Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Nathaniel Fanning, 27 January 1783

From Nathaniel Fanning7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Dunke: Goal 27th: Jany: 1783

May it please your Excellency

That having wrote your Excellency several Petitions in justification of my Conduct, during my last Cruise on Board of the Eclipse, which has made such a Noise in this Part of the World relative to my Crew having Plundered a certain danish Vessel which has been transacted without my Knowledge, or consent, as appears by my Interogation as well as those of my People.— I have thought fit by and with the Advice of some of the first Men in this place not to cease of Petitioning your Excellency, ’till I shall have some redress or at least an Answer as I am well assured that it lays in your Excellency’s Power to procure me my Enlargement.—8 I presume the reason of your Excellency’s not having deign’d to answer my former Petitions has been on acct: of your Excellency’s having as I am told been often deceiv’d by Englishmen’s imposing on your Excellency for Americans & consequently my being thought by your Excellency to be one of the former; If so, I can prove by many Americans now resident in France, of my having been Born of a very reputable Family in New London in America.— I hope & beg most sincerely that this Petition may have the desired effect.

Thus Prayeth Your Excellency’s Humble Petitioner & most Obdt. Servant

Nathl: Fanning

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr: Passy.

Notation: Fanning Nathaniel Dunkerque 27. Janvr. 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7A Connecticut native who was given command of a French privateer and was arrested for boarding a neutral vessel and robbing its French passengers. For the background of this incident see Fanning’s previous appeal of Nov. 23 (his only other extant letter) and the annotation there: XXXVIII, 340–3.

8Receiving no answer from BF, he enlisted the help of Thomas Greenleaf, who wrote on April 16 (below).

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