Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Officers of the Alliance, 12 April 1780

From Officers of the Alliance

ALS:7 University of Pennsylvania Library

Ship Alliance Road LOrient 12 April 1780


We the Officers of the Frigate Alliance under the Command of the honourable John Paul Jones Esqr: beg Leave to Represent to your Excellency that our circumstances are Really Nesessitous, and that we are alarm’d at having Received neither wages or prize money since the Ship is so nearly prepared for Sea.

We have waited with all possible patience in Expectation they would be paid us, from the propriety of it and some favourable Reports. Now as your Excellency is the person Authorised to Interfere on our part we flatter ourselves from your known benevolent disposition, that your Excellency will do every thing in your power to Obtain for us Justice and froward the Ship’s sailing.

Our situations are such in the town that we should be very unhappy to Leave it before we Receive our wages & prize money to enable us to discharge our Debts Contracted through mere necessity: it is of great Importance to us all especially to a number of men half naked, which is absolutely the case with two thirds of our Crew, many of them have families in America who are also in want.8

We think it unnessesary to trouble your Excellency with a Detail of every particular, Assuring ourselves that your Excellency will take it into Consideration and Indulge us with an Answer—In the mean time we wish you health and every Blessing and are with the greatest Respect & Veneration Your Excellencys Most Obedient and most devoted Servants

James Degge I Lieut
James Lynd do
John Larchar Junr
Fitch Pool M Parke Capt Marines
Samuel Guild James Warren
Isaac Carr Thomas Elwood
Arthur Robertson Thos. Hinsdale
James Daly James Bragg
Jno. Jarvis Benjamin Pierce
N Blodget John Darling
A Windship Chipn. Bangs

To his Excellency Dr. Benja Franklin Minister plenipotentiary to the United States at Passy, near Paris

Addressed: To his Excellency / Dr. Benja Franklin / Minister plenipotentiary to the thirteen / United States / at Passy / near Paris

Endorsed: Officers of the Alliance April 12 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7In Degge’s hand.

8On April 14 ninety-three of the Alliance’s crew sent their own petition, prompted by a report that the former crewmen of the Bonhomme Richard were going to be paid their wages and prize money. They asked the same privilege so they could furnish themselves with necessities and assist their former countrymen exchanged from prison. They complained that many of them had been long absent from their wives and families and confined in prison. They had been told they would receive their wages and prize money before sailing. They asked BF to consider the matter and send an answer as soon as possible. In two postscripts they explained that the remainder of the ship’s company was on duty but consented to the petition and requested that BF direct his answer to Benjamin Pierce, gunner of the Alliance. On June 1 the crewmen (115 this time) wrote again, warning they would not sail until they had received their prize money and six months’ wages. They also asked that Landais be returned to command and defended his conduct at the Battle off Flamborough Head. Both petitions are at the University of Pa. Library.

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