Benjamin Franklin Papers

Thomas Simpson to the American Commissioners, 8 May 1778: résumé

Thomas Simpson6 to the American Commissioners

ALS and copy7: American Philosophical Society

<Brest, May 8, 1778: After the capture of the English warship Drake, Capt. Jones appointed me to take her to Brest. I enclose a copy of his instructions. On May 5, while she was in tow, he ordered me to cast her loose and—so we all understood—make my own way to port.8 We were chased by a brig, tried to rejoin the Ranger, and did so early in the morning of the 6th. The Captain put me under arrest for disobeying orders; I beg to be tried as soon as possible. For my character I refer you to a letter from John Langdon,9 which Capt. Jones told me he forwarded with his first letter to you from Nantes.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Jones’s first officer. His letter is published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 101–3. He was anxious for an answer, and six days later asked JW to remind the commissioners: Hist. Soc. of Pa.

7One, labeled “duplicate” in another hand, is presumably the original, and the other, labeled “copy” in Simpson’s hand, was enclosed with his below of May 25.

8Jones’s intention was to have the Drake follow the Ranger in chase of a ship that had appeared to leeward. Morison, Jones, p. 162; see also pp. 167–72.


Index Entries