Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Royal, 31 March 1782

From William Royal3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

March 31st. 1782

Honour’d Sir

I humble hope your Goodness will excuse the freedom of one who is intirely a Stranger to you, of troubling you with a few lines, tho I have great reasons to believe by my Parents letter to me was inclos’d under Cover of a letter thay sent to your Excellency,4 that you was no stranger to them I have made bold to write to your Excellency by their desciption of your generous Disposition to assist any one that was a Native of america. I have made bold to send you a letter inclose’d to my Parents hoping you will be so generous as to forward the same to them I am the Son of one Mr. Royal Deceas’d, Whose widow married Mr. John Dixon who is now living in Williamsburgh and who i dont [doubt] by a letter that I receiv’d a little time ago you was personlly acquainted with. [Torn: I m]ake no doubt but you are well acquainted with the Reason of my being in England, which if my Parents have not acquainted you with, I came to St. Thomas, Hospital to be Cut for the stone and as I was in England my Mother Consented I should be sent to my Father in laws own Mother5 which a bout two Years ago I had the misfortune to lose, which as she was the only friend I had in these parts, I am now in great distress and knows not how to get home, tho my Parents has desir’d me to make Applycation to you but was Intirely ignorant which way I should proseed to get a letter convayd to you untel a friend told me he was sure I might send a letter safe by the Way of Ostend which accordingly I have done, and the letter I have sent to my Parents in Answer to theirs I have left unseald for your Perrusal in case you should dispute the truth of what I have inserted and I hope you will be so kind as to forward the same to my Dear Parents whome I long to be with and dont in the least doubt but I should before now had I had as thay desired but I had not Whearewithal to have Cum to you when I receiv’d thair letter as thay said you would upon their Account let me have what was necessary for the Voyag I have nothing more to add only to this obligation if you should be so very Good as to add one more to one whose Parents I am sencible has the highest veneration and Respects for you so I Conclude Hond. Sir Your most humble Servant6

Wm Royal

Addressed: To / The Right Honourable / Doctor Frankling Minister / Plenipotentiary for the United / American States / at / Paris

Notation: Royal Mr Wm. March 31. 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Though he spells his name differently, William was the son of the late Joseph Royle (d. 1766) and Rosanna Hunter Royle, and the stepson of John Dixon. Royle and Dixon were successive editors of the Virginia Gazette and both known to BF. Dixon had written on the youth’s behalf in 1780; see XXXI, 394, and the references cited there.

4The only extant letter from either of his parents during this period is the one cited above.

5By father-in-law he means stepfather. Dixon’s parents lived in Hull: XXXI, 394.

6The letter he enclosed, no longer with BF’s papers, may have been forwarded to Virginia.

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