From Richard Bache: Two Letters
(I) and (II) ALS: American Philosophical Society
Philadelphia Novr. 2, 1779
Dear & Hond. sir
I did myself this pleasure, under different dates by the Frigate Confederacy, that sailed about a Week ago having on board Monsr. Gerard & Mr. Jay as Passengers— I now inclose you second Bills for another years Interest of your money in the loan office, amounting to 486 Dollars— I hope the safe arrival of the first Bills will render these useless—5 Sally and the Children are well, they join me in love & duty. We beg to be remembered to Temple— By a Gentleman lately out of New-york, we hear that his Father is well—6 I remain ever Dear Sir Your affectionate son
Addressed: His Excellency / Dr. Benjamin Franklin / Minister Plenipotentiary from the United / States of No. America at the Court of [deleted: Versailles] / [in another hand:] a Passÿ pres paris
Endorsed: Presented 26. Decr 79.—
Philadelphia Novr. 2, 1779
At the request of my Friend Mr. Mease,7 I take the Liberty of introducing to your Civilities the Bearers Mr. Robert Carson8 & Mr. Robert Gray,9 Gentlemen that have lived long in this State and have approved themselves good Citizens; they return to Europe upon a scheme of business, & may probably stand in need of passports from France to Holland or elsewhere; any services you can render them in this, or any other line, will greatly oblige Dear & Hond: sir Your affectionate son
Addressed: His Excelly. / Dr. Benjamin Franklin / Minister Plenipotentiary from the United / States of No. America at the Court of / Versailles / Favored by / Messrs. Carson & Gray
5. Bache had enclosed the bills with his Sept. 18 letter (XXX, 363). The Confederacy sailed for Europe on Oct. 26, carrying Conrad-Alexandre Gérard, the former French minister to the United States, and John Jay, American minister designate to the court of Spain: XXX, 358n.
6. In late 1779 WF was busy making proposals for the use of Loyalists, proposals which, however, were largely ignored by the British government: Sheila K. Skemp, William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King (New York, 1990), p. 238.
7. Probably the same Mr. Mease with whom Sarah and the Bache children had stayed while fleeing the British; she told BF she had been treated while there as “a Sister and a Friend” (May 2, 1780, APS). We believe this was James Mease (XVI, 116n), then the clothier general of the continental army. He and RB were fellow members (RB, an honorary one) of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick or Irish Club, as well as of the Republican Society (which RB chaired; it favored revising the Pennsylvania constitution). A lesser possibility is James’s brother John, a merchant, and like James a founding member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick: John H. Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and of the Hibernian Society … (Philadelphia, 1892), pp. 32–4, 47–8, 121–2. Two of John and James’s brothers, Matthew and Robert, have appeared in our pages: XXIII, 103n.
8. Undoubtedly the Philadelphia merchant Robert Carson or Carsan who found his way to Strabane (in Ulster), birthplace of the Mease brothers: Luthrop Withington, “Pennsylvania Gleanings in England,” PMHB XXVIII (1904), 461; Campbell, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, pp. 104, 121–2.
9. This probably was the Robert Gray who was part-owner of a popular garden and inn at Gray’s Ferry on the Schuylkill and was a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick: W.A. Newman Dorland, “The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry,” PMHB XLVI (1922), 73–4n; Campbell, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, p. 113. We have found no record, however, of his traveling to Europe. On January 5, 1782, BF gave a passport to Lorient to a Robert Gray: “List of Persons to whom Passes have been given in the Year 1782”, APS.