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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


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Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0046

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-11-22

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Last Evening, was brought to me, the Proposals of the owners of the Ships, in the following Words. “To take from the owners of the Vessells the Liberty and the Aurora, at the Rate they shall be found to amount, not only of purchase Money, but also of all other Expences made thereon till the day of taking over the Said Vessells. Further to pay the half of the Freight Money, that are agreed, and to give Sufficient Surety to the full Satisfaction of the owners for all Costs and Damages that may be Suffered to the owners by reason of this Sale of the Said Vessells, and the delivery of the Goods that have been loaden therein or by what reason it may be concerning this matter.”
From Several Hints I had heard I had expected that the Goods would be detaind for freight or other demands: but these Proposals are more unreasonable than I ever expected. The owners affirm the goods to be answerable to them by the Laws of this Country. This I dont believe. But the question cannot be decided without a Lawsuit, and it is doubtfull whether We can maintain one. But if We could, a Lawsuit in all Countries, is a caustick Remedy, which ought never to be resorted to but in desperate Cases. It will draw the Business out into an unknown Length—in the meantime our brave soldirs are freezing for Want of Hose and Blanketts. Mr De Neufville, professes to be very fair, and Says that We may have his shares in the Vessells at any terms We think just, but the other owners, will agree to nothing but the above Proposals.
The first Thing for us to do is to get Possn. of the Goods. If We had this We might Sell them or send them in other Vessells which We could have on better Terms. Mr De Neufville, is under Embarrassments, of some sort or other and certainly has not the Forces to extricate the Goods for us. If your Excellency would impower Messrs Fizeau & Grand to consult Lawyers, bring a suit, or perhaps apply by the favour of the French Ambassador, to Authority, to have the goods restored to the Possession of Congress or their servants, or to the House of Fizeau & Grand as in the service of Congress or your Excellency, perhaps this would be the Way, to get the best Terms. If by the Laws, the Goods are answerable for any Charges these must be paid. The Goods may in that Case be sold in Part or { 79 } in the whole, for repayment, or another and better Vessell may be bought or hired to carry them home. I have the Honour to be

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0047

Author: Franklin, William Temple
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-22

From William Temple Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

Since the Letter I had the honour of writing to your Excellency on the 19th Inst, the Duke de Lauzan is arrived at Versailles from Virginia, with the glorious News of the combined Force of America and France having forced General Cornwallis to capitulate. The English Garrison marched out of York Town on the 19th of Octr. with the honours of War, and laid down their Arms: the Troops consisted of about Six thousand: Sailors and Negroes 1800, 22 pair of Colours, and 170 Pieces of Cannon, of which 75 were of brass. Besides which, a Vessel of 50 Guns with a considerable Number of Transports some burnt. These are the only particulars which have as yet transpired of this important Event. In a few Days will be publish’d the Articles of Capitulation, when I shall immediately forward them to your Excellency.

[salute] Hoping that your Negociations may partake of the good Effect of this Victory, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellencys, affectionate & obliged humble Servant

[signed] W. T. Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W. T. Franklin 22d. Novr. 1781.” LbC (DLC:Franklin Papers).
1. The Letterbook copy indicates that William Temple Franklin sent an identical letter to John Jay.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0048

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-23

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I congratulate your Excellency on the late great Event.
I received yours of the 12th. I wrote my Mind fully on the Subject of the Goods in mine to you by Mr. Fox, which I suppose must have come to your hands soon after that Date. Gillon wrote to me that Mr. Searle and Jackson were gone to France.1 As it is so long since, and they are not arrived, I suppose it may be true that they are gone to america. I expect the Consul, Mr. Barclay, here in a few Days. If you think his assistance relating to that Matter may be of Use, I will { 80 } | view propose his Proceeding to Holland. I can only repeat that if I have any Authority over those Goods, I transfer it all to you.

[salute] With great Respect, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

[signed] B Franklin
1. Probably Gillon’s letter of 4 Oct. (Franklin, Papers , 35:562–563).