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You have more than once, in your letters, I mentioned Dr. Franklin, and in one, intimated a desire that I should write you something concerning him.
Dr. Franklin has Been very constant in his attendance on Congress from the beginning. His conduct has been composed and grave, and, in the opinion of many gentlemen, very reserved. He has not assumed any thing, nor affected to take the lead ; but has seemed to choose that the Congress should pursue their own principles and sentiments, and adopt their own plans. Yet he has not been back ward ; has been very useful on many occasions, and discovered a disposition entirely American. lie does not hesitate at our boldest measures, but rather seems to think us too irresolute and backward. He thinks us at present in an odd state, neither in peace nor war, neither dependent nor independent ; but he thinks that we shall soon assume a character more de- He thinks that we have the power of pre serving ourselves ; and that even if we should be driven to the disagreeable necessity of assuming a total independency, and set up a separate state, we can maintain it. The people of England have thought that the opposition in America, was wholly owing to Dr. Franklin ; and I suppose their scribblers will at tribute the temper and proceedings of Congress to j him ; but there cannot be a greater mistake. He has had but little share, further than to cooperate and to assist. He is however a great and good man. I wish his colleagues from this city were all like him ; particularly one, I whose abilities and virtues, formerly trumpeted so much in America, have been found wanting. There is a young gentleman from Pennsylvania, whose name is Wilson, whose fortitude, rectitude and abilities too, greatly outshine his master's. Mr. Biddle, the Speaker, has been taken off by sickness, Mr. Mifllin is gone to the camp, Mr. Morton is ill too, so that this province has suffered by the timidity of two overgrown fortunes. The dread of confiscation or caprice, I know not what, has influenced them too much ; yet they were for taking arms, and pretended to be very valiant.
This letter must be secret, my dear ; at least, communicated with great discretion.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841