Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Evans, 27 November 1779

From John Evans

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Angers. 27 November 1779

Your Excellency

I hope will excuse the liberty I take which the Rigours of a tedious captivity has compelled me to. The inclosed is a letter from a gentleman of your acquaintance And a friend of mine, he has laid an injunction on me to forward it to Your Excellency in hopes through yr. interest to procure me A pass to return to england and your Excellency will See by the perusal that Sr. Edward Newenham and Mr. Green will be my security to procure a man of this Contry his liberty of the same station.4 Sr. Yr. Compliance In this will at all times merite the prayers of a Distressed family occasioned by the calamities of war and Them of yr. very Obt. Humble Sert

John Evans

Sr. I most humble intreat your answer as soon as convenient. I was taken on the 6th of Decemr, last in the Vigilant of Bristol John Marshal Commander by the L’orient & Artisan Ships of War and carried into Brest. My Station on board that Ship was Master—5

Notation: Evans John 7. Novr. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The enclosure, dated Nov. 14, was from an R. Green who said that BF was “intimately acquainted” with him as the son of the Mr. Green of 155 Fleet St., a man well known to many Americans including Bancroft. Green, writing from Bristol where he was in the company of Evans’ wife and two of their children, said that he had been in touch with many high-ranking British officials, that he would stand bail along with Sir Edward Newenham, and that he was sure BF would help. BF, who misread the ambiguous signature, endorsed the letter, “R. Grey.” To the best of our knowledge, Evans’ name does not reappear in these papers.

5A privateer named Vigilant was sunk in a storm off Cape Ouessant and her crew saved by the French: Courier de l’Europe IV (1778), 386, issue of Dec. 15, 1778. The Orient, 74, and Artésien, 64, were French ships of the line.

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