Friendship with Thomas Paine

Benjamin Franklin

[A letter written from Philadelphia, 27 September, 1785]

Dear Sir, Your kind Congratulations on my safe Return give me a great deal of Pleasure; for I have always valu'd your Friendship.

The Ease and Rest you wish me to enjoy for the Remainder of my Days, is certainly what is most proper for me, what I long wish'd for, and what I propos'd to myself in resigning my late Employment; But it is what I find I am not likely to obtain: For my Fellow Citizens having in a considerable Body express'd their Desire that I would still take a Post in their publick Councils, assuring me it was the unanimous Wish of the different Parties that divide the State, from an Opinion that I might find some means of reconciling them; I had not sufficient Firmness to refuse their Request of Permitting their Voting for me as a Councellor at the insuing Election. Tho' I apprehend they expect too much of me, and that without doing the Good propos'd, I shall find myself engag'd again in Business more troublesome than that I have lately quitted.

As to my Health, of which you kindly desire some Information, it is as well as at my Age can reasonably be expected. I have the Stone indeed and sometimes the Gout, but the Pain from the Stone is hitherto not very severe; and there are in the world so many worse Maladies to which Human Nature is subject, that I ought to be content with the moderate Share allotted me.

Be assured, my dear Friend, that instead of Repenting that I was your Introducer into America, I value my self on the Share I had in procuring for it the Acquisition of so useful and valuable a Citizen.

I shall be very glad to see you when you happen to be again at Philadelphia, being with sincere Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant.