Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from [Edmund Burke], 26 August 1783

From [Edmund Burke]

ALS (fragment):2 Library of Congress

Beconsfield Augst. 26. 1783.

Dear Sir,

My friend & Depu[ty? torn]3 a few days at Paris, & is extr[torn] =ly knowing you whom he has [torn] admiration. I approve very mu[torn] cannot refuse him the best [torn] it. I am not a little anxiou[torn] may have had in your regard [torn] revive myself in your re[torn] by introducing to your acquain[torn] worth & abilities. On this occ[torn] with some degree of Envy. [torn] the highest regard & Esteem Dr. Sr. y[torn]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Since publishing Burke’s letter of August, 1782, which we believed to be his last (XXXVII, 726–7), we identified this fragment in his hand. It is the left side of a single sheet, torn cleanly down the center. The signature is missing.

3Richard Champion, the former ceramics manufacturer who sent porcelain portraits of BF and Washington to Passy in 1780: XXXIII, 207, 302, 384. In 1782 his longtime friend Edmund Burke appointed him deputy paymaster general of the British army. Champion solicited the post of consul to the United States as soon as the Coalition ministry took office in the spring of 1783, citing his decades as a merchant in the American trade. The Duke of Portland was favorably inclined, and during the summer’s negotiations for a commercial agreement, gave him “papers relative to the American trade” and asked for an analysis. Champion’s report countered Sheffield’s Observations on the Commerce of the American States. In early 1784, following the dissolution of the Coalition ministry, he published this report anonymously as Considerations on the Present Situation of Great Britain and the United States of North America, with a View to Their Future Commercial Connections … (London, 1784). See Hugh Owen, Two Centuries of Ceramic Art in Bristol … (London, 1873), pp. 155, 259–67; Richard Champion, Comparative Reflections on the Past and Present Political, Commercial, and Civil State of Great Britain … (London, 1787), pp. 5–8.

Champion had wanted to emigrate to America since at least 1782, but Henry Laurens had been advising him—even as recently as July 5, 1783— to gather as much information as possible before embarking: Laurens Papers, XV, 562n; XVI, 226–8. Champion did meet with BF at the end of August and was back in London by Sept. 11: Champion to BF, Sept. 27, 1783 (APS); Thomas W. Copeland et al., eds., The Correspondence of Edmund Burke (10 vols., Cambridge and Chicago, 1958–78), V, 113.

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