FRANKLIN, Benjamin, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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'Blessed are the Peacemakers'

FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790). American polymath and statesman.
Highly important Autograph Letter Signed to Thomas Walpole (1727-1803), 1 page 4to with address-leaf (paper softened and somewhat soiled by former damp-exposure), Paris, 11 December 1777. Bemoaning the failure of Lord Chatham's efforts to find a basis of conciliation with the American colonies and to bring to an end the Revolutionary War.
Franklin had been sent to Paris as commissioner for the United States in December 1776, following the Declaration of Independence, which he had helped to draft. The following year he was confirmed as the American plenipotentiary to France.

Thomas Walpole, the son of Horatio, first baron Walpole of Wolterton, was the nephew of Horace Walpole (the wit and man of letters) and a promiment lawyer in London. He had been hevily involved, with Franklin, in the affairs of the Grand Ohio Campany, which 'hoped to purchase and develop a large tract of land west of present day Virginia' (Benjamin Franklin Papers, online).

'I ought long since to have acknowledg'd the Receipt of the Bills you sent me, in full Discharge of the Ballance of our Account. For which I thank you.

'I am sorry Lord Chatham's Motion for a Cessation of Arms, was not agreed to. Every thing seems to be rejected by your mad Politicians that would lead to Healing the Breach; and every thing done that can tend to make it everlasting.

''Not being sure that we remember perfectly Mr. Wharton's Direction, we beg leave to send some American Newspapers to him under your Cover.

'From a Sketch Dr. B. had which was drawn by your ingenious and valuable Son, they have made here Medaillons in terre cuit. A Dozen have been presented to me, and I think he has a Right to one of them. Please to deliver it to him with my Compliments. ...

[Postscript] 'My sincere Respects if you please to your noble Friends, Lords Chatham and Cambden [sic]. Blessed are the Peacemakers.'

See The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 25, page 272 (and online).

Provenance - inherited by Sir Spencer Walpole from his father, Thomas Walpole the younger, passed by him to his son-in-law Francis Caldwell Holland who left it in turn to his nephew David C.L. Holland (d. 2007), and thence by descent.
[No: 25491]

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