Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to J. Rocquette, T.A. Elsevier & P. Th. Rocquette, 21 June 1781

To J. Rocquette, T.A. Elsevier & P. Th. Rocquette

Two copies: Library of Congress

Passy, 21. June 1781


I received the Letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 11th. Inst.6 The List of Bills it inclosed is not particular enough for me to examine whether they have or have not been already accepted: to enable me to do this it is necessary I should be acquainted with the Person’s Name in whose Favor each Bill is drawn. You may rely on my taking the greatest Care to stop them if presented hereafter, not regularly indorsed by you.

As to the Billets de Banque du Congrès which I imagine are Loan office Certificates, there is no other Method of having them paid, than by sending them to America; they were never intended to be sent to Europe. & it is either through Ignorance or knavery that they have been brought hither.

Mess. J. Rocquette a Elsevier & Freres Roquettes.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6With this letter the members of the Rotterdam firm enclosed a list of the numbers and sums of letters of exchange drawn on the American commissioners in Paris (consisting of 30 sets of certificates worth in total $1,320), which were being sent to them from St. Eustatius by their friends Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur, Jr. Fearing British forgery, they warned BF not to accept them unless they had been endorsed to the firm’s bankers, Vandenyver frères. They also inquired about how to cash “billets de Banque du Congrés.” In a letter of June 19, which BF apparently had not yet received, they asked his intervention with the French government on behalf of the same friends, who had sent a cargo of tobacco, sugar, and coffee aboard the Dutch ship Welbedagte. The ship had been taken by the British at St. Eustatius and then while going to England was captured by La Motte-Picquet. (This was one of the prizes taken by the French admiral from a convoy carrying the booty sent from St. Eustatius by its British captors: BF to JA, May 11, above.) They also said that Curson and Gouverneur had written them from Ireland on May 15, reporting their own captivity (for which see the committee for foreign affairs’ letter of May 9). Both of these letters are with BF’s papers at the APS, although someone has altered the final portion of the dates to read “1782.” Also with BF’s papers is an unsigned copy of a June 27, 1781, letter from a Philadelphia correspondent to the Rotterdam firm complaining of the British interruption of trade and asking it to forward BF a letter from James Lovell.

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