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The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine, 5 November 1778

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

Passy Novr 5. 1778

We have the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the 5th. of this Month, but as the Memoire, of the French surgion, which your Excellency proposed to transmit to Us, was, by some Accident omitted to be inclosed in your Letter, We are ignorant of his Case, and consequently unable to inform your Excellency whether it is in our Power to afford him any Relief. If your Excellency, will have the Goodness to send Us the Memoire, We will answer your Letter without Delay.1

In the Mean Time, We may acquaint your Excellency that the United States, have not adopted any Precautions, for sending Succours to their subjects <residing> imprisond in England. We have ventured, without orders or Permission from the United States, to lend small sums of Money to Persons who have escaped from Irons and Dungeons in Great Britain, to bear their Expences to Nantes, L’Orient or Bourdeaux. But We have sent no succour to them while in England except a small sum of Money put into the Hands of Mr. Hartley2 to be disposed of by him for the Relief of such as should most want it.

We shall consider every Frenchman taken by the English on Board of American Vessells, in the same light as if he was an American by Birth, and entitled to the same Assistance from Us, as Americans are in the same situation. We have the Honour to be

LbC (Adams Papers).

1Sartine’s letter of the 5th (LbC, Adams Papers) inquired about the “Precautions” taken by the Commissioners in regard to American prisoners in England and should have included a memorial from Jacques Fraissignes, a prisoner at Alresford, England, who had been captured on an American ship, Le Gest. The memorial reached the Commissioners in a letter from Sartine of 16 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers). No further mention of this matter has been found. Contemporary copies of Sartine’s letters, as well as the memorial dated 16 Sept., are in the Franklin Papers at the Library of Congress (Worthington C. Ford, comp., List of the Benjamin Franklin Papers in the Library of Congress, Washington, 1905, p. 63).

2On 18 April, Ferdinand Grand was ordered to pay David Hartley 3,600 livres to aid American prisoners in England (vol. 6:2).

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