Davis, Nicholas

American who obtained money from the American Commissioners and from William Bingham under the false pretense that he wished to return to America and serve his native country.

Claimed to have served as an officer in India. In January 1779, the Commissioners advanced him funds and provided him with an open letter of recommendation that he used to obtain money on the Commissioners’ credit at Le Havre and in Martinique. Sailed aboard the French merchant ship the Seine, was captured, and imprisoned at Dominica (1777). While in prison, he declared under interrogation that the Seine was not a French but an American ship, bound for Boston. A Congressional investigation ensued, but he was apparently not punished. He arrived in Philadelphia shortly before the British troops occupied the city. In 1779, he was in Amsterdam and was again in search of money and a captaincy aboard an American or a French privateer.

Claimed to be the son of a distiller from Boston who emigrated to Jamaica in 1755, went to England where he took holy orders, and then returned to Jamaica.