Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Vergennes, 18 August 1780

To Vergennes

LS:3 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Augt. 18. 1780.


I received the Letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing to me yesterday relating to Mr. Jackson Jones. I knew nothing of him ’till his Appearance here. He has shown me a Letter of Governor Johnston’s by which it appears that Mr. Jones was establish’d in a Trading House of good Credit in West Florida, while Johnston was Governor there;4 He show’d me also a Bill of Lading for a considerable Quantity of Merchandize which he Shipt lately from London to Florida. These Papers I believed to be genuine, and knowing some of his Friends in America, I advanc’d to him 30. Louis, on his Bill payable at Bourdeaux at 30 Days sight, where he said he could command Money. This Sum was to pay about 15. Louis, a pressing Debt he had contracted at his Lodgings, and to bear the Expences of his Journey to Bourdeaux which he intended immediately I thought, & he then seem’d to think that Sum sufficient. His Staying here and endeavouring to borrow more Money, is what I don’t understand, & do not like. I begin to be a little doubtful of him, and have this Morning written to London5 to have an immediate Enquiry made whether the Bill he left with me, drawn on a Mr. Goddard of the Plantation Office at Whitehall and accepted by him, is good. It is not payable till the first of December next. I return his Memorial enclosed and am, with the greatest Respect, Sir Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Excellency Mr. Le Comte De Vergennes

Notation: M. [durival?]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3In the hand of L’Air de Lamotte, except for the last six words of the complimentary close, which are in WTF’s.

4George Johnstone was governor of West Florida from 1763 to 1767: DNB.

5BF wrote Digges, who acknowledged the now-missing letter in his Aug. 25 response, below.

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