Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Robert R. Livingston, 9 March 1782

To Robert R. Livingston

LS:1 National Archives; press copy of LS: National Archives; copies: National Archives, Library of Congress

Passy, Mar. 9. 1782


I have just received the honour of yours dated Jan 7. Your Communication of the Sentiments of Congress with Regard to many Points that may come under Consideration in a Treaty of Peace, gives me great Pleasure, & the more as they agree so perfectly with my own Opinions and furnish me with additional Arguments in their Support. I shall be more particular on this Subject in my next; for having Notice from Capt. Barry last Night that he will not go to Brest as I expected, to take in some of our Goods, but will sail immediately on the Return of the Post, which sets out to Day, I am obliged to be short. You will see in the inclosed News Papers the full Debate in the House of Commons on the Subject of declining the War with N. America;2 by private Advices I learn, that the whole Opposition, now become the Majority, went up in a body with the Address to the King; who answer’d that he would pay a due Regard to the advice of his faithful Commons, and employ his Forces with more Vigour against the Ancient Enemies of the Nation; or to that purpose;3 & that Orders were immediately given for the taking up a great Number of large Transports, among which are many old India Ships; whence it is conjectured that they intend some great Effort in the West Indies, & perhaps mean to carry off their Troops & Stores from New York and Charles-town.4 I hope however that we shall not in expectation of this, relax in our Preparations for the approaching Campaign.

I will procure the Books you write for and send them as soon as possible.

Present my Duty to the Congress, & believe me to be with sincere Esteem, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant.

B Franklin

Honble. R. R. Livingston Esqr Secy for Foreign Affairs
No 4.

1In WTF’s hand.

2See, for example, the March 1 issue of the London Courant, Noon Gazette, and Daily Advertiser. The subject was the successful motion reported by Burke on Feb. 28, above.

3See Alexander’s letter of March 3.

4Alexander may also have been the source of the rumored orders: Vergennes reported to Montmorin on March 8 that news had been brought by a traveler from London that the British planned to withdraw troops from North America and send them to the Caribbean (AAE).

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