Benjamin Franklin Papers

Franklin: Discharge of Cornwallis from His Parole, 9 June 1782

Franklin: Discharge of Cornwallis from His Parole

Press copy of LS, copy and transcript:1 National Archives; copies: William L. Clements Library,2 South Carolina Historical Society

Given at Passy, this 9th Day of June 1782.

The Congress having by a Resolution of the 14th. of June last, impower’d me to offer an Exchange of General Burgoyne for the honourable Mr Lawrens then a Prisoner in the Tower of London, & whose Liberty they much desired to obtain;3 which Exchange tho’ proposed by me according to the said Resolutions,4 had not been accepted or executed, when Advice was received that General Burgoyne was exchang’d in virtue of another Agreement5 and Mr Lawrens having thereupon proposed another Lieutenant General, viz Lord Cornwallis, as an Exchange for himself, promising that if set at Liberty he would do his utmost to obtain a Confirmation of that Proposal:6 And Mr Lawrens being soon after discharged and having since urged me earnestly in several Letters, to join with him in absolving the Parole of that General,7 which appears to be a Thing just and equitble in itself, and for the honour therefore of our Country; I do hereby as far as in my Power lies, in virtue of the abovementioned Resolution or otherwise, absolve and discharge the Parole of Lord Cornwallis given by him in Virginia; setting him at intire Liberty to act in his Civil or Military Capacity, untill the Pleasure of Congress shall be known, to whom is reserved the Confirmation or Disapprobation of this Discharge, in Case they have made or shall intend to make, a different Disposition.

B Franklin
Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States
of America at the Court of France.

1The LS is in WTF’s hand. The copy, made by L’Air de Lamotte, was received by Congress on Sept. 18. According to a notation, it was referred to a committee consisting of delegates Ezekiel Cornell, James Madison, and John Rutledge.

2Which is in Shelburne’s papers along with a memorandum of Oswald’s (summarized in our annotation of BF to Oswald, June 11).

3XXXV, 221–2; JCC, XX, 647–8.

4XXXV, 594. See also XXXVI, 13, 279n, 300–2, 326–7, 371, 621n.

5See Laurens to BF, April 7.

6See Oswald to BF, June 5.

7Laurens to BF, April 30 and May 17, above.

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