Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Barry, 27 March 1781

From John Barry

ALS: American Philosophical Society

L’Orient 27th. March 1781.


Inclosed I send your Excellency the Names of the Prisoners I captured in a Small Privateer on my passage from Boston.—4

I Sail in a few hours for Philadelphia in Company with the Ship that has the Continental stores on board and Sundry other Vessells; I am Sorry I cannot wait for your Dispatches the reason is the Captain of the Marquis de la fayette with the Stores on board is determined to Sail,5 and she being of such Consequence to the United States that I think I am in Duty bound to Convoy her safe if in my Power.—

I remain Sir your most obedt. & very humble Servt.—

John Barry

His Excellency Benja. Franklin Esqr.—
N.B. Excuse haste

Addressed: His Excellency Benja. Franklin Esqr. / Minister Plenipotentiary from the / United States of America / Passy near / Paris

Notation: Barry March 27. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The Alert, which he had captured on March 4 while the Alliance was en route to France: William Bell Clark, Gallant John Barry 1745–1803: the Story of a Naval Hero of Two Wars (New York, 1938), p. 202.

5Capt. Galatheau had written Barry on March 23 accepting the Alliance’s escort, but insinuating his preference to sail to Brest: ibid., pp. 207–8. News could not yet have reached Lorient that the convoy from there to America had sailed with de Grasse the preceding day. There is an estimate of the supplies carried by the Marquis de Lafayette in “Mission of Col. Laurens,” I, 35–6. See also Lopez, Lafayette, pp. 220–3.

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