Benjamin Franklin Papers

Ferdinand Grand to the American Peace Commissioners, 10 May 1783

Ferdinand Grand to the American Peace Commissioners

Copies:9 Massachusetts Historical Society, Library of Congress; partial copy: Library of Congress

Paris, May 10 1783.


It is some Months ago since I had the honor to write you,1 & am well persuaded, altho I received no Answer thereto, that it will have engaged your attention. I earnestly wish it may have been productive of an Improvement to the Finances of Congress which I then foresaw would be short of our Wants & which is unfortunately too much the case at present.

Last Month I remitted to the Honorable Rt. Morris the State of his Account, the Ballance of which were £413,892. 13. 9 due to me.2 This added to the subsequent Payments I had to make would have thrown me in a State of Perplexity had it not been for the Assistance given me by the Garde du Tresor Royal.3

You will see, Gentlemen, by the State I have the honour to inclose for your Consideration that the Sums I am to pay exceed of one Million those that are to be paid me. And making even abstraction of all that is not M. Morris Bill there still remains a defect of £500,000 independent of the Allowance to be made for his usual Wants from Jany. 24 (date of his last Bills) up to the 12th of March.

I am happy to have it in my Power to say that I have exerted to this instant all that my Zeal & my Faculties could suggest me, did the last keep Pace with the former, I should never have applied but to them. However the State of Affairs is such now, that a Resolution must be taken relative thereto, & even without delay. The Bearers of M. Morris Bills growing so urgent upon me that rather than to have occasioned an Eclat before I could be informed with your Resolution, I prefferred accepting a further Sum of £54000 this Day.

I crave your Excellencies will honour me with a quick answer, meantime, I remain, most respectfully, Gentlemen, Your Most obedient & most humble Servt.

(signed) Grand.

State of Congress’s Finances at Paris on the 10th of May 1783.—
Ballance due to me on the last Account £413892. 13. 9
Sums paid by his Excelly Bn. Franklin’s orders 172001. 5. 1
The Hble. Rt. Morris drafts to be paid 1,872,871. 1. 10
His fresh drafts from Jany. 24 at 60 days sight, of which I already accepted £54000. 804371 8.
£3263136. 8 8
Interest on the Dutch Loan 400000
Sabatier & Desprez Claim for Furnitures to the La Fayette4 134,000
£3,797,136. 8. 8.

To the American Ministers for negotiating a Peace.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9All three copies are from the commissioners’ letterbooks. Grand customarily wrote in French.

1See his letters of Feb. 12 and 13, above.

2The balance is in livres tournois, which is what Grand intended here and elsewhere by the £ symbol. He sent the account on April 15: Morris Papers, VIII, 315. A month later, before Morris received it, Morris directed his bankers in Amsterdam and Thomas Barclay to pay Grand whatever money they had: Morris Papers, VIII, 49–50.

3Vergennes must have finally agreed to advance funds from the loan of 1783, as Grand had suggested in his letter to BF of Feb. 12. On April 12, after Harvelay, the garde du Trésor Royal, had told Grand that he would agree to the measure contingent on Vergennes’ authorization, Grand wrote to Rayneval asking permission. The docketing on Grand’s letter indicates that Vergennes’ initial answer was negative, but by June 15 all the funds for the 1783 loan had been transferred to Grand: Ferdinand Grand to Rayneval, April 12, 1783 (AAE); Account XXVII (XXXII, 4).

4The merchant ship Marquis de Lafayette was captured in 1781 (XXXV, 192n). The clothiers Sabatier fils & Després contracted to provide various items for the American Army: XXIV, 122–3; XXXV, 108n.

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