Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to John Adams, 11 May 1781

To John Adams

LS:6 Massachusetts Historical Society; copy: Library of Congress

Passy, May 11. 1781.


I am honoured with your Excellency’s Letter of the 27th. past, acquainting me with your Appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to the States General,7 on which please to accept my Compliments and best Wishes for Success in your Negociations.

We have just received Advice here, that M. la Motte Piquet, met with the English Convoy of Dutch Ships taken at St. Eustatia, and has retaken 21. of them. The Men of War that were with them escaped; after making the Signal for every one to shift for himself.8

A Vessel is arriv’d at L’Orient from Philadelphia which brings Letters for the Court down to the 25 of March; Mine are not yet come up. M. de Renneval, from whom I had all the above Intelligence, tells me they contain no News of Importance.

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Excelly. John Adams Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6In L’Air de Lamotte’s hand.

7XXXIV, 576–8.

8Most of the convoy bringing Rodney’s booty back to England was captured by a squadron of six French ships of the line commanded by the celebrated chef d’escadre, comte Picquet de La Motte (better known as La Motte-Picquet): Dull, French Navy, pp. 228–9; J. Franklin Jameson, “St. Eustatius in the American Revolution,” American Hist. Rev., VIII (1902–3), 707–8.

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