The Commissioners to Vergennes
Passy, April 19th 1778
By sundry Letters from Merchants of Bourdeaux and Nantes,1 we are inform’d, that many Adventures to America are discouraged by the high Price of Insurance, and the Number of Captures made by the English, which together have an Operation almost equal to an Embargo; so that the Commerce which might be so advantageous, to both Countries, by supplying their mutual Wants, is obstructed, and the Intention of the late Treaty in a great Degree defeated.
Convoys that might secure the Merchant Ships from the Depredation of the Enemy; would immediately remove these Impediments, and open a considerable Commerce which waits only for that Protection. We therefore most earnestly entreat your Excellency, to procure the appointment of such Convoys for the Trade from Bourdeaux and Nantes to the United States, as his Majesty, in his Wisdom, shall deem sufficient. We have the Honour to be with the most distinguished Respect, Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servants
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 3.)
1. The letter from Bordeaux was that from John Bondfield to the Commissioners of 10 April, which had been answered on 15 April (both above). The letters from Nantes were probably those of 9 April from Jonathan Williams to Benjamin Franklin and “The Captains of American Merchant Vessels at Nantes and Neighboring Ports” to the Commissioners (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. description begins I. Minis Hays, comp., Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1908; 5 vols. description ends , 1:392–393).