Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Jeremiah Allen

From Lewis Denis Ward

From Thomas Jefferson, 11 July 1785 Jefferson, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Jefferson
Dear Sir Paris July 11. 1785.

Doctr. Franklin sets out this morning for Havre from whence he is to cross over to Cowes there to be taken on board Capt Truxen’s ship bound from London to Philadelphia. the Doctor’s baggage will be contained in 150. or 200 boxes &c. we doubt that the laws of England will not permit these things to be removed from one vessel into another; and it would be attended with great difficulty, delay & expence should he be obliged to enter them regularly merely to pass them from one vessel to another. will you be so good as to interest yourself (if it be necessary) to obtain a passport for these things or other letters which may protect them in the transfer from one vessel to another.1 the Doctor being extremely engaged in the moment of departure I informed him that mr̃ Harrison was setting out for London to day & that I would by him sollicit your interference in this matter. you will judge best whether the orders had better be delivered to capt Truxent or sent to Cowes. I rather think the last best, as they would put it in his power to land & store them & to discharge the vessel which carries them. whatever is done should be speedily done. I am with sincere esteem Dr. Sir / Your friend & servt.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams esq. / Minister plenipotentiary / for the United states / at London”; endorsed: “Mr Jefferson July 11. 1785. / relative to / Dr Franklins Baggage.”


In fact, Benjamin Franklin left Passy on 12 July, reaching Southampton, England, on the 24th. He left for Cowes, England, on the 27th, and from there on the 28th, he sailed for America on board the London Packet, Capt. Thomas Truxtun, arriving at Philadelphia on 14 Sept. (Eugene S. Ferguson, Truxtun of the Constellation, Baltimore, 1956, 239p. 52–59). For JA’s efforts to expedite the transshipment of Franklin’s baggage to Truxtun’s vessel from the packet that had brought him, see his 18 July letter to William Fraser, and note 1, below.