- from Ben Franklin
Soon after his return from England, Franklin was appointed a Pennsylvania delegate to the Second Continental Congress. To this assembly fell the awesome task of holding the colonies together and challenging the military might of Britain.
Ben knew the colonists could win freedom from Britain only if they got some help, and the only nation likely to help them was France, Britain’s enemy. Congress urged Franklin to represent them in Paris. Although he was past 70 and a widower, Ben sailed to France.
The American cause was popular in Paris. Volunteers crossed the Atlantic to fight for the colonists, and secret loans from the French government provided arms for Americans even before Franklin was able to negotiate a formal agreement. That treaty was signed in 1778.