Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Sartine, 30 May 1780

To Sartine

LS:5 Archives de la Marine; copy: Library of Congress

Passy May 30. 1780


I am under the greatest Uneasiness to find, that great Part of the Cloathing sent to Brest to be shipt for America, was left behind, and that the Alliance alone has not sufficient Room, to receive it with the Arms and Gunpowder, which the King has been so good as to order for us, and which are all so much wanted in the American Armies. A Proposition has been made of asking to borrow the Ariel to assist in carrying these Things.6 It is said that a sufficient Number of Men and Officers can be furnished for her out of the Alliance. I am so unacquainted with Ship Business that I cannot judge of the fitness of that Vessel. But if your Excellency should approve of the Proposal, and be inclined to favour us with the Loan of that or any other Ship more convenient for the Purpose, it will be an essential Service to the United States, and for which they will be under great Obligation.

With the greatest Esteem I have the honour to be, Your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Exy M. De Sartine./.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5In WTF’s hand. A French translation is also at the Archives de la Marine.

6The Ariel, 26, was a captured British sloop of war placed under repair at Lorient after returning from the West Indies: Morison, Jones, pp. 301–2; Thévenard to Sartine, March 31, 1780, Archives de la Marine, B3DCLXXXII, 88–9. On May 26 Sartine indicated that Jones had requested the Ariel and that if no other vessel were available the king would order that the Ariel be given to him: Archives de la Marine, B4CLXXII, 178.

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