Abbildungen der Seite

derations to the wisdom and justice of his Danish majesty, whom I infinitely respect, and who I hope will reconsider and repeal the order above recited ; and that if the prize, which I hereby reclaim in behalf of the United States of America, are not actually gone to England, they may be. stopt and re-delivered to Mr. de Chersauld, the consul of France, at Bergen ; in whose care they before were with liberty to depart for America when the season shall permit. But if they should be already gone to England, I must then claim from his majesty's equity, the value of the said three prizes, which is estimated at fifty thousand pounds sterling, but which may be regulated by the best information, that can by any means be obtained.

With great respect, &c.

B. FRANKLIN, Minister plenipotentiary of the United States of

America at the court of France.

To Samuel Huntington, Esq. President of Congress.

Passy, March 16, 1780.


“ THE bearer of this, captain Hutchins, a native of New Jersey, but many years in the English service, has lately escaped from England, where he suffered considerably for his attachment to the American cause. He is esteemed a good officer and an excellent engineer, and is desirous of being serviceable to his country. I enclose his memorial to me, a great part of which is consistent with my knowlege, and I beg leave to recommend him to the favorable notice of congress, when any affair occurs in which his talents may be useful.'

I have the honor to be, &c.


Captain Hutchins's memorial. To his excellency, Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America, at

the court of France. The memorial of Thomas Hutchins, a native of New

Jersey, in America, and late a captain and engineer in the British king's service:

HUMBLY SHEWETHTHAT your excellency's memorialist was in the month of August last, taken into custody by virtue of a warrant from sir John Fielding, of the city of London, in which your memorialist was charged with high treason, for having conveyed information to, and corresponded with the friends of the United States of America in France. That your memorialist was committed to and kept in Clerkenwell prison, upwards of seven weeks, loaded with irons, put among felons, and treated with every kind of severity and insult, and forbidden to see or write to his friends.

That after several long examinations at the board of trade, the British ministers thought proper to discharge him from prison, and being reduced to great distress by his pay both as captain and engineer being stopped, and being also refused payment of an account which the British government owed him, (to the amount of eight hundred and sixtynine pounds, nineteen shillings sterling) he was obliged to take lodgings in a garret, within the verge of the court. Your memorialist was offered two thousand guineas for his captain's commission ; but although he had frequently petitioned to sell it from the beginning of the war between the United States and Great Britain, he was as often refused ; and about three weeks before he was committed to prison, he was offered a majority in one of the new regiments then raising, which he would not accept, as he would not bear arms against his countrymen. Therefore on the 11th of this month, (February) finding himself treated with contempt by the British officers, and despairing of obtaining liberty to sell his commission, he sent his resignation to lord Amherst, both as captain and engineer, and in a private manner withdrew from Great Britain and came to France entirely destitute of money ; choosing rather to abandon his commission (though the whole of his fortune) and incur a loss of two thousand nine hundred and sixty nine pounds, nineteen shillings sterling (exclusive of his appointment as engineer) than continue in a service altogether irksome and painful to him. Your memorialist bęgs leave further to represent, that he has served with reputation as a British officer more than twenty-two years, (eighteen whereof he was constantly employed as an engineer) and that he is most anxiously solicitous of entering into the army of the United States. For these considerations, your memorialist humbly hopes, that your excellency will be pleased to recommend his request, sufferings, and losses to the honorable congress of the United States, and your memorialist as in duty bound, shall ever pray, &c.

THOS. HUTCHINS, Passy, February 27, 1780.

To James Lovell, Esq.

Passy, March 16, 1780. DEAR SIR, THE marquis de la Fayette, our firm and constant friend, returning to America, I have written a long letter by him to the president, of which a copy goes by this ship. M. Gerard is since arrived, and I have received the dispatches you mentioned to me, but no letter in answer to mine, a very long one by the chevalier de la Luzerne, nor any acknowlegement that it came to hand.

By the many newspapers and pamphlets I send, you will see the present state of European affairs in general. Ireland continues to insist on complete liberty, and will probably obtain it. The meetings of counties in England, and the committees of correspondence they appoint, alarm a good deal the ministry, especially since it has been proposed to elect of each committee, a few persons to assemble in London, which if carried into execution, will form a kind of congress, that will have more of the confidence

and support of the people than the old parliament. If the nation is not too corrupt, as I rather think it is, some considerable reformation of internal abuses may be expected from this ; with regard to us the only advantage to be reasonably expected from it is a peace, the general bent of the nation being for it. The success of admiral Rodney's fleet against our allies, has a little elated our enemies for the present, and probably they will not now think of proposing it. If the approaching campaign, for which great preparations are making here, should end disadvantageously to them, they will be more treatable, for their debts and taxes are daily becoming more burthensome, while their commerce the source of their wealth diminishes; and though they have flattered themselves with obtaining assistance from Russia, and other powers, it does not appear that they are likely to succeed ; on the contrary, they are in danger of losing the neutrality of Holland.

Their conduct with regard to the exchange of prisoners, has been very unjust. After long suspense and affected delays, for the purpose of wearing out our poor people, they have finally refused to deliver us a man in exchange for those set at liberty by our cruisers on parole. A letterm I send enclosed from captain Mitchell, will shew the treatment of the late flags of truce from Boston. There is no gaining any thing upon these barbarians by advances of civility or humanity.

Enclosed I send for congress, the justification of this court against the accusation published in the late English memorials.

With great esteem, &c.


To Samuel Huntington, Esq. President of Congress.

Passy, May 22, 1780. SIR, THE baron d’Arendt, colonel in the armies of the United States, having expressed to me his desire of return

m This paper does not appear.

ing to the service in America, though not entirely cured of the wound which occasioned his voyage to Europe. I endeavored to dissuade him from the undertaking. But he having procured a letter to me from M. de Vergennes, of which I send your excellency a copy herewith ; I have been induced to advance him twenty-five louis, towards enabling him to proceed. To justify his long absence, he intends laying before congress some letters from the hon. Mr. William Lee, which he thinks will be sufficient for that purpose.

With great respect, &c.


From count de Vergennes, to Doctor Franklin.

Versailles, May 11, 1780. THE baron de Goltz, has warmly entreated me, sir, to recommend the baron d'Arendt, a Prussian officer in the service of the United States, to you. I the more readily acquiesce in satisfying his demand, as you will certainly take a pleasure in obliging this minister, as far as in your power.

The baron d'Arendt will explain himself, the different matters in which he thinks he wants your aid with congress. I have the honor to be, with great sincerity, &c.


To Samuel Huntington, Esq. President of Congress.

Passy, May 3, 1780. SIR, I WROTE to your excellency the 4th of March past, to go by this ship, (the Alliance) then expected to sail immediately. But the men refusing to go till paid their shares of prize money, and sundry difficulties arising with regard to the sale and division, she has been detained thus long to my great mortification; and I am yet uncertain when I shall be able to get her out. The trouble and vexation these maritime officers give me, is inconceiveable ; I have often ex. pressed to congress my wish to be released from them, and

« ZurückWeiter »