Benjamin Franklin Papers

Edward Bancroft to William Temple Franklin, 20 March 1779

Edward Bancroft to William Temple Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Chaillot 20th. March. 1779

Dr. Sir

Mrs. Bousie whose Husband is in London,6 has sent to desire me to apply to Dr. Franklin for a Passport for a Vessell called the London Packet Capt Mariton of 70 Tons Burthen, with 6 men, bound from Calais to London. It seems the French & English Governments have consented to Let this Vessel carry a cargo of French Wines from Calais to England, & Mr. Sartine has given her a Passport, but to be quite safe They also want one from the American Minister. How far the Doctr. properly can or may chuse to Comply with this application I do not Know,7 but beg you will be so Kind as to mention it & inform me of his Answer by the Bearer. I am Dr. Sir your most Obedt. Humble Servant

Edwd. Bancroft

Addressed: Monsieur / Monsr. Franklin Fils / a Passy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The husband is William Bousie (Bousic?), a merchant who supplied Silas Deane with 294 l.t. of wine between January and April, 1778: Deane to Bousie, APS. He also served as a cover for the British agent Isaac Van Zandt (alias George Lupton [XXV, 180n]) to receive mail in Paris: Stevens, Facsimiles, II, no. 179, p. 6. An unsigned note dated only “Saturday” links Bousie with some London acquaintances of BF. A Mr. Dumont, who had written BF in 1777 (XXIV, 61), carried a letter (now missing) and brought greetings from a Mr. Sargent and a Mr. Chambers. The former must have been BF’s old friend John Sargent, and the latter his partner in the merchant firm of Sargent, Chambers, and Co.: VII, 322; XIII, 295.

7The commissioners had granted such passports immediately at Sartine’s request (XXVIII, 153, 174–5, 180), but BF apparently here proved more cautious; see Bancroft’s next letter to WTF, printed under March 21.

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