Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jesse Taylor, 21 November 1778

From Jesse Taylor

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Belfast 21t. November 1778


Inclosed is a memorial the Substance of which may already Reached you,7 in a personal Interveiw with Sir Edward Newenham who promised before he Left Ireland that when he would have the honour of Waiting on you to Lay before you our Wishes—8 We thought Best in the Body of our memorial not to mention any names to the memorialists, Least your Excellency would have Occation to shew it in some offices where Confidence may be abussed. But if Nescesary, it was Resolved to Request your Excellency to Insert my name Before the Memorial was shewn— Besides this Protecttion thus applyd for it might be Serviceable to the Intrist of america, were several Coppys sent over to this Country, and in hands of some frend to your Cause in whome you can confide—Leaving him the Liberty to fill up the Blanks Left for the names in Case of other adventurers Requiring them, and of these I think their will be a Great multitude from this Country, who but anxiously waite for some mode being pointed out to them how they may avoid some of the presant danger of such a voyage—

Should your Excellancy not approve of the methode pointed out in the memorial for Conveying the Protecttion to me—or do you know of any safer methode of Conveyance your Excellency will be so kind as to adopt it;9 I have the honor to be Sir your Excellancy’s most obt. Servt for himself and others

Jesse Taylor

Addressed: To / His Excellency / Doctor Franklin / Versailes

Received & forwarded the 23 feb. 1779. by your Obed. humble Servt per Bastiaen Molewater & Son of Rotterdam—addressed M Ve. Tassin & fils a Paris1

Notation: Jesse Taylor. Belfast 21. 9bre. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The memorial, unsigned and in Taylor’s hand, states that a group of Protestants from Belfast had in October charged a gentleman to represent to BF their desire to escape “a corrupt and wicked administration” and settle in America with their families “to Injoy the Blessings of civil and Religious Liberty without insult, and Commerce without Restraint, of Brittish Laws.” They are saddened by the obstacles which stand in the way of reaching the land “where freedom and vertiue Dwell” and would like to set an example for fellow countrymen. In case their request for protection does not get communicated, they beg to represent themselves. To prove their sincerity they are prepared to meet any requirement set by the state they settle in and to submit to all laws in force against the enemies of that state. APS.

8He failed to keep his promise. Newenham introduced himself on Jan. 2, 1779, but did not mention the petitioners until BF asked him directly about them on May 27. It is true that they had written to him before he left Ireland, Newenham replied, but he hesitated to “hazard [his] Character by recommending them.” BF to Newenham, May 27, 1779, in WTF, The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin . . . (2 vols., London, 1817), I, 37–8; Newenham to BF, June 25, 1779, APS.

9The memorial instructed that the reply be sent via Bastien Molewater & Sons of Rotterdam, as this letter had been. BF answered on March 18 (Library of Congress), and his draft of a passport is among his undated papers in the APS.

1Bankers in Paris. See Lüthy, Banque protestante.

Index Entries