Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Oliver Pollock: Two Letters, 29 April 1778 and 1 May 1778

From Oliver Pollock:5 Two Letters6

(I) and (II) ALS: American Philosophical Society


New Orleans 29th. April 1778


Having the Honour of being appointed agent for the United States of America in this part of the world I take the liberty of acquainting you that James Willing Esqr. Captn. in the service Came down the River Ohio to Mississippi with A party of Sixty men last month and has taken several prizes on his Route Amongst which is A letter of Mark mounting 16 guns commanded by Captn. Cox fitted out from London for Pensacola from which place he came bound to Manchak to take in A Cargo of Peltreys and Indigo and there was taken by Lieut. McIntyre and Ten men, and brought down here under our Colours.7 Should you have any dispatches for the Continent you may forward them under Cover to Monsr. J.B. Bourgard Merchant here, and at same time will take it as a favour if youll honour me with the News from your quarters. You may send your letters either Via the Havana or Cape Franceway [Français] as there are frequent opportunities from there here and from this I have safe Conveyances for the Continent. I am Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Olr. Pollock

The Honbl Benjamin Franklin Esqr. turn


1st May 1778


The Bearer of this Mr. Jerom Lackerfull8 Goes upon some business of his own and mine to Bordeaux, and will return here Immediately. If he Possibly has time he will wait upon you at Paris for your dispatches, and acquaint you with the News of this place more particular than I can write you. (Should he not wait on you) any dispatches you may have this way, will meet him at Messrs. Saml. and J.H. Delap’s Merchants in Bordeaux. I am Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Olr. Pollock

Addressed: The Honble. / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / Paris

Endorsed: Pollock New Orleans 29. avril 1778

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Pollock (c. 1737–1823) emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia, where he went into the West Indian trade. In 1768 he moved to New Orleans, became a planter as well as merchant, and in 1777 was appointed commercial agent for Congress. DAB; James A. James, Oliver Pollock: the Life and Times of an Unknown Patriot (New York and London, 1937), pp. 113–14.

6The second is on the verso of the first.

7James Willing, whose brother was Robert Morris’ partner, was commissioned a naval captain by the Congressional commerce committee for the purpose of this expedition, which was to secure Spanish military supplies delivered to New Orleans. Willing brought with him the letter from the commerce committee appointing Pollock its agent. On the Captain’s way down the Mississippi his lieutenant, Thomas McIntyre, captured the British privateer, Rebecca, and his men appropriated slaves and booty, particularly at Natchez, that Pollock sold in New Orleans for some $50,000. John Caughey, “Willing’s Expedition down the Mississippi, 1778,” La. Hist. Quarterly, XV (1932), [5]-36; James, op. cit., p. 120.

8The first name could be Jason; the second is open to a variety of readings.

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