From Cradock Taylor
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Aix in Provance Augst. 20th. 1779
Your favour of the 12th Instant I Recd. by yesterdays post & have no Reason to complain of your Excellencyes good conduct in not being too hasty in procureing me my liberty as you inform me you have already been Deceivd. by more than one or two; as to my being taking out of a Portaguese Vessel & Compelled to Serve his Britanick Majesty against my Inclination it is well known to all the English Officers in this place I have Endeavoured to get a Certifycate from them but the Acquaint me it is what they cant do for me as it is assisting an Enemy; but as to my being a Native of Virginia I hope when it comes from Mr. Frazer who has the Honr. to Bear a Commission in the Army belonging to the United States who knows me perfectly well I hope your Excellency will be so kind as to pay some attention to it & if Possable Obtain me my Liberty.
Inclosed is a letter I Recd. from the Commandant of Merreen at Toulon as I have applied to him also.4 I am Sir with the greatest Respect Your Excellencies most obbligd. Hbl. Servt.
Addressed: To / His Excellency Benjn. Franklin / Esqr. Plenapotentiary to the / United States of America / Parris
Notation: Cradock Taylor Augt. 20 1779.
4. The commandant at Toulon was Paul-Hippolyte de Beauvillier, marquis de Saint-Aignan: Didier Neuville, ed., Etat Sommaire des archives de la Marine antérieures à la Révolution (Paris, 1898), p. 133n. The enclosure, dated Aug. 17, notes that Taylor is considered a British prisoner of war because he was taken in the King of England’s service, and therefore the Navy cannot give him a passport for Bordeaux where two American ships are about to leave. The English may trade him for a Frenchman of the same rank or if a well-known person posts a bond of 2400 l.t. guaranteeing that a French prisoner will be returned to France, the commandant can accede to Taylor’s request. Otherwise the Americans will have to claim him. APS.