Benjamin Franklin Papers

Lord Howe to Caroline Howe, [17 February 1775]

Lord Howe to Caroline Howe

AL and copy:8 Library of Congress

While Franklin was preparing his drafts for the discussion with Barclay and Fothergill on the 17th, he received his first word in weeks from Lord Howe, who asked through his sister to see him. They met the next morning; the Admiral explained that he expected to be sent to the colonies as a commissioner to arrange a reconciliation, and wanted Franklin to go with him. If the terms were acceptable, the American replied, he would leave on an hour’s notice. He might discuss the matter with Lord Hyde, Howe suggested; Franklin agreed, and the Viscount promised to arrange an interview.9

No 18

Grafton street Friday 4 O’Clock, [February 17, 1775]

I wish you to procure me an opportunity to see Dr. Franklin at your House to morrow or on Sunday morning for an essential purpose.

Addressed: Honble / Mrs. Howe

Notation in Franklin’s hand: recd Friday 5 o’Clock Feb. 17. 17751

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The AL has been removed from BF’s journal of negotiations below, March 22; the copy is in the copy of the journal. Mrs. Howe enclosed the AL with her note that follows.

9Below, pp. 588–90. For the background of the plan for a commissioner see the headnote on BF’s proposals above, under Dec. 28.

1Receipt of the note an hour after it was written may seem surprising, when it went by way of Mrs. Howe to be enclosed in a note of her own. But Howe lived a few doors from his sister in Grafton St., off Berkeley Square: Royal Kalendar … (London, 1775), p. 60; and Craven St. is less than a mile away as the crow flies.

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