Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Pownall, 5 July 1782

From Thomas Pownall

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Richmond hill July 5. 1782.

Dear Sir.

I have by my friend Mr Hobart sent You a Printed Copy of the Three Memorials which I published on the Subject of America, one addressed to the Souvereigns of Europe—& two others addressd to the Souvereign of Gr Brittain.6 And I beg your acceptance of them.

I hope you received my Letter of May 13 1782 forwarded by Mr Bridgen as also the Package containing 187 printed Copies of my Topographical Description of America with the Map. Which I sent as You desired for the Widow Barry & which Mr Bridgen was so good to forward for me by way of Ostend directed to Mr Bowen.

As it is possible You may see Mr Hobart He can inform you from me as well as of his own knowledge of the steps we took upon the ground of Your Communications to him & me “That there were Persons Authorised to treat of Peace, & that Such Persons were willing to give to reasonable measures taken to that End, every assistance in their power.” He can inform you also of the circumstances which attended those Steps; & of the Effect which they missed in the direct line; as of the Effect they actually had in an oblique one. As from the beginning of this matter of trying to bring on negotiation for Peace I considered him as joined with me in our endeavors; so I have given to him a Memorandum which I made on the course of this Buisness.7 He will communicate to You every thing which it is not improper for a Man of honor to communicate to the Minister of a People at warr with us: Nor will he abstain from communicating anything which that Minister, wishing Peace to our Country, ought to be apprized of, respecting the Effect of his friendly offerrs. He will do every thing which a Man of honor ought to do; & He will do nothing which a Man of honor ought not to do.

I have desired him to give You a paper of Quæries respecting the modes & terms of Settling in America which People of this old world & of the old Country may in future be admitted to & receive. I am, not only for my friends, but personally, interested to gain information on that head—& as I wish that which will not deceive them or myself I apply to you.8

May God send Peace on Earth. I hope amongst the general blessings it will bring—; It will restore me to the communications & enjoyment of my old & long valued friendship with You. May You live to see, & have health to enjoy, the Blessings which, I hope, it may please God, to make you the Instrument of communicating to Mankind.

I am Dr Sir Yr friend & very humble Sert

T Pownall

Notation: T Pownall 5 Jully 82

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Presumably George Hobart forwarded Pownall’s A Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the Present State of Affairs, between the Old and New World (London, 1780), as well as his Two Memorials … (London, 1782), addressed to George III. Pownall may have already sent the first memorial the preceding fall; see XXXV, 627. BF owned two copies of it. The first, inscribed “To His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esq LLD Minister Plenipotentiary From the United States of America Q D C—D, D, D, T Pownall,” is at the APS; the second, bound with other tracts in a volume with a table of contents written by BF, is at the Library of Congress: Edwin Wolf 2nd, unpublished catalogue of books and pamphlets in BF’s library (XXXVI, 331n).

7The memorandum, dated July 2, is printed in WTF, Memoirs, II, 381–5. For the matter as a whole see Pownall to BF, May 13.

8The paper, in Pownall’s hand and filed with the present letter, includes questions about the value of improved lands in several regions, the expense of settlement, and the necessary stock and particulars that should be brought over. Pownall also inquires if sufficient improved tracts could be purchased to accommodate a company of newcomers, and on what terms such a party would be admitted.

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