Adams Papers

To John Adams from Benjamin Franklin, 11 May 1781

From Benjamin Franklin

Passy, May 11. 1781


I am honoured with your Excellency’s Letter of the 27th. past, acquainting me with your Appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to the States General, on which please to accept my Compliments and best Wishes for Success in your Negociations.

We have just received Advice here, that M. la Motte Picquet, met with the English Convoy of Dutch Ships taken at St. Eustatia, and has retaken 21. of them. The Men of War that were with them escaped; after making the Signal for every one to shift for himself.1

A Vessel is arriv’d at L’Orient from Philadelphia which brings Letters for the Court down to the 25 of March; Mine are not yet come up. M. de Renneval, from whom I had all the above Intelligence, tells me they contain no News of Importance.

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant

B Franklin

RC (Adams Papers).

1The convoy from St. Eustatius consisted of 34 merchant ships protected by 2 ships of the line and 3 frigates under the command of Como. William Hotham. La Motte-Picquet’s force of 6 ships of the line intercepted the convoy on 2 May and took, depending on the source, 21 or 22 of the merchant vessels. News of the disaster reached London on 15 May and caused an immediate fall in the stock market (London Chronicle, 12–15, 17–19 May; James, British Navy in Adversity description begins W. M. James, The British Navy in Adversity: A Study of the War of American Independence, London and New York, 1926. description ends , p. 305–306; Mackesy, War for America description begins Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775–1783, Cambridge, 1965. description ends , p. 392–393).

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