Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Schweighauser, 19 March 1781

To Schweighauser

AL (draft) and copy: Library of Congress

Passy, March 19. 1781


I received your esteemed Favour of the 15th.8 I have no Directions to give relative to the Sailing or Destination of the Brig Active, but wish to be inform’d when you think of dispatching her, as I may write by her.9

No Orders nor even a Letter relating to the Ship Alliance are come to my hands; I therefore suppose she naturally falls under your Care as Agent, unless Mr Palfrey who is appointed Consul General, should arrive. But as he sail’d from Philada the 27th of December, I begin to fear he may be taken or lost. I have written repeatedly to Congress of my Unwillingness to be concern’d in maritime Affairs, of which I am so ignorant, & which involve me in so many Disputes;1 and I have resolv’d to meddle no more with them, except in Compliance with positive Orders; which not having receiv’d in this Case, I shall give no Directions nor pay any Expences the Alliance may occasion, of which I think it right to give you this Notice. If you disburse any thing upon her, there is no doubt but, the Admiralty will pay punctually, your reasonable & just Accounts. With much Esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir,

Mr Schweighauser

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]


9We believe that Schweighauser was the intended recipient of a letter of which only the following fragment in BF’s letterbook (Library of Congress) exists:

“… where with to defray such Expences, or find some other Correspondent. And with regard to their present Commission, if you are not willing to execute it as they desire, and signify to me that you decline the Service, I will endeavour to find some other person to undertake it.

“Col. Laurens may possible have some Occasion for Freight of Military Stores, in the active, I shall see him to Morrow, and if he has I shall acquaint you.

“With great Regard, I have the honour to be, Sir, &c & c.”

From its present location in the letterbook we believe that this letter was written on or before April 7. Three weeks later Schweighauser offered Laurens space to ship 20 tons of goods on the Active: “Mission of Col. Laurens,” I, 148.

1Most recently in August, 1780: XXXIII, 167.

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