Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert Morris, 22 March 1782

From Robert Morris

LS and copy:4 American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress

Office of Finance Philada March the 22d. 1782


The Bearer of this Letter Monsieur le Baron d’Arndt5 will shew you a Certificate for Two Thousand Nine hundred & Ninety Seven Dollrs. & 37/90ths signed by Joseph Nourse Esquire Register of the Treasury of the United States and issued by Virtue of a Warrant this Day from me.6 This Money is on Interest at six per Cent from the Eighteenth Inst. and is the Ballance 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 Balance be paid to Monsieur le Baron d’Arndt taking his Receipt in full of all Demands against the United States on the Back of the Certificate with three Copies thereof signed by him and sending them by different Opportunities. I mention the Balance as it stands in the Certificate 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.

I have the honor to be sir Your most Obedient & most hble Servant

Robt Morris

PS On the final adjustment of the Baron’s Acct I find the balance larger than was expected, therefore it is probable that a partial Payment from You may answer his purpose, the Receipts to be indorsed on the Certificate & Copies transmitted as already mentioned.


His Excellency Benjamin Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4We cannot be sure when Morris sent this LS. The fair copy was lost in transit; see Morris to BF, June 10. In this LS, the secretary left blanks for specific amounts and for the date from which interest was to accrue. Morris filled these in and also added the complimentary close and postscript, which all subsequent copies include. (Morris’ insertions are specified in Morris Papers, IV, 436–7.) The copy at the APS is a duplicate enclosed with Morris’ cover letter of June 10, below.

5Henry Leonard Philip, baron d’Arendt, was appointed commander of the German battalion in America in 1777 and went on leave in 1778: XXVIII, 298n; JCC, VII, 185. In 1780, he asked BF to help him justify his stay in Europe beyond his one-year furlough: XXXII, 391–3, 407.

6The printed certificate, dated March 23 (APS), authorized payment of d’Arendt’s back pay and depreciation up to Jan. 1, 1781. Congress ordered the settlement in July, 1781, concluding that d’Arendt should be compensated for time spent abroad in unsuccessful trade negotiations: Morris Papers, III, 168n; JCC, XX, 740–2. On the verso of the certificate is a receipt for the full amount dated Oct. 13, 1782, in WTF’s hand and signed by d’Arendt.

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