Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Barclay, 29 January 1783

From Thomas Barclay

ALS: American Philosophical Society

L’Orient 29 Januy. 1783


I had the Honour of receiving the Letter which your Excellency was so kind as to Write me the 21st. instant5 and I very heartily and sincerely Congratulate you on your having seen such Important Events take place as the Independence of America, and General Peace of Europe.

There are now in this port several American Vessels ready to push to Sea, and if there is nothing improper in the application, I woud be very glad that Passports from the British Minister cou’d be obtaind to permit them to Sail without delay. It is of much consequence to the owners, as the Seamen are shipped upon the terms usually allow’d in time of War, and an other reason I have to wish to see them get away is, that all of them have Public supplies onboard.— If those supplies can be got to Philadelphia before the Shipments from England &c get there, Mr. Morris will be enabled if he chuses to Sell them, to raise a very considerable sum from them.

I am not clear as to the practicability of procuring such Passports, but as I am told they will be granted to the French Ships6 I hope you will excuse my mentioning it.

I have the Honour to be very respectfully Sir Your Most Obt. Most Huml servt.

Thos Barclay

The Vessels here are,

The Ship St. James, Alexr. Cain Master

″ Heer Adams . . . . . . Collins

″ America . . . . Robt. Caldwell

″ Washington Jams. Josiah7

And at Nantes,

The Ship Prince of Liege Isaac All8

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

Notation: T. Barclay L’Orient 9 June 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Not found.

6This information may have come from the circular issued by the French court; see the annotation of Bondfield to BF, Jan. 26. The Franco-British preliminary articles had not yet been published; they appeared in the Courier de l’Europe of Jan. 31, and were printed as a pamphlet by the imprimerie royale on Feb. 3 (Gaz. de Leyde, issue of Feb. 11).

7Barclay had informed BF on Dec. 16 that the St. James, America, and Washington were at Lorient, loading public goods that had been stored at Brest: XXXVIII, 463. The Heer Adams arrived on Jan. 18; see our annotation of BF to Livingston, Jan. 21. Barclay had loaded about 700 bales on the first three ships: Barclay to WTF, Jan. 24, 1783 (APS). Morris received at least some of the cargo by mid-April: Morris Papers, VII, 711.

8Around this time, Barclay estimated that the Prince de Liège would carry about 600 bales of goods. The bales at Rochefort, he had discovered, were in need of substantial repair: Barclay to WTF, Jan. 24, 1783 (APS). The Prince de Liège sailed for America in mid-April: Morris Papers, VII, 625n.

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