Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Charretié, 2 December 1780

From John Charretié

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Hôtel de Tours, Rue du Paon le 2d. Decbre. 80.


I take the liberty to Send you the Report from de Committee of the house of Commons relating to the French and Spanish prisoners.5 If you Will condescend to peruse it, but espeacially the 49th page you Will find that the Memorial Which I had the honour to present to you6 is exactly agreeable to the truth.

If thro’ your good offices and Kind interest I am happy enough to obtain the Agency for, or the Inspection of the prisoners in Great Britain it Will be an additional pleasure for me in the Society of your Worthy friends in London to be enabled to declare to them my obligations to you and the gratitude I owe you.

I have the honour to be With the greatest Respect and Veneration Sir Your Most humb. & obt. Servant

John Charretie

M. Bousie7 desired me to request that you Would be so good as send the four bills of Exchange by the Bearer.

Addressed: Sir B: Franklin.

Notation: John Charritié. Hotel de Tours Decr. 2. 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Resolutions of the House of Commons upon the Report made from the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Health of the Prisoners Confined in the King’s House, at Winchester; and the Proceedings of the House Thereupon (London, 1780). The report exonerated the British from responsibility for a “distemper” leading to sickness and death among Spanish prisoners confined at Winchester. It also praised the work of Dr. James Smyth (DNB) in reducing the severity of the outbreak of this “Fever of the Gaol Kind.” Several pages of the printed resolutions are among BF’s papers at the University of Pa. Library.

6In this undated five-page “Mémoire,” Charretié describes himself as a Frenchman who had been a merchant in London for ten years. His compassion for French and Spanish prisoners was awakened by visiting his brother, an imprisoned merchant ship captain. He holds local officials rather than the British government responsible for the bad lodging and nourishment provided to the prisoners, citing Smyth’s mission to Winchester as an example of British good intentions. He praises the French and Spanish governments for their help, but believes they must appoint an agent to visit the hospitals and prisons and watch over the prisoners. He himself has made such visits since the beginning of the war and he volunteers his services. Hist. Soc. of Pa.

7Possibly the merchant William Bousie (or Bousic): XXIX, 175, 185n.

Index Entries