Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Rawle, 26 June 1782

From William Rawle

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boulogne sur mer 26. June 1782.


It is with reluctance I give your Excellency a trouble which necessity alone could induce me to think of.

Soon after my return to Ostend from Paris,9 I was seiz’d with a violent cold and fever, which, added to the effects of a former indisposition at London, has render’d me so exceedingly weak, that I have been prevail’d on by my friends to defer my voyage to America, till I could re-establish my health; and to retire in the mean time to some place on the sea-coast; where I might enjoy the benefit of bathing; which was also strongly recommended by my physicians in England.

It was natural to prefer France to Flanders and I made choice of Boulogne on account of the agreeable society it contains, its situation on the sea and its vicinity to Ostend, from whence I propose to embark in the autumn.

As I was then ignorant of those very proper precautions, which the French government observes with regard to the residence of strangers in their sea ports, I did not trouble your Excellency for a passport or a recommendation for permission to continue here; but I now find I cannot remain without permission from Paris.1

I therefore take the liberty to request your Excellency’s assistance on this occasion as a favor of which I shall retain a lasting remembrance.

I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant

W: Rawle.

Addressed: His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqr

Notation: W Rawle 26 June 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9BF furnished Rawle with a passport for Ostend on May 8, above.

1Foreigners were not permitted to stay longer than 24 hours without permission of the court. Rawle prevailed upon the commissaire to allow him to stay until BF sent either a letter or a passport valid for what he estimated would be eight or ten weeks: Rawle to WTF, June 26, APS. Rawle remained in Boulogne until Sept. 19 and finally sailed for America in mid-November, arriving on Jan. 10, 1783: Journal of William Rawle, Hist. Soc. of Pa.

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