From Nathaniel Falconer
ALS: American Philosophical Society
portsmouth Febuarey the 20 1775
This will inform you of my being detaind hear by Contrarey winds. I have been two Days out but obliged to put back. The Sloop manawar that has been under sailing orders Some time for Boston is Still hear wind bound as my Self and Capt. Lawrence.4 If you or mr. williams Should have aney occation to write by me please to Direct to me at the Fountain portsmouth. There is a ship Called the Lovely Lass Capt. waid that will Sail for phila in about three weeks. I Shall be Greatley obliged to you Sir if aney new phamlets Should Come out before She Sails you would Send me Some by her which Shall be Greatfully Repaid with thanks. My Compliments to Mrs. Stevenson and mr. williams. I am Dear Sir yours Sincerely
[In the margin:] By Capt. Devonshier arrived hear from phila Left it the 6 of Januarey the Ship Brittania hewston Late Dickson was Savef arrived with the Norfoulks Gentelmen.5
Addressed: To / Docter Franklin / at Mrs Stevensons / Craven Street Strand / London
4. The sloop was H.M.S. Falcon. She had received her sailing orders on or about Jan. 23, and she carried Dartmouth’s momentous letter to Gage of the 27th, which precipitated the march to Concord. She had left Portsmouth on the 31st, been forced to put back in mid-February, finally sailed a few days after Falconer wrote, and delivered her letter on April 16. Lloyd’s Evening Post, Jan. 23–25; Whitehall Evening-Post, Jan. 31–Feb. 2, Feb. 23–25; London Packet, Feb. 17–20; Carter, Gage Correspondence, II, 183. Falconer in the Mary and Elizabeth, and Capt. Effingham Lawrence in the Earl of Dunmore, had left Deal on Feb. 5. London Chron., Feb. 4–7.
5. This marginal note is a small mystery. The “Norfoulks Gentelmen” were the Westleys, Foulgers, and Rants, whose arrival on Jan. 27 Bache announced in his letter above of the 31st. They doubtless came in the Britannia, Falconer’s old ship, which had been for a time J. Dickson’s and was now Thomas Houston’s; she was at Deal at the end of November, 1774, and arrived in late January: Pa. Gaz., Dec. 1, 1773; London Chron., Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 1774; Pa. Gaz., Feb. 1, 1775. Capt. Samuel Devonshire, in the Harriot, did clear Philadelphia in early January and reach Portsmouth in mid-February: Pa. Jour., Jan. 4; London Packet, Feb. 13–15. Hence he could not have reported that the Norfolk families were “Savef arrived” in America weeks after he himself left for England, although he might have spoken the Britannia in mid-ocean and learned that they were on board.