Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Lord Howe], 20 August 1776

To [Lord Howe]

AL (draft)7: American Philosophical Society

Philada Aug 20. 76

My Lord

The Temper of the Colonies as professed in their several Petitions to the Crown was sincere. The Terms they proposed should then have been closed with, and all might have been Peace. I dare say your Lordship as well as my self, laments they were not accepted. I remember I told you that better would never be offered, and I have not forgotten your just Comparison of the Sybyl’s Leaves.8 But the Contempt with which those Petitions were treated, none of them being vouchsaf’d an Answer; and the cruel Measures since taken, have chang’d that Temper. It could not be otherwise. To propose now to the Colonies a Submission to the Crown of Great Britain, would be fruitless. The Time is past. One might as well propose it to France, on the Footing of a former title.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The draft is apparently incomplete, and the letter was not sent. BF gave a clue to the reason in his answer of Sept. 8 to Howe’s letter of Aug. 16: some delegates disliked the correspondence. BF presumably did not feel free to continue it until Congress appointed a committee to meet with the Admiral.

8BF mentioned the petition from the first Continental Congress at his initial meeting with Howe in London, but did not record in his journal this part of the conversation: above, XXI, 568.

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