Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Emery, 17 April 1779

From John Emery7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Bilbao 17 Aprl. 1779


I yesterday recd. the Inclosed Letter from Capt. Sargent Ingersoll of the Saucy Jack, Cutter belonging to Mr. Nat Tracy of Newberry Port & myself—8 by the Capt. Declaration his Vessell Was taken too Nigh the Shore to be a legal prize & Genl. Oriley9 gives the Capt hopes of recovering her again, tho from the Spirited manner in which the court of Spain have made demands of this sort I confess I have no great hopes myself, yet would not Neglect aney Opportunity of saving my own & partners Intrest should it be convenient to your Honor to mention the affair to the count de Arranda.1 Perhaps she may be recovred. I expect to Embark onboard Cap. St Barbe2 for Newberry Port Next week & shall leave this affair in the hands of Messr. Gardoquis who will also write you on the Subject,3 aney assistance you may think proper to afford them will be ever gratefully acknowledged by Sir Your Most Obt. HI. Servt.

Jno Emery

The prize mentiond was the Fly Cap Penny beloning to Pool4 which arrived safe & Sold.
Honble. Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

Notation: Emery Jn. April 17. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7A Newburyport merchant now residing in Bilbao, where he was associated with the merchant firm of Gardoqui & Sons: XXV, 499n. This is BF’s last extant letter from him.

8In the enclosed letter, dated April 6 (APS), Ingersoll explained that after being pursued by three vessels he anchored a quarter of a mile off the coast. He abandoned ship except for three men, who had orders, if the pursuers proved British, to cut the ship’s cable, enabling it to drift ashore. When they failed to do so, they and the ship were captured. Nathaniel Tracy (1751–96) sent 24 privateers and 110 merchant ships to sea during the Revolution (DAB).

9Gen. Alexander O’Reilly (XXVI, 467n).

1Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, conde de Aranda, the Spanish ambassador at the French court (XXII, 468n).

2Wyatt St. Barbe was a Newburyport ship captain associated with Tracy: Charles H. Lincoln, comp., Naval Records of the American Revolution 1775–1788 (Washington, D.C., 1906), p. 466.

3On April 17, Joseph Gardoqui & Sons wrote BF, enclosing the present letter and asking his help for Emery. They promised to forward any intelligence they received from Ingersoll and reported they expected ships from America to arrive any day. APS.

4I.e., the port of Poole on the south coast of England. The prize was a brig bound for Ireland that Ingersoll had captured and sent to Emery.

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