Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Andrew and David Gallwey, 5 June 1780

From Andrew and David Gallwey8

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Nantes 5 June 1780.

The proofs we have of the writer of the annex’d letter & his companys good dispositions towards our american friends, the many attempts they have made to serve them, some of which have been attended with great success & a firm persuasion of their good wishes for that country to which they are so strongly attach’d that they have fix’d a resolution to retire thither with their familys & fortunes as the times permit, induce us to trouble your Excellency & to sollicit the grant of the favor they demand.9

Mr. de Sartine & his predecessors in all the wars since the year 1730 granted us Passeports for these same friends by which means large importations of provisions for the navy have been made and considerable exportations of the produce of this kingdom to the great advantage of its trade.

Tho’ we have not the honor of being known to your Excellency, we flatter on enquiry from the minister of the marine or the Director general you’ll think we are not unworthy of your confidence.

Mr. Ross who is kind enough to present this to your Excellency, will give you any other information you may think proper to take on our account.

We have the honour to be with great respect Your Excellencys Most obedient & devoted Servs.

Andw: & Dd: Gallwey

His Excellency Benj. Franklin Esqr.

Notation: Papers relative to the Passport given to Christ. Sheridan going from Ireland to settle in Ama1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Members of a Jacobite family from Cork that settled in Nantes. In 1732, merchant David Gallwey had formed an association with William Ellis: Meyer, Armement nantais, pp. 107, 112; Richard Hayes, Biographical Dictionary of Irishmen in France (Dublin, 1949), pp. 100–1. In 1789 another Gallwey, John, also an established merchant in Nantes, was recommended to Thomas Jefferson as a man of absolute trustworthiness and a friend to America: Jefferson Papers, XIV, 588–9.

9The enclosure was an unsigned abstract of a letter written from Dublin on May 5: three vessels fitting out to carry salt, linens, and hardware to Virginia need passports. Would the Gallweys ask BF to provide passes for Christopher Sheridan, Richard Sheridan, and John Macabe, or if three letters are not possible, then only one for Christopher Sheridan? BF should be willing to grant this request, as the parties have already served his friends. The answer should be sent under cover of John Brown. On May 22, the anonymous “firm” followed up its letter with a second, more urgent appeal, also addressed to the Gallweys: their “M. C” is determined to emigrate to Virginia before next September, and will swear an oath of allegiance on arrival. A copy of this letter (Hist. Soc. of Pa.) was forwarded to John Ross, who brought it to Paris and forwarded it to BF: Ross to WTF, June 16, APS.

1BF issued a passport for Christopher Sheridan on June 25. Only a letterbook copy survives, and that has blanks left for the names of the ship and captain, the crew size, and tonnage. Library of Congress.

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