Benjamin Franklin Papers

William Temple Franklin to John Adams and John Jay, 22 November 1781

William Temple Franklin to John Adams and John Jay4

Press copy of ALS: Massachusetts Historical Society; copy:5 Library of Congress

Passy, 22d Nov. 1781.

Dear Sir,

Since the Letter I had the honour of writing to your Excellency on the 19th. Inst,6 the Duke de Lauzun is arrived at Versailles from Virginia, with the glorious News of the combined Force of America & France having forced General Cornwallis to capitulate. The English Garrison marched out of York Town on the 19th of Octr. with the honour of War, & laid down their Arms: the Troops consisted of about Six thousand Sailors & Negroes 1800, 22 pair of Colours, & 170 Pieces of Cannon, of which 75 were of brass.— Besides which, a Vessel of 50 Guns with a considerable Number of Transports were burnt. These are the only particulars which have as yet transpired of this important Event. In a few Days will be publish’d the Articles of Capitulation, when I shall immediately forward them to your Excellency.

Hoping that your Negociations may partake of the good Effect of this Victory, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellencys affectionate & obliged humble Servant

W.T. Franklin

Notation: W.T. Franklin 22d. Novr. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4On Nov. 20, Chaumont had written WTF that BF wanted to send to Madrid an account of the Yorktown victory; the courier from Versailles would leave the next day, when BF would be at court. APS. We have no record that the account was sent. The present letter is the first extant communication from BF’s office to his fellow ministers.

5In Gurdon Mumford’s hand, with a notation that versions were sent to both JA and Jay. Based on the location of the press copy, we assume that Jay received the now-missing ALS.

6WTF’s letter of Nov. 19, announcing Barclay’s arrival, enclosed an extract of Barclay’s Nov. 15 letter to BF (the second and third sentences of the second paragraph) and a copy of the letter by Richard Butler that Barclay enclosed. The ALS addressed to JA is at the APS. We assume that Jay received the same material; though his copy has not been found, he acknowledged receiving a letter of that date: Jay to WTF, Dec. 5, APS.

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