Benjamin Franklin Papers

Francis Coffyn to the American Commissioners, 13 April 1778: résumé

Francis Coffyn to the American Commissioners6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Dunkirk, April 13, 1778: I enclose a copy of my letter of yesterday to Mr. Deane, who I now learn from Mr. Nesbitt has left town. Please give me your opinion of the contents,7 confirm his order to provide for American prisoners and seamen, and let me know whether I may still draw on Mr. Grand. I congratulate Mr. Adams on his safe arrival.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 31.

7The lack of a declaration of war, Coffyn wrote Deane, leaves in suspense several merchants who were planning to fit out privateers. Might they have U.S. commissions? Might their prizes be sold in French ports, or does the old order still stand that privateers and prizes must leave within 24 hours? An Irish smuggler who uses Dunkirk has offered to capture one of the valuable linen ships in Dublin harbor and carry her off, provided that he have a third of the prize money and insurance on his own ship; Coffyn’s partner has passed on this suggestion to Chaumont, with whom the commissioners may if they wish concert the necessary measures. APS.

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