WITHOUT question the two most eminent Americans of the Revolutionary age were George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Both were completely dedicated to a common cause and, although their personal contacts were few because Franklin was so long out of the country, each profoundly respected the other. Franklin's suggestion of a trip through Europe together after the war intrigues the imagination. Had it ever taken place it would certainly have produced a sensation wherever the famous planter-general and the equally famous scientist-diplomat went. Washington outlived Franklin by a little less than ten years. Before his death first signs had become visible of the promising future which the older man prophesied for the country they both had loved so much.
Passy, March 5, 1780
I received but lately the Letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing to me in Recommendation of the Marquis de la Fayette. His Modesty detain'd it long in his own Hands. We became acquainted however, from the time of his Arrival at Paris, and his Zeal for the Honour of our Country, his Activity in our Affairs here, and his firm Attachment to our Cause, and to you, impress'd me with the same Regard and Esteem for him that your Excellency's Letter would have done, had it been immediately delivered to me.
Should Peace arrive after another Campaign or two, and afford us a little Leisure, I should be happy to see your Excellency in Europe, and to accompany you, if my Age and Strength would permit, in visiting some of its ancient and most famous Kingdoms. You would on this Side the Sea, enjoy the great Reputation you have acquir'd, pure and free from those little