Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Sartine, 8 June 1778

From Sartine

Two copies:7 Library of Congress

A Versailles Le 8 Juin 1778

J’ai l’honneur de vous communiquer, Monsieur, La Copie d’une Lettre que m’a ecrite M. Le Seurre Consul du Roi à Nice. Elle contient une demande qui Lui a été faite de La Part d’un Capitaine nommé Henri Botson qui se dit être fort connu d’un de vos Amis, et tres attaché aux E.U. de l’Amerique septentrionale. Vous etes, Monsieur, plus a portée que moi de juger des Avantages qu’on pourroit retirer des Offres de cet homme et j’ai été bien aise d’attendre votre Avis avant de repondre a M. Leseurre. Je vous serai tres obligé de vouloir bien me mander ce que vous pensez de La Proposition du Capitaine Botson. J’ai l’honneur d’etre etc.

De Sartine

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7They are virtually identical, and with both are two enclosures that explain the letter. The first is a petition to Le Seurre from Henry Botson, May 20: he is the owner and master of a vessel flying English colors, comes from Hyde Co., N.C., and is well known to Mr. Joseph Hewes (above, XXII, 449 n), who in turn is known to BF, and wants to get home at his own expense; he offers his services as a pilot. The second is an extract from the consul’s letter of the same date, which explains that Botson is about fifty-five and was born in England, but has a family and plantation in North Carolina. The war caught him in England, whence he tried unsuccessfully to get home. When he brought his ship to the Mediterranean he heard of the Franco-American alliance, and learned that the King had instructed his consuls to aid U.S. ships and mariners. Now he wants passage on the first French warship.

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