Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Ferdinand Grand, 23 May 1780

To Ferdinand Grand

Copy:7 American Philosophical Society

Passy May 23d. 1780


Pay to W.T. Franklin ten Louis d’Ors he having advanced the Same by my order to Several American sailors to assist them in getting to LOrient Vizt.

To Bury [Benj] Taylor 48 l.t.
To Benj Carr. 48
To Ch. Herbert 48
To Joseph Plummer8 48
To James Tille 24
To Frank Foster9 24

Charge the Same to the publick Account of sir Your humble servt1

Sigd. B. Franklin

To M. Grand Banker in Paris

Notations by William Temple Franklin: sign’d W.T. Franklin / Copy of an Order on Mr. Grand.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7In the hand of Henry Grand.

8The first four names on the list were members of Thomas White’s crew on the Alliance who had come to France at BF’s direction; see BF to White et al., May 10. Charles Herbert recorded in his journal that on May 23, 1780, the sailors each received two guineas (48 l.t.) for travel to Lorient, their board was paid, and they received a pass: A Relic of the Revolution … (Boston, 1847), p. 242. BF’s Cash Book reflects the payment of their “Acct at the Inn” (31.6 l.t., “omitted” at its proper place but recorded on June 11), and the printed passport he issued them on May 23, valid for one month, is made out to “Joseph Plummer, Charles Herbert, Benj. Carr & Benj. Taylor, matelots de la Frige. l’Alliance allant à l’Orient.” Ernest Merrill (Bronxville, N.Y. [1956]).

That document is the earliest known example of the second Passy passport variant. (See XXX, 181–2, for the first variant and a brief history of the forms.) The type is identical to the first Passy passport, but BF added a single rule border along the sides and across the top. Two other examples of this printing have come to light; their dates are Sept. 11 and Oct. 8, 1780. Randolph G. Adams reproduces the last example, classifying it as “Livingston 31b,” in his article, “A Passy Passport,” The Journal of the Rutgers University Library, V (1941–2), facing p. 8.

9Promissory notes from both Tillee (or Tilee) and Foster are at the APS. See the Editorial Note on Promissory Notes, at the beginning of this volume, where Foster is listed as having received what may have been an additional sum on May 27. Only the present payment to him is listed in the Alphabetical List of Escaped Prisoners.

1At some point, probably in 1780, BF printed a blank draft on Grand for money to assist the bearer, “lately from Prison in England,” to return to America. A few of the blank forms survive; they are at the APS and at the Yale University Library.

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