Peter Collas to the Commissioners
Passy 8th. October 1778
The 6 of August last I weant from hence to Nants Intended for Boston and on the 29th sailed from Nants for Boston On board of the Dispatch, Coben Barns master1 and On the ferst of September was Captured by the Ennemies and Carred in to Guernsey,2 from there I gott to England and made the best of my way for France. At my Arivall a Calais where According to custom my Trunk was Searched and in it found the following Articles which was Stoped from me on a Suposition that they were English manufactur’d Viz—17 1/2 Ells of Linin I pound of Sowing Silk 3 Ells of Tafity with Triming for a Cloack 6 pares of black Calaminco Shoes 39 Neckleses. 1 fan—1 paper Containing 2 Ells of Gaze 1½ Ells Rubon and a 2 hand Kerchief One Silk and the Other Gaze—2 pounds Thread.
As those Articles where purchesed in Nants and french Manifactur I begg and preay for your Assistance to Recover those Articles which Articles I declare to have bought in France.3 I am with Due Respects your most humble & Obedient Servant
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed at the top of the first page: “Honorable Benjamen Franklin Arther Lee & John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners for the 13 Unitide States of America”; docketed: “C Collas. 8. Octr.”; in another hand: “78.”
2. While at Passy, in addition to giving this statement concerning the seizure of his property, Collas apparently gave the Commissioners detailed information on the defenses of the island of Guernsey (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:321–322).
3. On 9 Oct. the Commissioners wrote to Jacques Necker (LbC, Adams Papers), asking for his assistance in the matter and enclosing a copy of Collas’ letter. There is no indication of the effect of the Commissioners’ intervention, but on 11 Nov. Collas wrote to Benjamin Franklin to remind him of his promise to inquire about the seized merchandise (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 , 1:531).