Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ralph Izard, 20 January 1779

From Ralph Izard

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris 20th. Jany. 1779


You promised in the presence of your Colleagues Mr. Lee, & Mr. Adams to send me a copy of the Letter which you wrote as an answer to mine of the 2d. instant, & to which those Gentlemen did not think proper to sign their names.8 This promise was made eight days ago, & I call upon you to fulfil it.9 If you will at the same time favour me with all your reasons, in writing, for disobeying the Resolution of Congress of 7th. May 1778, I should be obliged to you.1 I have the honour to be Sir Your most obt. hble Servt.

Ra.. Izard.—

Honble B.. Franklin Esq.

Addressed: To / The Honble Benjn. Franklin Esqr. / Commissioner from the United / States of America / at Passy.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8BF’s draft of a response is above, Jan. 4.

9Izard described the encounter with the commissioners in a letter of Jan. 28 to the committee for foreign affairs: on Jan. 12 he had waited on BF, carrying the bill of exchange; the Doctor refused to accept it, saying that Izard’s initial 2,000 louis d’or was such an extravagant sum that he could not possibly have spent it. Moreover, since Izard was not actually at Florence, the resolution of May 7, 1778, did not apply. Izard then presented his bill to Lee and Adams, who “accepted it immediately.” He considered it his duty to lay before Congress this “Evil that requires an immediate Remedy.” Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, III, 33–4.

1The resolve stated that the commissioners to the courts of Tuscany and Vienna (among others) should live in a “style and manner . . . necessary to support the dignity of their public character,” and should in addition receive a “handsome allowance.” These expenses would be reimbursed by Congress, and bills of exchange might be drawn on the commissioners in Paris: JCC, XI, 473.

Index Entries