Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Edward Newenham, 2 January 1779

From Edward Newenham9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Marsailles 2 January 1779


I flatter myself, that your Excellency will readily pardon the freedom of this address, as I trust that my Character is not unknown to You; Your Worthy and Virtuous Countrymen have always met with my Favor, Protection and assistance in Ireland; particularily Collonel Ethan Allen & those who were with him,1 and my whole Conduct towards the United States has been such, that I am confident Your Excellency will not think me undeserving of your Particular protection—

I came from Ireland with two of my Sons, one of them fourteen years of Age, the other ten; their Physicians ordered them to this Kingdom for the recovery of their health; I have tryed several places, but none has agreed with them, but this City; I have also a Swiss Tutor with them, Mr. Boiteux of Neuchatel; I wish to remain here for Six Weeks or one Month untill their health is recovered—

May I, therefore, Earnestly entreat Your Excellencys Interest to obtain me a Licence to remain here with my Sons, their Tutor and one Irish Servant; If I am so happy as to obtain that honour, you may be assured, that my Conduct & my familys shall not disgrace your Excellencys Friendship, and it will make me doubly happy to shew my Countrymen, that my constant regard to the Persons, Liberties, and Properties of the United States have been returned by Such an Act of Friendship—2

I have the Honor to be with Every Sentiment of regard and Due Respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

Edward Newenham

If I am honoured with an Answer, please to Direct to— Sir Edward Newenham Hotel d’Artois Rue St. Ferréol Marsailles

Notation: Laward Newenham Marseilles 2e. jr. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9This is the first letter in a correspondence, far more copious on Newenham’s side, that lasted the rest of BF’s life. This aggressive Protestant and enthusiastic supporter of the American cause (1732–1814) represented first the borough of Enniscorthy and then the county of Dublin in the Irish Parliament. DNB. His relations with BF are detailed in Dixon Wecter, “Benjamin Franklin and an Irish ‘Enthusiast,’” Huntington Library Quarterly, IV (1941), 205–34.

1Allen remarked upon the number of benevolent gentlemen who contributed to the support of American prisoners held on the Solebay in the cove of Cork in 1776: Ethan Allen, Narrative of the Capture of Ticonderoga, and of his Captivity and Treatment by the British (5th ed; Burlington, 1849), p. 23.

2Either BF’s reply has not survived or he dealt with Newenham’s request by asking Vergennes to dispatch the desired permit to the governor of Marseilles; in any case, Newenham’s letter of May 11 (APS) thanks BF for the favor.

Index Entries