Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Bache, 10 September 1780

From Richard Bache

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia Sepr. 10th. 1780.

Dear & Hond. sir

I fully expected to have had the pleasure of a Line from you by some of the late arrivals from France, but am totally disapointed— I wrote you not long since by the Captains Read & Truxton, & sent you the papers,1— this, with the Papers up to the date, I shall commit to Captain All’s care, who has in charge a Vessel of my Friend Morris, & intends for L’Orient2— Dr. Lee, tho’ he has been arrived some time in Boston, has not reached this yet,3 I am told he is preparing a formidable battery, which he intends opening against you, when he shall arrive here; Mr. Izard has been here some time,4 he was pretty open mouthed against you, when he first came, but finding himself little attended to, is not so vociferous as he was—perhaps he only waits the junction of his Friend Lee, when they intend to try their united force against you, & probably expect the aid of some of the Massachusetts Delegates—A—— and L—,5 who, if I am well informed, would rather some other friend were Minister at the Court of Versailles,— Your old Friend Gates has been less fortunate to the Southward, than he was to the Northward; he has been under the necessity of making a rapid retreat from the neighbourhood of Camden in South Carolina;6 depending too much upon raw Milita who would not face the Enemy, he has met with a disgrace; the few Continental Troops we had there behaved nobly, made good their retreat with the loss of General De Calb, who is said to be mortally wounded, & in the hands of the Enemy; besides the General we lost about 350 Men,— I have no other News,— We long to hear from you & Ben,— Sally & the Children join me in Love & Duty— I am ever Dear sir Your affectionate son

Rich. Bache

Dr. Franklin

Addressed: His Excelly. / Dr. Benjamin Franklin / Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States / of No. America at the Court of [crossed out: Versailles] / per Capt. All.

Notation on address sheet: L’Orient October 15th. 1780 Recd: & forwarded, by Yr most hble Servt J. Nesbitt

1Presumably his letter of July 22, above. Both captains had just arrived at Lorient: Cuming to BF, Sept. 8, above. BF had last written RB on June 27: XXXII, 609–10.

2Capt. Isaac All made a quick voyage, arriving barely a month later: All to BF, Oct. 16, below. He was captain of the brig Virginia, which did not return to Philadelphia until April 23, 1781: Pa. Gazette, April 25, 1781.

3Arthur Lee did not reach Philadelphia until mid-October: Smith, Letters, XVI, 211.

4Izard had arrived in Philadelphia by Aug. 1: Smith, Letters, XV, 500n.

5Samuel Adams and James Lovell: Smith, Letters, XVI, xix–xx.

6Preliminary reports of the defeat at Camden appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of the Pa. Gazette. Gates’s success in the north was the Battle of Saratoga.

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