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MS notations in the margins of a copy in the Library of Congress of [Josiah Tucker,] A Series of Answers to Certain Popular Objections, against Separating from the Rebellious Colonies, and Discarding Them Entirely; Being the Concluding Tract of the Dean of Gloucester, on the Subject of American Affairs (Gloucester, 1776). These are the first marginalia by Franklin that deserve extensive...
Reprinted from Samuel Hazard, ed., Hazard’s Register of Pennsylvania ... (16 vols., Philadelphia, [1828–35]), VI , 37. We are extremely skeptical about both these extracts. The date of the first is certainly wrong, because Hodge was not arrested until August 11. Although Hayfield Conyngham, Gustavus’ cousin, may have received advice from Franklin, we have no other evidence of contact between...
AD : American Philosophical Society This is a rare example of Franklin’s thinking on paper for his eye alone. Some of the notes are now beyond understanding and the meaning of others can only be conjectured; but what he is thinking about is clear: how to answer Izard’s letters above of January 28 and 30. All of his few identifiable references, down to the word “Personals,” are to the first...
ALS (draft): American Philosophical Society I did truly tell Capt. Hickey as you mention that I had never given Mr. Parsons the least Encouragement to go to America. Your good Opinion of your Husband, which is very natural and laudable, induces you to think there is some Mistake in this, and you express your Doubt in these Words, “ If IN REALITY he has never had any Countenance from you ,” &c....
AL (draft): American Philosophical Society Wherever it is in my Power, I should certainly pay the greatest Respect to the Recommendation of Madame de la Fayette, but it is absolutely impossible for me to do what is desired for this M. Rolandeau. He was an Officer in the American Service; he left his Regiment without Leave and came to France. If he would return there it should therefore be at...
Reprinted from William Temple Franklin, ed., Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin … (3 vols., 4to, London, 1817–18), III , 308–9. It is now more than 170 years since the translation of our common English Bible. The language in that time is much changed, and the stile being obsolete, and thence less agreeable, is perhaps one reason why the reading of that excellent book is of...
AD : Bibliothèque nationale M. Holcker a appris du docteur francklin qu’une petite cuiellerée à café de quinquinà jettée dans le fond d’un goblet où l’on verse un peu de lait pour Les bien meler ensemble, ensuitte remplissant le reste du goblet avec du lait, et en avalant un verre le matin à jeune, un autre en se mettant à table pour dinner, et un troisieme en se couchant, que çest un...
AL (draft): Library of Congress Mr Franklin presents his respectful Compliments to Madame Bertine, and acquaints her that he long since gave the Recommendatory Letter and Passport desired, to the Portuguese Ambassador, who had before demanded the same thing: and that the Letter receiv’d thro’ her hands from M. le Baron de Jumilhac shall be duly attended to. He begs leave to assure M. Bertin of...
AD : American Philosophical Society Along with the official letter of appointment as sole minister plenipotentiary, Franklin also received from Lafayette’s hand several private letters from Philadelphia, dated October 21 and 22, 1778, which bore disturbing news: Ralph Izard, throughout their months of bitter controversy, had been secretly airing his grievances against the elder commissioner in...
Draft: American Philosophical Society Les suffrages que vos vers ont obtenus, Monsieur, vous asseurent de leur bonté, je voudrois savoir assez le françois pour sentir tout leur mérite et je vous remercie de l’honeur que vous m’avez fait de me les envoyer; j’ay reçu ce que vous aviez chargé Mr. Brisson de me remettre et j’accepte le ris du thibet a balles noires que vous m’offrez; je ne veux...
Printed by Benjamin Franklin, Passy [1780]: Yale University Library Franklin had never intended that his pseudo-chapter of Genesis (1755), later known as “Parable Against Persecution,” be published. The piece, which he had printed on a slip of paper and hidden in his Bible, was a private joke; his now-legendary recitations were a harmless hoax meant to provoke and amuse the company. When...
AD : American Philosophical Society Account of the Printing Letters cast at Passy and contain’d in the 34 Boxes, which are marked in small Figures with a Pen on the Side of each Cover or Lid. viz BF wrote this title on the cover sheet he established for the inventory. Below it, in ink now badly faded, he wrote: “Note: there are [ illegible ] Boxes [ illegible ] / 2 of Great Primer cast by...
(I) AL (incomplete draft): Library of Congress; (II) and (III) AL (incomplete draft): American Philosophical Society Following the signing of the preliminary peace treaty, Franklin was inundated with requests for assistance from people all over Europe who wanted to emigrate to America. More than 30 are summarized in the headnote to Perrault’s letter of January 24, above; they represent only...
14Analysis of Loyalists, [1783?] (Franklin Papers)
D : Library of Congress Two hundred & eighty eight persons called Loyalists, & specified by Name in the Morning Post, classed in the following Manner.— Persons residing in Great Britain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32. Deceased Persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34. Apostates , that is to say, persons who had conformed to the American Government, &...
AL (draft): Library of Congress I have perused the foregoing Memoir, and having formerly had some Share in the Management of the Pacquet Boats between England and America, I am enabled to furnish you with some small Remarks.— The Project is good, & if carried into Execution will certainly be very useful to Merchants immediately, and profitable to the Revenue of the Post Office at least after...
D : American Philosophical Society On July 21, 1783, Bethia Alexander wrote to William Temple Franklin with a request from the maréchale de Beauvau, who was desperate for Franklin’s advice on installing a lightning rod at her residence, the château du Val. Temple was to place before his grandfather the paper she enclosed. “Une reponse tres exacte” was to be written in the margin beside each...
Two LS : Library of Congress, Yale University Library; AL (draft) and press copy: Library of Congress The Qualities hitherto sought in a Hygrometer, or Instrument to discover the Degrees of Moisture & Dryness in the Air, seem to have been, an Aptitude to receive Humidity readily from a moist Air, and to part with it as readily to a dry Air. Different Substances have been found to possess more...
ad (draft): American Philosophical Society Plan of Agreement The Packet Boats from England to America & from France to America, both departing once a Month, the English in the Beginning & the French in the Middle of each Month, afford Opportunities to the Merchants of each Nation of Writing every Fortnight; and this it is thought will induce the English to write often by the French Pacquet...
DS : Massachusetts Historical Society, National Archives (two), Public Record Office; copies: Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society, National Archives (two.) Early on the morning of September 3, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and William Temple Franklin rode into Paris carrying four official copies of the treaty that would end the War for American Independence. Joined by Adams,...
ALS : South Carolina Historical Society This Line is just to acquaint you that the Definitive Treaty between England and the United States was signed this Morning at Paris, and the others are suppos’d to be sign’d at the same time at Versailles. I shall write to you fully in a Day or two. With great & sincere Esteem, I have the honour to be Dear Sir, Your most Obedt & most humble Servt...
LS : Royal Society; press copy of LS : Harvard University Library; AL (draft): University of Pennsylvania Library; copy: Library of Congress During August, while Etienne Montgolfier was conferring with the Académie des sciences, working on his new balloon, and pursuing his business interests as a papermaker, his competitors were scrambling to figure out how they could safely generate the 900...
ALS : Mrs. James A. de Rothschild, England (1962) Inclos’d I send you a Copy of a Letter to Sir Joseph Banks, concerning the Ballons that at present occasion much Conversation here. I imagine that if you make one, and fill it with inflammable Air, you will contrive to fire it by Electricity when it is up, and by that means match in Report the Thunder of Nature. To morrow is to be signed our...
Reprinted from The Deane Papers, 1774–90 (5 vols.; New-York Historical Society Collections , XIX-XXIII , New York, 1887–91), V , 192. I received last night the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 20th. past, and in answer inform you that I never heard anything of the discourses or resentments you mention, either at Versailles or at Paris; that I do not think your personal safety...
LS , press copy of LS , and transcript: National Archives; copy: University of South Carolina Library After a continued Course of Treating for 9 Months, the English Ministry have at length come to a Resolution to lay aside for the present all the new Propositions that have been made & agreed to, their own as well as ours; and they offer to sign again as a Definitive Treaty the Articles of Novr...
ALS : Yale University Library I send with great Pleasure the Constitutions of America to my dear & much respected Neighbour, being happy to have any thing in my Power to give that she will do me the honour to accept, and that may be agreable to her. I am, ever, with sincere Esteem, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately Which she had requested in the letter immediately above. BF ’s...
AD (draft): American Philosophical Society American Postmaster at New York to receive and distribute all Letters brought by the Pacquets of England & France To give Receipts for the Amount, & keep an Account with each Settle & pay every three Packets Allow’d for dead, return’d or missent Letters.— All preceding Postage of Packet Letters to be paid on both sides before they are sent forward by...
AL (draft): Library of Congress; copy: American Philosophical Society Letters to the editor written in the guise of a woman were one of Franklin’s earliest and favorite forms of satire. The present example is the only instance we have seen of his crafting this sort of spoof in France. Whether it was truly intended for publication or simply meant to amuse his friends is not known; no mention of...
Copies: National Archives, William L. Clements Library, Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society; press copy of copy: National Archives The American Ministers Plenipotentiary for making Peace with great Britain, present their Compliments to Mr. Hartley. They regret that Mr. Hartley’s Instructions will not permit him to sign the Definitive Treaty of Peace with America at the Place...
(I) and (II) Copy: Archives of the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide M. Franklin après avoir lu la notte de M. Le Nonce et y avoir murement réflechi, croit absolument inutile d’envoyer cette notte au Congrés, qui d’après Ses Pouvoirs et Ses constitutions ne peut ni ne doit dans aucun cas Se mêler des Affaires Ecclesiastiques d’aucune Secte ni d’aucune Religion établie en Amérique. Chaque Etat...
LS : Reprinted from Earl P. L. Apfelbaum, Public Auction (June 3–4, 1976). <Passy, August 24, 1783: Recommends M. Bertaud, a surgeon, to Cooper’s> Notice and Civilities, and request you would assist him with your good Counsel & Advice. You will thereby much oblige, Dear Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant Only the second sheet of this letter was reproduced as an illustration; it is...
(I) and (II) LS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères Mr: Carnes, an American Merchant settled at Nantes, who has already presented your Excellency with a Petition requesting un Arrêt de Sur-seance , informs me that it cannot be complied with unless he first obtains the Consentment of a third of his Creditors; that in order to do this, his Presence is necessary at Nantes; but that...
ALS : Bibliothèque de Genève Reflecting with Pleasure on the agreable and instructive Conversation you favour’d me with, when I had the Happiness of seeing you in London, I embrace this Opportunity of recalling myself to your Remembrance, & of requesting your Acceptance of a Copy of the American Constitutions. With great and sincere Esteem I have the honour to be Sir, Your most obedient and...
ALS : Scottish Record Office M. de Kempel, the ingenious Author of the Automaton that plays Chess, will have the Honour of putting this Line into the Hands of your Excellency; and I beg leave to recommend him to your Protection, not merely on Account of that wonderful Machine, but as a Genius capable of being serviceable to Mankind by more useful Inventions which he has not yet communicated....
LS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères Mr Carnes having informed me that my Application is necessary to his obtaining a Personal Safety or Sauf Conduite , in order to afford him the Time necessary to get the Consentment of his distant Creditors, to his obtaining Lettres de Sur-seances for the space of Six Months: I hereby request you would comply with his Request, not doubting but...
ALS : Yale University Library This Line will be presented to you by a very ingenious Gentleman, M. Kempel, inventor of the Automaton that plays at Chess. He has other Inventions in Mechanics of a more useful Nature, which he has Thoughts of communicating in England, if he can meet with Encouragement. I beg leave to recommend him to your Civilities & Counsels, and am ever, with sincere Esteem &...
ALS : Descendants of the Rawle and Corning Families, Connecticut (2010) The Bearer, Mr Kempel, is the Creator of the Wooden Man who plays so well at Chess; but he is very ingenious in other Matters of more Importance, and has some useful Inventions to communicate to the Publick. I beg leave to recommend him to you Civilities, and to request your Advice to him, as to the Manner of making those...
ALS : New York Public Library; press copy of ALS and copy: Library of Congress I do not doubt but you have written to some one or other of your Colleagues since your Arrival in England; and as we have heard nothing from you, I thought it necessary by a Line to inform you that none of your Letters are come to hand. After making and sending over many Propositions of ours & of Mr. Hartley’s, and...
ALS : Yale University Library I received your Letter of the 14th. Instant, and am glad to hear of your safe Arrival at Nantes; it gives me Concern however to learn that you were too late for the Boston Vessel. If you had gone in the first Diligence after you came here, as I directed when I sent Lamotte with you to Paris to secure a Place for you, which you would not suffer him to do, you would...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the English Ministry do not agree to any of the Propositions that have been made either by us, or by their Minister here; and they have sent over a Plan for the definitive Treaty, which consists merely of the Preliminaries formerly signed, with a short Introductory Paragraph, & another at the...
Reprinted from Courier de l’Europe , XIV (November 4, 1783), 290. This letter has puzzled editors for years. Its subject is the silver medal that Congress ordered Franklin to have struck for Lt. Col. de Fleury. Fleury himself delivered the congressional resolution to Franklin in early 1780 when he was on leave, but he was called back to America before Duvivier, the engraver, completed the...
LS : Public Record Office; copies: William L. Clements Library, Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society We have received the Letter which you did us the honour to write on the 12th. Inst. and shall take the first Opportunity of conveying to Congress the agreable Information contained in it. The Sentiments & Sensations which the Re-establishment of Peace between our two Countries,...
Press copy of ALS : American Philosophical Society I received your Letter dated the first Instant, which I should have answered directly, but had mislaid the enclos’d Letter from your Mother which you desired might be sent you. The Bills mentioned by Mr Beall, came duly to my hands and I have received the Money, Seventy-two Dollars. I imagined you were long since gone to America, am sorry to...
ALS : Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; ALS (draft): Library of Congress When the Ship Alliance belonging to the Congress was at l’Orient, under the Command of Capt. Jones, Moylan & Co Merchants there, were appointed to supply the Ship with what was necessary during her Stay. Capt. Landais taking Possession of the Ship surreptitiously in the Absence of Capt. Jones, apply’d to one...
Reprinted from William Temple Franklin, ed., Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin … (3 vols., 4to, London, 1817–18), III , 309–10. When William Temple Franklin published this piece (for which no manuscript survives), he placed it among the undated bagatelles, noting only that it was “written at the period of, and in allusion to, the claims of the American Royalists on the...
AL : James M. Osborn, New Haven, Connecticut (1966) Dr Franklin presents his Compliments to Dr Blagden, requests his Care of the enclos’d, and wishes him a good Journey with a happy Sight of his Friends & Country. Blagden had paid his final visit to BF on July 25. He was received in the “inner cabinet” where a “Great cover [was] laid out,” and the two men discussed the Montgolfiers’ “flying...
ALS : Mrs. Arthur Loeb, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1955) Whom I shall probably never have the Pleasure of seeing again: You some time since recommended Miss Beckwith to me; I in consequence recommended her to my Children in Philadelphia: the enclos’d will give you some Information of her present Situation. I hope you & yours continue well, as does Your affectionate Friend & humble Servant...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; transcript: Historical Society of Pennsylvania I received your Favour of the 18th. Capt. Barney brought us the Dispatches we so long expected. Mr Deane as you observe is lost: Dr Bancroft is I believe steady to the Interest of his Country, and will make an agreable Passenger if you can take him. You desire to know something of the State of Affairs here....
LS : National Archives; copies: Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society The Definitive Treaties between the late beligerent Powers are none of them yet compleated. Ours has gone on slowly, owing partly to the Necessity Mr. Hartley (Successor of Mr Oswald) thinks himself under of sending every Proposition, either his own or ours, to his Court for their Approbation; and their Delay...
ALS : Yale University Library; press copy of ALS : American Philosophical Society I have received lately several Letters from you, which gave me a great deal of Pleasure, as they inform’d me of your Welfare and that of the Children. Being inform’d that Benny had been ill of a Fever, and that he was dejected & pin’d at being so long absent from his Relations, I sent for him to come to me during...
ALS : British Library; copy: Library of Congress In this letter, prompted by Banks’s overture of May 28, Franklin rejoices in the peace, muses on the folly of war, and reclaims his place in the British scientific community, as he had long wished to do. Erasing eight years of estrangement, he notes with pleasure the recent discoveries made by “our” Society. By way of reciprocation, he adds a...