Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Comte de Vergennes, 4 June 1781

To the Comte de Vergennes

LS:1 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; AL (draft) and copy. Library of Congress

Passy June 4. 1781.


I beg leave to acquaint your Ecellency that the Purchases of Clothing &ca for the Troops made by Mr. Lawrens, or by his Orders in Holland, will, as I understand, amount to near a Million, which he has left for me to pay. And that in consequence of his Majesty’s late liberal Grants in Aid of the United States, I have, for the absolute necessary support of their Credit, engaged to accept and pay their Drafts on Mr President Lawrens, those on Mr Jay in Spain, and those on Mr Adams in Holland, which with those upon myself, exclusive of the Loan Office Interest Bills, will demand about three Millions and an half more.2

I would therefore request that of the Money proposed to be left subject to the Drafts of General Washington, there may be retained here about five Millions3 for the Discharge of the above-mentioned Bills as they shall become due, and for other Occasional Demands.

Mr Jay and Mr Adams have as well as myself, remonstrated strongly to Congress against their Drawing any more upon either of us and we have reason to believe this is an End to that inconvenient Practice.

With great Respect, I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Exy. the Count De Vergennes

Endorsed: M. de R.4 / M. franklin

Notation: rep le 8. Juin

1In WTF’s hand, except for the final six words of the complimentary close, which BF wrote.

2For the state of the French loans, see our annotation of the loan certificate of May 15.

3BF forgets that 2,500,00 l.t. of the 6,000,000 l.t. grant to support Washington’s army presently was being sent from France in specie (although none was sent from Amsterdam); see Laurens to BF, May 22 and 29.

4Gérard de Rayneval.

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