John Bondfield to the Commissioners
Bordeaux 13 June 1778
I took the liberty to draw on your honors as the most assured means to obtain a certainty of my letters in course getting to your hands.1 I am much obliged for the punctual honor you have paid to my drafts. I have to ask your excuse for not more particularly explaining the cause of the price of fresh Beef. The Pound of that article at Bordeaux is forty Ounces, during Lent which reignd all the time the ship consumed fresh Provision, One Butcher Farms the supplies for the Town, pays very heavy for the exclusive privaledge which of course falls on the consumer. That as well as every other article I took due attention to obtain on the lowest terms and that by the most surest of means paying Cash for every Article in this as in every other circumstance that may be committed to my care of a strickt adherence to my duty permit me to assure you. The Frigate put to Sea the 7th Instant in Company with two french Frigates and several Merchant Men Bound for the United States. They were met off Isl Dieu2 by a vessel arrived two days past. I am with due Respect your honors Most Obedient Humble Servant
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee, John Adams. Esqrs Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “<
Schweighauser. 13. June.> Mr Bondfield”; in another hand: “13. June 78.”
1. Bondfield’s meaning in this sentence is not wholly clear, but he wrote a second letter of this date (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) acknowledging the Commissioners’ letter of 25 May (calendared above), commenting on the passage of letters between Paris and Bordeaux, and promising to keep the Commissioners informed of his activities.
2. The Ile d’Yeu, misspelled here and in Samuel Tucker’s logbook (MH-H). The vessel may have been the brig Virginia, Capt. Jones, mentioned in the Boston’s log. Tucker stated that he sailed on 6 June in company with “twenty Sale of Ships, Brits, &c, a French Frigate and Sloop of War.” A letter to the Commissioners from James Moylan of 12 June (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) stated that the Boston was then watering at the He de Groix, located just off the entrance to the harbor at Lorient, and would sail on the following day with the French frigate L’Oiseau.