From James Bowdoin
Boston April 23. 1778
Mr Robt Temple, at whose request this is written, waits on your Excy to procure the favour of your assistance in the Settlement of his Account against the united States. He would be glad also to be favoured with your permission to go to Ireland, where he has friends and connections, and where he can employ himself to the advantage of his family in the farming way. He found his Farm at Charlestown in So ruined a state, that it will require a great length of time, and great expence upon it to put it in a condition to answer the purpose of supporting his family: and it would be again, if the enemy should attack Boston, so much in the centre of military operations, that he would have reason to expect that all his expence upon it would be lost.1 He is desirous therefore of going to Ireland with his family: where, he tells me he can procure accommodations for them on one of the Several Farms, of which he had the offer of Leases on advantageous terms, when last there. I give yr Excy joy on the good news from France, & the effect it appears to have had on the british ministry.2 Wishing most ardently that yr operations in the ensuing Campaign may be crowned with Success I have the honour to be with the most perfect Esteem Sir Yr Excellency’s most obed. hble Servt.
ADf, MHi: Bowdoin-Temple Papers.
1. On 17 Aug. 1776 Temple was given GW’s permission to land at New York and proceed to Massachusetts. Soon after, on 23 Aug. 1776, Congress received a letter from Harriot Temple seeking compensation for the destruction of trees on Temple’s farm for the use of the Continental army, and on 28 Aug. it ordered “a just compensation” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:699, 713). According to Robert Temple’s memorial to Congress, sent from Philadelphia and dated 26 Feb. 1779, the commission appointed in consequence of that resolution agreed that he should be paid more money (DNA:PCC, item 41). On 6 Mar. 1779 Congress concluded that a balance of £4,202 was due Temple and ordered him paid (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:288–89).
2. Bowdoin is referring to the news of the French treaty of alliance, which had reached Boston on 20 April. In announcing the treaty, the Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, 20 April, indicated that Lord North’s bills renouncing taxation and offering a peace commission were a consequence of British concerns about the alliance.