Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Warren, 7 March 1782

From James Warren9

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

7th March. 1782


Having affairs to settle in Philadelphia several of my friends have advised my going over for that purpose, I therefore take the liberty of requesting the favor of you to give me such credentials as will insure my reception, and a permission to remain there till I have adjusted every thing between Mr. Hare1 & myself, the term for which we engaged having expired long ago. I will name a circumstance which you are probably not acquainted with, & which I should suppose likely to secure me a favorable reception.

A short time before the evacuation of Philadelphia I accidentally heard of a design formd for seting fire to that City, just as the last body of Troops were crossing to the Jersey Shore. This I communicated to General Grey,2 in consequence of which an order was given to that General to take the command of the Troops employd to Man the Lines, the night preceding the final evacuation, and afterwards to March them down to Glocester Point, so that no part of them came near the City, by which means the threatned danger was averted. These particulars I communicated to several People now in Philadelphia some days before the order was carried into execution, so that the fact can be incontestibly proved. I will beg the favor of you to put your answer to my application under a cover directed

Mr Thomas Willson

Cannon Coffee House

Charing Cross


I hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken in giving you this trouble.

I am Sir Your Most Obedient And Most Humble Servt

James Warren

Addressed: His Excellency B. Franklin Esqr / Paris

Notation: James Warren 7. March 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9This is the only extant letter from a man we assume is the wine merchant who had been BF’s neighbor on Craven Street, and who had extensive business dealings with JW: XIX, 33n; XX, 292.

1Robert Hare, a Philadelphia brewer, identified in XX, 141n.

2Maj. Gen. Charles Grey, who went to America in 1776 and participated in the Philadelphia campaign. He was given a stolen portrait of BF during the British evacuation: DNB; XXVII, 89.

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