Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel Beall, 16 September 1782

From Samuel Beall9

Two ALS and copy:1 American Philosophical Society

Williamsburg Sept. 16. 1782


At the desire of Mrs. Evans, I have taken the liberty of troubling you with the inclosed letters, and bills of Exchange for seventy two dollars, for Mrs. Loviel her daughter. You will see by her letters, which I am desired to send open to you, that she is very desirous of getting her daughter back to Virginia, and I have engaged that I will pay her passage on her arrival, which you may depend I will do to the commander of any Vessel that will receive Her.—2 I have the honor to be, sr. Your mo Ob st

Samuel Beall

Addressed:3 The Honble / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / Minister Plenipotentiary / from the United States of / America to the Court of France, / at, Paris.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9A merchant based in Williamsburg: “Personal Notices from the Virginia Gazette,” W&MQ, 1st ser., XII (1903), 26.

This letter concerns BF’s involvement with Ann Hudson de Lavau (also called “Loviel” and “Loviet”), who first sought his assistance in August, 1781; see XXXV, 376–7, where our overview of the story does not take note of the present letter. She must have applied to him again in early October, 1782, before he received the present letter, as he issued her a passport for Rochefort on Oct. 3 from whence he expected her to sail to America: XXXVI, 380.

1The two ALS differ slightly in wording. The copy (which is of the ALS we publish) is in BF’s hand, and is attested by him as a true copy. BF also copied one of the marriage certificates that Lavau’s mother sent from Virginia (APS). It differs from the one cited in the note below in that two additional witnesses are listed. BF may have copied these documents for Lenoir, whom he had asked to intercede in this affair: XXXV, 376–7.

2Ann Hudson de Lavau had written two letters to her mother, Ann Evans, presumably in early summer, detailing her misfortunes and mentioning BF’s assistance. Evans and a close family friend hastily wrote the answers that Beall forwarded. They both assured her that they could prove she was married, and they urged her to return home immediately. Evans sent a certificate attesting to her daughter’s marriage to Charles Loviet in May, 1780 (promising to send two others by different conveyances), and enclosed care of BF a bill of exchange to pay the passage home. The friend’s letter further explained that Evans was herself extremely ill: Ann Evans to Ann Loviet [Lavau], July 24, [1782], with a Sept. 20 postscript by James Anthony; Christiana Vaughan to Loviet [Lavau], July 24, 1782; certificate by Anglican clergyman Thomas Price, July 22, 1782; all at the APS.

Two sets of these letters were sent to BF (covered by Beall’s two ALS), as was explained to Lavau by another family friend. Evans had originally sent copies to BF by mistake, and then sent the originals at the first opportunity: Rosette Broomfield to [Ann Hudson de Lavau], undated, APS. BF forwarded one set to Lavau on Aug. 10, 1783.

3On the address sheet of the second ALS is written the following name and address: “Saudot Graveur rue de la Tannerie maison de M. Belmont”. Saudot came to Passy in December; see Pierres to BF, Dec. 14.

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