AL (draft):6 American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress
Passy, July 19. 1780.
In order to have the old arms,7 conveyed to America in the cheapest manner, I request you to have the Gun Barrells Locks Bayonnetts & Iron or brass furniture of them closely packed in small Cases so as to take up the least Room possible. The Cases may be the exact length of a Gun Barrell & being about a foot broad & deep they will contain as many as a man can easily manage, & thereby make convenient & handy ballast, which will be an inducement for Ships to take them on a reasonable freight. I do not think the Woodwork of the arms worth sending, as I understand the principal Part must be new Stocked which had better be done in America. Care must be taken to have the Barrells & Locks cleaned & oiled, at least so well as at their arrival they may not be in a worse condition than they now are, as this Operation does not require much Skill common Labourers will answer the purpose in case you cannot obtain armourers. In the Course of a month I may perhaps have an Opportunity of sending what you may then have ready and at about that time I shall be glad to know the quantity.
The arms already repaired if any remain unshipped, must go as they are.
6. In JW’s hand. JW had been in Passy since the beginning of July (see our annotation of BF to Gardoqui & fils, July 4) and left on the evening of the 19th, arriving in Nantes late on July 21. (JW to French & Cie., July 22, Yale University Library; to BF, July 25, below.) BF probably used him as a secretary for drafting both this letter and the following one, which was written on the verso of this sheet.
7. Muskets that the commissioners had bought in 1777; see XXIV, 100–1, XXVIII, 497–9, and for Schweighauser’s involvement, XXIX, 263. See also Rasquin’s letter of Sept. 12, below.