Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to [Gérard], 20 December 1777

The American Commissioners to [Gérard]

ALS:3 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères

Passy 20 Decr. 1777


The Persons going out with the dispatches are Mr. Simeon Deane and Mr. Anthony Knap both of New England. They will set out this Evening for Bordeaux, and will follow Your Orders, which You shall send; inclosed You have a Letter of Credit for the Captn. of Your Ship.4 We have the honor to be with the utmost respect Sir Your most Obedient and Very Humble Servants

B. Franklin
Silas Deane

Mr. Knap is the Pilot who has been mentioned to You before

Notation: 1777 Décembre 20.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3In Silas Deane’s hand. This letter and the two that follow are out of the usual order to preserve the sequence in which they were written: the commissioners to Gérard, his reply, and their letter to Simeon Deane that embodied suggestions in that reply.

4Knapp was a native of Newburyport, who had been captured on a privateer and subsequently escaped: Kaminkow, Mariners, p. 107. He was presumably a pilot for American waters, and the commissioners gave him 240 l.t. on departure: Deane Papers, V, 305. The captain of the ship was Charles-René-Louis de Bernard de Marigny, the younger of two naval brothers: Balch, French in America, II, 175. He commanded the frigate Belle-Poule, which sailed in early January but was forced back to Brest by bad weather and a shortage of provisions; he then received another frigate, and he and Deane reached America in mid-April. Stevens, Facsimiles, XXII, no. 1881, pp. 1–2; below, intelligence report, March 6; Simeon Deane to the commissioners, April 16, 1778.

Index Entries