Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from David Hartley, 1 September 1779

From David Hartley

Two copies:5 American Philosophical Society; transcript: Library of Congress

Sept 1. 1779

To Dr F

Yours of August 20th recd. I entirely agree with you in all the Sentiments of humanity wch you express & shall always most heartily concur with you in every endeavour to lessen the Miseries attending the State of war. I will to the best of my power recommend your propositions respecting the most facile & expeditious method of releasing prisoners of war, & when I get any final answer from government here I will transmitt it to you.— I had heard the report wch you mention of Capt. Cunningham but as I now find that he is sent to Plymouth in the common state with the other prisoners I conclude that the report has no real foundation. I will take care to make known the circumstance of his having acted under a Commission together with his conduct towards the prisoners wch he has taken himself.6 In general I can only say that from the Conversations that I have had with the Commissioners of Sick & Hurt, that I see no reason to expect any thing like butchery in Cold blood.— There is an officer whom I do not personally know Capt Joseph Tathwell of his My’s sloop the Swift.7 I am desired by the board of Sick & Hurt to apply to you upon his account. I understand that he entered into a Parole at Philadelphia to negotiate the exchange of himself & his Crew against Capt. Harris & his Crew. When he came to England he found Capt. Harris exchanged & the Crew taking their turns in Exchange so as to defeat all possible completion of the intended specific bargain viz Capt Tathwell & Crew against Capt Harris & Crew. The request therefore wch I have to transmitt to you is that Captain Tathwell under these circumstances may be considered by you as discharged from his Parole. I have nothing farther yet in commission respecting the English & french prisoners.

I am &c


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5We print from the one in Hartley’s hand, which he included (along with his of Sept. 18 and Oct. 11) in his second letter of Oct. 26. Digges also made a copy of the three September letters when he copied Hartley’s of Oct. 26, below.

6Here Hartley added in parentheses “I have done this”.

7Tathwell and his crew were captured in late 1778: XXIX, 367n.

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