Hezekiah Ford to the Commissioners
Pinboeuf , June 30th. 1778
By Capt. Turner, who left South Carolina the Beginning of May, I have the Happiness to communicate the following Intelligence; which he received, in his Passage to this Place, from one of the Prizes. About the middle of last Month, two Privateers, belonging to the State of Connecticut, but last from Boston; the one mounting twenty, nine pounders; the other Sixteen 6’s, fell in with two British Letter of Marques; the one burthen 5’00 Tons, and mounting twenty 9’s: the other upwards of 4’00, and mounting Eighteen 9’s and 6’s: Both loaden with dry Goods, and bound to the West India’s. An Engagement commenced; which proved very obstinate: But at length, through the Bravery and Intrepidity of our Officers and Seamen, they were both made Prizes of, after receiving considerable Damage on both Sides.1
In a former Letter,2 I took the Liberty to inform you of my Intention of returning to Virginia by Mr. Ross’s Schooner: But in this, I am detered, through the Information, brought by Mr. Turner of the Number of Cruisers, now on this Coast: So that unless you are disposed to honour me with the Care of Letters, to His Excellency, the Governor of Virginia, or to the President of the Hon. the Continental Congress, (in either of which Cases, I shall think myself in duty bound to execute your Orders, though they should be attended with inconceivable Danger) at present, I think it most advisable for me to continue with the Frigate; “to share her Glories, or to die in the Attempt.”3 I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen Your very Humble, and Obedient Servt.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr H. Fords Letter”; in another hand: “30 June 78.”
1. The Connecticut privateers Oliver Cromwell and Defence took and sent into Boston the ships Cyrus, 500 tons, and the Admiral Keppel, 400 tons (Boston Gazette, 25 May, 3 Aug.).
3. This was the frigate Providence. Ford, however, apparently changed his mind again and decided to risk passage on a smaller vessel, perhaps one owned by John Ross (see letter of 25 June, above). Ford’s fears were apparently justified, for on 21 July he wrote to the Commissioners and informed them that the “small Cutter” on which he had sailed had been captured and taken into Jersey and that he was planning to make his way back to Paris (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).