Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Gardoqui & fils, 9 October 1780

To Gardoqui & fils

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Oct. 9. 1780.


I have long been made sensible by many Instances, of your Friendship for America, & of the kindness you have Shewn to many of my Countrymen;4 I beg you to accept my thankful acknowledgements.

We have an Exchange of Prisoners here with England, which gives us Americans for all the English taken by American armed Vessels. I have heard from time to time of English Prisoners carried unto the Ports of Spain by our Privateers, but I never knew or heard what became of Such Prisoners.5

If any now remain there I shall be glad of Information, what Number there may be, & whether they could not be sent to England on American Acct. to deliver so many Countrymen confined in Prisons there.6 If it be not too troublesome for you to obtain and send me such information, it will very much oblige me.

I have the honour to be &c.

Messrs. Guardoqui & sons.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The firm had served for several years as an unofficial link between Spain and the United States: XXIII, 498–9. James (Diego) de Gardoqui (1735–1798), a son of Joseph Gardoqui, the founder of the company, was presently serving as Floridablanca’s representative in discussions with John Jay. After the war he became Spain’s first official diplomatic representative in the United States: W.W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Papers of George Washington: Confederation Series (6 vols., Charlottesville and London, 1992–97), II, 362n; Light Townsend Cummins, Spanish Observers and the American Revolution, 1775–1783 (Baton Rouge and London, 1991), p. 193.

5Generally, American-made prisoners in Spain had been released, but rumors persisted that some were still there: XXVII, 551, 575; XXVIII, 85–6; XXX, 380; Neeser, Conyngham, p. 138.

6John Bondfield and David Hartley separately had suggested the idea in 1779 and since then BF had been pursuing in vain information on the subject: XXIX, 373, 733; XXX, 94, 140, 355; XXXI, 255, 398.

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