To Benjamin Franklin October 24, 1778

To Benjamin Franklin October 24, 1778



I congratulate you on your accession to the State of Minister Plenipotentiary. Could you have lived to fill a particular point in the circle of human affairs, it would have been that to which you are now so honorably called.

We rub and drive on, all things considered, beyond what could ever be expected, and instead of wondering why some things have not been done better, the greater wonder is we have done so well. As I wish to render the History of this Revolution as complete as possible I am unwilling to begin it too soon, and should be glad to consult you first, because the real motives of the British King in commencing the War will form a considerable political part. I am sufficiently persuaded myself that they wished for a quarrel and intended to annex America to the Crown of England as a conquered country. They had no doubt of victory and hoped for what they might call a Rebellion, but we have not, on this side the water, sufficient proof of this at present. I intend to embellish it with plates of heads plans etc. which likewise cannot be perfected here.

I enjoy thank God a good share of health and hopes and though my situation is no ways advantageous, it is nevertheless agreeable. I have the pleasure of being respect[ed] and I feel a little of that satisfactory kind of pride that tells me I have some right to it. I am not much hurried in the Secretary department, and have sufficient leisure for anything else.

At this time the public expectations run high on the Enemy quitting New York, but for what or where is all uncertain, neither do I believe they know what to do themselves.

The Marquis de Fayette returns with the warmest thanks from this country. His amiable and benevolent manners have been a living contradiction to the narrow spirited declarations of the British Commissioners. He happily returns in safety, which, considering the exposures he has gone through, is rather to be wondered at.

A large detachment sailed from N[ew] York destination unknown- probably for Boston, but as you will receive later information than this letter can convey, anything which I may mention will be of little use.

I am, with every wish for your happiness, Your obliged and affectionate Humble Servant,


Please present my compliments to your Grandsons.