Benjamin Franklin Papers

Franklin: Certificate for the Capricieuse, [14 May 1783]

Franklin: Certificate for the Capricieuse2

D (draft):3 American Philosophical Society

[May 14, 1783]

To Persons4 in Authority in any of the United States of America

The Imperial Ship the Capricieuse, burthen about 350 Tons, Commanded by Capt. Simpson being bound from Trieste to Philadelphia, or some other Part of the United States,5 with Merchandize, but being uncertain what Port she may make; I hereby request that you would on his Arrival, favour the said Capt. Simpson with your Protection & Advice, for the Benefit of the Voyage & the Encouragement of Commerce with the friendly Nation to which he belongs.

Given at Passy this—&c

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Written in response to the preceding document.

3In WTF’s hand, with insertions by BF as indicated in italic type, and emendations as noted below. The wording is adapted from a certificate BF had written in 1777, which he characterized as a “General Recommendation of Ship & Cargo”: XXIV, 478. On the first line of his draft of that certificate, BF crossed out the name of the ship and substituted “Imperial Ship the Capricieuse.” Our predecessors were unable to explain this change (XXIV, 478n). It is now clear that BF gave this partially-emended draft to WTF in 1783 and asked him to draft a new certificate for the Capricieuse, which he then revised (the present document). A French translation of the now-missing fair copy, dated May 14 and indicating the full complimentary close and signature by BF, is in the Hofkammerarchiv, Austria.

4WTF wrote “To all Persons,” copying from the 1777 text. BF deleted “all.”

5WTF wrote simply, “to the said United States.”

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