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Heaven with the Americans – Doctor Franklin

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

A Correspondent in London says: In the fate of the mercenary Hessians employed against our fellow subjects in America, we may read the disapprobation, and mark the manifest intervention of Heaven. Of the private men who embarked from Hesse Cassel on their sanguinary expedition, not above a fourth part are in a state of militation; the rest are either killed, wounded, or prisoners. Of the commanders, their fate is not less exemplary; General De Heister died a few days since, being returned to engage fresh mercenaries; Colonel Rahl killed at Trenton, Colonel Donop killed in the attack of the fort on Mud Island, General Knyphausen slightly wounded at the attack of Germantown—sic periunt inimici libertatis.

“The supremacy of Parliament,” and “unconditional submission,” two favorite terms adopted by the court, the ministry, and the legislature, have produced wonderful effects: the total separation of America from the British empire, and the formation of a new monarchy of Independent States—the loss of above thirty millions of money—the destruction of thirty thousand troops, and the most shameful disgrace to the English arms that was ever incurred since the foundation of the empire. It is time to discard and disgrace words which have produced such horrid consequences, and adopt others more conformable to common sense to constitutional liberty, and to humanity.

Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette, by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1778

A gentlemen just returned from Paris informs us that Dr. Franklin has shaken off entirely the mechanical rust, and commenced the complete courtier. Being lately in the gardens of Versailles, showing the Queen some electrical experiment, she asked him, in a fit of raillery, if he did not dread the fate of Prometheus, who was so severely served for stealing fire from Heaven? “Yes, please your Majesty,” (replied old Franklin, with infinite gallantry,) “if I did not behold a pair of eyes this moment which have stolen infinitely more fire from Jove than ever I did, pass unpunished, though they do more mischief in a week than I have done in all my experiments.”1


1 New Hampshire Gazette, December 22.