Joy Castle to the Commissioners
Passi June 22. 17781
Your petitioner is Come from Irland to Bordeaux to procure American papers to procead with a Cargo to America;
But the Embargo having taken place on English Vessells a few days before I arrived, I am Sized by the french as Coming In under English Coulours, and expect to be Confisticated if Your Honours does not take it Into Consideration and Lay my Case before the Ministerry; the Vessell is the Sole properity of my brother and myself, which we purchased with a Sole Intent to procead to America, I Hope Honourable Gentlemen that You will not Imagine that I Have made this a plea on Account of Saving our propertyes, far from it We have Indeavoured before to Git out to America but Miscarried in the atempt, and it was now our Sole Intent which time will prove our Sincearity for America And Service we are in Hopes of Rendering the Country.
I Refer Your Opinions to the Chariacters we always bore well knowen to many Gentlemen of Philadelphia in particular Mr. John Ross at Nantce.
And Hopes that Your Honours Humanity will Condesend to Render me every Service that Lays in Your power’s if not we are totaly Ruined as this being the whole that we have Saved that we have bin Long plowing the Oacen for and if we shoul’d be Now Confisticated God only knowes what will become of our fameilly I Reley Soley on Your Humanity And we shall ever be in Duty Bound to pray for Your Long Lifes and prosperity to all your Undertakens &c. &c. &c.
Test Peter Amiel
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Joy Castles Petition” in another hand: “June 22. 78.”
1. Place and date are in JA’s hand.
2. On 25 May, Samuel Tucker had written a letter of introduction to JA for William Castle (Adams Papers), captain of the barque Jane, who was apparently planning to come to Paris to place his grievances before the Commissioners. It was, however, Joy Castle who finally arrived at Passy to argue his and his brother’s case for the return of the Jane, probably with John Bondfield’s letter to the Commissioners of 14 June as an introduction (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). Bondfield informed the Commissioners of the Castles’ plight and commented favorably on their case. Upon receiving the petition, the Commissioners acted swiftly, writing to Sartine on 23 June (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:141–142). In that letter the Commissioners asked for the return of the Jane and stated that Joy Castle had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. description begins I. Minis Hays, comp., Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1908; 5 vols. description ends , 4:264) and that they believed the petition was legitimate. Replying on the 26th, Sartine declared that, in view of the Commissioners’ assurances, orders would be sent to Bordeaux to release the vessel (MH-H: Lee Papers). On the 27th the Commissioners issued a passport to “Joy Castle Esqr. with his family and Servants, Subjects of the United States of America,” permitting them to proceed to America (P.R.O.: H.C. Adm. 32, Prize Papers, bundle 382). The presence in the Public Record Office of “a true Copy translated from the Original wrote in French” indicates that the Jane was probably taken on its voyage to America.