Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Torris, 23 August 1780

To John Torris

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Augt. 23. 1780.


Inclos’d I send you Copy of an Answer I have received from his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes upon the subject of your Privateers continuing to act under American Commissions.5 I believe the Shipping french Seamen as well as the taking of the flora, contributed to raise the alarm against you. I trust you will give Strict Orders to your Captains, that for the future they abstain from every Infringement of the Laws of this Country; and if they observe those Orders, I suppose they may now continue acting with those Commissions. But for the future the Proceedings relating to their Captures must be laid before & Judged by the Conseil des prises, agreable to the Orders of Congress contained in the Commissions, and the King’s Order of the 10th. Instant,6 of which I also send you a Copy. I congratulate you on the Success I hear Capt. Ryan has lately had,7 and wishing you a Continuance of Good fortune. I have the Honour to be, Sir,

Mr. Torris.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Vergennes to BF, Aug. 21, above.

6For which see our annotation of Vergennes to BF, Aug. 13.

7Luke Ryan was captain of the privateer Fearnot, which had recently arrived in Dunkirk after a successful cruise: Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, pp. 157–63; Courier de l’Europe, VIII (1780), III, issue of Aug. 18, 1780. The present communication ends BF’s involvement with Torris’ privateers and is his last extant letter to the shipowner.

Index Entries