From Edward Newenham
Bell Champe near Dublin
August 12th 1786
May I presume to solicit your friendship in obtaining the wish of a whole family; Viz.; to have one of them honoured by the Congress of American Patriots—The idea originated with my Son—he is so good and virtuous a young Man, that I can boldly assert, he never will dishonour any confidence reposed in him—he has been warm in yours and your Countrys cause from the beginning; his future life is fixed at Marsailles, where his fortune is vested; his third Sister is married there—he wants no sallery—it is the honor he solicits for.1
I cannot express how anxious I am to obtain his wish—the mode I have adopted is novel but it occurred to me as the most respectfull; I have acquainted Doctr Franklin and Mr Jay with this affair, and had time been allowed, I am confident that the Marquis De Fayette would write most warmly in our favor, but as this is the only opportunity, of a safe conveyance, that I can have for some time, I could not delay it—the Ship Dublin Packet Captain Alcorn, sails tomorrow, for Philadelphia, and this will be committed to his care.2
Copy (extract), PPAmP: Franklin Papers; copy, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters. The copy of the extract in the Benjamin Franklin Papers was enclosed by GW in his letter to Franklin of 3 Nov. 1786 and was endorsed by GW: “Extract of a letter from Sir Edward Newenham to Geo: Washington.”
1. Newenham’s fourth surviving son, Robert O’Callaghan Newenham (1770-1849), belonged to the Marseilles trading firm of Folsch and Hornbostel. Margaretta (Marguerite) Newenham (1760-1843) married François Philippe Fölsch von Fels, the consul for Sweden at Marseilles, in January 1783.
2. Newenham wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 10 July 1786 asking that Franklin intercede with Congress to secure for his son Robert O’Callahan Newenham an appointment as United States consul at the port of Marseilles. Newenham wrote Franklin that he had invested for his son: “all his [son’s] fortune in the Trade of that rising City, where he will spend the rest of his Days.” Newenham expanded on his son’s qualifications for such an honor and pointed to his own support of and aid to the American cause during the war. Newenham wrote to Franklin again at this time, on 12 Aug., enclosing a letter from Lady Newenham extolling her son, and letters from himself to the president and members of Congress. On 21 Nov. 1786 Franklin forwarded to John Jay these letters and the extract of GW’s letter, with a noncommittal covering letter, copies of all of which are in DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters. GW may have received in Newenham’s letter to himself of 12 Aug. copies of Newenham’s petitions to Congress which Franklin forwarded to Congress (see GW to Franklin, 3 Nov. 1786). For GW’s subsequent correspondence with Newenham about this matter, see his letters to Newenham of 10 Mar., 20 April, and 25 Dec. 1787.