Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from ——— Champion and Other People with Goods and Services to Offer, 24 July 1780

From ——— Champion and Other People with Goods and Services to Offer

ALS: American Philosophical Society

During the months covered by this volume Franklin received only four offers to supply goods or to establish factories in America.5 The earliest, published below, comes from a supplier to the French army at the Hôtel royal des Invalides. That same day, July 24, the Parisian firm of Magniel Montauban & Cie., on the rue de Bourgogne, “Maison de M. Joly,”6 offers to furnish all military clothing according to the prices and yardages listed in an attached inventory, the suits being constructed à la française. In addition and with the same economy, they can supply collars, shirts, cockades, gaiters, and haversacks.

Writing from Liège on October 23, Jannesson offers his services to set up one or several paper and cardboard factories. He has just built one in Liège7 and would like to branch out. He also offers to provide the workers and machinery necessary to the operation of an iron foundry, an enterprise more in line with the native expertise in iron work and arms manufacturing.8

On October 30 Jean Delmot of Leiden offers his services as agent to furnish cannons, cannonballs, mortars, bombs, rifles, pistols, in short, “tout ce qui concerne l’artillerie.” He promises quality and low prices, and will take orders from Franklin or Dumas, “chargé Dit on des affaires De L’amerique unie.”

Paris Le 24 Juillet 1780./.

Fourniture de Trouppes

Le Sr. Champion Negotiant a Paris Et Chargé de fourniture des trouppes a L’Honneur d’offrir a Monsieur Francklin Ministre Et Ambassadeur des Etats et Provinces de L’Amerique de Fournir tous Les Etoffes, Chapeaux Et generalement tous Les fournitures aux mêmes Prix que Les marchez qui Lui ont Eté Passés Par Le Ministre tenant Le Departement de la Guerre Et Suivant Les mêmes Echantillons Cachetés et adoptés Par Messieurs Les Commissaires des Guerres.9 Les Fournitures des trouppes Etant La seule Branche de Commerce Qu’il adopte, il se flatte que Peu de Personne sont aportés de Les faire avec autant de Connoissance Et à un Prix aussi modique Que Lui. En outre Elévé dans Les fabriques, il Peut faire Jouir des avantages que Son travail Lui a Acquit. La Celeritée avec la quelle il Peut Executer des ordres Lui Peut faire meriter une Preference qu’on Lui a deja accordé dans Beaucoup d’occasion.

Entrepreneur des Fournitures de trouppe
a L’Hotel Royal des Invalides Et Rue
des Marais faubourg St Germain a Paris

Notation: Champion, Paris 24 Juillet 1780.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5All the letters discussed are written in French and deposited at the APS.

6The hôtel at number 50 was built in 1772 for Jean Joly, secrétaire des commandements du prince de Condé: Hillairet, Rues de Paris, I, 233.

7His return address identifies him as “Directeur et sociétaire de la manufacture de papier de la Boverie Lez-Liège.” Boverie lies east across the Meuse River from the center of Liège and is no longer a separate town.

8Liège was at this time a principal city in the manufacture of arms and BF had received offers from liégeois gunmakers before: XXV, 465–6; XXVIII, 12; XXIX, 35.

9As secrétaire d’Etat au Département de la Guerre, Montbarey was also director and general administrator of the Hôtel Royal des Invalides for whose troops Champion is the supplier. For the eight commissaires ordonnateurs des guerres see the Almanach Royal for 1780, pp. 234–7, and pp. 179–80, for the administration of the Invalides.

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