Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Amelia Barry, 8 October 1779

From Amelia Barry

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Leghorn 8th Octr. 1779


As I too well know the enlarged mind which informs my revered Friend, to imagine that all private considerations are sunk in public duties, I am persuaded that you will be pleased to hear that my long and painful residence in Barbary is brought to a close,9 and that this place is fixed on for our abode, for some time at least.

As your Excellency was deaf to my most earnest, and repeated supplications, in favor of Mr. Barry,1 I have little hope of this letter being honored with notice; yet as my circumstances are less eligible than I could wish, justice to my little helpless family calls upon me to entreat your Excelly. to inform me how it will be most proper for me to act, in regard to a Proprietary Grant for a Lot of Ground in the Province of Pensilvania; The papers relating to it, were lodged in the hands of Mr. Israel Pemberton.2 I am informed that by the Laws enacted by Congress, the Property of such persons as left America before the commencement of hostilities, is not anhiliated: Will you then Dear Sir, cause one of your Secretaries to put me in a way to have the above mentioned Lot (which remains unlocated,) secured, or in what manner I may have it taken up.

I should be inexpressibly happy to hear how my revered God-mama3 & Mrs. Beache do;— Perhaps that endulgence may be granted to Sir, Your Excellency’s most obliged & faithful Humble Servant

A. Barry

His Excelly B. Franklin Esqr.
Be pleased to direct to me to the care of Messrs. Gentil & Orr Mercts. at this place.4

Notation: A Barry Oct. 8. 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9She first went to Tunis in 1766 as governess to the family of the British consul and returned there in 1774 with her husband and children: XIII, 163n; XXI, 205.

1David Barry, a ship captain whom she married in Africa: XII, 64n. She had written BF several letters about the difficulty he encountered after leaving the sea to establish a mercantile business: XXIV, 353–4; XXVI, 585–9; XXVII, 436–7.

2Apparently part of the estate of her father, the cartographer Lewis Evans (III, 48n). Most of the estate had been willed to her: Lawrence Henry Gipson, Lewis Evans (Philadelphia, 1939), p. 79. The great merchant Israel Pemberton, Jr. (V, 424n) had shared his interest in the Pennsylvania frontier; we know nothing of the lot.

3Deborah Franklin: III, 48n. Amelia Barry did not learn of her death in 1774 until the following December: to BF, Dec. 31, 1779 (APS).

4This Leghorn firm had been forwarding her mail since at least 1769: XVI, 135; XXVII, 436–7n. BF’s answer (now missing) was dated Nov. 28, according to her reply of Dec. 31.

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