Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont: Two Notes, [before 22 October 1777]

From Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont: Two Notes7

AL: American Philosophical Society


[Before October 22, 17778]

Je prie M. franklin d’avertir M. andrew Patton de se Rendre a Rouen pour s’embarquer pour Cadix a Bord de L’heureuse Rencontre Capitaine Noel Martin.

M. Patton peut prendre la diligence qui vat a Rouen dans un jour. Il s’adressera a Rouen a M. holker avec La Lettre cy Jointe. Il s’adressera a Cadix a Messieurs Rey et Brandenbourg.

M. franklin voudera Bien donner unne Commission du Congrès pour que M. Patton puisse faire la guerre aux anglais.

Endorsed: Request of Mr. de Chaumont in favr of Mr Patton


[Before October 22, 1777]

Chaumont prie M. franklin d’ecrire a M. Maurice Negociant a Philadelphie9 pour L’engager a procurer un Chargement de tabac s’il en est Bezoing a un Navire que J’expediray de Cadix a [blank in MS] et qui sera conduit par le Capt. Patton. Ce Navire sera entierment Chargé de sel et si la vente du sel ne suffisoit pas pour luy procurer un Chargement de tabac, Prier M. Maurice d’y supléer, et de se rembourser sur moy de ses avances.

Endorsed: Request of M de Chaumont relating to Cargo of Ship from Cadiz

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Our documents give only glimpses, such as these, of Chaumont’s concern with America. British intelligence had more to say. In September it reported a mysterious trip of his to Rochefort, apparently on instructions from Versailles; when he set out, he remarked later, “He tho’t he carryed war in his pockett,” and after his return not even the commissioners could learn what had happened: Stevens, Facsimiles, III, no. 306, p. 4; see also II, no. 195, pp. 2–3, and no. 196, pp. 2–3. Twice in October it reported that he was sending vessels to America with salt, clothing, and merchandise: ibid., III, no. 274, p. 8; XIX, no. 1718, p. 4. In early November Stormont complained to Vergennes of Chaumont’s doings; the Minister replied that he knew the man only by reputation, as one who kept his business to himself: ibid., XIX, no. 1736, pp. 6–7.

8Andrew Paton or Patten, prize master of a captured sloop that was recaptured, was committed to Forton Prison in June of 1777 and escaped in August: New England Hist. and Geneal. Register, XXXIII (1879), 36. On Oct. 22 a British agent reported that the captain, sailing from Cadiz, was to join a “Congress fleet” assembling off Bilbao: Stevens, Facsimiles, III, no. 278, p. 3. Hence our dating of these notes, which were obviously written well before the expected departure from Cadiz.

9Presumably Robert Morris.

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