The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 255

prevent. My consolation under that groundless and
malevolent treatment was, that I retained the friendship of many wise
and good men in that country; and among the rest, some share in the
regard of lord Howe.

The well-founded esteem, and permit me to say affection, which I
shall always have for your lordship, make it painful to me to see you
engaged in conducting a war, the great ground of which (as described
in your letter) is "the necessity of preventing the American _trade_
from passing into foreign channels." To me it seems, that neither the
obtaining or retaining any trade, how valuable soever, is an object
for which men may justly spill each other's blood; that the true
and sure means of extending and securing commerce are the goodness
and cheapness of commodities; and that the profits of no trade can
ever be equal to the expence of compelling it, and holding it by
fleets and armies. I consider this war against us, therefore, as both
unjust and unwise; and I am persuaded, that cool and dispassionate
posterity will condemn to infamy those who advised it; and that even
success will not save from some degree of dishonour, those who have
voluntarily engaged to conduct it.

I know your great motive in coming hither, was the hope of being
instrumental in a reconciliation; and I believe, when you find that
to be impossible, on any terms given you to propose, you will then
relinquish so odious a command, and return to a more honourable
private station.

With the greatest and most sincere respect, I have the honour to be,

My lord,

Your lordship's most obedient, humble servant,



[154] About this time the Hessians, &c. had just arrived from Europe,
at Staten Island and New York. B. V.

[155] It occurs to me to mention that Dr. Franklin was supposed to
have been the inventor of a little _emblematical design_ at the
commencement of our disputes, representing the state of Great Britain
and her colonies, should the former persist in restraining the
latter's trade, destroying their currency, and taxing their people by
laws made by a legislature in which they were not represented.--Great
Britain was supposed to have been placed upon the globe: but the
colonies, her limbs, being severed from her, she was seen lifting
her eyes and mangled stumps to heaven; her shield, which she was
unable to wield, lay useless by her side; her lance had pierced New
England; the laurel branch was fallen from the hand of Pensylvania;
the English oak had lost its head, and stood a bare

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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