Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Dumas, 18 November 1779

From Dumas

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Amst. 18e. Nov. 1779

Dear & honoured Sir

We are here, from the Texel, since two days. All things are adjusted amiably. All possible care is taken by the Commodore & the Embassador for the Interests of the American crew, & for la safety of the prisoners.9

I am happy to give you the good news of Capt. Cuningham’s escape from the English prisons, & his arrival here. He will be soon with you.

We are setting out altogether for the Helder, where the Embassador judges my presence necessary.

Permit me to assure here Mr. De Chaumont of my respect. You Know the tenderness of that with which I am ever Dear & honoured Sir yr. most humble & obedient servant


His Exc. B. Franklin

Notation: Dumas Novr. 18. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Under Sartine’s instructions Ambassador La Vauguyon had ordered Jones to place his prizes under French colors and to switch his flag to the Alliance. In the process he had to overcome Jones’s objections to transferring his prisoners to the control of France. Moreover, Jones refused to accept a French officer’s commission: Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic, p. 86; Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 4, nos. 876–7, 887; La Vauguyon to Sartine, Nov. 17, 1779 (AAE). The French soon gained control of 200 of the prisoners, sending them to England in exchange for Frenchmen; not until mid-December did they procure the 500 remaining and exchange them: Jones to BF, Dec. 13, below; Schaeper, Battle off Flamborough Head, pp. 63–4.

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