Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Mante, 14 June 1779

From Thomas Mante

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Au fort L’Eveque2 14 June 1779.


This morning the Count de Landreville3 paid to the concierge of this prison, two Guineas that he received from your humanity,4 by means of which, I am in a situation to preserve the chamber in which I am lodged, and which I trust will enable me to preserve it, till the justice of the parliament may relieve me from the most tyrannical cruel oppression that ever one man dared to commit on another.5

It is necessary to see this place, and the horrid situation from which I am extricated, to conceive a just idea of the impression that Your goodness has made on my mind: accept Sir, as this sole return that I can at present make for your bounty, the most ardent wishes that you may enjoy a perfect state of health, and that thereby you may be enabled to prosecute effectually, the great plan of restoring liberty to Your oppressed country. I have the honour to be with respect Sir, Your most obliged obedt humb servt.

DE Mante6

Notation: De Mante du fort l’Eveque 14 juin 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For-l’Evêque, the jail in which Mante had been imprisoned: XXVII, 349n.

3Innocent-Hector de Maillart, comte de Landreville, son of a lieutenant-general, now deceased: Dictionnaire de la noblesse, XII, 810–11. On an otherwise unspecified Thursday, he wrote BF from Passy asking for a brief interview—possibly to intercede on Mante’s behalf. APS.

4A June 13 entry in BF’s Cash Book (Account XVI, XXVI, 3) reads, “Charity to M. Me an able writer … 48 l.t.” At the current exchange rate 48 l.t. (or 2 louis) was worth about two British guineas. BF had aided Mante previously; see XXVII, 348.

5Mante was complaining of the comte de Boisgelin, for whom see XXVII, 348.

6He sometimes signed himself as “de Mante”: XXIII, 255n.

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