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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23. 1780
There has been much commotion on this ship since my last journal entry. On the first instant the crew of this ship sent a second petition to Dr. Franklin asking for prize money and wages. Here is my true copy of that petition.

L'Orient, 1 June 1780 on board the Alliance
May it please your excellency

Once more to hear the humble petition of the Mariners and Marines on board the Continental ship Alliance now lying in the port of L'Orient.

Excellent Sir
Having repeatedly petitioned your Excellance on this subject, Receiving No answer Obliges us to Address you again.

Considering ourselves therefore as free people We suppose that we have an undoubted right to ask for that which is to all intents and purposes our own, more especially when we recollect that we have taken so many valuable prises which are all safely arrived in the different ports where they were ordered. If the Union And Betsy are given up, it is not for us to sustain the loss, But when we consider that they are paid for, as in all probability they are, our suffering families, makes our hearts to ache at the thought of Leaving France without our full due of prise money and six months wages during the time of that successful cruise, it cannot be expected that we can or will quietly weigh our anchor till we have received the farthing, we therefore Once more apply to your Excellancy as the person Intended And appointed by our country to see Justice done by Every Subject of the United States in (Europe) to take our posts and see that we Enjoy our full property, and also Restore unto us our Rightful commander under whom We entered and are willing to serve, as we are conscious that he is undeserving of the aspersions that are cast upon his character and reflects cowardice upon ours Whereas upon the Evening of the 23 of Sept. had things been managed According to his Wise decerning No ship would have been lost nor so much blood spilt and the ships have been taken with less Damage done them, we are fully pursuaded that had we not left the scarborough to the pallace the momement we did the Richard must have Sunk or Struck Which is the opinion of many of the Richards crew. Moreover if our request be granted most of the people who came from prison will be content to serve their country under him But at present we are unanimous in our Resolve to Claim our Lawful Commander Pr. Landais as our Captain has done no wrong, and provided he be cupable let us take him with us to be granted a greater uneasyness will prevail among us, we hope therefore that Your Excellency will well consider the matter and send a satisfactory answer to Mr. Pearce our gunner as we desired before, as a meer Receipt will only aggravate us more. If this be granted it will warm our minds with fresh courage and bind us under fresh Obligations to pray for your Excellency and serve our country.

We whose names are underwritten do declare the whole of What is Recorded hearin are our Real sentiments.

I signed this letter along with most of the remainded of our crew and many of the Poor Richard's crew.

As we expected Captain Landy took back command of the Alliance on the 13th instant. At a time set prior with our officers, the ship’s barge was sent to the Admiralty at about 3PM and brought him on board. Captain Jones had been on board in the morning but was ashore at the time. The former officers and crew of the Poor Richard were taken by surprise at this turn of events and were in the ward room at the time of Landy’s arrival. When Captain Landy came on board he was met with 3 huzzahs by the original Alliances. Upon the quarterdeck all the people were called and he read to us his original commission by Congress appointing him as rightful captain of this ship. He spoke to the former officers of the Poor Richard and asked if they would acknowledge him as Captain but they refused and he sent them on shore but kept about 80 former crew members of the Richard on board.

During the evening of the 20th instant we warped down from L’Orient to Port Louis where we came to anchor within 2 musket shots of the citadel. In the afternoon many boats came down and laid out a boom across the harbor mouth preventing our departure. Late in the afternoon a boat coming down from L’Orient hailed and warned us that there were a number of boats and a row galley with soldiers and cannon coming down to meet us sent by Captain Jones. Alliance was cleared for action, officers with small arms and the people with pikes. The crew of the Poor Richard was put between decks with guards as Captain Landy did not trust them. We could see that the fort also made preparations to fire upon us at short range with their cannons. The row galley came close but seeing we were fully prepared to warmly greet them they decided better of it and backed away. For some reason unknown to us the boom and hawser were removed early the next morning and we went down with the tide to anchor about 2 miles distance to the westward of the Citadel. Since then we understand no one has ever gone out of Port Louis without a pilot as the channel is narrow and the currents are treacherous.

Yesterday we took on board a pilot and today we sailed and came to anchor under Isle Groix. Today Mr. Blodgett, our purser doled out clothing to some of us and I received 2 shirts, a pair of shoes, a frock and a pair of trousers, all of which I was badly in need of. Captain Landy tells us we shall soon be sailing for America with weapons, gear and clothing for the American army. I am well satisfied with this situation as I expect, God willing, that I shall soon see my family once again after nearly 4 years.