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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 4

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[Commissioners to John Paul Jones]

[addrLine] To Captain Jones

[salute] Sir

Upon the Receipt of this Letter, you will forthwith make Preparations with all possible dispatch, for a Voyage to America…. Your own Prudence will naturally induce you, to keep this your destination secret, least measures should be taken by the Ennemy to intercept you.
If, in the course of your passage home, Opportunities should present of making Prizes, or of doing any material Annoyance to the Ennemy, { 138 } you are to embrace them, and you are at Liberty to go out of your Way, for so desireable a purpose. The Fishery at the Banks of Newfoundland, is an important Object, and possibly the Ennemy's Men of War may have other Business than the Protection of it…. Transports are constantly passing and repassing from Rhode Island, New York and Philadelphia to Hallifax, and from all those Places to England. You will naturally search for some of these as Prizes.
If the French Government should send any dispatches to you, or if you should receive any from Us, to carry to America, you will take the best care of them, and especially that they may not fall into improper hands.—You are not however to wait for any dispatches, but to proceed upon your Voyage, as soon as you can get ready.
If there is any room on board your Ship, where you could stow away a Number of Chests of Arms, or of Cloathing for the Use of the United States, you will inform Mr. Schweighauser of it, that he may send them to you before your departure. We do not mean to incumber you with a Cargo, which shall obstruct the sailing of your Ship, or which shall impede you in fighting her: but if, consistent with her sailing and fighting she can take any quantity of Arms or Cloathing, it would be a desirable Object for the Public.
[signed] Signed B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/