Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Penet, D’Acosta frères & Cie., 8 February 1780

From Penet, D’Acosta frères & Cie.

LS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Nantes Feby. the 8th. 1780


May it please your Excellency, as we are ready to expedite to North America a vessel call’d the Kensington, to accept our services you may commit your dispatches to the Care of Samuel Smith Commander of sd. vessel:2 And at the same time, We beg, you would forward us immediately a Commission for war; you will find here annex’d the usual obligation with its Clause.3

We have the Honour to be with true Esteem & profound respect Sir, Your most obedient & very humble servants


His Excellency Doctor Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Smith and the brig Kensington had been captured in 1779. We mistakenly assumed that he managed to regain the vessel (XXIX, 398–9), but this Kensington was a different vessel of the same name. The bond described below lists her as a chasse-marée of 12 guns and a crew of 35, whereas his former command was a brig of 14 guns and a crew of 65: Charles Henry Lincoln, comp., Naval Records of the American Revolution 1775–1788 (Washington, D.C., 1906), p. 364.

3A bond signed by Smith and the firm is with BF’s papers at the APS. It states Smith has received a commission to cruise under American colors and pledges he will follow congressional instructions. JW drafted the bond (JW to WTF, Feb. 8, 1780, APS), and on the same day he wrote Penet, d’Acosta frères, enclosing the commission and wishing them success (Library of Congress). BF inserted the date, Feb. 16.

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