. John Laurens (1754–1782), son of Henry Laurens, lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army, was elected by
Congress on 11 Dec. 1780 a special envoy to the French court to obtain further funds
and stores and to plead in particular for increased French naval assistance so that
a “superiority” over the British could be maintained along the coast. Laurens sailed
from Boston in the Alliance
early in February, carrying, among other things, a long letter from
, below). He arrived in France in March and embarked to return at the end of May.
Correspondence and other documents relative to this mission, which under the circumstances
was remarkably successful, have been printed in “The Mission of Col. John Laurens
to Europe in 1781,” So. Car. Hist. & Geneal. Mag.
, 1(1900)–2(1901), running through six consecutive issues. These must be supplemented
with his instructions of 23 Dec. 1780 and his final report of 2 Sept. 1781, printed
in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
, 4:205–206, 685–692.