Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Burnell, [8 June 1777?]

From John Burnell3

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

[June 8?4, 1777]


I am Just Arrivd. in Paris and much fateagd. Have traveled 226 Miles in 39 hours beg you Will Excuse my not waiting on you myself this Evening. I have the honor to Command a Small privateer from MaryLand and have taken two prizes one of them I have got in a port in france Calld. Cherbourg. The kings officers there was going to turn me out and the prize out of the port But made intreat to keep them in Untill I Returnd from parris. I New I must apply to you for Assitanc. I shall Wait on your honor to Morrow Morning. I Am Sir your most Obedient and Humble Servant

John Burnell

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3A former lieutenant in the Maryland navy, who had received on April 1 his letter of marque from the state for the privateer Montgomery. Naval Docs., VII, 39, 577; VIII, 247. A British agent characterized him as a “plain fellow, and keeps nothing to himself”: Stevens, Facsimiles, II, no. 171, p. 2. This description helps to explain why the British soon captured Burnell; see Drouet to BF below, June 16.

4He carried a letter dated June 6; see BF’s acknowledgment of it on the 12th. Burnell’s 39-hour journey to Paris, if it began on the 6th, could not have ended until the 8th, and he must have returned to Cherbourg almost immediately after the interview that he is here requesting; see the Drouet letter just cited.

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