Three distinguished men were sent by Congress as special Commissioners to conciliate
Canada and attach its people to the cause of America. They passed through here early in
April of 1776 and returned from their fruitless mission in time for each of them to affix his
signature to the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July following.
These men were first: Samuel Chase, delegate to Congress from Maryland, a most
zealous patriot, and afterward a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.
The second was Charles Carroll, another delegate from Maryland. Of the fifty-six signers
of the Declaration, Charles Carroll of Carrollton is noted as having been the wealthiest
man, the only Roman Catholic, and the last survivor of the immortal band who pledged
their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, for the support of the cause of liberty in
America. On their arrival at Albany from the south they were invited to partake of the
hospitality of General Schuyler. Charles Carroll, in his journal wrote that, "He behaved to
us with great civility; lives in pretty style; has two daughters (Betsy and Peggy), lively,
agreeable, black-eyed gals."
The third was Benjamin Franklin, one whose memory the world yet delights to honor as a
statesman, as a journalist, as a diplomatist, as an inventor, and a philosopher; for in each
of these spheres he achieved undoubted greatness. We should especially remember that it
was through his skillful diplomacy at the court of Louis XVI. and the use he was enabled
to make of the victory over Burgoyne and the capture of the British army here at Saratoga
that the French alliance was consummated and through which we were enabled to carry
that war to a successful issue.
Ben Franklin passed through while on a secret mission
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