Benjamin Franklin Papers

John King to the American Commissioners, 9 October 1777

John King6 to the American Commissioners

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Nantes October 9th. 1777


Agreeable to my Promise I beg leave to inform you that I shall leave this place in about Nine Days, and will with pleasure take charge of any Letter’s &c. that you may send to America. I have met with no person inclinable to advance their Credit in behalf of the State of Virginia, except Messers. J. Gruel & Co., who have undertakeing for £6000 Sterling and the Goods are now getting ready to be Ship’d immediately for Ocarocoak7 in No. Carolina. It was necessity that obliged me to engage with those Gentlemen. I shall take care to have proper articles signed before I leave here.8 Please forward me the latest Paper’s to take with me, on the other side is the Signal to be observed at Cape Henry for the Bennefit of those that may go to Virginia and Maryland. I remain Gentlemen Your Most humble Servant

John King

Honble Doct. Franklin Silas Dean Arthur Lee Esqr.

Signal to be observed at Cape Henry

If it’s very dangerouse to get in that is to say if the Men of War command the Capes Four Distinct Fire’s will be seen.

If they are within the Cape’s and ly in Hampton Road or pretty high up Chesepeak, three distinct will be seen.

If no Danger their Two distinct Fires will appear.

A Guard of 50 Men stationed their for the Protection of Vessells that may go on shore to get clear of the Enemy.

J. King

Addressed: Doct. Franklin / at / Passy / prés de Paris

Notation: Jn. King Oct 9. 77 Nantes.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6A merchant from Petersburg, Va.: above, XXIV, 503 n.

7Ocracoke, the inlet of Pamlico Sound.

8Although the contract was signed, William Lee said later, the firm did not carry out any part of it: Boyd, Jefferson Papers, III, 91.

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