Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Horatio Gates, 4 December 1778

From Horatio Gates

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston 4th: Decem: 1778—

Dear Friend

This letter will be put into your Hand by The Chevallier de Ramondis, late Captain of The Cæsar Ship of War of 74 Gunns, one of the Squadron of Count destaing:3 He had the misfortune to lose his Arm, in an Engagement off the Coast, & has since been here for the recovery of his Wound.4 He is a fine Old Officer of long Service, & Great Merit. I hope he will be Generously rewarded for his sufferings, and Heroic Behaviour— The Chevallier has this morning been presented with a Sword by the Council of this State, and a very Polite Compliment, in the Name of The Inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay—I have wrote a letter by the Marquis de la Fayette to the Count Destaing. A duplicate thereof goes in a few days to the West Indies, if the Count is not in France, my letter will be deliver’d where you will see it.— Appearances seem to indicate the Enemy’s Evacuation of New York, & Rhode Island.5 What has been resolved at Westminster, may very suddenly change the Prospect; you know how the Political Pulse beats in England, we impatiently expect to be as well inform’d—Party Spirit begins to be somewhat Vehement in America, the Natural consequence of The supineness of our British Foe. I am Dear Friend Your Affectionate humble Servant

Horatio Gates

Honorable Doctor Franklin

Notations in different hands: horatio Gates. Boston 4e. xbre. 1778. / Horatio Gates 4 Decr. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The chevalier de Raimondis, a Provençal, was the sixth of his name to serve in the French navy or galleys: G. Lacour-Gayet, La Marine militaire de la France sous le règne de Louis XV (Paris, 1910), p. 516. The letter was forwarded from Brest on Feb. 7.

4For the Aug. 14 skirmish between the César, 74, and H.M.S. Isis, 50, in which Raimondis lost his arm see William L. Clowes, The Royal Navy: a History from the Earliest Times to the Present (7 vols., Boston and London, 1897–1903), III, 409.

5Appearances were deceiving: the British had been preparing an expedition to the West Indies (for which see our headnote on intelligence reports, Nov. 13) rather than an evacuation. D’Estaing had sailed from Boston to the West Indies a month before.

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