James Moylan to the Commissioners
L’Orient 8 July 1778
The day before yesterday two of Captain Tuckers prizes arrived here, one of which is loaded with 1400 Quintals of Dry’d Cod Fish, the other with Twenty Chaldron of Coals and seventy Gross of empty Bottles.1 Both those prizes are Brigs, one of which is of very little value but the other is a new vessel. As no application cou’d yet be made from Mr. Schweghauser, and it being necessary to make their declaration at the Custom house and Admiralty, I passed them through these different ceremonys as vessels belonging to Portsmouth in N. England, in order to avoid the detention that wou’d be given them if declared as prizes. I have wrote Mr. Schweighauser of Nantes to inform me whether his appointment extends to this port, on receipt of his answer, if I find it do’s, I will deliver to his order those prizes &ca. If I shoud not in the mean time receive different orders from you, as the steps I have already taken regarding them, proceeds only from a desire of being of some use.
The jealousys subsisting between Cap: Tuckers officers and the french part of his crew, have got to the disagreeable height of being obliged to come before the Admiralty, however I am in hopes matters will be soon reconciled.2 The Admiralty desire all they can to facilitate it. I have the honor to be Honorable Gentlemen Your assur’d hl svt.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America” docketed, not by JA: “Mr. Moylan 8 July 78.”
1. Tucker’s log indicates that these two prizes, the Elizabeth and an otherwise unidentified Scottish brig, arrived at Lorient on the evening of 5 July and that a third prize, the Britannia, came in on the 15th (MH-H; see also Tucker to the Commissioners, 3 July, above).
2. For the renewed unrest among French members of Tucker’s crew, see the letters to the Commissioners from Benjamin Reed and Benjamin Bates, 11 July; and from Tucker, 12, 14 July(all below) and “Journal of William Jennison,” in Charles R. Smith, Marines in the Revolution, Washington, 1975, p. 350–351. The entry of Admiralty officials into the dispute did little to help, and only after Sartine’s intervention with the Commissioners had produced new orders for Tucker could the dispute be resolved and the Boston depart for America (Sartine to the Commissioners, 18 July, calendared below; Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, Captain Samuel Tucker, Salem, 1976, p. 51–53).