Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Oliver, 4 March 1779

From Richard Oliver7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London March 4th 1779

Dear Sir

I shall very shortly embark for the West Indies where my affairs require my presence, and I shall depart with three or four select friends. If with propriety your name can be given to them and myself, to assure good personal treatment should the fate of War make us Prisoners, I shall deem my Convoy most sufficient under its sanction.

I do not desire either for my friends or myself any favour respecting property; for in war that of individuals should depend on general Laws, & I never desire that mine either in war or peace, should be favoured by partial exemption, altho’ I shall always be happy to exercise & to receive the good offices of humanity.8

Our friend Benjamin Vaughan thinks my request is not improper:9 I therefore desire to be obliged to you, and for no reason so much as because I am, with the most perfect esteem and all sincerity of respect, Dear Sir Your most Obedient and most Humble Servant

Richd Oliver

Notation: Richar Oliver Londres 4 March 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Born in Antigua, the M.P. and former alderman of London (XXII, 13n) had withdrawn from politics at the end of 1778 and was returning to the West Indies to look after his estates: Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 225.

8BF’s letter on behalf of Oliver, addressed to all American captains and commanders of warships, is below, March 11.

9Vaughan had served as a go-between for Oliver and BF before. He had recently written WTF seeking information for Oliver on the brother of a friend fighting with Burgoyne: Feb. 2, 1779, APS.

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