Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Cooper: Extract, 28 June 1782

To Samuel Cooper: Extract

Reprinted from William Temple Franklin, ed., Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin … (3 vols., 4to, London, 1817–18), II, 378–9.6

Passy, June 28, 1782.

Our public affairs are in a good situation here. England having tried in vain to make a separate peace with each of the powers she is at war with, has at length agreed to treat for a general peace with them altogether; and at Paris. If we all continue firm in the resolution not to separate, we shall command the terms. I have no doubt of this steadiness here; and though we are told that endeavours are making on your side the water to induce America to a re-union on the terms now granting to Ireland, and that powers are sent to General Carleton for that purpose, I am persuaded the danger of this project will appear so evident, that if offered it will be immediately rejected.7 We have no safety but in our independence. With that we shall be respected, and soon become great, and happy. Without it we shall be despised, lose all our friends, and then either be cruelly oppressed by the King who hates and is incapable of forgiving us, or having all that nation’s enemies for ours, shall sink with it. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6WTF incorporated this extract into his printing of BF’s journal of the peace negotiations.

7BF issued this warning, like that to Livingston of the following day (below), at the request of Gérard de Rayneval; see the June 28 entry in BF’s journal of the peace negotiations. The warning was not necessary; see Livingston to BF, May 22 (which BF could not yet have received).

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