Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones, 8 July 1779

To John Paul Jones

LS:8 National Archives; copies: Library of Congress (two)

Passy July 8. 1779.

Dear Sir,

I received your Favours of the second and 4th Inst. I am sorry for the Accidents that have obliged your little Squadron to return & refit; but hope all may be for the best. Some Days since, Mr Chaumont handed to me the Substance of a Letter in French, which contained heads of the Instructions that M. De Sartine wish’d me to give you. I had them translated & put into the Form of a Letter to you which I signed & gave back to Mr C. who I suppose has sent it to you.9 I have no other Orders to give: For as the Court is at the chief Expence, I think they have the best right to direct. I observe what you write about a Change of the Destination: But when a thing has been once considered & determined on in Council, they don’t care to resume the Consideration of it, having much Business on hand, and there is not now time to obtain a Reconsideration. It has been hinted to me, that the Intention of ordering Your Cruise to finish at the Texel, is with a View of getting out that Ship:1 but this should be kept a Secret. I can say nothing about Capt. Landais Prize. I suppose the Minister has an Account of it; but I have heard nothing from him about it: If he reclaims it on Account of his Passport, we must then consider what is to be done. I approve of the Careenage proposed for the Alliance, as a thing necessary. As she is said to be a remarkable swift Sailer, I should hope you might by her means take some Privateers and a Number of Prisoners, so as to continue the Cartel, and redeem all our poor Countrymen.2 My best Wishes attend you, being ever, with great Esteem, Dear Sir, Your affectionate Friend, & most obedt. Servant.

B Franklin

Honble: Capt: J.P. Jones Esq.

[In Franklin’s hand:] If it should fall in your Way, remember that the Hudson’s Bay Ships are very valuable. BF

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur le Cape. Jones, / à L’Orient,

Endorsed: from His Excellency B. Franklin Passy July 8th. 1779. recd. L’Orient July 14th.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8In WTF’s hand. One of the copies was certified by Thomas Hutchins at Lorient in August, 1780.

9Jones had been ordered to circumnavigate the British Isles and cruise in the North Sea before sailing to the Texel, the great Dutch naval base at the entrance to the Zuider Zee: XXIX, 780–1.

1The frigate Indien.

2A favorite project of BF’s; for Jones’s eagerness to cooperate see XXIX, 406.

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