Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to George Washington, 21 June 1776

To George Washington

AL (draft): New York Public Library

Philadelphia, June 21. 76

Dear Sir

I am much obliged by your kind Care of my unfortunate Letter, which at last came safe to hand. I see in it a Detail of the mighty Force we are threatned with;5 which however I think it is not certain will ever arrive; and I see more certainly the Ruin of Britain if she persists in such expensive distant Expeditions, which will probably prove more disastrous to her than anciently her Wars in the Holy Land.

I return Gen. Sulivan’s Letter enclos’d: Am glad to find him in such Spirits, and that the Canadians are returning to their Regard for us.6 I am just recovering from a severe Fit of the Gout, which has kept me from Congress and Company almost ever since you left us,7 so that I know little of what has pass’d there, except that a Declaration of Independence is preparing.8 With the greatest Esteem and Respect, I am Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant


G Washington

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The letter of Feb. 13 from Arthur Lee, with its enclosure, which Washington had forwarded with his own letter above, May 20; the packet had presumably gone to Canada while BF was on his way home.

6This was Sullivan’s letter to Washington of June 5–6, which the General had forwarded to Congress on the 16th. Otis G. Hammond, ed., Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan ... (3 vols., Concord, N.H., 1930–39), I, 217–21; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, V, 142. Sullivan, who had just arrived at Sorel with his reinforcements and taken the command, had been full of the optimism that ended a few days later in the disaster at Trois Rivières; see the headnote on Wayne to BF above, June 13, 1776.

7Washington had left Philadelphia on June 4: Fitzpatrick, op. cit., pp. 97–8.

8See the following document.

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