John Bondfield to the Commissioners
Bordeaux 17 1 August 1778
Captain Ayres I have found in a very ill State of Health and apprehend he will not be able to proceed in the Vessel. The Brig will be ready for Sea at the reception of your dispatches. Should the Captains Health not permit to proceed you will please to give me your instructions to whom you would transfer the Command.2
These vessels being built for <
quick> swift Sailing, should the plan3 I had the Honor to lay before you meet your approbation, would transport the Goods to America without Cost to the Publick.
If the employment of the Publick Funds in Europe at this day prove a Barr to the excecution, on your engaging to make Good the Payments at stated Periods say 8, 12, 15 and 18 Months or in twelve months I could undertake to execute any part you would approve to commit to my care.
I flatter myself it will not be regarded presuming in laying my observations and tendering my services in a matter of Publick concern, it strikes me in a light very favorable and in its effects will be of evident advantage to the restoring to the Currency of America a confidence which its great abundance has contributed much to weaken. The exerted efforts of the States to obtain Cash by Loan or Lotteries I find have not prevented a late Emission of several Milion of dollars.
Permit me to refer to the plan laid before you for your further consideration of this subject. With due respect I have the Honor to be Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
I have the pleasure to [send] this by Monsieur Le Norina of the House of Le Coutieu &c. of Cadiz whose extensive conections may merrit the Honor of your attention by the dayly interesting informations they are impowerd to give.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers)“To The Honble. Benj. Franklin Arthur Lee. John Adams Esqr. Commissioners from Congress at Passy”; docketed: “Mr Bondfield” in another hand: “Mr Bondfield 17 Aug. 78” on the first page of the letter and in a different hand: “Bondfield.”
1. Date supplied from a second letter to the Commissioners of 17 Aug. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), in which Bondfield referred to a letter concerning the health of Capt. Ayres sent off “yesterday.”
2. In his letter of 17 Aug. Bondfield stated that Ayres and Ayres’ physician agreed that he could not survive an ocean voyage. In a letter to the Commissioners of 23 Aug. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) Bondfield wrote that he and Capt. Ayres recommended a Capt. Hatch to take command of the Arnold, and on 27 Aug., the Commissioners replied that the decision was to be left “wholly” to Bondfield and Ayres (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92).
3. Except for the details given here, there is no information concerning Bond field’s plan, which was apparently contained in a letter to the Commissioners not now extant. In any case, the Commissioners wrote to Bondfield on 19 Aug. (same) and informed him that his plan would be submitted to the congress for its approval.