Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Bondfield, 13 February 1780

From John Bondfield

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Bordeaux 13 feb 1780


The arrival of Mr Jay Messrs. Girard and other gentlemen passengers on board the Frigate L’Aurore from Martinico at Cadiz releives the suspence we were under for the fate of the Confederacy you will undoubtedly have Letters by this days post from Cadiz. Don Gaston & Cordova would be united the 20th5 the active Barcelo sooner than fly run his vessels under the Island of Alaciro where he dismasted one, took of the rudder of a second, Landed his Cannon on the Island to protect his Ships and Stores and will there defend in Front of Gibralter & the British Navy his little Fortress.6 There are various reports of the Operations in the West Indies where it is apprahend the English with the reinforcemts they have received from New York will be Active either in attempting to recover their ground or put the Island, in a State to resist the Next Campaign. It dont appear any expedition is on Foot against Charles Town as mention is made of arburthnots being arrived at Antiga7 With respect I have the Honor to be Sir your most Obed Hum Serv

John Bondfield

His Excellency Benj Franklin Esq

Addressed: His Excellce B. Franklin / Esq / Passi pres / Paris

Notation: Bondfield John. 13. Feby. 1780.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Don Miguel Gastón commanded a large contingent from the Spanish fleet which had operated off the coast of England the previous summer. He had planned to winter in Brest, but was sent to reinforce Adm. Luis de Córdoba y Córdoba’s Cadiz fleet when Admiral Rodney came to Gibraltar: Dull, French Navy, pp. 163, 174, 178; Lewis, Walpole Correspondence, XXV, 25n.

6Don Antonio Barceló, commander of a tiny Spanish squadron in the Bay of Algeciras, used the small island of las Palomas off the mouth of the bay to shield him from Rodney’s fleet at nearby Gibraltar: Courier de l’Europe VII (1780), 123, 129–30 (issues of Feb. 25 and 29).

7In fact Admiral Arbuthnot was presently serving as the naval commander of the British expedition against Charleston. On Feb. 11 troops began coming ashore well to the south of the city: John A. Tilley, The British Navy and the American Revolution (Columbia, S.C., 1987), p. 175.

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