Diary of John Adams, volume 4

11–13 July 1778

July 25. 1778.

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners
Monsieur De Sartine
Passi July 16. 1778

We have the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the fourteenth instant, and We shall embrace the first Opportunity of writing to Congress and to the Government of The Massachusetts Bay, And inclosing Copys of your Excellencys Letter to Us, which We are persuaded will have the most powerfull Influence with them to exert themselves and to recommend to their Fellow Citizens to engage in Expeditions for the relief of the Inhabitants of St. Peters and Miquelon. There is not the smallest doubt of their Ability to supply the Wants of their Friends at those places provided the British Men of War should be withdrawn from the Newfoundland and Hallifax Stations, but if there should remain as many Ships of War on those Stations as there have been for the last two Years, the difficulty will be very great.

We have the honour to inclose to your Excellency a Copy of a Letter just received from Mr. Schweighauser, whereby your Excellency will see the difficulties that still embarrass our Frigates, in relation to their Prizes.5 We entreat your Excellencys further Attention to the 165 Subject and that orders may be given for the Releif of our Officers and Men from their Embarrassments.

We have the Honour to request your Excellencys Attention to another Subject, that of the British Prisoners made by our Frigates, the Providence, Boston, and Ranger and all others in future. As it is necessary for those Frigates forthwith to proceed to Sea, and as We have some hopes of an Exchange of Prisoners in Europe We request your Excellency that We may have leave to confine them in your Prisons, to be maintained there at our Expence untill exchanged or sent by Us to America and that your Excellency would give the necessary Directions accordingly. We have the Honor to be with the greatest respect, your Excellencys most humble and obedient Servants

B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.6