Peter Collas to the American Commissioners2
ALS: American Philosophical Society
<Passy, October 8, 1778: Last August 6 I left here for Nantes and sailed on the 29th for Boston on the Dispatch, Corbin Barnes, master. I was captured on September 1, and taken into Guernsey;3 I made my way from there to England and finally to Calais. My trunk was searched and a number of articles were held on the supposition that they were made in England.4 These articles are of French manufacture, purchased in Nantes. I need your assistance to recover them.5>
2. Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII.
3. See Butterfield, John Adams Diary, II, 321–2, for Collas’ description of the Guernsey fortifications.
4. Collas lists some lengths of fabric, trimming, ribbon, thread, shoes, and “39 Neckleses,” as well as a fan and some handkerchiefs, all items probably requested by his mother-in-law Jane Mecom whose modest trading ventures had always been encouraged by BF. See Lopez and Herbert, The Private Franklin, pp. 159–60.
5. The commissioners obliged; see their letter to Necker, Oct. 9. Collas and Barnes received 240 l.t. from them on Oct. 17, according to An Account of Payments to Prisoners [c. Dec. 31, 1778]. APS.