Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Torris and Francis Coffyn, 18 June 1779

To John Torris and Francis Coffyn

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, June 18 1779.


I received the Letters you did me the honour of writing to me the 20th. of May and The 8th. Instant.4 I did not immediately forbid Capt. Merchant’s intercepting the Dover Pacquets supposing that if they were protected by this Governement, he would, on their showing him their Passports, discharge them, and if not protected there would be nothing improper in taking them.— But as I now understand that such an Interruption of the Correspondence between the two Nations would be disagreable to the government as being prejudicial to Commerce,5 I do here by desire you would acquaint Capt. Marshal, that he will not be contenanced in that Entreprise that if he should take any of the Pacquets they will not be condemn’d to him, and that he is strictly for bidden to meddle with them. With much Esteem I have the honour to be, Your most obedient et most humble Servant


Mr: Torris or Mr Coffin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4BF’s copyist apparently mistook “28” for “20”; Torris’ letters were dated May 28 and June 8. He also miscopied “Marshal” for “Marchant” and (possibly) “or” for “&” in the inside address line.

5See Baudouin’s letter of June 17 and BF’s response of June 18. The Black Prince missed the packet on her June 12–22 cruise: Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, pp. 33–41.

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