Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert R. Livingston, 24 October 1781

From Robert R. Livingston

AL (draft): New-York Historical Society; copy and transcript: National Archives

Philadelphia 24th Octr 1781

Dear Sir

I three days since did myself the honor to write to you informing you of my appointment to the secretary ship of foreign affairs & preparing you for the happy event which has since taken place.5 Inclosed you have the capitulation of York & Gloster town, by which a british army of about 5600 men was surrendered to the allied arms of France & America & no inconsiderable fleet with 800 seamen to the navey of his most Christian majesty.6 Since my last which was writen the day after I entered upon office I have seen yours of the 14th. of May.7 Their are many things in it which deserve the attention which I mean to pay it when the first hurry that the intelligence I communicate occasion is over— But sir there is a part which I can not delay to take notice of, because I feel myself interested in opposing the resolution that you seem to have formed of quiting the station which for the honor of the united states you now hold— I shall be impatient till I hear that you comply wth. the wishes of Congress on this subject as communicated long since.8 Tho the new powers with which you [are] invested compose additional burthens upon you yet as they at once contain the amplest testimonials of this approbation of Congress & directly lead to the compleation of the great work in which you so early engaged I can not but flatter myself that you will take it upon you— I sent with my first Letter to you one to the Count De Vergennes informing him of my appointment9 you will do me the honor to present it— I am Sir &c:

No. 2.1
No 2 Dr. Letter to Docr Franklin 22(?)h. Octr 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Actually his letter, above, was dated Oct. 20.

6See Washington’s letter of Oct. 22.

7To Huntington of that date, above.

8See Huntington’s second June 19 letter to BF.

9A copy and transcript of which are at the National Archives.

1Livingston wrote but then lined through a list of those items which he intended to enclose: (1) a copy of the congressional resolution approving the election of a secretary of foreign affairs; (2) an account of Greene’s “victory” at Eutaw Springs (for which see Cooper to BF, Oct. 27); (3) all the papers relating to the siege of Yorktown and capture of Cornwallis.

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