Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ann Ourry, with a Note from ——— Fagan, 16 May 1783

From Ann Ourry, with a Note from —— Fagan

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Kinsale May 16th—1783—

Your Excellency After a Seperation of More than Twelve Years, And immersed as You have been in business of the highest Importance, deciding the Fate of Great and Mighty Kingdoms, Will doubtless find it difficult to recall to Your remembrance the Daughter of Your late sincere & Worthy friend Lewis Ourry: But even tho’ You shou’d not, I well know the philanthropy of Your Nature, Studies No less the Felicity of Individuals, than the Happiness of Nations. If this shou’d be so fortunate as to reach Your Hands, it Will be accompanied by a Certificate, which will Make You Acquainted With My Dear Mothers, & My Situation And my Motive for troubling You with this.4 I am certain You need no other inducements than the long Friendship that subsisted between Your Excellence, & My Dear & ever Honor’d Father, & the impulse of Your own Humane disposition, to Serve his Injured, & Unfortunate Family. & there are very Many, & some of the first Consequence in Paris, (to Whome Were our Case known) Wou’d be Happy to second the Grateful Wishes of the poor prisoners. Mrs. Ourry tenders You her Most respectful Compliments. & I must beg Your Acceptance of those, of, Sir, Your Excellencies Most Obedient And very Humble Servant

Ann Ourry

[In Fagan’s hand:] M. Fagan who had been named Commissary General for the French Prisoners on the breaking out of the war takes the Liberty of Informing your Excellency that he has had this poor womans memorial backed by his Excellency the Count Adhemar and that he has certifyed the husband’s humanity and her distress. Lond June the 6th. 17835

Addressed: To / His Excellency Benmn. Franklin / Paris

Notation: Aury 16 May 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Capt. Lewis Ourry and his family, old friends of the Franklins (VII, 62–3n, and subsequent volumes), had moved from Scotland to Ireland in 1774. In 1778 Ourry was appointed commissary of prisoners at Kinsale; he died there of a fever in April, 1779: Donald Cornu, “Captain Lewis Ourry, Royal American Regiment of Foot,” Pa. Hist., XIX (1952), 261. The enclosed certificate is unlocated, but in a subsequent letter Ann Ourry—who had received no reply from BF—explained the circumstances of her father’s death and related the financial difficulties that had befallen her and her mother: Ourry to BF, Jan. 27, 1785, University of Pa. Library.

5Fagan had been involved in the exchange of prisoners between France and England since 1778: XXVII, 482, 485; XXXI, 354n. He may have known Ourry during the latter’s tenure at the Kinsale prison (also called the “French prison”), which housed foreigners brought into Ireland: James Coleman, “Antiquarian Remains and Historic Places in Kinsale District,” Jour. of the Cork Hist. and Archaeol. Soc., 2nd ser., XVIII (1912), 133–6; C. J. F. Mac-Carthy, “The American Prisoners at Kinsale,” ibid., XCIV (1989), 49–50.

Jean Balthazar, comte d’Adhémar de Montfalcon (1731–1791), was appointed the French ambassador to the court of St. James’s, c. May 14, 1783: DBF; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 118.

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