Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jeremiah Terry, 7 January 1777

From Jeremiah Terry7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Hotel de Luxembourg 7th. Jany. 1777


I set out from London the 2d. Inst. and arrived here about 4. o’Clock this Evening. My Principal Business is to learn a more Satisfactory account of my Countrymen in America, than I have been able to do in England, for which Purpose if you will Signify when you will be at leasure I will do myself the Honor to wait on you.8In the meantime I remain with great respect Sir Your unknown Humble Servant

Jer. Terry

Addressed: His Excellency Benjn. Franklin

Notation: J. Terry 7 Jan 77.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7A Virginian who had been a trader on the Mosquito Coast, and who had come to London at the end of 1774. He attempted while there to secure for himself the superintendency of the Coast, and his failure to do so seems to have embittered him; in any case he devoted himself thenceforward to the effort to bring the area under Spanish rather than British sovereignty. He is said to have come to Paris to enlist BF’s support, and to have obtained it in an interview. He returned almost at once to London, consulted with the Spanish Ambassador, and then left in April for Madrid, where he received enough backing so that he eventually crossed again to Central America; but nothing came of his design: William S. Sorsby, “The British Superintendency of the Mosquito Shore, 1749–1787” (doctoral dissertation, University of London, 1969), especially pp. 201, 230 et seq.

8In a second note, written the next day from a different hotel and also in the APS, Terry says that he is returning very shortly to England, and asks BF for a half-hour’s private conversation and an introduction to Deane if the latter’s health permits. Neither that note nor this establishes that Terry saw BF, let alone received encouragement from him.

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