Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Torris, 8 September 1779

To John Torris

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Sept. 8. 1779.


I duly received yours of The 9th. past and wrote immediately to England relating to The Prisoners you mention.4 I do not apprehend there is any more Danger of Their Lives than of any others taken in this War by the English: for if Those Men having formerly been English Subjects is a reason for having [hanging] Them, it is the Same for hanging other American Prisoners, who have all been English Subjects. But on The contrary the Britich Government has agreed to a Cartel for exchanging them. If those Men Should be prosecuted, of which I think there is no Probability, my Correspondent in England will furnish Money for their Defence.— But we have so many American Tories among our Prisoners, both in france & America that the Apprehension of Reprisals, would be Sufficient to prevent the Enemy’s taking So wrong a step. And I am persuaded the 21. Men will be exchanged in ther Turn: those who have been longest in Prison claiming with some Justice to be first discharg’d.— I congratulate you on the Success of your Vessel, & have the honour to be Sir Your m. o. & m. h. S.


M. Torres Mercht. Dunkirk.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4To Hartley, Aug. 20.

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