Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 17 February 1778

The American Commissioners to the Committee for Foreign Affairs

Copy: Connecticut Historical Society

Paris Feby. 17. 1778


We have given Capt. Courter whom we have entrusted with our Dispatches one hundred Louis D’Ors: His Journey to Corogne will be very expensive.8 He will keep an Account of his Expences which he will give you and we recommend him to you for such further allowance, independant of the Actual expence of his Voyage, as you shall judge adequate to his Services. He appears to be a Steady well disposed person and has the Character of a Skilful and brave Seaman. We have the Honour to remain &c.


Hon’ble Committee of Foreign Affairs

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Harmon Courter, as he spelled himself (he also appears as Hammond or Hammon Corter), had commanded the Oliver Cromwell, a Mass. armed vessel out of Philadelphia that had surrendered the previous May in the West Indies to a British sloop after a fierce engagement. He and his men were put ashore in England the following August and committed to Forton Prison in October; soon afterward he escaped. Deane, who considered him trustworthy, brave, and an expert pilot for the New England coast, asked that he go to Brest to board the Nymphe, the frigate that was carrying him; but he was apparently not allowed to, for he made the long overland trip to Coruña. There he met the ship, and embarked on or about March 13. Naval Docs., VIII, 999; New England Hist. and Geneal. Register, XXX (1876), 345 n; XXXIII (1879), 37; Kaminkow, Mariners, p. 45; Deane Papers, II, 364–5; Stevens, Facsimiles, VIII, no. 801 (where Courter is disguised as Courten).

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