Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Torris, 15 January 1780

From John Torris

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Dunkerque 15th. Jany. 1780.

Honnd. Sir

I have Sent to Mr. Coffyn the Particulars of the first fine Success of the Black Prince & Princess, which He has handed to your Excellency.9 They made both, 6. Ransoms for £2997. St. & 9. Prises, three of which, are Safe arrived in Morlaix, Brest, & Cherbourg; and as the Channall was found pretty Clear, we have good expectations to hear Tomorrow that the 6. wanting are also Safe in France, & they are Valuable.1

I have the Honnour to Inform your Excellency, that I have Purchased this Day, for our Brave Capt. Luke Ryan, the Fine Large Cutter Lately Commanded by Capt. Royer.2 She is of 150. Tuns, & mounts 18. Six Pounders, with 20. Swivels. I Shall put on board 100. Stout Americans, Irish, & Strangers, the most of which are allready listed with Mr. Ryan. We shall give her Name The Fear not— I Petition your Excellency to grant me forthwith, favour of Capt. Ryan, an American Commission for this Cutter, as She will be ready the Latter part of this month. I forward this to Mr. Coffyn for to Join his Sollicitations to ours. The Bravery of Capt. Luke Ryan, Our deeds & Success, are our further advocates, & we do flatter ourselves, that your Excellency will grant Instantly this Commission with much Pleasure.

I have the Honnour to be with all gratitude & respect Honnd. Sir Your most obedient & oblidged most Humble Servant

J. Torris

The Black Prince has Landed 48. Prisoners at Lorient
The Black Princess Do— 18. Do. at Morlaix
at the Disposall of your Excellency... 66. Prisonners

His Excellency Benj. Franklin at Passy.

Endorsed: Torris Jany 15. 80

Notation: Mr: Torris Jany 15. 1780—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9We have found neither that letter nor any forwarding letters from Coffyn.

1All but two arrived safely: Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, p. 108.

2Torris had mentioned Royer’s privateer several months earlier: XXX, 390. The Dunkirk merchant had planned to build a cutter for Ryan, but for some reason these plans had miscarried: XXX, 499–500, 501–2.

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