Ben Franklin, 1781 “I cannot give you the sun”


The following story may be just a rumor handed down over the years, but it is one of my favorites. Franklin was in France, and word came to France of the decisive (and shocking) American victory. Franklin attended a diplomatic dinner shortly thereafter – and, of course, everyone was discussing the defeat of the British, and the victory of America.

The French foreign minister stood, and toasted Louis XVI, “To his Majesty, Louis the Sixteenth, who, like the moon, fills the earth with a soft, benevolent glow.

The British ambassador rose and said, “To George the Third, who, like the sun at noonday, spreads his light and illumines the world.”

Franklin rose (reportedly) and countered, “I cannot give you the sun or the moon, but I give you George Washington, General of the armies of the United States, who, like Joshua of old, commanded both the sun and the moon to stand still, and both obeyed.”

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2 Responses to Ben Franklin, 1781 “I cannot give you the sun”

  1. Janelle ...Carnahan says:

    That is a real good one Red & the reference to where he got it.

  2. inkgrrl says:

    Thank you so much for that!

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