Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Reuben Harvey, with Franklin’s Note for a Reply,17 Ma[y] 1783

From Reuben Harvey, with Franklin’s Note for a Reply

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Cork 17th. Ma[y, 1783]6

Respected Friend

I take the liberty to ask thy advice on the following Matter [faded: and request(?)] an answer as soon as possible. A Merchant(?) here named Stubbeman who has continued warmly attach’d to America is now loading a Ship call’d the Ann Benjn. Edmonton Master for Philadelphia which will be ready to sail in 20 days; There are about 100 poor Tradesmen & Husbandmen offering to proceed on board this Ship in order to settle in America, but they have not Money to pay their Passage, & therefore propose to indent as Servants for a certain term, as has been the custom heretofore; but my friend Stubbeman is unwilling to accept them in this manner until he has thy opinion respecting the propriety of it, least Congress may disapprove of such Men being carried out to America; I own I think that those sort of useful laborious Men will be very acceptable in your Country, & I can assure thee there is not a Convict or Felon amongst them. Thy immediate Answer will be acknowledg’d a great favour, as the Vessel will only be delay’d until it comes.7

I am with the most respectful regard Thy sincere Friend

Reuben Harvey

I have had the pleasure to receive the first consignment that arrived from the United States; viz—The Enterprize Capt Garzia from Rhode Island, She was address’d to me by a Gentn. named Charles Green a Cousin Germain of Genl. Green.8

Benjamen Franklin Esqr.

Addressed: Benjamen Franklin Esqr. / Ambassador from the / United States of America / at / Paris

Endorsed: They will go to a Country where People do not export their Beef & Linnen to import Claret, while the Poor at home live on Potatoes and wear Rags. Indeed America has not Beef & Linnen sufficient for Exportation, because every Man there, even the poorest, eats Beef and wears a Shirt.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The upper right-hand corner of the MS is torn. We base the date on the April arrival of the Enterprize, mentioned in the postscript.

7BF’s answer has not survived, but Harvey acknowledged it in his letter of July 25. The Ann sailed in late June under Capt. Edmonstone’s direction and arrived in Philadelphia in mid-August, when the various trades offered by these young men were immediately advertised: Pa. Evening Post, Aug. 14, 1783; Pa. Gaz., Sept. 17, 1783.

8Charles Greene (1753–1816), a shipowner from East Greenwich, R.I., was the son of Rufus Greene (X, 368n) and a first cousin of Gen. Nathanael Greene: Louise B. Clarke, comp., The Greenes of Rhode Island … (New York, 1903), pp. 129, 217–18. The Enterprize, said to be the first ship flying American colors to arrive in Ireland, entered Cork harbor on April 21 with a cargo of flaxseed and staves. Reuben Harvey was described as being “a gentleman well known for his firm and avowed principles in favour of the liberty and independence of America”: Boston Evening-Post and the Gen. Advertiser, June 7, 1783.

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