Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Myrick, 27 June 1780

From Joseph Myrick9

LS:1 American Philosophical Society

St Maloes June, 27th. 1780

Excellent Sr,

I having Recd. Commission as Capt. to Cruize against the English in the Cutter called the American Union Mounting 4 Carriage and ten Swivel Guns, most of the Crew and myself being formerly on board of the Black Prince Privateer under the Command of Capt Marchant and Capt Dowlin, their Commission Signed by yr Excellency our Prize Money we have given Power to Mr. Poreau & Compy. of Dunkerque2 to Receive the same when paid by Mr Torris, our Commission is French, but as all of us are American Subjects Claims yr. Excelency’s protection in the following Case we left Dunkerque May 30th, on our Cruize, which we Continued in the Channell when on the 26th Inst. at 3 in the Morning was Chased by two English Frigates and one Cutter who Continued the Chase for 8 hours untill we got Safe into this port. This day has Recd. Orders from the Commissary of this port that our privateer is Stopped in this harbour by Order of Mr. Sartine— Claims as Americans Yr. Excellencys timely Assistance to twenty four of us here detained, yr. Excellency’s Commands we are Ready to obey, Remains with Respects to yr Nephew and the Rest of American Gentlemen


Joseph Myrick

Addressed: His Excellency Benjamin / Franklin, Minister for the / United States of North America / at Passy near Paris

Notation: James Myrick June 27. 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Myrick was from Nantucket. He was captured and confined to Mill Prison in September, 1780, but a year later was released to serve in the British Navy: Claghorn, Naval Officers, p. 217.

1The letter, and probably the signature, are in the hand of Timothy Kelly, the former clerk of the Black Prince, who was now a member of the crew of the American Union: Kelly to BF, July 4, 1780 (APS).

2Apparently BF had recommended Marchant to the Dunkirk firm of Poreau, Mackenzie & Cie.: XXVIII, 591.

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