Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the Eastern Navy Board, 30 July 1779

From the Eastern Navy Board7

LS: American Philosophical Society; copy: New York Public Library

Navy Board Eastern department Boston 30th. July


In Consequence of Orders, from the Honorable Marine Committee at Philadelphia, We have Equipped the Brigantine Mercury Packet Boat, Simeon Samson Esquire Commander, to Convey the dispatches sent us from Congress, to your Excellency, & Count de Vergennes—8

We have Ordered Capt. Samson to make sure of the first Port he Approaches on the Coast of France, immediatly to proceed with the Packages himself, to Paris, or deliver them into the hands of a known Agent, to these United States, or some Royal Officer; to be Conveyed in Safety to your hands.

We have further ordered him to Wait your Pleasure, for his return to America.

The latest News papers we have the honor of Inclosing, that we wish Safe to hand, and are with perfect esteem Your Excellencys Most Obedt humble Servts

Wm Vernon. Pret.

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary for United States of America

Notation: W. Vernon Boston 30. juillet 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7As far as we know the Navy Board had last written BF in December, 1778 (XXVIII, 255–6). The other two members were James Warren and John Deshon; see their letter of Aug. 18.

8For the orders to the board see Smith, Letters, XIII, 238, 239. Simeon Samson of Plymouth was the former captain of the Mass. State Navy brig Hazard and brigantine Independence: Naval Docs., IX, 254–5; Allen, Mass. Privateers, pp. 43, 171, 185. The packet Mercury is now best known for her capture in September, 1780, while carrying Henry Laurens to the Netherlands: Gardner W. Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution (2 vols., Boston and New York, 1913), II, 508. On her present voyage she also brought mail for JA: Taylor, Adams Papers, VIII, 99–100.

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