Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from George Swaller, 21 October 1778

From George Swaller

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Denan Octor 21st, 1778


This is to inform I am and American Born in Baltimore and served my time to the say to Mr. Isaac Vanbevres Justice of Peace living upon falspoint.2 And I was taken in a Brig called the rizing States taken by the Terrible a Ship of 74 Guns belonging to the Englinsh and was sent to the Aspital being unwel from whench I made my Escape and was taken by the press Gang and sent on Board the fox where I remained untill I was taken By the Junon Frigate belonging to the French. And I take this opertunity of writing to you to let you know I want to serve my native Country as I have a Wife in Philadelphia living in Shippen Street she is the Daughter to Joseph Hunter and I was in Mr. Colwels employment during the time I lived in Philadelphia. I would have sent my Name along with the rest of the Men only I was in another Castle from them and did not know untill after they had sent it. So I take this opertunity of writing to your Honour in hopes it would answer as well. So I hope your Honour will send me home to my Country once more and no more at present from your Humble servant

George Swaller

Addressed: Mr Franklen Agent for / the United States of America / in / Paris

Endorsed: Geo Swaller Prisoner, Dinan Octobre 27. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Swaller himself has left no traces, but the names he mentions might have been known to BF. “Vanbevres” was probably a member of the Van Bebber family, who were among the first settlers of Germantown. Early in the 18th century Isaac and Matthias Van Bebber, gentlemen of means, moved to Maryland where the latter became a justice of the peace: PMHB, IV, 39–41. Joseph Hunter might have been the resident of Carlisle, Pa., whose cousin James lived in Philadelphia; BF had dealt with a James Hunter in 1757 and again in 1775, as trustee for Hunter’s children: PMHB, XXVIII, 108–9; above, VII, 99 and XX, 44–5. “Mr. Colwels” was most likely one of the many Philadelphia Caldwells.

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