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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0107-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-26

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I only responded,1 gentlemen, to the first part of the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 12th of this month, but the second part also contains some interesting points. Without a doubt it would be desirable, if possible, to return to their mother country those American { 161 } sailors who, through either habit or violence, had been attached to the English service, and thereby achieve the double advantage of increasing American forces while decreasing those of the enemy. But the means to do so seem as difficult to me as they do to you, and in the present state of things one should not delude oneself as to the outcome. Your request that, at least, those subjects of the United States pressed into the English service since the war began be returned to you deserves careful consideration, and I will bring it to His Majesty's attention presently. As to the release of the four prisoners for whom you specifically request freedom, it is with much pleasure that I am giving orders to Dinant so that they may be placed at your disposal. I have the honor to be, with the utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
1. See Sartine to the Commissioners, 19 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0108

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: McNeill, Daniel
Date: 1778-10-27

The Commissioners to Daniel McNeill

[salute] Sir

We received yours of the 12 Instant relative to your Prisoners. Just at the same Time, was published here the Kings Reglement, on the subject of Prizes and Prisoners, of which We inclose you a Copy. We imagined, this must have arrived with you at L'Orient, so as to make any particular order from the minister unnecessary, for We Supposed from the 7th and 15 Article, that General orders had been given to all the Ports for the Reception of Prisoners to be secured by the Kings officers, and maintained at the Charge of the United States.2 But as Mr. Moylan informs Us, in his Letter of the 213 that the Difficulty you were under by their refusing to receive them still remains, we Shall directly apply to M. de Sartine and endeavour to obtain the particular order you desire. In the mean Time We wish you to secure them carefully as an Exchange We hope is on the Point of being effected, and it is to your Honour that you will be the Means of delivering from their painfull Captivity, so many of your brave Countrymen. If the general orders are not yet arrived, and you are about to sail; you may assure the officers that if they will take Charge of the Prisoners We shall defray the Expence.
We think you are in the right in resolving to have a regular Decision about the affair of your Prize. We wish you good success in your Cruise and are &c.
{ 162 }
1. This letter was enclosed, unsealed, in a letter of the same date to James Moylan, in which the Commissioners asked him to take care of McNeill's prisoners if Schweighauser's agent, Puchelberg, would not (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. Art. 15 provided that the King would issue orders for the security and maintenance of prisoners turned over to the proper officials in French ports in accordance with Art. 7. Although the Commissioners state below that they would apply to Sartine on the matter, no letter on that subject has been found, and it was not until his letter to the Commissioners of 22 Dec. (below) that Sartine agreed to issue the necessary regulations. For the regulations, which had gone into effect on 27 Sept., see Sartine to the Commissioners, 29 July, and references there (vol. 6:334, calendar entry; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:673, 685–687).
3. In his letter of 21 Oct., Moylan had reported that McNeill would be forced to free his prisoners unless some provision was made for their security and maintenance before he departed the following week. In the same letter Moylan noted the arrival of Capt. Thomas Bell from Philadelphia with dispatches (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
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.