William bolts to Emperor Joseph II

French Original       Facsimile of Manuscript

To His Majesty
Emperor and King

The Undersigned, having undertaken to conduct a naval expedition to the newly discovered North-West coasts of North America, has made, for this expedition, substantial preparations which cost him very considerable sums; in particular, in the construction of a ship in Trieste; in the provision of various articles intended for the cargo, which he caused to be manufactured in Austria and which are suitable only for [trade with] the Savages; and for the marine officers whom he engaged and brought to Trieste for this voyage.

For reasons already known to Your Majesty, it not being possible to conclude successfully the attempts that, with the best of intentions towards the State, the undersigned has made for the execution of this enterprise, the said ship and the said goods run the risk of being sold for the fourth part of their value, and the said officers of having to return [to their places of residence] at considerable expense, to the great detriment of the undersigned, as well as of his financial supporters.

To avoid these losses, and in order that there should be some benefit from the resources and knowledge that with such immense pains and expense the undersigned has acquired for the execution of this voyage, he wishes to be permitted to offer them (in so far as the execution of this plan is compatible with the undersigned residing in Vienna or Trieste) to Her Majesty the Empress of All the Russias, to whom the expedition would be valuable for a great number of reasons: and especially in relation to the establishments that this Sovereign has already had made by her Subjects leaving from Kamchatka.

This is why the Undersigned begs Your Majesty to agree to allow him to propose to Her Majesty the Empress of All the Russias to make this expedition to the Coast of North-West America from the Port of Trieste, under the Russian flag, on a plan that the supplicant will have the honour to propose to him.

By the Grace &c, &c

November 25, 1782

William Bolts

Facsimile Manuscript courtesy of Robert King; French original transcribed and translated by John Black: archaic accentuation and grammatical errors retained.

Updated: January 17, 2008