Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Shaffer, 12 January 1784

From John Shaffer

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris 12 January ’84./.

Sir

You was Kind Enough to honour me with your Protection in Righting to Monr Breteuel to have me sent to america wich has made an Impretion upon my gratitude wich I canot Express,4 the last line you honoured me with you Say you will Not medle aney farther with my affairs,5 to Whom Sir Can I adress my self to but you who is our Protecteur Natural, Monr. Beaumont assured me that you will Not abandon me affter the letter you Rote to Mr. Breteuel, wich indusses me to take the liberty of adressing my Self to you onst more,

It is you and Only you Sir by Righting a line to Mr Rosambo President of the Tournelle, and to Mr. Degars de Courcells my Raporteuer,6 wich will be Sufcient to draw me out of the, gouffre in wich I have Plunged my self into by my inConsequence.

Monr. Beaumont who has taken my Cause To heart desires to have a Moments interview with your Exelency, if it is agreable to Morrow morning he will do him Self the honour to wait upon you. If you Should be engaged, if Mr Temple(?) your Nevew has a moment to Spare it will answer the same End—

I have the honour to be with Profound Respt sir your Most Obedent and Very humble servant

J. Schaffer

P.S. the address of my Raporteuer Rue Hautefeuille Conseiller au Parlement

His Exelency Docter Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Shaffer also sent a note of thanks to WTF on Jan. 8: APS.

5Not found.

6The Tournelle was the criminal appeals chamber of the Parlement. Louis Le Peletier de Rosambo, one of the presidents of the Grand Chambre, was the judge in this case, according to Menier de Saint Yver’s letter described below. Augustin-Jean-Antoine de Gars de Courcelles (b. 1751) was councillor at the première chambre des enquêtes: Almanach royal for 1784, pp. 299, 310; Joël Félix, Les Magistrats du parlement de Paris (1771–1790): Dictionnaire biographique et généalogique (Paris, 1990), pp. 179–80; see also Richard M. Andrews, Law, magistracy, and crime in Old Regime Paris, 1735–1789 (1 vol. to date, Cambridge and New York, 1994), 1, 81, 89.

Menier de Saint Yver sent a similar appeal to BF on Jan. 12. His and Shaffer’s release was entirely in BF’S hands, he wrote, and BF’S silence had been interpreted as tacit confirmation of the clockmaker Couture’s deposition. Another appeal, undated, came from the baron de Lauriol-Vissec, writing from the Hôtel de Turin, rue des Grands Augustins. Admitting that he is unknown to BF, he nonetheless hopes that his letter will convince BF to help Shaffer, who is “plus malheureux que coupable” (a phrase BF had seen before: from Menier de Saint Yver, Nov. 28, above; from Shaffer, Sept. 12: XL, 619). Shaffer and his two “compagnons d’infortune” are to be judged the following week at the Parlement, and it is essential that the sentence delivered at the Châtelet be overturned. Both letters are at the APS.

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