Benjamin Franklin Papers

John Bondfield to the American Commissioners, 12 May 1778: Letter and résumé

John Bondfield to the American Commissioners: Two Letters

(I) and (II) ALS:3 American Philosophical Society


Bordeaux 12 May 1778

Honored Sirs

I have just time in Compliance to Mr. Livingstons request to write your honors that an offer has been made him of a vessel to be compleatly fitted and armed provided your Honors will grant a Commission. His desires in this appears to spring from the advance it would give him of rank at his Arrival in America.

If this should meet your approbation your answer by return of Post will be in time [to] permit my soliciting in his favor. His experience and steddy perseverance will by being in Command give him greater opportunities than in a subordinate Station.4 With great respect I am Your Honors Most Obedient Servant

John Bondfield

The Honble. The Commissioners

Addressed: The Honble. Benj Franklin / Arthur Lee and John Adams Esq / Commissioners from Congress / Paris

Endorsed by John Adams: Mr Bondfield 12 May 1778


<Bordeaux, May 12, 1778: A ship from North Carolina has brought tobacco, and a letter to me saying that Edenton has become the port of America. The Boston is taking on provisions and will leave soon;5 the expenses, despite every effort, are becoming heavy, and she is short of seamen. Jersey privateers infest the coast of Spain, but we hear of no British cruisers in the Bay of Biscay.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The second is published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 108–9.

4Musco Livingston must have just arrived in Bordeaux from Paris. He had expected to serve under Tucker as first lieutenant in the Boston; see his letter to the commissioners above, April 8, and theirs to Tucker of April 13. Livingston did serve briefly as the Boston’s second lieutenant, but resigned for reasons of health: Tucker to the commissioners, below, July 3.

5She dropped down river on May 22 and sailed on June 6: Taylor, op. cit., p. 109 n.

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