Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Joseph-Nicolas Saint-Pierre Dutailli (Dutaillis) to the American Commissioners, 20 February 1779

Joseph-Nicolas Saint-Pierre Dutailli (Dutaillis)1 to the American Commissioners

ALS: American Philosophical Society

le 20 fevrier 1779.

Messieurs,

Ayant lhonneur dêtre attaché au service des Amériquains & plus encore par la conformité de mes sentimens avec vos Généraux du Department du Sud, je me hâte de vos [vous] faire part d’un désastre bien douloureux. La copie de la Lettre ce jointe & du Memoire que jai l’honneur decrire & d’adresser au Ministre, ayant le Département de la Marine, par le même courier, vont vous instruire de tout le fond de ma terrible affaire.2 Jai a esperer de votre sensibilité une défense a ajouter aux sentimens d’Estime & de respect que votre Patrie m’inspire.

Pardonnez moi, Messieurs, si ma copie se trouve incorecte. Le peu de tems que jai eu a disposer par l’envoi de plusieurs Memoires, ma forcé de recourir a faire copier par des mains un peu novices. Jespere qu’aupres de vous, ce ne sera pas un obstacle a meriter de plaider ma cause, surtout ne reclamant que l’Equité, & la justice.

Je suis avec respect, Messieurs, Votre tres humble & tres obeïssant serviteur

DE Saint Pierre Dutailli
Capne. ingenieur des Etats unis de lamerique

Prisonnier dEtat sur la fregate la Concorde

1The younger brother of the famous writer Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. The young man and his scheme to help the British conquer Georgia are introduced in XXIV, 448–9n.

2In deep trouble for having, as he says, tried to deceive the British into believing that he was on their side by carrying a letter addressed to the governor of Jamaica, wherein he proposed a plan for conquering Carolina and Georgia, he is now endeavoring to convince Sartine and BF that this was only a maneuver to mitigate the harshness of his treatment in the event of his capture at sea. The enclosures are a copy of his letter to Sartine of Feb. 20 and a six-page, double-column statement of the plan, with remarks designed to show that the proposal could not be taken seriously as an aid to the British. APS. An abstract in English of his letter to Sartine is on the verso of this letter. To no avail was his defense: he was incarcerated in the Bastille on March 23. Bodinier, Dictionnaire.

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