FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN.  1706-1790.

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Lot 3432
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.

Sold for US$ 16,730 inc. premium
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790.
FRANKLIN ON PRIVATEERS.
Autograph Letter Signed (“B. Franklin”), retained draft, 1 p, legal folio, Paris, January 12, 1784, to Baron de Blome, Envoy Extraordinary from Denmark to the court of France, regarding a vessel captured by American privateers, annotated and signed at upper margin by W.T. Franklin, January 21, 1815, page lightly toned, left margin trimmed, center crease, mounting remnants at upper margin of verso, very fine.

Franklin served as U.S. Minister to France from 1776 to 1785, and drafts this letter to the Danish Minister to France regarding the capture of a vessel by American privateers.
In part: “The Underwritten Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the Court of France, acknowledges the Receipt of the official Representation sent to him to 21st of November by his Excellency the Baron de Blome, Envoy Extraordinary from his Danish Majesty at the same Court, respecting the Capture of a vessel called the Providence, by the American Privateer Hendrick, together with the original Papers accompanying the said Representation; Having perused the said Papers, he returns them as desired; and he has forwarded the Representation to his Sovereign the Congress, who he doubts not will in Respect to his Danish Majesty take the same into immediate Consideration, and do therein what shall be just & right….”
This document refers to the capture of the brig Providentia, a merchant ship owned by Quaker colonist and loyalist Richard Vaux, but registered to St. Thomas (and thus subject to the Danish crown). In 1781 the Providentia set out from London on an ill-fated voyage to St. Thomas laden with hosiery, silk, thread, gowns, and other luxury goods. On October 26, 1781, the Providentia was overtaken by the privateer Hendrick, commanded by Thomas Benson. Vaux, who was on board the ship at the time, recorded the voyage and hijacking in his diaries. He eventually made his way to safety, and after his return to England, launched a campaign to recover his losses, either from his insurance company, or (as this document attests) from the government of the United States.
The inscription at the top of the page is from Franklin’s grandson, William Temple Franklin, and reads as follows: “Rough Draught of an Official Note, from Dr. Franklin to Baron de Blome; being entirely in his own handwriting. Given to James Wolf Esq, by the Doctor’s Grandson, W.T. Franklin / London 21st Jany 1815.”
See illustration.
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