Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Elias Boudinot, 23 August 1783

From Elias Boudinot

Two ALS:5 American Philosophical Society

Princeton August 23d 1783.

Dear Sir

Having a Nephew (Mr John M. Pintard)6 connected with the House of Mr. John Searle & Co Mercht: in Madeira,7 who has earnestly requested an Introduction of this House to your Excellency, I do myself the honor of complying with his desire, as from my long Knowledge of the Character of Mr. Searle, I am certain any Services you can with propriety render the Company, will be extremely well placed, and will be conferring an Obligation on me; as their extreme attention to those American Prisoners who have been carried into that Island, and their singular attachment to the american Cause, when in the midst of our Struggles and difficulties,8 render this Notice of them but a Payment of Gratitude for their disinterested Services—

I have the honor to be with every Sentiment of Respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt & very Hble Servt

Elias Boudinot

His Excellency Dr. Franklin &c

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5One of which (doubtless the one Boudinot marked “Duplicate”) was enclosed in John Marsden Pintard’s letter of May 16, 1784 (APS).

6John Marsden Pintard was the son of N.Y. merchant Lewis Pintard, who imported Madeira wines, and Susanna Stockton Pintard, the sister of Boudinot’s wife, Hannah. The elder Pintard sent his son to Madeira to establish a branch of the business. He was there by at least the fall of 1782, when Boudinot promised to intercede in getting him appointed consul; on Boudinot’s advice, he had been active in assisting American prisoners put on shore. In April, 1783, he wrote to John Jay petitioning the American peace commissioners to appoint him acting consul and mentioning a nowmissing letter he had written to BF (to which he had not received a reply) about a group of American prisoners: ANB and DAB, under Lewis Pintard; Morris, Jay: Peace, pp. 526–9.

Pintard was elected as American commercial agent in Madeira on Oct. 31, 1783 (JCC, XXV, 779–80). He remained there until 1786, then returned to New York, where he received a new appointment as American consul in Madeira in June, 1790: W. W. Abbot et al., eds., The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series (16 vols. to date, Charlottesville and London, 1987– ), III, 216–17n.

7Boudinot and other members of Congress, as well as George Washington, did business with the firm: Smith, Letters, XX, 255–6; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, II, 398–9, 412–13; XXVI, 448, 450–1. John Searle’s younger brother James, who had spent several years with the company, was the Pa. agent whom BF had met and recommended in 1780: XXXIII, 63, 287, 380, 385, 413. Their mother was a Pintard: DAB, under James Searle.

8The duplicate ALS uses “Distress.”

Index Entries