From David Hartley
Copy:8 American Philosophical Society; transcript: Library of Congress
Sept 18 1779
To Dr F——
I think it very probable that the Exchange of prisoners upon acct. by certificates at Sea may take some time in considering & arranging if consented to by the British Ministry.9 In the mean time as I hear that the second Cartel ship is come back, I write one line to you just to suggest that if you can succeed in obtaining Morlaix for the port of Exchange & will send me a passport for Morlaix, I think a third Exchange may take place while this new proposition is under Consideration. I do not know that it will take much time for discussion but I have already experienced Ministerial delays. In the mean time I wish to hasten another cargo. If the next cargo shd still be for Nantes, pray signify this to me by the return of the Mail.
I have now a favour to ask of you upon my own account. Some friends of mine at Hull viz the Corporation of the Trinity house have writ to me to desire that I wd endeavour to obtain the release of Mr John Stephenson Master & owner of the ship Sally & a younger Brother of the Trinity house & a Burgess of Hull.1 They do not specify to me when taken or where he is or whether captured by french or American. When I obtain farther particulars I will transmitt them to you. In the mean time if you can hear where this Mr Stephenson is, & cd assist me in procuring his release I shall be much obliged to you. I shall probably write to you again soon. I am &c
8. In Hartley’s hand, and included in his second letter of Oct. 26, below.
1. The Trinity House, a charitable guild and corporation, regulated conditions of service of seamen and provided for the relief of retired seamen and their families: Gordon Jackson, The Trade and Shipping of Eighteenth-Century Hull, East Yorkshire Local Hist. Ser., no. XXXI (1975), p. 7. Stephenson (1738?–1805) had been admitted as a younger brother of the House in 1761 and appears on the muster rolls as commander of the Sally from 1775 through August, 1778: Hull Trinity House, BRN/YB, 1738–1805; Muster Rolls, vols. 20–22. On Sept. 13, 1779, the corporation requested Hartley to determine what steps were necessary to have Stephenson, now a prisoner in France, exchanged for a Frenchman of equal rank: HTH Outletters, 1777–86. Information kindly provided by the HTH archivist.