Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert Morris, 12 May 1783

From Robert Morris

LS: American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress

Office of Finance 12th May 1783


The Bills drawn by Congress in their Necessities press very heavily upon me, and one of the greatest among many Evils attending them is the Confusion in which they have involved the Affairs of my Department. I have never yet been able to learn how many of these Bills have been paid nor how many remain due neither am I without my fears that some of them have received double Payment.

To bring at length some little Degree of Order into this Chaos, after waiting till now for fuller Light and Information I write on the Subject to Mr. Adams and Mr. Jay and send Mr. Barclay to whom I also write a Copy of the enclosed Accounts directing him to Consult with your Excellency and with them to transmit me an Account of the Bills paid and of those remaining due and to take Measures for preventing double Payments.4 The enclosed Accounts will inform you that of the Bills drawn for Interest and those for carrying on the current Service which have gone forward thro the Loan Offices amount the first to one Million six hundred and eighty four thousand two hundred and seventy eight Dollars equal to eight Million four hundred and twenty one thousand three hundred and ninety Livres and the second to two hundred and eighty six thousand seven hundred and thirty three and one third Dollars equal to one Million four hundred and thirty three thousand six hundred and sixty six Livres six Sous and eight deniers.

Let me intreat you Sir to forward these Views as much as possible for you will, I am sure, be Sensible how necessary it is for me to know the exact State of our pecuniary Affairs lest on the one Hand I should risque the public Credit by an Excess of Drafts or on the other leave their Monies unemployed while they experience severe distress from the Want. I am Sir with perfect Respect your Excellency’s most obedient and humble Servant

Robt Morris

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States.

Endorsed: Accounts of Drafts upon Commrs. & upon BF.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Morris’ letters to JA and Jay were nearly identical to this one. He sent copies of all of them to Barclay, along with the enclosed accounts, and instructed Barclay to confer with the commissioners and with Grand. All Morris’ letters were written on May 12. For those letters and the enclosed accounts of bills of exchange drawn on the American commissioners and on BF see Morris Papers, VIII, 28–30, 32–5; Adams Papers, XIV, 476–7.

Index Entries