Revolutionary Correspondence: Benjamin Franklin Writes to George Washington

This autograph letter is one of the treasures of the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection in The New York Public Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division. From Philadelphia on June 21, 1776, Benjamin Franklin writes to George Washington (then in New York) to acknowledge a letter from Washington, and to express his relief that his own previous letter "at last came safe to hand." He has gained from Washington's report "a Detail of the mighty Force we are faced with; which however I think it is not certain will ever arrive; & I see more certainly the Ruin of Britain if she persists in such expensive distant Expeditions, which will probably prove more disastrous to her than anciently her wars in the Holy Land." Franklin tells Washington that he is "just recovering from a severe Fit of the Gout, which has kept me from Congress & Company almost ever since you left us, so that I know little of what has pass'd there, except that a Declaration of Independence is preparing." Franklin would soon join with John Adams and Jefferson himself in revising Jefferson's original draft version of the Declaration.

Benjamin Franklin. Autograph letter, signed with his initials, to George Washington, Philadelphia, June 21, 1776.
The New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division, Emmet Collection (no. 1514).

Library Exhibition: On View June 25-July 31, 2010: The Declaration of Independence

Online Exhibition: From Revolution to Republic in Prints and Drawings

About the Manuscripts and Archives Division

Library Catalog Record

Digital Gallery Record