From Benjamin Guild9
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Nantes March 5. 1782
His Excellency Dr Franklin,
About six weeks past I arrived at l’Orient from Boston. Since my arrival I have purchased a Brigantine at private sale in l’Orient and wish to dispach her immediately for Boston. Should therefore be much obliged to your excellency for a passport, that, as she is American property, she may go under the American flag.
Her dimensions are 50 feet keel, 18 feet beam, and 9 feet in the hole; carries four guns; is called the Count de Noailles, Wm. Chace,1 master.
Should your Excellency see fit to give a passport2 please to enclose it to M. Monistrol3 postmaster at l’Orient. Should any charges attend it I hope for the pleasure of waiting upon your Excellency in person after a few days and shall be answerable for all expence arising from it. As the Brigantine will be ready for sea immediately I should have made this request before had I not expected the pleasure of doing it in person.
I left all friends well at Boston; am chargd with particular respects to your Excellency from Mr Williams, Mr Bowdoin, Dr Cooper &c.
I am with great respect and esteem your Excellency’s most obedient and very humble servant
His Excellency Dr Franklin.
Addressed: His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqr / Minister Plenipotentiary for the / United States of America / residing / at / Passy.
Notation: B. Guild 5 Mar 1782.—
9. Who had returned to Boston in November, 1781, from an earlier trip to France: XXXII, 334n; XXXIV, 264; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, XVII, 165.
1. Before “Wm.” the word “Capt” has been erased. This probably is the William Chace in Claghorn, Naval Officers, p. 52.
2. We do not know whether BF did so. This is the only extant letter from Guild, who was involved in fitting out a Boston cutter named the Swift in 1783: Charles Henry Lincoln, comp., Naval Records of the American Revolution, 1775–1788 (Washington, D.C., 1906), p. 472.
3. He forwarded a packet to BF the previous July. We read his signature as “Monistros,” although it could also be read as “Monistrol”: XXXV, 261.