Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Barclay, 29 April 1782

From Thomas Barclay

ALS: American Philosophical Society

29 april 1782. Amsterdam


Since I had the honour of addressing Your Excellency last post7 I heard from Mr. Adams that a Cartel is settled for the Exchange of Seamen between America and Great Britain, and that some ships are getting ready in England to Transport the prisoners that are Now there. As we shall be in great want of some to Man the Ship that is going out, I wish it were possible to get about forty or fifty of them either to Ostend or this place. I have already written to Dunkirk and Ostend to Collect and send hither all that are there, but an addition of either of the above Numbers wou’d Accommodate Us Compleately. I am not Clear in the practicability of the Measure, but I thought I wou’d submit it to your Excellencys Consideration. We shall want a Commission to intitle Captain Samuel Smedley to make prize of any of the Enemys vessells that possibly may fall in his way, which I will be obliged to you to send and if it is Necessary to go through any forms here I shall do it. The ship is Now Called the Heer Adams, Burthen 250 Ton, American built, and will sail with Sixteen guns and about Sixty Men. Mr. Peter Le Pool8 of this place requests me to write to your Excellency for such an other Commission for his Brigantine General Green, Edward Bacon Master,9 will Carry 10 Guns & 30 men. Perhaps the short way wou’d be to send some to Mr. Adams to be deliver’d when wanted.

I have the honour to be with great respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Obed

Thos Barclay

Endorsed: April 29. 82

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Above, April 25.

8Pieter Le Poole, whose family was from Leiden, had been for a brief period a landowner and merchant in South Carolina: Laurens Papers, VIII, 405–6, 536n; P. J. Van Winter, Het aandeel van den Amsterdamschen handel aan den opbouw van het Amerikaansche Gemeenebest (2 vols., The Hague, 1927–33), I, 14, 31, 96; II, 429; W. Robert Higgins, “Charles Town Merchants and Factors Dealing in the External Negro Trade, 1735–1775,” S.C. Hist. Mag., LXV (1964), 212; R. Nicholas Olsberg, comp., “Ship Registers in the South Carolina Archives, 1734–1780,” S.C. Hist. Mag., LXXIV (1973), 275.

9Perhaps Edward Bacon, Jr., of Barnstable, Mass.: Claghorn, Naval Officers, p. 11.

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