From John Emery2
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Bilbao 11 Nov 1778
Last satturday arrivd here my schooner Success from Newbury Port3 which Place she left the 4th. Octr. on her Passage took a Snow with abt 3200 Qus [Quintals] fish which she has conducted in here safely. Inclosed you have a letter & the latest Papers brought by her, yesterday came in here the Brig America Capt. Bartlet of Boston4 & brought in with him a Guernsey Cutter of 10 Guns 16 Swivels & 45 men which he took 3 days Past of Cape Pinas on this Coast after an engagement of 3 Glasses5 in which the Guernsey Capt. had one leg shot away his Leut. & Carpenter killd & Some wounded Cap Bartlet had only one Slightly wounded: as no provision is made here for the prisoners we are obligd to let them go at large or daily run the risque of having our Vessells taken from us by our Prisoners, no person in this place will act as English Consul otherwise we should attempt geting receipts for the men—last week Cap Babson in my Brigt Phoenix6 Carried a Vessell bound from Miquelon to Bay[onne?] with a french Crew & English passport into St Anders [Santander], on recieveing notice of which I Imediately went there & found that the pasport was given by the English Comodore as a safeguard for the prisoners taken at Miquelon I therefore releas’d the Vessell Imediately.
The mate of the Frenchman said the fish onboard was put onboard by the English Commissary which was the reason of Cap Babsons Carrying him into port but it appeard by the Papers to be French Property & was accordingly releasd— I tho’t best to give you this early notice of this affair least the Frenchman who appears extreemly Ignorant should make Complaint of Insult offerd their flagg which was never Intended. Am Sr. with the Greatest respect Your Most Ob Ser
Honbl. Benjamin Franklin Esqr.
Endorsed: Emery Bilbao
Notations in different hands: Jon Emery Bilbao 11. 9bre. 1778. / M. Emery to Dr Franklin
2. The Newburyport merchant, who is identified in XXV, 499n.
3. Owned by Nathaniel Tracy and others of Newburyport, the schooner was bonded Sept. 2, 1778, Capt. Philip Thrash. Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 291.
4. Nicholas Bartlett, Jr. His ship was a 16-gun brigantine: ibid., p. 71.
5. An hour and a half; the nautical “hour” glass actually measures one-half hour.
6. James Babson had arrived in Nantes with prizes in August, 1777: XXIV, 443. In the fall of that year he was in Bilbao (XXV, 152), and, on March 7, 1778, he sailed from there for New England, leaving his business affairs in Emery’s hands (XXVI, 89; XXVII, 426). The Phoenix, 14 guns, bonded Sept. 2, 1778, was owned by the same Newburyport consortium that owned the Success: Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 235.