John Bondfield to the Commissioners
Bordeaux 27 June 1778
The Engagement of La Belle Poule is esteem’d at this port as a prelude to the declaration. Sugar Coffee and every other forreign Produce is buying up on Speculation which Acts are the Merchants Compass governing their views by the appearances of the times.
We have Letters of the 10 and 13 May from America but as they came by the Nymph Frigate can of course contain nothing more than what you will have received by said Conveyance.1
Admiral Byron don’t appear destind for America if as is reportd two of the Ships of his Squadron are at Ancor near Roscoff. Four Copies of your Instructions of the 10th. are already forwarded and this day the perticular Account of rencontre as is here related of La Belle Poule, many favorable Circumstances Arriving together in America may posibly promote the Recruiting Service which they write me wants a Spurr to forward.
We have no Arrivals since my last from America in any of the Ports on this Coast.
Le Marquis D’Almadora left this 25th at night he makes very short Stages. The non Arrival of the Galions alarms the Interested.2 The Capital Sums Insured in England is the sole hope here of their not meeting with opposion. 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 in an unknown hand: “Bondfield June 27 1778”; in another hand: “Bondfield John 27. June 1778.”
2. The arrival of treasure fleets from Mexico and South America was a major determinant of Spanish policy since the specie contained in those vessels would be used to finance any war effort. Unwilling to risk their capture by premature action, Spain resisted French pressure to join in a war against England. Because the first of the vessels had been expected as early as May, anxiety was relieved only by the arrival of the first on 29 June and the last on 18 Sept. (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence description begins Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence: a Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787, Princeton, 1975. description ends , p. 86, 94–95, 100, 102, 113, 117, 126–127).