Benjamin Franklin Papers

William Hill Sargeant to the American Commissioners, 18 July 1778: résumé

William Hill Sargeant to the American Commissioners1

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Bordeaux, July 18, 1778: I lately arrived in a fast-sailing vessel from Virginia. The owners could not arm her there and gave me power to do so here; I therefore ask a commission for that purpose. During most of the war I served the state in a small trading ship. When she was condemned I took command of the Dispatch, a brigantine with eight four-pounders and a crew of twenty-five owned by St. George Tucker of Williamsburg.2 Mr. Delap will stand security for me.3 I should have visited you by now, to pay my respects and learn whether you had stores for the ship, if I had not had such trouble in keeping order among an American crew in this port. I shall be ready to sail in a week or so, and will await your orders.>

1Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 305–6. Sargeant was a privateer captain, later listed as a Philadelphian, who remained in the business for years before returning to the command of merchant ships: Charles H. Lincoln, ed., Naval Records of the American Revolution … (Washington, D.C., 1906), pp. 254, 400; Boyd, Jefferson Papers, IX, 645; X, 101–2.

2The young lawyer who had gone home to Bermuda in 1775, and was now back in Virginia: XXII, 164–5; see also the DAB.

3See the Delap firm to the commissioners of this date above, in which Sargeant’s letter was enclosed.

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