George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Franklin, 20 September 1785

From Benjamin Franklin

Philad[elphi]a Sept. 20. 1785.

Dear Sir

I am just arrived from a Country, where the Reputation of General Washington runs very high,1 and where every body wishes to see him in Person, but being told that it is not likely he will ever favour them with a Visit, they hope at least for a Sight of his perfect Resemblance by means of their Principal Statuary Mr Houdon, whom Mr Jefferson and my self agreed with to come over for the purpose of taking a Bust, in order to make the intended Statue for the State of Virginia. He is here, but the Materials and Instruments he sent down the Seine from Paris, not being arrived at Havre when we sail’d, he was obliged to leave them, and is now busied in supplying himself here. As soon as that is done, he proposes to wait on you in Virginia, as he understands there is no Prospect of your coming hither, which would indeed make me very happy, as it would give me the Opportunity of congratulating with you personally on the final Success of your long & painful Labours in the Service of our Country, which have laid us all under eternal Obligations.2 With the greatest and most sincere Esteem & Respect, I am, Dear Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant

B. Franklin3


1Franklin arrived in Philadelphia from France on 14 Sept.; GW wrote on 26 Sept. to welcome Franklin home before receiving this letter from Franklin later in the day. See GW to Franklin, 26 September.

3Below his signature, Franklin wrote: “with Six Letters enclos’d.” The letter of this date from Franklin’s grandson and secretary, William Temple Franklin (1762–1823), seems to indicate that the younger Franklin enclosed in that letter this letter from his grandfather, Lafayette’s letter to GW of 14 July, probably Thomas Jefferson’s letters of 10 and 17 July “which were committed to the care of Mr Houdon” (GW to Thomas Jefferson, 26 Sept.), and probably others.

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