From Samuel Curson5
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Marseilles 16th. January 1783
I have some time had in veiw the intention of fixing myself in Lisbon, for the purpose of transacting business for my countrymen,— This seems a favourable moment, if credit is to be given to the report, of that place being lately opend, to American vessels,— Am induced to think your Excellency will be acquainted with the truth of this; my reason for troubling you with this letter;—at same time to ask your opinion, whether an American will be permitted to establish a house, where an English factory6 has so much influence.— If you think Sir! I might be assisted in my object, by the French Ambassador,7 dare say you will not deem it too much trouble to give me a line to him on the subject, with a passport, which propose to make immediate use of.—
A few days ago the Ship Hawk, Ca. Bull8 arrived here from Philadelphia,—she saild the 21t. Novr. but brings nothing new.—
I beg my best comps. to your grandson and remain with perfect respect.—Sir Your most humble and obedient servant
His Excel. Ben. Franklin Esqr. Minister Plenipoy.
Notation: Curson Saml. 16 Janvr. 1783.
5. The story of Curson’s capture by the British, imprisonment, and release in March, 1782, is told in vols. 35 and 36.
6. A trading station for merchants. The Portuguese were long-standing allies of Great Britain.
7. Jacques-Bernard O’Dunne: Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 130.
8. John Bull was from Maryland. On the return voyage his was the first American ship to call at Gibraltar since the beginning of the war: Claghorn, Naval Officers, p. 42; Pa. Gaz., May 7, 1783.