Continental Congress - Miscellaneous: Benjamin Franklin's Correspondence

Continental Congress - Miscellaneous: Benjamin Franklin's Correspondence


Read a letter from Benjamin Franklin regarding the sale of the L'Indien.

Franklin Relinquishes l'Indien

  • France

Benjamin Franklin and John Paul Jones became good friends as well as associates in France, and held each other in high regard. Franklin was sent to France as a commissioner in December 1776, and Jones followed 1 November 1777. One of Franklin's first tasks was to commission a vessel, L'Indien, to be built in Amsterdam for the service of the American navy, and Jones was to have commanded it. However, as Wikipedia reports it, "Britain was able to divert the L'Indien away from American hands, by exerting pressure to ensure its sale to France instead (who had not yet allied with America)."

According to a letter written by Benjamin Franklin on 30 Nov 1777 from his home in Passy, a suburb of Paris, this was not quite the reason for giving up the ship. He wrote, "... the infinite Difficulties we find in equipping and manning such a Ship in any neutral Port, under the Restrictions of Treaties together with the want of Supplies from you have induced us to sell her to the King ..." You can read the complete letter by clicking on the image attached (pages 26-34).

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