Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 10 May 1780

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library; copy: Yale University Library

Nantes May 10. 1780.

Dear & hond Sir

I have been applied to by Capt Thomas Molloney an english Prisoner whose Case seems a hard one9 and in consequence of his earnest Sollicitations and the Desire of Messrs Galleweys of this Place1 I have promised to lay it before you.

He was taken by Capt Jones off Ireland in a little Brig which he commanded, & he owned half of her himself; when Capt Jones sent the Cerf Cutter into Dingle Bay in search of his Boats this Man was put on Board as a Pilot, and the Cerf afterwards leaving Capt Jones brought him into this Port, where he was put in Prison. By some neglect in the Cartel or the peculiarity of the mans being a sole Prisoner, & brought in by the Cerf without its being properly declared whether he was taken under the french or the american Flagg, he has hitherto been left out of both Cartels, and has had the mortification of seeing his own People & many subsequent Prisoners exchanged & himself left behind. Messrs Galleweys have procured him his Parole & he is at large in the Town.

If you think proper I shall be glad if you will give an order to Mr Schweighauser to have this man released on his giving sufficient Security to return another man in his Place, and the Security to be discharged when the man so released appears with a proper Certificate in France. This I apprehend is the only way as he I understand is the only Prisoner remaining here taken under the american Flagg.

I hope there is no impropriety in giving you this Trouble & remain as ever with greatest Respect Your dutifull & affectionate kinsman

Jona Williams J

Honble Doctor Franklin

Notation: Jona Williams May 10. 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Malony had already written BF on April 4, relating in greater detail the story JW presents below. The captain had sailed from Limerick on the Mayflower with a cargo of beef, butter, quills, and porter bound for London. He had been taken by Jones on Aug. 20, and agreed to pilot the Cerf into Dingle Bay, thinking that he would return the following day. A storm sprung the cutter’s mast and separated her from the fleet. Malony spent 14 days at sea, and was subsequently imprisoned at Nantes, wearing the same clothes he had on when he left Capt. Jones. He is the sole support of a wife, a widowed mother, two sisters, and a blind brother, and his only source of income was the ship he had just lost. APS. See also XXX, 444–6.

BF endorsed the letter, but we have found no evidence that he intervened on Malony’s behalf.

1Andrew and David Gallwey; see their letter of June 5.

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