Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Cooper, 2 December 1780

To Samuel Cooper

L:4 Henry E. Huntington Library; copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Decr. 2d. 1780

Reverend and dear Sir,

I received your kind Letter of the 8th. of September, and am much oblig’d by the Intelligence it contain’d.—5 Please to make my Compliments of Congratulation acceptable to Mr. Hancock, on his being chosen the first Governor of his free Countrymen. I am persuaded he will fill the Seat with Propriety and Dignity.

Dr. Lee’s Accusation of Capt Landais for Insanity was probably well-founded; as in my Opinion would have been the same Accusation, if it had been brought by Landais against Lee: For tho’ neither of them are permanently mad, they are both so at times; and the Insanity of the latter is of the two the most mischievous.6

Your little Grandson is a fine Boy, behaves genteely and, takes his Learning admirably. Mr. Adams being gone to Holland, has left him in my Care.— He does not seem well satisfy’d with his School: and the Master and Mistress complain of his being turbulent and factious, and having in him too much of the Insurgent.7 I give him occasionally my best Advice, and I hope those little Unpleasantnesses will by degrees wear off. I have paid his last Quarter.

The English in a late Memorial have treated the Dutch with much Insolence. Some imagine it must produce a War. Others relying on the Batavian Flegm & Patience, think it will pass. Holland has however at length acceded to the arm’d Neutrallity.

At the Request of the Abbé de Raynal I send you the enclosed;8 and I wish you or Mr. Bowdoin would answer the Questions.

I beg the Continuance of your useful Letters.— I shall soon write to you more fully; remaining with the most perfect Esteem and Respect Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Probably originally an LS; the signature apparently was cut off, possibly by an autograph seeker. The letter is in WTF’s hand, except for some words in the complimentary close. BF added “and Respect” after “Esteem” and everything following “Dear Sir”. We have supplied from the copy the words cropped from the bottom of the page.

5XXXIII, 262–4.

6For the last three years BF had been questioning Arthur Lee’s sanity; see XXXII, 547. BF interlined the four words “of the two the” following “latter is”.

7Samuel Cooper Johonnot, who had accompanied the Adams party to Europe, attended the pension in Passy run by M. and Mme Péchigny; BF paid for his schooling pending reimbursement from JA: XXXIII, 449n.

8Missing. In 1773 Raynal through an intermediary had sent BF a series of questions about America, mostly concerning American population, exports, imports, currency, and its public debt: XX, 448n; “Questions sur l’amerique septentrionale,” n.d., APS. Raynal was in the process of publishing a new edition of his Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes … (rev. ed., 5 vols., Geneva, 1780): XXXII, 216n; Quérard, France littéraire. We have found no record of a response from Cooper or from James Bowdoin.

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