John Langdon to the Commissioners
Portsmouth N.H. Octo. 21. 1778
The Courier d Europe Captain Raffin being ready to sail for France, I have taken the Liberty to mention a matter to you that I think will be of Advantage to our Allies as well as profit to me. My haveing a personal acquaintance with two of your Honors, Encouraged me to take this Liberty.
The British Navy were in most part furnished with Masts from this Port. I have lately furnished the Count d’Estangs Squadron with all their Masts and sent them to Boston. I shall think myself highly Honored if you would be pleased to mention to the Minister of the Marine of France or any other proper Person that I would furnish the Navy of France with Masts if any Gentleman in France will take the Contract. I will do the Business here on Commission of 5 P.Ct. for the Cargo and Disbursements and five P Ct. on the Sale of any Articles they may send out for payment. You’ll please excuse the Liberty I’ve taken and beleive me to be, Verry Respectfully, Your Honor’s Mo. Hbl. Servt.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Hon’ble B. Franklin, A. Lee, & J. Adams (Esquires) American Plenipotentiaries At The Court of France. Per Courier Le. Europe”; docketed: “H. J. Langdons Letter. respecting Masts.”; and in another hand: “Oct. 21. 78.”
1. Langdon, a former member of the congress, had served on several committees with JA and Franklin and was, at the time of this letter, Continental agent at Portsmouth (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ). The Commissioners sent Langdon’s offer to Sartine in a letter of 25 Dec. (not found). In his reply of 8 Jan. 1779 (LbC, Adams Papers), Sartine referred the Commissioners to Leray de Chaumont, the principal agent for the company that supplied masts to the French Navy.