Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Judges of the Admiralty of Vannes, 18 May 1780

To the Judges of the Admiralty of Vannes3

Copy:4 Archives de la Marine

Passy 18th May 1780


By the declaration and report to me Made By the honourable Commodore Jones, a Copy of Which Declaration I here With Send you. It appears to me that the British Ship of War the Serapis therein mentioned to be met With, When Convoying a fleet of the Same Nation from the Baltick & taken By the Bonhomme Richard Which Was Commissioned By the Congress and Commanded By the aforesaid Commodore, is undoubtedly a good Prize, Being taken from the Ennemies of the United States of America, and I Do accordingly hereby Desire of you, that you Would Proceed to the sale of the above Said Prize, In Conformity to his Majesty’s Regulation of September 27th. 1778.

I have the honour to be &c.

Ainsy signé B. Franklin
ministre Plenipotentiaire
Des etats unis De Lamerique a La Cour de France

Copie De La Lettre de M. B Franklin aux officiers De L’amiraute de Vannes

Certifie Conforme a loriginal

Chanu De Limur

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Having oversight of judicial matters at nearby Lorient where the Serapis was to be sold: T.J.A. LeGoff, Vannes and Its Region: a Study of Town and Country in Eighteenth-Century France (Oxford, 1981), p. 80.

4In the hand of Jean-François-Marie Chanu de Limur, Lt. Gen. of the Admiralty of Vannes, who sent it to Sartine (see Sartine to BF, June 17). In a June covering letter (Archives de la Marine, B4CLXXII: 181–2), Chanu de Limur informed Sartine that the sale would be held on June 22. Obviously unfamiliar with the English language, he made several minor errors of transcription which we have silently corrected.

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