From Thomas Digges
ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Londo. Apr 9. 1779
Our friend Mr. B——n having given me an oppertunity to convey a letter by a safer conveyance than that of the common post, I make free to inclose it to you in order to be forwarded to Mr W——n should he be out of P——s.5
I have but a few minutes before Mr. B—— closes his packet to appologise for the freedom I take & to offer my services here.6 I am not many hours in London, & shall remain here ‘till calld to a western port on the arrival of two Spanish vessels expected there which I guess will be in six or seven weeks. My purpose with these vessels is the same as what has employd me for now nearly two years—the getting out useful articles—The very great wants of which would be much alleviated was an import directly from this Country allowd by mine, for there are hundreds who would adventure largely, & this too without a prospect of immideate payment. Not a word of Amn news, & by what I can gather, it is likely the embarkation of troops & Recrts destind for N York (in all about 4,500) have been lately countermanded.7
The next W Inda. Fleet will sail abot. the 10 May. 80 to 100 ships.8 I cordeally wish You every prosperity & am Yours.
A Monsieur Monsieur Jacques Vincent Droüillard9 Bureau des Postes Londres
Addressed: a Monsieur / Monsieur B. Franklin
Notations: Digges London 9 april 79 / April 9 1779.
5. Digges’s abbreviations stand for Edward Bridgen (who also carried Christopher Baldwin’s letter of March 5, above), Samuel Wharton, and Paris.
6. The Maryland-born merchant had first offered his services to BF the previous September: XXVII, 420–1.
7. Lord George Germain’s Jan. 23 orders for stepping up the military campaign in New York and Rhode Island required sending an additional 6,600 men from Britain and Germany to reinforce Gen. Clinton’s troops. However, of the 3,000 recruits expected from Britain, only 1,300 were raised. The plan was further disrupted when the transports ordered to sail from the Thames to the Firth of Forth to collect three regiments left five weeks late and did not return with the troops until the beginning of April. Mackesy, War for America, pp. 255, 259–60.
8. A merchant fleet.
9. A name he used as a cover for receiving mail.