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Washington, George (1732-1799) to [Benjamin Franklin] re: belated peace initiatives of the Howe brothers

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01588 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1776/07/ Pagination: 1 p. 32.1 x 19.2 cm

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01588 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1776/07/ Pagination: 1 p. 32.1 x 19.2 cm

Summary of Content: A cryptic but important letter written in the same month as the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, as commander in chief, in response to Franklin's letters. Possibly a draft since Washington has left the day and a name blank, but soon or shortly after July 30, when Franklin's response to Howe was delivered. This letter responds to two letters from Franklin, one commended Washington for his work with the inventor Joseph Belton to construct a submarine, while the other (now lost) was a copy of his response on behalf of Congress to the peace offer of the Admiral Richard and General William Howe. The Howes, claiming to be peace commissioners, offered pardon to everyone who disavowed the Declaration of Independence. But the Howes were too late in their offers. Washington writes: "Within these few days I have been favour'd with two Letters from you. The first cover'd one to Lord Howe which with equal confidence I should have sent locked under a Seal. The only difference is, that I have had an opportunity of perusing Sentiments which cannot but be admired. The Second, recommending the scheme of [blank; i.e, Joseph Belton] when I have given every aid in my power to bring his project to maturity." See Franklin Papers 22: 518-21 for Franklin's letter to Howe. Belton abandoned his work on submersibles, possibly because of David Bushnell's successful experiments. Possibly a draft (?) since Washington has left the day and a name blank.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Full Transcript: New York July [blank] 1776.
Sir,
Within these few days I have been favour'd with two Letters from you. The first cover'd one to Lord Howe which with equal confidence I ...should have sent locked under a Seal. The only difference is, that I have had an opportunity of perusing Sentiments which cannot but be admired. The Second, recommending the scheme of [blank; i.e, Joseph Belton] when I have given every aid in my power to bring his project to maturity.
Your Letter to Lord Howe is gone to him, & I have the honour to be with great esteem & regard

Sir
Y[ou]r Most Obed[ien]t & Most
H[onora]ble Serv[an]t
Go: Washington
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People: Washington, George, 1732-1799
Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
Howe, William Howe, Viscount, 1729-1814
Howe, Richard Howe, Earl, 1726-1799
Belton, Joseph, fl. 1776

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: PresidentRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryDiplomacyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyScience and TechnologyNavyMaritime

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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