Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Torris, 27 May 1780

To John Torris

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, May 27 –80


I received duly your Letters, of the 13th. 20th and 27. Instant.5 Inclosed I send the judgement upon the Ship flora and cargo.6 As to the other Vessels which have been brought in contrary to instructions without a Prisoner to be examined, or any Papers belonging to them, it is impossible that I can condemn them under such Circumstances. There having been time sufficient to send me up the Papers which are however not come, I begin to suspect that they are witheld merely because they would show that the Vessels were Neutral. You mention as a Proof an Agreement sent to me as sign’d by the Prisoners when discharg’d acknowledging themselves English &c. I received that Paper but I observed that the names were all sign’d in one hand Writing, which is another suspicious Circumstance;7 tho’ otherwise it would not have been sufficient Evidence. I have the honour to be sir, &c.

Mr. Torris Negt. a Dunkerque.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5All three of these are above, although the third has a date of May 26.

6To the judges of the Admiralty of Cherbourg, May 26, above. On May 28 BF also sent a copy of the judgment on the Flora to Vandenvyer frères & Cie., a Paris banking firm (Lüthy, Banque protestante, II, 322) who presumably represented the vessel’s Rotterdam owners. Library of Congress.

7Apparently the masters of the Peter and Friendship filled in the names of their crewmen: Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, p. 144.

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