Adams Papers
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James Moylan to the Commissioners, 27 April 1778

James Moylan to the Commissioners

L’Orient 27th. April 1778

Honorable Gentlemen

I have only time to inform you that I have just received an account from Brest of the arrival in that port of the prize Ship Lord Chatham of 250 Tons loaded with Beer and Gran. taken by the Ranger Frigate about five leagues from Cape Clear.1

I will advise you more particularly in my next regarding this matter, not having at present any other account from Brest, than the above.2 I am very respectfully Honorable Gentlemen Your most obt. sert.

James Moylan3

RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “A Messieurs Messieurs les Ministeres Plenipotentiaires des Eatats unis de L’Amerique”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Jas. Moylan Apr: 27th. 78.”

1The southernmost point on the Irish coast.

2Here was the first news to reach the Commissioners of the progress of John Paul Jones’ foray into the Irish Sea that began on 10 April and culminated in a raid on the town of Whitehaven on the English coast. Jones and the Ranger returned to Brest on 8 May. For his account of the expedition, see his letters to the Commissioners of 9 and 27 May (both below).

On 1 May, Moylan wrote a second letter to the Commissioners (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) concerning the Lord Chatham and the problems that would attend its sale because of the power Jones had given to the Admiralty authorities over its disposition. Moylan’s prediction of difficulties proved accurate, for it was not until mid-August that the vessel was sold (Morison, John Paul Jones description begins Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones, a Sailor’s Biography, Boston and Toronto, 1959. description ends , p. 166–167; Jones to Jonathan Williams, 23 Aug., Cal. Jones Manuscripts description begins Calendar of John Paul Jones Manuscripts in the Library of Congress, Washington, 1903. description ends , p. 48).

3Moylan, a merchant, was the American commercial agent at Lorient (“Letters of Mrs. Ann Biddle Wilkinson from Kentucky, 1788–1789,” ed. Thomas Robson Hay, PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , 56:53, note 5 [Jan. 1932]).

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