Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Brocklesby, 22 October 1779

From Richard Brocklesby4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London 22nd Octobr. 1779

Dear Sr.

I never before presumed to give you the trouble of a letter in these miserable times, nor should I have done it at present when your Cause is so high & ours so low; but on the behalf of suffering humanity I adventure to bespeak your well known good Offices, & to tell you, that a worthy friend of mine Mr Croft a Banker in Pall Mall5 has a favorite Son Lieutent Richard Croft of the 20th Regiment of Foot a Prisoner, now at Charlotteville in Virginia,6 whose letters wch I have seen give such a deplorable representation of his past condition in his Captivity wth some circumstances particular in his case, that the philanthropy of my Nature, where friendship is concernd, induces me now to implore your good offices in his favor to facilitate his Exchange & release from Captivity on the establishd terms agreed by each party. Prudence forbids me to enlarge farther than to assure you I shall ever gratefully acknowledge whatever kindness you can procure for this Gentleman & I will only add that no one can venerate you more than Dr Sr your most Affecte & faithful Hle Servt.

Richard Brocklesby

Addressed: To / His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / &c &c &c / at / Paris

Notation: Brocklesby 22 Oct. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Brocklesby (1722–97) was a physician, a friend of Burke and Johnson, and a fellow of the Royal Society: DNB.

5Probably Richard Croft (d. 1793) of the firm of Crofts, Devaynes, Roberts, and Dawes: F.G. Hilton Price, A Handbook of London Bankers … (London, 1876, reprinted New York, 1970), p. 48, 169; Lewis, Walpole Correspondence, XLIII, 280.

6Croft was probably a young man as he received his commission only in September, 1775. He was still a prisoner in Virginia in November, 1780: Worthington C. Ford, comp., British Officers Serving in the American Revolution 1774–1783 (Brooklyn, 1897), p. 54; Jefferson Papers, IV, 120.

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