Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Joseph Chase to the American Commissioners, 8 February 1779: résumé

Joseph Chase to the American Commissioners7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Nantes, February 8, 1779: I beg you to send my brother Reuben Chase’s discharge from Dinan; I can go get him, or perhaps you could have him discharged without necessitating a trip on my part. He is ill and suffers in close confinement, although he finds no fault in his usage as a prisoner. I am sorry that I neglected to speak of this when I was in Paris,8 for had I anticipated the delay occasioned here by ice on the river, I could have gone directly to Dinan. Would you also procure the discharge of John Blyth, as well as of Caleb Gardner and Ichabod Clarke, prisoners whom I failed to mention when I was with you?9 They and others would gladly sail in any ship belonging to America.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The Nantucket captain is mentioned in Shubael Gardner’s letter above, Dec. 22.

8Chase had written BF from Paris on Jan. 1: see our annotation of Shubael Gardner’s letter to the commissioners, Dec. 22, 1778. Chase was praised by a fellow Nantucketer as “a person of considerable travel in the sea Captain occupation and otherwise in good repute with us.” Edouard A. Stackpole, Whales and Destiny: the Rivalry between America, France, and Britain for Control of the Southern Whale Fishery, 1785–1825 (Amherst, Mass., 1972), p. 46.

9Blyth’s release had been sought by Shubael Gardner on Dec. 22. Clarke later commanded the Elizabeth: Allen, Mass. Privateers.

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