Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Landais, 24 October 1779

From Landais

ALS: American Philosophical Society; copy: Harvard University Library

The Helder the 24th October 1779.

Please Your Excellency

I received the 22d Inst the letter you did me the honour of writing to me the 15th It. and would have complye’d with Your order inclose’d in it immediatly had I not been detain’d aboard one day to over hauld my papers, and when I came ashore I thought I wanted but half an our of time for to have a Certificate from under the hand of Mr de Cottineau Capn of the Pallas,8 I fund him So ill that he was neither to be Spoke to, or Seen; I have been Ever Since waiting for a moment of relif but it is not come yet! I do’nt know what to do, to go without that paper I may want it, to Stay longer I am afraid Your Excellency or the french Minister would think I am delaying, but I will do as I have allways done, for the best, for to fullful Your order and follow Your advice, and go So Soon as Possible9 being fully Confident of Your doing justice. I am with Respect Your Excellency’s Most Obeidient Most humble Servant

P: Landais

P.S. I hope Mr DuNeufville will aford me with the money I Shall want for the journey, or else I could not Proceed.

His Excellency Bn. Franklin Minister Plenipotentiary of the united States of America

Notation: P. Landais 24 Oct 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Several weeks later Cottineau sent Chaumont a memoir about the events off Flamborough Head supporting Landais’ contention that the Alliance had raked not the Bonhomme Richard, but the Serapis. Schaeper, Battle off Flamborough Head, pp. 83–5, gives a translation; see also our annotation of Jones’s Oct. 3 letter to BF. Jones may have destroyed an earlier letter from Cottineau to him, because it did not support his, Jones’s, position: Schaeper, Battle off Flamborough Head, pp. 58–9.

9On Oct. 22 Landais informed Jones that he had turned over command of the Alliance to Lt. James Degge and was preparing to leave for Paris: Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 4, no. 810; reel 10, no. 2045. He left Amsterdam about Nov. 3 and arrived in Paris on the 8th: Dumas to BF, Nov. 5 (APS); Landais, Memorial, p. 51.

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