Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 10 September 1782

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Nantes Sept. 10. 1782

Dear & hond sir

I recvd the Catalogue of the Marquis de la Fayettes Cargo only last Night—and I now return it with marks & a note on the other side which I hope may answer your Purpose.9

I have been very uneasy on accot of your Illness but a Letter from Billy this morning has relieved me,1 & I hope by the Time you receive this you will be perfectly recovered.

I am as ever most dutifully & affecy Yours

Jona Williams J

Mrs Williams is much better but yet weak.—2 Mumford has the Fever & ague—besides I have my man Servant my Wifes maid & my Bookeeper all sick, with my hands more full of Business than usual, this must apologise for my brevity. I am as before.



I have examined the Catalogue of the sale of the Marquis de la Fayette, and marked Public against those Goods I shipped on the public Accot.

Where I have marked against Totals I mean all to be public, whether the Detail be marked or not. Such as I think are private property I have marked not public in the Summary & X in the Detail.

There were a few Goods shipped on Freight with my Knowledge and a List was sent to Congress, but as the marks are not preserved I cannot tell exactly which they are. I believe however they did not amount to ⅛ the quantity which appear in the List marked X.;—and of the Wine, Salt, Brandy, Cordials Anchovies, Oil, Medecines Crockery Ware preserved Fruit &c I was kept Ignorant. They were shipped without my knowledge & Consent except 45 Cases containing about 2250 Bottles of Claret. So that in these articles alone the ship had the Bulk of about 125 hhds 60 Cases & 110 Boxes.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9We have no record of when BF sent JW this set of London auction catalogues (XXXVII, 498n), which William Hodgson had sent to him in July. They provide a nearly complete inventory of the captured Marquis de Lafayette and reveal a large quantity of goods shipped on private account (counter to the charter, which was to carry military supplies for Congress). In his effort to understand the shipping terms for the vessel and to determine who was responsible for loading the illegitimate cargo, BF evidently asked JW to review the catalogues and mark the items that he had authorized. See XXXVII, 473–5, 497–500, 648.

1JW wrote to WTF on Aug. 31, expressing concern about BF’s health (APS). WTF noted on that letter that he replied on Sept. 8.

2See JW to BF, Aug. 16, above.

Index Entries