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To Benjamin Franklin from Jean-Etienne de Chezaulx, 11 April 1780: résumé

From Jean-Etienne de Chezaulx1

ALS: National Archives; press copy:2 Library of Congress

<Bergen, April 11, 1780, in French: I have received both of your letters of February 21st and am extremely grateful for them.3 I wish I could have done more to serve American interests, but my efforts were not totally fruitless since the Danish government has agreed to bear all expenses incurred by your people here, both before the restitution of the prizes and since then. The needs of the crews have been more than fully met. M. Danckert D. Krohn,4 a man of goodwill, who advanced the necessary monies, has been reimbursed. Your sailors who currently have no ship will sail for Dunkirk next Thursday on the chartered Danish ship Fortune, weather permitting.5 The prize captains—whose conduct has been exemplary—have received money from the government for extraordinary expenses. The local governor, M. Bager, has shown them much kindness, so that all ended well and the only unresolved point is how much damage you will obtain from the Danish court. I hope Congress will be satisfied.6

The Governor Johnson, a merchant ship of yours loaded with Virginia tobacco, entered this port on March 4. I had its captain, Michel Baudee, raise the French flag in order to obtain the same privileges as French shipping and he obtained permission to sell his cargo. I reported my actions to Naval Minister Sartine and Ambassador La Houze. I have asked M. Krohn to act as its commissary, under my guidance. P.S. Enclosed is a letter from your officers.7>

1The French consul at Bergen had been assisting the crews of the three prizes brought there from Jones’s cruise, and had tried unsuccessfully to block the return of the ships to the British: XXX, 336–7, 340, 342–3, 591–4; XXXI, 261–5, 334–6, 506.

2Made by William Short.

3One of BF’s letters of that date was to the prize crews: XXXI, 506, 507.

4A local banker: XXX, 342–3.

5They sailed from Bergen on April 19, reaching Dunkirk on May 4: Charles Herbert, A Relic of the Revolution … (Boston, 1847), p. 240.

6The body of the letterpress copy ends here.

7From White et al. of this date, below. The letterpress copy has a different postscript asking BF’s consent to Chezaulx’s arrangement with the stranded crewmen by which they could choose to return to America aboard the Governor Johnson without forfeiting their rights to prize money from the Alliance’s cruise with Jones.

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