Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert Morris, 5 December 1781

From Robert Morris

Copy: Library of Congress

Office of Finance 5th. Decem. 1781—


The Bearer of this Letter the Baron de Frey7 will shew you a Certificate for five hundred Dollars signed by Joseph Nourse Esqr. Register of the Treasury of the United States8 and issued by Virtue of a Warrant of this Day from me. This Money is on Interest at six per Cent from the fifth of December and is the Balance still due after a partial Payment. Should it be perfectly convenient to you it will be [a] great Favor to him and agreable to me that this five hundred Dollars be paid to Baron de Frey taking his receipt in full of all Demands against the United States on the Back of the Certificate with three Copies signed by him and sending them by different Opportunities. I mention five hundred Dollars without noticing the Interest, because in Case of Payment by you the Transaction will be substantially as if I had given him here a Bill of Exchange. With all possible respect I have the Honor to be Sir your most obedient and humble Servant9


His Excelly. Benja. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Frey (XXIII, 511n) had just resigned from the American army in order to return to France. Morris had paid all but $500 owed him for his services: Morris Papers, III, 336n. On March 11, 1782, BF had Ferdinand Grand pay Frey 2,500 l.t. (roughly equivalent to $500 specie): Account XXVII (XXXII, 4).

8Nourse (1754–1841) was a Virginian whose services as Register of the Treasury continued after the adoption of the Constitution: Morris Papers, 1, 158n.

9On the same day Morris wrote a second letter, nearly identical in wording, on behalf of “Captain Schreiber,” whose $500 was due interest since Nov. 13, “in Consequence of an Act of Congress of the twelfth of November a Copy of which he will also show you.” Capt. Jacob Schreiber was a German-born captain in the engineering corps: Morris Papers, III, 334n. He did not sail for France as Morris expected and was still in America in 1783: William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (17 vols., Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–91), V, 237n.

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