Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 10 July 1783

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society; copy: E. Marie Lorimer, Melrose, Pennsylvania (1957)

Nantes July 10. 1783.

Dear & hond Sir.

I am sorry to trouble you with my Difficulties, I know you have Friendship enough for me to be afflicted at my misfortunes, & I am doubly distressed by being the Cause of any uneasiness of mind to you; but I cannot avoid telling you myself what you must hear from others, because you might have a partial Account & I might Suffer in your Esteem.— All my Misfortunes proceed from other People, for had I in my own hands the Funds my Confidence in others has drawn out I should not now be distressed as I am, and had the War continued I do Suppose these Funds would have returned to me; At present I cannot promise myself relief untill I can have answers from my Several Applications to America, which will necessarily take up Several months1—in the mean Time I think it abusing the Confidence of any Friend to draw them in to go on paying without a certaintity of getting through, I have therefore written to Mr Grand & after mentioning the Extent of what Succors I want, I have proposed the Alternative, and if he cannot assist me so far, I had better Stop at once & let all my Creditors fare alike. I am sure I shall eventualy not only pay all but have Something left, but I plainly See I cannot do it very Soon.— The Loss of any Credit affects me ten Times more than the Loss of all I am worth would do, but I hope at least I shall not Suffer in the Esteem of my Friends who know me, give me leave to Hope you will not deprive me of the Same Share of your Affection you have hitherto honoured me with, and I shall bear all my misfortunes with becoming Fortitude.

I am as ever most dutifully and affectionately Yours.

Jona Williams J

My Father in Law2 who delivers this will Show you my Letter to Mr Grand.


Doctor Franklin.

Addressed: Doctor Franklin / Passy.

1JW’s remittances from America were overdue, and the recent failures of Cuming & Macarty in Lorient (XXXV, 482n) and their Paris banker, Vincens, had caused a run on JW’s businesses. In early June he had been granted bankruptcy protection for three months; see our annotation of BF to Vergennes, June 3; JW to John and Andrew Cabot, July 6, 1783 (Yale University Library).

2William Alexander.

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