Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to Jean H. Delap, 26 December 1777

The American Commissioners to Jean H. Delap8

Copy: Connecticut Historical Society

Paris Decemr 26 1777


Yours of the 19th we received Yesterday and immediately enclosed it to Monsieur De Sartine in a Letter of ours, and have not the least Doubt that Justice will be immediately done. The part you have acted merits our Thanks, and Justice to you requires that we should represent it to our Friends in America, which we shall do in our first Dispatches. You on the Spot are and must be the best Judge what Steps are proper to be taken, on consulting with the Persons best acquainted with the proper mode of proceeding, and you may rely on us to support you in the measures necessary for the obtaining the Liberty of Capn. Walke and such Justice as is his due, and may at the same time prevent in future such impertinent and insolent Conduct.9 To the other parts of your Letter we cannot so particularly answer, as it is not now before us, but will if found necessary write you again by the next Currier. Mean time We are with the most sincere Esteem Sir Your most Obedient humble Servants

Messrs. Delaps

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8They address him in the singular, then revert at the end to the conventional plural.

9Delap’s letter is missing. It announced that an American captain had been imprisoned in Bordeaux at the instigation of British agents, who had tampered with his crew: Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, I, 369. On the 25th Stormont had quite a different story: Walke, master of an American vessel, had insulted a group of British merchants and been imprisoned; Delap intervened and secured his release within 24 hours: Stevens, Facsimiles, XX, no. 1799, p. 2. The present letter indicates that the Captain was still in prison; a lawsuit with one of the British merchants detained him in Bordeaux, whether in or out of gaol, for the next three months: Walke to the commissioners below, March 17.

Index Entries