Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to All Commanders of Armed Vessels Belonging to the United States, 22 June 1778

To All Commanders of Armed Vessels Belonging to the United States9

ALS (draft): Library of Congress

Paris, June 22. 1778


Whereas the Religious Society commonly called the Moravian Brethren, have established a Mission on the Northern Part of the Labradore Coast, for the good purpose of civilising and converting to Christianity the Barbarians who live there, and by that means put an End to their Custom of plundering and murdering the People of our Fishing Vessels and others passing in those Seas. And whereas those Missionaries and their Families depend for Subsistance in that unfertile Country, on the Supplies annually sent them, and on the Friendship of the Natives, which is maintain’d by little Presents of Iron Ware, all furnished by charitable Subscriptions in England; the Interruption of which Supplies might hazard the Loss of those pious Missionaries, and ruin an Enterprize beneficial to Humanity. I do therefore hereby certify, that the Sloop Good Intent, burthen about 75 Tons, Capt. Francis Mugford, carrying in the present Voyage about 5000 Bricks for building Chimneys with Provisions and Necessaries for the Missionaries and their Assistants, and some Ironmongery and Tin Ware for the Indians; The Crew consisting of the Captain, Mate, three Men and a Boy; and the Passengers One Man and three Women; is the Vessel employ’d in the above Service for the present Year. And I request if the said Vessel should be met with by any of you, that you would not consider her as a Merchant man, proper to be made a Prize of, but rather concur benevolently in promoting so good a Design, by permitting her to pass freely, and affording her any Assistance which the Casualties of the Sea may have rendered necessary, in which I am persuaded your Conduct will be approved not only in your own Breasts, but by the Congress, by your Owners, and by all Mankind. Wishing you all Success and Prosperity, I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin
One of the Plenipotentiary Ministers of
the United States at the Court of France.

To all Commanders of armed Vessels belonging to the United States of America.

Notation: 22 June 1778

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9As early as January James Hutton had raised the question of a safe conduct for the ship carrying supplies to the Moravian mission in Labrador: above, XXV, 506. He raised it again in his letter of May 15, and on June 16 asked Ferdinand Grand to remind BF of it (APS). This was the result, to be enclosed with the note to Hutton that BF drafted the next day.

Index Entries