Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Sartine, 18 September 1779

To Sartine

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Sept. 18. 1779.


I have examined the Papers which your Excellency did me the honour to Send me the 11th. of last Month relative to the Prizes and Ransoms taken by the american Privateer the Black Prince, and am of Opinion that the Same are good being taken from the Enemies of the United States.8 I therefore pray your Excellency to give such Directions relating thereto, to the admiralty of Morlaix, as may be necessary for the advantage of the Owners of that Privateer. With the greatest Respect, I am, Your Excellency’s most obedient.

M. De Sartine.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The enclosed papers probably were from the Admiralty of Morlaix; see BF to Sartine, Aug. 14, and Coffyn to BF, Aug. 30. On Sept. 8, above, BF expressed to Coffyn his doubts that he had the authority to judge prizes. He must have learned in the interim that according to French prize law he did have such authority; see also his Sept. 18 condemnations of the Bonhomme Richard’s and the Black Prince’s prizes and his Sept. 19 letter to John Torris. Meanwhile Torris had pleaded to BF for an immediate decision: above, Sept. 12.

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