Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Depravity" Shown in Treatment of Prisoners

To Member of Parliament and American sympathizer David Hartley, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “As to our submitting to the Government of Great Britain, it is in vain to think of it.  She had given us, by her numberless barbarities…in the prosecution of the war and in the treatment of the prisoners, so deep an impression of her depravity, that we never again can trust her in the management of our affairs and interests.” 

Benjamin Franklin to David Hartley, Passy, France, 14 October 1777, FrancisWharton, editor, The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 6 volumes (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1889), volume 2: page 409. 

Hartley was friends with Franklin, often assisting Franklin’s efforts to help American prisoners detained in England.  EdwinG. Burrows, Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War (New York: Basic Books, 2008), 157.  Franklin probably intended his harsh words as ammunition for Hartley’s criticism of his country’s war against the United States.  
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