Alexander Gillon to the American Commissioners8
ALS: American Philosophical Society
<Brest, January 25, 1779: I arrived here today from our continent via Havana. I embarked for Spain on November 17; on the 19th instant I encountered a small fleet about fifty leagues east south east of Cape Finisterre commanded by de Grasse, who suggested that I make for Brest with the frigate Fortunée, Capt. Marigny.9 To expedite the business I am sent on I accepted the offer, a further evidence of French good will. The only letters I have for you are introductions, hence I will proceed to Nantes to ascertain what property has been shipped from South Carolina and what dispositions should be made. Since it will be February 6 before I can leave there I would appreciate news sent in care of Messrs. H. Q. Chaurand frères,1 particularly any information from America after July 23 when I first set out. A long stay at Havana and contrary winds protracted my voyage.>
8. Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 379–80.
9. Always referred to as Marigny, Sr., the comte de Marigny, like his brother (for whom see Sartine’s letter of Feb. 13, below), was ultimately a captain in de Grasse’s fleet. He was killed in April, 1782, during the Battle of the Saintes when he refused to abandon his burning ship, the César: Jean-Jacques Antier, L’Amiral de Grasse . . . ([Paris, 1965]), p. 331; Karl G. Tornquist, The Naval Campaigns of Count de Grasse . . . (Philadelphia, 1942), pp. 104–5.
1. By number and value of vessels owned, the third largest maritime supplier in Nantes: Villiers, Commerce colonial, p. 404.