Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Cradock Taylor, 29 June 1779

From Cradock Taylor6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Aix in Provance the 29th. 1779 June


I make no doubt but by this time Mr. Frazer has acquainted Your Excerlency in what Manner I came into the British Navy but for fear he Shod. not I take the liberty to Acquaint you that I was against my Inclination taken out of a Nuteral Vessel & Compeld. to serve his Britanick Majesty.7 I Now embrace this oppertunity of Returning to my Native Cuntry America an oppertunity I long have wished for I hope your Exerlency will take my case into Consideration as I have no Friends in this place (& what is still worse no Money) but have been Oblig’d to live upon my 12 Sols per. day tho not without Contracting some Small Depts now Sir if your Excerlency will be so kind as to obtain me my liberty to Return to my Native Cuntry (which I make no doubt but you can from the Aliance betweeen France & America) it will ever be esteemed as the greatest favour that could be conferd on your most obedient & greatly Obligd. Humbl. Servt.

Cradock Taylor

[In the margin:] I have taken the liberty to send a copy of part of this letter to the French Minister—8

Addressed: aix / a Son Excellence / Monsieur Le Docteur Franklin / ambassadeur des Etat unis de / L’amerique, a la Cour de france, / à Paris.

Notation: Cradock Taylor, Aix in Provance, June 29. 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Born in Orange County, Va. (c. 1754), Taylor attended school briefly with James Madison and knew Edmund Pendleton; both men were interested in helping Taylor procure his freedom. See William T. Hutchinson and William M.E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (19 vols. to date, Chicago and London, 1962–), II, 262n, 307, 311.

7Frazer wrote Taylor on June 7. He had just learned that Taylor was among the British prisoners on parole at Aix. He remembered the young man well from King William County, Va., and encouraged him to leave the service he was in and return to America. He was confident BF could arrange things with the French minister. APS. See also Frazer’s letter of June 26, above.

8Presumably Sartine, whom BF wrote on Taylor’s behalf on Nov. 17. Library of Congress. Taylor’s plight was also the subject of an undated letter from John Penn to James Lovell asking him to interest BF in obtaining the young man’s freedom. APS. Taylor’s appeals for money and liberty will continue into vol. 30 and after.

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