From Jonathan Williams
Nantes April 24. 1779
I am sorry this Town has fewer Charms for you than a Ship of War,— You surely will have enough of the Sea on your Passage and methinks the Shore, now Nature is putting on her most agreeable Dress, is capable of giving you more pleasure. If you think the Situation of my House pleasant enough, you may be as compleatly Commander of it as you can be of any Frigate in the Service.
You may remember I mentioned to you how far I had interested myself for the Officers who came over in the Flagg. I inclose Doctor Franklins Answer, and one of them comes to you to lay before you how far they necessarily require releif.1 The next Step I think should be to let them go on board Ship directly to avoid any further Expence. But of this you are the best Judge.
Remember me to Jack. I am very respectfully & sincerely Dear Sir Your most obedt. Servt
Jona. Williams J.
The Post to day brings nothing certain, as there are some Paragraphs which if true are favourable to us, I send you the Courier de l’Europe. Please to return it after perusal.
RC with one enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. Williams, who was at Nantes to clear up the questions raised by Arthur Lee about his accounts (see Jonathan Williams to Benjamin Franklin and JA, 31 Jan., and notes, above), had apparently discussed with JA his interest in the aid to be given the returned prisoners. He wrote to Benjamin Franklin regarding it on 7 April (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. description begins I. Minis Hays, comp., Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1908; 5 vols. description ends , 2:57), and enclosed an extract of Franklin’s reply of 20 April. Franklin expressed his concern about the welfare of the Americans who had been exchanged, but he also noted that limited resources and the difficulty of determining what was due each prisoner placed limits on his ability to provide relief. He hoped that by the time his letter reached Williams, the Americans would be on board the Alliance and referred Williams to JA, to whom authority to deal with the problem had been entrusted and to whom Franklin wrote on 21 April (see JA to Franklin, 13 April, note 4, above). There is no indication if one of the former prisoners came to see JA.