Benjamin Franklin Papers

William Castle: Petition to the American Commissioners, 22 June 1778: résumé

William Castle: Petition to the American Commissioners

DS: American Philosophical Society

<[Bordeaux, before June 22, 1778:3] Your petitioner came from Ireland to Bordeaux, to obtain American papers for his voyage home with a cargo. The French authorities seized my ship because it was under British colors, and will probably confiscate it unless the government intervenes.4 The vessel belongs to me and my brother; we bought it to go to America. Many Philadelphia gentlemen know us, including John Ross at Nantes. If you do not help us we shall be ruined by losing everything “that we have bin Long plowing the Oacen for”; God knows what will happen to our family.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Joy Castle apparently came to Paris by himself, leaving his brother in Bordeaux, and brought with him two petitions. They are in the same hand, with the same heading, and differ only in the idiosyncrasies of spelling. Joy signed one, to which John Adams added “Passi June 22. 1778” and Peter Amiel affixed his signature as witness; this is published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 230–1. The other, which we summarize, William must have signed in Bordeaux. The brothers came abundantly recommended to the commissioners: William by Samuel Tucker to Adams on May 25 (ibid., p. 230 n), Joy by William McCreery to Silas Deane as early as March 31 (APS), and by the Bryans above on May 25 and Bondfield on June 14.

4On the 22nd the commissioners obtained Joy Castle’s oath of allegiance, attested by BF (APS), and the next day wrote Sartine to ask that the ship, the Jane, be released; on the 26th the Minister complied. See below. Castle next appears in his letter of Oct. 2, 1778.

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