Benjamin Franklin Papers

Thomas Simpson to the American Commissioners, 3 July 1778: résumé

Thomas Simpson to the American Commissioners4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Brest, July 3, 1778: Thank you for your interposition on my behalf. Captain Jones has released me from prison to sail for America, but holds me suspended until a court martial summons us to meet face to face. I enclose a copy of my parole. Immediately upon my release I inquired of Mr. Williams at Nantes about vessels bound to America; several are bound to the southern states, which are too far from my native New Hampshire for me to afford the journey, especially since I’ve received no wages as yet. Mr. Cutler5 writes that Captain Whipple has offered me passage in the Providence, providing that she is bound for the northern states. I await his word, and can always sail with Captain Niles, who arrived this morning.6>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 255–6. John Paul Jones’s former first lieutenant had been imprisoned for supposedly disobeying orders while commanding one of the Ranger’s prizes.

5Samuel Cutler, an escaped prisoner who had reached Paris the previous November, was employed in JW’s counting house in Nantes. See XXV, 171 n; JW to Congress, Sept. 10, 1778, APS.

6Robert Niles, commander of the Spy. The ship brought the ratified treaties; they reached the commissioners on July 8 and on the 9th JA wrote that the news gave “universal Joy to this Court and Nation.” See XXVI, 539; Butterfield, John Adams Diary, IV, 148. Simpson asked Niles on July 4 to represent his case to the commissioners in Paris. APS.

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