Benjamin Franklin Papers

The Committee of Secret Correspondence to John Bradford, 30 July 1776

The Committee of Secret Correspondence to John Bradford7

Copy: National Archives; typescript of ALS: Yale University Library8

Philada. July 30th. 1776


We take the liberty to enclose herein some dispatches for Messrs. Saml. & J. H. Delap Merchts. in Bourdeaux which youl please to deliver into Capt. Clevelands own hands with a strict charge to take the utmost care of them and follow the orders also enclosed herein directed to him which you will be pleased to deliver and enjoin his punctual obedience on which will depend his future employment and advancement in the Public service. Mr. Morris informs us of the alacrity with which you have executed his Commissions in the purchase of the Brigantine Dispatch9 and if any thing further of this kind offers this Committee will claim the liberty of troubling you again being respectfully Sir Your obedient Servants.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Harrison
Robert Morris

P.S. You will oblige me by putting up a Collection of the Public News Papers directed to Messers Samuel & J. H. Delap, Merchants in Bordeaux and send them by Captain Cleveland.

Jno Bradford Esqr

Endorsed: Mr. Morris, July 30th With Mr. Franklin’s Letter. ’76

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Bradford (1735–84) had been a member of the committee of correspondence. In April, 1776, Congress appointed him agent for prizes for Boston, the most important such position in the colonies, and also continental agent to assist the marine committee in purchasing and outfitting ships. Colonial Soc. of Mass., Pubs., XL (1961), 404; Charles O. Paullin, The Navy of the American Revolution (Cleveland, Ohio, 1906), pp. 94–5; Smith, Letters, III, 642 n.

8We print the copy, which ends before the signatures, and supply them, the postscript, and the endorsement from the typescript.

9Stephen Cleveland, a veteran of the Royal Navy in the previous war, was commissioned captain of the brigantine Dispatch on Aug. 8, 1776; the ship had been the Little Hannah when taken as a prize the previous December, and Bradford had renamed her. Naval Docs., V, 267, 1288 n; VI, 125. She is easily confused with another of the same name commanded by Capt. Peter Parker; see the committee’s letters above to Deane, July 8, and to Parker, July 10, 1776. Cleveland’s departure was delayed for almost two months, and when he left he carried with him, we believe, the committee’s letter to Deane below of Aug. 7.

Index Entries