Benjamin Franklin Papers

Jonathan Williams, Jr., to the American Commissioners, 16 October 1777

Jonathan Williams, Jr., to the American Commissioners

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Nantes 16 Octo 1777.

Honorable Gentlemen

The present serves to inform you that Capt. Brown who has the Dolphin wishes to be excused from taking her as his owners have directed his return in the Mars which belongs to them; 3 Capt. Brown hopes you will not misinterpret his Desire, and says that if you choose he will continue, but if the change will not displease you he wishes she may be given to some other man. Her new mast is gone alongside and they are getting it in; while the Dolphin stays here she is very usefull to keep our men together as they cannot appear on board the Frigate, and it would be very expensive and inconvenient to keep them on shore. I should therefore be glad if she were not to sail ’till the Lion is ready: Or if you think to sell her she may possibly be put off. Please to return the french Captains Conditions4 as soon as signed. I have the Honour to be Gentlemen Your most obedient and most humble Servant

Jona Williams J

The 1000 Fuzils from Dunkirk are arrived and answer the model exactly, but the Lighter that brought them up to Town unfortunately Sunk so am obliged to unwind and clean every one of them.

The Honble The Commissioners of The United States.

Addressed: The Honorable / The Commissioners of the / United States / Paris

Notation: Jon Williams Nantes 16. Octo. 77

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Brown had commanded a privateer, been captured and escaped, and then taken the Dolphin from St. Malo to Nantes: above, XXIV, 118 n, 535. He may have sailed on the Mars, but she had another captain; see the letters to the commissioners below, Dec. 29, from Gourlade & de Monplaisir and from Moylan. Brown subsequently commanded Mass. ships: Gardner W. Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution (Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., LXXVII [1927]), pp. 114, 187.

4For accepting command of the Lion; see JW to the commissioners above, Oct. 11.

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