Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Sir Edward Newenham, 13 November 1782

From Sir Edward Newenham

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Marsailles 13 Novr 1782


I should have done myself the Honor of writing to your Excellency before this, but waited for my Letters, in hopes of having some Irish Politics to acquaint you of, but have not received any thing very interesting, except, that Lord Temple is more assiduous and more prodigal in offers to Corrupt the Parliament than any of his Predecessors, and the British Ministry are determined to push the raising of 5000 fensibles—9

After a most agreable tour through Different parts of this Kingdom, we arrived here on Fryday; we came by water from Lyons to Avignion—

We were unlucky at Lyons, at not having any acquaintance, and all your friends for whom we had Letters, were absent from the City & not Expected to return for some time;1

Here we are settled for one month, but the Ladies wish to retire to the Town of Hieres [Hyères], where the Climate is warmer & living much Cheaper, but I could not appear, but in an Awkward situation near the Town of Toulon, except your Excellency could procure me Letters of Introduction to the Commander there,2 which you may rely upon, shall never be disgraced nor betrayed by me or any of my family; I am told that I could get a Chateau near Hieres for very moderate terms—

Enclosed I have the honor to send you a Letter for your Perusal, and if approved of, you will please to sail it & send it to the post—

My Pen cannot describe the warm respect which Lady Newenham, my Son & I have for your Excellency & your Grandson; it might possibly be Equalled, but cannot be excelled; it is a Respect formed by the purest motives and of the most permanent Nature, as it has originated from an Impartial and Critical observation on the Principles and Conduct of those Concerned in the Important Transactions between America & Britain, and when I can convey to Ireland the Valuable Present of your bust, by some Bourdeaux Vessel bound to Dublin, Posterity shall know our sentiments, as I shall have many Models made with proper Inscriptions for the Pedestal—

That your Excellency & your worthy Grandson may enjoy perfect health & happiness, & that the states of America may hand down the firmest and most Soverign Independance to their latest Posterity is the most fervent Prayer of Sir your most Obliged and most Obt: Humble Sert

Edward Newenham

PS— Could it be done with Propriety, I wish my respects Could be presented to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes for the Letter he honoured me with to the Marquiss of Pilleu—3 all my family Join in sincere respects & Esteem—

Addressed: To / His Excellency Dr: Franklin— / Passy / near / Paris

Endorsed: Sir E Newenham

Notation: Newenhan 13 Novr. 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, Earl Temple (XXXVII, 299n), was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland on July 31, 1782, and assumed his duties in September in Dublin, remaining only until the following June: DNB; Maurice R. O’Connell, Irish Politics and Social Conflict in the Age of the American Revolution (Philadelphia, 1965), pp. 358–361. Temple ignored Newenham’s offer of cooperation: James Kelly, Sir Edward Newenham MP, 1734–1814: Defender of the Protestant Constitution (Dublin, 2004), pp. 179–80.

1Among the people they had hoped to see was M. Fay de Sathonnay, commandant of Lyon, to whom the abbés Arnoux and Chalut had evidently written (see their letter of Oct. 14). Fay de Sathonnay wrote to the abbés on Oct. 31 from his château at Sathonnay, outside Lyon, saying that he hoped to find Newenham when he returned to Lyon after the Feast of St. Martin, Nov. 11. The abbés forwarded his letter to BF on Nov. 4; both letters are at the APS. BF and WTF dined with the abbés on Nov. 12, in company with JA, Chalut de Vérin, Ferdinand Grand, and others: Butterfield, John Adams Diary, III, 53–4.

2Newenham worried that his “Constant appearance in the Uniform of an Irish Volunteer, might be misinterpreted,” unless he had proper introductions: Newenham to WTF, Oct. 13, 1782 (APS). The naval commandant at Toulon was Louis de Fabry de Fabrègues (1715–1794): DBF; [Didier Neuville], État sommaire des archives de la marine antérieures à la Révolution (Paris, 1898), p. 135n.

3Through Lafayette’s offices, Newenham obtained letters of introduction from Vergennes to the governors of Toulon, Brest, and Marseille. (Vergennes had done a similar favor in 1779: XXIX, 471.) Toussaint-Alphonse de Fortia, marquis de Piles (or Pilles), was governor of Marseille, and he and his family socialized with the Newenhams during their stay: Newenham’s journal, 1782 (National Archives of Canada); Dixon Wecter, “Benjamin Franklin and an Irish ‘Enthusiast’,” Huntington Library Quarterly, IV (1940–41), 216–17; Dictionnaire de la noblesse, VIII, 386; DBF under Fortia de Piles; Etat militaire for 1782, p. 37.

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