Benjamin Franklin Papers

Henry Johnson to the American Commissioners, 2 February 1778

Henry Johnson to the American Commissioners

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Rotterdam Feby 2. 1778.

Honorable Gentlemen:

Yesterday I arrived here from England after effecting my escape from Mill Prison. I have in Company Capt: Eleazer Johnson of the Dalton.4 I am going on to Dunkirk as fast as possible. Shall be Obliged to your Honours if you’d let me know whether it will be necessary for me to come to Paris. I shall wait at Dunkirk for your answer. I shall not now endeavour to give you the perticulars of the Loss of the Lexington, neither of the shocking Treatment of our bretheren in Mill Prison till I have the pleasure to see or hear from your Honours. I am with wishing your honours every valuable blessing Your Most Obedient Humble Servant

Henry Johnson

Addressed: To / The Hon’ble Silas Deane Esqr / a / Paris

Notation: H. Johnson Rotterdam Feb. 2. 1778

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Eleazer Johnson or Johnston had been captured in December 1776, in his ship out of Newburyport, and been in the Mill Prison since June. Henry Johnson, captured on the Lexington, had with him good civilian clothes; these he gave to two sentries, who donned them in place of their uniforms, and escaped with a group of five American officers. Charles Herbert, A Relic of the Revolution (Boston, 1847), pp. 17, 94; Kaminkow, Mariners, p. 100; see also Coffyn to BF below, March 2.

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