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Major Figures
Franklin to Earl of Dartmouth

Perth Amboy Jany 7, 1776.

My Lord,

I wrote to your Lordship a long Letter the Day before Yesterday, which I dispatched by an Express that Mr. Henry KELLY had sent to me from New-York, requesting that, as he was going to England, he might be intrusted with any Dispatches I might have to send there.

He assured me that the utmost Confidence might be put in the Express, on which I entrusted him with my Letters, and a Letter from Mr. SKINNER the Attorney-General to his Bror. Col. SKINNER, and two Letters from Ladies in this Town to Mrs. GAGE.

Last Night I received certain Information that the Fellow stopt at the very Tavern at Elizth. Town where Lord Stirling (so called) has his Head Quarters, and even intimated to his Lordshipís Servant there, that he was going to New-York with Letters from me, which the Servant immediately acquainted his Lordship with, who sent after the Express, had him seized, and the Dispatches taken from him.

This affair will of course make a great Noise, and probably the Congress will order Mr. SKINNER & me to be seized: But, as I have wrote nothing but what is strictly true, and what was the Duty of a faithful Officer to communicate to His Majesty, I am determined to stand my Ground, and let them do their worst; and, indeed I have no means of Defence, there being no Man of War nearer than New-York, and I should probably be stopt if I was to attempt to fly there.

Whether what Mr. SKINNER has wrote to his Brother may not subject him to some Ill-treatment from violent People I know not: But, if he has wrote any thing that will endanger him I shall advise him to endeavour to make his Escape, which he will be more likely to effect than I should.

Whether there has been any Treachery in this Affair on the Part of Mr. KELLY, or any other, I cannot yet learn, but I know not how to suspect him.

I beg your Lordship to excuse this hasty Scrawl, as the Gentleman to whom this is is [sic] to be intrusted is in great Haste to depart to New-York, which likewise prevents my adding more than that I am, with the greatest Respect & Regard

My Lord, Your Lordshipís
most obedient
& most hum. Servant
Wm: FRANKLIN


[Confidential]
P.S. It is reported that the French
Ambassador in England, knows every Thing
that passes in the Privy-Council, and has some
Communication with the Colony Agents there.
It is likewise said that Mr. DeBerdt (now
appointed Agent for the Assembly here) has
means of obtaining Copies of Governorís Letters,
&c. from the publick offices.


Right Honble. the Earl of Dartmouth, &c.



Staffordshire Record Office, Dartmouth Papers, Reel 14, D(w)1778/II/1648.

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