Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert Morris, 27 December 1777

From Robert Morris

LS and duplicate: American Philosophical Society

Manheim in Pensylvania Decemr. 27th. 1777

Dear Sir

As Mr. Deane has been recalled by Congress,5 it is uncertain wether he may be in Paris when this arrives, therefore I inclose it to you, in order that you may read the Contents of a letter I wrote to Congress Yesterday and of another to him of this Date,6 after which you will please to forward or deliver them to him. By these you will discover that I am intirely undeceived with respect to my Brother, and that so far from persisting in a defence of him I have determined to give him up intirely to his own Fate. Those letters will inform you so fully of my sentiments, my conduct and motives that led to it, that I think it unnecessary to trouble you with any thing further on the ungratefull Subject, except to assure you, which I most solemnly do, that I blame myself much for having written that unfortunate letter of the 29th June to Mr. Deane, and more so for having given way to Suspicions that I am now perfectly convinced were injurious to you and him.7 Mine has been an error founded on the misinformation of other People and backed by what I then thought a laudable partiality to a Man that I had taken much pains and gone to much expence to make a good Citizen and usefull Member of society. It is said that repenting Sinners are entitled to forgiveness and in that case I am sure Mr. Deane and you must receive me back to that share of your Friendship and esteem that I once thought myself honoured with. Happy will you make me by a line to this effect as I entertain the greatest veneration and respect for your Person and Character and am Dear Sir Your most Obedient humble Servant

Robt Morris

The Honourable Doctr. Benjn Franklin Paris

Addressed: To / The Honorable Doctr Franklin / Paris

Notation: R. Morris Decr 27. 77

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5BF’s strong support of Deane in his letter to Lovell of Dec. 21 came too late. Congress had first refused to honor commitments to French officers that Deane had made before BF’s arrival, and disowning his actions turned out to be preliminary to recalling him; this was done on Nov. 21. JCC, VIII, 605 n; IX, 946–7; Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics, pp. 116–17, 250–2.

6The letter to Congress, addressed to Henry Laurens as president, is printed in Smith, Letters, VIII, 475–82; that to Deane is summarized in ibid., pp. 488–9 n. Their purport is clear from what follows.

7See above, XXIII, 195 n; his letter of June 29 is in the Deane Papers, II, 77–84.

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