are herewith enclosed.7

I am now to transmit you the enclosed Resolve of the 14th Ulto, by which you are authorized & empowered to offer Lieut. General Burgoyne in Exchange for the honorable Mr Laurens.8

As the Honor & Interest of these States is concerned for the Release of that Gentleman, your best Endeavors will not be wanting to accomplish the Desire of Congress on so important a Subject—

I have the Honor to be, with the highest Regard sir Your most obedient & most humble Servant

Sam Huntington

By the United States in Congress assembled June 14: 1781 Resolved That the minister plenipotentiary of these united states at the court of Versailles be authorised and empowered to offer lieut genl Burgoyne in exchange for the honble Henry Laurens. Extract from the Minutes

Chas Thomson

The Honble. Dr Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7We have no indication BF had acted on Huntington’s earlier letter (XXXIV, 250–1).

8The exchange was necessary if Laurens were to serve on the peace committee and for that reason it was opposed by the congressional delegation from Pennsylvania, which favored BF’s candidacy. The dispute was resolved by electing both: JCC, XX, 647–8; H. James Henderson, Party Politics in the Continental Congress (New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, 1974), p. 302. See also our headnote to the commissions for the peace commissioners, June 15. Burgoyne, on parole in England, presently was a member of the House of Commons, where he supported the Opposition: Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, II, 144–5.

9The resolution is in the hand of Secretary of Congress Thomson. The LS at the University of Pa. Library does not have it.

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