From Robert Pigott
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Pent7 near Geneva 27 June 1783.
I have a long time intended to address you this Letter concerning the Situation of your Grandson at Geneva as being such which I am persuaded would not receive your approbation if you was acquainted with the necessary circumstances. It is now some weeks that He had a Fever, the cause of which may be reasonably attributed to his unhealthy dwelling improper diet & ignorance on the part of his Rulers. His apartment in no respects betters than that of a Prisoner, it is so confined with Walls, included in a little Alley & crowded with other Cotemporarys who sleep in the same Chamber that it would be Almost a miracle that He should escape some Pestilential Disorder. I am so sensible of the very urgent Necessity for him to change his abode that I have taken the liberty of going to Mr Mariniac, & desiring He might come to Pent for the benefit of the Air till his Health was established. Altho’ I have gone myself & have frequently sent Mr Webb8 who is equally sensible of the necessity & propriety of the measure from unknown reasons we have not been able to obtain the desired End. I propose going again this day but much doubt if I shall succeed, as I understand some such request was refused Mr Ridley, whom otherwise proposed conducting him to Paris.
Your Grandson demonstrates many very estimable qualitys which exclusive of other circumstances entitles him to very different management than he experiences. If Mr Ridley is now returned to Paris, He will probably strengthen the Evidence which I have given.9 In regard to his Learning I wish It be of such quality & degree as to answer your expectations, persuaded at the same Time that It originates not on the part of the young Man, whom is neither wanting in disposition or natural abilitys, but every Telemachus has need of a Mentor.1 It is with reluctance that I find myself called upon to represent Objects as striking to my Senses & so little agreeable as when they have a tendency to [torn:2 do ot]hers detriment, but my Zeal for America [my pers]onal respect for You & my regar[d for your] Grandson makes it a needfull Duty. Be assured Sir I have none, nor can have any other Motive. I think Sir no time should be lost in coming to some resolution either of removing him from this country, or of placing Him in a more advantageous manner.
The little prospect of any Amendment in the Politicks of England has almost brougt: me to a determination of going to America in the following Spring which I hope will prove another promised Land. I have the Honour to be with the most sincere respect and Regard Hond: Sir Your very faithfull & obedt Sert
Mrs Pigott desires me to present her most respectfull compliments. Since writing the above I have brought away your Grandson who presents you his duty & is greatly better.
Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Ministre Plenipotentiare / des Etats Unis de l’Amerique / a Passy / pres Paris
7. Penthes, Pigott’s estate: XXXVI, 321n, 322n.
8. Benjamin Webb. When he last wrote BF, he was living with Pigott: XXXVI, 321–2.
9. See the annotation of BF to BFB, June 23.
1. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus placed his son Telemachus in the care of Mentor when he left for the Trojan War.
2. A section of the MS is torn; our guesses as to the missing letters are in brackets.