Adams Papers

To John Adams from Benjamin Franklin, 15 October 1782

From Benjamin Franklin

Passy, 15 Oct. 17821


A long and painful Illness has prevented my corresponding with your Excellency regularly, but I paid the Bill you drew upon me and advised me of in your last Letter.2

Mr Jay has I believe acquainted you with the Obstructions our Peace Negociations have met with, and that they are at length removed.3 By the next Courier expected from London, we may be able perhaps to form some Judgment of the Probability of Success, so far as relates to our Part of the Peace. How likely the other Powers are to settle their Pretensions, I can not yet learn. In the mean time America is gradually growing more easy, by the Enemy’s Evacuation of their Posts; as you will see by some Intelligence I enclose.4

I have had the Happiness formerly to help your Excellency in the Discharge of the Public Demands upon you. I am now obliged to recur to you for the same kind of Assistance. Notice has been given me that the Interest of the Ten Millions borrow’d in Holland under the Guarantee of this Court becomes due the 5th: of next Month. My Frinds here are all engaged by Bills accepted and expected. I must therefore request that you will undertake the Payment of that Interest, which at 4 perr Cent amounts to about 400,000 Livres Tournois.5

With great Respect, I have the honour to be, Sir Your Excellency’s Most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Franklin 15 Oct. 1782.”

1The original of this letter did not reach The Hague until after JA’s departure. Therefore, the copy printed here is likely the one that Franklin gave to JA on 31 Oct. and to which JA replied on 1 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers; Franklin, Papers description begins The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox, Claude A. Lopez, Barbara B. Oberg, Ellen R. Cohn, and others, New Haven, Conn., 1959–?. description ends , vol. 38), noting in his Letterbook that “the original not being received.”

2JA’s last known letter was of 23 July (LbC, Adams Papers), for which see his letter of 13 June to Franklin, note 1, above. In this sentence Franklin likely is referring to JA’s letter of 10 June concerning a bill he had drawn on Fizeaux, Grand & Co. for his salary, above.

3See Jay’s letters of 1 Sept., above, and 28 Sept. (Adams Papers). That of the 28th informed JA that on the previous day Richard Oswald had received a new commission (21 Sept., above) authorizing him to negotiate with “the Commissioners of the United States of America.” The expected courier would presumably bring Oswald instructions regarding the negotiations that had already taken place.

4Not found.

5JA responded to Franklin’s request on 1 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), following his arrival at Paris. There he indicated that while there were ample proceeds from the loan available to pay the interest, Congress had not authorized him to dispose of such a large sum and, in any case, no funds could be expended until Congress returned the ratified contracts. The difficulties were resolved when JA received the ratified contracts from Congress on 5 Nov. and sent them to Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje as enclosures in a letter of that date (LbC, Adams Papers).

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