Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel Huntington, 12 July 1780

From Samuel Huntington

LS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia July 12. 1780


I take the Liberty of introducing to your favourable Notice the Honble James Searle Esquire the Bearer.5

This Gentleman hath been for some Time past, and now is a Member of Congress for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and comes to Europe charged with Business of Consequence from that State.

The Honour that State hath conferred upon him, and the Confidence they have placed in him, render it needless for me to add any Thing in Support of his Character.6

Mr Searle will present you with Bills to the Amount of one thousand Pounds Sterling drawn by Order of Congress, in Favour of the President & Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, upon their Minister at the Court of Versailes.7

I lament the Necessity which hath occasioned so many Draughts upon you and hope the Affairs of these United States may soon be regulated in such Manner as to prevent the like Necessity in future.

I presume the Committee of foreign Affairs (to whose Department it belongs) have transmitted you from Time to Time the needful Information, and material Intelligence relating to American Affairs.8

The Particulars of the Seige and Capitulation of Charlestown you will doubtless receive before this comes to hand.

Your Letters of the 30th of September, 4th of October & 17th of October 1779 and 4th of March 1780 have been received and laid before Congress.9

I have the Honour to be with every Sentiment of Respect and Esteem Sir your most obedt hbble Servt

Sam. Huntington

The Honble Benjamin Franklin Esqr

Endorsed: President Huntington’s Recommendation of Mr Searle, &c July 12. 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5James Searle (1733–1797), a Philadelphia merchant and member of the Pa. militia, was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress in November, 1778. He was generally allied with the radical Lee-Adams faction and served on several committees, including the committee of commerce (XXXI, 520n). Sent to Europe to obtain a loan for Pennsylvania, he left Chester on July 14 and arrived in Brest on Sept. 1: Arthur Ervin Brown, “A Philadelphia Merchant in 1768–1791,” PMHB, XIX (1895), 399; Mildred E. Lombard, “James Searle: Radical Businessman of the Revolution,” PMHB, LIX, (1935), 286–7; DAB. For Searle’s mission see Smith, Letters, XV, 412, 421, 438–9; William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1847), II, 450–65.

6Above the following two paragraphs BF has written in red ink the notation “N° 3 / Extract of a Letter &c” and marked them in the margin.

7Congress on July 6 directed the Board of Treasury to supply the bills: JCC, XVII, 590.

8The committee had written BF two letters on the previous day. The most recent extant letters prior to these were from committee members William Churchill Houston (February 9) and James Lovell (February 24 and May 4): XXXI, 466–8, 520–2; XXXII, 354–5.

9See XXX, 420–1, 463–74, 547–50; XXXII, 36–42.

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