Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Barclay, 4 February 1782

To Thomas Barclay

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Feb. 4. 1782.


The Loss of the Transports that accompany’d the Fleet of Mr. de Guichen has made it necessary for this Government to take up others;7 and I have been desired to provide if possible Ships to take the Stores assembled at Brest for the use of our States which will amount to 1000 Tons.8 I purpose writing by Wednesday’s Post9 to Nantes & L’Orient, to learn if any Vessels are to be had there, and upon what Terms, and I hope the affair you are at present engaged in, will be so far finish’d as to permit your being here to agree for them, and take Care of the Embarcation.

By my last Letter from Mr. Morris, a fresh Purchase is ordered if we can find the Money, that will amount to near two millions, and is committed to the Care of yourself and Mr. Ridley.1 I am not yet sure of obtaining what may be necessary to pay for the whole, but a previous Consultation may be useful. I am persuaded therefore that you will return as soon as can be with Convenience.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Honble. Mr. Barclay. Conl. Gl.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Two vital convoys for Martinique and India being escorted clear of the French coast by Lt.-Gen. de la marine Guichen were intercepted by the British on Dec. 12, and some twenty ships were captured. Two weeks later the Convoys were forced by weather to return to Brest and were not able to sail again until Feb. 11: Dull, French Navy, pp. 259–62, 267.

8The goods were replacements: XXXV, 509–10, 518–19.

9The following Wednesday was Feb. 6, when BF did write to JW and Jonathan Nesbitt.

1On Nov. 27, above, Morris asked BF to use Barclay and Ridley to purchase items for the Board of War. These items were mostly clothing: Morris Papers, III, 289–90n.

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