George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 30 June 1778

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston June 30th 1778

Dear General

Yesterday a Xebeck arrived in this port from Spain, and a Cutter from France, I have this day forwarded the Letters to Congress perr Express.1 If we may give credit to common reports brought by these Vessels Chesepeck or Deleware will soon (if they are not already) be honored with a French Squardron, and the Letters in the Mail, addressed to the Count de Estaing Vice Admiral in the French Fleet, seem to be a confirmation of it.

It is also reported, and said to be true, that Capt. Jones the Continental Frigate the Ranger has taken the Drake, an English 20 Gun Ship, and carried her into France.2

We have various reports here respecting the movements of Sir Henery Clinton’s Army and that of Your Excellency’s, and are momently expecting the arrival of Intelligence the most important and interesting.

The Honorable President of the Council here has just favored me with the enclosed Copy of a Letter which he received the Last evening by one of the Vessels from France.3 I have the honor to be With great respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servant

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, MHi: Heath Papers.

1On 6 July the Boston Gazette reported the arrival there of “a Packet from France; a Settee from Rochford; and a Brig from Nantz” on 30 June, and both that paper and the Continental Journal (Boston) published letters from Europe reporting on the exploits of John Paul Jones, fleet movements, and European politics. Heath’s letter of this date to Henry Laurens is in DNA:PCC, item 157. The enclosures included a letter of 18 May from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin announcing the departure for America of a British fleet (see note 3).

2See John Grizzage Frazer to GW, 30 May, and note 7 of that document.

3The enclosure probably was a letter of 18 May from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin addressed to “Any Governor or Member of a Council or House of Representatives of an American State,” which reported the departure of a British fleet for North America (Franklin Papers description begins William B. Willcox et al., eds. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. 40 vols. to date. New Haven, 1959—. description ends , 26:499). Heath forwarded another copy of this letter to Congress, which received it on 8 July and ordered it to be published (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 11:675).

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