Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Benjamin Putnam, 28 December 1782

From Benjamin Putnam

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris, l’hotel Danemark, Rué Jacob.
Decr. 28th. 1782.

Honble. Sir,

I feel hurt at the thought of troubling you so immediately— my forgetfulness of yesterday & Engagements today, must be my Appology for the Occasion & Mode. I am bound for North Carolina; in my Passage, I shall take the Circuit of New-Providence from Expectations of procuring by Purchase, or Address a Clearance of a Cargo of Tobacco from that Island to Europe; and which Papers, I shall take into Carolina with me; & which, as the Gulph Stream Sweeps that Shore, will Effectually protect my Vessel, she being under the Imperial Flag, in her Return to France. Any Assistance Sir, you’ll please to give me to facilitate my Success in this, should it be but a bear Certificate to the Governor, of my being a Subject of the United States, will be acknowledged with warm gratitude.

Should I not be able to see Mr. Chardon, Mr. Ridley has very politely offer’d to take my Affairs into his Charge, & carry on any necessary Prosecution which their nature may require: Permit me Sir, in this Case, to entreat your Excellency’s Counsel & Protection; as thro you, alone, neither Mr. Ridley or myself can only be known, in the one Case, in which, Congress has interfer’d. And which appears to me only to be necessary to be regularly laid before the French Court in order to obtain Decision; & restore to me, my Property.5

I am Sir, with every Duty & Respect Your Excellency’s most Obedient and most Humble Servant6

Benjamin Putnam.

His Excellency Doct. Franklin

Addressed: His Excellency Doctor Franklin, / Minister Plenipotentiary to the / Court of France, / Passey

Notation: Benj. Putnam Paris Decr 28. 1782

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5WTF had recently introduced Putnam to Daniel-Marc-Antoine Chardon, the procureur général of the conseil des finances pour les prises en mer (XXIX, 164). Putnam wished to rebut testimony given by French naval officers to the conseil des prises on the legal ownership of the schooner Terrible and to appeal a decision of the Guadeloupe Admiralty Court. Congress had supported this appeal in a resolve passed in September, 1779. Ridley agreed to represent Putnam’s interest in the matter of the Terrible: XXXIV, 369–70; WTF to Chardon, December, [1782] (APS); Putnam to WTF, [Jan.] 7, 1783 (APS).

6Putnam sailed from Bordeaux in January, intending to return to settle his affairs once the papers for his claim could be sent from Guadeloupe. He told WTF that the comte d’Estaing had promised to support his case if the conseil des prises ruled against him: Putnam to WTF, [Jan.] 7, 1783 (APS).

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