Benjamin Franklin Papers
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The American Commissioners to Sartine, 12[–15] October 1778: résumé

The American Commissioners to Sartine2

AL (draft): Massachusetts Historical Society; two copies: National Archives

<Passy, October 12[–15], 1778: We received your letter of the 7th. We believe the article in the commercial treaty applies clearly, strictly and fully to Mr. Izard’s case. The goods were shipped last April, when two months had not elapsed from the declaration of war. Mr. Izard assures us that his name is in many of the books and a great number of papers. He can procure additional testimony that the property is his. We understand that the captors have been granted the whole of it and while we wish them to enjoy the profits of their prizes, they must be aware that these goods belong to a friend and are not the King’s to grant.

We beg leave to raise another subject. There are on board the Fox and Lively3 a number of American sailors serving against their will. We ask that a list be made of them and that they be delivered to us.4 We are desirous of attracting back as many American sailors as possible to their country. October 15: Since we wrote the foregoing we have received letters from four American sailors from the Fox, now prisoners in Dinan castle, asking for their release.5>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, where the editors discuss why the letter was not sent until at least the 15th.

3Two British frigates captured by the French: Dull, French Navy, p. 357.

4The draft first included but then dropped a proposal to exchange them for American-held British prisoners.

5Robert Harrison wrote on Oct. 7; John Lemon, Edward Driver and John Nichols on the 12th. The commissioners answered them on Oct. 15.

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