From John Hancock
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Boston Febry 9. 1778
My ill State of health oblig’d me to leave Congress for a time, in hopes that a Journey and Relaxation might be beneficial. I have much Recover’d, and shall in a few weeks attend my Duty in Congress.8 I hope this will meet you in the full enjoyment of Health. We wish much to hear the State of Affairs in Europe.
Mr. William Vernon Son of Mr. Vernon one of the Commissioners of the Navy Board Eastern Department Takes passage in this Ship for France, the wish of his Father is to fix him in some Reputable Mercantile House either at Nantz or Bourdeaux; I beg leave to Recommend this young Gentleman to your particular Notice, requesting at the same time your Advice as to his future Scituation, your good Offices to him and Civilities I shall Esteem a very particular favour.9 I have the honour to be with every Sentiment of Respect, Sir Your most Obedient Servant
Honl Doctor Franklin
Notation: J. Hancock Esqr Feb. 9. 78 to B.F.
8. He had resigned the previous October as president of Congress. Although he continued to be a member, he did not in fact return until the following June, and then for only a few weeks. JCC, IX, 852–3; Burnett, Letters, III, liv.
9. The ship was the Boston, which carried John Adams. Vernon, who will reappear in later volumes, had recently graduated from Princeton, stayed on for a while to study French, and then returned to Rhode Island. His father sent him to France, under Adams’ care, to get mercantile experience as well as fluency in the language; he remained there for almost two decades. Richard Harrison, Princetonians, 1776–1783: a Biographical Dictionary (Princeton, N.J., 1981), pp. 120–3.