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Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18. 1780
On the 14th instant we took it upon ourselves to petition Dr. Franklin at Paris because we hear that the Poor Richard’s crew would receive their prize money and those of us from the Alliance would not. We have also been ill treated by Capt. Jones and many of us are without proper clothes and food. To those of us who had been at Mill Prison we find our present situation not much better. Here is a copy of the letter that we sent to Dr. Franklin. I was the first to sign this letter. *

To His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esq.

Sir,
We are informed that the Private Men that formerly belonged the Ship Bon Homme Richard are to receive their Wages and Prize Money in France for their Services on board said Ship. Now Sir as many of us have been absent from our Wives and Families a long Time and some of us have been Confined in Prison a great While and we have been flattered with those words that we were to receive our Wages and all our Prize money before we sailed and now we understand that only the Bon Homme Richard’s Company are to be paid and as we one and all of us have engaged in the same Cause as those Men that were in the Bon Homme Richard we think it very hard that we cannot enjoy the same Priviledges as those in the aforesaid Ship. The Reason that we are very desirous to have our Dues at this present Time is because that we are inclined to assist those our unhappy Countrymen who are just relieved from Prison and also to furnish ourselves with such Neccesaries as we greatly stand in Need of. We humbly beg that your Honour would take this Matter into your Consideration and send us an Answer as soon as possible that we may all gain Satisfaction and Contentment is the earnest Desire of your most Obedient and most Humble Servants the Private Men belonging to the Continental Ship Alliance.

On Board the Alliance at L’Orient Apr. 14th 1780.
Jacob Nuter
Thomas Chase
John Simson
Daniel Knight
Ebenezer Brown
Kirtlan Griffing and 88 others.

The Remainder of the Ships Company are Imployed upon the Ships Duty and cannot attend to Sign but they gave their Consent that it may be sent in behalf of the whole.

NB. It is the desire of the Ships Company that your Excellency would be pleased to direct your Answer to Benjamin Pierce Gunner of the Continental Frigate Alliance L’Orient.

*Editor’s note – the original copy of this letter now resides in the Benjamin Franklin Papers at the University of Pennsylvania.