From Benjamin Mends
Plymo Feby. 27th/82
Doubt not but the tender-feelings of humanity your Excellency possesses will render an apology needless for addressing you on a subject wch so nearly concerns all who are friends to the poor American Prisoners. I have fail’d not to visit them as often as their hard hearted Jaylor wd permit, and have done all in my power to alleviate their miseries. The money your Excellency was so kind as to remit I have given wch were 5 guineas one to each for wch they were extremly thankful. But their returning exegence have urged them to send you the inclos’d Petition wch was deliver’d to me to be forwarded to your Excellency wch hope will come safe.1 It is a great pity there is not a private Agent appointed here for their relief and particularly those discharged fm the ships as not being found in Arms many of those poor men are dischargd in a strange Country without money, Clothes or Friends wch a few here have been generous unto and sent them off in Nutral Vessels. Coll Richardson promisd to us to effect this laudable design, and spoke to his Excellency B. Frankling and as he cd not succed wrote me fm Parris that he shall lay it before Congress wch hope will have the desired success2 what ever yr Excellency may think proper to remit at any time shall be cherfully appli’d by your Excellency Most Obedient Humble st
RC (Adams Papers).
2. Col. William Richardson, formerly with the 5th Maryland regiment, and his son were captured on the brig Talbot in 1780 and released on parole in November of that year (Heitman, Register of the Continental Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, new edn., Washington, 1914. description ends ; Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 161). There is no evidence that he presented Congress with a proposal to appoint a private agent for prisoners, but for additional information regarding his conversation with Benjamin Franklin on the subject, see C. Mends to JA, 2 May (Adams Papers).
3. Nothing is known of Benjamin Mends other than what is stated in this letter and one dated 2 May from his father, C. Mends (Adams Papers).