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Letter from Franklin to an Engraver in Paris
The following is a translation from the original which was written in French:
“Passy, 24 June, 1778.
“Sir: On reading again the prospectus and explanation of your intended print, I find the whole merit of giving freedom to America continues to be ascribed to me, which as I told you in our first conversation, I could by no means approve of, as it would be unjust the number of wise and brave men who, by their arms and counsels, have shared in the enterprise and contributed to its success (as far as it has yet succeeded) at the hazard of their lives and fortunes.
“My proposition to you was, and continues to be, that, instead of naming me in particular in the explanation of the print, it should be said, “The Congress, represented by a Senator in Roman dress, &c.” As it stands, I cannot consent to accept the honor you propose to do me by dedicating the print to me, which, I understand, is in this country considered as an approbation,; and in my own country it would hurt my character and usefulness, if I were to give the least countenance to such a pretension, by recommending or proposing the sale of a print so explained. Upon these considerations, I must request that, if you are determined to proceed in the engraving, you would, in a new prospectus, change the explanation as above proposed, and dedicate the print not to me but to the Congress.”