Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to John Adams, [on or before 5 May 1777]

The American Commissioners to John Adams6

Copy:7 Library of Congress

[On or before May 5,8 1777]


With this, you will receive Dispatches; with which you are to sail with all possible expedition. You will enclose the Dispatches in a Box with Lead, and have it always ready to sink, shoud you be in unavoidable danger of falling into the Enemies hands. To prevent this misfortune, you will constantly keep a good look-out, and be very cautious how you approach any vessel to speak her; which shoud not be attempted, but in case of absolute necessity and want of information on the Coast. You will steer for the northern ports, and make the first harbour you possibly can, belonging to the United States. On your arrival, apply to the continental Agent or (if there shoud be none such) to the persons in authority there, to have your Dispatches immediately forwarded to Congress, from whom you will wait for future Orders. Confiding much in your diligence and discretion We wish you a speedy and prosperous voyage.

Notation: Copy of Letter to Capt Adams

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The master of the Lynch, who appeared often in the previous volume. He sailed with his dispatches on May 19, and was captured on the same day: Naval Docs., VIII, 866.

7In Arthur Lee’s hand; the notation is BF’s.

8JW acknowledged receipt of the dispatches, for which this is the covering note, in his letter to the commissioners below, May 7; and the journey from Paris took a minimum of two days.

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