Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Edward Bancroft, 20 June 1783

From Edward Bancroft

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Dunkerque 20th. June 1783.

Dear Sir

Inclosed I send you an Extract of a Letter, from our friend Commodore Jones, which came to my hands a few hours before my Departure from Paris2 & which I had not time to Communicate, whilst there.

I arived here on tuesday afternoon3 with Mr. Coffyn & my family all well, though the journey was rendered unpleasant by almost incessant rains the whole way. & Since my arival the Winds have been Contrary, & still remain so; I think however that we shall warp out of the Harbour this afternoon if Practicable.

Since my Stay here I have been again a Witness to the troublesome importunity & interruption which Mr. Coffyn dailey receives from American Seamen discharged out of Prison in England & resorting here for the means & opportunities of returning to our Country not being able to Procure employment on board English Vessels.— It is really difficult for you to Conceive the waste of time & trouble to which Mr. Coffyn has been exposed since the begining of the War, by the Applications of these distressed but generally unreasonable People, & the Enquiries & Precautions necessary to prevent impositions &c. & you will I hope permit me again to express my hope, that on this acct. as well as in Consideration of his Merit, & Superior Ability to Serve the United States here, he will be appointed their Consul or Agent at this Port whenever Powers to make such an appointment shall arive— You were pleased a few days before my Departure to express the like Sentiments and good Wishes towards Mr. Coffyn, and an intention to interfere in his behalf with Barclay &c;4 My great regard However for Mr. Coffyn has impeled me once more to mention the Subject to you though I am perswaded your own dispositions towards him render it unnecessary. There are Vessels going from Hence in about ten days both for Boston & Philadelphia & Mr. Coffyn will carefully forward any Letters which you or Mr. Jay may wish to send by them. I beg you will make my respectful Compliments to him, his Lady, your Grandson &c. I shall have the honor of writing to you & them from London meantime beleive me with great Respect Dear Sir Your most affectionate & Devoted Humble servant

Edwd. Bancroft

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Ministre Plenipotentiaire des / Etats Unis &c &c &c / a Passy / pres de Paris.

Notation: Bancroft 20 Juin 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For his departure see Bancroft to BF, [before June 14]. Jones’s letter, dated Feb. 28, was written aboard the French ship of the line Triomphant at Puerto Cabello in the West Indies. The portion Bancroft copied, two pages in length, told of Jones’s disappointment at not receiving command of the America, which instead had been presented by congressional resolution to the king of France. He refused to be insulted, however, and was now volunteering aboard the marquis de Vaudreuil’s ship. He sent his regards to BF and WTF. (The full letter is in Bradford, Jones Papers, reel 7, no. 1450.) For Congress’ promise to give Jones command of the America and its resolution of Sept. 3, 1782, see, in particular, XXXVI, 245; XXXVIII, 70.

3June 17.

4Coffyn had met with BF on June 7 to argue for Dunkirk’s being made a free port. He met with Vergennes a few days later: Eric Leroy, “Calonne, Dunkerque et la mer,” Revue du nord, LXXVIII (1996), 475, 480–2.

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