Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr.: Two Letters, 22 November 1781

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.: Two Letters

(I) ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library; (II) ALS: American Philosophical Society


Nantes Nov. 22. 1781.

Dear & hond sir

To recommend Mr Barclay to your Civility & friendship would be superfluous because his public & private Character are both known to you & both entitle him to your Notice.

I however think it my duty to congratulate you on the late Glorious News & to assure you that I am as always Your dutifull & affectionate

Jona Williams J

Addressed: The Hon. / Doctor Franklin.

Notation: Jona. Williams. Nov 22. 1781


Nantes Nov. 22. 1781

Dear & hond Sir.

This will be presented to you by Mr Hopkins & Mr Gibbs2 two worthy young Gentlemen who are warmly reccommended to me by my Friends, I beg leave to introduce them to your Notice & am as ever Your dutifull & affectionate Kinsman

Jona Williams J

Mr Hoops3 will also have the honour of waiting on you & I reccommend him also with equal Warmth to your Notice & Civility

Addressed: The Hon. Doctor Franklin.

Notation: Williams Mr. Jona. Nantes Nov. 22. 1781.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Probably Theodore Hopkins of Hartford, Conn., and William or Josiah Gibbs of Massachusetts, who left Philadelphia in early October and carried introductions from James Lovell and Jared Ingersoll. Ingersoll characterized them as “two agreable young Gentlemen who go to France for the purpose of improving their Fortunes, and their understandings”: XXXV, 555; Jared Ingersoll to WTF, Oct. 3 (APS); Deane Papers, V, 39, 145, 153, 533; William Stinchcombe, “A Note on Silas Deane’s Death,” W&MQ, 3rd ser., XXXII (1975), 621.

3Adam Hoops (1760–1847), a captain in the Continental army, had been captured by the British in August, 1780, and released on parole. In October, 1781, he applied to the Board of War for permission to go to France for “the acquisition of military knowledge.” Although officers had never been allowed to travel overseas for reasons other than health, Congress granted this request, allowing that Hoops had little chance of exchange: JCC, XXI, 1035–6.

Armed with a letter of recommendation to WTF from RB, Hoops sailed from Philadelphia with the family of his sister Mary Hoops Barclay and her husband Thomas (XXXV, 559n, 609–10, and see Barclay’s letter to BF of Nov. 15, above). Stopping in Nantes on the way from Lorient to Paris, he met both JW and David S. Franks, who on Nov. 21 recommended him to WTF, explaining that Hoops intended to visit the Ecole militaire (APS). BF lent Hoops 144 l.t. on Jan. 23, 1782: Account XXIII (XIX, 3); Hoops to WTF, Jan. 25, 1782 (APS). Hoops remained in France until the summer of 1783 (George Fox to WTF, June 5 and Oct. 1, 1783, APS). For the captain, who later became a surveyor in western Pennsylvania, see Heitman, Register of Officers, p. 227; Elaine F. Crane et al., eds., The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker (3 vols., Boston, 1991), III, 2164.

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