Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Edward Newenham, 11 May 1779

From Edward Newenham3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Geneva 11th May 1779


I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that I have this day, received a Letter from my worthy Friends Messrs: Folsh and Hornbostel of Marsailles, enclosing a Copy of his Excellencys the Count de Vergenne’s Letter to the Marquiss de Pilles Governor of that City, granting me and my Sons permission, at your recommendation, to remain there;4 having been constantly travelling ever since, I could not receive that favour Sooner, or I should have acknowledged the particular honour—

I remained at Marsailles, as long as I possibly could without creating a Diffidence or Distrust in Government; having assured the Gentlemen there, that I would not desire to Stay longer, than the Time, I might possibly receive a Letter of Leave; when that Time elapsed, I left that City with much regret; for I would not on any account be even looked upon with a Jealous Eye or Suspected of acting an unworthy part in a Kingdom, where I and my Sons had received accumulated favours—

Permit me to take this earliest opportunity to return Your Excellency my most Sincere thanks for the honour you did me, & to assure you, that you should not have received any discredit from mine or my Sons Conducts, and that your worthy Countrymen shall always receive a reciprocal friendship from me; The warm parts I took in favour of the Liberties of the united states of North America, are well Known in Ireland and England; The Journals of our Parliament record parts of them, by the Motions I made; and many of your Excellency’s Countrymen have felt my Love for them; Your Friendship will, if Possible, add to my former marks of regard to such of your Brave, Worthy and Virtuous Countrymen, as the fortune of War may render my Country a place of their Temporary Residence— Accident, only, prevented my being in that Land of Freedom last December; having agreed with Captain Smith of Chesnut street in Philadelphia, master of the Ship Resolution, for my passage with my Eldest Son; being determined (if I live) to settle part of my Family in the Jerseys or Pensylvania—5

After a Tour through Italy with my Sons, whose health is re-established, I am now on my Journey to Ireland through Germany, and mean to take my Passage from Ostend or Calais, May I Entreat your Excellency will grant me, My Sons and one Servant a Protection against any American Ships of War that may meet the pacquet Boat in which we sail, and to add to that honour, by obtaining me & my Sons the like favour from his Majesty, in Case of meeting any of his Ships or Vessels of War in our passage from Calais or Ostend to England, & from England to Ireland.

I flatter myself that your Excellency will excuse the trouble & Freedom of this Letter, and you may rely upon my not disgracing your favour; I hope to be honoured with an Answer, directed to Sir Edward Newenham, Poste Restante, Ostend, where, I hope to be in about 14 Days—6

I have the Honour to be, Sir, with Every sincere mark of Respect & Regard Your Excellencys Most obliged & most obedient Humble Sert.

Edward Newenham

Notation: Eduard Newenham Geneva 11. may. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The opposition member of the Irish Parliament had written from Marseilles in January seeking BF’s assistance in obtaining license to stay in that city for the benefit of his sons’ health: XXVIII, pp. 330–1.

4A year earlier J.C. Hornbostel, a merchant in partnership with his father-in-law, the Swedish consul Fölich, had identified himself to BF in a letter applying for a consulship in Marseilles: XXVI, 212. The marquis de Pilles is listed in the Etat militaire for 1779, p. 36.

5A year and a half later, Newenham again told BF that he intended to settle in America; he said that he had shipped his belongings in 1777, but was prevented from sailing to New York when the Irish revenue commissioners detained the ship (Nov. 6, 1780, APS).

6BF suggested that Edward Bancroft meet with Newenham at Ostend; see our annotation of BF’s letter to Bancroft, May 31.

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