Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Stephen Marchant, 14 March 1779

To Stephen Marchant7

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy. March. 14. 1779


I recd. yours of the 27th of february requesting a Commission.8 I had before written to M. Demont d’hyver,9 that it was not in my Power to grant his Request untill I had recd. fresh Orders from Congress.

But as it is easy for that Gentleman now in Time of War to obtain a Commission for you from the Admiralty of France, I wish you would explain to me why you desire rather an American one.1 I am Sir, your humble servt.


Capt. Steph. Marchant

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7A prospective privateer captain; see Taverne Demont Dhiver’s letter of March 10.

8XXVIII, 627.

9On Feb. 28: XXVIII, 628.

1Such a commission could provide better protection for the crew if captured; Marchant eventually manned his privateer with a number of Irish smugglers, who could more easily pass as Americans than as Frenchmen: William B. Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, pp. 24, 28–9, 93–4.

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