Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Dalton et al., 11 November 1779

From John Dalton et al.

ALS:9 American Philosophical Society

Cudant [Coutances] November the 11th 1779

Honoured Sir

This Comes to Inform you that A Number of us Americans on the 3d of this Instant broke out of Mill Prison in England and Six of us had the good fortune to Take a boat and Crossed the Channel of England to France and arrived the 8th Instant and now we are taken up upon Suspicion of being Englishmen and put into Jail and we humbly beg that you may Relieve us out of this Place and Grant us a Pass to Go to Brest to get on Board Some American Vessel as we have neither money nor Cloaths to Support us here there is two of us that belongs to the allience Frigate Capt Peter Landy Commandr and was taken in Prise1 with John Patten. So we Conclude by Subscribing ourselves your humble Servants

John Dalton
Willm Neil
Francis Meservy
John Pickworth
Christopher Bubier
Israel Matthews

P.S. Capt Cunnigham & Capt Calef and Lieut Arnold2 made their Escape the Same time

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Le Docteur / franquelin ambassadeur / des Etats unis de lamerique / en Son hotel / A Paris

Notations: Six Americans at Cutances Nov. 11. 79. / Ansd

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Or perhaps just L. The person who wrote this letter signed for all the prisoners and may or may not have been one of them; he also wrote for the same group on Dec. 9, below, signing Bubier’s name first.

1John Dalton and William Neil or Neal, who had been captured aboard the Anna Louisa, a prize taken by the Alliance on her way to Europe: XXIX, 18; Kaminkow, Mariners, pp. 51, 140.

2Jonathan Arnold (XXVIII, 472, 591) had been lieutenant of the privateer Black Prince; for his capture and imprisonment see Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, p. 55, and Neeser, Conyngham, pp. 169, 171.

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