From William Barton1
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Philada. May 31st. 1783
Altho’ I am, personally, an entire Stranger to your Excellency, you may perhaps recollect the late Revd. Mr. Barton,2 a Clergyman of Lancaster in this State, whose Son I am.
Permit me, Sir, to introduce to your Notice as an American, the Bearer of this, my Brother Matthias Barton; who has resided some Time at L’Orient, as a Merchant, in Copartnership with a Nephew of Mr. Macarty of the House of Cuming and Macarty.3
I beg your Excelly. will pardon this Liberty, which I should not take, if my Brother’s Character would not bear the strictest Scrutiny: My own Name is, I beleive, not unknown to some Americans at Paris.
I have the Honor to be, With the highest Respect, sir, Your Excelly’s. most obedt. hble. servt.
Addressed: His Excelly. / Benjn. Franklin, Esqr. L.L.D. / Minister &c. &c. / Versailles. / Mr. M. Barton
Notation: Barton May 31. 1783
1. Barton (1754–1817), a lawyer in Lancaster, Pa., was an advocate for the revitalization of paper money and the author of Observations on the Nature and Use of Paper-Credit; and the Peculiar Advantages to be derived from it, in North America … (Philadelphia, 1781). He assisted Charles Thomson in designing the Great Seal of the United States in 1782 (XXXVIII, 152n), was elected to the APS in 1787, and published a biography of his uncle David Rittenhouse in 1813: Milton Rubincam, “A Memoir of the Life of William Barton, A.M. (1754–1817),” Pa. History, XII (1945), 179–93; Morris Papers, IV, 38n; VI, 46; Maeva Marcus and James R. Perry et al., eds., The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800 (8 vols., New York, 1985–2007), I, 188n.
2. Thomas Barton: VI, 24n.
3. Matthias Barton (1762–1809) eventually returned to Lancaster County, where he was admitted to the bar and served in both the Pa. legislature and the State Senate: Daniel K. Cassel, The Family Record of David Rittenhouse … (Norristown, Pa., 1896), pp. 19–20; Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania … ([Chicago], 1903), p. 187. For Cuming & Macarty see XXXVII, 53n.