Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Watson & Cossoul, 20 August 1782

From Watson & Cossoul

LS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Nantes 20th Augt. 1782


By request of Mr. Laurens we have prevailed on Capt. Hardy to make application thro’ your channel for the releif that his necessitys claim, as an unfortunate prisoner in the Service of our Country. As Mr. Laurens inguages himself to become responsible to indemnify you to the Publick, we Sincerely hope you will make the necessary advance as soon as possible. Mr. Laurens will write you on this Subject.8

We are most respectfully Your Excellency Most Obedt. Sts.

Watson & Cossoul

His Excellency Benja. Franklin Esqr. Passy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8We have found no letter from Laurens to BF. Hardy himself wrote BF on Aug. 19, above. BF evidently turned down Hardy’s request, prompting Elkanah Watson, Jr., to write WTF on Sept. 6, from Paris, with a plea to reconsider (APS).

Watson had come to Passy on Sept. 5 with the hope of obtaining a passport from BF and traveling to England on the Calais-Dover packet to pursue business concerns. BF initially denied his request and tried to discourage him from risking the trip. Some days later, however, he granted the passport. (The form was filled in by WTF on Sept. 7 for travel to Calais or Ostend. APS.) Watson’s journal gives the reason for BF’s reversal: “I go with strong assurances of personal security, as Mr. Vaughan has plac’d in my charge an important packet for Lord Shelburn, which I stand pledg’d to deliver in person the moment of my arrival in London. I afterwards learn’d it was on account of these dispatches Dr. Franklin yielded his assent”: Elkanah Watson Papers, Journal B (1781–1820), New York State Library, Albany, N.Y. For Watson’s mission to Shelburne see the headnote to Lafayette’s Sept. 12 letter, below. BF also gave Watson letters to deliver to Priestley, Price, and Burke: Winslow C. Watson, ed., Men and Times of the Revolution; or Memoirs of Elkanah Watson … (New York, 1856), p. 141.

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