Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Huntington, 16 March 1780

To Samuel Huntington

LS,7 copy and transcript: National Archives; copy: Library of Congress

Passy, 16 March 1780.


The Bearer of this Capt. Hutchins, a Native of New Jersey, but many Years in the English Service, has lately escaped from England, where he suffer’d considerably for his Attachment to the American Cause. He is esteem’d a good Officer and excellent Engineer, and is desirous of being serviceable to his Country.8 I inclose his Memorial to me,9 great Part of which is consistent with my Knowledge, and I beg leave to recommend him to the favourable Notice of Congress, when any Affair occurs in which his Talents may be useful.

I have the honour to be with great Respect, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Sert.

B Franklin

His Ex. Sam Huntington Esq.

Notation: Letter from Doct Franklin with Meml. T. Hutchins March 16. 1780 Read Feby 23. 1781 Referred to Mr McDougal Mr Ward Mr Bland1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7In WTF’s hand.

8On March 15 Thomas Hutchins wrote JW, asking him to forward BF twelve of his maps and pamphlets on the interior of North America. APS. (Some of these described his military service there; see his entry in the DAB.)

9Hutchins’ Feb. 27 memorial (XXX, 291n), details his imprisonment for treason, resignation of his commission in the British army, impoverishment, and arrival in France. He requests service as an engineer in the American army. BF here forwards a signed copy (National Archives) to Huntington in his capacity as president of Congress. BF also gave him 480 l.t. on March 15: Account XXVII. Hutchins did eventually sail from Lorient (although not on the Alliance) and enjoyed a distinguished career in America, including appointment by Congress as geographer of the United States: DAB.

1JCC, XIX, 187. The committee appointed to consider Hutchins’ petition consisted of delegates Alexander McDougall of New York, Artemas Ward of Massachusetts, and Theodorick Bland, Jr., of Virginia. Congress concurred in their recommendation to appoint him geographer to the southern army: JCC, XIX, 339; XX, 475–6.

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