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Friday, November 27, 2009

AllIiance Crew - Second Letter to Franklin

As mentioned in the previous post, the Alliance Crew became more frustrated at their condition, having not received a response from Franklin in more than a month and a half.  The crew sent a more forceful letter to him on June 1st, which Jacob Nutter also signed.  Here is the body of the letter...

"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."

Most of the crew signed this letter.  Interestingly, there were several men that signed and then crossed their names out.  These were former crew members of the Bonhomme Richard who were protesting in their own way, signifying that they did not agree with the majority sentiments of the Alliance crew and were remaining loyal to John Paul Jones.  At this time, Landais had already returned to L'Orient and the Alliance crew were aware of his presence and would have preferred him for their commander over John Paul Jones.  Here is a post-note to the letter commenting on the Richard's crew signatures..

"n:b: those few whose names are oblitterated are belonging to the Richard who did it unknown to us, the greater part of them being anxious to signe the same"

If I obtain permision for UPENN I will also publish an image of the original letter.

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