Benjamin Franklin Papers

The Committee of Secret Correspondence to Stephen Ceronio, 23 October 1776

The Committee of Secret Correspondence to Stephen Ceronio3

Letterbook copy: National Archives

In Committee of Secret Correspondence Philada.

October 23 1776


The Inclosed letter4 was wrote and signed before we had an opportunity to transmit it and having now so good a conveyance as the Brigantine Lexington we transmit the Same to you as an official Letter from the Committee of Secret Correspondence which you’l observe is distinct from the Secret Committee with whom you also Correspond, by this letter you’l find we expect Some Arms, ammunition Money or Cloathing may be sent out by Our Agent Monsr. Hortalez to the Governor at Cape François, with orders for the delivery of them to whoever may be properly empowered by Congress to recieve the same,5 that power is granted to you, and you’l please to apply to the Governor with our respectfull Compliments, desire to know if he has received Such supply, if he has produce the letter to him if he has not, then request he will inform you when such Supplies do Arrive or any advice respecting them. When you receive the Goods in consequence of this appointment, Ship a quantity of them by the Lexington if they are ready, if not you may Charter suitable French Vessels to bring them here dividing them into many Bottoms and Sending an Assortment consisting of part of every Article you recieve. In short you must transmit the Whole to us in the Safest and most expeditious manner you can Contrive, Consigning to this Committee for the Use and on Acct. of the United States of America. We are sir your Obedient servants

B F.

Mr. Stephen Ceronio

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3A young Genoese who had lived for a time in America before being sent to St. Domingue as an American agent; see Naval Docs., VI, 244.

4Now lost. It is identified by a note in another hand at this point in the MS as “a letter similar to that written to Mr. Bingham Oct. 1st. only substituting Cape Francois for Martinique and St. Eustatius.”

5The Lexington, a 16-gun Continental ship, was commanded by Capt. William Hallock: Naval Docs., VI, 1201, 1355. For the Governor, Victor-Thérèse d’Ennery, see Crout, “Diplomacy of Trade,” pp. 55–9. With this letter went a number of enclosures. One was a packet of dispatches for Ceronio to send to Deane via the Delaps in Bordeaux; for the contents see the Deane Papers, I, 335–6. Morris wrote a covering note to Deane, and also sent one to Ceronio and another to the Delaps to expedite the forwarding: Force, 5 Amer. Arch., II, 1198.

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