Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Jay, [18] June 1779

From John Jay

LS:1 American Philosophical Society (two), Historical Society of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Library, Harvard University Library, His Excellency M. Jacques Delarue Caron de Beaumarchais (1976); copy: Library of Congress

In Congress Philadephia June [18]2 1779.


I enclose you Acts of Congress of the 5th. and 18th. Instant3 respecting Bills of Exchange for two Million four hundred thousand Livres Tournois Principal and four hundred thirty two thousand Livres Interest drawn on you in Favor of Monsieur de Beau Marchais, and payable in the several Sums and at the respective Periods specified in the enclosed Schedule.4 Sensible of Monsieur Beau Marchais’s Efforts to serve these United States and of the seasonable Supplies he has from Time to Time furnished Congress are earnestly disposed to make him this Payment.5 They would gladly have done it in Produce; but the State of our Finances, and the hazardous Navigation render it impracticable. We flatter ourselves that you will be able to discharge the respective Drafts with Punctuality. If Difficulties occur you will have Time to represent them to Congress who will exert all the Means in their Power to prevent any Loss or Disappointment to Monsieur de Beau Marchais.

I have the Honor to be Sir with great Respect and Esteem Your most obedt Servant

John Jay

To The Hon’ble Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary for the United States of America at the Court of France.

Endorsed: Letter J. Jay Esq Dated June 1779 with Papers relative to M. Beaumarchais’ Affairs. recd. June 12. 1780

1The six LS vary in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. We print from the one in the Bache Collection at the APS, which bears BF’s endorsement.

2We have supplied the date from the LS at the Hist. Soc. of Pa.

3The enclosures are at the Hist. Soc. of Pa. and the APS. The act of June 5 includes the full report of the Congressional committee appointed to investigate Beaumarchais’ claims and to negotiate a settlement with his agent, Jean-Baptiste-Lazare Théveneau de Francy (for whose mission see XXVIII, 528). The act is printed in JCC, XIV, 690–2, and discussed in Smith, Letters, XIII, 80–1n. James Lovell included an extract from the report in his letter of June 13, above. In the act of June 18 the committee on the treasury provided for repayment to Beaumarchais through the issuing of bills of exchange on the U.S. minister plenipotentiary in France: printed in Smith, Letters, XIV, 746–7.

4The repayment schedule, referred to in the act of June 18, provided for fifty sets of bills of exchange containing six bills in each set, amounting to 2,400,000 l.t. principal. They were payable on June 15, 1782. APS. Also at the APS is a bill of exchange dated June 15, 1779, for 20,000 l.t. pursuant to the June 5 act of Congress, signed by John Jay and attested by Charles Thomson. The notation reads “Presented the 24 Decr. 79.” A rudimentary repayment schedule, beginning with 20,000, is written on the bill of exchange.

5Congress was less in agreement than Jay implies; see Paine’s letter of March 4, above.

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