Adams Papers

From John Adams to Benjamin Franklin, 22 September 1778

To Benjamin Franklin

Passi September 22 1778


<In order that <I> We may <be> understand one another,> Upon looking over the Account1 of the Expenditure of the Money for which We have jointly drawn upon the Banker Since my Arrival at Passi, I find some Articles charged, for Similar ones to which I have paid in my seperate Capacity. I dont mean to be difficult about these Things but that <each of Us may> We may have a Plan, for the future, I beg leave to propose. That the Wages and Expences of the Maitre D’hotel and Cook, and of all the servants, their Cloaths and every other Expence for them, the Wages, Cloaths and other Expences of the Coachman, the Hire of the Horses and Carriage, the Expences of Postage of Letters, of Expresses to Versailles and Paris, and else where of Stationary Ware, and all the Expences of the Family, should be paid out of the Money to be drawn from the Banker by our joint order.

If to these, Dr. Franklin chuses to add the, Washer womans Accounts, for our servants &c. as well as ourselves, I have no objection. Receipts to be taken for Payments of Money, and each Party furnished with a Copy of the Account and a sight of the Recipts once a Month if he desires it.

The Expence of a Clerk for each, may be added if Dr. Franklin pleases or this may be a seperate Expence, as he chuses.

Expences for Cloaths Books and other Things and transient pocket Expences to be seperate.

Or if any other Plan is more agreable to Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams begs him to propose it.

The accounts for our sons at school may be added if Dr. Franklin chooses it, to the General Account—or other wise. For my own Part, when I left America I expected, and had no other Thought, but to be at the Expence of My sons subsistence and Education here in my private Capacity, and I shall still be very contented to do this, if Congress should desire it. But while other Gentlemen are maintaining and educating large familys here, and enjoying the exquisite Felicity of their Company at the Same time, perhaps Congress may think it proper to allow this Article to Us as well as to them, and I am sure I do not desire it, nor would I choose to accept it, if it was not allowed to others, altho, perhaps the Duties Labours and Anxieties of our station may be <as> greater <as that of> than those of others.2

I am sir your Inmate and obedient servant

LbC (Adams Papers).

1These were the household accounts for the period from 9 April to 24 Aug. (vol. 6:16–20) that JA had received from William Temple Franklin on 13 Sept. (JA to Benjamin Franklin, [6] Sept., above).

2JQA and Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, attended the private boarding school kept by M. Le Coeur in Passy (Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– description ends , 3:15). The question about payments for their education presumably arose from JA’s discovery, when he examined the household accounts, that 451.18 livres had been paid on 23 April for “Benjamin F. Bache’s Schooling” (vol. 6:16), whereas JA had paid Le Coeur 365.5 livres on 11 June from his own funds (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:329). The household accounts for 1 Oct. 1778 – 23 Feb. 1779 (below) indicate that later payments, on 14 Oct. and 22 Dec., were made from the Commissioners’ funds, but when JA submitted his accounts to the congress these expenditures were disapproved (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 15:1383).

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