Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Barclay, 28 July 1783

From Thomas Barclay

LS: Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères1

Auteuil 28 July 1783


I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I received last post a Letter from Messrs. Schweighauser & Dobreé of Nantes under whose care the Arsnal belonging to the United States is placed,2 informing me that their Partner at L’Orient Messr. Puchelberg & Co., had some months ago laid an attachment on all the Arms and other Military supplies under the Care of Messrs. Schweighauser & Dobreé.3

I need not inform your Excellency of the Nature of the transaction, as it fell immediately under your own inspection, but I beg leave to say that unless Goverment passes some signal Censure on those persons who have brought attachments against the property of the United States the Execution of my Office will be embarrass’d beyond discription.

I beg Sir you will Lay the matter in its proper light before the Minister’s, and obtain as soon as possible the dismission of this attachment and of those laid on the Alliances prize money.4

These attachments have been held in suspence several months to the great determent of the Public business under my care, and at the immenent risk of a heavy Loss in the final payment.5

I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Most Huml Sert

Thos Barclay

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

1This letter was forwarded to Vergennes with the note BF wrote to accompany it, immediately below.

2XXXVII, 450.

3Puchelberg & Cie. had threatened twice before to take action in order to assure payment for supplies it had furnished to the Alliance in 1780: -VII, 657–8. See also BF’s note, below.

4See Vergennes to BF, June 20, letter (III).

5Barclay left for Nantes and Lorient in late September to investigate these issues in person: Roberts and Roberts, Thomas Barclay, pp. 130–1. He took with him French translations of the congressional resolutions appointing him to audit the public accounts in Europe. BF attested these on Sept. 11 (Library of Congress).

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