Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joshua Barney, 21 December 1783

From Joshua Barney9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Havre de Grace Decr 21st. 83.


Yesterday in Examining Sundry Packages onbd. I found one Directed to Your Excellency which I had brought onshore. It was Opened & proved [to] be Snuff & Tobacco. I really do not know who Sent it from America, but suppose you have letters respecting it it seems that there is a heavy fine of 1200 l.t. if I had been detected Bringing it onshore.1 It is now With me. Mr. Limozin2 tells me it cannot be Sent, therefore beg Your Excellys. advice in respect to it. And am Sir With due respect, your Obt. Servt.

J Barney

Excelly. B Franklin

Addressed: a Son Exellence / Monsieur Le Doctr. Francklin / Ministre Plenipotentier des Treize Etats / Unis de L’Amerique a La Cour de France / en Son Hôtel / a Passy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9This is Barney’s last extant letter to BF. He received BF’S dispatches on Dec. 30 and weighed anchor the next day in a terrible gale. He arrived at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in mid-February, but the bay being almost entirely frozen, it took another two weeks to reach Annapolis. He arrived there on March 5 and immediately delivered BF’S dispatches to Congress: Barney to WTF, Dec. 30, 1783 (APS); notation on BF to Mifflin, Dec. 25 (below); Maryland Jour. and Baltimore Advertiser, March 5, 1784; Mary Barney, ed., A Biographical Memoir of the Late Commodore Joshua Barney … (Boston, 1832), pp. 146–7.

1The importation of tobacco was a monopoly of the farmers general, and smuggling was heavily fined, sometimes on the basis of dubious evidence: XXIII, 44n, 129; XXXVII, 485–6; Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, v, 170–1.

2Andrew Limozin, American agent at Le Havre, was now Thomas Barclay’s deputy: XL, 262–3; Morris Papers, VIII, 133n.

Index Entries