Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Knox, 19 November 1781

From William Knox

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

On board his Majestys Frigate L’Engageante3 Road of Groia Novr. 19h. 1781.


I do myself the Honor to inclose you two Letters one from his Excellency Govr Hancock the other from John Temple Esqr.4 also some Hand Bills and late Boston Papers. Should you not have been made previously acquainted with their Contents I flatter myself they will afford you material pleasure, as they relate to the very important events of the Reduction of the Army under the command of Lt. General Lord Cornwallis which surrendered on the 18th. Ulto. to the Allied army of France and America. The Official accounts had not reached Boston previous to the sailing of his Majestys Frigate Engageante, in which I have this moment arrived after a passage of 21 Days.5

General Greenes success has been very great as your Excellency will find from one of the inclosed hand Bills: Le Marquis de Kergariou6 who commands the Engageante, is so polite as to forward this Letter to Paris with his other Dispatches.

I have the Honor to be with the Most Respectful Esteem Yr. Excellencys Obt. Servt.

William Knox.

His Excellency B Franklin Esqr.

Addressed: His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / American Ambassador at the Court of France / Passy.

Endorsed: Wm Knox Nov. 19. 81

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3One of three frigates which reached France in rapid succession with news of Cornwallis’ capitulation. The others were the Surveillante and Andromaque: XXXV, 638n, 656n; Vergennes to BF, Nov. 19, and Kéralio to BF, Nov. 20, below.

4Written on Oct. 28 and 29, respectively: XXXV, 662–3, 668–70. Knox also carried a letter of introduction from Hancock (XXXV, 659–60).

5Unofficial news of Cornwallis’ surrender reached Newport on Oct. 24 and was published in the Oct. 29 issue of the Boston Gaz. and Country Jour., but the official report (which had reached Philadelphia on Oct. 19) was not published in that newspaper for another two weeks.

6Pierre-Joseph Kergariou de Roscoët: XXXV, 656n.

Index Entries