Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Charles Carroll and Samuel Chase, 27 May 1776

To Charles Carroll and Samuel Chase

ALS: New York Public Library

N York, May 27. 1776.

Dear Friends,

We arrived here safe yesterday Evening, having left Mrs. Walker with her Husband at Albany, from whence we came down by Land. We pass’d him on Lake Champlain; but he returning overtook us at Saratoga, where they both gave themselves such Liberties in taunting at our Conduct in Canada, that it came almost to a Quarrel. We continu’d our Care of her, however, and landed her safe in Albany, with her three Waggon-Loads of Baggage, brought thither without putting her to any Expence, and parted civilly tho’ coldly. I think they both have excellent Talents at making themselves Enemies, and I believe, live where they will, they will never be long without them.1

We met yesterday two Officers from Philadelphia, with a Letter from the Congress to the Commissioners, and a Sum of hard Money.2 I opened the Letter and seal’d it again, directing them to carry it forward to you. I congratulate you on the great Prize carry’d into Boston. Seventy-five Tons of Gunpowder is an excellent Supply; and the 1000 Carbines with Bayonets, another fine Article.3 The German Auxiliairies are certainly coming:4 It is our Business to prevent their Returning.

The Congress have advis’d the erecting new Governments, which has occasion’d some Dissension at Philada; but I hope it will soon be compos’d.5

I shall be glad to hear of your Welfare. As to my self, I find I grow daily more feeble, and think I could hardly have got along so far, but for Mr. Carroll’s friendly Assistance and tender Care of me. Some Symptoms of the Gout now appear, which makes me think my Indisposition has been a smother’d Fit of that Disorder, which my Constitution wanted Strength to form compleatly.6 I have had several Fits of it formerly.

God bless you and prosper your Councils; and bring you safe again to your Friends and Families. With the greatest Esteem and Respect, I am, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

Honble. S. Chase and Chas Carroll, Esquires
Turn over.7

1On the following day John Carroll wrote a letter to his cousin and Chase on the back of this one. BF, he said, “has given you but a faint idea of the impertinence of our fellow travellers. The lady had the assurance to tell us that the Commissioners had advised with and been governed by Tories.” Mrs. Walker eventually settled in Boston and became acquainted with Jane Mecom and Jane Collas; after her husband’s death she fell on bad times, and in 1788 requested BF, via his sister, to use his good offices in procuring the return of some small articles of plate that Charles Carroll and Chase had taken from her house on leaving Montreal. Van Doren, Franklin—Mecom, pp. 312–13.

2The letter was Hancock’s above, May 24, 1776.

3The prize was a British ammunition ship brought into Boston: Naval Docs., V, 134–5.

4BF presumably heard this news from Washington, who had had the first report of the mercenaries in March, and had recently sent Congress copies of the British treaties with the rulers of Brunswick, Hesse-Cassel, and Hesse-Hanau. Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, V, 56–7; JCC, IV, 369.

5For the action of Congress and the resulting dissension see the headnote below, June 14.

6See the note on Mecom to Greene below, June 1. BF left New York with Father Carroll on the morning of the 28th and reached Philadelphia on the 30th at night. The Carroll letter cited in the first note; BF’s entry of March 26 in the Memorandum Book described above, VII, 167–8.

7For the letter from Father Carroll mentioned in the first note.

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