Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Shanly, 28 May 1777

From James Shanly1

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris May 28th 1777

Honored Sir

From maney Solicitations Of The frinds To the Congress In Irland, And My Own Intentions To Serve In the Defence Of Liberty And My Contrymen In Amerrica Induced Me To Leave Irland for that Purpos About Six Weeks Ago And I Should Have been Here Long Ago To Weait On Your Hons. Onely I was Taken Ill on The Roade Which Retarted My Jorney A good Deale. You May be Asured That there Is A great Deal of Stedfast Frinds To Your Cause In Irland And That Of The Best Sort Onely That They Dar Not Declare Them Selves Openly And I Should have Large Packetts for You from that Contry But It Would be Dangerous Careying Them In Those Times. However When I have The Honor of Seeing You I will Informe You Of Some Of Them. What Made Them press Me So Much for This Jorney Was That As The Store [story is] the Most Of Your Want Is Offisers That Understands Disipling And They Depending On My Abilletys In That Case. As I was A Quarter Master In Sir Jas. Caldwells Light Dragoons from The Raising of Same Till the General Reduction In 63 When I was put On half pay. I was The Man that Disiplined That Corps I Allso Was Quarter Master And Adjutant for Eight Years In The 8th Dragoons General Seviarn2 Which Is Quartered In Irland And Onely Quit Them A Verey Short Time Ago. Rickemendations I have from both Regements As I Tould Them I was Going To Serve under Generl. How In New York, Which I can Show You. There Are Allso Maney people More That Would Come On the Same Arant [Errand] Onely Weaiting for My Answer To no what Incoragement I Should Get. I Should be Sorey To Attempt Aney Thing But what I was Throughly Master of, And Hopes To be Able to Convince The Gentelmen That Will place Aney Confidence In Me That I Shall Discharge It To the Utmost Of My Power. As To My Knowledge in Disipling I will Ingage That Time Shall Show It To there Sadisfaction. I am Honored Sir With The Greatest Respect Your Most Obedient Humble Servant

James Shanly

P:S I have Travled Upwards of Five Hundrett Miles on the Above Arant To Gether With passing Two Seas, And Onely My Intention ware well poynted for the Provencial Cause. I Apale [appeal] To Your Hons. Would I Under Take Such A Jorney Which Was Atended With A Good Deal of Expence &c. &c. &c. I Shall Make bould To Call for An Answer. As I Came To be at Your Honos. Disposial I am Content To What you please.

Addressed: To / Doctor Franklin

Notations: James Shanly Paris 28 may 1777. / Direct to Mr. Kirman College of Lumbard Rue des Carmes

1This offer to serve in America differs from those summarized above, pp. 25–36, in that it elicited a small response. Shanly went to Passy to keep an appointment with BF, but did not find him at home and left a note, dated merely “Thusday,” to say that he would call again the next day: APS. He presumably wrote on Thursday, June 5, the day when BF drew for “James Shanley, who came to me with a Message from some Friends of America in Ireland, 20 Crowns towards his Expences”: Waste Book. These were in all likelihood the expences of his journey from Ireland, for we have found no evidence that he crossed the Atlantic.

2For Lieut. Gen. John Severn or Severne see the Gent. Mag., LVII (1787), 644, and for Sir James Caldwell Burke’s Peerage (15th ed.), p. 153.

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