Benjamin Franklin Volume II

Benjamin Franklin Volume II

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Excerpt: ...or training. Writing to Jonathan Williams about the dispatch of certain goods to America, he said: At this Distance from the Ports, and unacquainted as I am with such Affairs, I know not what to advise about getting either that Cloathing or the small Arms and Powder at L'Orient or the Cloth of Mr. Ross transported to America; and yet everybody writes to me for Orders, or Advice, or Opinion, or Approbation, which is like calling upon a blind Man to judge of Colours. Writing later to Williams about the same matter, when it had assumed a still more vexatious aspect, he peremptorily turned down a project laid before him by Williams, saying with an ebullition of impatience quite unlike the ordinary tenor of his even temper, "I have been too Pg 297 long in hot Water, plagu'd almost to Death with the Passions, Vagaries, and ill Humours and Madnesses of other People. I must have a little Repose." Another office performed by Franklin, though no special commission for the purpose was ever issued to him by Congress, was that of a Judge in Admiralty. A large quantity of blank commissions for privateers having been sent to him by Congress shortly after his arrival in France, he delivered them to cruisers, fitted out in the ports of France, and manned by smugglers, who knew every creek and cove on the English coast which they had so often visited by night as well, to use a simile employed by one of Franklin's correspondents, as they knew the corners of their beds. The alarm and loss created by these privateers was no mean offset to the destructive efficiency of the British cruisers. One privateer, the Black Prince, took in the course of three months more than thirty sail. Such was the apprehension excited by the depredations of American privateers that the seacoasts of England were kept in a constant state of panic, and the premium rate on marine insurance was largely enhanced. As prizes were brought into French harbors, the papers seized in them were examined...
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • 189 x 246 x 10mm | 340g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236694783
  • 9781236694782