Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert R. Livingston, 3 December 1782

From Robert R. Livingston

ALS, LS and L:4 University of Pennsylvania Library; ALS (draft): New-York Historical Society; transcript: National Archives

Philadelphia 3d Decr. 1782


I have just now recd the certificates required by Mr. Vallier,5 the vessel which carries my dispatches having been detained I embrace the opportunity to forward them— Nothing new since my last,6 except that by a Gent who left Charles town the 4th. Ult. we learn that the British had dismounted their cannon & embarked the greatest part of their troops he seems to make no doubt that they were upon the point of leaving it—7 The French Troops embark next Monday, their fleet will sail in a few days.8 I am Sir with great respect & esteem Your Most Obt hum: Servt

R R Livingston

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The LS (marked duplicate) and the L (marked triplicate) both omit the words between “cannon &” and “were upon the point.” A note on the transcript indicates that these MSS went by the same conveyances as the three versions of Livingston’s Nov. 9 letter (above). The last sentence before the complimentary close was in code; on the original it was decoded by BF.

5See Livingston to BF, Nov. 27.

6Livingston does not mention that on Dec. 2 he had offered his resignation as secretary for foreign affairs. He soon agreed, however, to serve until the following spring and did not leave office until early June, 1783: Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, VI, 100–1; JCC, XXIII, 823–4; XXIV, 382. Among BF’s papers at the APS is a copy of a Dec. 3 congressional resolution (JCC, XXIII, 759) authorizing Livingston to perform his duties until a replacement was elected and scheduling a vote (which was not held).

7The city was evacuated on Dec. 14.

8Vaudreuil’s fleet was not able to sail until Dec. 24.

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