Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Alexander, 3 March 1782

From William Alexander

Copy:9 American Philosophical Society

Ostend Sunday 9 at Night 3. March 1782.

My dear Sir,

Altho’ I expect to see you in a Day or two after this comes to hand, I cannot let slip the Opportunity of M. Moore1 formerly with Mr. Williams to inform you that the addresses in Consequences of the Question carried on Wednesday, was carried to the King by the whole Opposition on Friday, That the answer after the common place phrazes and the repetition of the Substance of the adresses was declaring his Disposition to comply with it—and that of pushing the War with Vigour agt. the common Enemies until a safe & honble. Peace could be obtained which was his most earnest wish.2 This is the Sense as delivered to me Friday evening by a member present. I have several Letters for you which I will deliver on my arrival & can give you a good deal of the Sentiments of Parties in England—3 I left London Yesterday. You will have all our public News up to Thursday. The 1st. Payment 15. per Ct. was made on the New Loan Friday & Stock, was got up 2 per Ct. thereafter. I had the good Fortune to get Gouverneur & Curson liberated after Mr. Hodgson had tried it in vain. I beg that your Son will drop a Line to St. Germain4 to let them know I am here well and will be with them by Wednesday barring accidents— their Brother Bob5 is wt. me. Mr. Moore goes away just now so have only time to suscribe myself wt. the most sincere Esteem, dear Sir, Your most hble. St.

(signed) W. Alexander.

Endorsed: Mr Alexander March 3. 1782

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9In the hand of L’Air de Lamotte, with BF’s endorsement.

1Probably George Moore (XXXIII, 340–1).

2On March 4 the House of Commons received the following formal response to their address of Feb. 27 (enclosing the motion of that date): “There are no objects nearer to my heart than the ease, happiness, and prosperity of my people. You may be assured, that, in pursuance of your advice, I shall take such measures as shall appear to me to be most conducive to the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the revolted colonies, so essential to the prosperity of both; and that my efforts shall be directed in the most effectual manner against our European enemies, until such a peace can be obtained as shall consist with the interests and permanent welfare of my kingdoms.” Cobbett, Parliamentary, History, XXII, 1086. In spite of his assurances, however, the King had not yet given up hope of reconstructing a parliamentary majority to continue the war in America: Ian R. Christie, The End of North’s Ministry, 1780–1782 (London and New York, 1958), p. 339.

3These letters probably included Burke’s, David Hartley’s, and Winchcombe Hartley’s of Feb. 28, above.

4Where Alexander lived with his daughters: XXIX, 534n.

5The younger of his two sons, Robert (1767–1841): Charles Rogers, Memorials of the Earl of Stirling and of the House of Alexander (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1877), II, 36. Bob Alexander became BFB’s closest companion after the latter’s return from Geneva in 1783: James D. Tagg, “Benjamin Franklin Bache and the Philadelphia Aurora” (Ph.D. diss., Wayne State University, 1973), p. 62.

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