Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jean de Neufville & fils, 1 November 1779

From Jean de Neufville & fils

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Amstm. the 1h Novr. 1779.

High Honourable Sir.

Mr. Dumas left us last week, as he told us his presence should be required at the Hague from whence we gott his advice how to supply Mr Landay with money for his voyage to Paris, agreable to the orders of Your Excellency.1

At the same time our homme d’affaires at the Helder2 mentiond some matters to us we thought best to look into ourSelfs, and have arranged them that the American Squadron shall be treated on the same footing as our own men of warr and that the English Spies Send there on purpose to hinder and embarass everything may do as little harm as possible.

We could wish to see the Danish pay soon, in their American possessions, for the irreverence shown to the colours of the United States at Bergen and their adopting the English party.3

We have the honour to be always with the utmost Veneration and Esteem High Honourable Sir Your Excellencys most devoted and Obedien Servan

John DE Neufville & Son

Notation: Neufville Joh & son 1. Nov. 1779.4

1BF had summoned Landais to answer accusations that his ship, the frigate Alliance, had failed to support John Paul Jones’s Bonhomme Richard in her battle against H.M.S. Serapis off Flamborough Head: XXX, 539–40. The banker de Neufville, unsuccessful in raising a loan for Congress in the Netherlands, had volunteered his services to Jones’s squadron when it reached the Dutch naval base of the Texel after the battle; Dumas, representing American interests in the Netherlands, acted as liaison with the squadron’s outfitter, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont: XXX, 284–5, 486–7, 540, 589, 609. Landais had needed financial help from the banker to undertake the journey: XXX, 580; Landais, Memorial, pp. 46, 49.

2The city of Den Helder on the south side of the Marsdiep, the channel separating the Dutch mainland from the island of Texel on which the naval base was located.

3The Danish government had restored to the British three prizes that the Jones squadron had sent into Bergen (Norway being a part of the same kingdom): XXX, 591, 593n.

4On the verso of this letter is a sketch of what appears to be an island, in the center of which is an arrow pointing toward the right. On the left side of the sketch is an “S”; on the right is an “N.”

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