The Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin prepared by Isaac Minis Hays for the bicentennial of Franklin's birth in 1906 provides access to the largest portion of the Franklin Papers at the APS. The items were originally bound into volumes in roughly chronological order, with letters to Franklin preceding those from Franklin and at the end of the collection, Franklin's letters owned by the University of Pennsylvania. Each manuscript is still identified by Hays' reference numbers, which include a roman numeral refering to the original volume followed by an arabic number to identify the folio. The electronic version of the finding aid replicates Hays' calendar, including the introductory material and item-level descriptions. It has been updated to reflect corrections in the metadata, corrections of personal names, dates, and description.
With a face as familiar, he wrote, as the man in the moon, Benjamin Franklin was one the most recognizable Americans of the eighteenth century, and one of the most written about. A scientist, inventor, pamphleteer, printer, politician, and diplomat, and above all an institution builder, Franklin's intellect and organizational skills, combined with a preternatural gift for crafting his image to appeal to a diverse array of audiences has ensured his lasting reputation.
The story of Franklin's life has become so thoroughly ingrained in American popular culture -- through his autobiography, if nothing else -- that it requires little more than the briefest recapitulation. Born in 1706 to a tallow chandler from Boston, Franklin ran away from an apprenticeship at his brother James' printing establishment in 1723 to strike out on his own in that other colonial metropolis, Philadelphia. After barely a year in the Quaker city, the restless and ambitious young man traveled to England to purchase an outfit and refine his printing skills, and within a short time after returning in October 1726, he established a reputation as the finest printer in the city. His position not only as a printer, but a writer was clinched in 1729 with his purchase of the city's most important newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette and with the appearance of his widely popular Poor Richard's Almanac in 1732. Equally important, in 1730 he was appointed to the lucrative position of official printer to the Province, testimony to his abilities as a printer and a harbinger of what would come as a politician.
From early in his career, Franklin fashioned himself as a promoter of the public weal, using his extraordinary organizational skills to establish a series of organizations that buoyed the city's intellectual and cultural life. His discussion and mutual improvement society, the Junto (1727) was followed by the Library Company of Philadelphia (1731) and a suite of other organizations that included, among others, the city's first fire company, an insurance company, and an academy that later grew into the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin was also the principal founder and first secretary of the nation's first learned society, the American Philosophical Society (1743). Although subsequent events ensured that he would be largely an absentee leader for much of its early history, his colleagues in the APS considered Franklin so essential to the enterprise that they elected him president when the Society was revived in the late 1760s. Although he lived in Philadelphia for a total of only about seven of the twenty one years in which he was president of the Society, he exerted an enormous influence over the selection of its membership and its priorities.
Part of Franklin's importance to the Library Company and the APS, and to the civic culture of Philadelphia more generally, lay in the reputation he earned as America's preeminent savant. His ingenuity in invention was renowned, and was piqued by his reputation for bringing the same concerns for public welfare to mechanical work as to intellectual. His Franklin stove (1742), for example, was hailed as safer and more efficient than its predecessors, and Franklin was credited (sometimes erroneously) with a host of other inventions, from swim fins to bifocals, bulls-eye "busy-body" mirrors, the lightning rod, and extensible arms.
Franklin's scientific work, however, was the source of even greater fame. Beginning in 1745, he conducted a series of electrical experiments that brought him international acclaim, demonstrating the identity of lightning and electricity and later championing the single fluid theory of electricity and formulating a theory of the conservation of electrical charge. On the basis of this work, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1756 and was given honorary degrees by Harvard and Oxford. Franklin was also noted for research on oceanic currents and for contributions to knowledge in dozens of other areas.
Scarcely a decade after his emigration to Philadelphia, Franklin began to turn to more direct participation in the political life of the colonies. He was elected clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1736 and Postmaster at Philadelphia in 1737, eventually becoming one of two deputy Postmasters General for the colonies in 1753. Having amassed his fortune, Franklin retired from active involvement in business affairs in 1749 to devote himself to formal politics. A fierce partisan in the anti-Proprietary faction of the Pennsylvania Assembly during the Seven Years' War, he was the prime mover behind the Albany Plan of Union of 1754, in which the prospect of uniting all of the British North American colonies under a single government was first proposed as a measure to improve mutual defense and for "other important general purposes." Although the plan was ultimately not approved, Franklin emerged as a major figure in colonial politics.
In July 1757, Franklin was dispatched by the General Assembly to go to London and request that the Proprietors' be stripped of control of the government in Pennsylvania. He spent most of the next eighteen years in England as colonial agent for Pennsylvania and other colonies, weathering the imperial crises of the 1760s and although he was steadfast in directing his efforts toward reconciliation of the growing differences between the colonies and crown, he drifted gradually into the radical Whig camp.
Franklin's quickening into the revolutionary cause came in January 1774 when he was called before the Privy Council for Plantation Affairs to answer charges that he had stolen letters from Thomas Hutchinson, Governor of Massachusetts, with the intent of positioning himself to usurp Hutchinson's seat and inciting unrest. Stripped of his position as postmaster and impaired in his ability to operate, Franklin returned to Pennsylvania in 1775 and was elected to the Continental Congress. In the following year, he was selected as a member of the drafting committee for the Declaration of Independence and later helped frame the Articles of Confederation. From 1776 until 1785, he was appointed by the American government as Commissioner to the Court of France, helping to sway King Louis to support the American cause with money and arms and to negotiate the peace between the United States and Great Britain.
Franklin remained active into his eighties, serving as a delegate and key contributor to the federal Constitutional Convention in 1787. A late convert to antislavery, he also became the first president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Franklin died in Philadelphia in April 17, 1790. His common law wife, Deborah Read, predeceased him in 1774. He left behind his estranged illegitimate son William (in exile in England), his daughter Sarah Franklin Bache, and grandsons William Temple Franklin and Benjamin Franklin Bache.
Dr. Franklin seems to have contracted, early in life, the habit of preserving his correspondence, drafts of letters, and memoranda of all kinds, and the mass which he accumulated during his long and active career was very large. In his last Will, dated July 17th, 1788, he bequeathed his manuscripts and papers to his grandson, William Temple Franklin, who used them in preparation of "The Life and Writings" of his grandfather. These manuscripts and papers William Temple Franklin stored at Champlost, the country seat near Philadelphia, of his friend George Fox. A portion of them he subsequently took to Europe for use in the completion of this work which he published in six volumes in London in 1817-1818.
William Temple Franklin died in Paris on May 25th, 1823, and by his Will gave the papers and manuscripts which he had inherited from his grandfather to George Fox, and upon the death of the latter, his children, Charles P. Fox and Mary Fox, in July, 1840, deposited the collection with The American Philosophical Society, and later, on September 17th of the same year, formally gave them to this Society.
In the transfer there was overlooked a small portion of the Franklin papers which had become mixed with the Fox family papers also stored in the loft of the stable at Champlost. About twenty-two years later, when this loft was being cleaned out and the papers therein were being carred off to the paper mill, a small lot of them, most of which had originally belonged to the Franklin collection, was rescued from destruction by Mrs. Holbrook, a friend and at the time house-guest of Miss. Fox, to whom they were then given. In 1903 these were purchased from her descendants by friends of the University of Pennsylvania, and presented to its Library.
Before making the gift to the American Philosophical Society, upwards of one hundred letters, for the most part to Dr. Franklin from members of his family, were separated from the collection and presented by Charles P. Fox to Dr. Franklin Bache, a great-grandson of Dr. Franklin, and are now in possession of his son, Dr. Thomas Hewson Bache. Most of these were printed by William Duane in an octavo volume of one hundred and ninety-five pages, published in New York in 1859, by C. Benjamin Richardson.
The papers taken abroad by William Temple Franklin have a less clear history. For some years they were in the possession of a tailor in St. James's Street, London, over whose shop he had lodgings, and in the year 1840 were found by a gentleman who had been a fellow-lodger there with him, "roughly bundled-up" on the top shelf of a closet in an upper room which William Temple Franklin had occupied. This gentleman, an officer under the British Government, kept these manuscripts for ten or eleven years, according to Henry Stevens, and from time to time offered time in bulk to the British Museum, Lord Palmerston, and to the successive American Ministers at the Court of St. James, from 1804-1851. In the latter year they were offered to Hon. Abbott Lawrence, at that time American Minister in London, who, having no authority to purchase them for his Government, referred the owner to Henry Stevens as a likely buyer, and he, three days later, purchased the entire collection.
Mr. Stevens repaired and arranged the papers, and added to them a number of Dr. Franklin's printed works and imprints, and finally in 1882 the entire collection was purchased from him by the Government of the United States, at the instigation of the then Secretary of State, the Honorable James G. Blaine, and was deposited in the Library of the Department of State. Later, under the Executive Order of March 9th, 1903, all the manuscripts and papers in this collection, with the exception of the diplomatic records, were transferred to the Library of Congress. A Calendar of the Stevens collection was prepared under the direction of Mr. Worthington C. Ford, Chief of the Division of Manuscripts, and was published in 1905 by the Library of Congress.
So far as is known, these four collections constitute the whole of the remaining papers of Dr. Franklin, although others may be in existence, for before Philadelphia was occupied by the British in 1777, a large chest filled with his most valuable early papers, including the drafts of his letters for twenty years, covering the whole period of his residence in England, was sent for safe keeping to Joseph Galloway's home at Trevose, near Bristol, Pennsylvania. During the military operations around Philadelphia, the British visited Mr. Galloway's house, broke open this chest and rifled its contents. After the evacuation of this part of the country by the British forces, Richard Bache, Dr. Franklin's son-in-law, hearing of the condition of these papers, went to Trevose and collected the scattered, mud-bespattered, and much injured remnants of the contents of the chest, and removed them to Philadelphia. It seems most likely that all of the papers that were then lost were ruthlessly destroyed, for if any of them were still in existence they would probably have come to light before this time.
In preparing this Calendar the Editor has adhered to the spelling of proper names as given in the original manuscripts and has, when it seemed desirable, endeavored to supply omissions in the letters so as to promote the clear understanding of the text, all such additions have been enclosed within [ ], while in the Index he has sought to give such information as would enable the reader to identify the authors of the letters and the persons mentioned therein. Letters which have been published in full elsewhere, have been scantily calendared in these volumes, and a footnote reference given to the publication in which they appear in extenso.
The very full Index, which accompanies these volumes, it is hoped will render their contents readily available for reference.
The Editor takes pleasure in acknowledging his indebtedness for valuable assistance received from many sources in the preparation of this Calendar, and especially to Mrs. Lightner Witmer for the admirable manner in which she had calendared a very considerable portion of the correspondence, and to Miss Rebecca Edmiston Kirkpatrick for the conscientious and painstaking labor with which she has assisted in the passage of the work through the press, and in the preparation of the Index.
|Part 1: Letters to Franklin||1730-1776||1,211 items|
|Part 2: Letters to Franklin||1777-1778 March||1,309 items|
|Part 3: Letters to Franklin||1778 April-December||1,200 items|
|Part 4: Letters to Franklin||1779 January-November||1,162 items|
|Part 5: Letters to Franklin||1779 December-1780||1,072 items|
|Part 6: Letters to Franklin||1781-1782||1,288 items|
|Part 7: Letters to Franklin||1783||1,083 items|
|Part 8: Letters to Franklin||1784-1786||1,065 items|
|Part 9: Letters to Franklin||1787-1790, n.d.||436 items|
|Part 10: Materials sent to Franklin during his residence in France||ca.1776-1785||233 items|
|Part 11: Letters from and Works by Franklin||1733-1789||769 items|
|Part 12: Correspondence of and Works by Others||1642-1841||1,627 items|
|Part 13: Business Records of Franklin||1716-1790||829 items|
|Part 14: Materials held at the University of Pennsylvania||1705-1788||766 items|
Gift of Charles Pemberton Fox, 1840.Custodial history:
In his will of July 17, 1788, Benjamin Franklin bequeathed his books and manuscripts to his beloved grandson, William Temple Franklin, presumably for posterity. The subsequent peregrinations of the papers, however, rival those of the man himself, traversing two continents, three countries, and several archival repositories.
At the time of Franklin's death in 1790, the papers were stored at Champlost, a country estate outside of Philadelphia owned by George Fox. Fox, a longtime friend of the family, agreed to care for the papers while Temple culled a selection of letters and documents to help prepare for an edition of his grandfather's autobiography, suitably updated to reflect later life. Temple never returned to the States, and after his death on May 25, 1823, the portions of the papers that he had with him were discovered in London and eventually entered into the collections of the Library of Congress. The manuscript of the autobiography is now at the Huntington Library, having been obtained by John Bigelow from the DeSenarmont family in Paris, descendants of LeVeillard, to whom Franklin had sent a copy for criticism. The material at Champlost was formally bequeathed to Fox, who in turn, left the papers to his children Charles Pemberton Fox and Mary Fox.
During the 1830s, the Harvard professor Jared Sparks was given access to the papers, which served as the major source for his monumental ten volume Works of Benjamin Franklin (Boston: Hillard, Gray and Co., 1840). It appears that Sparks may have encouraged the younger Foxes to donate the papers to the American Philosophical Society to make them more readily available to the scholarly public. The collection of approximately 14,000 items arrived at the American Philosophical Society in 1840, becoming the nucleus of the current Benjamin Franklin Collections.
As it turns out, however, not all of the papers made it to the APS. A portion remained at the Fox home, perhaps intentionally, and in 1887 there passed from Mary Fox to Thomas Hewson Bache, who decided to donate them to the University of Pennsylvania, seeding a third important collection of Franklin Papers.
Other Franklin collections, some substantial, have periodically come to the surface, having descended through other lines of the Franklin family or, more often, through correspondents of Franklin. The second largest grouping at the APS (1,100 items) arrived in 1936 as a gift from Franklin and Nannie Bache.
Cite as: Benjamin Franklin Papers, Mss.B.F85, American Philosophical Society.
Recatalogued and encoded by rsc, April 2003. Reprocessed by Michael P. Miller, 2014-2016.
Portions of the reprocessing project were funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
Other finding aids
This guide is an updated version of I. Minis Hays, Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia: APS, 1908).
General physical description
85.5 linear feet; 13,284 Items
Related materialOther Benjamin Franklin Collections
|Franklin-Bache Papers||View Collection|
|James S. and Frances M. Bradford Collection||View Collection|
|Miscellaneous Benjamin Franklin Collections||View Collection|
African American History Note
The Franklin papers contain several letters which refer to African Americans, particularly in regards to the need to abolish slavery and the establishment of a school for African American children.
Naval History Note
The Franklin papers contain numerous letters which may be of interest to naval historians. The following are organized by subject:Barry, John, 1745-1803.
- A Member of Congress. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1777 October 10. Regarding Captain John Barry's recapture of the frigate Delaware, recently captured by the English. 3 pages. (XLVII, 84b).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1781 March 10. Announcing the safe arrival of the Alliance. Orders of Congress respecting the future movements of the Alliance; very anxious to obtain a copper bottom for that ship. Written from Isle of Groix off L'Orient. 2 pages. (XXI, 101).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1781 March 13. In case the Alliance is to convoy the ship with the Continental stores, thirty or forty more men are absolutely necessary; hears there are fifty Americans on board a French privateer; as the United States may not take French sailors into service, desires permission to get American subjects out of French vessels. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XXI, 108).
- Parke, Matthew. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1781 March 13. On behalf of the officers and men of the Alliance, urges the payment of the prize-money due them; the present Commander of the Alliance, Captain John Barry much liked. Written from L'Orient. Original at the University of Pennsylvania. 2 pages. (V, 16).
- de Galatheau, Captain. Letter to James Moylan and Captain John Barry. 1781 March 16. Not having finished loading his vessel, was unable to sail for Brest with the French squadron. Will soon be ready to sail and, owing to the importance of his vessel and cargo, asks to be convoyed to Brest by the American frigate Alliance, Captain John Barry, now in port, and if necessary the whole way to America. 2 pages. (XLVII, 195).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1781 March 23. As Franklin has given him no instructions and as there is no one to apply to for further orders, has taken the ship Marquis de la Fayette under his direction and will proceed to Delaware with her as soon as he can get ready. 1 page. (XXI, 121).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1781 March 27. Encloses names of prisoners taken on voyage to Boston, sorry to sail to Philadelphia without Franklin's dispatches but feels it his duty to convoy the Marquis de la Fayette to America. 1 page. (XXI, 125).
- United States, Continental Congress. Miscellaneous Papers. 1781 June 26. Resolution approving Barry's releasing ships belonging to the Republic of Venice. 1 page. (XLVII, 200a).
- Barry, John. Miscellaneous Papers. 1781 November 17 - 1781 December. Account with crew; statement of seamen's wages. 2 pages. (LXVII, 132).
- Morris, Robert. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1781 November 27. Instructions to Captain John Barry concerning future movements of Alliance. Original at the University of Pennsylvania. 2 pages. (XII, 20).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1782 January 17. Informing Franklin of his safe arrival with the Alliance; the Marquis de la Fayette, Vicomte de Noailles and General Duportail among his passengers; his orders are to proceed at once on a cruise till the first of March, when he returns to receive Franklin's despatches; if the French sailors are removed from his crew, it will be out of his power to go to sea. 2 pages. (XXIV, 37).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1782 January 31. Difficulty in raising a full crew, expressing willingness to take over certain public goods. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XXIV, 52).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1782 February 27. His safe arrival with the frigate Alliance; can only wait the return of the post for Franklin's despatches. Very poor success on his last cruise. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XXIV, 107).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1782 February 29. Account of his dispute with the French sailors who came with the Alliance from Boston; difficulty of procuring American sailors; habit of the French to trump up an account against any American who is desired to go on board; given an instance of this nefarious practice; out of his power to go to Brest; if the goods were at L'Orient, might take a certain number. Advises against sending any more powder and arms to the Eastern provinces; his reasons. Is stretching his orders further than he likes in order to wait for Franklin's despatches. Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XXIV, 114).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1782 March 4. Alliance cannot take on dry goods, might be damaged in bad weather. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XXIV, 122).
- Barry, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1782 March 15. Acknowledging the receipt of Franklin's despatches; expects to set sail in a few hours. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XXIV, 139).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1777 January 27. Arrived from Paris in 56 hours; will give his best protection and safe conduct to the squadron now nearly ready to sail, until they are at some distance from the coast of Europe; this will afford him an opportunity to prove the sailing capacity of the Ranger, whereof he is in great suspense. Expediency of ordering prizes containing clothing, warlike or naval stores to America instead of to the European ports. Written from Nantes. 3 pages. (V, 35).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to American Commissioners. 1777 June 3. Has received orders from the Secret Committee of Congress to proceed in the French ship Amphitrite to Charlestown, South Carolina, and thence to Paris, put a letter in Franklin's hands, and take command of a "fine frigate"; refusal of the commander of the Amphitrite, M. Fautrel, to permit him to accompany him in any other capacity than as a passenger; Colonel Langdon's proposal that he should proceed to France in a new Continental ship of war which he is now fitting out; probability of this proposition being adopted. Ardently desires to be again in active service; though personally unknown to Franklin, the prospect of being shortly under his direction affords him a singular pleasure. Written from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 3 pages. (VI, 45).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1777 August 30. Congress has put under his command the new sloop of war, the Ranger; almost insuperable difficulties he has encountered in equipping her; will wait on Franklin at the end of his cruise when he will point out some effective enterprises; encloses a paper he has hastily drawn up on the present evils of navy system; his own feelings about being superseded by his inferiors. Written from Portsmouth. 4 pages. (VI, 214).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1777 December 4. Announcing his arrival in the Ranger, having taken two brigantines from Malaga laden with fruit for London; met with few opportunities of making captures; repairs wanted on the Ranger. Affairs in America in the most promising condition. Written from Nantes. 2 pages. (VII, 129).
- Jones, John Paul. Letters to the American Commissioners. 1778 February 10. The affair of Quiberon in every broker's mouth. Were any continental marine power in Europe disposed to avail themselves of the present situation of affairs in America, a single blow would finish everything; explains how the enemies' fleet could be surprised and crushed. Written from Paimboeuf. 2 pages. (VIII, 103).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Silas Deane. 1778 February 10. Encloses a letter for the Commissioners, and the latest newspapers. Written on board the Ranger. 1 page. (XLVIII, 158).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Silas Deane. 1778 February 26. Account of the first naval salute between the French and Americans. Cordial reception from the French officers. Hopes soon to be able to report successes over the English. Written on board the Ranger, from Quiberon. 4 pages. (XLVIII, 159).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Silas Deane. 1778 March 25. Causes of unavoidable delays. Preparations for a new cruise. Written on board the Ranger, from Brest. 5 pages. (XLVIII, 160).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Silas Deane. 1778 March 25. Giving in detail his reasons for not sailing before. Mentions a project or scheme of his which has been approved of by M. La Motte Picquet and M. [Jean B.] De La Porte; afraid to communicate it by letter as a premature discovery of it might prove fatal. Written from Brest. 4 pages. (VIII, 193).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 April 4. Is now perfectly ready to proceed with the Fortunee of thirty-eight guns and the tender sent by Comte d'Orvilliers; deeply concerned at the time lost; will make the better use of that to come. Concerning the large frigate built for America at Amsterdam; hopes to find her ready to his return. Saluted the French flag at Brest with thirteen guns and received in return two guns less; possible reasons for this. Written on board the Ranger, from Cameret. 3 pages. (IX, 11).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Thomas Simpson. 1778 April 26. Appoints him commander of their prize, the English ship of war Drake. Instructions which he is to observe. Written from on board the Ranger. 2 pages. (XLVII, 106).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Thomas Simpson. 1778 May 7. An order informing him that he is suspended, and is under arrest for disobeying his orders of April 26, 1778. In duplicate. Written from on board the Ranger. 1 page (2 copies). (XLVII, 106a; XLVII, 109).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 May 9. Announcing his arrival with the British ship of war, Drake, the English colors inverted under the Amercian stars; has brought in nearly two hundred prisoners; advises their exchange or their being sent back to America on the Drake; has suspended and confined Lieutenant Simpson for disobedience of orders. Written on board the Ranger, from Brest. 3 pages. (IX, 132).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 May 27. Account of his late expedition, since leaving Brest on April 10th; capture and sinking of various prizes; a detailed description of his attempt on Whitehaven on the 22d; spiked their guns and burnt many of their vessels; account of the engagement between the Ranger and the Drake, ending in the capture of the latter. Events leading up to Lieutenant Simpson's suspension and arrest for disobedience. His present dilemma for want of money; his draft on M. Bersoll has not been honored and even the daily provisions for his men are not forthcoming; complains of such a reception. 12 pages. (IX, 193).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 June 1. Encloses papers to prove that his roses are not without thorns. Plans for keeping his present crew; should their home-sickness continue, suggests the advisability of certain exchanges. Willingness of the Duc de Chartres to aid him in obtaining the ship built at Amsterdam; disadvantages of the Ranger. Splendid results which might be obtained with the aid of two or three fast-sailing ships. Repairs needed on the Ranger and Drake. The people murmuring at not receiving their prize-money. Written from Brest. 4 pages. (X, 2).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 June 3. Acknowledging his favor of the 25th; craves pardon for signing a draft on Franklin in order to supply his people with necessary clothing, etc., has never touched a dollar of public money for any private purpose of his own. Disposition made of the prizes he captured. Inconvenience of finding no Continental agent at Brest. If Franklin is in possession of any resolution of Congress which will authorize the sending of Lieutenant Simpson to America, should be obliged for a copy of it. Written from Brest. 4 pages. (X, 7).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 June 6. Acknowledging his esteemed favor [giving him the command of the great ship built at Amsterdam], deeply sensible of the honor conferred upon him; expects soon to wait upon him at Paris. Suggests that the Providence and Boston should rendezvous at Brest. Written from Brest. 1 page. (X, 17).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 June 10. Sale of one of the Ranger's prizes by Messrs. Delap; wrote to them requesting that the captor's part of the prize might be remitted to Mr. Williams; no attention paid to this request; begs Dr. Franklin to give the necessary orders that the uneasiness of his officers and men may be removed. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (X, 25).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 July 16. Enclosing a copy of Thomas Simpson's parole, dated June 10th, promising, though released from prison, to consider himself under arrest until called upon to meet Captain Jones face to face before a court-martial. Is willing to let the dispute between Lieutenant Simpson and himself drop forever by returning him his parole, an act which will entitle him to command the Ranger; bears no malice, and if he has done him any injury, this will make amends. Written from Passy. 2 pages. (X, 24).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 August 6. Terms on which the Ranger's seamen were engaged; advances he made them out of his own pocket; begs Franklin to order receipts to be given him for his indemnification and also for his stores, furniture, etc.; asks also that the men who landed with him at Whitehaven may be recommended to the bounty of Congress. Written from Passy. 2 pages. (XI, 24).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 August 15. Concerning a general report on the Ranger and through it to the French fleet, that he is turned out of the service and his place, with a captain's commissions given to Mr. Simpson, and that his letter of July 16th releasing Mr. Simpson from parole was forced from him; demands that he be afforded immediate redress by a court-martial. Compares his heart-whole devotion to America with the conduct of Simpson. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XI, 49).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Abraham Whipple. 1778 August 18. Requests him to call a Court Martial for the trial of Lieutenant Thomas Simpson with whose conduct he has been and is unsatisfied. 1 page. (XLVII, 129a).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 August 24. Concerning his search for activity while without a command. Wishes not to be thought impatient, but considers the moment is ripe when he ought either to be in search of marine knowledge with Count d'Orvilliers, or in search of honor in some private enterprise. Hopes Franklin will send the enclosed letter to the Prince de Nassau if he approves of it. In spite of all his disappointments, is persuaded that the Court still has intentions in his favor. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XI, 72).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 August 28. Has just heard from M. de la Privalaye that he can no longer furnish a guard for the prisoners taken by the Ranger and now on board the prize-brigantine, Patience; will do all in his power to have the guard prolonged until this reaches Franklin's hand. Begs him to apply at once to the French Minister that his favorite object, a cartel, may not be lost. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XI, 96).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 August 30. A generous offer on the part of his good friend, M. de la Porte, the Intendant, to furnish a vessel, place on board the prisoners from the Patience and send them with a flag to England; urges them to accept this offer at once; advantages of such a direct exchange. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XI, 99).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 August 31. Complains of receiving no answer from Dr. Bancroft to his letter. Report of the Jamaica fleet having got clear of the Brest fleet owing to Count d'Orvillier's unwillingness to break his line in the chase; would be sorry to find it true; his own situtation cannot be altered for the worse. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XI, 73).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to The Prince de Nassau-Siegen. 1778 September 9. Recounting difficulties in obtaining a new command. Account of the Epervier which was reputed to be a vessel of very large dimensions, with 16 guns and of superior swiftness. His situtation appears a mystery and he concludes that he has fallen a sacrifice to some intrigue of State. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XLVII, 130).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 September 14. Has written the Marine Committee his reasons for remaining in Europe. However great the mortification, would prefer to return to America, though unemployed, before the winter, than to remain in France amused by unmeaning promises until the spring—and then be disappointed. Knows positively that the Minister has ships to bestow, if he wishes; if he was worth his notice at the beginning is not less so now. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XI, 138).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 September 18. Announces the return of the fleet, having been absent a month and accomplished nothing. Arrival of the frigate Juno with the English frigate Fox; if the minister will give him nothing better, would rather accept the Fox and the Alert as a tender, than remain idle. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XI, 150).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 September 21. Enclosing letters to the Duke de Chartres which he begs Franklin to suppress, should he disapprove of them; if they are delivered, begs him to write a line to the Duke about the same time. Wishes to accept of the ship Fox with the Alert, unless something is immediately offered and bestowed. Fear of losing the Fox, too, unless application is immediately made. Written from Brest. 1 page. (XI, 158).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 September 24. His desire to obtain the Fox and the Alert which are both well calculated for an object he has in view; the Minister has here an opportunity to give him a small command; trusts the ship and tender may be reserved for him. The Prince of Nassau has not answered his letter; considers it unkind to leave him in the torment of indolence and suspense. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XI, 167).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Edward Bancroft. 1778 October 9. Begs him to ns2:show the enclosed letter to Benjamin Franklin and, if approved, to deliver it. Written from Brest. 1 page. (XLVII, 132).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to La Duchesse de Chartres. 1778 October 19. Informs her that M. [Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel] de Sartine proposed to bestow on him a very honorable command and that he requested the American Plenipotentiaries that he be permitted to remain in Europe. Furnished the Minister with a number of plans which he approved, for private expeditions, but though various armanents were proposed to be put under his command, yet everyone has fallen to nothing. Has been trifled with for five months and valuable opportunities are lost. He wrote to Congress to reserve no command for him in America, and having no command in Europe he is regarded everywhere as an officer in disgrace. Reason for taking any command. Has written the enclosed letter to His Majesty which he asks her to present. Would be extremely happy to succeed through her influence. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XLVII, 133).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 October 19. Is disgraced in the eyes of Brest and the French fleet; his indignation against M. de Sartine who has done him such dishonor. Concerning his letter to the King and the best means of delivering it. His filial veneration for Franklin and his earnest desire to hear from him. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XII, 55).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Louis XVI. 1778 October 19. Informed by Dr. Franklin that M. [Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel] de Sartine, with his approbation, determined to give him command of the Indien. Was to have taken command immediately but found that the ship would not be ready until the September Equinox. The American Plenipotentiaries proposed that he go home, but M. de Sartine requested that he remain in Europe. Proposed various plans and had several armaments assigned to him but everyone has fallen to nothing. Informed Congress to reserve no command for him. Is regarded everywhere as disgraced officer. Wrote to M. de Sartine and Prince de Nassau but received no replies. Is persuaded that His Majesty will not disregard his situation nor suffer him to remain any longer in that insupportable disgrace. Written from Brest. 4 pages. (XLVII, 134).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 October 27. Would rather lay down his life than return to America before his honor is made perfectly whole. The heart-ache and sorrow he has experienced since his return to Brest; offers to find a ship and men, if they will only give him powers. Written from Brest. 3 pages. (XII, 85).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 November 1. Hopes the enclosed letter for M. de Chaumont will have Franklin's approbation; wishes he could be assured of the command of the Indian. Cannot wish to offend M. de Sartine but would be glad to have some mark of the King's approbation. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XII, 100).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. 1778 December 9. Sends the enclosed memorial from the prisoners on the Patience; their situation most deplorable and their complaints just; declares that Rivu, who has charge of them, is a scoundrel and begs them to send their answer through the Reverend Father John, as otherwise it will never reach the prisoners. Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XII, 183).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to the American Commissioners. . Asks whether the Ranger should depart before her prizes are realized; whether the advances must be deducted; and whether it is not inexpedient for a ship that sails slow and is of trifling force to pursue a track where there is almost a certainty of meeting with the enemy's fast-sailing ships of superior force. 1 page. (LVI(i), 75).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. . Insubordination on the Ranger; conduct of Lieutenant Simpson which led up to his imprisonment. Incomplete. 8 pages. (LVIII, 70)
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. . The prisoners taken by the Ranger. 1 page. (LVIII, 95).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to John D. Schweighauser. 1779 February 19. Requests that he furnish him with an order to the person who appeared as American Agent at Brest, directing him to relinquish his claim to the plate now deposited in the King's store-house belonging to the Countess of Selkirk. Written from Nantes. 1 page. (XLVII, 140a).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to John D. Schweighauser. 1779 February 19. Mr.[Jonathan] Williams, [Jr.], as his attorney, will settle with Mr. Schweighauser for the three-twentieths of the captor's part of the Ranger prizes, and for the seventeen-twentieths of the captor's moiety of the plate which the Ranger's crew took from the countess of Selkirk. Written from Nantes. 1 page. (XLVII, 140b).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 March 6. Discussing the past accusations made against him before the Revolution. The mystery so delicately mentioned in Franklin's favor of the 24th, he intended to explain much earlier; encloses a copy of the original paper; the subject was communicated to sundry members of Congress at the beginning of the war; after this misfortune of his life, was advised to retire incognito to America until the Admiralty Commission should arrive on the Island; everything changed by the revolution in America; appointments he received in the navy of the Colonies; his summary of his own character. Explains the affair of the pillage of Lord Selkirk's plate; his intention to restore it; believes Mr. Alexander to be his enemy; his indifference to spies. Congratulates Franklin on his appointment. Concerning the outfit of the Poor Richard. [Enclosure.] Account of the accidental killing of a mutinous sailor, by the master of West India ship [evidently John Paul Jones himself]; his actions, subsequent to this melancholy accident; reasons why he did not surrender himself for trial. Written from L'Orient. 10 pages. (XIII, 176).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 May 1. Acknowledging Franklin's letter of the same date, whose contents "would make a coward brave"; enthusiasm with which he will welcome an opportunity of rendering some acceptable service to the common cause; returns thanks to Franklin for his delicate friendship, favor and affection; encloses the memoir of a young gentleman whom he should be glad to take with him; can find no one so proper to discipline the volunteer soldiers he has enlisted. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XIV, 77).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 May 2. Pleads for the unfortunate men who were made prisoners when the gallant Montgomery fell in his attack on Quebec; by an application to Court, thinks their release might be obtained; encloses their appeal. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XIV, 79).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 May 14. Arrival of the Alliance, Sensible and Pallas; impossible to say when the little armament will be ready to sail; suggestions as to the best time for the Marquis [de la Fayette] to leave Paris. Asks Franklin's advice concerning the bestowal of American commissions on the Captains of various vessels, and the best manner of wording them. Misunderstandings among the officers on board the Alliance; hears that the first lieutenant threatens to leave the ship; this will mean a breach of discipline, but little loss to the service; recommends that a sufficient number of officers be properly authorized to hold courts-martial, simply as a means to "keep little minds in proper awe." Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XIV, 110).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to John Walsh, late Master of the Drake. 1779 May 19. Glad to hear that the memorial which he forwarded and enforced to the American Plenipotentiaries, had a good effect upon the conduct of [D'Albert de] Riou to the gentleman whom the fortune of war made prisoner to the American arms. Sorry he has not been exchanged with the persons who would have been the most necessary evidences on his Court Martial, when he returns to England. Will again mention his case to Dr. Franklin. Can testify that the Drake made a gallant and good defence and was disabled before any person called for quarters. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XLVII, 149).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 May 26. His keen disappointment at the change of plans on the part of the French Government; instead of the Marquis [de la Fayette] joining him with troops, he is ordered elsewhere; considers no season would have been as fit for their purpose as the present. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XIV, 141).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Peter Amiel. 1779 June 18. Is sorry his private concerns are of such a nature as to make it necessary for him to request leave of absence. Notwithstanding the inconvenience to the service, he grants him permission to remain on shore at l'Orient until he receives order from Dr. Franklin, from himself, or some other commander to resume the duties of his commission and to hold himself in readiness to obey future orders. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XLVII, 152).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 1. Movements of the American squadron under his command. Disappointed in the sailing powers of the Bon Homme Richard; even the Pallas sails faster; belives if the Court would give the ship which they at first offered, it would be possible to make a useful and honorable cruise with the force now under his command. Written on board The Homme Richard, off L'Orient. 3 pages. (XV, 2).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 2. Arrival of the Alliance and the Pallas. Question whether Captain Landais' prize is valid or not. Repairs needed for the ships. Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XV, 9).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 4. Complains that their ships are unable to overtake privateers; anxious to put to the trial a plan of his, which, however, could not succeed without troops; would have carried out this scheme, had the Marquis [de la Fayette] embarked with him. Alterations he would like to make in the Bon Homme Richard and the Pallas. Cannot forego all hopes of commanding the ship in Holland originally offered him by the Court; leaves it to Franklin's discretion whether or not to mention these hopes to the Minister: Has saluted the sun both morning and evening; hopes this will be done, to the latest posterity, wherever the flag of freedom is displayed. Written on board the Bon Homme Richard, at L'Orient. 3 pages. (XV, 15).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 9. Complains of the lack of discretion ns2:shown by M. de ___ and the trouble which will arise from such a communicative disposition. Thinks the necessary repairs will not interfere with the execution of Franklin's orders. Desires to know how far he may use his own judgement in dealing with the enemy. The illness of the officer chiefly concerned is the reason for delaying the Court of Inquiry. Is opposed to M. de Chaumont's suggestion to send the Pallas and Vengeance cruising after privateers until the Bon Homme Richard and Alliance are ready for service; his reasons. Written from Bon Homme Richard, near L'Orient. 4 pages. (XV, 30).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 12. Repairs needed on the Bon Homme Richard; in obedience to a request of M. de Sartine, the Pallas, Cerf, and Vengeance have gone on a short cruise until the Bon Homme Richard and Alliance are once more ready for service; the Bon Homme Richard too old to admit of the necessary alterations; wishes to render himself worthy of a better and faster sailing ship; suggestions for strengthening his little force. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XV, 39).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 25. Glad to have his authority increased, as it widens his chances of successful enterprises. Promises to send Franklin a cipher for private correspondence; desires that further orders may be sent to the port of his destination by the middle of September. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XV, 69).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 26. Has received information that the Jamaica fleet will sail homewards, escorted by a fifty gun ship and two strong frigates; should they fall in with this force will certainly engage them; fears, however, that they are not strong enough to prevent the escape of the convoy; asks that the frigate Monsieur may be added to his force. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XV, 73).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 July 30. The Irish brigantine the Three Friends, taken by the Alliance, has sunk at her anchors; if the accident arose from carelessness, a courtmartial shall determine what punishment to inflict; in case it is death, he will execute the sentence at sea. The Bon Homme Richard only lacks one hundred men to be completely ready for sea. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XV, 91).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 August 13. Enclosing the proceedings of the court-martial relative to the Bon Homme Richard and the Alliance being run foul of each other. Asks Franklin's advice respecting the proper division of prize-money belonging to the little squadron. M. de Chaumont's journey kind but useless; all the necessary measures for engaging the men were taken before his appearance. Expects to sail the following day. Good understanding prevails among the little squadron. Written on board the Bon Homme Richard. 2 pages. (XV, 123).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 October 8. His reception at Amsterdam. Anything consonant with the good of the common cause will always meet with his full attention, but he can accept of no honor that could call in question his ardent attachment to the American cause. Difficulties in the way of a court-martial for Captain Landais; will await Franklin's orders before taking any measures in regard to the trial; discusses who is to take the place of Landais as Captain of the Alliance. Needs more officers. The refitting of the Serapis, Countess of Scarborough, and Vengeance. Far from desiring a quarrel with M. [Paul] de Chamillard, wishes to know him long as a friend but not as a master. Written from Amsterdam. 2 pages. (XVI, 17).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 October 11. Has determined to retain the Captain of the Serapis as a hostage for Conyngham's release as a prisoner of war; is willing to set all his other prisoners at liberty if the English Ambassador will give security in his public character that an equal number of Americans shall be sent at once to France. Unseemly conduct of Landais; his extraordinary demand for supplies of every kind; has ventured to reduce these requests to one tenth the amount; anxious to form a court-martial. Thinks his prisoners will number four hundred; will forward list of killed and wounded, a loss far exceeded by the enemy's. Written from Amsterdam. 2 pages. (XVI, 33).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Captain Richard Pearson. 1779 October 20. Did not think him unacquainted with the English Ambassador's memorial to the States-General, and therefore thought it fruitless to pursue the negotiations for the exchange of prisoners of war now in his hands. Resents the charge of breach of civility. Knows not what difference of respect is due to rank between his service and theirs. Supposes the difference must be thought very great in England since he is informed that Captain [Gustavus] Cuningham, of equal denomination and who bears a senior rank in the American service than his in the service of England, is now confined at Plymouth in a dungeon and in fetters. Has treated and will continue to treat the wounded with the greatest care. Encloses a copy of the Ambassador's memorial. Written on board the Serapis. 3 pages. (XLVII, 168b).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Lieutenant James A. Degge. 1779 October 21. Appointing him commander of the Continental frigate Alliance, provides instructions. Written on board the Serapis, near Texel. 2 pages. (XLVII, 169).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 November 13. Has been afraid to send evidence against Captain Landais by post; takes advantage of M. Dumas' kindness to send it now. Is exceedingly sorry for the unavoidable delay in sailing; difficulty of obtaining supplies; embarrassed with more than 500 prisoners; expects to be ready to start in a few days, though he must run the risk of meeting the enemy who are far superior to his whole force. Hopes Franklin will approve his arrangements on board the Alliance. Men and officers on board the Bon Homme Richard in want of everything; afraid to mention this to M. de Chaumont after his unmerited reproaches; has written to Dr. Bancroft on the subject of his misunderstanding with de Chaumont; hopes Franklin approves his attitude. Written on board the Serapis, near Texel. 4 pages. (XVI, 106).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 November 29. Forwarded Franklin the required certificates respecting Captain Landais. Hopes his second interview with the French Ambassador will meet with Franklin's approval. Has one hundred prisoners on board; expects to embrace the first fair wind for L'Orient. His reason for not coming on board the Alliance earlier was a feeling of delicacy, Captain Landais having accused him of using his interest with Franklin to supersede him in the command. His strong desire that the Serapis should become the property of America. Only his attachment to his duty prevents his embracing Franklin before leaving Europe. Captain Conyngham is with him. Written on board Alliance, near Texel. 2 pages. (XVI, 133).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Duc de la Vauguyon. 1779 December 13. Reasons why he has refused the letter of marque offered him by the French Court; would esteem himself inexcusable did he even accept a commission of equal or superior denomination to his own; astonished that the Court should offer such as insult to his understanding; contrasts this treatment with that ns2:shown to French officers by the American Ambassador. Written from Texel. 4 pages. (XVI, 162a).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1779 December 13. Has received Franklin's orders, respecting the prisoners on board Alliance; hopes that his enclosed letter to the Duke de la Vauguyon will meet with Franklin's approbation; persuaded that Franklin would never wish him to be made the tool of any great King; rejected their dirty piece of parchment; they would have him do that which would render him contemptible even in the eyes of his own servants. Will sail as soon as the wind permits. Written on board Alliance, near Texel. 3 pages. (XVI, 162).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to C. G. F. Dumas. 1779 December 27. Concerning the loss of two anchors, by the Alliance getting foul of a Dutch merchant ship. Wishes them taken up. Written from Alliance, at sea. 2 pages. (XLVII, 174).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 January 16. His safe passage through the Channel, in spite of the enemy's attempts to cut off his retreat; would have given them cause for fresh alarm, had not his sails and rigging been in such a bad condition; description of a brigantine from Liverpool, sailing under Dutch colors, which he took and sent to America; extremely vexatious to see the enemy carrying on half their trade under neutral colors; expects to proceed towards his destined port in France; reasons why he thinks the Court cannot refuse to fit out his ship upon her arrival. Written on board Alliance. 4 pages. (XVII, 37).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 February 13. His reasons for returning to port so soon; wretched condition of the Alliance; does not boast one good rope or sail; blames this state of things on Captain Landais' slothfulness and ignorance. His health rather impaired from his late fatigues; has been almost blind with sore eyes. Steps he intends taking to repair the Alliance. Wishes the Serapis could be made the property of America. Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XVII, 66).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 February 21. Certain repairs on the Alliance absolutely necessary; promises economy. Unless the prize money is paid, his throat will assuredly be cut. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVII, 76).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 February 23. Not necessary to have the Alliance heaved down; repairs needed. Hopes that the wages due the surviving seamen of the late Bon Homme Richard may be paid them at once. His eyes still very weak and inflamed. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVII, 79).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 February 25. Promises to be as economical as possible. Will gladly carry the supply of arms and clothing to America and will do his best to accommodate the four gentlemen mentioned as passengers. In great want of a first lieutenant; the present incumbent oftener drunk than sober; would consider it a great favor if he could have Lieut. Rhodes, now on board the Luzerne. His letter to Mr. Baudouin written to remove any prejudice against himself which might prove hurtful to the common cause. Question of prize money. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVII, 87).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 March 3. Necessity of stowing the arms for the Continent at once. Dislikes to complain of any man, but M. Schweighauser refuses to settle with Mr. Williams in regard to the Ranger's prizes; has received no payment up to this time; his sailors look to him for their rights. If Franklin approves the enclosed letter, begs that it may be forwarded to the Countess of Selkirk. Offers to take the cannon on board the Alliance. Written from L'Orient. 4 pages. (XVII, 106).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 March 6. Enclosing an extract of letter from Sir Robert Finlay respecting an invention of bombs, which are calculated to set fire to any object against which they are discharged by cannon; hopes Franklin may find the inventor worthy of further attention. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XVII, 113).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 March 13. Concerning ships repairs, and the passengers for the voyage. Repairs not advancing as he could wish. Arrival of Mr. Lee. Franklin's letter of introduction presented to him by Mr. Lockyer. Will do all of his power to make the passage pleasant for Captain [Thomas] Hutchins and Mr. Brown. Dr. Bancroft not yet arrived. Has given order to Mr. Blodget, the purser, to deliver Captain Landais' things. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVII, 127).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 March 14. Enclosing a copy of the only bill of ransom with which he has ever been concerned; had no other motives for ransoming Mr. Dryburugh's vessel but compassion for his helpless family and as a reward for his good services as pilot on the British coast. Concerning Mr. Ross' proposal to take on board the Alliance at Noirmoutier, 120 bales of public stores. Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XVII, 132).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 March 28. Acknowledging Franklin's orders of the March 18; has written to Nantes for particular information respecting the anchorage of Noirmoutier; the cannon all on board. Refers to Dr. Bancroft for an account of certain circumstances concerning his conduct in Holland. Afraid Franklin will find "busybody C___" less worthy than he formerly imagined. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVII, 153).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 April 4. Steps he has taken to receive certain stores on board the Alliance. Concerning the conduct of M. C___; fears that Franklin has been deceived in him; a dishonorable proposition made by him; loth to expose his conduct and willing to give him time repent. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVIII, 7).
- Van de Perre, Paulus Ewaldus, and Meyners. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 April 6. Their vessel, the Berkenbos, most unjustly captured by the Alliance and sent to Boston or Philadelphia; claim restitution and damages; the Captain forced by Captain Jones to certify that the ship was English property. Written from Middelburg. 4 pages. (XVIII, 10).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 April 20. Discusses his service in France. Nearly two years since he was honored by an invitation from the Court of Versailles to continue in Europe, with a promise of more useful employment against the common enemy; has served not for riches but for glory and a glorious cause; desires to carry back with him to Congress such testimony of His Majesty's approbation as his conduct may be thought to have merited during his absence from America. Written from Passy. 1 page. (XVIII, 35).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 April 23. Remembers writing about the brigantine he met with off Cape Finisterre, siling under Dutch colors (see XVIII, 10); the appearance of the Alliance that of an English frigate, as he and his mariners were in English uniforms; the Captain of the Brig said the cargo was British property and he naturally believed him; that he was compelled by force to say so, is absolutely false; he was not dispossessed of his ship. and will be able to sell his cargo to better advantage in America than in any other country. Written from Passy. 2 pages. (XVIII, 38).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 June 13. On his arrival found that Captain Landais, encouraged by Mr. Lee and Mr. Gillon, had raised a party spirit on board the Alliance; steps he took to meet such a move; this very day during his absence, Captain Landais went on board the Alliance and declared his intention of keeping the command by force, if necessary; no steps can be taken without written orders from Franklin; encloses letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty, upon which Captain Landais bases his pretentions. The armament of the Ariel rapidly advancing; expects the two ships to carry to America the articles immediately wanted; clothes more important than muskets. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XVIII, 138).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Pierre Landais. 1780 June 18. Directs Landais not to sail until he receives special instructions for that purpose. Also directs him to send eighty of his best riggers with all the joiners from the Alliance to rig and prepare the Ariel. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XLVII, 183).
- Crew of the Bon Homme Richard. Letter to John Paul Jones. 1780 June 21. Captain [Pierre] Landais promised to let them go ashore should Captain [John Paul] Jones make a demand for them; they beg him to do so. Tell him not to believe Captain Landais should he write that they are willing to go to sea with him; they are determined not to do so they have been kept below as prisoners for two days and Captain Landais now wants them to serve under his command, which they refuse. Written on board Alliance. 1 page. (XLVII, 181).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 June 21. Concerning Captain Landais and the command of the Alliance. Was informed at Versailles, by M. de Genet, that an express had been sent from court with the necessary orders to the King's officers at l'Orient respecting Captain Landais and the Alliance. The evening before the Alliance had been towed to Port Louis; plans on the part of M. de Thevenard, the Commandant , to stop the Alliance, even ordering the fort to fire upon and sink her, if necessary; his interference alone prevented such a catastrophe. The Alliance is now at anchor without, between Port Louis and Groa; has just sent Lieutenant Dale with a letter to Captain Landais. Account of a letter just received from Mr. Lee; is convinced he is disappointed at the failure of his plots to produce bloodshed between France and America...Yesterday sent a letter [3 pages, in French] he wrote to Captain Parke of the Marines on board the Alliance, setting forth the fatal consequences which must follow, should they persist in this mutiny; also enclosed copy of Dr. Franklin's letter of the 16th to Captain Landais and to the officers and people of the Alliance, and desired an answer or a personal interview, and assuring them that they would, on returning to their duty, be done strict justice, and all his influences should be exerted to obtain their excuse for the past. Officers sent on board by the Commandant with the King's order for the arrest of Captain Landais, who refused to surrender himself. Believes Lee and his party pretend to justify their measure by saying that Franklin did not put Captain Landais under arrest, and that he cannnot displace him. Believes them to be English at the bottom of their hearts. Mr. Dale just returned with an impertinent answer from Captain Landais. Written from L'Orient. 4 pages. (XVIII, 157).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Pierre Landais. 1780 June 21. The crew of the Alliance wishes that command be handed over to Lieutenant Richard Dale. Since His Most Christian Majesty lent the frigate Ariel to the United States and since he, Landais, was charged to transport public stores and clothing that are wanted for the America armies, he claims the seamen and crew that are on board the Alliance and that served under his command in the Bon Homme Richard; requests him to deliver them to the bearer, Lieutenant [Richard] Dale, and also to deliver to him his baggage and stores. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XLVII, 182).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 June 23. Concerning the sale of the Serapis, and preparations for transporting stores to America. Mr. Williams and himself now on the lookout for a freight ship to transport the remaining tone of public stores to America, after the Ariel is filled; believes that the Government might be willing to lend the Serapis; advantages to be derived from such a course; expects to have small difficulty in manning the Serapis and Ariel. The Commandant has just sent a new requisition to Captain Landais for the seamen who served with him (Jones) in the Bon Homme Richard. Franklin's favor of the 17th just received; thinks money would make the people of the Alliance do anything. Written from L'Orient. 4 pages. (XVIII, 159).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 July 5. Concerning command and crew issues on the Alliance and the Ariel. has been doing his best to counteract the schemes of Landais and his party; enclosing copies of his letters to M. de Thevenard (1 page) and to the crew of the Alliance (2 pages). Account of Mr. Blodget, purser of the Alliance, having given himself up as a voluntary prisoner rather than attend him (Jones) on board the Ariel for the purpose of going over the accounts of the crew of the Alliance. Thinks the crew will not weigh anchor until they are hopeless of receiving their money. Honored with Franklin's favor of the 27th. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XIX, 10).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 July 12. Defending going to Paris, discussing the trouble on the Alliance, and payment of prize money to crew of Bon Homme Richard. Considers the delay in distributing the prize-money was the primary cause of the whole trouble with the Alliance; part played in the affair by Mr. Lee; under the circumstances believes that Tourville himself could not have prevented the plot from succeeding. If he had sufficient seamen, could be ready for sea in three days. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XIX, 19).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 August 7. Concerning the sailing of the Ariel, and the clarification that the Bon Homme Richard was not a privateer. Ariel nearly ready for sea; difficulties encountered in settling with M. de Montplaisir the matter of wages for his men. Report spread by Mr. Gillon, of South Carolina, that Franklin had written him that the Bon Homme Richard was a privateer; asks that this report may be contradicted as, though false, it has done him much harm. No orders were ever sent by the Court to stop the Alliance by force; believes Landais was a mere cat's paw and that the blow was aimed against Franklin rather than himself. The bearer, the Comte de Vauban, sails with him on the Ariel. Written from L'Orient. 4 pages. (XIX, 56).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 September 23. Received Franklin's letter, orders and public despatches by the Comte de Vauban; explains his proceedings with respect to the men who served in the privateer, Madame. Concerning the expense of the Ariel; acted for the best from the beginning. Has done with Chaumont; bore his base conduct too long, but has now sent to Versailles such proofs as will, he hopes, prevent his doing further mischief. Distributed the money entrusted to him according to orders. No man loves, esteems, and venerates Franklin with a more honest and grateful heart that he does. Written on board Ariel, at sea. 3 pages. (XIX, 141).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 October 20. Discussing efforts to prevent the sailing to England of persons lately arrived from America. Thought it his duty, in conformity to the advice of Mr. Wharton and other gentlemen, to apply to the Count de Maille to prevent the embarkation for England of several suspected persons lately arrived from America; although none of them had taken the oath of fidelity to the United States, they are now willing to swear allegiance. Written from L'Orient. 3 pages. (XX, 42).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 November 17. Since his unfortunate return, has received two letters from Mr. Gourlade wherein it appears Franklin blames him for certain charges in the accounts against the United States; reasons why he ordered the articles in question; has no other motive than the advancement of the service. The Ariel will again be ready for sea in the course of a week. 2 pages. (XX, 74).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 November 24. Concerning the issues of prize-money for the Bon Homme Richard and the Alliance. 1 page. (XX, 87).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 December 4. Has been ready for sea these five days past and only waiting for Franklin's despatches to set sail; hopes also for despatches from Court in consequence of advices received from Rhode Island. Written from L'Orient. 1 page. (XX, 104).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1780 December 18. The Ariel will be under sail at daybreak; neither Mr. Gourlade nor M. de La Grave have yet appeared; enloses receipt for arms; is taking ninety days' provisions. Had [Arthur] Lee and his cabal in the Alliance been in Heaven, the Ariel would have been no additional expense, and with the Alliance, would have carried the greatest part of the winter clothing for our army. Not surprised at the few desertions; encloses list of the present crew. Written from L'Orient. 2 pages. (XX, 128).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1783 December 20. Accepting his invitation for dinner on the 25th. Written from Paris. 1 page. (XXX, 143).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1784 January 26. Sending Franklin information written on the Society of Cincinnati. Written from Paris. 1 page. (XXXI, 47).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1784 March 23. Concerning settlement of prize-money due the officers who served in his squadron. Written from Paris. 2 pages. (XXXI, 120).
- Jones, John Paul. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1789 December 27. The enclosed documents from the Count de Segur will partly explain his reasons for leaving Russia; dark intrigues and mean subterfuges to which he was exposed by Asiatic jealousy and malice; wishes such use to be made of the enclosed papers as to justify him in the eyes of his friends in America; expects to remain some time longer in Europe; thinks the Baltic will witness warmer work than it has yet done. Has sent the Empress his journal to ns2:show her how she has been deceived by his enemies. Written from Amsterdam. 1 page. (XXXVI, 192).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 May 31. His arrival; enclosing his orders from Congress and from the Navy Board. His departure from Providence and his running the blockade; details of his trip; has twelve prisoners with him; desires orders relative to them. Enclosing a draft of the bill for reconciliating measures between Great Britain and America, published by General Pigot, Commander at Rhode Island; it was received with all the marks of indignity and burnt by the common hangman. Written from Paimboeuf. 4 pages. (IX, 207).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to American Commissioners. 1778 June 15. Acknowledging their favor per Captain Jones; desires orders relative to his prisoners; his masts being prepared; offers to carry arms and clothing to the United States. Written from Paimboeuf. 1 page. (X, 37).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to American Commissioners. 1778 June 27. Expecting to sail July 20, asks if he is to take any goods onboard. Written from Nantes. 3 pages. (X, 66).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to American Commissioners. 1778 July 2. Nearly ready for sea; desires that the necessary merchandise might be put on board as soon as possible. Endorses an exact return of prisoners. 3 pages. (X, 82).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1778 July 31. Reasons for his delay in sailing; has written Captain Tucker to join him with the Boston and to Captain Simpson to fit the Ranger for sea with all possible despatch. His cargo and provisions on board and his men in good health and high spirits; hopes to pay his respects to the Guernsey and Jersey privateers. Written from Paimboeuf. 2 pages. (X, 159).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to American Commissioners. 1778 August 19. Delays in sailing. On selling the Ranger's prizes and Captain Jones blocking the sale of said prizes. Accuses Jones of being a man "blinded by self-interest...[acting] in opposition to the interests of his country." Written on board Providence, at Brest. 3 pages (XI, 62).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to John Paul Jones. 1778 August 19. Received his letter requesting him to summon a Court Martial for the trail of Lieutenant Thomas Simpson. Informs him of the impossibility of calling a Court Martial and also acquaints him fully with his sentiments on the subject. Written from Brest. 2 pages. (XLVII, 129).
- Whipple, Abraham. Letter to Benjamin Franklin. 1786 October 25. Concerning his application to Navy Board for repayment of money expended for extra stores on behalf of eleven gentlemen passengers, who came to America on board his vessel by order of Dr. Franklin; gives their names; the money will be granted him provided he can obtain Franklin's certificate that such orders did exist or were given. Written from New York. 4 pages. (XXXIV, 159).
Early American History Note
The Papers of Benjamin Franklin are a rich source as varied and expansive as Dr. Franklin’s storied life. The Collection has been calendared, catalogued, and much of it is transcribed in printed volumes and online at www.franklinpapers.org.
Most notable in the collection is a series of bound volumes that capture different aspects of Franklin’s professional career. The bound volumes include a record of the colonial Post Office that Franklin headed, numerous account books from Franklin’s time in England and France, and official account books of the U.S. mission in France. In addition to these bound account and ledger books, the collection also includes a copy of the earliest deed known deed for the Pennsylvania statehouse property, various sketches and drawings thought to be done by Franklin, and four large volumes of a journal of John Lindsay Crawford’s travels with the Russian Army from 1737-1739 that include large maps of Europe that Franklin kept in his library.
The Franklin Papers, along with the papers of his grandsons (William Temple Franklin and Benjamin Franklin Bache) at the APS, provide a nearly complete picture of Benjamin’s time in France as an American ambassador to France during the American Revolution. Aside from the manuscript records from this period, the collection includes a set of account books detailing both the official and personal transactions of Franklin in France.
The APS also houses a collection of books that came from Franklin’s personal library. The library offers insight into Franklin’s own reading and intellectual life. A box of miscellaneous papers in the manuscript collection may also be of related research interest. This box includes a variety of documents that Franklin had in his possession, such as copies of newspapers that have marginalia, that are not included in the official published papers.
- American Philosophical Society.
- Account books.
- Business Records and Accounts
- Diplomatic Material
- Family Correspondence
- General Correspondence
- Manuscript Essays
- Pen works
- Pencil works
- Political Correspondence
- Printed Material
- Scientific Correspondence
- France--Foreign relations--United States
- Great Britain--Foreign relations--United States
- Pennsylvania--History--18th century
- Pennsylvania--Politics and government--18th century
- United States--Foreign relations--France
- United States--Foreign relations--Great Britain
- United States--History--Colonial period, ca.1600-1775
- United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
- United States--Politics and government--Colonial period, ca.1600-1775
- United States--Politics and government--Revolution, 1775-1783
- Bache, Catherine Wistar, 1770-1820
- Bache, Sarah Franklin, 1743-1808
- Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
- Franklin, Deborah Read Rogers, 1708-1774
- Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823
- Franklin, William, 1731-1813
- Hays , I. Minis, (Isaac Minis), 1847-1925
- Hodge, Sarah Bache, 1798-1849
- Mecom, Jane, 1712-1794
- Williams, Jonathan, 1719-1796
- Williams, Jonathan, 1750-1815
- Abolition, emancipation, freedom
- American Revolution
- Americans Abroad
- Business and Skilled Trades
- Diplomatic History
- Electricity--Early works to 1800
- Government Affairs
- International Travel
- Land and Speculation
- Marriage and Family Life
- Military History
- Pennsylvania History
- Postal service--United States
- Printing and Publishing
- Slaves, slavery, slave trade
- Social Life and Custom
- Social conditions, social advocacy, social reform
Due to the size of the collection, the content has been divided into multiple inventories. Please follow the links below to browse the contents.
Benjamin Franklin Papers
Due to the size of the collection, the content has been divided into multiple inventories. Please follow the links below to browse the contents.