Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to Schweighauser, 10 February 1779

The American Commissioners to Schweighauser

Copies: Harvard University Library, Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society,2 National Archives (two)

Passy feby 10 1779


Capt. Jones has represented to us his desire & Intention of returning to the Countess of Selkirk, some Plate which his People took from her house.3

We apprehend that Congress would not disapprove of this Measure, as far as it should depend upon them; and We therefore consent on the Part of the United states that this Plate should be return’d. This Consent is to be understood to extend no farther than to the share to which the U.S. may be suppos’d to have a Claim. The Claim of the Officers & Men, Cap. Jones must be responsible to them for.

This Plate in the whole is represented to be worth about 100 Guineas.4

M. Schweighauser.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For once, not in JA’s hand, but that of a clerk.

3Jones had long since apologized to her for the theft (XXVI, 502, 533) and promised to purchase the plate himself, returning it to her by whatever conveyance she wished. He eventually did so, and Samuel Eliot Morison reported that most of the pieces were still in the possession of Selkirk descendants: Morison, Jones, pp. 149, 154–5.

4In fact it was valued at 3,000 l.t., or closer to 120 guineas. Jones was entitled to fifteen percent; out of his own pocket he compensated the officers and crew of the Ranger for the rest: ibid., p. 155.

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