Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Bernard Dehez: résumé, 1 January 1780

From Bernard Dehez6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Saint Sebastian, January 1, 1780, in French: I refer to Capt. Conyngham who had given me his word of honor that he would stand surety for the outcome of his trial, whatever it was. Messrs. Gardoqui and Messrs. La Goanere from Coroña7 were to do the same in case the War Council in Madrid disapproved the freeing of Conyngham’s five crewmen.8 But I never heard from him nor from you, who have authority over him, so that, unable to deposit the necessary retainer, I had the door slammed in my face when the case came to trial. I could have brought it to a successful conclusion, but because Conyngham did not live up to his word of honor, the sentence, as you will see by the enclosed copy, is a blow to our Commandant général9 who had only tried to be of help. He has been condemned to a fine of two thousand piastres. Please order Conyngham to reimburse this unfortunate man about whom I feel guilty for having persuaded him to help your cause. Messrs. Gardoqui tell me they have written to you a while ago but received no answer.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6A merchant from San Sebastián who had been watching over Conyngham’s interests in a case involving one of his prizes, the brigantine Gracieux: XXVI, 498n; XXX, 131–2.

7Both of which firms had assisted Conyngham when his ship, the Revenge, was in Spain: XXIV, 529–30.

8These crewmen had been needed to man the Gracieux’s pumps: XXV, 411.

9The marqués de Bassecourt, Comandante de Marina for the province of Guipúzcoa: Yela Utrillo, España, I, 406; see also our XXV, 430–1; XXVI, 498.

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