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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0094-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-12

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Je n'ay point oublié, Messieurs, L'Intéret que vous prenez a M. Jones et la Demande que vous avez faite de lui accorder un Batiment { 137 } armé qui puissé le transporter en Amerique.1 Le Roi a qui j'en ai rendu Compte est disposé a donner cette facilité a ce Capitaine. Mais Je desire prealablement de Scavoir s'il sera possible de composer de Matelots Americains l'Equipage du Batiment qui sera fourni a M. Jones, parceque l'Activité et le Nombre des Armemens de Sa Majesté ne permettroit pas de lui donner un Equipage francois. J'attendrai ce que vous voudrez bien me marquer a ce Sujet pour prendre les Derniers Ordres de Sa Majeste.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre &c.
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0094-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-12

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I have not forgotten, gentlemen, the interest you took in Mr. Jones and your request that he be granted an armed vessel to carry him to America.1 The King, to whom I have rendered a report, is disposed to give the captain this facility. But I would like to know, beforehand, if it would be at all possible to make up the crew of the vessel, which will be provided Mr. Jones, from American sailors, since the activity and the number of His Majesty's ships in commission would not allow him to provide a French crew. I will await your response on this subject before receiving the final orders of His Majesty.
I have the honor to be, &c.
[signed] De Sartine
RC (DLC: Franklin Papers).
1. The Commissioners' representations to Sartine on behalf of John Paul Jones may have been made in person, for no letter on the subject has been found. Jones' letters for this period indicate that by the date of this letter he was almost frantic for a ship, having refused or been denied the commands of the French vessels Indien, L'Epervier, and Renommee and the captured British frigates Lively and Fox. Apparently this letter produced no tangible results, for no reply from the Commissioners has been found. It was not until 10 Nov. that Jones learned of the availability of the French East Indiaman Le Duc de Duras, which he renamed Bonhomme Richard (Anna Farwell De Koven, The Life and Letters of John Paul Jones, N.Y., 1913, 1:369–388; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 174–181).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0095

Author: Whitmarsh, William Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-12

From William Whitmarsh Jr.

[salute] Sir

Being a Townsman of yours and having suffered in the Grand Cause I have Made my Aplication To Mr. Coffyn in Behalf of the United States of Amirica for a Small Sum of Money sufficent to Bear my Exepences while in France which will be no Longer then I Can Geet a Vessell Bound To America which By the Assistance of Mr. Coffyn I hope will not be Long. Sir My affairs Stands thus1
I was Taken a Vollenteer with Capn. Henry Johnson in the Sloop { 138 } Yankey.2 Carried from England To the East Indias From Whence I Made My Escape. I Came home in an English East Indiaman. Left Madrass the 6th. of February arrived in England the 6th. of august. Imprest. 13th. the 27th. at London Sept. 25. at Flushing.3 Octr. 7. at Dunkirque, as for Perticulars Excuse me Sir at Presant. Pray Sir Please To mention me in your Letters To America for my wife nor any Other of my friends or Relations Knows not wether I am dead or a Live. Sir I was Borne in Braintree in the Reverend Mr. Saml. Nileses Parish. My Father prehaps you May Very well Know—he was a Leuitnt. in the Western war.4
Sir5 Mr. Coffyn Continues favours To all Americans that Chance To Come through France in Consequence of that I have Wrote Several Letters and Lodged them or Directed them To Be Loged in such Parts of London as may be most Convenient for them To fall in with.
Sir I Can not write in Particular which way we Propose To Gett To America But Rely Intierly on Mr. Coffyns Good Conduct.
Sir Please If Opertunity Favours, ither in your directions To Boston Braintree or Marblehead. This Sir Desire in Case any Mishap Might Befall us.6
NB. By saying us, there is on[e] Capn. Geo. Smith, of Nantuckitt,7 Bound the Same way.
Sir I Begg the Favor of Subcribing my self a True Born American
[signed] William Whitmarsh Junr.
Left Marblehead8 the Place where I am Setled 8. June 1776. with Capn. Henry Johnson.9
Sir. Mr. Elbridge Gerry which was one of the Delagates of the Honorable Conteninl. Congress. and Lives in Marblehead in his fathers Mantion house Opposite myun.
Pray. Sir Remamber me To Mr. Gerry—and he will forward the Same.
Sir I Begg Pardon for Coa[lin]g you honor in Such a Manner. But To Make it appear that I was absolutely an American.10
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Wm Whitmarsh ansd Oct 19”; in CFA's hand: “1778?.” JA's reply has not been found.
1. JA's Diary entry for 22 Oct. provides a far more detailed account of Whitmarsh's adventures than does this letter and is apparently based on notes taken by JA during an interview with Whitmarsh (Diary and Autobiography, 2:322). It seems likely, therefore, that after writing this letter Whitmarsh went to Paris to present his case to the Commissioners and perhaps, in light of the last paragraph, to deliver it personally to JA. If so, his visit bore fruit because on 26 Oct. he received 240 livres from the Commissioners (Commissioners' Accounts with Ferdinand Grand, [9 Aug. – 12 Nov.], vol. 6:362).
2. Whitmarsh and Capt. Henry Johnson { 139 } were captured when the Yankee was taken by the English sailors made prisoner from its prizes (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 328).
3. Flushing, or Vlissingen, is a port in the Netherlands.
4. William Whitmarsh Jr. was born on 26 Dec. 1748; his father, William Sr., served as a lieutenant in the 1756 Crown Point expedition and filled various town offices in Braintree (Braintree Town Records, p. 795, 284, 297, 377, 434; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 375).
5. The preceding two paragraphs appear on page one of tbe letter, while this, the following four paragraphs, and the signature were written on page three. The location of the remaining paragraphs is given in notes 6 and 10 (below).
6. As written, this paragraph makes little sense. Whitmarsh may have intended to clarify it with what, in this reconstruction, appears as the final three paragraphs of the letter. These are centered on page two, below the place and date, with wide margins above and below, and were probably intended to be inserted in the body of the letter, but there is no indication at what point this was to be done.
7. The preceding two words were written below this paragraph, in the left margin, with a single brace indicating somewhat ambiguously their intended location.
8. The following six words were written above the line, probably for insertion here.
9. This sentence was inclosed in braces and appears to have been intended to accompany the two paragraphs that follow. However, its position on the page could be an indication that it was to be part of the dateline.
10. This paragraph was placed in the left margin of page three. Its position, the appearance of the writing, and the slightly different colored ink make it likely that it was written last, perhaps after Whitmarsh had reached Paris. It would explain Whitmarsh's apology for “Coa[lin]g” on JA for assistance.
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, 2018.