From Walter Pollard3
AL: American Philosophical Society
Hôtel du Roi petit Carousel près de Thuilleries.
[before July 23, 1779]
The Arrival of the inclosed Letter to Mr: Pollard makes it unnecessary for Him to trouble Doctor Franklin with the Parcel intended for England. It comes from the Gentleman to whom that Parcel was directed—his respected Friend Mr: J——s,4 who had undertaken to procure, if possible, what was necessary for Mr: Pollard’s Return to his Family. How the Efforts of his Friend have succeded may be seen in his own Account. Amongst the several Persons to whom the Application was made, Mr: Daniel5 is alone accountable to the Friends & Father of Mr: Pollard, for his first & last Distresses, having unfairly witholden Supplies from Him not many Months ago, & now (in the present Alarm of the British Commerce) refusing to supply with only a Part the Son of a Gentleman to whom He formerly professed a Friendship. The others if able would unquestionably have lent their Assistance, which would not have been sollicited without the Assurance of his Father’s Ability & Readiness to repay them. This, Sir, is the Subject of this Letter; & the Pain & Uneasiness of being obliged to write it cannot easily be expressed. Mr: P. had requested of them 50£, half of which would serve to pay his Expenses, incurred since his Disappointment of Mr: Norton’s Coming to Paris6 & the other Half would supply Him to Eustatia. But He is perfectly sensible, that where this Letter is written there must be many others who doubtless have better & stronger Claims to Assistance:—& the Thought of this has long restrained Him from a like Application. However, Mr: Js. having fairly marked the Crisis (and advised to the best of his Knowlege, whatever may be the Merit of his Advise)—the Necessity is too obvious to Mr: Pollard of doing something—but how—He cannot venture to determine. His Duty to His Father (whose Sentiments & Sense of Things are the same with his Son’s) is the first Movement of his Soul; but Necessity (the Cause of which was honourable, though the Effects of it are severely felt by him, as He now finds Himself a Burthen where He vainly wished to be of Service) obliges Him to explain his Situation. He hopes there is no Impropriety in doing it in this Manner & if any Thing is obscure, & wanting a further Explanation, Mr: P will wait upon his Excellency whenever it may be convenient to give Him Notice.
Notation: From Mr Pollard no Date 1779.7
3. The young American sympathizer and would-be secret agent whom Dumas had introduced: XXVIII, 5, 22–8. On July 23, BF lent him ten louis (240 l.t.), describing him as, “a Sufferer in the American Cause. His Father is a Physician in Barbadoes.” Cash Book (Account XVI, XXVI, 3.)
4. William Jones, the eminent scholar and mutual friend of Pollard and BF: XVIII, 201n; XXVIII, 24n.
5. Perhaps Edward Daniel, a solicitor in Bristol for nearly 50 years before his death in 1818: Gentleman’s Magazine, LXXXVIII, part one (1818), 471. Pollard had stayed in Bristol (where his brother was ill) before fleeing England: XXVIII, 25–8.
6. A Virginian named George Flowerdewe Norton had been a student in London. He did come to Passy in 1779, at least long enough for BF to issue him a passport: XXIX, 513.
7. To the best of our knowledge, this is the last communication from Pollard. One of his letters (we don’t know which) was forwarded to BF by Joseph Brown, Jr. (XXVI, 455; XXIX, 134, 379), who sent it under cover of his friend WTF in an undated note. APS.