Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Patrick Dowlin et al., 7 December 1779

From Patrick Dowlin et al.

LS: American Philosophical Society

Dunkerque the 7th. December 1779./.

Honnoured Sir

We beg Leave to Express to your Excellency in the Warmest manner, our affliction in Seeing our Worthy Friend & armateur, Mr. John Torris, Injured in So gross & abusive a manner in the Bold petition Sent to your Excellency by our prisonners & foes Wm. Power7 & his gang. We beg Leave to Testisfy to your Excellency that the Motives asserted in the Said Petition are Ill grounded & Infamous. We also beg Leave to Vendicate them & do Mr. John Torris The Justice he deserves. We further beg to acknowledge to Your Excellency, that, Mr. John Torris, has advanced to Every Individual of the Crew of The Black Prince, on our return to Dunkerque, all necessaries for our maintenance at a Time when he had not yet received any thing for the Ransoms & prises, & when he was already in real advance for the Crew of upwards of £20000 l.t.8 That he has Continued to advance to all those which Listed for a Second Cruise, all The Money They Wanted &c So much, that the Most of them, have allready received More than What their Shares in the Whole prises & Ransoms Might Come to. We again beg Leave to Give Solemn assurances to Your Excellency, that Mr. Torris did not refuse his supplys to the petitionners, Untill he had assurances They were our foes, by their declaring They wou’d return to Great Britain & break their Oath of Allegiance in Serving against America & france. We Esteem in Our heart, that, these Wortheless people deserve punishment to attempt prejudicing The Characterr & honnour of our best friends, & To be Confined till The War is Over for their Infidelity & Parjury.

We have The Honnour To be Honnour Sir Your most Humble & obedient Servants—

Patt Dowlin
Thomas Connor
J. Bennet Negus

Notation: Dowling. Decr. 7. 1779

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Former master of the prize Goodwill: XXX, 389. Probably this petition is the complaint BF had forwarded to Coffyn on Nov. 22, above.

8Undoubtedly 20,000 livres tournois, not pounds sterling.

9Dowlin was the new captain of the Black Prince: XXX, 500, 501. Connor had been one of her master’s mates, Negus (an Irishman who pretended to be from New Bedford) the prizemaster of the Dublin Trader; both were promoted prior to the Black Prince’s third cruise: Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, pp. 28, 50, 67.

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