Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones, 25 March 1784

To John Paul Jones

ALS: British Library; copies: Archives Nationales, Library of Congress, National Archives

Passy, March 25. 1784


I return herewith the Papers you communicated to me yesterday.7 I perceive by the Extract from M. de Sartine’s Letter, that it was his Intention all the Charges which had accru’d upon the Serapis & Countess of Scarborough should be deducted from the Prize-money payable to the Captors, particularly the Expence of Victualling the Seamen & Prisoners; and that the Liquidation of those Charges should be referr’d to me.8 This Liquidation however never was referr’d to me; and if it had, I should have been cautious of acting in it, having receiv’d no Power from the Captors, either French or Americans, authorizing me to decide upon any thing respecting their Interests.— And I certainly should not have agreed to charge the American Captors with any Part of the Expence of maintaining the 600 Prisoners in Holland till they could be exchanged, when none of them were exchanged for Americans in England, as was your Intention, & as we both had been made to expect.9 With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B. Franklin

Honble Paul Jones Esqr.

Addressed:1 A Monsieur / Monsieur Jones Chevalier de / l’Ordre Royal du Merite No. 3 / rue du Reposoir / à Paris

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7See the exchange between Jones and BF on March 23.

8According to an Aug. 13, 1779, agreement of the captains of the squadron (cited in XXX, 223n), the distribution of prize money was to be regulated by the French naval minister and BF.

9Jones placed prisoners taken during the squadron’s cruise under French control at the instance of the French government. They were exchanged for Frenchmen: XXXI, 120n. On March 26, Jones sent a copy of the present letter to Castries: Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 7, no. 1510.

1In L’Air de Lamotte’s hand.

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