Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Boillat et al., 15 March 1783

From Peter Boillat9 et al.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

St Malos the 15th March 1783

Very Honourable Dr Franklin, at the Court of France

I Peter Boillat, Represents to your excellency the Circumstance in which I find myself with four Other Americans, I was Capt and have Served with honour during the War, in the Service of Congress, where I have been Severely Wounded, I have Served ever with Zeal my Country, And took the Command of the Privateer Called the Lawrens of Twelve Guns, I was taken by a King’s Sloop of War Called the Germaine,1 on Our Coast of America, and was plundered entirely, plundered of all my Effects and put in Prison on board the Old Jersey, from whence I made my escape on board a french Transport which brought me to St Malos about Three Months and a half ago, without money or Cloathing, here I found a poor Irish man married in the Country who Gave me Boarding and lodging to this day, without finding a passage to return home, with four American Seamen which are here in the same Situation with me, One of which was Severely Wounded By a musket Ball in his Right Legg. I hope that your Excellency would be so kind as Allow us Forty Guineas to pay Our Debts and for Cloathing.

We pray your Excellency also, would send us an Order to be recieved on board the Ship Pacifique, which is bound to Boston, to put in at Cadis.2 We will ever Owe to your Excellency the most Sensible Acknowledgements, for having deliver’d us from the Distress which the fortune of War has brought us to

Peter Boillat.
John Russell
Levy Smith
Samuel Nap
Nathaniel Trundy

Very Honourable Dr Franklin

Notation: Boillat 15 March 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Boillat swore allegiance to the state of South Carolina on or before May 16, 1778: Robert B. Simons, comp., “Regimental Book of Captain James Bentham, 1778–1780,” S.C. Hist. Mag., LIII (1952), 104.

1Probably the armed ship Germaine, purchased in 1779 and taken by the French in 1781: David Lyon, The Sailing Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy Built, Purchased and Captured, 1688–1860 (London, 1993), p. 231.

2In the margin Boillat added, “The Ship Pacifique will sail the latter end of this Month.”

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