Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Pierre-François de Boy, 12 August 1780

From Pierre-François de Boy4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

from Paris the 12th: August 1780

May it please your Honour

I have Given Myself, My Petition, the 10th: of this Month, to the Minister of the Marine, I take the Liberty to Sent, to your Honour, the Copy of it,5 et I humbly Beg you to present it to him, And to favour it, With a Word too your protection.

I have lost all my things, When the British troops have taken Brunswick, I have, Also, Suffer’d Great deal in your Country, by Making the War During three years. My Commission is Bearing date the 7th. october 1776. till 9th. April 1779. in Which time the Hble: Congress Grant’d me thouzand Dollars, as Gratification, and to Defray My Expence to go to France,6 but the Ennemys have taken me prisonner (on the Brick the Eagle Captne: Ashmed) and Stol’d me &ca; having bring me to St: Kits.7

Very Much oblig’d, to your honour, to See Mr. De Sartine about this Matter, and to pray him to Employ me accordingly to My Wishes; and I Will be very Gratefull to all your kindnesses,8 I am With Great Respect Sir of your Honour the Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

De Boy
Major D’Infanterie au Service des Etats unis
de L’Amerique a L’hotel De Berlin
rue De Grenelle St. honoré

N.B. the Hble: Congress in their Journals have Written My Name, De Bois but t’is De Boy

Notation: Du Bois. Paris Augt. 12. 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4De Boy (1737–1793) was a militia captain in St. Domingue before receiving his brevet as a major in the American army. He served with Gen. Hugh Mercer in New Jersey (where he lost his effects) and Gen. John Sullivan. When he was unable to obtain a regimental posting he resigned his commission. During the last ten years of his life he went to the Dutch East Indies, became a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and, just before his death, served as a captain in a French infantry regiment: Bodinier, Dictionnaire; JCC, V, 852; De Boy (or de Bois) to Congress, March 10 and April 17, 1778, and Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, 1779 (National Archives).

5A one-page listing of his previous military postings (APS).

6JCC, XIII, 432–3, but see also JCC, XIV, 570.

7The Eagle was taken to Nevis, adjacent to St. Kitts; see Dumas to BF, Oct. 20.

8He wrote again on Aug. 24 to renew his request and volunteer to return to America (APS).

Index Entries