Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Adams and Arthur Lee, [before 28 December 1778]

To John Adams and Arthur Lee

Copies:1 National Archives (two), Harvard University Library; transcript: National Archives

[before December 28, 1778]2


Monsieur de Monthieu earnestly requests that his accounts may be finished.3 The receipts were left here some time since. He also repeats his request to be favoured with the Anchors.4 As we have refused to sell them, he will if we will send them to him deliver them in America to our order. They may thus go without charge of Freight, we shall oblige him & his vessel which is of force, he says shall take Capt. Livingston and any other of our vessels under her convoy—5

Copy of a Letter from Dr. Franklin to the other Commissioners, Mr. Lee and Mr. Adams.—

1The copy from which we print is in Arthur Lee’s hand (as is the one at Harvard University Library); a copy of Lee’s reply of Jan. 2, 1779, is on the same sheet. The other National Archives copy is in Hezekiah Ford’s hand.

2Dated on the assumption it precedes the letter immediately following.

3In June, 1777, the commissioners had contracted with Montieu for uniforms and war matériel: XXIV, 122–6. The last shipment of uniforms seems to have been made in July, 1778 (XXVII, 63n), and the last payment to Montieu on Nov. 11 (Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 362). But Montieu still claimed that money was owed him; he asked JW, who was also at Passy in mid-December, for a receipt of the goods he had received. JW, not having his records at hand, provided an unitemized receipt on Dec. 23, which Montieu turned over to the commissioners along with other supporting documentation. This was the receipt which Arthur Lee found so unsatisfactory: see his report, below, Dec. 30. See also Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 371–2n.

4See the commissioners’ letter to him of Nov. 25.

5Montieu and Beaumarchais were preparing a convoy of ten merchantmen for the West Indies under escort of their 50-gun ship, Fier Roderigue: see Bondfield’s letter of Nov. 28.

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