Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Williams, Jr., 29 November 1780

To Jonathan Williams, Jr.

Copy: Library of Congress

Dear Jonathan,

I received yours of the 16th.— I am excedingly vex’d at the Delay of the Ship. M: Chaumont tells me he offer’d you to Leave the Decision to any Merchants of Nantes that you should chuse; his Friends at Bordeaux advise him against submitting it at all. For God’s Sake finish it some how or other. The Delays in sending the Cloathing have been an immense Prejudice to our Affairs in America. The Army is naked.

Mr. Austin wrote to me for a Passport for the arms.5 As Mr. Grand when I received the Letter was going to speak to Mr. Necker about our other affairs I desired him to ask for that Passport. It is but this Day that I have received the Answer which I send it enclosed.6

I am ever, Your affectionate Uncle, &c.

M. Williams.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Jonathan Loring Austin actually addressed the letter to WTF, while sending good wishes for BF’s recovery. Dated Nov. 11, it asked for a permit to ship arms on board the Mars (for which see XXXIII, 483), since Schweighauser had informed him that they could not be exported otherwise. Schweighauser also did not know whether JW might already have procured one. APS. JW evidently had already written for a passport; see BF’s letter to him, Dec. 4.

6Grand put the request in writing on Nov. 22, specifying a shipment of 200 tons of old arms. Necker answered on Nov. 27 that exporting arms was forbidden unless by express permission, which the Americans had obtained. Having done so they did not need a passport. Necker would instruct the farmers general to allow the arms to be embarked and collect the usual fees for cargo. Library of Congress.

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