Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Cooper, 26 December 1782

To Samuel Cooper

Copy: Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; extract: Library of Congress8

Dated, Passy, Decer. 26. 1782.

My dear Friend,

I have received several kind Letters from you, which I have not now before me, and which I shall answer more particularly hereafter.9

Your Grandson1 was well not long since, & I hear good Account of him. I hope his Improvements will answer your Expectations.

We have taken some good Steps here towards a Peace. Our Independence is acknowledged, our Boundaries as good & extensive as we demanded; and our Fishery more so than the Congress expected. I hope the whole Preliminaries will be approv’d and with the Definitive Treaty, when made, give entire Satisfaction to our Country. But there are so many Interests to be considered between Five Nations;2 & so many Claims to adjust, that I can hardly flatter myself to see the Peace soon concluded, tho’ I wish and pray for it, and use my best Endeavours to promote it.

I am extreamly sorry to hear Langage from Americans on this side the Water, and to hear of such Language from your Side, as tends to hurt the good Understanding that has hitherto so happily subsisted between this Court and ours. There seems to be a Party with you that wish to destroy it.3 If they could succeed, they would do us irreparable Injury. It is our firm Connection with France that gives us Weight with England, and Respect throughout Europe. If we were to break our Faith with this Nation on whatever Pretence; England would again trample on us, and every other Nation despise us. We cannot therefore be too much on our guard how we permit the private Resentments of particular Persons to enter into our public Counsels. You will hear much of an interrupted Letter communicated to us by the British Ministry. The Channel ought to be suspected. It may have received Additions and Alterations. But supposing it all genuine, the forward mistaken zeal of an Undersecretary, should not be imputed to the King who has in so many ways provided himself our faithful and firm Friend and Ally.—4

I long to see you and my Country once more before I die, being ever, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately.

(signed) B. Franklin

Copy of a Letter from Benjn. Franklin Esqr. To Dr. Cooper.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The copy, probably prepared for Vergennes, omitted the penultimate paragraph concerning America’s “true political interest.” The extract, made for inclusion in WTF’s edition of BF’s writings, omitted the salutation and the first two paragraphs but included the penultimate paragraph, which we quote below in footnote 4.

9The extant letters from 1782 that BF had so far received are dated March 6, June 15, July 22, and Sept. 6. Cooper wrote most recently on Dec. 21.

1Samuel Cooper Johonnot.

2Great Britain, the United States, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

3As Robert Morris had warned on Sept. 27 (above, Letter I), the American public became more suspicious of France once peace negotiations began. This suspicion was strongest in Massachusetts because of concern about sharing with Britain and France in the Newfoundland fisheries: William C. Stinchcombe, The American Revolution and the French Alliance (Syracuse, 1969), pp. 189–91.

4On the extract, WTF corrected “Undersecretary” to “Secretary of Legation.” This is more accurate, as it refers to the intercepted letter of Barbé de Marbois discussed in our annotation of BF to Livingston, Oct. 14.

The paragraph deleted from this copy, but present in the extract, reads: “In my opinion the true political interest of America, consists in observing and fulfilling with the greatest exactitude the engagements of our alliance with France; and behaving at the same time towards England so as not entirely to extinguish her hopes of a reconciliation.”

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