Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Edward Bancroft, 4 March 1780

To Edward Bancroft

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy, March 4. 1780.

Dear sir,

You will see by the enclos’d that a Demand is made of replacing the Things belonging to The Serapis which Comme. Jones borrowed from her and took on board the Alliance when he changed ships.1 I request you to manage this affair with him in your usual Prudence. I am ever, my Dear friend, Yours most affectionately.

Dr. Bancroft L’orient.

1When Jones, on BF’s orders, turned over his prize, the 50-gun warship H.M.S. Serapis, to a French officer he took many items with him on board the Alliance: XXXI, 147n. Among them were thirty bushels of sea coal, a stove, eighty muskets, a dozen oars, twenty-nine pistols, sixty cutlasses, and four hen coops: “Exact Account of all the Articles taken out of the Prize Ship Serapis,” Franklin Papers, University of Pa. Library. The Serapis reached Lorient on Feb. 6, four days before the arrival of the Alliance at the nearby Ile de Groix: XXXI, 476n, 482.

The enclosure is probably the letter of this date from Chaumont asking that BF write to Jones to restore all the Serapis’ effects that he had taken and return them to the officer charged by the commandant at Lorient with responsibility for that ship. He also requests BF to demand a receipt from Jones. Library of Congress.

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