Benjamin Franklin Papers

Parole for Lawrence Robert Campbell, [7 December 1782]

Parole for Lawrence Robert Campbell3

ADS: American Philosophical Society

On December 6 and 7 Temple and Franklin were faced with an unusual situation: writing paroles for five British army officers who had been captured at sea. Jonathan Williams, Jr., had taken their paroles at Nantes, where they landed, and authorized them to travel to Paris, where they would have to obtain permission from Franklin to continue to England. Four of the officers arrived at the hôtel Valentinois on December 6. Temple wrote paroles for these four, which they signed.4 He faithfully copied the language of the paroles issued by George Washington at Yorktown, copies of which Jonathan Williams, Jr., had recently sent to Franklin.5 Temple’s only alteration was to substitute Franklin’s name for Washington’s:

I the underwritten … do acknowledge myself a Prisoner of War to the United States of America; And having Permission from the honble. Benjamin Franklin Esqre. Minister Plenipotentiary from the said United States at the Court of France, to proceed to any Part of Great Britain, Do pledge my Faith & Word of honour that I will not do or say any thing injurious to the said United States or Armies thereof, or their Allies untill duly exchanged.

I do further Promise that whenever required by the Commander in Chief of the American Army, or the Commissary of Prisoners for the same, I will repair to such Place or Places, as they or either of them may require.

On December 7 the fifth officer, Lawrence Robert Campbell, arrived in Passy. This time, Franklin himself wrote the parole (the present document), adapting it to reflect the circumstances of a prisoner in France and rendering the language more straightforward.

[December 7, 1782]

I the underwritten Captain in the 71st British Regiment, having been taken Prisoner by the American Privateer the Marquis de la Fayette, Capt. Buffington, and brought into France; and being desirous of going immediately to England; do hereby promise on my Word of Honour, that I will not bear Arms against the United States of America, nor do or say any thing to their Prejudice until I shall be exchanged or absolved from this Parole. And I farther promise to render my self at such place as shall be required by any Person vested with Authority for that purpose by the Congress. Witness my hand this seventh Day of December, 1782, at Passy near Paris.—

Law Robt Campbell
Captn. 71 Regimt
 Parole given to me
 B Franklin6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Campbell was traveling with his wife; see JW to BF, Nov. 21.

4George Meggs carried an individual letter of introduction from JW dated Nov. 27 (above). He signed his own parole. The other three—Æneas Mackintosh, Lt. Archibald Campbell, and David Burns—seem to have been traveling together; see our annotation of JW to BF, Nov. 28, letter (I). WTF wrote for them a single parole, identical in wording to Meggs’s (except for the change from singular to plural). Both paroles are at the Hist. Soc. of Pa.

5JW sent the paroles (now missing) with his letter (II) of Nov. 28. The one example we have located of a parole issued at Yorktown is the one signed by Cornwallis on Oct. 28, 1781: Lee Family Papers, University of Virginia.

6The back of this sheet is entirely filled with sketches that appear to have been made by BF and, though we cannot identify them, seem scientific in nature.

Index Entries