Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Nathan Rumsey, [9 December 1776]

From Nathan Rumsey5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Monday, 12. O’Clock [December 9, 17766]

Most respectable Sir

The Wind being favorable for Capt. Wicks has prevented my Setting out for Quiberon Bay this morning as proposed, least my Journey should be in vain; but should he not be in by tomorrow morning, think of setting out.

Mr. Penet and Self beg your Excuse for not attending to dine with You, but our Letters intended for Cap. Rawlins7 hope will plead our Excuse, as they have engaged us this morning. We propose doing ourselves the honor of waiting on You at 4 O’Clock this afternoon. With the Utmost respect I am Esteemed Sir Your Most obedient Servant

Nathan Rumsey

Addressed: Honorable / Doct. Benjamin Franklin

Notation: Nathan Rumsey

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The son of William Rumsey of Bohemia, Md., and the nephew of Benjamin Rumsey, a Congressional delegate. Hodge & Bayard of Philadelphia sent young Rumsey to France in 1776 to purchase war supplies for Congress. He reached Paris by way of Bordeaux (where he supposedly arrived with Deane), accompanied Penet to Nantes, and then went on a tour in search of commercial contacts; British intelligence followed his movements, though it characterized him as a man of small ability. Stevens, Facsimiles, XIII, nos. 1340, pp. 3–4; 1346, p. 2; 1350, p. 2. He soon returned to Nantes, was associated with Penet, and solicited business from the Maryland convention. On his father’s death he inherited a considerable estate in Maryland, and sailed for home at the end of April, 1777. Md. Hist. Mag., LXVII (1972), 155 n; Naval Docs., III, 1103; VI, 499–500; William H. Browne et al., eds., Archives of Maryland (72 vols.; Baltimore, 1883–1972), XII, 386–7; Magruder’s Maryland Colonial Abstracts,. . . 1772–1777 (reprint; Baltimore, 1968), no. 101; JW to the commissioners below, April 28.

6The only Monday during BF’s stay in Nantes.

7Presumably Thomas Rawlins of Philadelphia, who had been plying for some time between America and Nantes; see for example Naval Docs., VI, 1079.

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