Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Theobald Jennings et al., 10 April 1780

From Theobald Jennings et al.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Bayo April the 10. 1780

Honourd. Sir.

This to Inform your Excellency of our Safe Arrival from forton prison Which Place We had been Confined for the space Of Six or Seven Months and no hopes Of A Cartel Which Was our Occasion of Runing away7 took a small boat and on the 8 Ultimo We Arrived Safe Within Six Miles of this place Where We was Received with great kindness by the Inhabitants,8 to Acquaint and Let your Excellency Know that We Are Very Destitute of Almost Every Nessessary of Wearing Apparal the three Undernamed persons Taken in Capt. Manly by the Surprize Frigate and Carryd. to England9 Theobald Jennings Draper Tomar prize Masters, Jarvis Sammis Carpenter, Johannis Lunblood & Robert Fowler, taken in the Mary and Elizabeth Benjamin Wicke Commandr.1 John Tuck in the Rambler John Stephens of Marblehead2 Joshua Woodman taken in the General Glover Nicholas Bartlett3 We Mean to go for America the first Opportunity and as soon as We Receive An Ansr. from your Excellency We Shal Set out for Brest there to Embark for America And Would Be glad your Would Order Something for to bear our Exspences there as We are very Destitute of any hard money and We the Undernamed persons doth Remain Your Ever And Obedient Countrymen

Theobald Jennings
Draper Tomar
Jarvis Sammis
Johannis Lunblood
John Tuck
Joshua Woodman

Benjamin Franklin Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7While at least one of these prisoners, Joshua Woodman, had been pardoned for exchange (see Kaminkow, Mariners, p. 211), the exchanges themselves had been halted after the cartel ship returned empty to Plymouth in March: Hodgson to BF, March 28, above. On April 14, below, Digges mentions the discontent at Forton, attributing the escape of prisoners to the empty cartel.

8See Philippe de Delleville’s letter of this date, immediately above.

9The Jason, Capt. John Manley, was captured in Sept. 1779: XXXI, 418–19n.

1The Mary and Elizabeth, Capt. Benjamin Wickes (Weeks), was captured by the Hussar in December, 1779: Kaminkow, Mariners, p. 229. For Wickes see XXX, 286n.

2John Stevens commanded the brigantine Rambler, of Salem, which was captured in October, 1779: John A. McManemin, Captains of the Privateers during the Revolutionary War (Spring Lake, N.J., 1985), p. 250.

3The General Glover was captured in September, 1779: XXX, 26; XXXI, 175.

Index Entries