Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Lovell, 8 December 1778

From James Lovell

ALS: American Philosophical Society; copy and transcript: National Archives

Philada., Decr. 8th. 1778


By Mr. Cummins, on the 29th. of last Month, I forwarded several Papers of Importance Triplicates of Which Mr. Bromfield the Bearer of this will deliver:8 But an Accident then took place obliging me to hold back a Letter which I had written to you. Time was wanting in which to write another, the Vessel having fallen down to Reedy Island and the Express being mounted.

My Letter was chiefly on the Circumstances of an intended plan of Operations which was inclosed but detained for alterations to be made in Congress.9

Our only important Struggle is with our Currency. We shall be able, at least, to keep it from growing worse; but we want the Aid of skilfull Financiers & of monied men to bring about any considerable appreciation, as you will more clearly perceive by one of the papers herewith to be delivered.1 I am Honble Sir Your most obedt. Friend and Servant

James Lovell

Honble. Doctr. Franklin

Addressed: Honble. / Benjamin Franklin Esqr / minister Plenipotentiary of / the United States of America / Paris

Notation: James Lowall phyladelphia Xbre 8. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8James Cuming was a merchant who eventually settled at Lorient: Butterfield, John Adams Diary, II, 357, 370. For Henry Bromfield, Jr., see our annotation of Jonathan Williams, Sr.’s letter of Nov. 7.

9We have no record of an earlier letter, but the intended plan of operations (sent by Lovell as a member of the committee for foreign affairs) must have been the proposed attack on Quebec, which was included with BF’s instructions as minister plenipotentiary: XXVII, 636–42. Congress, faced with Washington’s opposition to the attack, tried to amend the instructions, but Lafayette sailed with the original plan before his orders could be rescinded: see XXVII, 619n, 633–4.

1Observations on the Finances of America, which also accompanied BF’s instructions: XXVII, 642–6.

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