Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Bondfield, 26 January 1783

From John Bondfield

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Bordeaux 26 Jany 1783


An Express arrivd yesterday proclaimd Peace permit me to renew my Compliments of Congratulation.4

Mr Barclay wrote me some posts past from Lorient to have the returns of the prisoners at this City which I have transmitted and expect his further instructions by return of Post.5

I took the liberty to request a protection for two small Brigs I have which will very speedily be ready for Sea and as their Proceeding without Protections if met by English Men of War or Cruizers in Latitudes or Longitudes precribed by the proclamation before the Stipulated term allowd is expired will subject them to Capture and condemnd as legal Prizes we have Recourse to your protection which will preserve our Vessels from being Molested on their Voyage.

I receivd a few Days past a Letter from Mr Bache acknowledging the receipt of part of the Wine you orderd for his Account6 ten Cases shipt per the Maclanachan had the misfortune to be carried to Halifax.7

With due Respect I have the Honor to be Sir Your most Obedient servant

John Bondfield

The Brig Sophia Cap Allin for Philadelphia
The Brig Mimi Cap Walls for Charles Town

Addressed: a Son Excéllance / Benjm. Fránklin / Ministre Pre. des Etats Unis / de Lamerique / à Paris

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4On Jan. 20, the day the preliminaries were signed, the French court sent circulars to the ports, announcing the news and issuing a temporary embargo on shipping: Gaz. de Leyde, Feb. 4, 1783. That circular, probably the proclamation Bondfield mentions here and in the third paragraph, must have either described or quoted Article 22 of the Franco-British treaty, which specified that once the preliminary treaty was ratified, the armistice would take effect at sea on different dates depending on the distance from France and England. See the annotation of BF to Livingston, Jan. 21.

5Hodgson wrote BF on Dec. 12 that Townshend had decided to send a cartel ship to Lorient for the exchange of prisoners. BF was asked to have all the British prisoners sent to Lorient: XXXVIII, 441. On Dec. 25 WTF wrote to Thomas Barclay (then at Lorient) with these instructions. Barclay immediately sent word to Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Nantes, and Rochefort: Barclay to WTF, Jan. 6, 1783 (APS).

6For which see XXXVIII, 363.

7For the capture of the McClenachan see XXXVIII, 569–70.

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