Diary of John Adams, volume 4

11–13 July 1778

July 25. 1778.

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners
Versailles July 15.1778.

Among the English Prisoners detained at Belle Isle, Gentlemen, and proceeding from Vessells detained in the Ports of France, are found the Persons named James Niggins and John Selby, who call themselves Americans, the first of Charlestown in South Carolina, and the other of Baltimore in Maryland: They demand their Liberty, and 162the means of returning home. According to their declaration, they made heretofore a part of the Crew of the Ship Hancock, arrived from America at the Port of Nantes, in the month of December last, and that Ship having sailed from that Port to return to Charlestown, was taken, at thirty Leagues from Belle Isle by an English Privateer and carried to Falmouth, where to avoid the Press, they consented to remain, on board the Englishman who had made them Prisoners. I pray you to signify to me, whether these Men are known to you, whether you consider them as belonging to the United States of America, whether they have made, or caused to be made any representation to you, and whether you consider them, as entitled, to obtain their demand. I have the honour to be, with the most perfect Consideration, Gentlemen, your very humble and most obedient Servant

De Sartine
Messrs. Franklin Lee and Adams Deputys of the United States of America.