Barnett, James, Jr.

Naval officer.

Claimed to be an American navy lieutenant who had been imprisoned at Forton. This claim is unsubstantiated, unless Barnett was the Lieutenant James Briant of Massachusetts who was captured aboard the Montgomery (March 1777) and committed to Forton. Received money from the American commissioners to travel to Bordeaux (March 1778). Sought passage to America or employment in France (1778-79). Commander of the French frigate Vengeance (June 1778). Claimed Franklin’s acquaintance and asked him to honor a substantial draft; Franklin and Vergennes suspected him of being a con man.