Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Cie., 31 August 1778: résumé

The American Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Cie.7

Copies: Massachusetts Historical Society,8 National Archives (two), University of Virginia Library9

<Passy, August 31, 1778, in French: We send by Mr. Whitall1 a book of promissory notes and interest coupons, for 205,000 florins payable on January 1, 1788.2 You will fill in the blanks in each with the number and date of delivery, likewise the counterfoils, and keep an exact record. Sell the notes only for cash, as soon as possible and with due prudence. We are allowing you one percent to cover expenses. Correspond with us or our successors to arrange the prompt remittance of funds received.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 411–13; see also p. 327 n.

8In Arthur Lee’s hand.

9With an emendation by Ferdinand Grand, who probably drafted the letter.

1Joseph P. Whitall of Philadelphia. He had the packet on the 24th, when he gave WTF a receipt for it: APS. For some reason he carried it without this covering letter, which did not arrive until mid-September; see the firm to the commissioners, Sept. 17.

2Our previous discussion of this loan carried the story through June: XXVI, 338–9 n. BF’s handling of the details delayed matters, according to Arthur Lee, who complained on July 1 that the bills were not yet printed: Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, II, 638–9. In fact they were: on that day the printer reported to Ferdinand Grand that he had sent the day before the first of five volumes that BF had ordered; three were enclosed, and the fifth promised for the next day. Boudet to Grand, July 1, 1778, University of Pa. Library. By the end of July the commissioners were signing the notes: Wharton, op. cit., p. 671. If they delayed for another month sending the material to Amsterdam, as they seem to have, the reason may lie in Lee’s strenuous objections to dealing with Horneca, Fizeaux & Cie., for which see Taylor, op. cit., p. 413 n.

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