The American Commissioners to Sartine4
AL (draft5): Massachusetts Historical Society; two copies: National Archives
<Passy, May 14, 1778: American warships have hitherto taken between four and five hundred prisoners, who were released because we could not confine them in France. Now Capt. Jones has brought into Brest nearly two hundred, whom we should gladly exchange for our seamen in England, but who we fear will be released in turn. We have found legal opinion that release is not mandatory, and we should welcome your advice on whether there is any way to retain these prisoners until they can be exchanged for ours.>
4. Published in Butterfield, John Adams Diary, IV, 99–100 and summarized in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 114.
5. In Adams’ hand, as are all drafts in the same repository that appear later in the volume.