Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jacques Leveux, 1 March 1779

To Jacques Leveux5

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy March 1 1779.


I have been uneasy that your Acct. of Disbursements for the Prisoners has been so long unpaid. As the whole Business here is now devolv’d on one Person, our Correspondence for the future may be more prompt & regular; and I should be glad to clear the past transactions immediately by paying off your Debt.6 Be pleas’d therefore to draw on me for the Amount, & your Bill shall be duely honor’d. We have no Money in London; if in drawing on Paris, the Exchange is to your Disadvantage, charge me in your Acct. with the Difference.

There is a M. Rousseaux who has written to me from Calais;7 and some Persons in your Prisons who say they are Americans & wish to return to our Service. I beg you would examine those Prisoners & obtain from them particular Accounts of the Province & Town they were born in, in what ships taken, by whom, where & how long Prisoners & by what means they came to be in the English Service? & of M. Rousseaux, I should be glad for such Particulars as you may have an Opportunity of Learning.

P.S. If any Letter should come to your Hands directed to M. Edward Bancroft, be pleas’d to send it directly to me.8

M. Leveux. Calais.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Agent for American affairs in Calais and responsible for former prisoners, he is identified in XXVI, 515n.

6The commissioners on Nov. 9, 1778, had requested an account of Leveux’s disbursements (XXVIII, 68). BF, who received news of his appointment as sole minister on Feb. 12, expected to handle correspondence more efficiently than the commissioners had done: XXVIII, 522.

7Jean Rousseaux wrote from there on Feb. 12, and from Dunkirk on Feb. 28 (XXVIII, 514–15, 636–7), demanding prize money for his participation in the cruise of the Lexington.

8BF was unaware that his friend was a British secret agent as well as a speculator on the London stock market: XXIII, 64n.

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